On Tuesday's Early Show, CBS's Bill Plante forwarded the liberal impression that the proposed budget compromise includes "big spending cuts," despite only reducing $38.5 billion from trillions in spending. Host Erica Hill also urged Republican Congressman Eric Cantor for "a little give and take" in the budget negotiations, hinting that taxes needed to be raised to deal with the debt.
Plante's report on President Obama's upcoming speech on reducing the debt led the 7 am Eastern hour. Near the end of the segment, the correspondent touted how "the President's goal today is to appear as the voice of reason, and to set the stage for the next big debate, which is going to be over raising the federal debt limit, something the Republicans say they won't vote for unless there are more big spending cuts."
Hill's interview of the House Majority Leader began immediately after this report, and she came out of the gate with her hint at the need for tax hikes: "The Republican plan...essentially looks to slash the deficit through cuts, but doesn't there also need to be, perhaps, some more money coming in to, at the same time, pay things down and make a meaningful dent. Can you really establish that just through cuts?"
After Rep. Cantor gave his initial answer, the CBS host followed up with her liberal-leaning push for congressional Republicans to give up on some of their budget proposals: "At some point, does there have to be a little give and take, because, as we're seeing in the Republican plan, there are tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, yet, there are also cuts and changes to social services programs for some of the neediest here for seniors and for the poor?"
The full transcript of Erica Hill's interview of Rep. Eric Cantor from Tuesday's Early Show:
HILL: Joining us now from Capitol Hill is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Sir, good to have you with us this morning.
CANTOR: Good morning, Erica.
HILL: As we looked at and- it has been sort of been analyzed, of course, over the past few days, the Republican plan- it essentially looks to slash the deficit through cuts, but doesn't there also need to be, perhaps, some more money coming in to, at the same time, pay things down and make a meaningful dent. Can you really establish that just through cuts?
CANTOR: Erica, you're right. We cannot fix our fiscal crisis and bring down the debt just through cuts alone, but everybody understands that Washington has been on a spending binge of late, and we've got to start spending money the way that taxpayers are right now, and that's learning how to do more with less. But you're right, we need to grow this economy, and I think that's where the difference is and I'm hopeful I can hear from the President today something that actually will come to the middle and meet us. I don't think there are many Americans right now who want to pay more taxes. We are a few days out from tax day, and I think most people understand that Washington doesn't have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. And the crux of the issue here is how are we going to get this economy going again and get people back to work without imposing more burdens on working families, and we can't raise taxes. I mean, that was settled, I think, last November during the election.
HILL: So you say absolutely not, in terms of raising taxes. You mentioned the burden. The goal which we've heard from representatives, of course, on both sides of the aisle is to not continue to pass this debt down to everyone's children. But at some point, does there have to be a little give and take, because, as we're seeing in the Republican plan, there are tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, yet, there are also cuts and changes to social services programs for some of the neediest here for seniors and for the poor?
CANTOR: What we have proposed, when you're talking about the kinds of programs that have posed the biggest challenges, as far as our debt is concerned, you're talking about the entitlement programs, and the reality is, the Congressional Budget Office says these programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, are in serious trouble, and within the next ten years, we'll go into a bankrupt-like situation. We want to save these programs for the people that need them. That's our goal. We don't think that you should let people who need a safety net out there on their own. We believe in a safety net for those who need it, not for those who don't. And so, our plan tries to save Medicare for everyone. For those 55 and older, we say those individuals will not see any change in their benefits. But for the rest of us, we're going to have to accept the fact that these programs are not going to look the same for us, and we're trying to change the nature of those programs for the younger generations, so they will be around for the people who need them.
HILL Real quickly, sir, when you meet with the President today, you want to hear something meaningful, but what are you going to say to him?
CANTOR: Well, we're going to say to him, look, that we're glad you're finally coming to the table. You know, the President has missed the opportunity when he presented his budget to the country in the State of the Union address. He missed the opportunity to even talk about the specifics that he envisioned to how to address the debt problem we've got in this country. So I'm looking forward to telling him, look, we want to work with you. We've got problems and they were caused by both sides. We want to come together, we want to work with you to try and fix this debt problem, and get the economy back on track, so more people can get back to work.
HILL: We will be looking for the results of that meeting and for more of the many meetings to come on the budget. Congressman Eric Cantor, thanks for your time this morning.
CANTOR: Thank you.