House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pushed back against the assertion that deep spending cuts are necessary to pare down the federal deficit and avoid the looming sequestration, saying on Fox News Sunday that such a policy would harm job growth and ultimatley expand the deficit.
Host Chris Wallace led the interview by arguing that Congress had to find spending cuts somewhere, using for support a clip of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) calling on Democrats to do just that. Pelosi fired back that such assertions are incorrectly held up as the only option for addressing the budget, even though that only looks at one side of the equation.
“With all due respect to the Speaker, what he’s said is not the gospel truth,” Pelosi said.
Though Pelosi said she and Democrats were open to making some cuts as part of a broader deficit deal, she refused to accept that cuts in general were the only way to dig out from the deficit hole. That’s because, she said, trimming spending willy nilly could cause immediate economic harm, leading to slower job growth and thus lower government revenue–something that would only exacerbate the federal deficit.
“It isn’t as much a spending problem as it is priorities,” she said.
“It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem that we have to address,” she added.
Making delicate cuts, but sparing education and other pro-growth spending, would reain in expenditures overall while fostering job growth, leading to increased revenues to offset government spending, Pelosi said.
“Which cuts relaly help us, and which cuts hurt our future?” she asked.
“Why should we lower pell grants instead of eliminating subsidies for big oil?” she added.
Watch this video from Fox News’ Fox News Sunday, broadcast Feb. 10, 2013.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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