(4 of 5)
CNN: Do you want a bipartisan solution? Is there a point to bipartisanship?
LABRADOR: There's going to be things that we're going to disagree on. I'm not going to get everything I want. You can have a bipartisan solution. You just have to have a dialogue. If you talk to Democrats individually, not their leadership, I think for the most part they agree with us that the problem is not taxes, it's spending. There's a large number of Democrats here in Washington, D.C. who understand that we have to rein in the growth of government. And the people in their districts are telling them that. So I think we can truly have a bipartisan solution that listens to the American people.
GRAVES: We are compromising a lot. Nothing we do should ever compromise the future of our nation. We never want to compromise our principles. The principles should be we've got to reduce spending and get on the right path. And then we can talk about what's cut. That's a totally different discussion. But when you can't agree to that, it's clear the Democrats in the Senate are not serious about reducing the spending curve whatsoever. We've got to reach that point first.
On the debt ceiling:
CNN: Let's talk about spending. The Treasury has said they expect the U.S. to hit its debt ceiling by about May 16th. This is going to be a big battle. Would you vote to raise the debt ceiling?
BUERKLE: Not unless I was completely satisfied with statutory reforms and cuts.
GRAVES: Not by itself.
LABRADOR: Not by itself.
GOSAR: Only incrementally with clear defined cuts.
TIME: So what would it take?
LABRADOR: I would like to see a balanced budget pass both houses of Congress. A real balanced budget amendment, because there is this game in Washington that one house passes it one year and then the other house passes it the next year and everybody pats themselves on the back.
BUERKLE: If we just vote to raise the debt ceiling with no changes and no cuts, it's like saying to an alcoholic: 'Here is a bottle of whiskey and then tomorrow we'll talk about your alcohol problem.' We can't be enablers. The time has come where we have to take a stand.
On Obama's deficit reduction speech:
TIME: What would you like to hear from the President and is he a trustworthy negotiating partner?
LABRADOR: I think he's interested in getting reelected. And, actually, there is some truth about the fact that the divided government sometimes helps the American people. Because, Obama, when we had the whole Democratic majority, he was able to do whatever he wanted to do without consequences. He wants to get reelected. I think he understands that the American people want deficit reduction and less spending. So he's going to talk like a Republican. And I think he's trying to do that. And I think it's going to help him actually. But I don't have a problem with that. I think as long as he's talking about the same things that we're talking about not raising taxes, reducing spending I welcome him to the conversation.
GRAVES: If you're serious about deficit reduction, you wouldn't want to compromise on spending. If he's serious about reducing, then he would want the maximum amount of savings. There was a great opportunity for him to reduce the deficit if he chose.
BUERKLE: When you think of how far this discussion has come when he gave the State of the Union, he was talking about spending freezes, he wasn't talking about cuts. He put forth his budget, no cuts. Tax increases. Now tomorrow he's going to come out with budget No. 2 and supposedly there's cuts in it. So he's for political reasons or whatever the reasons are, he's swinging to understand what the American people want.