Yarmuth optimistic Congress will avoid another shutdown, not holding his breath for a 'grand bargain'

10/24/2013 11:41 AM

WASHINGTON — While Republican congressmen told Pure Politics this week that they want sharp spending reductions as part of the next budget agreement, Kentucky’s lone Democrat in the delegation says he’s not optimistic Congress can agree on long-term reforms.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a grand bargain on the budget. I think that’s highly unlikely,” Yarmuth said. Find out why and what he expects comes next at 3:00 of the interview below.

It only further drives home the Grand Canyon-sized gulf between congressional Democrats and Republicans as they weigh the national debt that’s rapidly approaching $17 trillion dollars with the programs and projects the federal government pays for.

“Until we get significant strong leadership from House Republicans who are committed to getting something done rather than advancing intellectual purity — philosophical purity — it’s going to be hard to get a deal,” Yarmuth said (4:15).

Yarmuth’s said House Republicans are calling for cuts that are too deep and would take affect too abruptly.

“If you try to put into place the severe cuts that Republicans want to put into place — the Ryan budget plan — you are going to throw this country back into recession, which is ultimately going to increase the deficit and increase the debt,” Yarmuth said 5:45. He said the country needs a 50 year plan, similar to the Simpson-Bowles report that veterans of Washington, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, spearheaded in 2010 as a way to suggest long-range spending reforms.

As for the political effects of the shutdown, Yarmuth said some of the Republicans’ floor speeches might provide useful references in future spending or budget fights.

“Republicans — in their strategy, all of the things they did — they made probably the most compelling case that could be made for the value of government spending. Consistently they were talking about the importance of NIH, the importance of the WIC program — the nutrition for women, infants and children, talking about the NSA — all those things they criticize generally,” Yarmuth said (1:30).

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