'This Week' Transcript: S&P's John Chambers, Governor Martin O'Malley and Senator Jeff Sessions

AMANPOUR: Well, so you know that there's going to be a bipartisan committee to look at cutting more and getting the debt more in line, 12 people sort of split down the middle between two houses of Congress. Do you have faith that that is going to work?

CHAMBERS: No, I think that they'll deliver. And if they don't deliver, then you'll have this sequestration mechanism that'll come into play. But, remember, we had a bipartisan commission, the Bowles-Simpson Commission, that also came up with a majority -- it wasn't a supermajority, but it was a majority -- that had plenty of sensible recommendations, and it was a pity that those really weren't followed through on.

AMANPOUR: And, again, I'm hearing a lot of pushback not just from the United States, but around the world, as well, people saying, how could America, the biggest economy, the most stable, the reserve currency, have its credit rating downgraded? And people, of course, are saying that Standard & Poor's is trying to redeem its reputation after the catastrophic sort of record during the fiscal crisis, the mortgage situation. How do you answer that?

CHAMBERS: Well, you know, we have a set of criteria that we apply to all 126 central governments that we rate. It rests on five pillars: the political side, the real economy, the fiscal side, the monetary side, the external side. We have a committee of -- of -- that's international committee of -- that applies this criteria. You know, 10 years ago, we lowered Japan's rating. They're the second-largest economy. They also have a reserve currency. It's not the number-one reserve currency, but it is a reserve currency. And, you know, I think most people agree with that downgrade.

I think as time passes, people will come to see that the United States' credit standing is really not quite the same level as -- as the ones that we rate AAA.

AMANPOUR: All right. John Chambers, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

AMANPOUR: And so a clear lack of faith in Washington's political ability to make real economic progress. With me to discuss whether the parties can come together on anything, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, and in Alabama, Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Budget Committee.

Gentlemen, thank you very much, indeed, for joining me. Let me first ask you, you heard from John Chambers now, still categoric that this downgrade should happen. Do you think it's justified? And how do you think the parties -- you and, for instance, Senator Sessions, in terms of parties -- are going to get together to solve this?

O'MALLEY: I don't think it's justified, in terms of when you look at the math here. They made a $2 trillion mistake. The other rating agencies did not downgrade the U.S. debt because they did not make that $2 trillion mistake.

But one has to find understandable their pessimism about our inability to come together on the most important issue facing our country, which is, how do we create jobs? We need a balanced approach. And the extremism, the Tea Party obstructionism here in Washington, is keeping us from restoring that balanced approach that America has always used of investing in the future, investing in job creation, and also being fiscally responsible at the same time.

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