'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

STABENOW: George, let's look at the facts, first of all. There are three parts of the stool here to solve this problem. One's spending. We've already agreed to $1 trillion in spending reductions. Two, Medicare and entitlements. We've already agreed to over $700 billion in spending reductions on Medicare, starting by cutting overpayments to insurance companies. Three is making sure the wealthiest in the country contribute to solving the deficit problem. That's what hasn't passed.

So for us to continue on this, we have to have the Senate bill that continues tax cuts for middle-class families, that says to the wealthiest among us, you're going to chip in, you're going to be part of the solution. The House just needs to pass it.

That would mean we would have done something on each of the areas that my colleagues are talking about. Then we have to take another step on all three of those. But right now, the only thing I hear, the only thing we see is middle-class families being asked over and over again to be the ones who have the burden in solving this problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So your position is...

STABENOW: And we're saying no.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So your position for now is clear: no more reforms in Medicare or Medicaid until the middle-class tax cut is extended. Congressman Grijalva, is that your position?

GRIJALVA: Yeah, it is. And I -- and I think, when we look at the deficit, debt creators, that we have to look at that as the source of revenue, as well, to begin to solve this problem and to balance it. When I talk to the business folk in my district, the guy who sells furniture up the street, and neighborhoods that were hit hard by this recession, they're not asking, "Oh, what's going to be my tax rate? Or what's the tax situation?" They're looking for customers.

And part of this whole crisis that we're talking about is about jobs and the ability to generate -- that this government generate jobs to put Americans to work and put Americans back in a secure place for their families and, correspondingly, to help the businesses of this nation.

I -- I really think that what we're doing is ignoring other sources. We're ignoring the loopholes. We're ignoring the subsidies. We're ignoring -- ignoring all of the breaks that have happened over a decade-plus. And now we're asking the middle class, the elderly, the poor to carry the brunt of mistakes that were made 10, 12 years ago.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, Speaker Boehner has said he's willing to get about $800 billion by closing deductions and loopholes for the wealthy, but another thing that's been put on the table, Congressman Hensarling, this week -- and the president has said, bottom line, again, he's not going to negotiate at all over the debt limit. So you've got two big bottom lines for the president right there.

I have to tell you, I've been around Capitol Hill and Washington for an awful long time, and it's hard for me to see, with those two big absolutes out there, that you can actually get this done by December 31st. So is there a fallback position for the Republicans right now?

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