Interview with Jack Lew

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew addresses the contraception controversy.
7:01 | 02/12/12

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Transcript for Interview with Jack Lew
We do Begin in Washington with the president's new chief of staff Jack -- welcome back to this week. Interview with the yards and this is your first time as White House chief of staff. On this week -- -- here -- starting a little bit of a controversy over this contraception. Coverage the president announced his compromise. On Friday saying that Catholic institutions will not -- to directly provide. This contraception coverage but that the insurance companies will. -- that wasn't good enough for the Catholic bishops on it read you what they said yesterday no government has the right to intrude into the affairs of the church. Much less coerced the church faithful individuals to engage in. Or cooperate in any way. With the immoral practices they are gonna fight this they're gonna continue to fight this. And George from the very beginning the president had two important goals here this one is to guarantee that every woman has the right all forms of preventive health care including contraception. Secondly that we do -- in a way that respects legitimately religious differences in the religious liberties are so important in our country. And -- would the president announced on Friday struck the kind of balance to reconcile those two. Very important values I think the fact that on Friday groups ranging from Catholic Charities and the Catholic health association to Planned Parenthood. All embraced -- what the president proposed speak to the fact that is where that reconciliation is. We didn't expect that there be universal support but we do think this is the right way to go and it's a plan that we're gonna push. There are a lot of questions yet -- you move it over time this coverage will be revenue -- -- save money perhaps in the long run but there are some upfront cost. For -- contraceptive coverage who's gonna pay for that. CNN it's interesting George assembly is and I just for how lot of years when people tell me things don't cost money ask a lot of questions this is actually one of those exceptions to the rule. If you look at the overall cost of providing health -- and -- woman the cost goes up not down if you take contraceptives that. This is not going to cost. The insurance companies money because on and on the -- overall health care of cost basis it won't cost more. But most importantly this will guarantee that every woman has a right to preventive care including contraceptives and no church will be required to provide -- benefit. And no Catholic university or Catholic hospital well either have to pay or facilitate the provision of the benefit vehicles for the insurance companies the insurance companies then we'll just have to eat those up -- costs and get the savings over time. Well you know insurance plans are like that it all preventive care cost money up front to prevent other costs over time. So this is not any different than any other form of preventive health care you don't look at -- health care plan based on each incremental cost. You look at it what do they call actuarial cost and on that basis we think that this is something that's totally consistent. If anything it could save money. I'm on the broader economy the president's new budget. He's coming out tomorrow and I wanted to give -- with the president said about tackling the deficit when he took office back in 2009 take a look. Very -- to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office. -- tomorrow's but he's gonna make it clear that that promise will not be -- not not even close related deficit. We'll be well over a trillion dollars for the fourth year in a row why. In George act as I think you know when we took office the economy was falling so fast that with first thing we have to do -- -- -- bottom. That costs money in the and Recovery Act it costs money in terms of lost revenue -- slower economic growth. We -- contract now we've seen several months of sustained economic growth and job creation. But we're not out of the woods yet that's one of the reasons that we still need even this month for congress to take action and pass the extension of the payroll tax cut. The president's budget is a plan for ten years and over the ten years what it would do is bring the deficit down to below 3% of the economy which is. Means that we won't be adding to the deficit based on current spending. Secondly to bring the dead as a percentage of the economy down to a point that all international financial organizations look at and say is what you need to do to have -- won't even as quickly as you're projecting several months ago. Well look -- that an economic projections in a time of of recovery from the deepest recession in a generation. Are going to fluctuate. Frankly in the last three months we've had better news than we expected in terms of job growth that's a good thing. I think that what we have to do is focus on the long term in the short term at the same time in the short term we need to keep the economy growing in the long term. We need to get the deficit under control in a way that builds the economy they can last for the future where we build a manufacturing base we have Americans with the skills to do the work for the future. We have energy so that we can provide from -- energy needs that we do -- a way that's consistent with American values than -- -- pays a fair share. Our next guest is congressman Paul Roman check chairman of the House Budget Committee hears what he had to say the other day about the budget. His proposals. Have three things in common. -- -- massive tax increases on small businesses and hardworking families. -- require bureaucratic rationing in government health care programs. And they hollow out our national security. Your response. -- George I think that if you look at our budget for every dollar of revenue there's two and a half dollars of spending reductions. So I think it's clearly not the case that this is a budget that's based on just. Raising taxes but we have tax cuts that go to people who don't need them we have tax -- going to the wealthiest people in America. Who are going to have to pay their fair share we need to have an economy where everyone is a fair shot. Wherever we think it does their fair share and where every -- -- the same rules I think that's something that is it. With the president spoke to in Kansas a few months ago it's when he spoke to in the state of the union and its with his budget in implement. In the short term -- you mentioned you want this extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits those talks seem to be stalled on Capitol Hill and I'm hearing from. Speaker Boehner sobs at the White House is an even contacting them directly why not. And will you accept a short term extension if the full year can't go through. Congress should get the job done we saw last year that congress' inability to. Bring things to closure just adds uncertainty in drags the economy. I don't think congress wants repeat -- -- what they did in December where wasn't clear they were going to be able to act and it took away from the benefits of passing -- in the end. Congress knows what the choices are there's a conference committee that speaker Boehner asked to form it's been meeting. They've actually been working even over the weekend they have time for what I calls finger directly. You know -- speaker Boehner said this should be resolved in a conference committee with the house in the senate. They've been meeting the list of options this in front of them is known to everyone they need to make some decisions and -- confident we'll get -- It should get -- -- need to finish their work it's important for the American economy that we in this could contribute as much as another 1% of growth in the economy over the year. We need to have this done and there's time to do it and I think congress should get it done -- -- -- and time mr. Lou thanks very much for time this morning interview Eddie George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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