'This Week' Transcript: Hoyer, Boehner and Bill Gates

BOEHNER: Listen, I'm concerned about the plight of teachers, firemen, policemen who face the real possibility that they may be laid off, but to send this letter up here on a Saturday night with no opportunity to cut spending elsewhere in the budget strikes me as a little different. Steny and I and other leaders were at the White House on Thursday, and this subject never came up.

There was no indication this was going to happen. And I'm asking myself, why is this happening on Saturday night?

Fact is that the spending spree in Washington is continuing to run unabated. The American people are screaming at the top of their lungs, "Stop!" And -- and to move this without finding other offsets in spending, I think, is irresponsible. It's just putting more debt on the backs of our kids and our grandkids, and it really begs the question is, why don't we have a budget this year?

You know, we've not cut -- the House has failed -- not failed in the modern era to move a budget. And this appears to be the first time in the modern era that the House is not even going to consider a budget.

TAPPER: Well, Leader Hoyer, if I could...


TAPPER: ... if I could say, one of the -- the theory is that you don't want to make vulnerable Democrats vote for another spending bill, and that's why for the first time since 1974 there isn't going to be a House budget. Is that not true?

HOYER: Whatever -- whatever the theory may be, Jake, the fact of the matter is, my friend, Mr. Boehner, voted for $2 trillion during the Bush administration of unfunded spending. So when he says this cascade of spending, he...


TAPPER: But you agree that this should be offset with spending cuts?

HOYER: I would hope that we could do that, yes. However, what I said was, money that has already been appropriated in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act that has not yet been spent could be spent now on these priority items. Nobody wants to see $300,000 teachers or fire and police laid off. That's not good for the economy; it's not good for our kids; it's not good for the safety of our communities.

So the president's absolutely right in terms of this being critically important spending, and we're going to work on getting that. I personally believe that if we have dollars that are not yet expended in the Recovery Act that we can apply to this immediate need and then look to later expenditures in the long term for investments, I think we ought to do that. But we can't -- we can't stimulate and depress at the same time.

TAPPER: I'd like to -- I'd...

BOEHNER: Jake, every family knows that in a tough time it's more important to have a budget, not less. And if you think that they're going to move a budget on Capitol Hill, you must obviously believe that Elvis is still alive.

TAPPER: Well, I'd -- I'd like to move on to another topic...

HOYER: I know you do...

TAPPER: ... other than Elvis.

HOYER: ... but as you know, the Republicans didn't have a budget in '02, '04, '06.

BOEHNER: The House has never failed to pass a budget in the modern era.

HOYER: And the American public had no idea about that, budgets that pass...

BOEHNER: Well, this is a great opportunity...

HOYER: ... and spending bills that follow (ph).

BOEHNER: ... to cut spending and to get the economy going again.

HOYER: And we're doing that.

BOEHNER: That's why I gave the president...

HOYER: Let me close with this.

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