'This Week' Transcript: Plouffe, Pence, Van Hollen


What's going to happen there? What needs to happen for you to vote yes to raise the debt ceiling, the amount America can borrow?

PENCE: Well, look, I will not support an increase in the debt ceiling without real and meaningful changes in spending in the short-term and in the long-term. We've got to change the way we spend the people's money.

Again, we have a $14 trillion national debt. The president sends the budget to Capitol Hill that will double the national debt in the next ten years. And simply expanding the credit card is not the right answer.

AMANPOUR: On this issue, how will that fight be fought?

VAN HOLLEN: It will be hugely dangerous for the Republican colleagues to play a game of chicken on the debt ceiling. You would see an economic catastrophe if the United States defaulted on its debt.

Now, the budget proposal that they're bringing forth will require increases in the debt ceiling for years and years to come. So for them to say we're not going to support an increase in the debt ceiling on this. And then put a budget on the floor that will require it is just irresponsible.

AMANPOUR: One of the questions I asked David Plouffe was about who has the ideas. Congressman Ryan has put forth a budget that many people are saying is a good attempt to deal with this. When are we going to hear -- and are you frustrated that there isn't one detail on your side -- although, again, David Plouffe said the president is going to put more details out this week.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, the president had a budget. And we, the Democrats in the House, are going to have an alternative budget this week as we debate it.

The problem with the Ryan plan, the Republican plan is it's totally unbalanced. That's what the co-authors of the fiscal commission, bipartisan fiscal commission said, because what he does is he takes deep cuts, he ends Medicare. He ends the Medicare guarantee for seniors. He's going to require seniors to go not private insurance market and they'll have to eat all of the rising costs of health care, while they provide big tax breaks for millionaires, and the corporate special interest.

That is just not the priorities of the country. And I think it's wrong to do that.

AMANPOUR: Do you think, Congressman Pence, and this is the last question, there will be some bipartisan compromise? Because, on the big issue, it has to be bipartisan crafting.

PENCE: Well, let me say, House Republicans under Paul Ryan's leadership have offered a vision to put America back on a pathway toward a balanced budget. It deals with issues in entitlement. It reduces the national debt. For Americans 55 or older, we're not proposing a single change in Medicare. Chris knows that.

What we want to do for Americans under the age of 55 is make sure they can participate in the same health plan that members of Congress do.

VAN HOLLEN: That is not accurate.

PENCE: This is going to be a big debate...

VAN HOLLEN: Members -- no members of Congress...

PENCE: ...there's no repeal -- there's no repeal of the Medicare guarantee.

VAN HOLLEN: Members of Congress have what is called a fair-share deal. We do not bare the entire risk of increased costs. They are asking seniors to bear risks, they are not asking themselves...

PENCE: Members of Congress have the same premium support system, Chris knows that.

AMANPOUR: We will be watching this, debating it...

VAN HOLLEN: There's a fair share guarantee. And Mike should check the law, because they're ask seniors to absorb the entire risk of -- the higher risk of increased costs. Members of Congress do not bear that risk in the same way.

AMANPOUR: We are certainly going to bring this up with our round table. And we'll keep talking about it, because this will be the issue ahead. Thank you both very much indeed for joining us.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.

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