'This Week' Transcript: Rep. Paul Ryan and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough

When you look at sequester, the impacts on middle class families, what's it going to be? Teachers in schools, 13,000 schools are going to be-- 13,000 teachers are going to be hit, 6,000 schools. If you look at mental health, if you look at food inspections -- and you've already heard the devastating list of horribles that the Pentagon has said are going to be out there.

So the question is, on top of all those things that you just talked about is what is the impact on the middle class? So the question the president is asking is why don't we take a step back, let's fix this in a kind of balanced way the president has proposed and the Senate Democrats have proposed, with a reasonable amount of spending cuts and a reasonable amount of revenue raisers so that we can get this thing done and move on to the business of the country.

KARL: But help me understand, because we have a budget. This is -- let's look at exactly what this is. $85 billion this year out of a budget of $3.8 trillion. You can see just the small slice, and then if you look at the sequester over 10 years, we're talking about 1.2 trillion out of $47 trillion in projected government spending. Is it really impossible to find less than 3 percent of savings in a federal budget without making those kind of horrible cuts?

MCDONOUGH: You know what, it's not impossible, and that is exactly what the president has done over the last year, $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction. He's ready to do another $1.5 trillion to get up to the $4 trillion target that economists across the country tell us is needed to stabilize the debt over the next 10 years. So that's exactly what the president has done, working with Democrats and Republicans.

KARL: But you're going to insist on tax increases, right?

MCDONOUGH: Well, we're going to insist on doing this in a balanced way--

KARL: Which means tax increases.

MCDONOUGH: A way that -- we're going to insist on doing this in a balanced way. A way that allows us to maintain the kinds of investments that middle-class families in this country rely on, Jon.

We were just talking about our families, our kids. You know what, we're not going to put at risk the education investments in this country because we can't get together to resolve this in a balanced way. This is not an ideological effort, Jon. This should not be a social science experiment. This should be a question where we ask ourselves, what is most important to the economy, what is most important to the middle class families of this country, and that's the way the president is going to do this.

KARL: OK, we're almost out of time. Very quickly, two other things.


KARL: Chuck Hagel, the nomination delayed, also CIA director, your nominee, John Brennan, looks like he'll be delayed. Is this a threat to national security?

MCDONOUGH: It's a grave concern. If you look at Chuck Hagel, decorated war veteran himself, war hero. Republican senator. Somebody who over the course of the last many years, either as a Republican senator or as the chairman of the president's Intelligence Advisory Board, I've worked with very closely. This guy has one thing in mind, how do we protect the country.

KARL: Is there a danger of this being delayed?

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