GOP Senator: Debate on Spending is "Fight Worth Having"

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., tells ABC News it's time to face the budget music.

ByABC News
April 8, 2011, 8:31 AM

April 8, 2011 -- As House and Senate lawmakers scramble to avert a government shutdown, one Republican senator says the debate over spending is "certainly a fight worth having."

"I don't need a government shutdown to show me how urgent this situation is in terms of getting our fiscal health sorted, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told ABC News.

Johnson made clear he wasn't pushing for a shutdown, saying the real battle over spending should be over next year's budget.

"It is a little absurd that we're here, April of 2011, half way through the year and still talking about how do we fund fiscal year 2011," he said. "I would like to get that behind us so we can really turn our attention again to the trillions of dollars of deficit spending that's facing us over the next ten years."

In a wide-ranging interview for ABC's Jonathan Karl's "Subway Series," Johnson said he stands firm with fellow Rep. Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite, and House Republicans' "Path to Prosperity," which calls for $6.2 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years.

Pointing to the $1.6 trillion deficit and a $14 trillion debt the nation currently faces, Johnson called this week's budget delay "absurd."

"We are talking about, let's face it, pennies when you look at the scheme of the debt," Johnson told Karl. "We're also, with these continuing resolutions, talking about a budget that should have been passed last year when the Democrats controlled the White House, the House and the Senate."

Johnson said watching the negotiation this week has been frustrating.

"So far, it's been disappointing when you talk to everybody, and I think most people do understand how urgent this problem is, but they are still playing political games," Johnson said.

"When the other side of the aisle, when their primary strategy is just to point at the Republicans and just shout 'extreme,' that's not taking the situation seriously," Johnson said, referring to a conference call earlier this week in which reporters overheard Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., telling Democratic colleagues that Republican budget cuts should be painted "extreme."