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November 16, 2012

Pelosi reflects on White House meeting

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi suggests any deal cut $4 trillion from the federal deficit. Here's her Q and A Friday afternoon with reporters in her Capitol office, after meeting at the White House for bipartisan talks:

Q:  Question about the White House.  You said that you thought Christmas time should be the deadline.  Do [you] think though that there’s been some talk as part of the calendar – this week is elections, this week and next week – and do you think there’s already been efficiency in time to get a deal?

Leader Pelosi.  No, actually I said we should do this before Christmas.  Well before Christmas, so that we’re not up to the — up to the end of the line.  What happened was we had a very positive meeting with the President.  His leadership is really indispensable in taking us forward.  So, I’m grateful to him for the spirit in which he brought us together.  Each of us has some idea about how we could get this done in a way that is still confident even as we proceed down the path – that even if we didn’t come out of the room with a solution that we came out with a plan of action, an understanding of what we wanted to achieve, a timetable for how to get it done, what would spring from those discussions that would be continued as an ongoing deficit reduction, gross approach for our country to take.

I think it was said, maybe it’s the spirit of the season, of Thanksgiving.  But nonetheless, I think – good attitude in the room. 

Q:  Was there a deficit reduction goal set?

Leader Pelosi.  We did not discuss numbers.  We didn’t go into that.  But I think there’s [a] general impression – I mean, I brought my impression into the room that we’d like – that I think it’d be good if we did something in the $4 trillion dollar category of deficit reduction, which is similar to the grand bargain that was discussed last year.  And so, that would be the standard I would have.  But I don’t want to give you the impression that that was a goal.  Maybe we could do more.

Q:  Are you considering cutting entitlement funds, or cuts of that form?

Leader Pelosi.  Well, I did say this then, but I say to you now:  I think it was Voltaire who said, “If you want to debate with me, define your terms.”  We have to understand what those terms mean.  Do we want to have savings from everything we do?  Certainly.  So we need revenue, we need savings, we need growth in order to solve this.  But in terms of entitlement reform, as I asked you yesterday, what do you mean by structural reform?  And that’s what we will be talking about.  That’s what we’ll be discussing.

Q:  In terms of the importance of these issues though, is there any concern that you guys are going out of town next week?  I mean, there’s only…

Leader Pelosi.  No, no, no.  We’re working the whole time.  We have set goals for Wednesday and then we have set goals for when we come back after Thanksgiving.



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