tv Today in Washington CSPAN June 30, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
>> they don't want a balanced approach. >> they don't want any tax increases as they put its and the house speaker says not only do they not support that, that will not pass the house. my question is will you insist ultimately that a deal has to include those tax increases that you just laid out? you, and if it is, can you explain how it's going to get through congress? >> i think what we've seen here in negotiations here in washington is a lot of people say a lot of things to satisfy their base or to get on cable news, but hopefully, leaders at a certain point rise to the occasion, and they do the right thing for the american people. and that's what i expect to happen this time. call me naive, but my expectation is that leaders are
going to lead. now, i just want to be clear about what is at stake, here. republicans say they want to truce deficit. every single observer who is not an elected official, who is not a politician says we cannot reduce our deficit in the scale and scope that we need to, without having a balanced approach that looks at everything. democrats have to accept some painful spending cuts that hurt some of our constituencies, and we may not like it. and we've shown a willingness had to for a greater good. we've said there are some things that would be nice to have. we cannot afford them right now. >> i, as command they are in chief have sove to have
difficult conversations with the pentagon saying we have to trim the fat here. and bob gates has already done a lot to trim and will he will do more. and the pentagon feels like they have given all they can and so we have to look at entitlements. i've been willing to say we need to see where we can reduce the cost of health care spending and medicare and medicaid in the out years, not by shifting costs on to seniors, as some had proposed, but rather by actually reducing those costs. but even if we're doing it in the smart way, that's still tough politics, but it's still the right thing to do. so if everyone else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things in order achieve the goal of real
deficit reduction, then i think it would be hard for the republicans to stand there and say the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we're not willing to come to the table and get a deal done or we're so concerned aboutal protecting oil and gas subsidies for oil companies that are making money hand over fist. that's the reason we're not going to come to a deal? i don't think that's sustainable position. and the truth of the matter is if you talk to republicans who are not currently in office like alan simpson who co-chaired my bipartisan position, help doesn't think that's a sustainable position. another co-chaired something with a democratic. he said you can't reduce the deficit to the levels that it
needs to be reduced without having some revenue in the mix. and the revenue we're talking about isn't coming out of the pockets of middle class families who are struggling. it's coming out of the pockets of those doing extraordinarily well and enjoying the lowest tax rates since before i was born. if you were a wealthy c.e.o. or hedge fund manager in america right now. your taxes are lower than they have ever been. they are lower than they've been since the 1950's. and you can afford it. you'll still be able to ride on your corporate jet. you're just going to have to pay a little more. and if we, i just want to emphasize what i said earlier. if we do not have revenues,
that means there are a bunch of kids out there who are not getting college scholarships. if we do not have those revenues then the kinds of cuts that would be required might compromise the national weather service. it means that we would not be funding critical medical research. it means that food inspection might be compromised. and, you know, i have decide some of the republican leaders, talk to your constituents and ask them are they willing to compromise their kids' safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break? >> and i'm pretty sure what the answer would be.
so we're going to keep on having these conversations, and my position is they need to make the right decisions for the country and everyone else is willing to move off of their hard position. they need to do the same. >> and your expectation -- >> my expectation is they will do the same. >> thank you, mr. president. there's been a lot of questions about the constitution alty or interpretations about a few decisions that you have made. so i will ask do you think the war powers ask is constitutional and the debt limit is constitutional? this idea that congress can do this? and do you believe that marriage is a civil right? >> well. that's hodgepodge. well, chuck, we're going to assign you to the supreme court, man.
i'm not a supreme court justice, so i'm not going to put my constitutional wall professor hat on here. let me focus on the initial situation of libya. i want to talk about the substance of libya. because there's been all kinds of noise about process and congressional consultation and so forth. let's talk about concretely what's happened. muammar gaddafi who before osama bin laden was responsible for more american deaths than just about anybody on the planet was threatening to massacre his people. and as part of an international coalition under a u.n. mandate that is almost unprecedented, we went in and took out air defense systems so that an international coalition could
provide a no fly zone and protect and provide humanitarian protection to people on the ground. i spoke to the american people about what we would do. i said there would be no troops on the ground. i said that we would not be carrying the lion's share of this operation. but as members of nato, we would be supportive of it, because it's been our national security interest and also because it's the right thing to do. we have done exactly what i said we would do. we have not put any boots on the ground, and our allies who historically we have complained aren't willing to carry enough of the load when it comes to nato operations, have carried a big load when it comes to these nato operations, and as a consequence, we've perfected thousands of people in lib yea. we have not seen a single u.s.
casualty. there are no risks of additional escalation. this operation is limited in time and in scope. so i said to the american people, here's our narrow mission. we have carried out that narrow mission with exemplary progress. we've had 10 hearings on it and sent reams of information about what the operations are. i've had all the members of congress over to talk about it. so a lot of this fuss is politics. and if you look substantively, at what we've done, we've done exactly what we've said we are going to do and protected thousands of lives and as a consequence, a guy who was a
state sponsor of terrorism across america is pinned down and the noose is tightening around him. now, when you look at the history of the war powers resolution, it came up after the vietnam war in which we had had a million soldiers there. tens of thousands of lives lost. hundreds of billions of clears the spent, and congress said you know what? we don't want something like that happening again, so if you're going to get us into those kinds of commitments, you've got to consult with members beforehand, and i think that such consultation is appropriate. and but do i think that our actions in any way violate the war powers resolution? the answer is no. so i don't even have to get to the constitution. there may be a time that --
there may be a time that -- in which there was a serious question as to whether or not war powers resolution act was constitutional. i don't have to get to the question. we have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people. against one of the worst tyrants in the world. somebody who nobody should want to defend, and we should be sending out a unified message to this guy that he should step down and give his people a fair chance to live their lives without fear. and this suddenly becomes the cause for some folks in congress? come on. so you had, what, a three-parter. what are the other two? i'm just saying i don't have to reach. that's a good legal answer.
>> let me start by saying that this administration under my direction has consistently said we cannot discriminate, as a country, against people on the basis of sexual orientation. and we have done more in the 2 1/2 years that i've been in here than the previous 43 presidents to uphold that principal. whether it's ending don't ask, don't tell or making sure that gave and lesbian partners can visit each other in hospitals and making sure that federal benefits can be provided to same-sex couples and hate crimes across the board, we have made sure it's an essential principal of this administration because i think
it's an essential principal of america. what we've also done is we've said the defense of marriage act is unconstitutional. and so we've said we cannot defend the federal government poking its nose into what states are doing and putting the thumb on the scale against same-sex couples. what i've seen happen over the last several years and what happened in new york last week, i think was a good thing. because what you saw was the people of new york having a debate, talking through these issues. it was contentious. it was emotional, but ultimately they made a decision to recognize civil marriages. and i think that's exactly how things should work. so i think it is important for us to work through these
issues, because each community is going to be different, and each state is going to be different. so to work through them. in the meantime, we've filed a, you know, we filed briefs before the supreme court that say we think that any discrimination against gaves, lesbians, transgenders is subject to idol scrutiny, and we don't think the doma is unconstitutional. so i think that the states and courts, what they are doing and what we're doing administratively are all part of how the process should work. chuck, i think what you're saying is, a profound recognition on the part of the american people. that gaves, and lesbians and
transgender people are our brothers, family, neighbors, co-workers, brothers, children, and they have got to be treated like every other american, and i think that principal will win out. it's not going to be perfectly smooth. and turns out the president since i have been in this office, i discovered the president can't dictate exactly how this moves, but i think we're moving in a direction of greater equality. and i think that's a good thing. juliana? >> thank you, mr. president. i only have a two-parter. >> thanks. >> are you concerned that the current debate over debt and deficit is preventing you from
taking the kind of decisive and balanced action to create jobs in this country, which is the number one concern for americans and one of the things the regulatory environment is important around so do you think the bowing situation is an example of the kinds of regulations that kill job growth and also that you, yourself, have caused [inaudible] >> i think the debt reduction should be part of an overall package of job growth over the long-term. it's not the only part of it, but it's an important part of it. so. so as i mentioned at the top. i think it's important for us to look at our rebuilding
transportation in this country. that would put people back to work right now. construction back to work right now. and it would get done work that america needs to get done. we used to have the best roads and bridges and airports. we don't anymore. and that's not good for our long-term competitiveness. so we could put people to work right now and make sure that we're in a good position to win in the future as well. i think -- i'm going to get to it. i think that it's important for us to look at the tax code and figure out if there are ways we can simplify it and work on small businesses or startup businesses and say you don't have to pay capital gains, because we want you to get out this and start up a business. that's important. making sure s.b.a. is helping
to finance small businesses. so there's a whole range of things we can do. right now scrb has a better deal -- south korea has a better deal in trading than we do. you see a whole bunch of cri kwan cars here in the united states but you don't see any american cars in korea. so let's rebalance that trading relationship. that's why we should get this passed. so the range of things we could be doing right now. debt reduction should be seen as part of that overall process. because i think if businesses feel confident that we've got our act together in washington, not only will we not default but we're also preparing for a future in which the population is getting older, and we have expenses like medicare and social security, and businesses will feel better about investing here.
so i don't think they are contradictory. as i've said before, congress, they have got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. so we can focus on jobs at the same time as we're focusing on debt and deficit reduction. now, one of the things that my administration has talked about is is there, in fact, a bunch of -- a tangle of regulations out there that are preventing businesses from growing and expanding as quickly as they should? keep in mind that the business community is always complaining about regulations when unemployment is at 3% and they are making record profits, they are still going to complain about regulations because they are going toal fight for whatever they think will maximize their profits and i have to make sure we are upholding things that and
regulations that will protect our food and safety. if you're flying on a plane, you want to make sure there's good regulations in safety on flying. and no administration that is has done this before. i said to each agency, don't just look at current regulations or future regulations, regulations we're proposing. let's go backwards and look at regulations that are on the books and if they don't make sense, let's look at them. we've already identified changes that could potentially save billions of dollars for companies over the next several years. >> now, i don't you asked specifically about one decision that was made by the national labor relations board. the nlrb. and this relates to boeing. essentially a finding that boeing had not followed the law
in making a zoigs move a plant. and -- making a decision to move a plant. it's an independent agency. it's going before a judge, so i don't want to get into the details of the case. i don't know all the facts. that's going to be up to a judge to decide. what i do know is this -- that as a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate. they have toe follow the law. but that's part of our system. and if they are choosing to relocate here in the united states, that's a good thing. what i think defies common sense would be a notion that we would be shutting down a plant or laying off workers because labor and management can't come to a sensible agreement. so my hope is that even as this thing is working its way through, everybody steps back
for a second and said, look, if jobs are being created here in the united states, let's make sure that we're encouraging that. and we can't afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, at a time when we're competing against germany and china and other countries that want to sell goods all around the world. and obviously the airplane industry is an area where we still have a huge advantage. i want to make sure we keep it. mark? >> thank you very much, mr. president. yesterday admiral mcraven testified before congress that he was concerned that there wasn't a clear procedure to be followed if a terrorist were captured alive abroad. the administration has also been clear that it doesn't want to continue to send suspected terrorists to guantanamo bay.
what suggestions do you have for american men and women undertaking risky behavior, like that fors might be more sppeded to killing the them rather than -- >> first of all, my top priority in reach and every one of these situations is to make sure that we're apprehending those who would attack the united states. that we are getting all the intelligence that we can out of these individuals in a way that's consistent with due process of law. and that we try them, we prosecute them in a way that's consistent with rule of law. and frankly, there are going to
be different dispositions to a case, depending on the situation. and there are going to be sometimes when a military commission may be appropriate. there are going to be conditions some time where article three courts are appropriate in terms of progression. -- in terms of prosecution. and we do have a due process to work through all the agencies. department of defense, department of justice. federal bureau of investigation, anybody else who might be involved in these types of informations, to think through on a case-by-case basis to think how an individual should be dealt with. and i think when it comes to our men and women in uniform who might be carrying out these missions, the instructions are not going to be based on whether or not the lawyers can sort out how we detain them or how we process them. their mission is to make sure they apprehend the individual.
they do so safely, without -- with minimum risk to american lives. and that's always going to be the priority. and that message is sent consistently to our men and tpwhim uniform, anytime they start to carry out these petitions. >> but it's important to understand and the american people need to be assured that anytime we initiate a mission like this, our top priorities are making sure this person is not able to carry out attacks against the united states and that we're able to obtain actionible intelligence from those individuals. and so that mitt gates against this danger that you're suggestion that our main goal is going to be to kill these individuals as opposed to eventually catching them. >> mike?
>> thank you, mr. president. last week when you gave your afghanistan drawdown speech, the word victory in terms of the overall war in informing -- overall war in afghanistan was not in your speech. so i'm wondering if you could define victory for the war to the men and women fighting and their families. >> i didn't use victory in my west point speech either. what i said was that we could be successful in our mission, which is narrowly drawn and that's to make sure that al qaeda cannot attack our men and women here or overseas and to make sure a that we've got an afghan government and people who can provide if for their own people and we are being successful in those positions and the reason we're in a
position to draw down so many troops this year and zombie the end of next summer is precisely because of the men and women and what they have been able to do. they have able to to severely cripple al qaeda's capacities. obviously bin laden got the most attention, but even before the bin laden situation, we had decimated some of the upper ranks of al qaeda. they are having a great deal of difficulty operating and communicating and financing themselves, and we are going to keep the pressure on them. part it's because of the men and women in uniform have been able to ramp up the training of afghan forces. so we've got an additional 100,000 afghan troops, both army mandatory reens who --
army and marines. over time, -- we want to prevent a situation in which over time al qaeda might be able to rebuild itself. >> so after 10 very long years and enormous sacrifice by our troops, we want to draw our troops down in a responsible way that will allow afghanistan to defend itself, and it will give us the operational capacity to continue to be able to put pressure on al qaeda until that network is entirely defeated.
>> [inaudible] >> well, keep in mind the drawdown hasn't begun. so we understood that afghanistan is a dangerous place, that the taliban is still active and that there's still going to be events like on occasion. the question is in terms of an overall trend, is al qaeda increasing? kabul, for example, which contains a huge portion of the afghan population as a whole, has been largely policed by afghan forces for quite some time. and they've done a reasonably good job. kabul is much safer than it was, and afghan forces in kabul are much more capable than they were. that doesn't mean that there are not going to be events like this taking place. our work is not done. but as i said in my speech, the tide of war is receding. we have shifted to a transition
face phase, and much like we've seen in iraq, as we've drawn down troops, the remaineder of troops will be coming out at the end of this year. but iraq hasn't been able to maintain a democratic government and to tap down violence there. we think a similar approach makes sense in afghanistan. but even in iraq, you still see the occasional attack. these are still countries that are digging themselves out of a lot of war, a lot of conflict. they are dangerous places. and so they are not going to be perfectly safe, even if we were there. but we can improve the chances for the afghan people to defend themselves. jim shudeo? >> thank you, mr. president. you're aware that senators kerry and mccain have a proposal on the senate floor to give you leeway to continue
operations in libya for another year. you said this was an operation limited in time and scope and anywhere elsely said days not weeks. are you and the american people prepared for this operation with american support to continue for another year and is there any definition of success other than gaddafi being removed from power. >> well, first of all, jim, a slight correction, what i told the american people was the initial phase where americans were in the lead would take days. perhaps week. and that's exactly what happened. i mean, after -- around two weeks, a little less than two weeks, we had transitioned where nato had taken full control of the operation. so promise made. promise kept. second, i think when you have the former republican nominee for president, john mccain, and
the former nominee for president on the democratic side, oncary coming together to support what we're doing not guilty cleveland. also it tells my mother that -- third when it comes to our definitions of success, the u.n. mandate has said that we are there to make sure that you do not see a massacre directed against libyan civilians by the libyan regime. the libyan regime's capacity has been greatly reduced as a consequence of our actions. that's already been successful. what we've seen in the east and west is there are -- people are starting to see the possibility of a more peaceful future on the horizon.
also, as long as gaddafi is still presenting himself as the head of the libyan government and as long as he still controls large numbers of troops, the libyan people are going to be in danger or counteroffenses and retributions. so there's no doubt that gaddafi stepping down from power is from the international community's perspective, going to be the primary way that we can be sure that the overall mention of libya's squad being protected is an overall thought. and the international criminal court identified gaddafi as having violated international law. having committed war crimes. what we've seen is reports of troops engaging in horriblal acts, including potentially
using rape as a weapon of war. and so when you have somebody like that in charge of large numbers of troops, i think it would be hard for us to feel confident that the libyan people are going to be protected. now, what that means, whether there's a possibility of libyans arriving as some sort of political settlement, that's something ultimately the libyan people are there in service of that broader goal. the political settlement with himal involved as a success? >> i would expect him to step down so that he is not directing armed forces against the libyan people. he needs to step down. he needs to go. laura?
>> thank you, mr. president. in these set talks, would you like to see some sort of tax breaks aimed at stimulating the economy, even though that would a add to the deficit, itself? and as far as same-sex marriage, you said it's a positive step that some of these states are moving towards that. does that mean that you do now support same-sex marriage personally? >> i'm not going to make news on that today. good try, though. and the with respect to the deficit and debt talks and where we need to go, i do think it's important, since we're looking at how do we reduce the debt and deficit in a 10-year window as well beyond a 10-year window, we have to understand
that the most important thing we can do for the debt and deficit reduction is to grow the economy. so in the short-term if there's something that can reduce the amount but in the long-term growing at 2.5% instead of 2%, those are worth exploring. that's what happened during the lame duck session. a payroll tax cut makes sense in order to boost the commitment unemployment insurance makes sense in order boost the economy. all that stuff puts none people's pockets at a time when they are still struggling to dig themselves out of this recession. and so the american people have an extra thousand dollars in their pockets because of the
tough is that you have happened earlier, including the effects on oil prices. from what happened in the middle east as well as what happened in japan. think think it makes perfect sense for us to look at can we extend payroll tax, for example, an additional year? and other tax breaks for business investment that could make a difference in creating more jobs right now? >> what we need to do is to restore business confidence and the confidence of the american people. that we're on track. that we're not going to get there right away. that this is a tough saw, but that we still are moving forward. and i think that it would make sense as we're looking at an overall package to see are there some things that we can
do to sustain recovery. so long as the overall package achieves our goals. the goals i set out, which is -- to make sure we're bending the things like cost of health care over the long-term. >> laura, i think this has been asked and answered. i'll keep on giving you the same answer until i give you a different one, all right? and that won't be today. [laughter] exactly. i thought you'd like that one. antonieta cadiz? there you are.
>> thank you, very much, mr. president. if you receive a [inaudible] without legalization, are you ready to better that deal? and secondly, members of congress and the government of mexico are still wait field goaler answers, are you planning to replace the a.t.f. leader? and when can we expect the results on the investigation? >> on the second question, as you know, my attorney general has made clear that he certainly would not have ordered gun running to be able to pass through into mexico. the investigation is still pending. i'm not going to comment on a current investigation. i've made clear my views that that would not be an appropriate step by the a.t.f., and we have to find out how that happened.
as soon as the investigation is complete, appropriate actions will be taken. with respect to e. verify, we need comprehensive immigration reform. i have said it before and i'll say it again and i'll say it next week and six months from now. we've got to have a system that makes sure that we uphold our tradition as a nation of loss and immigrants. that means tough security, going after customers that are illegally hiring and exploiting workers, making sure that we also have a pathway for those living in the had owes right now. we may not be able to get everything i would like to see in a package, but we have to have a balanced package. everify can be a good
enforcement tool if it's not riddled with errors and if u.s. -- i don't want a situation where customers are forced to set up a system that they cannot be sure works and we don't want to expose customers where they end up rejecting a qualified candidate for a job because the suggestion is that, that person is an illegal immigrant but they are not. that would be difficult and get the employer in trouble as well. so the goal for now is let's continue see if we can verify the e. verify? yose i talked about, but let's also not lose sight of some of the other things. for example, making sure that
dream activities. they think of themselveses as americans who are not legal through no fault of their own. and that we're ready to invest and give back to our country and go to school and fight in our military and start businesses here. let's make sure those kids can stay. we need to have a more balanced approach than just a verification system. ok? i don't have an answer as to whether the n.c. is completed yet. -- whether the investigation is completed yet, and it wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on the investigation if it's not yet complete. ok. jessica yellen? congratulations. huh? your first question here.
>> thank you mr. president. >> no question? you're going to do great. [laughter] >> yes. thank you. your administration has laid out four different dates by which you said that the debt ceiling must be raised or the u.s. would face potential dire consequences. three of those days have gone, and we have facedfinancial calamity. some of your critics say these are scare tactics to force a deal. why should americans believe august 2 is the final deadline and would you spell out for us what you believe will happen if the debt ceiling is not raised by that rate. >> jessica, let's be clear. we have not given out four different dates. we have given out dates that are markers to that will get us into trouble. equivalent lent to driving down the street and the yellow light
starts flashing. now, it hasn't been a red light yet. so tim geithner says technically speaking, you know, we're in a position now where we're having to do a whole bunch of things to make sure that our bills are paid. by august 2, we run out of tools to make sure that all our bills are paid. so that is a hard deadline. and i want everybody to that you understand this is a jobs issue. this is not afternoon on traction. if the united states government , for the first type, cannot pay its bills, if it defaults, then the consequences for the u.s. economy will be significant. and unpredictable. and that is not a good thing.
we don't know how capital markets will react. but if capital markets suddenly decide you know what? the u.s. government doesn't pay its bills, so we're going to start pulling our money out, and the u.s. treasury has to start to raise interest rates in order to attract more money to pay off our bills, that means higher interest rates for businesses. that means higher interest rates for consumers. so all the head winds we're already experiencing in terms of the recovery, will get worse. that's not my opinion, i think that's the consensus opinion. that means job growth will be further timeyed as a quens of that decision. point two, ip want to address what i've been hearing from some corners, which is well,
maybe this isn't that serious and we can just pay interest object debts. this idea has been floating hand in some republican circles. this is the equivalent of me saying what i will choose to pay my mortgage, but i'm not going to pay my car note. or i'm going to pay my car note, but i'm not going to pay my student loan. now, a lot of people in really tough situations are having to make those swatheses. but for the -- those decisions, but for the u.s. government have to make those decisions is not going to inspire a lot of confidence. moreover, which bills are we going to decide to pay? these guys have said well, maybe we just pay the interest for bond holders? so are we really going to start paying interest to chinese who fault treasuries?
and we're not going to pay folks their social security checks? or we're not going to pay to veterans for their disibilities checks? which obligations are we going to say we don't have to pay? and the last point i want to make about this -- these are bills that congress ran up. the money's been spent. the obligations have been made. so this isn't a situation -- i think the american people have to understand that this is not a situation where, you know, congress is going to say, ok, we won't buy this car or we won't take this vacation. they took the vacation. they bought the car. and now they are saying maybe we don't have to pay or we don't have to pay as fast as we
said we didn't have to. that's not how responsible families act. and we're -- this is you are intelligent, and it needs to get settled. i think people should think of -- look, i'm the president of the united states, and i want to make sure that i am not engaging in scare tact i cans. and -- tactics and i try to be responsible and somewhat restrained, so folks don't get spooked. august 2 is an important date. and there's no reason why we can't get this done now. we know what the options are out there. this is not a technical problem any longer. this is a manner of congress biting the bullet and making tough decisions. we know what the decisions are.
we've identified what spending cuts are possible. we've identified what defense cuts are possible and health care cuts are possible and we've identified what loop holes in the tax code are that could also be >> the question is now, are we going to step up and get this done? and you know, malia and sasha, generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. malia's 13. sasha's 10. it is impressive. they don't wait until the night before. they are not pulling all-nighters. [laughter] >> they are 13 and 10. you know? congress can do the same thing. if you know you have got to do something, just do it. and i've got to say, i'm very
amused when i start hearing conversations that the president needs to show more leadership on this. let me tell you something. right after we finished dealing with the aversion of the government shutdown, i called the leaders and said we've got to get this done. i put vice president biden in charge of a process which has been processed, and i met with every single caucus for an hour to 1.5 hours each. republican senators and republican house and democratic leaders and democratic house. at a certain point, they need to do their job. and so this thing, which is just not on the level where we
have meetings and discussions and we're working through the process, and when they decide they are not happy with at some point they have to make a choice, they just sit back and say the president needs to get this done. they need to do their jobs. now is the time to go ahead and make some tough choices. that's why they are called leaders. and i've already shown that i'm willing to make some decisions that are very tough and will give my base of voters further reason to give me a hard time. but it's got to be done. and so there's no point in putting it off. or procrastinating. we've got to get this done. and if by the end of this week, we have not seen substantial
improvement, we have got stay and get things done. they are here one week and out one week. then they are saying obama's got to step in. you've got to be here. i've been here. i've been doing afghanistan and bin laden and the greek crisis. [laughter] >> you stay here. let's get it done. all right. i think you know my feelings about that. [laughter] karen? >> thank you, mr. president. you talked about the payroll tax holiday and possibly extending that. are you worried by adding a discussion of short-term measures into the economy into these discussions about long-term deficit reduction that that may make it harder to
talk about and pass a debt limit? >> let me put it this way. if we've got a good deal on debt and deficit reduction, then the focus is not just on the 10-year window but on the bedroom, we will get it done. then we can argue about other things, because i think that's very important. i will say that precisely because tough votes in congress are often avoided, that it may make sense to also deal with something like a payroll tax cut at the same time, because it does have budget implications. and the american people need to know that we are focused on
jobs around not just deficit reduction, even though the reduction helps with the budget. if mitch mcconnell said we're ready to make a deal. here's our approach, but we want to argue about payroll tax cuts later, they are not set to expire until the end of this year. if that was the situation that they presented, then i think we would have a serious conversation about that. i would not discount that completely. i do think that the steps that i talked about to deal with job growth and economic growth right now are vitally important to deficit reduction just as deficit reduction is important to grow the economy and create jobs, well, creating jobs and growing the economy also helps
truce deficit. if we just increase growth rate by one percentage point that, would drastically bring down the long-term projections of the deficit. because people are paying more into the coughers and fewer people are drawing unemployment, and this may be a good place to wrap up. you know, every day, i get letters from folks all around the country who show incredible resilience and incredible determination. but they are having a very, very tough time. they are losing their homes. some have lost their businesses. some have lost work and have not been able to find jobs for months, maybe a year, maybe a year and a half.
and they feel some desperation. some folks who are working just are having a tough time paying the bills, because they have not seen their wages or income go up in 10 years, and the cost of everything else has gone up. and every day that weighs on me. every minute of every day that weighs on me. because i ran for president precisely to make sure that we righted this ship, and we start once again creating a situation where middle class families and people who aspire to be in the middle class, they are working hard and living a better life. now these structural changes that have been going on in our economy for a decade and sometimes longer, they are not going to be solved overnight. but we know what to do. we know that if we are
educating our kids well, then they are going to be more competitive. we know that if we are investing in things like infrastructure, it pays off. i was in alcoa in iowa, one of our most successful companies. they took a big hit during the recession but still invested $90 million in a plant in makes air plane wings and parts for automobiles. they bounced back and hired back all its people and increasing market share. just because -- we know we've got to get control of our deficit. there are some things that are not going to solve all of our problems but can make progress right now. and the question is whether or not democrats and republicans are willing to put aside the expedience of short-term
politics in order to get it done. and these folks are counting on us. they are -- they desperately want to believe that their leadership is thinking about them and not playing games. and i think that if tall leadership here in washington has the faces of -- and the stories of those families in mind, then we will solve this debt limit issue. we will put in place steps like a payroll tax cut and infrastructure development. we'll continue to fund education. we'll hold threw to our commitment to our seniors. these are solveible problems. but it does require just getting out of the short-term -- and frankly selfish approach
that sometimes politics breeds. we've got to think long-term. thank you, everybody. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> live coverage from the pentagon begins at 9:45 on c-span three. "washington journal" is followed by an afghan stan reconstruction contracts