House Majority Leader Eric Cantor rejected President Barack Obama’s economic strategy of mixing spending with cuts Sunday.
“What we’ve said is our Congress is going to be a ‘cut and grow’ Congress. That we believe we’ve got to cut spending, we’ve got to cut the regulations that have stopped job growth. ... When we hear ‘invest’ from anyone in Washington, to me that means more spending,” the Virginia Republican said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The investment needs to occur in the private sector,” he added.
Republicans pledged on the 2010 campaign trail to cut back to 2008 spending levels, saving at least $100 billion in the first year. Cantor stuck by the promise of $100 billion in reductions on an annualized basis Sunday, but because the nation is already about four months into the fiscal year, the promise would amount to less than $100 billion in fiscal 2011.
“Every dollar should be on the table” for cuts, Cantor said, including defense and entitlement spending.
“I’ve said before, no one can defend the expenditure of every dollar and cent over at the Pentagon, and we’ve got to be very serious to make that they’re doing more with less as well,” he said.
Cantor said it would be up to appropriations committees to deliberate where to make cuts, but he also supported the road map created by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). “The direction in which the road map goes is something we need to embrace,” he said.
He also dismissed the suggestion that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen, without criticizing the people who continue to press the issue or who accuse the president of actively undermining the American way.
“I don’t think it’s an issue we need to address at all. ... I think the president’s a citizen of the United States,” Cantor said.
He added: “As a leader in our Congress, I believe this president wants what’s best for this country, it’s just how he feels we should get there. There are honest policy differences.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.