BIG COUNTRY, Texas (BIGCOUNTRYHOMEPAGE) – On this week’s edition of Big Country Politics, News Director Manny Diaz spoke with House Budget Chairman and District 19 Congressman Jodey Arrington about recent discussions on the debt ceiling and the economic package.

Recently, Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy agreed on the debt ceiling, which Biden has previously stated he would not negotiate on, according to Arrington.

“We’ve come a long way since President Biden said he would not negotiate. On the debt ceiling, he would only consider what they call a clean debt ceiling, which means they would just raise it, give an extended line of credit, like the last time, which was two and a half trillion dollars, which the President and my Democrat colleagues blew through in about a year, with no consideration for guardrails or spending controls, or broader fiscal reforms that Republicans in the House said, we’re not going to keep spending, like we’re spending in bankrupting this country, we’ve got to rein it in,” Arrington explained. “I think it’s a solid and meaningful step in the right direction. And that’s, that’s why I’m gonna support it.”

Despite this, many members of the GOP did not favor the debt ceiling agreement. Arrington shared that while the majority of those negotiating were Democrats, Republicans held their ground in what they wanted to happen.

“You had the Senate controlled by Democrats and then a Democrat president, I would say because, for one, Democrats weren’t leading, they were refusing to negotiate fiscal reforms in the debt ceiling, hoping that they would continue with this sort of blank check status quo. But Republicans stood up and stood their ground and held the line and said, ‘No, we’re not going to, we’re going to make a change and try to rein this in and tap the brakes on the spending that’s driven our record inflation and our weaker economy’ and certainly the prospect of a future debt crisis that would be catastrophic for our country,” Arrington said. “So we were in a position of strength, we got spending cuts, we reined in the bureaucracy. In fact, the non defense discretionary spending cuts are the deepest in the history of our country. And we bend the spending curve year over year, obviously, you always want to do more but that’s more than we’ve done in a decade. And then we were able to get permitting reforms, which is important to American energy production. And we get welfare to work reforms, which is important for welfare recipients that are, who are work capable so they’re not trapped in a cycle of dependence. And we increase the labor participation, which is good for our economy. So we got a lot. We didn’t get everything we wanted. But I can tell you this, the Democrats got really nothing out of it. They didn’t even want to negotiate fiscal reforms. They wanted to include taxes, and we rejected those out of hand. So all in all, I think very favorable to Republicans.”

For Arrington, the most important thing for this outcome is that it is “favorable to the country and to our children’s future, because we are on an unsustainable spending and debt path. And we have to change course and this bill will like I said, we’ll take a good first step in changing course, and starting to get our fiscal house in order.”

Arrington added that one of the main things he wanted to tackle is the amount of money being spent, especially with inflation and higher interest rates.

“We have not in the history of our country, cut as deeply into non defense discretionary spending, as we do with this debt ceiling proposal. So that that is my first measure of success. Are we going to spend less next year than we spent this year as a result of our efforts in the Republican controlled house? Did giving Republicans the majority in the house make a difference? And I think the answer is unequivocally, yes,” Arrington shared. “Listen, we haven’t reduced spending year over year in a decade in this town, and reining in the bloated and wasteful and, and in many cases woke bureaucracy is a necessity if we’re going to not just restore fiscal responsibility, but restore America’s freedoms. So that’s important and that was the utmost priority for me.”

He added that there were some other pieces of the economic package that he believes are pushing America in a better direction.

“Now, there was some icing on the top with some modest reforms in welfare programs, mainly ensuring that work capable adults are looking for work or working when they receive public assistance. The second piece of this economic package is permitting reforms so that we can make the investments we need in domestic energy production, so we can lower prices for consumers and we can start, you know, reviving our nation’s energy independence, which we’ve been losing as a result of the energy policies of this administration, namely, their whole of government assault on oil and gas,” Arrington said.

Arrington shared that his second priority is to incentivize those who are capable to work to help the economy.

“I think we have too many people, unfortunately, trapped in a cycle of poverty and dependence on the government who are able to work. Look, we as Americans want to help people who can’t work, who are unable to because of their physical condition or their health. But when you can work, and you need help, taxpayers and Americans are generous, but they’re not fools and we need to incentivize and require people who are work capable to work, it will help them it will help our economy and we desperately need to restore the dignity of work in this country,” Arrington added.

Another topic the bill addressed was student loans. The new bill would require the Biden administration to resume collection of student loans and eliminate the plan to forgive $430 billion in student debt, which is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

“We were sended, the most federal monies ever that is we clawed back unspent, COVID monies, tens of billions of dollars, so that that was obviously a good thing. I would rank it below the budget cuts that we made on non defense discretionary. But we also told the President and basically forced him to sign a deal that said he would have to resume the payments from students who took out loans, we can’t just kick the can down the road forever, it may have made sense to provide forbearance for some of these students during COVID,” Arrington expressed. “But at some point, they need to understand that when you borrow and you take out a loan, you’ve got to make, you’ve got to make your payments, and you got to pay people back. And, and then this bigger, the bigger part of the loan forgiveness, which is almost a half a trillion dollars and, and cost to taxpayers. I think the Supreme Court is going to make a ruling on that and and they’ll tell them, basically, their rule that the President was overreaching, and that his decision was unconstitutional.”

Lately, there’s been rumblings of House GOP leadership, suddenly led by Representative Chip Roy. With a deal of this magnitude, it’s almost certain not everyone will be happy, but many are upset with Kevin McCarthy. Arrington shared that this is a part of the process and being on a team.

“I would just say that we’re a big conference with a lot of voices and perspectives, and I respect them all. It’s part of the process. It’s part of being on a team. But our nation, over the years, has failed to rein in spending, and to consider our nation’s indebtedness, and its impact on our financial health, and our future and our children’s future. For too long, Republicans didn’t even stand up and fight. We never even forced negotiations to include spending cuts and broader fiscal reforms to a debt ceiling,” explained Arrington. “So we ended up just passing debt ceiling bills that were clean debt ceilings, they just gave more money to the politicians, and without any guardrails. We haven’t done anything remotely like this in at least a decade and so I’m proud of what our republican conference has produced. It’s just that we can’t rest on our laurels and think that we’ve somehow solve the problem. We only solve the problem if we continuously and repeatedly run the same place, rein in the spending and return to pro growth policies that will help grow our economy.”