(WTVA) — U.S. Senator Roger Wicker spoke from Washington with Craig Ford about the agreement that appears likely to reopen the federal government and avoid a crisis with the debt ceiling. Below is an edited transcript of the interview that will air on WTVA News at 5:00.
"There will be a bill passed by the Senate and the House today that will reopen the government. It will make sure that our government's bills get paid on time and, and set out a process for budget negotiations between House and Senate conferees, and, and I hope that the result will be that we actually tackle the root causes of our $17 trillion debt and begin to slow the size and growth rate of the federal government. But the government will reopen after the bill passes the House this evening and goes to the White House."
"On a, on a broader scale here, it seems as though we keep running into the situations to where whether it's the debt ceiling or what have you that we keep running up until the 11th hour, and then, something gets done. Is there any way maybe Congress can break this cycle?"
"Well, Craig, I was actually here 18 years ago during the last big government shutdown. I guess we've had a day or two delay from time to time, but the last shutdown that lasted this long was 1995-96 time frame. I hope we never do it again, and I'm a supporter of legislation that would actually automatically enact a continuing resolution if the House and Senate can't agree on appropriations, to never have this occur again where we shut down the federal government and, and put so many people at a disadvantage."
"And one more political question for you, the Tea Party has been a big part in this whole debate concerning the debt ceiling and the government shutdown. As a longtime Republican, is the Tea Party good or bad for the GOP?"
"Oh goodness, we're reopening the government today, and you want me to talk about politics. I think that there are a lot of strongly held positions out there that we need to come to grips with this $17 trillion national debt. And in the last four years, you and I know it's doubled. And so there are a lot of approaches. I think, I think some people this time did take an unrealistic and unachievable approach that we could tackle the Obamacare issue in the context of a continuing resolution. I never felt that that would work, and I think I've been proven to be correct on that. But I do appreciate the intensity of people who say that the House and Senate Republicans and Democrats need to grow up and admit that this government is growing too fast and has gotten too big and too intrusive."