Insight into the approach that the House leadership is taking regarding spending on programs to foster competitiveness was provided by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) during a January 24 briefing. The briefing was before President Obama delivered his State of the Union. The following selections were taken, in full, from a transcript posted on Majority Leader Cantor’s website.
Cantor was asked: “Mr. Cantor, the President is going to talk about competitiveness. And one of those investments has to do with competitiveness, research and development, education, things that apparently he says will make this country better in the long run. Can you explain sort of what the problem or issue is with that kind of I know the devil is in the details, what would you like to see in terms of education and innovation and research and development going forward? And doesn't that cost money?”
The Majority Leader replied:
“First of all, the notion that our competitiveness starts here in Washington is a bit different than I think what I would certainly believe or what most Americans would believe. Competitiveness in this country stems from our innovation and our innovation is the key to our leadership. We are the crucible in this country of innovation to the world. That's how we lead. And when we have policymakers here in Washington put forth a framework in which we are going to reward certain industries, choose outcomes, pick winners and losers, that is the way we have seen this Administration act over the last 2 years. That is certainly not a direction that has produced the results that we would like to see, and most Americans want, and a direction that I think needs to be changed. So, when he [President Obama] talks about the need to invest in our competitiveness, I believe much more so that we need to take away all the impediments to growth and innovation that currently exist because of what is going on here in Washington.”
Later Cantor was asked: “Are we spending too much at this point? Is the Federal Government spending too much on education and research and development and transportation?”
“Surely the Federal Government is spending way more than it has to spend and that is really the message from the election in November, people said enough, you can't sustain this pattern. The global investment community is saying you can't sustain this pattern. The investors that we rely upon in this country to finance our deficits are telling us – get your fiscal house in order. You cannot continue to be the leader of the world economically if you don't. So the answer to your question is across the board we spend too much in Washington, sure.”