Senior House Republican on Competitiveness

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Publication date: 
10 February 2011

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?”

Cantor  replied:

“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.”

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