Labrador: "I Think the Votes Are There."


Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador told a national television audience this morning that 2011's financial mess cannot be blamed on congressional freshmen such as himself. Rather, Labrador said, it is the the responsibility of "the establishment of Washington for the last 30 years. The recent we have $15 trillion in debt is not because I was in Congress for the last 30 years but because of the people who have been here."

Labrador said the so-called Boehner bill that was passed through the U.S. House on Friday but rejected by the Senate was the same bill as proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid save for "the triggers," referring to new conditions tacked on by negotiators this morning.

"This would have passed on Monday and we wouldn't be in the crisis that we're in right now," said Labrador.

The Idaho Republican said he hears "every single day" from constituents who ask him to cut programs or entitlements except for their own.

When pressed, Labrador would not say whether he would support the compromise plan currently being worked out by both parties.

"I have to look at it," he said, reiterating that he wanted a balanced budget amendement tacked on to the measure. "I think the votes are there. I think it will get out of the House of Representatives."

Veteran NBC newsman Tom Brokaw quizzed Labrador about Idaho's better than average return on federal investment.

"The last time I checked, you get $1.28 for every $1 you send to Washington," said Brokaw. "How much of that 28-cents would you be willing to give up?

"Everytime you use $1 of federal money for schools or roads, it actually costs you 30-cents more," responded Labrador.

Meanwhile at the White House, negotiators said they were "very close" to an agreement on framework for a new plan which could see the debt ceiling raised past 2012. But the increase would be attached to immediate spending cuts totalling $1 trillion with an additional $1.8 trillion in cuts to be crafted by a so-called "super committee" of lawmakers.