Rep. Brat: U.S. Faces ‘Guaranteed Financial Crisis’ in 11 Years

Sam Dorman | October 12, 2015 | 4:07pm EDT
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Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.)   (AP) 

( --  Because of the national debt, interest payments on that debt, and entitlement spending as required by law, the United States will face a major financial crisis in 11 years, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.

“We have a guaranteed financial crisis coming up in law in 11 years,” Brat said in response to criticism of his and other conservative representatives’ apparent reluctance to compromise on some issues.

“And we’re missing the American people,” Brat said. “Go poll the American people. You want to know my response? I follow the American people.”

Early in the show, host Chuck Todd said to Brat, “Congressman Brat, let me start with you. You’re a member of the Freedom Caucus. What is it that you want, and what is it that Speaker Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor haven’t delivered?”

Brat said, “Right, well they all ran on A Pledge to America. And they, just like your 72% of the folks out there in the real world say, we make these promises when we run but then when we get up here, we’re called unrealistic by kind of the Washington establishment and the bubble up here.”

“What we want is what the American people want,” said Brat.  “We have $19 trillion in debt, $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. All federal revenues will be spent in 11 years on just entitlement programs and interest on the debt.”

“There will be not one dollar left for the military, education, transportation, and all of running government,” he said.

Later in the program, Brat spoke more about his view of an inevitable financial crisis in response to suggestions from talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt’s and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s that Brat and his conservative allies were unreasonable in their policy demands.

Hewitt said to both Brat and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.), who was also on the program: “A pox on both your wings. I am very desperately hoping that Paul Ryan is praying about and [that he] accepts this, and here’s my question: Yesterday, a Russian jet was set down in Turkey. Yesterday, almost a hundred people were killed in Ankara, Turkey. The world is on fire.”

“How dare you, with the American people waiting for leadership, paralyze the House? You both have to -- Charlie, you have to stop going on CNN and blasting David, and David there are like 15 of you people. The Freedom Caucus is like 15 people. Paul Ryan is liked by 225 Republicans. Get with the program, guys.”

Brat replied, “How do you know we’re not on the program? I mean you’re doing pox…”

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is

resigning as Speaker of the House. (AP)

Hewitt responded, “Will you support Paul Ryan [R-Wisc.]? If he wins a conference vote, will you support his agenda?”

“We got a Constitution as a country. I got five policy principles and five process --” Brat said.

Hewitt interrupted, “It’s not a hard question, will you support Paul Ryan’s agenda?”

“Well, if you’d let me answer, it’d be easier,” said Brat.  “I got five policy on my webpage and five process. If he goes with that, we’re going to give him a strong look. If we want to enter—.”

“You’re holding the [caucus hostage],” Hewitt said.

“No, that’s D.C. speak, crazy,” Brat said.

Rep. Dent then explained that he would support Paul Ryan for speaker.

“The answer is yes, I will support Paul Ryan, but Paul Ryan is also a very smart man,” said Dent.  “The underlying governing and political dynamic of the House has not changed.  Paul Ryan, if he becomes Speaker, I hope he does, what will happen is he will have to make accommodations and collaborate with the Democrats to pass a debt ceiling, to pass a budget agreement, and an omnibus appropriations bill.”

Dent went on to express frustration with other conservatives in the House of Representatives.

“If he [Ryan] does those things, he will have his legs taken out by some of his own members,” said Dent. “We all know that.”

“Now, if he chooses to go through the status quo, with the status quo, then the House will continue to be mired in this paralysis and the institution will be weaker, the Speaker would be weaker, he’s going to have the same problems that John Boehner had and Kevin McCarthy was about to experience,” said Dent.  

Todd then turned to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson for a question. “Alright, Gene Robinson, fire.”

“Congressman Brat, your litany of complaints about the Obama years -- Obamacare, immigration, all the things that you complained about -- illustrate that you cannot set the national agenda from the House of Representatives,” said Robinson.

“You simply cannot, and it cannot be done,” said the columnist.  “You have to win the White House. Are you not, with the Freedom Caucus, essentially making it less likely that there will be a Republican President elected next year and thus, less likely that you’ll be able to set the national agenda.”

“No, absolutely not. I mean, we got pox on both of us, coming from D.C.  talking heads, and then, I’m supposed to,” Brat said, then Todd interjected, “In defense of Hugh, he does live out in California.”

Brat continued, “What everybody up here is missing are the objective economic numbers.  We have a guaranteed financial crisis in law coming up in 11 years, and we’re missing the American people.”

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