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Hoyer: ‘We Have a Paying Problem’

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer sought to establish a middle ground in the debate over whether the federal government has a “spending problem,” saying the problem is debt.

“It’s not a question of a spending problem. Nobody has a spending problem if they have the resources to pay for what they spend. No family, if they can afford what it buys, has a spending problem. The problem becomes when you spend, buy and don’t pay,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing Tuesday.

Deficits, on the other hand, “are destabilizing to the economy and dangerous for future generations and rob generations,” he added. “When they say we have a spending problem — we have a paying problem.”

Hoyer said the government’s focus should be economic growth, which includes a focus on reducing the long-term deficit. “We’ll have to address both spending and revenues in order to accomplish that objective. To that extent we have a spending problem, and we have a revenue problem,” he said.

The debate over whether the government’s deficits stem from spending or because tax rates are too low has heated up in recent days.

Sunday on Fox News, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “It’s almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.”

The next day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “Of course the president believes we have a spending problem.”

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