David Perdue: Still looking for ‘urgency’ in D.C.

Sen. David Perdue at a budget hearing in February. (Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

Sen. David Perdue at a budget hearing in February. (Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

He didn’t wear his famous jean jacket for his first speech on the Senate floor, but David Perdue still talks about Washington as if he’s an outsider, not an insider.

“I’m trying to help people have a greater sense of urgency on what I think are the greatest crises of the day,” Perdue, Georgia’s brand-new Republican senator, told me by phone recently.

If describing the debt and deficits as a crisis sounds so 2010, keep in mind that Perdue last year elbowed his way past an experienced GOP primary field by talking about the threat they still pose — and the inability of longtime Washington insiders to rein them in.

“We had about six weeks to deal with six years of irresponsibility, and we came up with a budget, and it’s the first budget we’ve had in a while, and it’s the first one that balances (over time), I think, since 2001,” said Perdue. “But it’s not a panacea, it’s not where it needs to be.”

Not, he said, with the debt where it is. “We’ve passed the tipping point with regard to this debt, big-time,” he said. “We have $18 trillion in debt. If interest rates today were at their 30-year (average) rate of just over 5.5 percent, we’d already be paying over $1 trillion (annually) in interest. That’s just not manageable.”

That’s not to mention unfunded future liabilities for Social Security and Medicare: “Those are things that we’ve got to deal with today. … We’ve made commitments we can’t afford.”

Regarding commitments, Perdue spoke at length about two treaties pursued by President Barack Obama: a nuclear deal with Iran and a trans-Pacific trade pact with 11 other countries.

On the Iran deal, Republicans were deeply skeptical while Democrats wanted to give Obama wide latitude. On trade, it was the other way around. In both cases, the solution seems to be allowing the president to go forward, but retaining congressional ability to pull the plug.

“I think anything that would allow Iran to eventually get a nuclear weapon … something like that, I don’t think would be acceptable here,” he said. “Not now, not in 10 years, and really not ever.

“You had an argument at one time that you only had two choices: negotiate this deal that Iran wants, or you go to war. There’s a third option, that if they don’t agree (to a good deal), you double down on sanctions.”

On trade, Perdue said a deal could increase our exports to major markets like Japan and Australia: “Savannah right now is the only port in the country that exports more than it imports.”

“What’s at stake here, I believe, we’re trying to develop this Pacific partnership with 11 other countries,” he explained. China, meanwhile, has a parallel effort with some of those countries and others.

“If we fail … China very likely will create a replacement for that with 16 countries, and therefore we won’t get most-favored nation (trading) status with those countries,” hurting our economy.

Even with that prospect, some Democratic senators have threatened to block Obama’s ability to negotiate the trade deal. “This is an example, if you think about it, of the gridlock up here,” Perdue said. “And how partisan politics get in the way of doing the right thing.”

Reader Comments 0

44 comments
Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

We've made commitments we can’t afford.


Pretty sad commentary. When you make a commitment to someone or the American people you keep that commitment


Tax cuts for the rich have driven our debt for 30 years now sine Reagan set us on this path in the 80's He tripled our debt on his watch. We have been stuck with the failed trickle down policy ever since. Its also led to the insane levels of income inequality we see today.


Just rolling back the disastrous Bush tax cuts would be a welcome start. 



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar "Just rolling back the disastrous Bush tax cuts would be a welcome start. "

That's already happened, unless you're talking about raising taxes on middle- and lower-income folks.

Wena Mow Masipa How
Wena Mow Masipa How

@Kyle_Wingfield @HeadleyLamar No, it hasn't already happened. The cuts expired for a select few. They remain in place for the rest of you. Some of us are still laughing all the way to the bank, tax increases notwithstanding.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Wena Mow Masipa How Isn't that what I said? The taxes on higher-income folks have already gone up, so Headley must have been talking about raising taxes on everyone else.

DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

The devil is in the details in creating a level playing field, but transparency shouldn't be. If this Pacific deal doesn't help the American work, but Wall Street, Sen Purdue will pay the price with his job. 

Lukasatl
Lukasatl

The GOP is setting the stage for the evisceration and eventual repeal of Social Security and Medicare.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Last year's deficit was the biggest in history.  Except for the five that preceded it.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Keep at it, Senator Perdue.  Undoing the damage of the last six years--higher spending, trillions in new debt, record poverty, record numbers of Democrats on the dole, millions of imported low wage workers, a disastrous job-killing regulatory orgy--won't happen overnight.

DudeMac
DudeMac

We provide enormous tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations, isn't that irresponsible?

DudeMac
DudeMac

We've spent trillions on wars, isn't that irresponsible?

Wena Mow Masipa How
Wena Mow Masipa How

"Grand bargain." Obama would do it. Dems would be on board. But Repubs just say no.

Caius
Caius

Treating sanctions as a 3rd option/policy re Iran could easily get messy.  Sanctions only work when most nations are involved, not just the US by themselves.


LogicalDude has a solid point (below).

If the P5+1 negotiates a deal with Iran, and the deal is killed by Congress, and adopted by everyone else, where does that leave sanctions?

There has been a lot of talk about a bad deal, a good deal and a better deal. The options may very well be a bad deal, a good deal and the worst possible deal.  If the P5+1 do create a deal acceptable to all six, Congress really needs to think twice about taking the US out of the solution.


MarkVV
MarkVV

The most noticeable feature of the Purdue’s economic ideas described here is that they are just slogans. Is there anybody in favor of higher debt, higher deficits, higher unfunded future liabilities for Social Security and Medicare?

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

@MarkVV  That's how the GOP ran the country from 2000-2008,  how did that work out ?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@MarkVV

Yup.  The Democrat Party.  They ratcheted federal spending up by hundreds of billions of dollars a year in 2009 and didn't pay for it.  And they're busily promoting making Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare more generous and costly.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"If interest rates today were at their 30-year (average) rate of just over 5.5 percent"


But since it's been near zero for a couple of years, it's not as bad as Perdue wants to make it out. (Hey, the Debt is still huge, but progress is being made.) 


Sanctions on Iran?  How much trade does the US do with Iran anyway?  That's why there are a bunch of OTHER COUNTRIES in the talks.  THEY have to agree to the sanctions and actions, not just the US. 

Hey, if we actually were in a strong trade agreement with Iran, would that make Republicans feel better about getting a bunch of money for the big money interests?  Or do they not care because it's Iranian money going to other countries? 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude "(Hey, the Debt is still huge, but progress is being made.)"

Not true -- deficits have gotten smaller, but as long as we are running them the debt is getting larger. And it will absolutely be as bad as he makes it out if/when rates return to something more normal (which would have happened already if the economy were closer to normal, which it still isn't).

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude

Let's get real--we all know that the overall debt isn't going to be paid down.

Taking on new debt (i.e., running annual deficits) becomes worrisome if interest rates do rise. But they're not, so pardon me if I just see this as more deficit-scolding from Perdue.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude "deficits have gotten smaller"


Yep, progress. :) 


It'll take Revenue increases as well as spending reductions to actually shrink the debt.  But evidently, neither congress nor the president want to do both, just one or the other.  And they don't want to work together either to actually do it.  All bipartisan reviews show that there is a two-pronged attack that is needed on the debt. 

Increase revenues

Reduce Spending

Just doing one or the other will not actually do enough to the debt to make a difference. However, shrinking the deficit is the right direction, and hopefully we'll see better results over the next decade or so. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Sen. Perdue has the right idea generally, but given the political leaning of the President and the past history of lying and "my way or the highway" legislation and regulation from his Administration it is very difficult to have ANY confidence or trust that this trade deal will be beneficial for the American public at large.

MarkVV
MarkVV

Whatever qualifications Mr. Perdue may or may not have in the economic field, his parroting the Republican inanity about the deal with Iran on the nuclear program shows that in the foreign policy understanding he is near the bottom of the barrel.

middlegrounder
middlegrounder

@MarkVV I won't fault him for that; particularly when the Senate voted 98-1 supporting congressional oversight on the deal. It's clearly in this country's favor to have sunlight on those particulars.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@middlegrounder @MarkVV  There is a difference between congressional oversight, and Perdue's idea of applying more sanctions with the illusion that it would produce a better deal.

northgagop
northgagop

The Senator still has his stump speech down. Now that he's an insider it sounds like a lot of whining.   The Senator still thinks he's a CEO where he sets the direction and tempo.  

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

We can afford those commitments (social security, medicare). His statement is an outright lie. The proper terminology is that he doesn't want to pay for those commitments. They could raise taxes tomorrow and cover it.

First they hated Obama for trying sanctions, now they have opted for that as strategy? Sanctions are not a long term strategy. If we don't sign the deal, there is a 99% chance Russia and China back out.

Trade, whatever. Its six and one half. NAFTA wasn't that bad. I think all the economic analysis from both sides say its net neutral. Stop whining and grandstanding with political stunts (like yesterday) and just pass it.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Roll back the Clinton and Bush tax cuts and there's your revenue.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

WHAT????????????????

"To study the draft TPP language, senators have to go to the basement of the Capitol and enter a secured, sound-proof room. There, they surrender their cell phones and other mobile devices, and sit under the watchful gaze of an official from the U.S. Trade Representative's office while they peruse the pages. Any notes taken inside the room must be left in the room. Only aides with high-level security clearances can accompany lawmakers. Members of Congress can't ask outside industry experts or lawyers to analyze the language. They can't talk to the public about what they read. "


http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/05/14/406675625/a-trade-deal-read-in-secret-by-only-few-or-maybe-none?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Finn-McCool Wasn't this the same process for National Security in relation to congress getting intelligence on Benghazi?  AND the computers they used were hacked by the CIA to see what congressmen were doing on those computers? 

straker
straker

David Perdue ;has been in office for over three months now.


I'm still waiting for him to fulfill his campaign promise to repeal Obamacare.


Kyle, why aren't you and other conservatives on to him about this?

Wena Mow Masipa How
Wena Mow Masipa How

“And how partisan politics get in the way of doing the right thing.”


You mean like the Republican reaction to America's first black President, Mr. Perdue?  Clearly your hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

"We’ve made commitments we can’t afford."


Cons should be used to that. Isn't that what the Iraq War was? "Oh, we'll just not put the cost for that on the books. Problem solved."


Remember, debt and deficit is only of concern when YOUR party isn't in the White House. FACT

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Finn-McCool The "off the books" thing is perhaps the most successful partisan misdirection in recent U.S. history. The money still went out the door; the part that wasn't covered was still borrowed; it's all reflected in the deficit and debt figures. 

middlegrounder
middlegrounder

"Doing the right thing"? Perdue believes we don't have any problems with mass incarceration for non-violent people. He supports keeping cannabis a schedule 1 substance without allowing more research by the medical community. He's just fine allowing the federal government to waste billions of dollars each and every year locking people up for simple possession of a plant. Write to him and his staff's automated form letter response will tell you so. If he believed in doing the right thing he'd get on board with the growing number of elected officials who are sick of seeing a failed government policy wreck the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.


So much for being in the party of individual freedom and less government intrusion into our lives.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

He is another disappointment, so far.  He ran as a conservative outsider hell bent on changing Washington, but as soon as he got there, he embraced Mitch McConnell and joined the establishment.  Surprise, Surprise!  He was the best of the lot, so I guess the voters did the best they could.

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

 Not, he said, with the debt where it is. “We’ve passed the tipping point with regard to this debt, big-time,” he said. “We have $18 trillion in debt. If interest rates today were at their 30-year (average) rate of just over 5.5 percent, we’d already be paying over $1 trillion (annually) in interest. That’s just not manageable.”

That’s not to mention unfunded future liabilities for Social Security and Medicare: “Those are things that we’ve got to deal with today. … We’ve made commitments we can’t afford.”


Same discussion they had in Detroit and the same one they're having in Chicago.


Will they do something about it or kick can down the road, like everything else?

MHSmith
MHSmith

Perdue's campaign rhetoric isn't serving him very well in Washington D.C. Ninety nine other souls in the Senate have different ideas than Perdue about what is the "right thing" to do.


Yep, there is where the politics came into the mix. The other ninety-nine got in Perdue's way of the, "right thing"