Rep. Brady (R-TX) joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the debt ceiling deal.
ADAM SHAPIRO: A lot to talk about regarding the debt ceiling, the US economy, inflation. And who better to do that with than Representative Kevin Brady from the great state of Texas, former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, today the ranking member. It's good to see you Representative Brady.
KEVIN BRADY: Good to see you, Adam. Thank you.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Want to jump right in because I know you got a lot to say about what the House has done and what the Senate's expected to do with the debt ceiling being raised by $2 trillion. What do you think that we, as Americans need to know about this step?
KEVIN BRADY: Yeah, so I think the short answer is that yes, Congress will raise the debt ceiling on time. So I don't think there's any fear of an economic impact from that. I think most Americans will hate how Congress acts in this case.
So as you know, Congress is known for 2 years the debt limit was expiring this year. A Democrat House and Senate didn't pass a budget, no spending bills so sort of self-created a crisis. And to solve it, they took a bill, bipartisan, our committee worked on with our Democrat colleagues to prevent cuts to our local doctors and hospitals in Medicare that would have occurred at the beginning of the year, and then at the last minute stuck on a debt sealing process bill that creates sort of a fast track for the Senate to consider a debt ceiling bill separately.
And so taking a very important bipartisan effort on health care, which I think most Americans would like to see us working together on, and sort of adding a poison pill on the debt limit process. I think that's what people hate about Congress. Frankly, I do too.
But it's out of the House. Should be voted by the Senate here likely tomorrow, I would think, or certainly by the end of the week. And then separately, the Senate will take up a debt ceiling bill that would increase it by an amount yet to be determined. We're at about 29 trillion right now. So I would expect that sometime next week the Senate would pass a debt limit increase and the House will readjourn for a single vote I would think sometime next week.
EMILY MCCORMICK: Congressman Brady, this Emily McCormick here. I do want to dive a little bit deeper into the way in which you think that the debt ceiling is going to get raised. I know you've been vocally opposed to linking the debt ceiling debate with Medicare provisions, but do you think this is ultimately how this is going to get done?
KEVIN BRADY: Yeah, sure the answer's yes, I think this is ultimately how it gets done. And, you know, I hate the way it's being done. Truth of the matter is I voted to increase the debt limit. I think it is a responsibility of Congress.
And what I know is you've got to start early. You've got to engage the other party in discussions about the debt and the deficit, and build that support rather than just sort of jam it through. I regret that that's how it happened this year.
I do-- I do believe that going forward both parties we need an adult conversation on how to address the debt ceiling as it comes due and how we come together on a better approach on this, not eliminating necessarily, but it ought to be an opportunity for us to talk about how we get our financial house in order together as both parties and not make it a potential economic collapse. I think there are lots of good solutions there. I'm hopeful, you know, after this is done, we can finally have a conversation about that.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Both parties have an interest in health care. And you've brought up Medicare and Medicaid. And we just got data from what is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in which by 2028 health care as a share of the economy is going to be almost 20%. That-- that is something that just seems inappropriate, I don't know the right adjective, but it doesn't seem right. How do we get control of that?
KEVIN BRADY: So the answer is don't keep doing what we're doing because all the incentives especially in government is to drive prices up. In every program, every reimbursement tends to contribute to that. And so as high as prices are there's really no end in sight that they'll continue to grow.
Well, I do think-- I think we're going to need a different approach probably driven from the private sector that gives you and I as patients far more greater choices, certainly a lot more transparency on prices so that we can compare and shop. We need new options such as direct health care, direct pay health care that sort of disrupts the system and creates more competition in it. There are-- the short answer is and I'm proposing a health care backpack that travels with you throughout your lifetime from job to job, state to state, maybe home to start a business or a family and even into retirement.
Nonetheless, I think there are some pretty exciting ideas on how we can bend that curve while improving quality. And I think that's always the case, we can have affordable care or we can have quality care. We really need to have both.
ADAM SHAPIRO: I think it was Senator Dole fond memory, the great Senator Dole, who once proposed-- I think 20, 25 years ago, maybe 30 years ago-- just enroll everybody, seriously he said this, in the federal health insurance program that covers government employees and call it a day. I mean, when we're spending $3.8 trillion a year on health care we're doing that kind of get to what you were just alluding to?
KEVIN BRADY: Well, sort of. It is heavily subsidized so the cost will be borne by somebody. But it has some of the elements I think you would want in any plan, which is a whole lot of choices, nationwide reach, and your employer helping you cover those costs.
I will tell you, at least I'm no longer in that federal employment system. I'm in the Affordable Care Act. What we've seen, boy, over six years I guess or more is our premiums are six times higher monthly than it was, our deductibles have tripled. We can't see many of the doctors and hospitals we used to under Blue Cross Blue Shield.
And so I do know the Affordable Care Act would not be the model you would follow. I would think you want those choices and a nationwide reach that perhaps the federal benefits would approach. But I think there's even better solutions than that.
EMILY MCCORMICK: Congressman Brady, really quick here. You mentioned recently that the November jobs report received last week was miserable, especially that top line non-farm payrolls number that we should note that the unemployment rate and labor force participation rates did both improve more than expected. What do you want to see changed here to further accelerate the labor market recovery?
KEVIN BRADY: Yeah, so it was a report sort of a tale of two reports there, I think in there. Over time I think the data that we get from businesses and the reports we get from households over time they always converge. This one just had a dramatic sort of delta between the two. I think over time those come back together.
Here's what I want to see. Right now the president's nearly a million jobs short of his promises from the $2 trillion COVID stimulus. I want to see more job creation. I want to see more workers back and reconnecting. We saw some of that in November. I'm hopeful that's a good sign going forward.
And then on the inflation side, you know, I think Friday we'll see yet another month where paychecks grew smaller than prices and for families, that now new data almost $377 less in real wages every month for families. That is why so many Americans are in financial distress or at least say they're facing that. So I want to see the president rather than focused on the Build Back Better spending binge, frankly lead on those jobs inflation, the worker crisis. That I think could help him lead a much stronger economy.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Kevin Brady is the Republican representative from the great state of Texas. It's always good to see you. And we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday, a healthy new year. And look forward to speaking to you soon.