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House finance chair says GOP'll pay debts, but not much else

Rep. Jeb Hensarling suggested Republicans are fighting Democrats over the budget because it is rife with waste, pivoting away from the showdown over Obamacare.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the Financial Services Committee, suggested Republicans are fighting Democrats over the budget because it is rife with waste, pivoting the away from the showdown over Obamacare that lead to the shutdown.

“My constituents do not equate payment on a bond with payment on the next I.R.S. Star Trek, travel payments for the Alabama Watermelon Queen, pottery classes in Morocco, and everything else they’re asked to,” Hensarling said on Thursday’s Morning Joe, pulling examples from the “Wastebook” Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn releases annually pinpointing spending he deems useless.

“We all know this is a nation going bankrupt. If we don’t start today, we’re going to leave the next generation with fewer opportunities, less freedom, and a lower standard of living,” he said. “We can’t wait till the morrow to deal with this debt. There’s no perfect time. If you ignore the debt ceiling, it’s a little like turning off the smoke alarm when the fire starts. No, you go deal with the fire.”

Hensarling said Republicans are happy to fund essential, very public parts of government and pointed to the handful of piecemeal funding bills the House of Representatives has attempted to move forward to fund the parks, veteran services, and make debt payments.

“House Republicans have passed legislation to make sure there will never be default on an American bond, on the full faith and credit of the United States, but that’s very different from funding every single line item in the government,” he said. “When families can’t make ends meet, it’s a very different decision on whether or not you’re not going to pay your monthly mortgage payment where you borrowed money and cancelling the vacation to Las Vegas which you can no longer afford!”

Watch the full conversation above.