Jacksonville, FL - The fiscal cliff vote is barely behind us, and lawmakers are already turning their attention to more problems looming.
“The debt ceiling is where we have real leverage,” says Republican Congressman Ander Crenshaw.
Both the debt ceiling and sequestration need to be resolved in the next few months, and the Crenshaw, the issues come hand-in-hand.
“We can say to the President, ‘We’re not gunna vote to raise the debt ceiling unless you agree to some plans that we put in place for entitlement reform, for spending cuts to get the debt and the deficit under control’,” he says.
Crenshaw says Republicans have more leverage in this discussion because they control the majority in the House, and therefore the vote. He says the party is united in Congress to demand spending cuts.
“We won’t make drastic cuts to defense but we will make sure that we have entitlement reform because that's where all the money is spent,” he says.
Crenshaw says there will be more specifics on the cuts coming out in the next two months.
But Jacksonville Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown makes it very clear that she will not consider any cuts to entitlement programs, especially Social Security.
"Many of my constituents, that's what they live on. So it's not a game with me. It's non-negotiable," Brown says.
She calls for a "firewall" on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
"Now I am not saying that I will not vote for savings and how we can fix Social Security, you know make adjustments in it," Brown says. "But any savings - any adjustments - should go into Social Security and not to offset billionaires' tax cuts."
She says Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security had nothing to do with the problem, and should have nothing to do with the solution.
"I made it quite clear it'll be one-hundred-thirty-four to one....I'm not voting for it," she says.
And as for defense spending, she says Congress should separate the Department of Defense from additional programs, and see which programs should be kept and which should be modernized.