msnbc | February 03, 2013
>>> in his weekly address, president obama gave an upbeat outlook for the economy this year.
>> we are poised to grow in 2013 . the real signs of progress, home prices are starting to climb again. sales are at a five-year high. manufacturing is roaring back. businesses created $2.2 million jobs last year. we just learned our economy created more jobs over the past few months than originally thought.
>> joining me is elijah cummings . sir, nice to see you. thanks for joining me. it was a mixed bag for the economy. the gdp detracted but there were good numbers in the report. listening to the president, he sounded optimistic. how do you see the economy?
>> i see the economy as being fragile. but definitely moving in the right direction. alex , it's why we have to be so careful with regard to what we do in congress. a lot of the problems that could come about with regard to gdp is a result of the public and business feeling a certain level of uncertainty. we have to make -- we have to do what we are supposed to do in congress, come to reasonable decisions. we have to have some cuts. those cuts have to be reasonable and careful and we have to make sure that we do nothing to stop this fragile economy from growing. we have already seen the effect on the gdp from the last quarter. we can't have that happening again. we have to move forward.
>> the president in this address mentioned home prices started to climb again. i know you have done a lot of work on the housing crisis. is it improving and what can the government do to help?
>> there are pockets in baltimore and cleveland and detroit and a number of our cities where foreclosure is at an all-time high. people have lost just about everything they have with regard to their houses. i hope the president and the congress concentrate more on foreclosure. i don't want us to get so happy about home prices going up that we forget there are millions upon millions of americans under water with regard to their houses, lost their houses and three, the situation now where interest rates are down. we have to find ways to allow them to refinance their houses to those lower interest rates . hopefully, in a second term, the president will be aggressive with regard to that. i'm going to be pushing for that.
>> not surprisingly. se quest ration. will it happen and if it does, will it send the economy back into recession?
>> alex , i am praying that it doesn't happen. but, i see the way this tea party group has been operating in the congress. they have had -- we have heard all kind of threats. in talking to a number of them, they basically said, you know, if it comes to it, it's going to happen. i'm hopeful that we will -- folks will back up a little bit just like with this recent debt ceiling vote. i think, basically, business is going to have to come forward like with regard to the debt ceiling and say look, you can't do this. you are going to wreck the economy of the united states and wreck the economy of the world . i'm hoping that we won't get there. but, alex , i have to tell you, it would not shock me if we do.
>> okay. let's switch gears. on the heels of the senate confirmation hearing for chuck hagel , has the political climate changed with the new members of congress on board?
>> well, you know, with regard -- first of all, with regard to chuck hagel , the media basically reported that he got beaten up pretty bad. i didn't see it that way. i thought he held his own. i anticipate that we will have a lot of motion, commotion and emotion but chuck hagel will be confirmed. he'll do a great job. after all, the president should have the persons he wants to carry out his policy. i think that will be the case. with regard to the new congress, we have to have a wait and see situation. the number of tea partiers lost their seats. they're still a strong force in the house. basically, those folks are determined to control speaker boehner. i just hope that we don't have the kind of gridlock that we have had in the past. i don't think it's good for anybody. not for the economy and certainly not for my constituents.
>> okay, we are going to have a little fun. what are the ravens chances?
>> i think they will win by seven points. we have been the underdogs over and over again. just on your show, i heard them say that it's over. you know what? they said it was over with denver. they said it was over with new england and we kicked butt. i expect us to kick more butt today. i expect for ray lewis to hold up the trophy at the end of the day .
>> of course everyone is watching ray. however, any chance you and minority leader pelosi have a wager going? do you have to send her blue crabbed if the 49ers win?
>> i just did not want her to have -- she's got so many burdens. i knew the ravens would win. i didn't want her to have to send me anything from san francisco . i'm still going to send her roses when we win.
>> you are a thoughtful guy. i was reminded, she's from baltimore originally. split loyalties for her today.
>> she has a street named after her.
>> there you go. i think you should get a street named after you if one is not there already, sir. congressman elijah cummings , thank you.