California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R) reiterated her call for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts Sunday but refused to name entitlement programs she'd cut to offset the resulting growth of the deficit.
Extending all the tax cuts is estimated to add $4 trillion to the deficit.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Fiorina, who's challenging Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerSenate clears water bill with Flint aid, drought relief Senate Dem blocks own bill over California drought language House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief MORE (D-Calif.), which programs she'd cut.
"I think we ought to ban earmarks. I think we ought to give citizens the opportunity to designate up to 10 percent of their federal income tax toward debt reduction," she said. "If we did that, we would reduce our debt by $95 billion a year."
Wallace pointed out that discretionary, non-defense spending is only 16 percent of the federal budget.
He continued to press her. "Where are you going to cut entitlements? What benefits are you going to cut? What eligibilities are you going to change?," Wallace said.
Fiorina responded, "See, Chris, I have to — you know, Chris, I have to say, with all due respect, you're asking a typical political question. ... [W]hen we have at least two non-partisan studies that suggest that there is up to half a trillion dollars' worth of waste in the federal government budget, let us please get after that first before we start talking about cutting entitlements."
Wallace pointed out that even President Reagan talked about eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, but it wasn't a successful way to control federal spending.
"You're not willing to say there's a single benefit eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security that you're willing to say, 'Yeah, I would cut that'?" Wallace asked.
Fiorina said Washington should "engage the American people in a conversation about entitlement reform" and have a "bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table."
"Instead of rushing off into a closed room and having 100 senators figure it out for themselves, we need to engage people in the conversation. And I'm willing to consider any alternative," she said.