The Ed Show for Friday, July 29
Read the transcript to the Friday show
Guest Host: Thomas Roberts
Guests: Sherrod Brown, Dan Stone, John Garamendi, Rep. Barney Frank, Joe
Madison, Bob Shrum, Joy-Ann Reid
THOMAS ROBERTS, GUEST HOST: Hi, everybody. Good evening. Welcome to THE ED SHOW. I‘m Thomas Roberts, in for Ed Schultz.
John Boehner finally got the votes together to pass the debt bill in the House only for it to fail, as expected, in the Senate. With the debt ceiling headline looming, the “let‘s make a deal” game continues in Washington.
THE ED SHOW starts right now.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Put something on the table.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Speaker Boehner put his bill on the table. And House Republicans pass it.
BOEHNER: I stuck my neck out a mile.
SCHULTZ: And now, the Senate has killed the Boehner bill.
Tonight, the latest with Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.
Senator Reid‘s plan may be the last hope to avoid default.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Last train leaving the station.
SCHULTZ: Tonight, Republicans are signaling they may get onboard.
SEN. JOHN THUNE ®, SOUTH DAKOTA: If you figured out a way to make changes in the Reid bill to make it stronger, you could probably figure out a way to bridge this difference.
ROBERTS: All right. So, unless Washington can get its act together less than 98 hours from now, the U.S. of America will default the first time in our 235-year history.
Now, shortly after 6:00 p.m. Eastern, John Boehner‘s third attempt at a budget bill that would temporarily raised t the nation‘s debt ceiling squeaked by in the House by a vote of 218-210, 22 Republicans voted against that bill, along with the entire Democratic Caucus.
Now, Speaker has spent the last 48 hours trying to quell a rebellion from the Tea Party members of his caucus and you can really tell that Boehner was in a fighting mood when he took to the House floor.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: To the American people, I would say, we tried our level best. We‘ve done everything we can to find a common-sense solution that could pass both Houses of Congress. We tried to do the right thing by our country. But some people continue to say no.
I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get in agreement with the president of the United States. I stuck my neck out a mile. I put revenues on the table in order to try to come to an agreement to avert us where we are. But a lot of people in this town can never say yes. A lot of people can never say yes. This House has acted.
And it is time for the administration and time for our colleagues across the aisle, put something on the table! Tell us where you are!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: All right. So, Speaker Boehner might get what he is asking for and I‘m not talking about his budget bill. Tonight, the Senate defeated the Boehner bill 59 to 41. And at this hour, Harry Reid planned to introduce his compromise bill. The next step will be a closer vote in the Senate slated for 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.
And if Reid‘s bill passes, it will head back to the House before it hits the president‘s desk next week. At this point, even that plan is on life support as it is.
Mitch McConnell doing what he does best, filibustering. Now, if all these plans fail, the only possible options are a new round of votes, a small debt limit extension. The 14th Amendment or default.
Even today, Senator Reid has altered his plan to give Republicans more of what they want.
And his latest proposal includes the following—take a look—it‘s debt limit increase matched dollar for dollar by spending cuts. It‘s spending cuts approved by the Republicans. It includes no additional revenues, no additional revenues. And it includes the McConnell plan to allows Congress to reject debt increases.
Joining us now is Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Sir, it‘s nice to have you on with us tonight. I know there‘s a lot going on D.C. and you had long days.
But let‘s talk about specifically, do you think that Harry Reid can get Mitch McConnell to sign on to anything at this point?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: I think Thomas may not get McConnell, but I think we‘ll get the number of Republicans we need. It‘s not going to be tomorrow. They‘re going to talk filibuster. They‘re probably going to start filibustering.
I mean, you know, it‘s pretty amazing. We‘ve given up a lot of things in these negotiations. And this is—this is doing the right thing. And we‘ve got the guy, the speaker of the House of Representatives is really wasting time putting an agreement out there, a bill out there that would require we go through this again in six months.
I don‘t know a business person in the country, a legitimate businessperson, I‘m not talking about the political organizations like the Chamber of Congress, but a legitimate business person that says let‘s do this again in six months.
We don‘t want that uncertainty injected into this far too anemic economic recovery. So, I think, enough Republicans will act like adults in the Senate, will get, within the next 48 hours, probably not right away, some (INAUDIBLE) filibuster and do that, but once we start sort of swatting that filibuster away and begin to get some Republicans who actually are going to do the patriotic thing and get us out of this whole situation of default, I mean, I can‘t believe if they listen to Ronald Reagan or anybody else in the last 50 years, any straightforward economist or anybody, that would be putting us at risk like this.
ROBERTS: Senator, you don‘t believe, though, that Mitch McConnell carries a large weight in the narrative as it moves forward?
BROWN: I think Mitch McConnell carries a large—a pretty a big club with his members. But I think, in the end, most of them love their country more than they love Mitch McConnell. And so, I think, in the end—I had a conversation, I can‘t tell you who, it would violate—a private conversation, a conversation with a pretty conservative but decent enough Southern Republican conservative, pretty conservative senator. And he said we are just this close. He thinks we‘re this close in agreement. And he‘s not one of the six or seven or eight or 10 best targets we think we have among Republicans.
So, I think we are eventually going to break this filibuster. I think they‘ll try for a while. They‘ll try their little gimmicks because that‘s what Mitch McConnell lives on. And we‘ll get this to happen.
And we‘ll send it back to the House. And I think there, again, patriotism prevails. And even, you know, most of the Democrats, maybe 150, 160, 170, to join 50 Republicans that, not the Tea Party, but the 50 reasonable Republicans in that caucus.
ROBERTS: Do you want to give us the initials, maybe the state of that senator? Anything like that?
BROWN: What? I‘m sorry?
ROBERTS: The state of the senator that you had this private conversation, or just the initials?
BROWN: No. That would nail it down. That would kind
ROBERTS: That would reveal a little too much.
BROWN: I would say Southern, Deep South, wrong side of the Civil War.
Whatever you want me to say—I‘m not going to tell you the state. Sorry.
ROBERTS: Senator John Thune, though, of South Dakota, he laid out a plan for a compromise in the Senate earlier today. Take a listen to this, sir, and we‘ll talk on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THUNE: If you figured out a way to make changes in the Reid bill to make it stronger, to make some of these cuts real as opposed to phony, and you put a process in place that allows for real entitlement reform to occur, which this bill currently doesn‘t, you could probably figure out a way to bridge this difference. I don‘t think we‘re that far apart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Do you agree with that? Can you get behind a vote for a deal with these major cuts to entitlements?
BROWN: No, no, no. I mean, this—you know, every time they have a chance they want to privatize Social Security, they want to undercut Medicare. In 1965, most of them voted against it. In 2000 -- when Newt Gingrich had a chance in the mid-‘90s to try to privatize Medicare. George Bush when he had a Republican House and Senate tried to privatize Social Security.
Every chance they get, they go after these two programs because they don‘t like them. The public does. Republican voters in Dayton, in Cleveland and Akron like Medicare. But Republican politicians like Wall Street and the insurance companies more than they like Medicare and Social Security. So, no, that‘s not the kind of agreement.
If John Thune can‘t vote for it without privatization of Medicare and Social Security, we‘re not going to get his vote. But there are a 10 or a dozen Republicans that are going to be more reasonable than that and are patriotic enough that they don‘t want to see us, the United States of America, default on its obligations.
ROBERTS: Sir, what do you think as it‘s been bandied about, if Congress fails to pass anything—would you encourage the president to consider—you know, to use the Constitution, the 14th Amendment, to raise the debt limit?
BROWN: I don‘t want to go there because I don‘t want—I don‘t want people who have taken an oath of office and have the responsibility to do the right thing, I don‘t want them to think, OK, I‘m not going to vote for this. Let the president do it.
I don‘t think that‘s good for the country. So, I really don‘t want to comment beyond that because I think we are going to get to an agreement. I think enough Republicans are going to be patriotic enough to look out for their country before they look out for political gain in the end. And they are sort of “check the box” with the Tea Party people in their states.
ROBERTS: And if you say it does come to this compromise at the last minute, how did you think Speaker Boehner comes out?
BROWN: I think, if Speaker Boehner, if he comes to the floor and again does the right thing, bringing 75 or 80 Republicans, or 50, or 60, or whatever, coupled with almost all the Democrats, he is taking personal political risk.
But I know John Boehner. He is from my state. I think he‘ll do the right thing even if it is a profile in courage even and he ends up with a sharp object in his back from somebody else in his leadership that might want to put a sharp object to his back.
ROBERTS: Are you making assumptions about the Tea Party Caucus?
BROWN: I‘m not making any aside. I don‘t know. I just know that Boehner, that there are some people in the leadership that want to be speaker as much as John Boehner wants to be speaker. And who knows where that leads?
But that‘s all inside politics. And I just want to see this done. I think John Boehner will do the right thing. I know the 160, 170, 180, 190 Democrats will do the right thing. And you don‘t need a lot of Republicans.
So, the Tea Party is going to be on the wrong side of history on this one unless they realize that the country comes first before a political agenda.
ROBERTS: But does it get done by August the 2nd or are we actually looking at some type of extension?
BROWN: Yes. It gets done. It gets done I think by Monday, sometime on Monday.
ROBERTS: Sometime on Monday. All right. Well, we‘re going to hold you to that.
Senator Brown, great to have you on today. Thanks so much.
ROBERTS: You know, earlier tonight, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid implored the Republicans to give his plan an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The last train is leaving the station. This is our last chance for default. The vote on this compromise will determine whether we enter the frightening world of default. A vote for the Senate compromise will be a vote on the financial obligations of this great nation to pay the bills.
I would ask my friends, my Republican friends, break away from this thing going on in the House of Representatives. We need to honor our financial obligation we have as a country. So, vote against the compromise that I talked about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: All right. So, just moments ago on this network, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Kent Conrad of North Dakota made news on the Reid plan. He told Lawrence O‘Donnell on “THE LAST WORD” that the minority leader is now refusing to negotiate on the Reid plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA: The minority leader just told the majority leader that he will not negotiate with him. That is really quite extraordinary.
The Republican Leader McConnell told the Majority Leader Reid that he will not negotiate with him. He‘ll only negotiate with the president.
I‘ve been here 25 years. I have never heard anything like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: For more on how the White House is responding to tonight‘s vote, let‘s turn now to Dan Stone. He‘s “Newsweek‘s” White House correspondent.
Dan, it‘s nice to have you on.
Fill us in, though. What is the latest that we are hearing at this hour from the White House?
DAN STONE, NEWSWEEK: The White House is very concerned especially with timing. But they are putting a lot at stake now specifically in Senator Reid‘s vote. This is the last bill that can reasonably get through the Senate with the amount of time. So, the president and several senior administration officials we heard have made those outreach calls all day, certainly yesterday, trying to get some distance from the Boehner bill that passed through the House earlier this evening. And try to garner support for Reid‘s bill to go through the Senate.
Now, the fact that the minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, will not negotiate is a problem. It‘s not a deal breaker, though. What they need is about 10 Republicans to sign onboard. If they can get those, they can break cloture and lead someone like Senator McConnell in the minority.
ROBERTS: How much is going on behind the scenes from the White House to broker a deal here? Because there are certain Democrats, very vocal Democrats, that are speaking out saying that they are not hearing from the White House.
STONE: Right. What we know is the White House is quite frantic. I mean, the president has spent several weeks talking about the urgency here. We saw a full media court press all week and we saw a lot of senior advisors going on a lot of the networks to talk with the urgency here and try to gain the upper ground.
I mean, a lot of the questions that we reporters have asked some of the press folks, including Press Secretary Jay Carney, what kind of conversations have you had? Who has he reached out to? They haven‘t wanted detailed personal conversations.
But like you said, some even Democrats and other senior senators that could be pivotal in this fight haven‘t been called by the president. I wonder if we‘re going to see that change certainly tomorrow and before this high-stakes vote in the Senate on Sunday.
ROBERTS: And anything the Senate is supporting is all toxic for Republicans, right?
STONE: That‘s certainly what we saw with the “gang of six” plan from last week. Remember, the president came out in the briefing room. He gave it a giant bear hug. And that almost killed it.
So, the president doesn‘t want to get behind this too much. But, remember, it‘s almost a Republican plan. So, it‘s hard for the Republicans to argue that this is a radical Obama plan coming from the White House.
STONE: All these cuts have been already approved by Republicans. So, I don‘t think it‘s going to take too much for 10 or 12 of them to get onboard.
ROBERTS: Right. Hard to talk down your own idea.
Dan Stone of “Newsweek”—thanks for your time, Dan. Appreciate it.
STONE: Thanks, Thomas.
ROBERTS: Speaker of the House John Boehner was able to pass a bill in the House today by caving to the demands of the Tea Party. We‘re going to talk to—talk about Boehner‘s policy making at the nation‘s expense with Congressman John Garamendi. Plus, Boehner‘s last-minute plea to pass his bad bill. We‘re going to play his entire speech for you. It was very impassioned—from the floor.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW right here on MSNBC. Stick around.
ROBERTS: Coming up: Speaker Boehner was able to pass his bill because he gave the Tea Party what it wanted: a balanced budget amendment. I‘m going to talk with Congressman John Garamendi of California. Stay tuned.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW, right here on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ayes are 218, the nays are 210. The bill is passed. Without objections, a motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: There you have it. That was the Republican-led House passing a revised version of the Boehner bill earlier. The bill got no Democratic support.
Speaker of the House John Boehner learning late last night that it would take more than a Ben Affleck movie to convince Tea Party Republicans to vote for his debt bill. He was able to win a few far right members of his party by adding a new provision to that bill, a balanced budget amendment. Now, as “Politico” reports, the lack of the provision in the previous Boehner bill was the main point of contention in Thursday night‘s talks between GOP leaders and the holdouts.
The Boehner plan would require another congressional vote to raise the debt ceiling again next year, but only if a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution has been sent to the states for their approval.
Joining me now is Congressman John Garamendi of California.
Sir, it‘s good to have you on with me tonight.
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Explain to all of us, because we were talking about this today in the newsroom. Why is a balanced budget amendment a bad policy?
GARAMENDI: Well, because of the way the votes are counted. Two-thirds vote to raise taxes, a 50 percent vote to make cuts in Medicare, Social Security, other kinds of programs—very, very uneven.
And I‘ll give you an example. I‘m from California. I was lieutenant governor in California. I can tell you what a 2/3 vote did to the state of California. It‘s practically ruined the state‘s ability to deal with the multitude of issues that come upon us—education, transportation, water, health care. Two-thirds vote, you can‘t get it.
And you shift democracy from majority rule to minority rule. It is a fundamental change in the very nature of government and it‘s simply was a disaster in California.
ROBERTS: Instead of negotiating with Tea Partiers on bad policy that won‘t work out, why doesn‘t the speaker just negotiate with Democrats or does it enjoy running head-first into a brick wall?
GARAMENDI: Well, I think it has to do with his own leadership. He‘s afraid that if would do that, he would lose a majority of his caucus and his leadership. However, I know from my experience in California and, in fact, when I was deputy secretary of the Department of Interior, you could put together a coalition from across the aisles.
He chose not to do that, I think, principally because he‘s very, very concerned about continuing as speaker. And he should be. There are folks that have the long knives out for him.
ROBERTS: Who is going after him? Who has their eyes on his back?
GARAMENDI: Well, I think we all know that Mr. Cantor is out there looking to become next speaker and there‘s probably a couple of others that are around there.
ROBERTS: So, at this hour, explain to all of us the compromise in your opinion that win, truly win the support of the House, the Senate and the president.
GARAMENDI: Well, there are a couple of very, very fundamental things.
We‘ve been saying this from the very outset.
First of all, we‘re not going to vote for anything that puts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at risk. These are the fundamental bedrock programs of our society that we have said as a matter of American values. We‘re going to protect our seniors, the vulnerable, the aged, blind and disabled. They need help.
We also want to make certain that in those cuts, there‘s a balance, that we look at the military budget as well as that other budgets.
And we also have to have a tax revenue. It doesn‘t like that‘s going to be in this bill. So, we are looking, OK, what are the assurances that this time around, those high-end tax cuts that the wealthy Wall Street barons have so enjoyed and the businesses that get our tax money like the oil companies, what assurances do we have that those are going to expire and that money will be brought back as part of a shared sacrifice.
ROBERTS: Will America default ultimately? And will so because of the Tea Party and their reluctant to come forward and join forces to govern instead of play politics?
GARAMENDI: I think that‘s a very possibility that the Tea Party will not participate and that we may not be able to get a bill to the president in time to avoid this August 2nd deadline.
However, I believe firmly that the president has the power under the 14th Amendment clause four that he has the power simply to give an executive order to the Treasury saying America is not going to default, pay the bills. It‘s right there in the Constitution. It‘s very, very clear America is good for its debts, period.
He could rely on that. And there are probably a majority that—at least on the Democratic side, very a strong majority, perhaps all that are nearly willing to back him up on that.
ROBERTS: Congressman, in doing so, what message does that send to Americans? But more importantly, what does that send to the world about how we‘re actually running our country?
GARAMENDI: Well, what do you think the message is with this manufactured crisis? We didn‘t have to have this crisis. If you play the Boehner speech, you‘ll see about 2/3 of the way through that speech, he actually said, the president knew. I told the president back in January that if he didn‘t do this by the time of the debt limit, then bad things would happen. Now, that‘s a paraphrase, but it‘s in there.
He set this thing up. Boehner set this up from the beginning, that we would come up against this default moment. And then they would use that as a leverage.
And it‘s not the only time they‘ve done that. They‘ve done it four times back in December when they didn‘t have the power. But the power was here in the Senate. And once they took over the House, this is the fourth time they used a critical moment, shutting down the government with the continuing resolutions and now this.
And another thing that‘s in that provision is a guarantee, absolute flat-out guarantee that we are going to go back through this whole thing in six months.
ROBERTS: What do they gain by doing this? Because as you‘re talking about the fact that Speaker Boehner puts a target on his back, because of this—doesn‘t this act like a rubber band, it could come back and snap and crush him?
GARAMENDI: Well, that may be. But you need to understand where these folks are coming from. The Tea Party and the Republican Party has decided that the only way this country can go forward is to push aside the programs that have created so much good in this country, push them aside and go back literally to the 20th century when we didn‘t have health care for people, when you didn‘t have pollution control and environmental controls, when you didn‘t have clean water and air and businesses could do anything they choose to do.
So, they really want to roll back the clock more than a century. They want to get rid of Social Security. They never have liked Social Security. And Medicare—they‘ve been trying to change all these years.
And I‘m telling the public this: the Democrats have not drawn a line in the sand. We have etched across our heart a line that says: we will not allow Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, these bedrock fundamental programs that express the heart and value of America. We are not going to let them disappear as a result of what Republicans are doing with each and every one of these leverage points, trying to ratchet back. Not just to deal with the deficit, but more so to put in—to eliminate fundamental programs, clean air, clean water, health care programs, programs to educate our children. It goes on and on.
You say, what‘s that all about? Well, what it‘s about is something that I don‘t think Americans ever want to see. They don‘t want to see their seniors out there in poverty as they were before Medicare. More than 40 percent of seniors in America were in poverty. They didn‘t have health care at all.
I know this. My father in 1950s took me to the county hospital which was wards, just elderly men and women lined up in these wards with no health care at all. And I‘m going, no way, no how are we going back to those days.
ROBERTS: Congressman John Garamendi, thank you, sir, for coming on and joining us tonight. I appreciate your time.
GARAMENDI: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Coming up: we‘re going to take a closer look at how Boehner‘s plan would affect the most vulnerable people around the country, like the congressman was just talking about, starting with those directly affected within the district that the speaker represents.
And we have a long, long way to go before Congress finally raises the debt ceiling. We‘ll give you a preview of the eventful weekend coming up on Capitol Hill. Don‘t go anywhere. We‘re back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Speaker Boehner was entitled to take as the theme song, “It‘s my party, and I‘ll cry in I want to.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, everybody. I‘m Thomas Roberts, in for Ed tonight.
The breaking news from Capitol Hill, the Senate has tabled the Boehner plan for debt reduction. Joining me now to discuss what happens next in all of this is Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, the man you just saw, Barney Frank. Frank serves as a ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Sir, it‘s good to have you on with me tonight. I want to ask you right off the bat, why does the Tea Party have this come hell or high water attitude which puts America at risk of default or downgraded when it comes to our credit rating?
FRANK: Because they are the most rigidly ideological extremists ever to have control of a major party in America. And it is not the case that every Republican representative is a member of the Tea Party. But they are all either members of the Tea Party actually or in spirit, or afraid of losing a primary to somebody in the Tea Party.
There are no more moderate Republicans. They all fall in line. What motivates them is a—a misunderstanding of the importance of government. We on the Democratic side understand the private sector and we work well with it. We also know that in a civilized society, there are thing that we have to have that we can only do if we pool our resources and act together.
That‘s government. Tax cuts don‘t put out fires. They don‘t do health research in the right way when there is no profit in it. They don‘t do the construction of bridges and highways or provide for elderly people. You have a right wing group that simply does not accept the notion that there is a role for government.
So they are trying—they manufacture a crisis, this whole notion of the debt limit. The debt limit is essentially paying your bills that have come due. It wasn‘t controversial for Ronald Reagan or to George Bush the first or George Bush the Second.
But a group of right wing extremists have taken over the Republican party, and they are holding up the country by saying if you do not dismantle things that they couldn‘t win on their own—they know that Social Security and Medicare and highway construction, and police and firemen, that those are popular things. So they are trying to do it by extortion.
When people say but it‘s going to damage the economy, sadly, they‘re answer privately to themselves is good, because that will undercut President Obama.
ROBERTS: Congressman, if the Senate can pass a bill, though, it would still need at least 21 Republican votes in the House. At this point, do you think that any form of a Harry Reid bill will pass the House? I just want to point out, shortly ago, Senator Chuck Schumer said that the Reid is really the only plan in town right now.
FRANK: That is absolutely right. It is a Reid bill that is going to be a compromise. Look, it isn‘t everything I would like by any mean. I don‘t like to give into extortion. You have to do some compromising.
There is a need to hold down the deficit. By the way, part of that for me has got to be—let me just say this, it is an extraordinary to me that we have people ranting about the deficit, but still wanting to stay in Afghanistan and Iraq, 150 billion dollars a year.
So let‘s get rid of that, let‘s scale the Pentagon back to what we need for our security. Then I accept restraints elsewhere.
But here is the question. John Boehner has just been pushed around by his party. That‘s what my quote was. He started out with a policy that I didn‘t agree with, but it had some plausibility.
All during this week, he has been forced to retreat further towards irrationality by his Tea Party wing, so that he finally got a bill through today that makes sense, that says you‘re not going to do anything to raise the debt limit, pay your debts in the past, unless you amend the Constitution, which they know they don‘t have two thirds for.
So the only thing that will work is a compromise. It won‘t pass the Senate unless it has significant Republican support. Then this will be John Boehner‘s choice.
Yes, the votes will be there among a lot of Democrats who will reluctantly support a compromise that will avoid terrible disaster economically and socially. But we‘ll need some Republicans. It probably doesn‘t get a majority. The Tea Party will hate it.
The question is will John Boehner have the sense of responsibility? Will he act enough as an adult and as a real leader to say OK, I will bring a chunk of Republicans with the Democrats and we‘ll pass the only thing that can pass.
That‘s the question. Will Boehner finally stand up to the Tea Party or is he too afraid of Michele Bachmann and Eric Cantor and all these other people to show any leadership.
ROBERTS: Congressman, Speaker Boehner said on the House floor he has stuck his neck out a mile in negotiations. These negotiations, including with Democrats. What do you make of how the speaker can handle his job in the future going forward, as you bring up Michele Bachmann, Eric Cantor. Do you think that they have knives out for him, trying to go for his job?
FRANK: I think that Mr. Cantor does. I don‘t remember people sending John Boehner a telegram saying you are drafted to be the speaker. He volunteered for this job. With it comes, A, some power and, B, some responsibility. I have no sympathy for his—oh, poor me, I stuck my neck out.
Well, he did come up with something that I agreed with, but it was somewhat plausible. When the Tea Party backed away, he backed away with them. So the question now is—it‘s not enough to say OK, here is my reasonable position. A couple of times now, he has said I‘ll negotiate, here is my position, and he backs away.
I don‘t think he can get a majority. He may not be able to get a majority of the Republicans. We don‘t need a majority. If he can bring 80 or 90 of the Republicans along with 120 or 130 or more of the Democrats, we can do this. We‘ve done it before.
When George Bush came to us in 2008 and said the economy is collapsing, we put something together. So no, he‘s got problems with these people. But he volunteered to be the speaker. He brags about his sticking his neck out.
The problem is every time Eric Cantor stamps his foot, his neck snaps back. We need to say not that you sacrificed yourself, but this has got to be done in a way that will get large numbers of people on both sides.
Now I‘m even ready to say, OK, we don‘t need to deal with the tax issue now, because, as I think my colleague John Garamendi was saying, those Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy, as well as for most people, which ought to be maintained, they are going to expire.
I‘m willing to fight another day on those. I don‘t want to prejudice our right to keep those tax cuts from the very wealthy from expiring. So if you have a package that reduces military spending, including, as the Harry Reid plan talks about, getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq—that‘s where he gets a lot of his savings—you leave open our ability to oppose the extension of the Bush high-end tax cuts and you leave Social Security and Medicare alone.
Can I just, one of the things that bothers me, they talk about shared sacrifice. I don‘t think it‘s shared sacrifice to say that somebody making 700,000 dollars a year has to pay a few thousand more taxes. But an 80-year-old woman living on 19,000 dollars a year doesn‘t get a cost of living increase. That‘s not shared at all.
She doesn‘t have to be a part of this. But if they will leave Social Security and Medicare benefits alone, if they will reduce the military and leave open the tax question, then we can accept—I‘ll accept and vote for more severe reductions in housing and education and the environment that I would ideally like.
That‘s a deal that is not fun for anybody, but which responsible people can support. It will only come over to us if McConnell and Reid can work it out. The House Democrats will support it. The president will sign it. The only question is will John Boehner stand up to his right wing and join us in an effort to make it law.
ROBERTS: Congressman Barney Frank, thanks for joining me tonight, sir. I appreciate your time.
Speaker Boehner‘s fiery speech this evening made it clear. He is being pulled around by the Tea Party. But what about the impact of his proposed legislation to his own district? That story is next. Say with us.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Tonight, we‘ve been talking about what John Boehner‘s bill would do to America. Now let‘s take a closer look at exactly what it would do in Boehner‘s own backyard.
Now, the Speaker of the House represents the 8th district in Ohio. There it is highlighted on your screen. John Boehner‘s idea of saving America would hurt hundreds of thousands of his most vulnerable constituents. You see, for the last 26 years, all budget legislation that triggers across the board cuts has exempted low-income Americans from reductions in programs like Medicaid and food stamps.
Boehner‘s bill eliminates that exemption. And almost 14 percent of the speaker‘s district live below the poverty line. Boehner‘s budget bill has deep cuts for the 180,000 people on Medicare or Medicaid in his district. There are cuts to the approximately 70,000 households that receive Social Security benefits. Over 30,000 people in Ohio‘s 8th would have a harder time getting food stamps. And 20,000 low-income kids, children would be affected by cuts in food and nutrition services.
It would also mean cuts for 4,000 households in Ohio‘s 8th District that access some form of public housing existence. Now, to be fair, the speaker might not know how bad the Boehner budget would have been for the people he represents. He has been in Washington for the last 20 years, and spends most his free time, as you can tell by that tan, on a golf course.
John Boehner‘s speech on the House floor and the Tea Party cheering. But his bill did nothing to move closer to a final resolution of the debt ceiling fight. Bob Shrum and Joe Madison react. That‘s next.
OBAMA: The time for putting party first is over. The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now. I‘m confident we can solve this problem. I‘m confident we will solve this problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Today as the clock keeps ticking toward the deadline for raising the debt ceiling, President Obama urged Congress to compromise. John Boehner decided to go in a different direction. His bill did not get one Democratic vote. The speaker caved to Tea Party pressure to pass a bill that was DOA in the Senate.
Joining me is Sirius XM radio talk show host Joe Madison and also Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and professor at NYU.
Gentlemen, good to have you on.
Joe, I want to start with you. What is your reaction to Boehner‘s speech—passionate speech this evening on the House floor? Talk to me about he stuck his neck out a mile.
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He didn‘t even get most of the Tea Party supporters. So I don‘t know why he was all that concerned. I‘ll be honest with you, I thought about an analogy here. It was based also on the interview you did with the congressman before Barney Frank.
These people want to go backwards. They try to give the impression that they are going forward. That is what Boehner is trying to do. We are moving forward, we are moving forward.
You know, they would give Michael Jackson a run for doing the Moon Walk. If you ever watch Michael Jackson doing the Moon Walk, he gives the impression of going forward when he is really going backwards. That is what the people in Boehner‘s district that you just pointed out—I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, not far from his district.
People there want jobs. These folks don‘t have jobs. He knows darn well that what is going to happen with his policy is that we are going to go back to those days that the congressman talked about. This is a moral crisis, and people should be morally outraged.
Boehner was just not being honest. He got his hat handed to him by a small minority in his own party.
ROBERTS: Sounds like they would have better luck drafting a bill for
a time machine to go back to the 1950s. Bob, I want to talk to you about
Speaker Boehner, knowing full well that the senate weren‘t going to pass
this bill ever. They already had the symbolic vote on the cut, cap and
balance act. The president even warned that politics were going to go out
being played out in front of the American people.
But how long do we have to continue to watch the political posturing without seeing anything definitive getting done?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Boehner is going to face a big decision assuming that a compromise can come out of the Senate. Because it will go back to the House. He‘ll then have to decide whether to allow a vote. If he doesn‘t allow a vote, I think the whole blame for default will fall on the Republican party.
Joe is absolutely right about what happened today. If you listen to Boehner—and I guess you‘re going to play the speech—it‘s lie after lie. There is nothing about jobs in this bill. This bill would destroy jobs. It‘s not the president who said no, who refused to say yes. It‘s John Boehner who said no, walked away from the talks.
These folks are Reaganites in name only. Ronald Reagan raised the debt limit 18 or 19 times. Ronald Reagan passed the two largest tax increases, at that time, in American history when he was grappling with the deficit. So I don‘t think you can call these people realists. They are not even conservativists. They are radicals.
ROBERTS: When we talk about the jobs picture though, Grover Norquist was on the air the other day, on “MORNING JOE,” talking about the fact that we don‘t need to raise taxes. We just need more people paying taxes. So why aren‘t they working more on getting a jobs bill or doing something that focuses more on jobs, Bob, than they are right now?
MADISON: They have nothing to offer on jobs.
SHRUM: They ran on jobs and then they came to Washington and they spent their time trying to defund Planned Parenthood, and now trying to delegitimize the American economic system in the eyes of the world to make a political point.
Look, John Boehner knows this is wrong. But he‘s not really the speaker of the House. He has became an echo chamber for the Tea Party.
ROBERTS: Joe, let me—jump in there, because I know you were dying to say something.
MADISON: The only thing—look, jobs are based on what? Demand. People who have jobs pay taxes. Most people do what—they file short forms and they pay their taxes. That‘s how you get revenue.
Someone said it. Look, fire happens. A fireman is called. Police action, police are paid for. You let conservative and liberal or progressive mayors and city managers talk about the money that they need from Washington. Come to Washington right now with the tourists. Most of these buildings on Constitutional Avenue and Independence Avenue, guess what, they were built with republic money.
These monuments, public money. They put people to work. Some went off into private industry. It is time for the Tea Party and the Republican party to stop doing the Moon Walk.
ROBERTS: Bob, with your strategy hat on, what do you think about Boehner‘s speakership? Do you think it‘s in jeopardy with Eric Cantor and Michele Bachmann, especially for Michele Bachmann if presidential aspirations really aren‘t in her future. Maybe it‘s the speakership.
SHRUM: Look, every time I see Eric Cantor, I think about Shakespeare‘s line about Cassias (ph), that he has a lean and hungry look. He stand next to Boehner. He says I‘m helping Boehner. I think he‘d like to help him right out of the speakership.
The threat for Boehner is that if this bill comes back, as I said, to the House, and he allows a vote, even if he votes against it, but enough Republicans vote for it and this goes through, I think you‘ll see an immediate attempt to topple him. I think it might very well work.
Look, he was thrown out of the leadership in the 1990s. It was a searing experience for him. He doesn‘t want it to happen again. Today‘s vote was about saving his speakership, not saving the full faith and credit of the United States.
ROBERTS: That‘s why it was so emotional for him to get it back. Joe, go ahead.
MADISON: I want to say, it‘s an absolute insult for McConnell today
to say that he won‘t negotiate with the Senate Majority Leader, only with
the president of the United States. Never have I heard, in my young life -
I don‘t know about Bob. He‘s younger than I am. But never have I ever heard that type of disrespect for a Senate Majority Leader.
ROBERTS: Gentlemen, thanks so much for your time tonight, Joe Madison and Bob Shrum. Great to have you on.
As Bob mentioned, we were going to be playing the Speaker‘s entire speech, but we went long with some of our congressman. So you can watch the entire speech on our website at Ed.MSNBC.com. It‘s good stuff.
So the Senate is having none of the Boehner bill. So as the August 2nd deadline approaches quickly, Congress still has a lot of work to do this weekend. Where do they go from here? We‘re going to talk about all the options next.
ROBERTS: So now that the Senate has definitively smacked down John Boehner‘s debt ceiling plan, we have a weekend of new Congressional battles lying ahead. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s plan is the next option on the table. But Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as we‘ve been hearing tonight, is refusing to negotiate, insisting on a filibuster. Democratic leaders voiced their frustration a couple of hours ago. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The House will hold an up or down vote, we‘re told, on my proposal. We should be allowed to do the same. That‘s all we are asking. It‘s time for us to be adults.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: It‘s a shame. We waited all day. This morning, Senator Reid went up to Senator McConnell on the floor and said, let‘s talk. Let‘s work this out. Nothing. Nothing all day long, not a word.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: They are very good at saying no.
They‘re not very good at laying out a plan that can actually pass.
Instead, what do they do? They just filibuster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: For more now on what happens next, let me bring in Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC contributor and managing editor of TheGrio.com. She‘s also a political columnist for “the Miami Herald.”
Joy-Anne, it‘s good to see you.
JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you too, Thomas.
ROBERTS: As we talk about this, and it‘s not very inspirational so far what we‘ve been seeing out of Washington, D.C. I think I mumble debt ceiling in my sleep at this point. What are the real possibilities of getting something done by August 2nd?
J. REID: Right. It‘s looking very grim. I still think there is hope it will get done. You guys were talking analogies earlier. It‘s kind of like when you see a parent in the supermarket and their kids are screaming and falling on the floor. You can either get them in line and tell them, this is what you‘ve got to do. Or you can just buy them all the Doritos they can eat and all the candy they want to make them stop crying.
John Boehner I think made the mistake—and Eric Cantor pushed him to it—of just giving them the Doritos. They keep on trying to coddle these Tea Party members with votes that are irrelevant. They can‘t pass the Senate.
Well, I think Harry Reid still has the only plan that has any chance of passage. You had 59 votes against the Boehner plan. If he can whip those 59 votes and find one more vote to break a filibuster, we are looking at something like the Reid plan, with maybe some modification.
ROBERTS: As we‘ve been seeing all along, though, the slamming that goes back and forth, left to right. But Senate Democratic leaders slammed the House leadership just a few hours ago. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: The Senate is the only way out of this mess. You‘ve seen the huge difficulties in the House, their inability to tie their own shoes.
REID: To think with a straight face that they have sent us something that the American people would accept, the Ryan Budget, cap-and-cut, whatever that is, and this thing? That‘s not legislation. That is a—that was an extravaganza over there that made them all look very foolish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Joy, there we have it. They are saying that the Senate is really the only way out of this. Chuck Schumer also saying that the Reid plan is really the only one in town. But when you think about it going over to the other side, it‘s never going to get through the House.
J. REID: What is incredible—I think actually that Harry Reid is absolutely right. They‘ve been passing sham bills. This is like defunding NPR. It is making the Tea Party feel good, but it cannot become law.
So I think what John Boehner has to do is the one option he hasn‘t tried, which is he‘s got to go to Nancy Pelosi and he‘s got to find the votes among Democrats. The final bill is not going to be able to pass with 217 Republicans.
It‘s got to have some Democrats. And Boehner, for whatever reason—maybe he is afraid of a primary challenge. He won‘t go to the Democratic option. That‘s his only choice right now.
ROBERTS: Yes or no, Speaker Boehner comes out unscathed?
J. REID: I think Speaker Boehner is in serious trouble. I think it‘s very clear that his leadership is faulty if it takes him three days to pass a bill and he only gets 218 votes.
ROBERTS: We‘re going to all watch all weekend. Managing editor of “The Grio,” Joy-Ann Reid, thanks so much.
That is going to do it for me tonight. I‘m Thomas Roberts. This is
THE ED SHOW.
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