Skip navigation

The Ed Show for Friday, November 30th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Friday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

November 30, 2012

Guest: Sam Stein, Zeke Emanuel, John Nichols, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Sarah Jaffe

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW from New York.

Republicans say they are laughing at President Obama`s fiscal cliff
offer. I`ll show you how they are really crying.

This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.


of pens in the White House. And I carry one around for emergency just in
case. Just waiting for the chance to use it to sign the bill to make sure
people`s taxes don`t go up.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The adult in the room continues his campaign to
cut taxes for the middle class and John Boehner keeps shooting spit balls.


SCHULTZ: Tonight, the latest on the stalemate and the Democrat`s
upper hand.

Mitch McConnell gets downright ridiculous with his demands to weaken
Medicare. One of the architects of Obamacare, Dr. Zeke Emanuel responds

House Republicans pass an immigration bill Democrats say is divisive
and inferior. Tonight, Congressman Javier Becerra on why the Latino
community won`t be fooled.

And the nation`s first fast food strike is a historic protest for
workers` right. Tonight, what you need to know about the lowest-paid
workforce in the country.


SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for

President Obama knows his opponent is on the ropes and he`s not
letting up. The president took his tax plan agenda on the road today. He
went to a Pennsylvania toy factory, just north of Philadelphia, to focus on
the people who will be hurt if the tax rate extensions are not passed for
the 98 percent of Americans.


OBAMA: If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see
their income taxes automatically go up on January 1st. Every family,
everybody here, you`ll see your taxes go up on January 1st.
I mean, I`m assuming that doesn`t sound too good to you.


OBAMA: That`s sort of like the lump of coal you get for Christmas.
That`s a Scrooge Christmas.


SCHULTZ: President Obama has been consistent in his message and
demeanor. The Republicans look more unreasonable each passing day.


OBAMA: And if we can just get a few House Republicans on board, we
can pass the bill in the House, it will land on my desk. And I am ready.
I`ve got a bunch of pens ready to sign this bill.


SCHULTZ: While the president was turning up the public pressure on
the road, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi played a card of her own.
She gave Republicans until next Tuesday to vote on tax cuts for the middle


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: If the bill, if there`s no
announcement of scheduling of the middle income tax cut, which by the way
has tremendous support in the Republican caucus, I think we would get 100
percent vote on it if it came to the floor. If it is not scheduled, then
on Tuesday we will be introducing a discharge petition, which you know if
we get 218 signatures would bring the bill automatically to the floor.


SCHULTZ: Ooh, this is getting good. A discharge petition is a way to
bring the bill to the floor, the House floor, for consideration without
relying on House leadership, circumventing the speaker, John Boehner.
McCain-Feingold was kick started by a discharge petition.

Balanced budget amendments passed in the House twice before failing in
the Senate. Gun legislation has also been passed thanks to discharge

Pelosi found a way to get Republicans on the record whether they like
it or not. By next week, they will have to take a stand on tax cuts for
the middle class. It`s no wonder Republicans are freaking out.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: This is not a game. We`re
not interested in playing rope-a-dope. We`re interested in trying to solve
the problem for the American people so that we don`t see taxes go up on
anybody, so that we can engage in tax reform and get the economy going

We`re not playing a game. We`re being serious. That offer yesterday
was simply not serious.


SCHULTZ: Cantor was speaking about the deal presented to Republican
leaders yesterday by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Today, the White
House released details about that deal.

In spite of Republican claims of $400 billion in cuts, the deal
actually proposed $600 billion in cuts, $350 billion in Medicare savings
and $250 billion in additional cuts to other programs next year.

House Speaker John Boehner basically lied yesterday when he said the
White House had not offered specifics. Today, he complained about those


BOEHNER: The White House spent three weeks trying to develop a
proposal and they send one up here that calls for $1.6 trillion in new
taxes, calls for a little -- not even $400 billion in cuts and they want --
they want to have this extra spending that`s actually greater than the
amount they are willing to cut. I mean, it`s -- it was not a serious
proposal. And so, right now, we`re almost nowhere.


SCHULTZ: Boehner offered the Republican counter to the White House


BOEHNER: Our original framework still stands. Instead of raising tax
rates, we can produce a similar amount of revenue reforming the tax code,
to close loopholes and lower tax rates.


SCHULTZ: No, no, no. Republicans are not getting the Mitt Romney tax

Time to move on, Speaker Boehner.

Republicans are furious about the White House proposal. Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told "The Weekly Standard" he burst into
laughter when he received the deal.

The new second ranking Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn, also
disparaged the deal.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: That`s a crazy idea. I`m amazed that
Secretary Geithner had the courage to float that yesterday, hence the
laughter from Senator McConnell. I think that`s the kind of response it


SCHULTZ: Well, they are laughing in public, but they are panicking
behind closed doors.

Conservative writer Matt Lewis, writer for "The Daily Caller", he
wrote, "The notion that Republicans have leverage is silly. It`s the same
kind of happy thinking that led to some boldly predicting a Romney
victory." He ended his column bluntly saying that Republicans are so

This is why President Obama is playing to his strengths. The
president has never had a problem rallying the American people to his side.


OBAMA: And understand this was a central question in the election,
maybe thee central question in the election. You remember. We talked
about this a lot.


SCHULTZ: Republicans are furious because they can`t control this
conversation. Americans know where they stand on tax fairness and
Republicans are on the losing end. It`s been a rough week.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.

Tonight`s question: Who has the upper hand in the fiscal cliff
negotiations at this point? Text A for President Obama, text B for the
Republicans, to 622639.

You can always go to our blog at, and leave a comment.
We encourage you to do that. We`ll bring you the results later on in the

I`m joined tonight by Sam Stein, political reporter for "The
Huffington Post."

Don`t you dare give me a hard time about the Packers. I know you love
the Giants. Now, let`s get on to the important stuff.

Capitol Hill -- who is winning this conversation with the American
people? And what kind of week was it on the Hill, Sam?

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I think, objectively, you can say
the president is winning this conversation at this junction. These things
change. A lot of this is posture.

But, when you step back and you look at the circumstances that play
here, it seems very clear to me that Democrats would be a bit more
comfortable going over that fiscal cliff than Republicans at this juncture.
Simultaneously, you have Republicans and not just sort of moderate
Republicans, but real conservative Republicans saying, we got to do what
the president wants to do on taxes right now and debate the other issues
later down the road. I don`t see Democrats doing something of similar, you
know, heresy on their side.

So, I think, right now, the president controls a lot of the game. And
I think he is -- he`s pretty much in the driver seat for the next couple of

SCHULTZ: Why are the Republicans dissing a $600 billion cut to the
budget when it comes to Medicare and other programs?

STEIN: Because --

SCHULTZ: Why do they say that`s not a credible proposal?

STEIN: Because it`s the process of the negotiations. It`s laughable,
in some respect respects, that they think that the administration would
come at them with something in the middle ground.

That`s what the administration did with the stimulus bill. They
included in it about -- I think it was about one third of it was tax cuts.
They said from the get-go, we`re going to give Republicans what they want.
We expect them to meet us in the middle.

That`s not what they did this time. They said this is where we are.
And we`ll meet down here.

And so, Republicans are going to do the same thing. They`re going to
say, this is not a serious proposal.

Along the way, they are going to meet. It`s going to be a proposal
that doesn`t have a $1.6 trillion dollars in tax rates.


STEIN: It`s going to be $1.2 trillion.

SCHULTZ: All right. Some conservatives are encouraging Republicans
to go off the cliff.


Republicans will cave on everything. I think Republicans ought to simply
walk away.


SCHULTZ: Limbaugh said the same thing as well.

Is this political suicide for Republicans? I mean, who would really
pay the political price before the State of the Union and on into the
spring if they don`t have a deal?

STEIN: Republicans. I think Matt Lewis in his column got it right.
They would pay the price.

I mean, what they are saying is because we want to protect -- and
listen, it`s more complex argument than this. But what it would be framed
as is, we want to protect the tax rates for the top 2 percent. We are
willing to go off the cliff for that.

I don`t think there`s a way you can spin it effectively enough that
you end up winning the public relations war. That`s why I think you`re
going to probably get some form of deal before the cliff is hit. It might
not encompass all this stuff, and you might have to vote again, but I think
they are going to come to the table.

SCHULTZ: The discharge petition, circumventing the speaker and House
leader, Nancy Pelosi is going to be taking a petition around to every House
member and saying, are you with us or not on this? I mean, this is theater
right here.

STEIN: Sure.

SCHULTZ: Will she get the signatures?

STEIN: That`s a great question. We`ll see.

But this is all part of a broader effort by Democrats. So, my
reporting tells me that the reason that they put out that offer to Boehner,
the Tim Geithner offer --

SCHULTZ: Do they have the votes?

STEIN: No. But they want republic Republicans to come with their own
offer. They want Republicans to detail what they will cut. And the same
is holding true with Pelosi here. They want to see Republicans record a
yes or no on this tax proposal so that they actually have to pay some sort
of political price for their position, because right now they are avoiding
getting into the minutia, avoiding getting into the details.

SCHULTZ: But the culture of this is you get a couple signatures and
then it all of a sudden it starts to steam roll a little bit. The media is
on it. And --

STEIN: The template, of course, is what happened with the payroll tax
cut. You remember this last year --


STEIN: -- where Republicans initially were like, no, we only want a
two-month extension. Forget the year-long extension. Suddenly it
snowballed and you had a mess on your hands with respect to John Boehner.
He had to go back to his caucus and say, listen, this is a tragedy for us
if we continue with it.

SCHULTZ: Your prediction is she won`t get the 218?

STEIN: I`m not going to go on a limb yet.

SCHULTZ: Wouldn`t it be something if she did? I mean, wouldn`t it
just be a repudiation of Boehner and McConnell?

STEIN: Well, yes, of course. And it would resolve a huge chunk of
this issue right now, because keep in mind, the Senate is sitting there and
they have passed a tax cut extension program that the Obama administration


STEIN: And it would essentially lay the groundwork for a quick fix to
this fiscal cliff, they could then move on to the spending cuts portion.

SCHULTZ: All right. Sam Stein, "Huffington Post" -- good to have you
with us.

STEIN: Go Giants.

SCHULTZ: Stop that.

STEIN: I had to do it. Sorry.

SCHULTZ: I was trying -- OK, I just like the Packers better.

All right. Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom
of the screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow and on Facebook. We
always want to know what you think.

Coming up, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrats need
to raise the eligibility age for Medicare? Obamacare architect, Dr. Zeke
Emanuel, joins to talk about what will happen if the parties don`t come to
a deal.


SCHULTZ: Coming up: Senate Republicans have used a record number of
filibusters since Democrats took control. John Boehner over on the House
side is fighting to keep it that way. We`ll tell you what that`s all

Fast food workers in New York City stage the largest strike in history
in this city. We`ll show you what they hope to accomplish with the walkout
here in the Big Apple, at the fast food franchise.

And later, the White House releases the first Bo Obama Christmas
video. How about that? Trust me, it`s much better than the old Barney
camp videos at the -- and we have the tape to prove us.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter using #EdShow.

We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.

Republicans want Democrats to do their dirty work when it comes to
Medicare. We already know President Obama offered $400 billion in cuts to
Medicare and other entitlement programs over the next 10 years.

Here`s Andrea Mitchell trying to get an answer from House Republican
Jason Chaffetz on where he has a problem with it.


ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: What about his $400 billion in
Medicare? Is your problem with it that it`s not specified? You want to
see a more specific laundry list? Or do you have to produce a laundry list
before he`s going to come up with his? Is this a giant game of chicken?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Well, and that`s what`s unfortunate.
That`s why I think the party should be sitting at the table. I think
Speaker Boehner is on absolutely right track. I think he`s shown a
willingness to be able to talk about things that we haven`t been able to
talk about before. And they need to sit down and go to hash this out.


SCHULTZ: Isn`t that interesting? Republicans won`t answer the direct
question because these aren`t the kinds of cuts that they`re looking for.

In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal", Senate Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell offered his wish list -- higher health care Medicare
premiums for the wealthiest Americans and an increase in the Medicare
eligibility age. He also wants to slow the cost of living increases on
Social Security.

Now, obviously, Social Security is off the table.

On Medicare, though, one part of the president`s savings would come
from increasing premiums to the wealthiest Americans so there might be some
agreement there.

But raising the eligibility age for Medicare recipients is an absolute
nonstarter. The idea is unpopular and it`s also inefficient because it
increases the cost to seniors without creating much savings to the
government at all.

Here`s the bottom line in all of this: House Republicans have voted
for Paul Ryan`s budget twice, which turns Medicare into a voucher program.
That`s really what they want to do. I mean, if they had the power, that`s
where they would go. And they`re still holding that out.

The idea is deeply unpopular with the American people in polls. And
that has been shown time and time again.

Republicans want these kinds of cuts, but they would rather pin it on
President Obama than to take the blame.

I say bring it on. It does pencil out.

Let`s turn to Dr. Zeke Emanuel tonight, senior fellow at the Center
for American Progress and chair of medical ethics and health policy at
University of Pennsylvania, and one of the architects of the Affordable
Care Act, which is now, of course, Obamacare.

Dr. Emanuel, great to have you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: Sort this out for us. This $400 billion on the table with
Obamacare or with Medicare that the Republicans deny cuts, who is telling
the truth here?

EMANUEL: Well, the real issue is whether you`re cutting things to
beneficiaries or using those cuts to really transform the system to make it
more modern. And I think as they did in the campaign, as they are trying
to do, they`re tying to say, well, this will harm beneficiaries.

But you can make cuts without harming beneficiaries. We at the Center
for American Progress actually released a report where we had $385 million
in cuts to Medicare and without taking it out of beneficiaries.

SCHULTZ: So this is a valid proposal of savings of $400 billion.


SCHULTZ: But Republicans deny that.

EMANUEL: Well, you know, you can deny reality. But I think the
president has put on a very bold proposal.

And the really important thing I would say is, there`s one way of
cutting, which is you just whack the system. You take money out. You make
what you pay the doctors or hospitals less. That`s going to be important
to do.

But the real interesting and important thing is to try to transform
the system going forward so that year on year, we`re not spending, you
know, increases well beyond inflation or the growth in GDP. That`s going
to be the key.

SCHULTZ: So part of the transformation here would be to allow
Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices the same way they do with
veteran programs?

EMANUEL: That`s one possibility. There are various ways to bring
drug prices down.

SCHULTZ: What would that do? Let`s say that it was similar to the
veterans program. What would it do? How much money?

EMANUEL: I`m not exactly sure what you could get, but we know that,
for example, there`s over $100 billion by getting payment for drugs from
Medicare beneficiaries who are eligible -- for beneficiaries who are
eligible for Medicaid to get them in the Medicaid program instead of the
Part D program.

SCHULTZ: Now, Dr. Emanuel, what happens if we don`t have an agreement
in Washington and we go off the fiscal cliff? What happens to Medicare?
What happens to the beneficiaries?

EMANUEL: Well, we`re going to have a very big whack at the system.
And it`s not -- I mean, the important point is it`s not going to be
strategic. And that is not a very good thing.

And it`s not just Medicare beneficiaries. Remember, in the
sequestration, lots of other programs get hit. You`re interested in
biomedical research and the NIH -- that gets hit.

So you`ve got to be very careful, here, plus the Republicans
constantly say, well, we don`t want to become like Greece. What`s driving
off the fiscal cliff make us look like? It makes us look completely
irresponsible as if we can`t control our own spending and put in order some

SCHULTZ: So, there`d be some real health care suffering if we go off
the cliff, so to speak?

EMANUEL: That`s absolutely true.


EMANUEL: I would say the other important thing that we need to do is
we want to incentivize doctors and hospitals to keep people well. Not to
just do procedures. And that is the key to really transforming Medicare.

SCHULTZ: All right. I want to show you a map of the states that are
refusing to implement the insurance exchanges. It`s rather interesting.

The other states are either implementing the exchanges or haven`t
decided to do that. If states don`t decide to do it and the federal
government comes in and sets up the exchange, isn`t that kind of a win for
the move towards universal health care someday because that infrastructure
will be there?

EMANUEL: Well, I think it provides people an option whether governors
are refusing or not. That`s the most important thing, so that they can get
access to good insurance products.

Also, I think -- you know, it takes away the claim that the federal
government is, you know, usurping health care. The reason they step in
because states, you know, forfeited their option to actually do something.

I also think we`re going to have an interesting set of experiments --
California, Colorado, Maryland and other states that are going to do this
well are going to show the country. Can you save money? Can you improve
health outcomes? Can you give people options they like?

I would look to those particular states as bellwethers because they
are really working on developing an exchange, running it well. The case of
Colorado interestingly enough, it`s pretty bipartisan. You have people who
want to make it work on both sides of the aisle.

And so, I think these could shame other states to come in.

I also think, you know, we should be honest. Out of 2014, it`s -- you
know, there may be some bumps in the road. But remember, this is for the
long haul. Right?

SCHULTZ: Yes, no doubt.

EMANUEL: Out of the gate, you know, it may not be perfect. But lots
of software is not perfect right out of gate, but we use it and love it and
it really helps us. And I think the same is going to help here. The
exchange is going to help millions of people get better insurance products
that are cheaper.

SCHULTZ: All right. Dr. Zeke Emanuel, thanks for coming in.
Appreciate your time on THE ED SHOW tonight.

Coming up, some Senate Democrat cans are trying to change the
filibuster rule and House Speaker John Boehner issues a threat. "The
Nation`s" John Nichols will weigh on that.

And Republicans make their first post election attempt at immigration
reform. And just what did they do? They voted to limit legal immigration.
Congressman Xavier Becerra will weigh in on that.

Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ: And we are back.

Senate Republicans, what have they done? Well, they have repeatedly
abused the filibuster to block common sense legislation that most
Americans, the majority of Americans have wanted.

For example, Senate Republicans filibustered the Zadroga 9/11 Health
Care Act. It would have provided over $7 billion in health care funds to
9/11 first responders. A watered-down version of the bill -- well, it
eventually passed.

Republicans hid behind these 9/11 first responders for years. They
used these heroic Americans to start a war of choice in Iraq. And then
when they got sick from hazardous working conditions, Senate Republicans
used the filibuster to deny them the proper health care funds they needed.

Republicans also filibustered the Veterans Jobs Act. It would have
provided $1 billion to help create over 20,000 jobs for veterans returning
home from war. These brave Americans, while they were sent to Iraq and
Afghanistan, they put their lives on the line every day to serve our
country. Then, when they came home they needed some help. Republicans
used the filibuster to say, no way, can`t do it.

And, finally, Senate Republicans filibustered the Bring Jobs Home Act.
The thing about outsourcing, the act would have created a 20 percent tax
break for moving jobs back to the United States. And it would have
penalized companies for shipping jobs overseas.

Republicans filibustered legislation that would have created jobs and
helped the middle class. This one even included a tax break. They still
said no.

Remember, these are just three of 386 filibusters that the Republicans
have used to stop the Obama agenda dead in its tracks. Time and time
again, Republicans abuse this rule to hurt America`s progress.

Senate Democrats basically are sick of it and they`re talking about
this -- they want to change this filibuster rule.

Majority Leader Harry Reid wants the following changes: Senators can`t
filibuster a debate. He wants a shorter time to break a filibuster. And
he wants senators to speak out about their filibuster in public.

These are not drastic changes. This isn`t going to roll the Senate
over. And the filibuster would still be around, still be a tool.

But House Speaker John Boehner is now involved. He says he`s not
impressed. He issued this threat, a threat saying that "any bill that
reaches a Republican-led House based on Senate Democrats` heavy-handed
power play would be dead on arrival." Isn`t it amazing how they get along?

This proves that Boehner`s do-nothing Congress isn`t concerned about
moving the country forward. He will hold an American -- he`s going to hold
the American people hostage, you know, in a legislative process to just
block everything he possibly can to stop President Obama`s agenda.

Is that what America wants? Do you think that`s what they voted for?
I don`t think so.

Let`s bring in John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation"
magazine. John, good to have you with us tonight.

There seems to be more and more conversation about this. Let me play
Devil`s Advocate. Why do this? Why not let the Republicans just continue
to filibuster and let them politically hang themselves in the midterms?
Why do the Democrats want to do this?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Well, if the theory was that you could
let them hang themselves, then they would have already hung themselves many
times over. The fact of the matter is that the filibuster is not front-
page news. It`s not something that people generally pay attention to.
It`s a procedure within the Senate. And the Republicans have abused it now
ever since Democrats took control of the Senate.

The concern here is not to get rid of the filibuster. That`s the
important thing to understand. What Harry Reid and especially some of the
younger senators, folks like Jeff Merkley from Oregon, are proposing is to
restore the filibuster. It`s a very simple proposal. They it want to
bring back the filibuster as it existed in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
They want it to be like Jimmy Stewart, when he had to go to the floor and
actually stand on his principles.

Now, unfortunately, the filibuster is usually used secretly, behind
closed doors, to stop debate, to prevent us from even having a vote. That
has nothing to do with what Americans understand as a filibuster. And
there`s simply no reason to allow the abuses to continue.

SCHULTZ: Well, it means that if they were to filibuster, they have to
go to the floor and do as you say, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," and talk
endlessly until some conclusion. What do the changes mean for Democratic
bills, do you think?

NICHOLS: It could mean a lot. Because many of the bills that
Democrats have proposed have majority support. They can win in the Senate.
The problem is they can`t get to the 60 votes that would be required to
break a filibuster or to force a vote. And so all that`s being proposed
here is to say, look, if you want to do a filibuster, you have to be public
about it. You have to go to the floor. You have to speak openly about why
you don`t want a vote to occur.

If you can convince a majority of senators to block it, you win. It`s
just majority rules.

SCHULTZ: What do you make of House Speaker John Boehner`s threat,
that anything that comes over to his side is going to be dead on arrival?
Do you think this is going to affect anybody`s decision-making process here
now, when they are talking about doing this in the Senate?

NICHOLS: I certainly hope not. First off, John Boehner ought to
worry about his own chamber. We`re supposed to have separation of powers
even within the Congress. The Senate does its rules. The House does its.
So first off, he ought to keep his nose where it belongs, which is in his
own chamber.

Secondly, he`s talking about punishing the American people because of
a rule change in the Senate that would occur after the fiscal cliff
deadline. The Senate will organize itself at the start of the new year.
So Boehner`s making threats that really have very, very little to do with
reality. Unfortunately, that seems an awfully lot like a lot of his
approaches to this whole fiscal cliff debate.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation"
magazine, great to have you with us. Thanks, John. Have a good weekend.

There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: We are a country of unlimited
opportunity. We want the world`s best and brightest to come here.


SCHULTZ: House Republicans pass an immigration bill Congressman
Xavier Becerra calls divisive and inferior. Congressman Becerra is here to
explain why, next.

The nation`s first fast food strike is a historic protest for workers


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason you`re on the top is we`re holding you
up. Might as well appreciate us.


SCHULTZ: The workers are fighting back and we`ll tell you what it`s
all about.

And the White House debuts their first Bo Obama Christmas video. But
how does it stack up to Barney cam?


Beasley can be junior park rangers if you want to. But you`re sure going
to have to learn about the national parks if you want to be a junior park



SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
Republicans lost Latino voters by huge margins. So now the GOP is making
its first post-election play at winning some of those voters back. Today
Republicans voted to limit legal immigration to this country and called it
immigration reform.

The STEM Jobs Act passed in the House earlier 245-139. House
Republicans tried to pass a version of the bill a few months back and
failed. Why? Because the STEM Act is a bad bill. The White House has
voiced its opposition to it because it doesn`t pave a way forward for
millions of undocumented workers in this country who are already here. And
it pits immigrant communities against one another.

The STEM Act would provide Green Cards for immigrants skilled in
science, technology, engineering and math. Foreign nationals who have
earned a PHD or Masters in one of those fields from an American university
can stay here and use their skills to improve the American workforce.
Sounds like a great idea, right?

Sure. But it does so at the expense of other immigrants. And as "the
New York Times" points out, it eliminates another visa category entirely,
the diversity visas set aside for people from countries with relatively low
immigration rates to the United States.

So the 55,000 STEM visas would come at the expense of 55,000 diversity
visas. That`s a zero sum gain, folks. The elimination of diversity visas
would primary affect immigrants from African countries.

But despite the discriminatory nature of the bill, Republicans insist
it`s going to create jobs. And they are calling out the Democrats`
opposition to the legislation.


taking the lead on legislation that is going to help create job jobs.

CANTOR: We believe this was the first step forward in terms of trying
to address the need for modernization in our visa laws.

REP. PAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: The Democrats had two years to do
something about immigration reform. They had a White House. They had the
House. They had the Senate. And they did nothing about immigration


SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight, Congressman Xavier Becerra of
California. Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.

You just heard Mr. Cantor say that this is a step forward. Do you
agree with that?

REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, only for the Tea Party,
perhaps, because we have a chance to do real sensible immigration reform
working together on a bipartisan basis. Republicans never reached out to
Democrats. They knew this was an inferior bill. They knew it pits
immigrants, as you said, against each other. It really hurts immigrants or
families who are of African ancestry who want to bring family members the
right way from Africa and also from eastern Europe.

They do it to no real benefit to the American people, because America
workers might be disadvantaged because there are no protections for
American workers to make sure that these newly-authorized green cards for
these very educated workers, which we do need -- that those pay -- the pay
for those folks isn`t undercutting the salaries that current American
workers get for those same kinds of jobs.

SCHULTZ: So it creates as many problems as they think it solves. But
is there anything in this legislation that could be salvaged, that you
could agree with?

BECERRA: Well, there is a STEM bill that we can pass. And what the
Democrats did today on the House floor was say, look, this is the
bipartisan bill that we can all agree to, that doesn`t play the zero sum
game, that doesn`t undercut American workers when we do this. Let`s vote
for that.

But I think the Tea Party is still driving the ship in the House
Republican Conference. Until that changes, it will be tough. But there
are good folks on the Republican side who are interested in trying to do a
bipartisan bill.

SCHULTZ: Well, it`s discriminatory, no question about that. Because
it`s a zero sum game, it hurts Americans who are here and those who want to
come here as well. And what is it about the African-American community in
this world that the Republicans don`t want to allow into this country?

BECERRA: Well, you know, it`s unfortunate because too often it`s
tough for a lot of families who have relatives from Africa to bring them
here. Those diversity visa -- they`re called diversity visas because it`s
to try to make sure we diversify the base of people to come to this
country, Eastern Europeans, folks from different African countries.

So they have had always had -- these families have always had a tough
time getting their relatives here. You eliminate those 55,000 visa
opportunities, it`s almost impossible. That`s unfortunate.

SCHULTZ: Is there a little political theater here? They are saying
that they are getting something done while we`re in the middle of this
fiscal cliff fight, and blaming the Democrats for not doing it previously.

BECERRA: And Ed, the worst part about this is, I don`t even think the
high-tech community believes this is real. They would have been lobbying
and asking a lot of us to vote for us. They didn`t even come, lobbyists,
to do something, to push this through, because they knew it wasn`t going to
go anywhere.

But more than that, Ed, I think what is becoming very clear is the
Latino community is no longer buying this kind of stuff.

SCHULTZ: That`s my next question. Will this win over anybody in the
Latino community? Because, of course, the Republicans have certainly taken
a hit at the polls with that portion of society.

BECERRA: I can`t see how it does. The Latino community has grown
accustomed to seeing Republicans propose things like the Arizona law, SB-
1070, the proposals to deny children born in this country their
citizenship, even though they are born in this country, proposals to deny
the opportunity to bring your family with you if you do it the right way.

It`s been tough. Remember, Republicans -- I heard the piece where
Representative Labrador said that Democrats had two years to try to do
something. Well, perhaps Mr. Labrador forgets, we passed the DREAM Act in
the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate actually had more than a
majority vote in the Senate, but because Republicans used the filibuster,
we couldn`t get the bill to the president for his signature.

So Democrats have done things. We`re ready to do them again. We`ll
do them bipartisanly.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Xavier Becerra, great to have you on THE ED SHOW
tonight. Thanks so much.

BECERRA: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Bo Obama`s Christmas video, it`s making the
rounds. But how does it compare to his predecessor`s? We`ll check the
tapes. Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: We always love hearing from our viewers on Twitter @Ed Show
and on the Facebook page. Many of you are still mad about Congressman
Louie Gohmert of Texas`s conspiracy theory, saying that President Obama
took out Gadhafi of Libya so that al Qaeda could take over?

On Facebook, Evelyn Phillips (ph) says, "to think someone like that is
representing the people of this country, he needs to go."

Rick Schnay (ph) says, "Republicans should have learned by now you
cannot buy and lie your way into the White House."

And Julia Leo says, "every time I think that Gohmert could not be more
ridiculous, he proves me wrong."

Keep sharing your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter, using
the hash tag #EdShow.

Still to come, fast food workers here in the Big Apple stage the
industry`s biggest strike. We`ll look at what they are really fighting for
in tonight`s Big Finish. Stay with us. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The holidays are fast
approaching. In the spirit of the season, the White House released a video
of First Dog Bo Obama doing his part in the preparations. `Tis the season.

Bo was seen padding through the halls of the White House inspecting
the decorations, coming face to face with a few Bo look alikes. Simple,
fun stuff, don`t you think? It`s a far cry from the blockbuster days of
Barney Bush.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is counting on you. I don`t want
you pushing that soccer ball around or playing with those golf balls until
everything is done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s really difficult to judge where to hang this
wreath. Where should I hang this wreath? Barney? Barney? Where`s

BUSH: I have to go back to work in the Oval Office right over here.
I`ve got a job to do and so do you. I think it`s time for you to quit
playing and getting exercise and go in and do the job that the chief of
staff told you to do. When somebody gives you a job, Barney, and you agree
to do it, then you`re supposed to go do the job.


BUSH: Barney? It`s time for Barney Cam. Are you ready for it this
year? Say, what`s the plot about?

I can see from the look on your face, Barney, that you haven`t even
thought about the plot. Hey, Barney, you better get started. You better
run along right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve got to be kidding me.

ROVE: Well, maybe better luck next year, Margaret. Look, I got to
rehearse. Can you help me out here?

BUSH: Barney, you better wake up, fellow. There`s a lot of work to
do around here. We`re sprinting to the finish, not napping to the finish.


SCHULTZ: That`s a cast of characters that definitely didn`t have more
important things to do or to deal with, like a couple wars, a bad economy
and some bad acting. But Barney never seemed to mind. You know what they
say? If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

By the way, Barney has always been my favorite Bush.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you who has the upper hand in the
fiscal cliff negotiations? Ninety eight percent of you say the president;
two percent say the Republicans.

Coming up, an unprecedented strike could change paychecks across the
country. Find out why these workers are so frustrated with fast food.
Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, an industry dominated by working
moms just got a serious wake-up call. Hundreds of workers walked off their
jobs across New York City yesterday. This is an unprecedented strike by
mostly non-union workers. Their target is the fast food industry.

Some people might think fast food employees are just teenage kids out
there flipping burgers, making minimum wage until something better comes
along. Not the case. The median age of a fast food employee in this
country is 28 years old; 66 percent of fast food employees are women. On
average, those women are 32 years of age or older. Fast food is dominated
by adult employees.

Most fast food workers are part-time. Managers keep them working
under 40 hours per week to avoid paying them full benefits. Most make
about 18,000 dollars a year, just above minimum wage. The workers in New
York City are asking for a raise. They want 15 dollars an hour. I can
imagine some Americans think it`s a lot to ask when you`re in a recession
and millions of people don`t even have jobs right now. They took a look at
a number of different things across the country.

But I want you to look at this report. A new report shows corporate
profits just hit a record high. Companies are making more money than they
have ever made before. The workers are simply asking for a fair deal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are not willing to bargain or they`re not
willing to sit down and have a contract.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your workers are the ones who are generating
this money for you. So please, 15 dollars isn`t a lot. Give us a raise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we are living in poverty. These
companies are making billions of dollars and we are not being appreciated
for the work that we do. So they are giving us 7.25, maybe eight dollars.
Because of that, most of these people, most of my co-workers, they actually
have to rely on Food Stamps and other government help.


SCHULTZ: More and more Americans might need to rely on fast food
wages. People at companies like Sensata and Hostess are getting laid off
and looking for jobs. Fast food workers in New York City are demanding a
better deal for everyone.

Reporter Sarah Jaffe wrote this analysis for "The Atlantic," "cheap
fast food and their cheap workers impose a cost on the country in the form
of Food Stamps, welfare through the tax code and social safety net
programs. This is a place for government to intervene and for corporations
to sacrifice some of their profits by raising wages to a livable level."

Reporter Sarah Jaffe joins me tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Great to
have you with us. Excellent reporting. Your analysis I think is spot on.
Do you think the strike was effective and will it have an impact?

SARAH JAFFE, "THE ATLANTIC": I think it scared the heck out of the
bosses. All the workers went back into work today. They were accompanied
by elected officials. They were accompanied by clergy, community leaders.
And all but one were accepted back with no problems. One person, they
attempted to fire her; there were about 100 people outside of the store
within an hour holding a rally.

SCHULTZ: What do they want to do? They want to go through what
union? What do they want to do?

JAFFE: They are forming an independent union. This was an organizing
drive started by a group called New York Communities For Change. They do
mostly community organizing. And they were working on housing issues when
they started talking to fast food workers and finding out, like you said,
that these are adults, that they`re supporting families.

I spoke to a woman yesterday who has three kids she`s supporting on
7.25 an hour from Burger King. And they decided to start organizing. You
know what? They are doing a pretty good job.

SCHULTZ: We just had a big discussion in this country about income
inequality and the corporate profits are out there. But everybody knew
corporate profits were through the roof before they were reported again
today. Did this play into it? Did this motivate these workers?

JAFFE: I think everybody knows, right? The workers at Walmart know
it. The workers at McDonalds and Burger King in New York know it.
Everybody knows that corporations are doing just fine and the rest of us
are getting squeezed.

SCHULTZ: What kind of impact do you think this could have nationally?

JAFFE: Imagine fast food workers across New York suddenly getting a
raise to 15 an hour. This is literally the lowest of the low paying
industries. That would be a huge precedent. It would be amazing.

SCHULTZ: Is there any indication that ownership or management of
these franchises would move forward and do something for these workers?

JAFFE: I mean, there`s not an indication, but McDonald`s, the
franchise -- the franchisee doesn`t set their own rules. The company gets
to decide all the rules. They could decide to give workers a raise. And
they could set a huge example for the rest of the country.

SCHULTZ: Back in the day, it was high school kids that were flipping
burgers and just waiting for the next back thing. I was really taken by
the number of single moms and the age of the workers in this country. You
think that is going to have a big impact on whether these companies decide
to do something?

JAFFE: I mean, this is the new economy, right? Back in the day,
factory jobs weren`t good jobs either. They were also low skill, low
paying jobs. The reason that they became the middle class jobs that we
know, because people organized.

SCHULTZ: Sarah, what`s the next move in this movement? And is it a

JAFFE: Oh, It`s a movement. They are not giving up. They are going
to keep working and they were -- I spoke to Jonathan Weston from New York
Communities for Change just before I came here. And they are hoping that
more workers got energized by seeing this happen and by seeing everybody go
back in today and not face reprisal.

SCHULTZ: So the next phase you think is what?

JAFFE: I`m hoping for more strikes, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You`re hoping for more strikes?

JAFFE: Yeah.

SCHULTZ: Do you think they`ll do it?

JAFFE: I think they`ll do it.

MORGAN: Did the 99 percent movement had anything to do with this?

JAFFE: I think that it crystallized something that was already going
on in this country, that people knew about where the wealth was going,
right? They knew over the last 30 years that we have seen it all go to the
people at the top, and the people at the bottom were just getting squeezed.
Meanwhile, their productivity has gone up. They are working harder. They
are working longer.

SCHULTZ: There has been no organized union that has gone in and led
them to do this. This is very grass roots.

JAFFE: This is very grass roots. This was led by a community group.
This is the workers deciding what they wanted by themselves. They are
asking for a union. They are forming their own independent union. It
would be across the fast food franchises in the city.

SCHULTZ: This is very interesting.

JAFFE: It`s pretty exciting.

SCHULTZ: It`s a change of the times. They are speaking up. It`s one
to follow. Sarah Jaffe, independent journalist, thank you for joining us
tonight. Appreciate it.

That`s THE ED SHOW on this Friday night. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL
MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. Have a great weekend,
my friend.

SCHULTZ: You too. I will. Thank you.


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2012 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

The Ed Show Section Front
Add The Ed Show headlines to your news reader:

Sponsored links

Resource guide