'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
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THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
October 16, 2013
Guest: Chris Van Hollen, Jon Tester, Steve LaTourette, John Stanton
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Good evening,
Chris, it`s going to be a long fascinating night. Thanks to you all for
joining us this hour, there is a lot going on. President Obama tonight
just a little while ago made this short statement in the press room at the
White House. This was just after the Senate voted to end the government
shutdown tonight and to avert the debt ceiling crisis by the skin of the
nation`s teeth just one day before the Treasury Department said, we would
start to risk default. Here is the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together
around an agreement that will reopen our government and remove the threat
of default from our economy. The Senate has now voted to approve this
agreement, and Democrats and Republicans in the House still have an
important vote to take. But I want to thank the leaders of both parties
for getting us to this point. Once this agreement arrives on my desk, I
will sign it immediately.
We`ll begin reopening of our government immediately, and we can begin
to lift this cloud of uncertainly and from our businesses and from the
American people. I`ll have more to say about this tomorrow. And I have
got some thoughts about how we can move forward in the remainder of the
year, and stay focused on the job at hand. Because there is a lot of work
ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American
people that has been lost over the last few weeks. And we can begin to do
that by addressing the real issues that they care about.
I have said before, I`ll say it again, I`m willing to work with
anybody. I`m eager to work with anybody. The Democrat or Republican,
House or Senate members on any idea that will grow our economy, create new
jobs, strengthens the middle class and get our fiscal House in order for
the long-term. I`ve never believed the Democrats have a monopoly on good
ideas, and despite the differences over the issues of shutting down the
government, I`m convinced that Democrats and Republicans can work together
to make progress for America.
In fact, there are things that we know that helps strengthen our
economy that we could get done before this year`s out. We still need to
pass a lot to fix our broken immigration system. We still need to pass a
farm bill. And with the shutdown behind us and budget committees forming
we now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is
responsible, that is fair. And that helps hard working people all across
this country. And we could get all of these things done even this year, if
everybody comes together in the spirit of how are we going to move this
country forward, and put the last three weeks behind us.
That is what I believe the American people are looking for, not a
focus on politics. Not a focus on elections, but a focus on the concrete
steps that can improve their lives. That is going to be my focus. I`m
looking forward to Congress doing the same. But once again, I want to
thank the leadership for coming together and getting this done. Hopefully
next time it won`t be in the 11th hour. One of the things that I said
throughout this process is we have to get out of the habit of governing by
crisis. And my hope and expectation is everybody has learned that there is
no reason why we can`t work on the issues at hand.
Why we can`t disagree between the parties, while still being
agreeable. And make sure that we`re not inflicting harm on the American
people when we do have disagreements. So hopefully that is a lesson that
will be internalized. Not just by me, but also by Democrats and
Republicans, not only the leaders but also the rank and file. Thanks very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking just a few minutes ago from the
White House press room saying that he will make further remarks tomorrow.
But again, the big breaking news tonight is that the Senate has voted, 81
to 18, to reopen the government. At long last, and also to avert the debt
ceiling disaster that was due to hit tomorrow. These were all the senators
who voted no. Again, it was 81 to 18, these were the 18 senators who voted
to keep the government shutdown. And to hit the debt ceiling tomorrow, Tom
Coburn, John Cornyn, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley, Dean
Heller, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, James Risch, Pat Roberts, Marco
Rubio, Tim Scott, Jefferson Beauregard Jeff Sessions III, Richard Shelby,
Pat Toomey, and David Vitter.
Eighteen, no votes, but those 18 senators saying no was not enough to
stop the rescue plans from going forward. So now, the plan goes to the
house, which is why everybody is working late tonight, and why there is
still a lot to watch in Washington. Now obviously, all of those no-vote
senators are Republicans clearly, all 18 of them. And of course the whole
-- here started when the Republicans in the House hatched a plan, right,
sure, they had voted 30, 40, OK more than 40 times to repeal the health
care reform law, to repeal ObamaCare. More than 40 times. But it never
mattered. They kept voting over and over and over again, dozens of times
to repeal ObamaCare in the House. But everybody ignored them. All those
votes had no effect at all. So then this whole thing started when
Republicans hatched a plan. Marlin Stutzman, please explain the plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARLIN STUTZMAN (R), INDIANA: I believe that this is our time.
This is when it really matters. Yes, we voted to repeal ObamaCare 30 to 40
times, but this is when it really counts. This is when it is time to put
up or shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, with 30, 40 maybe more than 40. Those other 30 or 40
times that they had, you know, taken those votes before, forget that. This
time they figured out a way to make it count. They have figured out a way
to not be ignored anymore. And their plan this time, the thing that got us
here in the first place, is that the Republicans in the House decided they
would refuse to fund anything, they would refuse to fund the entire
government unless the Democrats caved and finally let them kill ObamaCare.
This was their brilliant plan, they thought this would work, the Democrats
would never let the government be shutdown, they said we`ll demand the only
way that the Democrats can avoid that is to kill ObamaCare.
That is how we will finally get our way. That was the plan that got
us here. The Democrats said no to the Republicans on that. The
Republicans thought for sure. The Democrats would cave on this. But the
Democrats said no. And so 16 days ago the government did in fact shutdown.
Which maybe the Republicans did not expect. Because once they had an
actual shutdown on their hands they didn`t seem to have a plan for what to
do next. At least it was a hitch in the plan, right? They got the
shutdown but Democrats didn`t agree to repeal ObamaCare. So now what? And
that is when the demand lists started changing. The effort to force the
Democrats into giving them something in exchange for holding the country
hostage, from that point on, when something like that -- OK, we can`t get
Can we get a de-funding of ObamaCare? The Democrats said no, can we
get ObamaCare delayed? The Democrats said no, can we delay the specific
individual mandate in ObamaCare? The Democrats said no, they wanted to
keep it on ObamaCare, sort of running out of ObamaCare ideas until this
point. So David Vitter of all people comes up with a new list of weird,
specific demands about ObamaCare. So, the next demand was, can we deny
health care insurance coverage specifically to the president himself and
the vice president. That actually was one of their demands, the Democrats
Can we mess with the health insurance of the people who work for
members of Congress, Congressional staffers. Democrat says, no. Can we
mess with the health insurance specifically members of the president`s
cabinet? They said, that is what we want. Democrats said no. Then they
said, can we make it so birth control is not covered by people`s health
insurance anymore? If you don`t let us get people`s birth control, not
covered by the health insurance, you can`t open the government. They tried
that as a demand. Democrats said no. How about the keystone pipeline, can
we force the keystone pipeline to be opened?
No. Means testing Medicare? No. Changing the pensions of federal
employees. No. Expanded oil drilling? And they wanted an expand the oil
drilling on federal lands. No, net neutrality? Nope. Tort reform? Nope.
The EPA`s pollution rules for the new coal-powered plants, they asked for
that, the Democrats said, no. And then Paul Ryan demanded that he get all
of his proposed tax code changes for when he lost, when he was running for
vice president, can we help Paul Ryan`s tax code, please? No.
Then they demanded the administration get rid of coal ash regulations,
the answer was no. Here is a new one, they demanded to change the tax on
medical devices, the one that Evan Bayh is the lobbyist for. The answer
for that was, no. Can we change the Treasury Department`s rules to make
the next debt ceiling crisis worse than this one, that was one of the last
demands they made, the answer for that one was no. Here is one, can we get
guarantees of income verifications for certain low income people who are
going to get subsidies for their health insurance under ObamaCare.
Yes, yes, that one you can have. Because that actually is already in
the ObamaCare law, it is already law. So, yes, you can have that. You
also have the right to bestow the name Wednesday on the day that comes
after Tuesday, if you like, it already exists. The income verifications
thing that they won in this process is already in the loss, so, yes, sure,
magnanimously, you guys can have that. But all of the other long, arcane,
improvised, constantly changing list of demands that the Republicans made
on their long weird ever-changing ransom notes that they kept writing and
re-writing once they found that, opps, we actually have shut down the
For some reason, we better come up with a reason why of the entire
list of things they demanded in exchange for opening the government
throughout this entire crisis, we now know as of tonight, that of their
entire list, they are going to get nothing. Nothing. You can argue for
what you want through the legislative process by trying to make
legislation, amend bills, do great in debates, win votes. You can try to
win through the legislative process.
You can try to win what you want in terms of policy by winning
elections. But when you lose policy fights and you lose elections, the
line was drawn here tonight to say you know what? There is not a third
way. There is not another means of policy-making available to you in
Washington that involves you destroying things unless you get your way. If
you try to do it that way, you will find that what you get off your list of
chest-pounding demands is exactly nothing. Nothing. I should say -- there
is one other thing that they got out of this disaster. Before this crisis
started, the Democrats in Congress had been asking for six months for there
to be negotiations between the two parties and the two Houses of Congress
to talk big picture about the budget.
So as to try to avoid this lurching from crisis to crisis that we have
been going through since the Republicans got control in the House.
Democrats have been asking for that since April, they`ve asked for that by
their own count, 21 times. And Republicans have been saying no, over and
over again. They have refused to participate in that process. Well, now
as part of this deal being worked out and voted on tonight, the Republicans
have finally agreed that yes they will do that negotiation thing that the
Democrats have been asking for for six months that they have been refusing
all this time until now.
So, to summarize through this process, the Republicans, oh, yes, I
think we fit them all on here. The Republicans said that they would
shutdown the government, or once they shut it down, they would refuse to
open the government unless they got each of these things. Of all the
things that they wanted, they got nothing. On the other hand, the
Democrats had suggested before this whole process that they would please
like to talk about the budget. And now, Republicans will go along with
that after refusing for six months.
So tonight, on day 16 of the government shutdown, on the eve of the
date when the treasury said we would hit the debt ceiling and start to be
unable to pay what we owe with God knows what consequences for the American
economy and the global economy. Tonight, the Senate once again passed a
bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Before tonight,
John Boehner had refused to allow a vote on a bill like that, because
although it would probably pass with all the Democrats and a handful of
Republicans, most Republicans didn`t like the idea. So he wouldn`t bring
Most Republicans wanted to keep pressing for more demands, more things
to add to the ransom note, again, none of which they got. Tonight, John
Boehner says he will finally allow vote that will open the government and
raise the debt ceiling just in time. The White House has insisted
throughout this process that there are no winners, nobody is coming out on
top here. And it may be true that nobody won, but somebody definitely lost
here. And that has kind of been the story of John Boehner`s leadership of
the House Republicans, since the House Republicans got control of Congress
Under the speakership of John Boehner, we have now had two near
defaults. We have had two brushes up against the debt ceiling. We have
had one long government shutdown. And we have had no legislation of any
significance passed at all, since he has been speaker. One real crisis,
two near crises that you could call crises, because they didn`t cause real
damage, and no accomplishment. And he has also been unable to roll back
any legislative accomplishments of the Democrats in that time either. And
the means by which John Boehner has failed over the past three years, it
has all been in public, and it`s all been careening and dramatic in a way
that sort of ought to be predictable at this point, but still, every time
he fails newly in public, it is still shocking.
I mean, John Boehner had a Republican farm bill that his own side
killed. John Boehner had a Republican transportation bill that his own
side killed. John Boehner had a Republican housing bill that his own side
killed. John Boehner had a House leadership Republican plan for the fiscal
cliff site in the first debt ceiling and the payroll tax extension. He
even had a Republican version -- House leadership version of a health care
bill. He put all of those things out there publicly. He said here is what
I, as leader of the Republicans say, we are going to do.
And then he looked behind him and the rest of the Republicans will be
back there saying, no, John, you know what? No, we`re not doing it, never
mind. John Boehner`s tenure as Speaker of the House since Republicans
control of Congress in January, 2011, has succeed in accomplishing one now
seemingly unlikely thing. And that is that John Boehner is still speaker
of the house. He has not lost that job. And maybe that is just because
nobody else wants that job. John Boehner is still there, which in its own
right is amazing given the abject depths of faire during his time as
In the immediate sense, this have been 16 bad days for the country and
for the economy, and for how close we got to the debt ceiling, it is
probably too close. It will probably also have significant economic
consequences for us as a country, beyond the tens of billions of dollars of
economic pain we suffered just as a result of the shutdown. The country
suffers for the Republicans` failures in Congress. But at this point,
their failure has reached new depths. It is almost sort of seemingly
bottomless at this point, we don`t know where it ends.
And now, Congress, the Senate tonight already, the House do, they will
take this one last vote. And then after that, they will go away for a
week, presumably to lick their wounds and figure out who they`re going to
blame and who can profit out of this. And then once they`ve gone away for
a week and do whatever it is that they do and they`re not in D.C., they
have to come back to D.C. and they have to once again, take up the job of
trying to make policy and keep the government open a not hit the debt
ceiling again and when it comes around really, really soon. What changes
in Congress, because of this journey that we`ve just been through, through
the bottom-lines. What changes for when they come back? Because surely we
cannot stay here. Surely everybody acknowledges that we cannot stay where
we are and keep doing what we just did, over and over again.
Joining us now is Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, he`s the
ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. Mr. Van Hollen, thank you
very much for being with us.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: It`s good to be with you,
MADDOW: What is going to happen tonight in the House? Do you expect
that this bill will definitely pass and this will definitely be done
VAN HOLLEN: Well, you know and as you just said, it is always
premature to be predicting things in this house. But I do believe that now
that Speaker Boehner is finally allowing the House to work its will, we
will be able to pass this. As we speak, I think the papers are being
brought over to the House from the Senate. We`re going to try and get
unanimous consent to bring this up for a vote and get it done. But again,
it is important to emphasize the only reason we`re able to do this now
after these 15 long days, is because the speaker has finally after
exhausting all the bad alternatives which have really hurt the country,
finally allowing democracy to work its will, something he could have done
15 days ago and avoided this whole mess and all the pain that is generated.
MADDOW: There were 18 Republicans in the Senate who voted no on the
bill that did pass there, that is now headed your way. I expect that if
not all, at least most Democrats are going to vote yes to reopen the
government and to avert the debt ceiling crisis. If that happens, how much
of a defection can Speaker Boehner afford? How much leeway does he really
have? How much of a cushion is there?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, I think you`re right, Rachel. You will going to
see virtually every Democrat -- not every Democrat vote in favor of
reopening the government and preventing us from defaulting on our debts.
That would mean that Speaker Boehner would have to have 17 Republicans join
him. So I`m sure that there is a margin to do that. How many Republicans
will vote for this, in the end, I don`t know. What you`re seeing here as
you indicated by that litany that you went through is really the final
death throes of what Senator Richard Byrd, the Republican from North
Carolina said that weeks and weeks ago, was the dumbest idea he ever heard.
If this had just been a dumb idea, that would be bad enough, but this
has been a tragedy and disgrace that the country did not need in an
unnecessary one. These kind of self-inflicted wounds are things that we
hope our Republican colleagues will avoid in the future. You asked whether
anything will change. The question is whether people have learned that
MADDOW: We`re already starting to see on the rights trying to spin
this as maybe it was not so bad. Or maybe the reason that things seemed to
have gone south here or people are blaming us for this is just because of
the squishes, because Republicans are too moderate and they compromise too
much. We`re seeing the right gearing up for this as a permanent way of
doing business. I guess my question to you is not, you know, why they`re
doing that or how effective they`re going to be at doing that. But whether
or not they still hold sway in the House. Do you feel like the house is
still going to be sort of dancing to the tune played by these outside
groups that don`t really care about the long-term health of the country?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, time will tell. I mean, that is exactly the
question we`re all asking ourselves. We heard Senator Cruz on the Senate
floor today say by God, if the Senate Republicans had just stuck together
and kept all this for another week we would have undone the Affordable Care
Act, we would have gotten rid of ObamaCare. If the House leadership and
the members of the House remain that deluded this time around, then the
country is in for a very, very bumpy ride. If Speaker Boehner and other
members of his leadership are finally willing to stand up to the Ted Cruz
faction in the House of Representatives, then we have some hope of getting
on a better course. But only the future will tell.
Look, the only good news that you might find in what happened is the
possibility that the Republican leadership recognized that you don`t get
your way by threatening government shutdowns and threatening default. But
whether or not they have in fact learned that lesson, we will only know
going forward. As you said, we`re finally pleased to have negotiations on
the budget. We have been trying to do this since last march. So maybe
we`ll sit down and maybe Republicans will put down the clubs of government
shutdown and threats of default, and actually have a negotiation on the
budget. But time will tell.
MADDOW: Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking
Democrat on the House Budget Committee. I know you`re about to be very
busy, I know the House just started its work on this bill tonight. Thanks
for taking the time to explain to us what is going on. I appreciate your
VAN HOLLEN: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: As you can see though, there is the live shot of the House of
Representatives. They`re starting the discussions on the matter that was
already taken up and voted on and passed in the Senate tonight. All eyes
tonight on the House. The expectation is that they too will vote to reopen
the government and to avert default by not hitting the debt ceiling. But
it is not over until the fat lady sings. At this point, we don`t even know
who the fat lady is, so all eyes on the House tonight. Stay with us here
on MSNBC. This is happening right now.
MADDOW: The House is now considering the bill that would reopen the
government as of tomorrow morning, and avert the debt ceiling crisis, the
Senate has already passed it. News that the Senate was going to come up
with something, news that the Senate had arrived at a plan to avert the
debt ceiling disaster, to restart the government, that news was reported
early today. That they would come up with something. They reported early
enough today that the Dow Jones had time to climb more than 200 points by
closing time at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. By that time a day, the reporting about
the prospects for a deal in the Senate were bolstered by a draft proposal
that started to circulating on the hill and at the press as to what the
Senate was going to agree to.
But then, just before 6:00 p.m. Eastern today, the language of the
final bill in the Senate came out. It was released by Senate Democratic
staff. It had all sorts of specific spending measures in it that nobody
really expected. There was funding for flood recovery in Colorado, funding
for recovery from wildfires in the west, some wildfire prevention money as
well, funding for LI-HEAP which helps low income families by fuel oil,
otherwise pay their hitting bills over the winter, really important
program, funding for the privacy and civil liberties oversight board,
there`s funding for a big construction project on the lower Ohio River in
Illinois and Kentucky.
There is even a very specific provision in the bill for the payment
that is due to the widow of the late New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg.
That money owed to her by the Senate is about $174,000 and that money is in
the fund of the government and don`t hit the debt ceiling bill that would
pass 81 to 18 tonight in the United States Senate. Why is that? Why were
all of those provisions in this bill? And why would anybody risk getting
that list of stuff done? That list of stuff. Why would you risk getting
that stuff done by this means, by this very delicate means, when none of
these things have been debated as part of this process. And when any
sliding back into standoff mode, any excuse to slide back in the standoff
mode would surely throw the nation into overtime on the debt ceiling with
all the disastrous consequences that would entail. What happened here?
Joining us now, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, he`s a member of the
appropriations committee. Senator Tester, thanks very much for being with
us, it is nice to have you here.
SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: It is great to be with you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Should we have expected all these individual line items,
funding items in the bill to pass the Senate tonight, or was this a
TESTER: It is a surprise. I mean, I think that this stuff was
probably put in with all the best of intentions, but it is one of the
reasons our popularity ratings are so low, is because of surprises. We
have seen a lot of surprises the last three weeks. And I wish that we
could have kept it clean. And look, there are things I like to get in, and
there are amendments I like to put on bills that go through, too. But the
bottom-line is that you need to have time to be able to analyze what is in
a bill. And quite frankly there was not a lot of time. As you said, this
bill came out at 6:00. I found out about the provisions before I voted,
but just before I voted.
MADDOW: And there is no time to, I mean, not enough time to read it,
because there is not enough time to let it fly another day because then
we`re sliding into disaster territory.
TESTER: That is exactly right. And I think these insertions may have
just been fine. But the fact is, we ought to have the opportunity to
debate them on the floor and discuss them and make sure they`re the right
thing to do, make sure it is the right thing to put in this bill. But the
real problem here is, Rachel, is for the fact that for the last three
weeks, we have been dealing with the House of Representatives that have
done some pretty kooky things, done some pretty damaging things to our
business climate in this country, to our world reputation and to working
And that is really the criminal part about all of this. This never
had to come to this point. There was a clean resolution to fund the
government in the House long before the shutdown. And I think we could
have gotten a clean debt limit passed, too. But a total lack of leadership
in the House and being led by the minority of people who fell off the right
side of the earth.
MADDOW: We will see why whether or not the House is able to pull it
together and actually pass this thing. Tonight, everybody says, to expect
that, but I think we are all sort of, on tenterhooks wanting to makes sure
that it actually does happen, even though they say it will. But one of the
things that happen that was very unusual during this process, is that one
senator, one member of your chamber, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, freshman
from Texas, actually got involved very overtly in the House negotiations,
telling House Republicans to stand strong and not cave on this and that
they were the ones that needed to really push the shutdown, really egging
them on. How does that affect his standing in the Senate now? Is there
anything like that ever happened before Senator, you know?
TESTER: Not that I know, but I will tell you there was very average
on the get-go, that this was about Ted Cruz raising money for a potential
run for the presidency. That`s all this was about. It was about Ted Cruz.
It wasn`t about the country.
And I`m telling you -- you know this, Rachel, you talked about it in
the last three weeks, the things that the folks were following Ted Cruz are
trying to do, would have done long-term devastating damage to this
country`s economy, and we would have no way got our arms around the debt
and deficit in the country because our economy would have been in the tank,
far worse than it was back in 2008.
You know, I don`t know why you would follow somebody who would take
you down a path to destruction, but that`s what some of the House members
are doing. I think it is very unfortunate for the country.
MADDOW: Understanding what you do about why this happened, how this
happens, and obviously, I can hear it in the tone of your voice how you
feel, the anger you have about the consequences of what we`ve just been
through over the last three weeks. Do you feel like you have learned
anything and the Senate has learned anything about how to avert this, how
to stop this from happening again in three more months?
TESTER: Well, I think there are good people on both sides of the
aisle in the Senate that want to get things done, and want to get some
things done to move the economy forward in the right direction. We`re
working in a bipartisan way for example, Rachel, on a House financing
reform bill that I think should be the next bill up, as soon as we get
things operational again and get back in town. It will help the housing
market and move things forward.
It is a bipartisan bill that makes sense and moves the country forward
in a positive way and solves problems. That being said, we can do that on
every issue. But we certainly can`t do it if there`s obstructionists out
there that want to ruin the economy and their main focus is on themselves
and not on the country.
MADDOW: Senator Jon Tester of Montana -- sir, thank you very much for
your time tonight. I know it has been a long night already. Thanks for
TESTER: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: After a week like this one, some parts of the Republican
Party and some parts of the conservative movement appear to have learned a
lesson. Keep fighting each other. That`s what they`re telling each other
The amazing work of Senator Ted Cruz and the pile of broken dishes he
is leaving behind in the conservative movement. More on that coming up.
Plus more from the Senate floor where the House right now is debating
what to do about the bill that passed the Senate already tonight, to reopen
the government and to avert the debt ceiling disaster.
Stay with us. This is happening right now.
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: -- including the budget deficit,
the nation`s out of control debt, and the many challenges --
MADDOW: This is Charlie Dent, the moderate Republican congressman
from Pennsylvania, who was willing to limit and extend (ph) caucus with
Democrats a little bit to try to find a way out of the government shutdown
and debt ceiling crisis, speaking right now on the floor as the House
prepares to vote. Let`s listen for a second.
DENT: -- Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, and the many other members
who participated in the discussions, I believe these conversations have
laid a strong foundation that we can build on to arrive at agreements amid
the major issues that need to be addressed in this country. I urge my
colleagues to vote in favor for this legislation tonight, but to join with
those of us who share an affirmative obligation to govern and to seek
bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing our great nation.
This time, I yield back. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentleman --
MADDOW: Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania played a key role in
articulating a non-obstructionist, nonmilitant Republican position here on
this matter, one of the few Republicans in Congress who did this. Right
now, this bill is on the House floor. They have sort of leapfrogged over
the Rules Committee to get it on the floor and they`re proceeding to debate
right now, before voting on a matter that the Senate has already passed.
If it passes the House, it goes to the president and the shutdown is done.
Stay with us live here on MSNBC.
MADDOW: We have breaking news for you tonight. It has nothing to do
with the shutdown. We have a result for you in the special election to
choose the nation`s newest United States senator, the new U.S. senator for
the great state of New Jersey. Senator Frank Lautenberg held that seat and
he passed away in June.
Tonight`s race for that now open seat in New Jersey has just been
called by "The Associated Press". With 58 percent of precincts reporting,
"The Associated Press" has declared that Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark,
New Jersey, is the winner of this U.S. Senate seat, with 58 percent of the
vote at this point.
Welcome to Washington, Senator Cory Booker. Fun times await you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We are now seeing the end of this
agonizing odyssey that this body has been put through. But far more
importantly, the American people have been put through. It`s one of the
more shameful chapters that I have seen in the years that I spent here in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was John McCain on the Senate floor earlier today.
His friend, Senator Lindsey Graham, told reporters today, quote, "We
really did go too far. We screwed up." He said this has been a, quote,
"very bad two weeks for the Republican Party and for conservatism."
The lead editorial on the uber conservative "Wall Street Journal"
editorial page today was sub-titled, "It`s time to wrap up this comedy of
Quote, "This is the quality of thinking or lack thereof that has
afflicted many GOP conservatives from the beginning of this budget
showdown. They picked a goal they couldn`t achieve in trying to defund
Obamacare from one House of Congress, and then picked a means they couldn`t
sustain politically, by pursuing a long government shutdown and threatening
to blow through the debt limit. Republicans can best help their cause now
by getting this over with and moving on to fight more intelligently another
"The Journal" also today quotes Republican Congressman Devin Nunes,
describing the impact of his conservative brethren in the House, describing
it with some finality. Congressman Nunes says, quote, "This is it. The
Star Wars convention ends today."
And that is just the Republican side talking about themselves right
But the total collapse of the Republican Party`s effort here to try to
end Obamacare, to try to get their way on policy by threatening and then
causing a government shutdown, and then by coming right up to the brink of
hitting the debt ceiling. The failure to achieve anything by that
strategy, other than harm to the economy, and to their own standing with
the American people, that failure does not mean that everybody on the right
thinks what they just did was a bad idea.
The conservative group the Club for Growth, which likes to run even
more right wing challengers against Republicans in the incumbent in the
primary system, they said today that Republicans should still vote against
the deal. They said they would hold it against them if Republicans voted
Same goes for the Jim DeMint group, Heritage Action. Same goes for
the Tea Party Patriots group. Same goes for the group FreedomWorks, which
used to be kind of a big deal in the circles, but seems to be petering out
of it now. The Pew Research Center today put out a new poll showing that
the American public`s view of the Tea Party has never been more negative.
That said, look at the title on the poll as they put it out, about the
overall plunging of popularity with the Tea Party, basically saying nobody
identifies with the Tea Party anymore, America is starting to hate them
more and more.
But that said, the last few people who remain in the Tea Party, well,
Ted Cruz` popularity is soaring among them. Senator Ted Cruz today decided
to make his latest remarks to the press at the same time that the
Republican leader in the Senate was on the Senate floor announcing the deal
to reopen the government. While Mitch McConnell was announcing the deal on
the Senate floor, Senator Cruz convened reporters outside the chamber to
talk about what he wanted to talk about.
Senator Cruz, of course, has been whipping Republicans in the House
about how they can never give up, the must stand strong, they should never
give in, and the fight was never over. But as far as he`s concerned, he
explained to reporters today, the fight is over. Senator Cruz announced he
wouldn`t take any extraordinary measures to block the deal in the Senate.
So, in other words, he said this hill really was worth dying on for
House Republicans, but he doesn`t plan to die on this hill himself.
Nobody in American politics wanted a shutdown, except for the right.
Nobody in American politics thought a debt ceiling standoff was a good
idea, except for the right.
Nobody thought maybe a debt ceiling crash might even a good thing,
except for a very narrow sliver of the right. The rest of the country is
breathing a sigh of relief tonight as this seems to be getting sorted out.
The rest of the country is very grateful that the right lost. In whatever
it was they were trying to do here.
But if the right itself does not think that they lost, if their
takeaway here is that we should have just blown through the debt ceiling,
the only thing we did wrong is that we didn`t stick to it, if that`s what
they think, and they`re the ones who caused this in the first place, then
what happens when Republicans come back to Congress? Is this all going to
Joining us now is former Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette.
He`s Republican congressman who represented parts of Ohio. Congressman
LaTourette, it`s great for you to be here tonight. Thanks for your time.
FORMER REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: Nice to see you.
MADDOW: So, we have seen a lot of very interesting conflict within
the Republican Party over this shutdown resolution. How do the dynamics
inside the party change now that we have had this resolution?
LATOURETTE: Well, they don`t. The civil war that is going on, and I
hope we can sort it out by the 2014 elections. This group that led us on
the Bataan death march to nowhere believes that we continue to lose
elections because we are not conservative enough, and so, the evangelical
and very conservative voters stay home. If they turned out, Mitt Romney
would be president, we wouldn`t have Obamacare, blah, blah, blah, blah,
I, and people like Charlie Dent, Devin Nunes, whom you`ve already
heard from this evening, believe that in order to win a national election,
it would be nice if we had women, Hispanics, African-Americans, gay
Americans, Asian Americans and people in labor actually thought about
voting for Republicans. That`s the dynamic that we are going through
And this bunch -- I mean, they just had no plan. And that was
evident. I think John Boehner deserves a lot of credit for trying to show
them six ways to Sunday that this was not a strategy that was going to
work. He tried to save them from themselves, yesterday, coming up not only
plan B, but plan C.
But these people are willing to shoot the hostage. And -- and, not
negotiate. And then a bunch will vote no tonight, and go home, Rachel.
This is the thing that kills me. They`re going to go home and say --
well, it is a RINOs and the squishes, joined with the Democrats, reopened
the government and did this thing, but we stood up to Barack Obama. That`s
crap. And they should be ashamed for the way they`ve conducted this thing.
MADDOW: When the Republicans do face this again, because as you say
those dynamics are still going to be there, that civil war is going to be
being fought. Do you think tactically, strategically, that Speaker Boehner
and the other Republicans in the House or other leaders in the party have
figured out any new ways to deal with this so it doesn`t get so dangerous
LATOURETTE: No. I mean, this is not a great deal. Let me say that.
All they have done is we are going to be talking in January and February,
because what they did was, what they always do in Washington we can`t solve
a problem, we appoint a blue ribbon committee.
LATOURETTE: And we had the super committee that couldn`t come up with
$1.3 trillion in savings over three years. And that`s how we got the
Budget Control Act that led to this problem now.
Well, now, we have a bigger committee. I think there`s 22 senators
are going to be on this thing. If you think something will be hashed out
in January, February, by December 13th. I will sell you some property I
have in Ohio.
MADDOW: Members of Congress like Charlie Dent, members of Congress
who believe, like you did, who have this kind of criticisms that Devin
Nunes` voices, is there any new support that`s going to emerge for them,
from Republicans who have views like that out of this process.
LATOURETTE: Well, yes. I mean, my, my part time job is being the
president of the main street partnership, a group that was started by
moderate Republicans 15 years ago. And we are getting a lot of phone calls
from people who are Republican donors saying, what are you, crazy? Said
what happened to my party.
I can remember when I ran the first time. I would knock on doors.
Older people would come and say, Democratic Party left me, I didn`t leave
them. And they don`t know what the hell they are talking about. Tonight,
I know what the hell they`re talking about.
MADDOW: Former Congressman Steve LaTourette, Republican of Ohio --
thank you very much for being with us tonight. It`s good to have you here,
LATOURETTE: Thank you.
MADDOW: We should say, Mr. LaTourette is with Main Street
Partnership, as I said. He`s also president of the McDonalds Hopkins
All right. We got a live report on just what`s happening in the House
right now from one and only John Stanton right now. The House has not yet
voted. But they`re getting close.
Stay with us.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), DEMOCRATIC LEADER: That is a luxury this
country cannot afford.
MADDOW: This is under way. You`re looking at live pictures right now
on the floor of the House of Representatives.
We are expecting a vote imminently on the House floor on the bill to
end the 16-day long government shutdown and raise the nation`s debt ceiling
in order to avoid a potentially catastrophic national default that the
Treasury said could start as early as tomorrow.
The bill to do both of those things passed the Senate a little more
than an hour ago. It is now in the House.
We are all in John Boehner`s hand right now. Lord, give us strength.
Joining us now is John Stanton. He`s Washington bureau chief for
John, thanks for being with us tonight.
JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: It`s good to see you.
MADDOW: John, my ulcer is back. Is there a reason to worry that this
vote is not going to happen?
STANTON: No, no, no. This vote -- this vote will be fine. And
they`ll go -- they should actually have a fair number of Republicans that
vote with Democrats to extend the debt limit and reopen government until
early next year. So, this should go fine.
MADDOW: What are you expecting in terms of numbers, in terms of the
cushion from the Republican votes?
STANTON: Well, it depends frankly. You know, some of the
conservatives like, Mulvaney, said that they think that a majority of
Republicans will end up voting with Democrats on this. I`m not so sure
that I believe that.
But I think, potentially, a healthy number, anywhere 80 or more could
potentially end up voting with all of the Democrats or most of the
Democrats to reopen the government and avoid a debt default.
MADDOW: What`s the mood among the House Republican caucus now if we
can describe there being one. Obviously, there are different factions that
have different feelings. If you could give them an overall mode, where
would you say they`re at?
STANTON: Well, there isn`t one, frankly. I think for most
Republicans they feel very beat up and bruised. They feel like they got
put through a ringer. A lot of them are blaming Ted Cruz right now and
feel like they got sort of pulled down the rabbit hole, that they didn`t
Although there are a number that really think they won, frankly. The
folks like, Representative Huelskamp and others, sort of very ideologically
based conservatives, feel like this is a win for them that they were able
to demonstrate to the public that they were going to fight the president
tooth and nail. They think that they can use this to transition into the
broader movement for the next shutdown that will happen in January.
So, you know, there is sort of the split as always.
MADDOW: Is their view that the polling that says that the country is
disgusted with them and that this tactic of theirs has been essentially
unpatriotic and bad for the country and self serving. Is it their view
that the polls are just skewed or that they`re true but they don`t care?
STANTON: No, yes, most of the ones that don`t -- that don`t, that you
are talking about most you are talking about here they don`t care about the
polls. They believe what they`re doing is morally right. They have, you
know all of the conviction of a person that is, you know, feels they`re
And they belief that, you know, what they`re doing will ultimately be
better for the country than going along with, with the White House and
moderate Republicans. And so, for them, they`re very comfortable with
MADDOW: John Stanton, Washington bureau chief of BuzzFeed, and a late
night in the Capitol -- John, thanks for being with us. Good to have you
STANTON: Of course.
MADDOW: That does it for us right now. But this is ongoing. What
you are watching now the vote in the House to end the government shutdown
and avert the debt ceiling crisis that the Treasury Department says would
hit tomorrow. We are done to the skin of our teeth, as a nation, as this
vote comes in right now in the House of Representatives.
That does it for us tonight, but we will see you live at midnight for
the latest from Washington.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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