Alex Witt   |  October 13, 2013

The view from inside shutdown negotiations

MSNBC’s Alex Witt speaks with Rep. David Cicilline about the possible deal in Congress to re-open the government.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> so what is the view from inside the negotiations? well, joining me no is democratic congressman david sisselini.

>> i think it's unclear the speaker has been unwilling to deliver his own caucus and a vote with democrats . it seems as if the senate leadership has given up on the house and areworking directly with the white house to put together a deal. we all voted yesterday, signed a discharge petition to try to force the speaker to bring a clean funding bill to the floor. just to make it clear, that's what we think. the government should be open. we should avoid a default. then we should go through regular order and develop a budget over the long term. so i think it's very clear the speaker has been unwilling to do that. though the votes are there, the american people deserve to have a government open. they deserve to be ensured that we're protecting the full faith and credit of the united states . to allow a default would be catastrophic for our economy.

>> give me a sense of that discharge petition that you're talking about. i see that your colleague from the other side of the aisle there in rhode island also signed that petition. give me a reflection on how bipartisan that petition is.

>> well, this is really a moment. there are 186 democrats that have signed it. we need a majority to get to 218. it will require some republicans to sign the petition. there have been about 20 or 25 republicans who have made public statements in support of a clean funding bill to reopen government. so they have defined the courage to not only vote for that but to sign a petition that will give them the opportunity to vote for that as well as the rest of the congress. this will force the speaker to bring that senate bill to the floor to allow us to open government so that we can get the american people back to work. they've said they support a clean funding bill, but they need to find the courage to sign the petition, which may be a little harder for them because it's really an action that will force the speaker to do something that so far he's been unwilling to do.

>> well, and the ideology behind that, i'm reading a quote from you, speaker boehner cared as much about solving this problem as he did about protecting his own job, we would not be facing a shutdown next week. is that a widely held view?

>> yeah, i mean, i think the sense is that the speaker has been unwilling to stand up to this extreme faction within his caucus led by the tea party because he sees that as some threat to his speakership. i think they've been very vocal about that in challenging him. but this is a moment, frankly, where he has to do what's right for our country and put aside his own political future and say, this is a moment to do not what's right for your caucus or for the republican party but what's right for america. i think he would be -- would enjoy wide acclaim if he did what's good for our country. that's to avoid a default, to reopen government and worry about the political consequences later.

>> all right. let's talk about the shutdown. 13 days in effect here. thursday we're technically out of money. there are those that say, you know, they fudge the actual ability to pay some bills. would you accept a short-term deal to avoid further pain and possible catastrophe?

>> i think we have to make sure we open the government and avoid the default. the longer term we can do it, the better. i think we all would agree as long as those things are done and there's a process of dealing with the budget, send it to the budget committee so we can go through regular order and reach a compromise. the problem is we have people on our side in the republican party that are saying things like a default would be stabilizing for the economy or this isn't such a big deal . they don't understand the urgency of what default would mean.

>> but with regard to accepting the short-term deal, and i understand what you're saying there, but are the democrats at all letting the perfect get in the way of good enough?

>> no, i think, you know, most democrats have two priorities. opening government right away. the american people deserve a functioning and open government . and secondly, doing everything we can to extend the debt limit so the united states does not default on its obligations and we don't become a deadbeat nation. i think everyone recognizes that the longer term we can do that, it gives more opportunity to really negotiate a long-term budget deal the better. but doing both those things immediately is a priority for me and i think for most democrats . open the government, avoid the debt ceiling default, and then go through regular order. we've been asking for that since april so we can negotiate a budget for the long term. i think that has been what the democrats have been asking for. we have votes for both of those things if they came to the floor, they would pass with almost all the democrats supporting them and some number of republicans to make the majority. we would pass both of them. the speaker has so far been unwilling to do that because of this rule he just doesn't want to accept the idea of a governing coalition between democrats and republicans. we needs to do it because our country needs him to do it.

>> all right. rhode island democratic representative dade cicilline. good to see you.

>> thanks.