All In   |  April 29, 2013

Democrats vow no more piecemeal repeal of sequester

Democrats split on how to move forward on the sequestration. Chris Hayes talks about the sequestration with Congresswoman Karen Bass.

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

>>> today while flights across the country took off with minimal delay, the full ramification of friday's vote to give the faa special flexibility to deal with sequester cuts began to set in. the precedent they set is that the sequester can and whether be dismantled if the right people are inconvenienced by it. we can be sure others will try and take advantage of. and they should. let's remember, while america's frequent fliers got relief last week, there was no relief for elderly citizens going without hot meals, kids getting kicked out of headstart programs or cancer patients waiting longer for their chemotherapy. today william nibly asked congress to come look my patients in the eye and tell them waiting for a flight is a bigger problem than traveling farther and waiting longer for chemotherapy. here we see precisely the problem. in voting to grant the exemption from the sequester, they have set up a zero sum cage match between various groups of marginalized citizens who have stronger claims for their own exemptions and who can point to the mix as a model for relief. chris van hollen urged them to hold firm against any further individual exemptions to the sequester saying i don't think we should be votie ining for the exceptions of this. we're going to have to deal with this in a comprehensive way. it's going to be tough, that's why it'll require a united position and leadership. it could give back democrats some semblance of leverage but will place democrats squarely against cancer doctors lobbying to make sure their patients can continue to receive chemotherapy. democrats are now faced with a question of what to do moving forward. embrace the shameless legacy of the faa vote or stand firm against any and all future exemptions and let the real impacts of austerity step in without limiting the whole destructive experiment. karen bash right now supporting efforts to repeal some of the cuts. congresswoman, thank you for joining me. and my question to you is a strategic one, which is what is the game plan here? there was a lot of buzz on friday afterwards that this was essentially a kind of declaration of defeat for democrats on the sequester. if you can repeal the things that are inconvenient for the powerful, what does that mean for the rest of the people? and if you start piecemeal repealing individual parts of it, what is the long-term strategy towards actually getting rid of the whole thing.

>> let me just tell you, i agree with you and especially with chris van hallen 100%. i know a number of us had concerns on friday's vote and not so much from the flight delay, but more from the flight safety perspective. but you're absolutely right. we cannot give into this. sequestration needs to be repealed completely. let me tell you, i met with a group of seniors who told me they're very worried about meals on wheels because that's their basic best meal they have in a day. and so one of the things that speaker boehner and the republicans have been saying for the last couple of years is for the senate to pass a budget . the senate has passed a budget and so he now needs to call for the conference committee where the senate has passed a budget , the house has passed a budget , we need to come to the table. that way we can get rid of sequestration and pass a budget that is reasonable.

>> that's -- from what i'm hearing from you, the strategy is the demand to get a conference committee to get a budget that both houses can agree to as the replacement for sequester.

>> absolutely. that's absolutely right. that's the only responsible way to deal with this. we can't take the piecemeal approach.

>> can i ask you a question?

>> sure.

>> you were knocking on doors today.

>> yes.

>> were you hearing about the faa vote at the door? do people know about it? were people riled up about it?

>> no, to be honest with you, they weren't. i'll tell you what they were riled up about. medicare, riled up about the meals on wheels and headstarts because i talked to a lot of moms today. and they essentially are in a panic. they don't want to lose their jobs. if they don't have child care , they're going to wind up losing their jobs. that's what head start , the role it plays in addition to educating our children before they get to kindergarten, also a way parents can go to work.

>> john mccain said this weekend that congress after being part of the unanimous consent that came from the senate for the faa deal. no one in the senate was willing to be courageous enough to actually vote on the record for it. it was a unanimous consent . senator john mccain had this to say about the priorities in congress which i thought were pretty interesting. take a listen.

>> i think we have our priorities a little bit skewed here. look, i'm for giving the faa flexibility, but i want to give the military flexibility and i don't want the sequestration cuts to be as deep as they are on national defense .

>> what's your response to the move we're going to see to start getting the defense sector out of the bind of sequester?

>> well, see, i think there you have it. i think he reveals the real concern that the republicans have. paul ryan in his budget , you know, has talked about completely protecting defense. if it was to continue on a piecemeal fashion, i can guarantee you the pieces they would put up wouldn't be headstart. it wouldn't be health care . it also wouldn't be meals on wheels . and it's going to come down to really this is a way to get it what the real agenda is, which is the republicans are fine with sequestration except for as it hits defense. they want it to hit health and human services .

>> here's my question. you voted -- you voted aye, i believe on the faa bill.

>> i did.

>> you're agreeing with chris van hollen .

>> what i'm telling you now is that i'm going to support the ranking member on the budget committee that says the piecemeal approach won't work. and as a matter of fact, it's a very dangerous way to allow the republicans to get at their real agenda, which is to protect defense. my concern on friday was for air safety . so i think chris van hollen is absolutely right.

>> that's congresswoman karen bass . thank you for that, i appreciate it.

>> thank you.

>>> chris christie said today the president kept every promise he made on relief for hurricane sandy but six months after sandy, there's a big question we need to ask about how we keep our promises to the next storm's victims. i'll explain next. hey, it's