All In   |  September 20, 2013

'Absolute trainwreck' that is 113th Congress

House Republicans passed a bill to fund the government that also defunds Obamacare -- which really means it's a bill that shuts down the federal government.

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

>>> good evening from washington. i'm ezra cline in for the uncanny chris hayes . tonight, the absolute train wreck that has become the 113th congress on track to be the worst performing, maybe the worst behaving, definitely the least productive in history. also tonight, there is one huge problem with the republican plan to stop obama care. it won't actually stop obama care. and i'll tell you why the plan might make it a little bit stronger. plus, putting faces on some of the people who will feel the pain of republican cuts to food stamps . those stories are ahead, but we begin where we have to begin with the big news out of the house of representatives where republicans just passed a bill to fund the government. it also defunds obama care. that means it's a bill to shut down the federal government .

>> and so, our message to the united states senate is real simple . the american people don't want the government shutdown and they don't want obama care. the house has listened to the american people . now, it's time for the senate to listen as well.

>> senate democrats to do the same thing. and i want to know where senator prior stands on protecting the middle class . the consequences of this horrific bill. how about kay hagen in north carolina ? does she understand the consequences that obama care is having in her state? what about mary lan dree of louisiana?

>> republican congress want to stop the country to deny the people the chance to see a doctor. how many times are we going to do this?

>> it is a wolf in wolf's clothing. the underlying bill to shut down government is reason enough to object to it. and you know what that's about? that's simply about putting their friends, the insurance companies , back in charge of medical decisions for your families. either you don't know what you are doing or this is one of the most intentional acts of brutality that you have cooked up with stiff competition for that honor.

>> 230 and nays are 189. the joint resolution has passed. is laid on the table.

>> speaker john boehner does not want to shut down the government. he has spent the last couple of months trying, begging his members, to figure out a way around passing a bill to defund obama care and shut down the federal government . he would have been open to one that didn't mention obama care at all. they tried to put one on the floor that just held another vote on defunding obama care. he did not want this. he does not want republicans to shut the government down and make everybody hate them. but as often happens these days, house republicans did not listen to john boehner and so john boehner , rather than fight his members, spent this morning passing a funding bill that defunded obama care and a straight face speaker boehner said this.

>> we have a victory today for the american people . also a victory for common sense .

>> yeah.

>> senator baucus said it right when he said this law is a train wreck and it is a train wreck .

>> yeah, great victory that i think is a huge strategic error, that kind of victory. let's talk about train wrecks for a minute. obama care begins open enrollment on october 1st , so soon. it begins delivering health insurance on january 1st . whether it's a train wreck remains to be seen. it hasn't even started yet. but here's what we can say. under the leadership of john boehner , the 113th congress and the house of representatives in particular is a complete and total train wreck . begin with the simplest question, what have they done on behalf of the american people ? the senate passed immigration with a broad bill. the house 's effort has completely fallen apart. the senate passed a farm bill . the house failed at that. has been breaking their farm bill into little pieces and trying to pass it one at a time. the senate passed a budget for the two chambers could bring their budget together, come to a budget compromise for the country. the house passed a budget and refused to go to that conference with the is that the because it was scared of what might happen. gun control was a total flop. the appropriations process has completely broken down. we almost went over the fiscal cliff when john boehner 's plan b failed. sequestration which boehner once calleded devastating is now the law of the land and will be. the r federal reserve , ben bernanke , cannot pursue the policies it thinks make sense because it is scared. ben bernanke just said this the other day. that congress will drive the economy into a ditch, so the fed needs to support the economy. the data tells the same story. so far, the 113th congress has passed 36 public laws. for comparison, the 112th congress passed 283. at this rate, the 113th congress is on track to be by far the least productive congress on record. by far. boehner however, to be fair to him, says he rejects those metrics. he said we should not be judged on how many new laws we create. we ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. through conservative comment. so how many laws has john boehner appealed? none. he tried to repeal obama care a number of time, he hasn't managed to appeal any other major laws, not gone after medicare or social security or anything, but perhaps the american people just enjoy this kind of gridlock. perhaps they hate congressional productivity. they love the status quo. they think things are going so great in this country right now, nothing congress could possibly do to make it better. perhaps they want nothing done and nothing undone. if that is the case, then they have a funny way of rewarding success. americans have never had less confidence in congress than they do right now. heck of a job, guys. in fact, as unpopular as obama care is, congress is even more unpopular and it is getting worse. there was today's debacle, where boehner buckled to conservatives in his conference, but more disturbing, part of his strategy to avoid a government shutdown is to convince his members they should hold their fire for a quote whale of a fight over raising the debt ceiling. that moves the conflict to a more dangerous theatre. one that could result in a complete global financial crisis . for all the press it gets, his threat of a shutdown is far less responsible than the threat of a default. this isn't all boehner 's fault. he's getting outflanked by media savvy hard line conservatives. some of it is boehner 's fault. many of his members don't trust him. refuses to level to republicans ant what's possible for them to achieve. he refused to go around them by cutting deals with the democrats on issues where there could with agreement. like immigration, the government funding bill. he's promoting a debt ceiling fight that could have zis rouse consequences and speaker boehner is ultimately the guy in charge of the worst performing congresses' in history. if he is looking for a train wreck to fix, he might be getting closer to home. joining me now, democrat from kii kentucky and member of the house budget committee and jim cooper , democrat from tennessee. there will be, do you think there will be a shutdown?

>> i've been saying for weeks i thought there would be a shutdown. by the way, i was ready to walk out when you started talking about congress ' popularity. oh, my gosh, why do you even want us on? i've been saying for weeks, i think there will be. unless speaker boehner realizes and commits himself to being the speaker of the house for the entire country, not just for the republican party , we're not trying to pass everything on only republican votes, we're never going to get to a place where the house will pass something that the senate will accept and the president will sign. that's just the absolute facts of the situation and really doesn't matter what the issue is. he has to have democratic support in the house . he has to be willing to pass legislature with a smaller number of republicans than 218 and then do something that not only works, but can pass both houses and signed by the president and so far, he hasn't been willing to do that. except in a couple of instances, he has. he needs to go back and visit the sandy relief bill and some other things that have been done where he allowed things to go to the floor with less than a majority of his own confidence.

>> i'm curious if you agree on one, if there will be a government shutdown . a cell burning thought, but two, if there is, or if there's not, the thing that scares me is the idea we would not pay our bills because that would be a financial crisis and speaker boehner has said he will demand significant concessions to try to raise the debt ceiling. one, do you think there will be a shutdown and two, a breach?

>> we're getting closer than we probably have in history, at least since gingrich shut down the government in the '90s. this is a real tragedy for america . this isn't regular political bickering. this is genuinely dangerous for america . it risks long-term damage to our country. damage that we could not undo. it's like boehner 's playing with dynamite right now with government shutdown , but he's thinking of playing with nitroglycerin, thinking of defaulting on america 's debt. he's got to be stopped.

>> congressman yarmouth, one of the things i think is interesting about this is that boehner didn't want it. he did not want this bill to go forward. not the approach he wanted to take. the 200 democrats in the house didn't want it. not many who want this approach. you said it earlier that speaker boehner needs to work with democrats to get things passed, but the thing that seems surprising is he doesn't seem to have the namty from both members. you have to trust me doing this kind of approach. shutting down the government is just not a good idea.

>> politics of america , certainly on the republican side , has become very entrepreneurial. this is individual members out for themselves dealing with their own districts. people have said this is about 40 idea logs wag iging the, being the tail wagging the dog. it's really not. it's 40 idea logs and about 140 other republicans who are afraid of being replaced by those. that's the dynamic speaker boehner 's working with. again, there are 50, 60, maybe at most republicans who are very thoughtful, reasonable people who are willing to compromise, willing to understand that government is about the possible and not idealism all the time. that's what speaker boehner has to do. he's not been willing to crack the whip. if you want funding, if you want me to come to your district, you've got to play ball and you've got to do something that works for the country. nancy pelosi would never ever have allowed this kind of ranger in her own congress .

>> i often wonder what nancy pelosi is thinking. i often wonder. but congressman cooper, one thing i wanted the ask you, one thing that is being missed here in this whole discussion about obama care is that this continuing resolution represents entrenchment of sequestration and keeps it as those levels. can you say a word about what this represents on funding, putting obama care aside.

>> sequestration is like a stupidist diet in the world and why we're still on it, it doesn't make sense. it's crippling our military, other important parts of government. these cuts are irrational. we at least need flexibility and we need to remove the cuts in a sensible way and have more sensible budgeting, but as john and you have pointed out, now that the senate has passed the budget , the house refuses to talk to the senate about having a real budget for america . it's not enough to have a budget for the senate and house , we have to have a budget for america . " wall street journal " has said they're acting like kama pilots. it's even putting fear in the heart of ben bernanke . we've got to have better management for america . because this is reaching the crisis point.

>> congressman john yarmouth and cooper, thank you very much for being here tonight.

>> thank you. and with me, debbie stabenow . you heard that and sitting from your lofty perch from the u.s. senate , how does it look to you? what's going to happen when this resolution comes into your chamber?

>> i share the concern of my house colleagues. particularly this week rather than it getting better, it's really gotten worse. it really is about a group of folks who are anarchists who just want to shut our government down. we look at global economy where everybody else is is trying to be like america . have a middle class like us. outcome pete us on education, invasion, and instead of moving forward with everybody working together to continue to improve on the economy and grow the middle class , they're taking us backwards. way back. it's like they're running towards a third world country while everybody is trying to be like us. it's a waste of time and money. i don't blame people for being sick and tired of it. in the senate , i have to say, we have seen something different happening. as you have mentioned. immigration. a farm bill . you know, if they want to cut spending, pass a farm bill . $24 billion in deficit reduction added by the way, to about 237b9 $5 trillion and deficit reduction. we have already put in place over the next ten years, so when they talk about they should do something about the deficit, we're already doing something about the deficit and if they would work with us and stop this crazy sequester and focus on outinnovating and outeducating in a global economy , we could do even more.

>> also repeal obama care, that increases the deficit. but senator ted cruz , one of the thipgs happening here, a lot of pressure, too, coming from your chamber, forcing the senator, mike lee , senator rand paul, they're going to try to do what rand paul did on the drone. go to the floor of the -- are senate democrats prepared for that?

>> filibustering is not a new thing. and if they decide to do that, then it will be up to us to close debate and we will need 60 votes. we have colleagues that have spoken out. responsible republicans in the senate who have said this is crazy and we're going to count on them to join us because think about for a minute, this whole issue on repealing health care reform . they want to stop over 30 million people from getting health care . women who are pregnant from having access to maternity care . starting in january for the first time ever, you're going to be able to know that essential health care benefits includes prenatal care and maternity care . this is not some radical thing. they're talking about taking away the opportunity for small businesses to be able to have lower costs through competition and people to have access to health care and that's a fight worth having.

>> thank you so much for being here tonight.

>> my pleasure.

>> what's the real reason republicans want obama care to fail? i will tell you coming