Martin Bashir   |  September 30, 2013

Rep. Israel: Ted Cruz is our new Speaker

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., joins Martin Bashir to discuss his new piece online for The New Yorker which satirizes the GOP’s position on the debt ceiling fight – and then explains how Ted Cruz, and not John Boehner, has become the de facto Speaker of the House.

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

>>> in less than eight hours, we'll know if republicans have managed to achieve their latest act of political extortion. and if they failed to defund the affordable care act by threatening to shut down the government, then they plan to try again in just two weeks, when they'll risk the full faith and credit of the united states . it is an insane and economically suicidal prop session. and one perfectly satirized by our next guest in the "new yorker" magazine. congressman steve israel has illustrated what would happen if the average american family made the same demands of their credit card company that republicans are demanding of the country. quote, yes, it is true that i used my credit card to buy dinner at the sushi buffet all day in marysville. and yes, we did take our annual goplin family trip to old testament town. but that's not the point. if we pay this month's american express bill, what will happen next month? next year? what will happen to future generations of goplins with american express cards? we must draw a line. we are drawing it at the october statement of charges. do not expect my payment. joining us now is the james thusher of the house of representatives , steve israel . good afternoon, sir.

>> i've been called far worse than that.

>> i'm sure you have. it's a wonderful work of literary genius. our article is eminently sensible and looks at republican threats over the debt ceiling. i have to ask you, sir. why are they so desperate, why, to take this country and if a default occurs, the world over the precipice. why?

>> because they're idealogues, reject compromise, common sense . this is extremism at its worst. we democrats trying to keep this government open for our veterans who want their disability payments or students who want their tuition assistance , we gave the republicans an offer. we said we'll take your budget number. republicans have said take it or leave it and we said we'll take it. just keep the government open. and don't dephubbfund health care . and you know what they did, martin, they slammed the door on their own number. they walked away from their own budget. i don't mind them slamming the door on me. i do resent when they slam the door on the middle class .

>> sir, congressman, i need to tell you, we just had breaking news that the president himself, who has talked about seeking to defend ordinary americans from this potential shutdown, is going to come to the white house briefing room at 4:45 p.m . that's in just under 30 minutes . and address us all. we will go to that live. but i have to come back to you. how much does it bother you that there are house republicans who genuinely believe that defaulting is not a bad thing.

>> well, it is a dangerous view. in fact, one house republican, when told that virtually every economist agrees that a default would be catastrophic, his response was, well, economists aren't always right. you know, with these house republicans , two plus two equals whatever they want it to be. it is dangerous. we will not negotiate the full faith and credit of the united states ' government. and if you're a republican who is spending $40 billion every ten years to subsidize big oil companies, you've got to pay the bill. you can't put stuff on the credit card , as i say in that piece in the "new yorker," and then wake up and say, you know what, i don't feel like paying it. no american gets to say that to american express and no member of congress should be able to say it to the u.s. treasury .

>> on the current battle over a possible shutdown, a lot of people openly wonder whether mr. boehner is now simply speaker in name-only. i'd like you to listen to how a new new york republican addressed that. take a listen.

>> what's your sense of the end game here? do you think your fellow republicans would rather shut down the government than pass a cr without an obamacare limit?

>> i guess it depends how many people are controlled by ted cruz .

>> do you agree? is at the cruz now the de facto speaker?

>> yes. ted cruz is the new speaker of the house of representatives . the irony is that john boehner is making these calculations in order to keep the gavel. in the process, he is losing the economy, he is losing the middle class and he has lost to ted cruz . martin, i want to be clear. we have got the votes to pass a clean cr.

>> oh, there has never been any doubt about that. there has never been any doubt.

>> that's right. john boehner needs to decide, is it the middle class who comes first or his own speakership.

>> but congressman, why do people like boehner and others like kevin mccarthy , they were all standing at the mic just now. why do they continue to act as if the american public is actually behind them when the polls generally show the exact opposite?

>> well, yeah, they keep saying, listen to the american people . what they really mean is, listen to our echo chamber . listen to our tea party rally. listen to the press conference we have by ourselves on the steps of the capitol. every poll that i've seen is the chairman of the democrat and campaign committee is crystal-clear. the american people do not want to government to shut down over defunding the affordable care act . but if you listen to these republicans , they believe they have the absolute truth. they need to listen to the american people . in fact, republicans should listen to republicans and take the budget that we've just agreed to, which is their budget.

>> isn't there something finally, sir, utterly reprehensible about an individual party that looks forward to throwing 12 million people off health care ?

>> well, it is reprehensible. it is reprehensible that they would be willing to pass farm subsidies for themselves, including one member of congress from tennessee who will collect $3 million in farm subsidies for his farm, while at the same time voting to strip nutritional assistance program from the farm bill .

>> unbelievable.

>> this is critical and reprehensible.

>> representative steve israel . sir, thank you for joining us.

>> thank you.