Meet the Press   |  September 29, 2013

Past as precedent: The 1995 shutdown vs. now

A Meet the Press panel likens politics during the Clinton-era shutdown to today's partisan gridlock.

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

>> so what is the end game , congressman? are you willing to vote for a continuing resolution that comes back that does not delay or de-fund obama care?

>> i am not, but i think there are enough people in the republican party willing to do that. that is what i think you will see, the first request was to completely de-fund the program. and we knew we were going to lose on that, now we're asking for a delay, which again, i don't think is an unreasonable thing to do. you know, your boss, tip o'neill, shut down the government 12 times and you didn't call him a terrorist.

>> these were always a couple of days, and on both sides.

>> but you said why -- it happened.

>> where did you get your number from?

>> seven times.

>> since the '70s --

>> 17 times since the '70s at 12 under your boss.

>> there were issues of a day or two, and issues of funding. what i said before is you can argue over numbers, if it is seven or nine, make it eight. but if you say get rid of the number one program, under the law and put it in the history books, you can't say give me that.

>> when is a law legitimate? would it be appropriate for the president or democrat controlling the senate to say let's go back and let's overturn a reagan era law. could they do that?

>> one of the shutdowns was based on the fairness doctrine , one of the shutdowns was because the fairness doctrine had been done away with. and they wanted it back, so it has been done before. the democrats spent the entire decade of the bush administration trying to repeal the bush tax cuts . it is not like republicans and democrats don't fight about their policies. that is what politics is all about. so for somebody to go on national tv and say we can't fight about our politics.

>> the question is, do you fight about the same old rules and making non-negotiable demands. i think there is a debate on health care on whether or not to do it. and finally, the president, through the congress, the electorate, decided to do it.

>> not a single republican voted for that law, because you guys, the democrats decided to cram it down, you decided to do procedural issues.

>> there was not a real effort on either side to compromise.

>> go ahead --

>> this is an example of how divisive this debate has become, a decade ago, the republicans were trying to crack the code on health care reform . as a mandate, the heritage foundation -- we looked at expanding the market place, so i say, we have a law. let's recognize that. now we have the real world , people who are going to wait this week to find a policy. that is the real world , the question from here, the game, the politics and implementation, how do you make it work for people across this country?

>> right, and ultimately, this is what part of the political fight is about. because once that does happen, we have the experience of other entitlements in this country, that warts and all, these programs move forward and become the affirmament --

>> i think it is part of the fear here, the exchange is open on tuesday, people can go on line, as you said, go to a meeting, go by mail, if there is a policy that fits their needs, the answer will be yes. for hopefully everybody uninsured, the answer will be yes. once people have a positive experience, going on line, with a policy, being insured for the first time, having better coverage it will be very hard to take it away from people. they have been waiting a long time, as chris said, to get to this point. there are 50 million people in the country who are uninsured. this is an opportunity to change what sort of has been a black mark on our country and society that we can allow that to go forward.

>> one last kind of bottom line point, congressman, since you will have a vote on this. at some point there will be a resolution of the government shutdown , before or after, even given your views about how bad obama care is, do you think it is worse not voting to increase the debt limit over this fight?

>> not over the obama care, i always told my leadership i want the fight on the debt ceiling about debts, about spending, not about obama care. i always believe that the fight should be at the cr, the spending levels and the debt level should be about debt, not obama care. some people disagree with me.

>> all right, we'll leave it here, you talked about tip o'neill, and i thought if only -- into the tip o'neill ronald reagan years. we'll be right back after the break, talking about the new book "tip and the gipper," and the big question asked, why don't today's leaders cooperate