Thomas Roberts   |  October 07, 2013

Doubling down on the government shutdown

The Agenda: House Speaker John Boehner is doubling down on a budget strategy that's landed the federal government in its second week of shutdown mode. Meanwhile, the Oct. 17th deadline to raise the country's debt ceiling is getting closer.

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

>>> very, very wealthy people from the day after obama was re-elected. and what their feeling is, let us go to the extreme. let us be prepared to shut down the government, not pay the national debt . let's use every ounce of leverage that we have.

>> that was part of my conversation moments ago with independent senator bernie sanders of vermont. right now the house is getting ready to start voting on another mini funding bill for food safety . new video just came in of house speaker john boehner arriving on the hill. members of the house are due to go back into session about a half hour from now, the senate not until 2:00 p.m . joining me right now is republican congressman michael burgess of texas. sir, it's great to have you here. i know we're starting out a fresh week, day seven of all this. as we look at an nbc news count, if a clean cr, continuing resolution, were brought up on the floor, it would be within reach of passing with as many as 22 republicans supporting it. even republican congressman peter king said he could see as many as 75 republicans voting for it if it would hit the floor . do you think speaker boehner should do it, just bring it to the floor for a clean up or down vote?

>> first off, i would just challenge the veracity of that report. as you know, there have been a number of procedural motions on the floor where if 20 or 25 people wanted to defect, they certainly could have. the defeat of that procedural motion would have allowed the democrats to do basically whatever they wanted with the next motion, which presumably would be their clean cr. so the fact that all republicans or almost all republicans have held together on this i think is telling. we've had a whale of a lot more democratic defections on our bills than any republican defections on procedural motions.

>> there's a democratic super pac that's targeting the speaker and some vulnerable house republicans over the shutdown, launching a six-figure campaign. i just want to play part of an ad that aired in ohio yesterday. take a look at this. [ crying ]

>> speaker john boehner didn't get his way on shutting down health care reform . so he shut down the government, and hurt the economy.

>> all right. so calling the speaker a cry baby overall of this and the tactics that are being installed, obviously, you know, americans are frustrated with what's happening or not happening in washington , d.c., right now. but ultimately what do republicans want to see happen at this point, sir?

>> well, you just pointed out one of the big problems with super pacs. to tell you the truth, i think they have got to the point of not irrelevancy or near irrelevancy. who pays attention to superpac ads anymore? certain lly not me and i think a majority of americans sort of join in on that. super pacs played out their hand in the last election cycle. what value are they?

>> what's the end game for republicans at this point, sir? the president is saying that he's not going to negotiate, utilizing any time of obama care measures in funding the government. so why not just put down a clean cr that was negotiated upon sequester level spending and then take up the obama care law at a different time?

>> currently there are about six bills that have passed the house of representatives , gone over to the senate to keep portions of the government open. look, this is what we're supposed to do. we're supposed to do appropriations bills one at a time so today we will probably go back to the rules committee , do several more. there are seven small appropriations bills ready to come to the floor, one of which will fund the national weather service . might be a good idea.

>> we just took a technical hit there as he was talking about funding the national weather service . we apologize for that, congressman michael burgess of texas. thanks for your time. i want to bring in today's agenda panel. irin carmon with msnbc.com, ryan grim with the huffington post as well as an msnbc contributor, corey dade is a contributing editor for the root. corey , let me start with you. we have house speaker john boehner saying the word "conversation" over and over again, several times in his interview. take a listen.

>> woe asked to sit down with the senate and have a conversation.

>> we're interested inning of a conversation. it begins with having a conversation. it's about having a conversation. it's time for us to sit down and have a conversation. sit down and have a conversation. let's sit down and have a conversation. we've had conversations before.

>> here's the thing. it's like sitting down to say we need to have a conversation about how you beat your wife. and basically it's you've got to go into that whole scenario of i don't beat my wife. why do we need to have this conversation? isn't it that separate approach that needs to happen here? why do we need to negotiate oversee confess tra -- sequestration levels . if you want to deal with the obama care law, let's deal with that separately. why do we have to deal with that tied to our government and the shutdown? it's just so weird. why do we have to have a conversation about that?

>> right, yeah. as we are about to have a conversation right here. the conversation boehner needs to be having right now, and i'm sure he is, is how he and his caucus can actually save face because with every day this shutdown goes on, their bargaining position gets weaker and weaker. of course this is now going to bleed into the debt limit. as tough as they're talking about the debt limit, wall street , which still is the biggest check writer to the republican party , is not at all likely to sign on with the republicans backing refusal of the debt limit increase. i think at this point now, we're going to start to see now the real impact of the shutdown on government employees outside of washington , and especially contractors. you know, government employees are going to get retroactive pay. the house already approved that initiative. but contractors, which is an even larger universe, they're not going to get back pay. they cannot survive going two and three weeks without a paycheck.

>> irin, let me talk to you about this because it doesn't seem as if congressman burgess agreed with this but we had a number of republicans saying publicly last week they would be in favor of a clean cr and if there were a secret ballot , that we'd probably see the numbers even higher. do you think that there will be more pressure on john boehner this week to break the ties that bind him behind the scenes ?

>> absolutely. john boehner said that he didn't have the votes to pass a clean cr. and over the weekend, democrats basically called him on his bluff and said, oh, yeah, bring it to the floor, see what happens. i mean the problem here is that john boehner is more concerned about keeping his job than he is about whether the country defaults on its debt obligations or whether the american people suffer under a debt shutdown. so, yes, it's possible that if he brings a clean cr to the floor and it passes with democratic votes as opposed to getting the support of the tea party insurgency, that he will lose his job. but we're talking about the fate of the country here.

>> is it really that easy, ryan , if we look at it from john boehner 's perspective? damned if he does, damned if he doesn't from inside his own ranks. it seems as though we're living through the shutdown now and we're racing mach 10 toward the debt limit deadline of october 17th with nothing established, especially with the shutdown looming and wall street ceos starting to bang their fists saying we've got to figure out what these lawmakers are going to do.

>> i don't quite understand how damned he really would be. you know, let's say that the worst case scenario played out and he, you know, funded the government and he upped the debt ceiling and he was thrown out of the speakership. so the worst case scenario from his perspective. you know, so what? at this point, you know, most of his -- most people close to him assume that he's leaving at the end of 2014 anyway and he's going to have an extremely good life afterwards. he can be involved in public policy giving speeches, he can lobby, he can work for these big law firms that bring former speakers on at massive retainers, he can play all the golf he wants. i don't really understand -- i don't know what the huge downside is for him. and it's interesting that he said i don't have the votes, because that really puts the press on the line. now the media needs to go and find out. does he actually have the votes? and there are 22 republicans now who have said that they would be willing to vote for a clean cr. you add that to the 200 democrats and you have more than enough votes.

>> let me just get this in there because the messaging wire just got this. majority lord in the senate, harry reid , against john boehner saying that boehner has a credibility problem for saying that the house doesn't have the vote for a clean cr. boehner responded by saying a cr at current funding levels, which is the level both the house and senate passed is not a concession and also saying the senate democrats need to stow their faux outrage and deal with the problem at hand. so that's just a regular ole monday there in washington , d.c. just monday. all right, guys, thanks so much. irin carmon, ryan grim, corey dade, great to have you on. you can find out more on our panel on msnbc.com. follow the link to my name. randi weingarten joins me next. don't go