Thomas Roberts | December 10, 2013
>>> down to the wire. despite federal offices in washington being shut down because of a snowstorm, members of congress are furiously working to finish up their business before friday of the an aide to house armed services committee chair buck mckeon says he plans to file a compromised defense bill in the house either today or tomorrow.
>> and a budget deal, that could be unveiled tomorrow just two days before the house goes into recess. republican senator roger wicker told chris jansing he's confident in paul ryan , the lead republican, in negotiations, but isn't so sure the deal tackles long-term problems.
>> what i'm hearing is we are going to replace about $65 billion of appropriation cuts and we're going to do it sort of with a collection of cats and dogs , fees on airline passengers, spectrum sales and things like that that don't amount to long-term savings in the next decade.
>> join meeg riging me right now, angus king . thanks for making time for me. we have heard that the budget does not deal with entitlement reform tax loopholes, major debt reduction or all of the sequestration cuts. you're on the special budget conference that's coming up with the plan. that's your feeling on how this is taking shape, and then what's your biggest linchpin of concern?
>> well, first, thomas, i think it's really important to say that more important i believe than the numbers and the details are doing it at all. you've got to understand congress hasn't passed a budget in four years, and i think simply coming to a deal that can be passed by both houses and get us off of this crisis to crisis governing is in itself important, and important to the country and important to the confidence in the country to help this recession that seems to be -- the recession that seems to be ending the momentum that's being gained in the economy to help that keep going. so that's a really important point and we shouldn't lose sight of that when we're talking about how it's being funded or what the actual dollars are. my impression is from talking to people around here this morning, and by the way, i should say, washington's offices are shut down, the congress is in full swing today. we're certainly working to get these deals done. that they are going to do a small deal that's going to deal with the sequester over the next couple of years but give us some certainty, not eliminate it entirely, but give the congress and the people of america some certainty about what the budgetary situation is going to be. as far as i'm concerned, that's -- that's going to be a serious victory because, you know, it's been crisis to crisis.
>> it's really going to be in the hands of speaker john boehner , i think, and whether or not he's going to bring the compromise to the floor or whether he's going to let a small segment of his caucus basically say, the ones who don't want anything and like shutdowns, to stop this whole process.
>> sir, let's talk about that, the governing crisis to crisis, because we don't want to reach that in a sit and senate negotiators coming to an agreement on this stripped down version of it which features pay increases for service members and bars the transfer of gitmo detainees here and sexual assault reforms included as well. but a lot of senators wanted more amendments like senator kir kirsten gillibrand 's proposal. do you expect that bill will stall in the senate?
>> i don't think so. some people will swallow hard because some things that they didn't want on both sides of the aisle aren't going to be in it but that's the process of governing. mick jacker is a great philosopher but if you try sometimes you often get what you need. what we need is some certainty and we need to put this crisis situation behind us. so, yeah, the defense -- i had some amendments that i was hoping would be able to be put on that bill that probably aren't going to happen, but 98% of what people want, the strongest set of sexual assault prohibitions and work in the history of this country is already in the bill. so i think people are going to go ahead and say, yeah, this is the best we can do right now and we're going to get this done. the same thing goes on the budget deal. i mean this is an opportunity -- people have to comp you think you need and that's why i think it's so important --
>> but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.
>> that's it.
>> we're going to leave it there.
>> thanks, thomas.
>> as we both have rolling stones mick jacker tunes in our head for the rest