ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
November 19, 2013
Guest: Jeff Merkley, Dahlia LIthwick, Alan Frumin, Goldie Taylor, Jay
Angoff, Jim McDermott, Sherrod Brown
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST OF "ALL IN": Good evening from New York. I am
Chris Hayes. As republicans stand in obstruction of yet another President
Obama judicial nominee today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is strongly
hinting he is ready to push the button. Ready to do the one thing he can
do. The thing he could have done all along to end this epidemic of
republican filibusters. Harry Reid today says he is actively considering
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC LAS WORD HOST: President and democratic senators
are pondering the nuclear options.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are angry. They are talking about the nuclear
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans continue their filibuster.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democratic Leader Harry Reid has threatened to invoke
the nuclear option.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nuclear option.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So-called nuclear option.
REP. ERIC IVAN CANTOR, (R) VIRGINIA REPRESENTATIVE: All they have to do is
threaten the nuclear option. I am very disheartened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): Over the past several years due to unprecedented
republican obstruction, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gotten close to
pushing the button on the nuclear option. But at the last moment, he is
opted to talk things out instead. This time could be different. Today,
senate republicans blocked Robert Wilkins from joining the D.C. Circuit
Court of appeals.
It is the third nominee in a row that republicans have filibuster and they
filibustered these appointments not because of the nominee`s character or
their positions, but because it is the current republican position the
president cannot appoint anyone to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The
second most powerful court in the country. This is not normal behavior.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Republicans now filibuster everything;
literally, every single substance who vote in the senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): In fact, this president has had a lower percentage of
his nominees confirmed than either George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. The
democrats do not have to accept it. Harry Reid can invoke the so-called
A simple majority vote that would change the senate rules, so that nominees
could be approved with 51 votes. Instead of the 60 votes, the republicans
have counted on to obstruct. Senator Reid knows he has his option, but he
is reluctant. Again and again, Reid made threats to change the rules, but
each time, he and Mitch McConnell have come to a gentleman`s agreement to
verdict. In January 2011 --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: Today`s bipartisan agreement was necessary to
help us work faster and smarter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): In January 2013.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A breakthrough came Thursday night when both parties
agreed to modest changes in senate rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): And, again, in July.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Both sides understand each other better. We are taking great
strides to restore the comedy and cooperation. It used to define this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): But, each time the two men come to agreement, it is
promptly broken by republicans and the obstruction continues. This is not
a way to govern, and there is glowing momentum for Harry Reid to act.
Last month, even Vice President Joe Biden said it is worth considering the
nuclear option. And today, both Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein join a
growing number of senate democrats in support of the nuclear option. Harry
Reid today once again says, he is actively weighing the nuclear option. He
said that before. Let`s hope this time, he is different.
HAYES: Joining me now is Senator Jeff Merkley, democrat from Oregon, one
of the leading advocates of filibuster reform. Senator, your job tonight -
- your mission if you accepted is to convince me this is not Groundhog Day;
that we are making progress that the three examples of deals that we
hammered out between the majority leader and the minority leader that we
played some tape of that his has spent the majority leader`s patient and we
are going to see some actual actions here --
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, (D) OREGON: Well, I certainly hope it is not Groundhog
Day, because we have had a lot of sentiment in the senate that we should
try to restore the social contract, make the standard work which is up and
down votes with rare exception. Leave that rare exception and therefore
But unfortunately, each time we think we have that understanding, it is
deeply abused and certainly in January of this year, Mitch McConnell
promised and I, quote, "A return to the norms and traditions of the senate
HAYES: Why would anyone think he was telling the truth? I mean honestly.
We -- Everyone who saw that who has been following this, knows that is the
thing that he says before swiftly embarking upon violating said norms and
traditions. Why believe in that --
MERKLEY: Granted. There was a certain suspicion about it, but it was not
the heart of this group of aid, which I was not part of that tried to say,
let`s take another stab in holding the social contract together and then
just in July, when 51 senators said they were ready to change the rules,
again, at that last moment, there was a promise made and this time there
was initial delivery, there was a large slate of folks who had been blocked
who got up and down votes.
So, we now have Richard Cordray. We now have a national relation reform.
We now have Gina McCarthy at the EPA. But, even that was just broken when
the nominee for the federal housing finance agency was blocked.
MERKLEY: And, so we had the judges and the breaking of the July promise
regarding executive nominees. It is very different now because to say that
not this person or that person has this problem with their background, when
we say simply, we are not going to approve anyone that lets President Obama
fill the vacancies on the court, that is in a whole new realm and that is
producing the change where I think we are going to finally see the change.
HAYES: We have seen the trajectory of this idea, just within the
democratic caucus in the United States Senate, the idea has gotten more and
more popular. Is that right? I mean I remember talking to you years ago
where you were one of a very small handful of voices saying we have to do
this. It is no longer a small handful.
MERKLEY: I think when Tom Udall and I started talking about this, we had
initially maybe 20 folks who were supportive, and we had 46 who supported
the general idea, by January 2011; but not really -- but not a deep
conviction, not a movement and not an outside group pushing on senators to
make this place the U.S. Senate function. Realize that the harder
republican strategy is a deep violation of constitutional principles. The
constitutional principle is you have three co-equal branches.
MERKLEY: But, when the minority of one branch can deeply sabotage the
functioning of the executive branch and the judicial branch, you do not
have co-equal branches. It is unacceptable and we got to change the rules.
HAYES: So, right now, what is being contemplated, as I understand it
should the nuclear operation be exercise in this case, it would apply to
appointees by the executive branch and judicial nominees is there a case to
be made that it should actually be reversed, that for lifetime appointments
to the judicial branch, you want to preserve the possibility of filibuster
but for routine bits of legislation, that it is insane to have this de
facto supermajority requirement.
MERKLEY: Well, let`s think about the nominations, the executive versus
judicial. And, I think you were saying legislative versus judicial.
MERKLEY: Or legislation. Well, fair enough point, but the conversation
has really been different. It has been about -- well, executive nominees
serve two to four years. Judges serve for a lifetime. Should not there
still be a filibuster to block terrible judges. But, the argument for that
was destroyed in 2005. In 2005, the democrats blocked some really terrible
MERKLEY: And, the republicans said either you stop blocking them and give
them up and down votes or changing the rule to a simple majority. So, if
there is anyone who thinks we can actually preserve the filibuster for the
future, to block, that is a terrible nominee by the other party.
HAYES: That is an excellent point. One of those nominees, if I am not
mistaken, is sitting on the D.C. Appeals Court that is in question.
Senator Jeff Merkley, thank you so much for your time.
MERKLEY: You are welcome.
HAYES: Joining me now is Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal
correspondent for slate.com. All right, Dahlia, a quick reminder about why
is -- why is the D.C. Court of Appeals, which is the court in question
here, the president has nominated three different people to fill seats.
There are a lot of vacancies. Why is this the site of the most intense
political judicial nomination battles anywhere outside of the Supreme Court
and in some respects even more intense than the Supreme Court?
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR/LEGAL CORRESPONDENT FOR SLATE.COM: It is an
easy answer, Chris. It is two parts. One is that this is the court that
is passed with oversight of all the appeals that come up from the agencies.
So, they are the court, the D.C. Circuit has been the one that has been
with the GOP majority, getting environmental rules, getting union rules,
getting the president`s recent appointment power.
So, they have enormous amount of power that the other federal appeals court
do not have. National security goes directly to them. So, they really
have quite a portfolio that adds distinct from the other court. The other
reason is it is just seen as the springboard court to the U.S. Supreme
Court. And, so when you are putting someone up on this court, it is kind
of a given that their next stop could well be the U.S. Supreme Court.
HAYES: Chief Justice John Roberts served on that court and then quickly
made his up from that perch. There are three nominees in question here.
Robert Wilkins, Patricia Millet, and Nona Pillard. Is the case republicans
are making that these three are just crazily outside the main stream or
they are not sufficiently credentialed? What is the case against them?
LITHWICK: Well, the original case attempted to make the ideological point,
at least with respect to Nina Pillard. You know, in July they were saying,
"This woman is a radial feminist," you know? "She is completely deranged."
"My God! She is advocating for women`s equality, what`s next?" And, they
really tried to make an ideological case.
If that fired a little bit, Chris when it turned out at least some of the
quotes, they were attributing to Pillard, actually came from Chief Justice
Rehnquist. She was just quoting him. So, that did not work out very well.
So, then there was the second line of defense, which was OK, OK. She is
not that bad and the other two are actual fine. And, many of them has
stipulated that the other two are fine.
So, then we went to the second prong of the attack, which is the D.C.
Circuit just does not have anything to do. We do not need to fill those
three vacancies. My God! There is not even enough work for the eight of
them. That went debunked almost immediately by several very, very
conservative judges including chief justice John Roberts of the Supreme
Court and that brings us to exactly what you posit today, which is "You
know, what? We are just not going to confirm anybody that Obama puts up
because it would be court packing if you were to fill vacancies. That is
where we are now.
HAYES: Now, there is an interesting asymmetry I think about how the
democratic and Republican Party have dealt with the political challenge of
placing their nominees on these courts specifically. And, we should say,
Democrats did put up quite a fight about some nominees to that court under
George W. Bush.
The response of republicans was to essentially choose increasingly radical
and more ideologically extreme nominees and basically precipitate a
conversation with the senate. That has not been this White House`s
response. These White House`s response is basically we will move as far as
we need to where we had -- there is nothing controversial about these folks
and it is still has not gotten them anywhere.
LITHWICK: That is exactly right. I mean the asymmetry is not simply the
strategic asymmetry of sitting your judges. It really goes to a more
fundamental imbalance I think, Chris in terms of focus on the courts. And
I think it is clear that George W. Bush immediately on being elected stood
in the rose garden with his slate of judges and said, "I am going to push
these people through." And, if they did not get through, he re-nominated
LITHWICK: He pushed -- President Obama has been very, very clear, Chris,
that judges are not his thing. He thinks change should come from
legislators not judges. And, so as you say, he puts up pretty moderate
judges does not push the way Bush did and then they do not get confirmed.
HAYES: Dahlia Lithwick from slate.com. It is great to have you back after
your leave of year. It is really great to see you again. Thank you.
LITHWICK: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me now, Alan Frumin, who retired as parliamentarian of the
United States Senate in 2011. He is author of Riddick`s Senate Procedure:
The Official Rule Book for the Senate. I am sure you have it right next to
you as you are watching television at this moment.
ALAN FRUMIN, FMR. SENATE PARLIAMENTARIAN: Everybody does.
HAYES: Alan, people are a little bit disbelieving when you say, it
actually is the case, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could really just
change the rules of the senate with a simple majority vote. As the
ultimate authority on questions of senate procedure, he can do that, right?
FRUMIN: Yes he can do that, he can do that by utilizing rulings from the
presiding officer that affirms the point of order, that sustains the point
of order that Senator Reid might possibly make --
HAYES: And so --
FRUMIN: -- So, yes. He has the power to --
FRUMIN: -- using presiding officer, a friendly presiding officer Senator
Reid could affect the change, a substantial change in senate procedure.
HAYES: What is remarkable about this is that we think about the filibuster
institutions. We talk about very high stakes political battles in which
the vote counts centers around can you get 60 votes. And, these are things
in which there is a lot of money on the line. There is political success
and failure on the line. And, at the same time, you are telling me that as
a matter of the rules of the body, as a matter of procedure, you could just
get rid of it tomorrow. So, why does it stay? Why does it exist?
FRUMIN: The senate to me in the manner in which it protects the
prerogatives of the minority, there has been an implicit contract between
senate majorities and minorities that the majority accords the minority the
privilege to obstruct the privilege to say no provided that the minority
utilizes that privilege in a responsible manner. This has owned the years
provided a great deal of compromise in terms of the product coming out of
the senate specifically the legislative product coming out of the senate.
It is I believe essential that there be some entity within the federal
government where a minority party where individuals are empowered,
empowered to participate. And, the mechanism for doing that has been the
fact that there is no limitation, generally of debating a senate.
HAYES: But, is not that a bargain breaking down? You used the word
responsible and of course responsible is in the eye of the beholder in this
case, but are we seeing things now in terms of obstruction, the
routinization of the filibuster -- the refusal to, you know, confirm any
give an up-down vote to anyone who is nominated, regardless of credentials.
Have we seen a deterioration in those norms?
FRUMIN: I believe we have. As I said, I spent 35 years defending the
prerogatives of the minority and the unique nature of the senate and how
that is done through its rules and its precedence. I am very much
concerned that the norms have been eroded.
HAYES: It gets harder and harder for the former senate parliamentarians of
the world to defend the unique prerogatives of the United States Senate,
when those prerogatives are put to such ill use.
FRUMIN: I defend the uniqueness of the senate. I hate to see its
HAYES: Former Senate Parliamentarian, Alan Frumin. Thank you so much for
your time tonight. All right, coming up ahead on the show.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SAMANTHA SCHEIBE, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S GIRLFRIEND: He just broke my glass
table. He just broke my sunglasses and he put his gun in my freaking face
and told me to get the [EXPLETIVE WORD] out, because this is not your
house. No. Get out of here.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: That was just part of a 911 call made yesterday by George
Zimmerman`s girlfriend. Yes. That is George Zimmerman and that story is
HAYES: George Zimmerman was in court today. This was the call George
Zimmerman`s girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe made to 911 yesterday.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SCHEIBE: He just broke my glass table. He just broke my sunglasses and he
put his gun in my freaking face and told me to get the [EXPLICIT WORD] out.
No, this is not your house. No. Get out of here.
He has all of his guns inside. He has just unloaded the shotgun and his
AR, but he took that case to smash my table and smash my sunglasses and
smash whatever the hell else he is smashing in there right now while I am
DISPATCHER: OK. So, he has a shotgun and AR15?
SCHEIBE: Yes and two-handgun.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: And, this is the 911 call made shortly afterwards by George
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ACQUITTED OF MURDER: I just want everyone to know the
DISPATCHER: OK. The officer can speak with you on scene. Have you spoken
ZIMMERMAN: No, but they are pretty upset, I think --
DISPATCHER: The officers are upset?
ZIMMERMAN: Yes. They are banging on the door and the window. She is
pregnant with our child and she told me it was, better if we co-parented
and she raised the child on her own. That is fine. I said, are you sure
this is what you want to do? She said, yes. As soon as I start packing up
my stuff to leave, she just completely changed.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Police said, she told them that she is not pregnant. Zimmerman was
in court today in Seminole County Florida over that altercation. Seminole
Judge Fred Schott found probable cause for Zimmerman`s arrest on charges of
aggravated assault with the weapon of felony, domestic violence battery and
criminal mischief, both misdemeanors.
Zimmerman`s defense lawyer said he will be cleared of wrong doing. Judge
Schott set Zimmerman bail at $9,000 in order to Zimmerman to wear a
satellite monitor. The judge also ordered Zimmerman to stay away from guns
and ammunition and to stay away from his girlfriend.
Zimmerman`s arraignment is set for January 7. This is Zimmerman`s first
court case since the jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder for
shooting Trayvon Martin on February 26 of last year. Zimmerman has been
pulled over for speeding. He has been issued a ticket for another speeding
incident and was involved in a domestic dispute with his estranged wife
Shelly Zimmerman in which no charges were filed.
Shelly Zimmerman had called 911 in that instance as well. And, at 4:30
p.m. today, Zimmerman posted bond and was released from the John Pope
Correctional Facility. But, earlier today, while he was still in jail,
Zimmerman`s estranged wife served him with divorce papers.
Joining me now is Goldie Taylor, contributor to MSNBC.com and to Grio.com.
Goldie, the part that stuck out to me and the part that gave me flashbacks
to the trial that we all watched this summer is the fact that he calls the
cops afterwards to get on the record with his side of the story.
And, if you do not know anything about him and you do not know any of the
context, he sounds reasonable and calm and I remembered that video that we
all saw played in that trial in which he is getting to tell his side of the
story to cops the morning after reasonably and calmly and I just thought,
that is the part the jury saw, this George Zimmerman, not the one that was
on the other tape with the smashed coffee table.
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC.COM CONTRIBUTOR: You know, there is something to
that, Chris, you know? I do not know George Zimmerman, but I know that
guy, you know? I have made this phone call. It always seems that when the
abuser is -- he is manipulative -- when she or he is manipulative, they
tend to make situations into their own -- make it to their benefit and that
is what George Zimmerman was doing here.
Now, the police were outside his door. He could have gone outside and made
his statement to police. He could have defended himself right there on the
spot. He chose to call 911 for a couple of reasons. Number one, he could
have his narrative without question on the phone with the 911 operator.
Two, he know he is George Zimmerman and he knows that tape is going to be
made public one day.
TAYLOR: And, so he was, you know, making certain that his side of the
story -- his manipulated side of the story was going to be on the record.
HAYES: This other part of the call just hunts me too. He has all of his
guns inside. He just unloaded the shotgun and his AR, which is good.
HAYES: If that is the case, I am glad that he was unloading. The way in
which the presence of a gun changes every interaction is something that was
really so overwhelming and overpowering in the Trayvon Martin case; but
also in other things we have covered, the group that was meeting down in
the suburb of Dallas, Fort Worth that wanted to talk about gun safety and
had folks outside with open carry. You cannot deny the change to every
human interaction that comes from the presence of a gun, particularly a
visible and loaded weapon.
TAYLOR: Chris, you knew that I was a gun owner nearly every day of my
adult life. Having a gun in your possession, gives you a bit of bravado, a
bit of confidence that you otherwise would not have. You know, I think
that we -- and I think I might be the only person who ever says this on
television. I think that we failed George Zimmerman by not getting him the
help that he needs.
We know that there are at least three incidences on record of domestic
violence in which he was involved. We do not know how many others. And,
so, where is his family? Where is the community that surrounds him to get
him the help that he so desperately needs, you know, whether it is jail
time or counseling, or therapy whatever it happens to be.
TAYLOR: There clearly is an issue for George Zimmerman that has to be
solved and I think that there are some people who are around him, who love
and surround him, you know, who really ought to be seen about George around
HAYES: I myself have sort of traced this emotional ark in which in the
beginning there was a weird way in which you kind of derived some sense
that the person you thought you knew as being a bad person or done a
terrible thing, that this was being shown his true character.
HAYES: But, now it feels like watching in slow motion, something terrible
unfolding. I mean I completely agree with you. And, the point I want that
I want to make here is that 911 call, that 911 call is made thousands and
tens of thousands of times in this country everyday --
HAYES: -- With a partner and with guns around and the thing about guns and
the thing about guns and their presence in the home is the people that are
most threatened by them are not necessarily teenagers walking home with
skittles. They are not random school children in schools, those are the
thing that we talk about in the news. It is just women, often in
relationships where they end up on the wrong side of that gun --
TAYLOR: You know, you look at the stats around this, Chris, a person who
owns a gun is more likely to kill someone or hurt someone that he or she
TAYLOR: -- someone who lives in the same house. Then they are to kill a
perpetrator or someone who is, you know, a bad guy or rubber trying to
break in to a housel. I am damn lucky I say that a gun was not involved in
the incidents that happened to me.
And, so, I was able to get away, but that phone call, as you said, gets
made every single day in this country and it is not only the victims that
need help. Absolutely they do, they need safe harbor. They need
counseling. They need therapy. They need other than things. The abusers
also need help.
TAYLOR: And, I think at this point, you know, George Zimmerman is a
classic example of a man who has gone through this life without the kind of
emotional support that he needs, without the kind of investments that he
needs and now he got possession of guns, an AR-15 for God`s sake.
HAYES: Compassion and wisdom from MSNBC Contributor, Goldie Taylor, thank
you very much. OK. Coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Well, it appears Obama Care is having some
problems here in California and apparently it has not sold even one
insurance policy yet on the state exchange.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What a difference a little over a month makes, the good news
Obamacare story you will want to hear, ahead.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Here is an Obamacare headline I am reasonably
certain will not be featured prominently in tonight`s FOX news prime time
Health care plan enrollment surges in some states after rocky rollout. The
federal government is as you probably heard, involved in running the new
insurance exchanges in more than 30 states. But in a relatively few states
that chose to implement their own state based exchange, were seeing a wide
spectrum of success and failure.
In Oregon, for example, the rollout has been really bad. Failing so far to
enroll a single person. But in California, the state exchange is working
exactly the way it`s supposed to. The "L.A. Times" reporting quote
"covered California, the nation`s largest state insurance market place
enrolled about 31,000 people in health plans last month and nearly double
in the first two weeks of this month.
So on October, California enrolled more than 30, 000 people which by the
way is more than healthcare.gov signed up in the 36 states combined where
it is running exchanges. And California has already doubled its October
numbers in just the first couple of weeks of November which really means is
that California is now on track to hit its 2014 enrollment party.
Let me say that again, California, the most populous state in the country
is on track to meet its enrollment target next year. And it is not just
California. Enrollment is picking up in other states too, in Connecticut,
Minnesota and in Washington State.
But the most fascinating Obamacare success story comes from the state of
Kentucky. The only state in the south both expanding Medicaid and
operating a fully state based exchange. In the first month, the state
enrolled more than 5,500 people in private plans. By comparison, just
under 3,000 people signed up for private plans in Texas during that time, a
state with more than six times as many people as Kentucky and does not have
a state run exchange.
Here`s why else Kentucky`s success is fascinating. It also just happens to
be home to one of Obamacare`s most prominent enemies, senate minority
leader Mitch McConnell, who just happens to be up for re-election next
year, a race he will now have to run from a state where health reform is
Joining me now is Jay Angoff who is the first director of the health and
human services offer of consumer information insurance oversight, office
responsible for implements Obamacare. He is now in partner law firm.
Were you surprised, Jay, to read about the success in California and
Connecticut and Minnesota and Washington in the "L.A. Times" today?
JAY ANGOFF, FORMER DIRECTOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: No, I really
wasn`t. Let`s take California for example. In California, you have a very
supportive legislature and supportive governor. You also have an exchange
which is strong, that is which negotiates with plans and has standardized
the benefit package to a certain extent. That`s opposed the federal
exchange where the federal exchange allows all insurers to meet minimum
standards to sell and has not negotiated with plans.
So, the California exchange has really used its bargaining power. Also, it
has a much better procurement process in California. The federal
procurement process is a nightmare. Everything takes twice as long. It
costs twice as much. California`s not as bad, and then finally, California
is well funded. You know, the Republicans in the House never funded the
federal exchange so California does have the advantage of having funding
that the federal exchange does it.
HAYES: So, what I`m hearing is -- I mean, in political support,
procurement policies and sufficient funding as three criteria to look for
when you are thinking about where it is working, where it is not. And I
think it`s important to hone in on this because it strikes me the single
most important question right now in terms of lessons learned for policy
going forward is, take away the federal exchanges for a second and just
look at these 20 states implementing it. How do you explain the massive
wide variation in success in the states in implementing essentially the
ANGOFF: Well, some has to do with the management. For example, there is
very good management, a very experienced head in California, and also in
Connecticut that dollars runs the Connecticut exchange had work for the
Massachusetts exchange. So management has something to do with it.
But also, and you see this in Connecticut too. I don`t think we should
underestimate how important it is for the exchange to use the bargaining
power it has. The exchanges have control of this big new market than
insurers want to sell it. And the exchanges use their bargaining power to
negotiate with plans and standardized the benefit package that does three
Number one, it enables people to make apples to apples comparison. Number
two, it forces insurers to compete on price because they can`t compete by
differentiating the product. And third, and in a short one, this is
probably the most important things, it makes the technology a little
easier. I don`t want to overstate that, but where there`s a simpler system
with fewer benefit packages, the technology is easier. And obviously
that`s one thing that we can state is very, very important.
HAYES: Finally Jay, in terms of the political environment in which these
state exchanges are being done, when you`re going to work every day,
working on implementation of this law, how much does a political threat
from Republicans hang over what you were doing?
ANGOFF: Well, it hung over it a lot. It hung over us a lot. And you
know, I think the opposition to Obamacare was probably more committed to
obstructing Obamacare and destroying Obamacare, than we were to
implementing it in the -- despite the opposition, in the states. You know,
if he`s -- I don`t want to second guess, by had their -- it`s conceivable,
had there been more of an effort to establish the federal exchange earlier
and focus on that, rather than to cajole some of those other states, it`s
quite possible that the federal exchange would be up and running in a much
better condition than it is.
HAYES: This is a key point, they kept pushing the deadline there trying to
get more and more states to enter eventually they had to go and do bill
these exchanges. That`s part of why were where we are today.
Attorney Jay Angoff, thank you so much.
ANGOFF: Thank you.
HAYES: We will be right back with click3.
HAYES: Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren went before the Senate and gave a
speech advocating for an absolutely taboo idea. We`ll tell you what it is
and why she is right next.
First, I want to share the three awesomest things on the Internet today.
We beginning with a rock `n roll classic getting the full pop culture, 21st
century treatment, Bob Dylan`s like a tolling stone never had a music
video. Now 48 years later, the first official video has been released and
it`s being called an interactive masterpiece.
Here is how it works. It starts with a video player. You got a choice of
more than a dozen channels. All of them featuring people lip synching to
the Dylan song. You can watch the guys from porn stars or maybe some
mellow dramatic interpretation from backster (ph) contestants/ No matter
which channel you turn to, the love song is still playing in sync. And you
can toggle between channels whenever you want to the song to keep going.
There`s endless viewing possibilities. Check it out as we flip around.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
HAYES: You spend hours watching different variations of the song, proving
a classic is a classics no matter how many times you hear it.
The second awesomest thing on the Internet today, Lincoln meets the digital
age. It`s the 150th anniversary of his Gettysburg address. And although
it is being commemorated and thanks to re-enactors, and live readings of
the famous speech, the fact remains that media coverage of this moment in
history was sorely lacking compared to today. It is the New York magazine
imagine what it would be like if today`s media covered the Gettysburg
address. Get the earnest pearls in "New York Times" on a distant
battlefield from over the reflection.
But also the right wing (INAUDIBLE), the "New York Post" honestly abe, that
speech was a civil bore. Well, as FOX News` Lincoln`s hip-hop address
failed to end the civil war, we all go (INAUDIBLE). Of course, "Huffington
Post" Lincoln sideboob slideshow.
The very awesomest thing on the Internet today, kids grow up so fast, don`t
they? One day they look like this and the next day they look like this.
Seems like yesterday you were feeding them a bottle. Now he`s all grown
up. These photos are all part of a collection from (INAUDIBLE) showing
children`s photos re-created by their adult counterpart. So, whether it is
snug face, super hero customs or over indulgence of ice cream on a summer
day, all these folks should be commended for embracing their past, not
hiding from them. And why would they? After all, who wouldn`t want to be
this relaxed. This guy gets it. Now, that looks comfortable.
Check all the links for tonight`s click3 on our web site, allinchris.com.
Sorry about that. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: Right now, there are quiet high level negotiations behind closed
doors taking place in Washington a head of the next big budget deadline on
January 15th. And while the fiscal scolds are, again, calling for cuts to
so-called entitlement programs, a rising group of Democrats in coalescing
or in an idea that, at least by Washington standards, may well be
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We must reform our
largest entitlement programs.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We must have fundamental entitlement reform.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Everyone from the president
on down has said that entitlements must be reformed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
HAYES (voice-over): Entitlement reform. It`s Washington`s favorite
phrase. Any time there`s a budget to be balanced, conservatives and even
some Democrats look to social insurance programs to start cutting with
Social Security, first on the chopping block.
CRUZ: I think Democrats are being grossly irresponsible by not stepping
forward to say Social Security.
HAYES (voice-over): But the reality is that the congressional budget
office projects Social Security is funded through 2031. There`s even an
easy way to keep it solvent long after that. Right now, no one`s paying
Social Security taxes on annual income after $114,000. Just get rid of
that cap and suddenly Social Security is fully funded for generations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By itself, scrapping the cap, could address the 100
percent of Social Security projected short fall which is modest and also
leave a little left over to pay benefits.
HAYES (voice-over): The real crisis facing the country is not funding
Social Security, but ensuring retirement security. After decades of
stagnant wages, three in four Americans nearing retirement aged in 2010 had
less than $30,000 in their retirement account. Those people are the test
subjects in America`s three decade experiment in funding requirement
privately. We were all told out with the pensions and in with the 401(k)s.
And it is increasingly feared, that experiment is failing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 401(k) plans really place the burden on the individual
participant to have an adequate retirement. And the vast majority of
ordinary people don`t know how to do that, it`s a very complex task.
HAYES (voice-over): Many Americans over the age of 65 are struggling to
make ends meet, even with Social Security benefits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gloria Hobbs says without her Social Security checks,
she would be homeless for sure. And even with that money, Hobbs still
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes what I do is f half of the prescription and
take a half a pill, which is not good.
HAYES (voice-over): The crisis has prompted a group of lawmakers to push
an idea that to the deficits, it is called sounds like Kerosene. What if
instead of cutting Social Security, we expand it?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Right now more people than ever
are on the edge of financial disaster once they retire.
HAYES (voice-over): Senator Elizabeth Warren is among the growing chorus
on Capitol Hill calling for increased benefits for seniors. One proposal
would increase Social Security benefits by an average of $70 a month. That
money is likely to go right back into the economy where it is so
desperately need. Social security is so successful, so popular, the people
who want to kill it have to call their ideas reform. The initial impudence
for Social Security was to keep seniors from falling into poverty. Now
remarkably, they`re facing a similar challenge once again.
HAYES: A member of the Senate and a member of the U.S. House, both of them
want to expand Social Security, we`re going to talk to them about why we
need to do it and how we can get it done, coming up. Stick around.
HAYES: Earlier in the show, we asked you what FOX News would say if the
Gettysburg address were delivered today. We got tons of answers posted to
our facebook and twitter accounts.
Like Kevin, pretending to be FOX News. He says and he claims he was born
And David who thinks FOX`s line would be government for the people, but a
Finally Cynthia were imagine FOX anchor to says he wasn`t wearing a flag
HAYES: Joining me now Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from Ohio, member of
the Senate finance committee, where he serves as the chair subcommittee on
social security and Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington
State, member of house ways and means committee which also deals with
Senator, I will begin with because have so-signed -- you`re one of a few
co-sponsors the bill that Tom Harken introduced that would raise Social
Security benefits. How does that work?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Well, it works the way it should work. The
debate frankly has been all about the discussion of how do we reform
entitlements and how do we say Social Security. But when I hear a
conservative politician in this town, say reform entitlements, restructure,
they are not sustainable or when they say we need to fix Social Security or
save Social Security. They are always talking about making cuts on Social
Security. And the debate should not be about how much we`re going to cut
Social Security, the debate should be about retirement security. And your
graph you had is so few people have much savings, fewer people have defined
pension benefits, that`s why it is so important to Social Security that the
cost of living adjustment really reflects an older person, a retiree`s cost
of living itself and why it`s so important that we do a little bit more and
give them a little bump up one more point that Social Security now in about
a third of Americans, on Social Security rely on Social Security for
essentially their entire income. So, it`s not like they`re getting rich
from this. It`s $1,200, $1,300 a month, typically.
HAYES: Congressman, do you feel as if the senator is correct when he said
that terms of the debate had been dragged further and further to the right
about how big the cuts are that you are in favor of?
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Absolutely. If you`re looking at a
Congress that refuses to face the fact that the pension system in this
country is being eroded very rapidly. You saw governors all over the
country, attacking public employees` pensions, you`ve seen companies go
into bankruptcy. I fly back and forth on united. And I have flown almost
four million miles. And all the flight attendants who are over 40-years-
old are talking about the fact that they will have to work until they`re 70
or 75 years old because they were pension system was lost in the two
bankruptcies that United airlines has gone through. That`s exactly the
issues that is going on in Seattle today, with the Boeing company is going
after the machinist trying to give them to move from a defined benefit
program, to a 401(k) program. They`re going right at the security of those
workers in Seattle. And that`s happening all through the workforce in this
Social Security is the only thing that Enron people had. When Enron went
to the ground, they still had Social Security and that`s really true for an
awful lot of people in this country, and we ought to be thinking about how
we can strengthen the program and making it stronger not being talking
about change CPI and reducing it. And doing all those sorts of things, we
have to scrap the cap, I couldn`t find any button this morning, I have a
scrap the cap button on any coat here because that`s really what we a ought
HAYES: I want to talk about how you pay for scrapping the cap. But the
point you made just there, I just want to take a second, because it is so
important. We have run this major experiment in American social policy in
which we have basically seen the erosion of define benefit pensions about a
third workers have their generation to go, it is half of that now. You are
looking at about 12 to 15 percent of workers that have define benefit
pensions. We have asked people to save money and put them in their
401(k)s, at the same time wages have stagnated, savings have gone down. It
has been basically a possible to assemble enough wealth to live out in
retirement with a good standard of living and if you happen to be this
fortune of retiring on the eve of a financial crisis, well then, you`re out
So, all of that is coming together, at the same time, that all of that is
used as an argument to cut Social Security perversely, Senator Brown. And
the reason it is, is because we can`t afford it. How are you and Senator
Harken and others going to pay for the modest benefit increased that you
are advocating now?
BROWN: Well, the somebody making $50,000 or $100,000 a year pays a higher
percentage of her income in the Social Security than somebody making
$500,000 or a billion dollars a year. And we`re simply saying that
everybody should pay the same percentage of their income in Social
Security. That will strengthen Social Security, not strengthen it by
cutting it the way that Ted Cruz just said on your show earlier on the
video. But will strengthen it because it will have more revenue.
And as you said, that money that -- the woman that you interviewed from
Youngstown, if she gets a $70 a month increase, that money goes right into
the economy in Youngstown, maybe to a local car mechanic, maybe to the
grocery store, or the hardware store, or paying their house, whatever she
needs to do, that money stay locally. That builds an economy and it saves
her life. It gives her the opportunity to live her older years with a
little higher standard of living.
HAYES: Congressman, quickly, is there any possibility of any Republicans
on your side of the Capitol Hill and the House going along with something
MCDERMOTT: I think it`s going to take a movement from the people and the
people have got to start sending in messages to their congressmen and
saying we want you to cut Social Security, but increase it. And I think
scrap the cap is a good slogan for them to use. I think you`re going to
find that more and more people are going to be pressing their congressmen
about this. That`s the only way it will happen.
MCDERMOTT: In the state of Washington, we just raised in a little town,
the minimum wage to $15. It was done by the people.
HAYES: Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Jim McDermott, thank you
gentlemen for your time.
That is all for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: Good evening, Chris.
Thanks very much.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. The various branches
of the United States military all offer a service academy. The service
academies are really prestigious institutions, right?
There is West Point which is found in 1802. That is just four inch you
want to map. That`s about an hour north of New York City, West Point New
The United States naval academy, it is in a beautiful spot in downtown
Annapolis, Maryland, walking distance from the Maryland state capital
there. United States Naval academy founded in 1845.
The United States Cost Guard academy was founded shortly after the civil
war. That is here in coastal Connecticut, New London, Connecticut,
essentially just opposite (INAUDIBLE) at the end of Long Island.
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