Jansing and Co | December 07, 2012
>> always good to see you, congressman, good morning.
>> great to see you, chris.
>> so are talks going on between speaker boehner and president obama , in a way does it make it seem like con are gres gress is irrelevant. jeff sessions has repeatedly made the point and i want to play something for you that he said yesterday.
>> we all know what the plan is, what the scheme is, the strategy is. it is to be meeting in secret and then plop down on the floor of the senate at the last hour, some sort of coerced agreement that all of the senators like lemmings are supposed to vote for.
>> is that what is going on here? some coerced agreement that you're going to have to vote for?
>> i wouldn't describe it as a coerced agreement. but you can't have 500 people in the room negotiating an agreement. so, yes, we have our leadership, they sit down with the president, they hammer out a deal, they come back to us. our opportunity for input in this process is with our leadership. we have caucuses multiple times each week. we express to our leaders, this is what we want to see. this is what we will support. we do not want to see action on this or be pressed on this. don't come back to us with a proposal on this. that's the way that we can influence the ultimate shape of the deal. i'm not disturbed by the fact that now we have the president and the speaker sitting down or talking on the phone with each other.
>> do you think it's a good thing?
>> i think it's probably the only way that we can progress. they do have to have closed communication with all of the leadership because ultimately it's more than those two men who are going to have to sell this to the democratic and republican members of the house and senate. but i'm not troubled by the negotiating strategy and i think we are seeing progress. i think we have moved --
>> let me ask you what is going on with the other democrats. we sit down a couple times each week, we talk to them about what we're comfortable with. obviously the mantra of the democratic party has been, you have to let these tax cuts on the wealthy expire. but beyond that, are there points of contention where the democrats are quite united on what must or must not happen?
>> yes. i think the democrats are quite united, that the upper income rates have got to expire. that social security is really not an issue here. social security didn't contribute to the deficits and debt. i don't think there will be any appetite whatsoever for touching social security . but those points i think democrats are quite unified on. the area where i think there is room for negotiation and compromise is, the rates are going to go up. i think we all recognize that. will the rates go up completely? are there other ways where they can come up somewhat short of that but make up the revenues by reducing deductions from higher income families?
>> so the deal that we're talking about is halfway between the current rate and the former rate?
>> well, i wouldn't say halfway. but i would say, as long as you can get to the revenues, if you can increase the rates and reduce the deductions for upper income households, you can get to the same dollar number and i think there's a willingness to entertain that. it does tend to complicate the tax code . the simplest way is simply to raise the tax rates up to the clinton levels and, you know, we do have a strong interest in simplifying the tax code . but if that's politically for difficult, there's a willingness to retain the deductions that they could utilize.
>> let me ask you about that. another interesting scenario played out with mitch mcconnell , essentially fill lee bust sistering his own bill. he says it has to guarantee that there won't be another debt ceiling crisis. but could that be where we're headed?
>> well, it's certainly possible. it would be a terrible outcome and i think you're hearing business leaders weigh in and say, we don't want to go through this debate only to be followed by another big fight over the debt limit. and we just can't afford every year, every 18 months to have a debate about whether we honor the full faith and credit of the u.s. government . that's no way to run the country.
>> what do you think the chances of that happening?
>> it's possible. one of the things that the republicans might get as part of this package is another opportunity to make their case around the debt ceiling. but there ought to be some limit on it and i like the president's proposal that basically requires a two-thirds vote to overcome the president's decision to raise the debt. that still gives members a chance to weigh in, still requires a vote on the debt limit. it doesn't let lawmakers off the hook but it also means that you can't hold the country's economy and full faith and credit hostage every time you want to demand more in cuts or tax increases.
>> congressman adam schiff , thank you.