Martin Bashir | December 12, 2012
>>> despite claiming to be an eternal optimist, speaker john boehner said just a few hours ago that he and the president are still some distance away from an agreement. meanwhile, house majority leader eric cantor never one to miss an opportunity to bury the country in pessimism has said the president seems to be walking us ever so slowly toward the cliff. congressman elijah cummings is a democrat from maryland and a member of the oversight committee. good afternoon.
>> good afternoon, martin.
>> we'll get to the fiscal cliff in a moment. first i must ask your reaction to the controversial right to work measure signed into law in michigan. before i do so, please i'd like you to listen to what michigan governor rick snyder had the temerity to say on " morning joe ." listen to this. oh. we appear to not have that. we seemed to suggest this morning that for some reason this was good for workers. how is right to work --
>> nothing could be further from the truth. basically what he has done is blind sided a lot of folks up there in michigan. and it's not good for workers in that workers will be able to benefit, they don't have to join a union. but now they'll be getting representation for better benefits and better wages. and not presenting any kind of dues to pay for that representation. and that's a deliberate effort, martin, to destroy unions. we see it here in the congress. i've seen it in my own committee. there has been a march by our republican colleagues to do everything in their power to destroy and weaken unions. and this is just another effort in that road. and i think people have to see this for what it is. you know, keep in mind that governor snyder said he was not going to get involved in this because he thought it would be divisive. and right after this election, martin, where the people said they wanted to make sure that the middle class was strengthened, the very type of organization, that is the unions, that have worked so hard to strengthen the middle class and enable people like me to move up from poor folks to the middle class , they are now saying we want to do away with them. and this is a perfect example of it.
>> indeed. on to the issue of the fiscal cliff. i understand that republicans are not persuaded by the president's election victory. they're not persuaded by all the polling that says americans support tax increases for the wealthy. but today a democratic source telling nbc news that speaker boehner may be proposing a permanent extension of all the bush tax cuts . now, what needs to happen to persuade speaker boehner ? i mean, do we need to raise lazarus from the dead?
>> i don't know what we have to do. the public has clearly spoken. this election showed that people in regard to making less than $250,000 the tax cuts should be extended. we agree on that. we need to let that happen as soon as possible. but they have also said that those who have benefitted and are doing very well in our society should pay more. and so i don't know why they can't get this through their heads, martin. but they need to get it. because the public has spoken and the public has been very clear on that.
>> and today former speaker nancy pelosi schooled speaker boehner on what it means to make difficult decisions as a leader . take a listen to this.
>> i had to do it as speaker. do you know what it was like for me to bring a bill to floor to fund the war in iraq? so it's tough. but you have to do it. so is the point that you don't want to put your members on the spot, figure it out. we did. figure it out.
>> there's nancy pelosi appealing to boehner figure it out twice. how high is the level towards the speaker?
>> it's very high. i think leader pelosi is absolutely right. at some point the leader is placed in that position to bring members together to do the right thing. leader pelosi when she was speaker she did an excellent job of it to bring us together to make those right decisions. and some of those decisions are hard. your entire caucus is not going to agree with you all the time, but that's the role of a leader , martin. that's what leaders do. that's why they're selected to do what they do. and so i'm hoping that he will take the leader pelosi 's advice and get this done for the american people . it's not about democratic or republican. it's about doing what is right for the american people and doing it right now.
>> indeed, sir. congressman elijah cummings . thank you as always.