Martin Bashir | December 20, 2012
>>> tonight's house vote on john boehner 's plan b to avoid the fiscal cliff won't become law because of democrats, but it may not pass because of republicans. boehner is, as the publication "the hill" suggested today, scrambling for votes. so desperate is he that roll call reports he's using arcane procedural rules and a resolution about a routine annual extension of import restrictions of myanmar to make it easier to pass. yes, myanmar. yet, here he is, and this is how he characterized the vote today.
>> frankly, i'm convinced that the president is unwilling to stand up to his own party on the big issues that face our country.
>> all this for a bill that can't and shouldn't become law. joining us now is ron meier , spokesperson for american majority action and jared bernstein a senior fellow and an msnbc contributor. welcome to you both. jared , this plan b , it's not only an affront to what the president has been trying to do in terms of a balanced approach. it's also a colossal waste of time, isn't it?
>> absolutely. i mean, i have been writing about this in terms of theatrics at a time when really nobody ought to be going to the theater. the fiscal cliff is way too close for this type of game playing and i just noted today that the gdp report for the third quarter got a little bit of a bump. it was marked up to 3.1%. we're actually making some progress on this economic recovery, but if we go over and stay over the cliff because of all this screwing around, forget about it. you're going to have that recovery go south very quickly. john boehner on monday looked like a guy who is willing to make a balanced compromise or at least consider one in the interest of the country. john boehner on wednesday looks like a guy who is looking out for his own skin over the benefit of the american people .
>> ron , what's your view of the speaker's performance and his plan b ? what do you think of it?
>> well, i agree with jared except for on one point. republicans just proposed pelosi's plan for a few months ago. the president isn't reasonable. he doesn't want to compromise. he's not about compromise. he's about getting exactly what he wants, being arrogant because he just won the election. but beyond that --
>> hang on a second, ron . ron , ron , ron , you have to be careful because i understand your excitement at the idea of opposing president, but $1.2 trillion and $800 billion suggests a balanced approach. can you tell me how speaker boehner 's approach, which would raise taxes on 0.19% of the population, is that balanced?
>> i think both plans are a joke because they don't address the real problem, and that's the national debt . cutting a trillion dollars in the next ten years does nothing and leaves the whole bill on the next generation on younger people, on my generation, to pick up the tab for obama's spending and bush's spending by the way and that's not right. and that's not serious.
>> ron , i'm going to come back to you in a moment about speaker boehner , but, jared , he's suggesting that the president has not offered us a balanced plan.
>> not only has the president gone beyond a balanced plan, but john boehner had a balanced plan or something a lot --
>> what does balance even mean?
>> wait a second.
>> john boehner started the offer at $800 billion. now he's down to 300 on revenue. the president has given on his threshold. he ran for office on a threshold of $250,000. he has moved up to 400$400,000 in your direction. he's given a chain cpi on the table. $2 trillion in spending cuts. the president has kept the dell ceiling as part of this deal. so the idea that the president hasn't brought real compromise to this table is upside down.
>> ron , we just had congressman charles rangel on the broadcast. he agreed that speaker boehner has been hopeless and should resign. does speaker boehner have the votes tonight and if he doesn't, should he resign?
>> no, he doesn't have the votes yet. from my latest count, i have been talking to people who know the vote count. looks like there's about 30 and 45 conservative votes against this bill which means it won't pass. speaker boehner needs 25 votes to pass this bill. he doesn't have those right now. that's why this vote probably won't happen until late at night and he may lose.
>> ron , i just have to go back to you. you're very confident. where are you getting this information from? are you speaking to congressmen?
>> i'm speaking to high staff, absolutely. they don't have the votes. you can see that. people have already publicly come out against it and we have been talking to members and they definitely -- they don't have the votes right now. why haven't they passed the bill today? keep watching tonight. they aren't going to pass it and they probably won't vote until late. it's embarrassing for speaker boehner and the conservative movement .
>> i think ron 's information is very interesting if it's correct. i mean, we are watching dysfunctional government in action. i always said the deciding factor to whether we're going off the cliff or not once they started actually moving toward a balanced compromise, which we really did see earlier this week, was a test of whether john boehner could bring his troops along. i was always skeptical. now according to ron , and he may be right, we're looking at a possibility where he can't --
>> going off the cliff on a quote, unquote --
>> ron and jared , thank you both. an astonishing performance by speaker boehner . we look forward to further disintegration this evening.