Martin Bashir | February 05, 2013
>> we begin this afternoon with the clash of two statements, one delivered by a man who's enjoying some of the high he is approval ratings of his career. the other delivered by a third-rate actor who is trying desperately to put a new phase on some tired old policies. the subject, a so-called sequester that will trigger is trillion dollars in spending cuts in less than four weeks.
>> but we've also seen the effects that political dysfunction can have on our economic progress.
>> that, of course, was the president seeking to protect a fragile recovery from falling back into recession if the sequester is allowed to occur. and then there was speaker boehner .
>> the house on two occasions has passed a plan to replace the sequester. it's time for the senate democrats to do their work. it's time for the president to offer his ideas.
>> it's hardly surprising that the speaker sounds bored by the very words coming from his very own mouth because it is the self-same rhetoric that republicans have been spouting for ages.
>> the president's budget is late again.
>> it is a bill that, frankly, says to the president, you know, please join us in doing your job.
>> and he's missed the deadline for out of five times.
>> and the president, we hope he takes up a superman cape and sends up a serious plan.
>> sorry. back at the white house , the president was offering yet another simple explanation for why indiscriminate cuts without any additional revenues makes no sense at all.
>> we can't just cut our way to prosperity. deep, indiscriminate cuts to things like education and training, energy and national security will cost us jobs.
>> of course, the architect for the republican position on the economy has been congressman paul ryan , who chairs the house budget committee . and just as mr. ryan has problems recalling his exact marathon time, so he appears to have real problems with who was responsible for the sequester in the first place.
>> we think the sequesters will happen because the democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they've offered no alternatives.
>> and while the republican approach to the fast approaching sequester leads them to rewrite history and ignore the potential for economic disaster , mr. ryan 's friend and colleague, eric cantor , was also out delivering his own version of republican revisionism.
>> our house republican majority stands ready for the president and his party to join us in actually tackling the big problems facing this country.
>> that was mr. eric cantor 6.0-let's turn to representative keith ellison , democrat from the state of minnesota. and to my colleague, joy reid, who is managing editor of thegrio.com. congressman, it seems to me, sir, we have a major collision today. on the one hand, we have speaker boehner and his boys out there purring a bill to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, and now on the other hand we've got a bill that you are co-sponsoring, the balancing act i believe it's called, that would close upper income tax loopholes and keep nearly 300,000 teachers at work and add 1 million jobs to the economy. have i got that right, sir?
>> you've got to right. and all we do is close loopholes on the fossil fuel industry, on the yacht owners and the plane owners. we close loopholes on carried interest . loopholes that should be closed in any budget environment. we close those and then we arrive at a place where we have balance between the cuts that we've already seen, $1.7 trillion, and revenue increases, and then through changes in -- through reductions and efficiencies in the pentagon budget, we put $300 billion into jobs, which saves teachers, which invests in school frukt, a and helps schools.
>> congressman, mr. ryan and mr. mcconnell at the beginning of this year said quite clearly the revenues issue is now closed. it's off the table. there are no more discussions on revenues.
>> so they would rather cut home heating oil for seniors --
>> they'd rather cut women and infants and children.
>> food grams.
>> they'd rather cut things like that than ask rich people for more money?
>> what about meals on wheels, head start. that's what they'd like to cut, this is correct.
>> so it's brutal. it's cruel. and it will cause layoffs and we will see economic growth decline, and they're willing to do this just to protect the wealthiest few. and i think it's a moral outrage. i think americans of all stripes ought to stand up and say no. and this is why the progressive caucus members have offered the balancing act. because, you know, there is a way forward . there is a way to address budgetary and gdeficit issues and invest in our economy. there's a way to protect people who are must vulnerable and to ask people who have been blessed to pony up a little bit more. it's not going to stop them from getting yachts and planes and all those goodies. but kids will have meals.
>> yes, indeed.
>> and seniors will have warm houses to live in.
>> joy, i seem to recall that this issue of closing loopholes and reducing deductions was suggested by some republicans not so long ago. take a listen.
>> we propose to close those special interest loopholes. let's ged rid of special interest loopholes. plug loopholes, lower everybody's tax rates . get rid of special interest loopholes. plug these loopholes.
>> so for mr. ryan , plugging loopholes is great when mitt romney proposes it as an idea but as soon as the president does, it's off the table.
>> first of all, who is mitt romney .
>> oh, right, that guy. i remember him. you're exactly right. you were getting to it in your intro, the sequester was the ransom that republicans in the house demanded of the white house in order to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 .
>> but they now say it was the president who is responsible.
>> exactly. they voted for this.
>> and paul ryan runs a marathon in less than one hour.
>> i thought it was like 20 minutes . he's superman. this is what they wanted.
>> of course. congressman, here is another apparent contradiction you might like to clear up for us. on the one hand, you have eric cantor out there giving a speech on making life work . he sounds like tony robbins or something. he's trying to sell yet another iteration of the republican party , but when you strip away the soft smile and the cadence, he'd happily slash every one of those programs that you just went through, wouldn't he?
>> oh, absolutely. eric cantor despite all of the covering in the near is definitely proposing budgets that are hostile to middle and low income people. and particularly to vulnerable people, but not only that, you know, programs like s.n.a.p. actually give people money they can spend at the store that allows the store to hire people. eventually the programs they cut will hurt the people who are employed indirectly by the programs. it's really bad economic policy . no model of economic understanding would support what they're doing except for some sort of like, i don't know, some sort of the grinch stole christmas kind of philosophy.
>> joy, can you help me understand eric cantor extreme makeover edition? who is this man? because on the day he gives this speech, earlier in the day he stands up with speaker boehner and says, why isn't the president slashing the budget to pieces?
>> exactly. it's called his district is becoming more purple. i think eric cantor is worried about his own political future and that's where he is trying to make over the republican party and, look, let's face, it the republican party as representative ellison just said, they really do want to cut food stamps , which benefits kraft foods and walmart and farmers as well as the poor. they really want to cut these programs for the poor. it's their ideological want to do that. number one, they weren't foresighted enough to get that into the sequester. they exempted things like medicare and medicaid and social security and now they are dying for the president to propose draconian cuts so they don't have to have their fingerprints on it like they want these draconian cuts to go through without people like eric cantor in increasingly purple districts to have to pay a political price.
>> congressman keith ellison , joy reid, thank you both so much.