Mitchell Reports | November 27, 2012
>>> the president plans to hit the road next week to drum up support for his own personal approach to the short and long-term fiscal challenges we face. in other words, rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he's back on the campaign trail, presumably with the same talking points we're quite familiar with.
>> senate minority leader mitch mcconnell criticizing the president for trying to drum up public support for his budget priorities. elijah cummings serves on the joint economic committee and joins me from the white house . let's talk about the fiscal cliff negotiations. what negotiations? what's happening behind the scenes ?
>> first of all, i just heard what mr. mcconnell said. and i just left the president. one of the things that he said to us, he said, don't pack up your bags. in other words, he's determined to get this deal done and get it done before the end of the year. the fact is, the president is very much engaged but he also understands that one of the things he's got to do is get a balanced package done. he's got to have revenue and he's also got to have some very targeted cuts. so -- and he also is trying to get across the point that republicans and democrats agree that those folks making less than $250,000, their tax cuts should be extended. so, again, we've got a situation now where the republicans can stand on the sideline or they can adhere to what the public has said in this election. they want us to get the deal done and move forward. at least we can get done what we already agree on.
>> would you agree, auwould you and other house democrats agree in some ways that the cpi is calculated, which almost every economist believes ought to be fixed which would save a lot of money? and also some changes in health care and perhaps delaying medicare for future generations? would you agree and more means testing of medicare ?
>> i am concerned very much concerned about medicare and the fact is, is that people on medicare , many in my district, they are already in dire straits and the question is, is whether we can address the issues of medicare by improving it. i believe very strongly that one of the things we can do is start negotiating these drug prices, andrea. that's something we definitely can do. but i think we're going to have to be very, very careful with medicare . when you're talking about things like extending the age, look at that because a lot of people don't work in air conditioned offices and have an easy life and so they become ill earlier than others. so we've got to be careful with that. so again, i think a lot has already been done by this president, when he opened the door in the affordable care act to make sure we have wellness exams and mammograms and things of that nature for our seniors to make sure they stay well, but again, i want our republican friends to get off this thing talking about no increase in tax rates , while at the same time wanting those who are most vulnerable in our society to have their benefits lessened.
>> congressman, i understand this is a negotiation, no one wants to show their hand too soon. some senate republicans have shown give on the tax side and i acknowledge house republicans have been behind the scenes on this, they have not been as forthcoming about the tax side. but are house democrats willing to show some give on health care and other issues, at least for the wealthier in our society? i'm not talking about many who live in your district and are really hurting.
>> i think one of the major concerns is that when you start say means testing something like medicare , one of the things that happens is that it becomes less popular among the general populace. that we've got to be careful about. i think we've got to take a careful approach. i think we have to look at medicare , find out where savings can be had, and -- but i do not want to see the basic structure of medicare being tampered with like ryan was talking about doing before we -- before the presidential election . we could do better than that. by the way, i think that again, medicare and social security , i think needs to be set on the side. those things need to be addressed carefully. we need to look at other things. what about the money that we're giving farmers to not even farm and i could go on and on. there are things we can do. targeted cuts, cuts that will not damage our economy, but allow our economy to grow and allow our seniors to live a life of dignity.
>> as you said in quoting the president, don't pack your bags . thank you very much.
>> don't pack your bags . that's the last thing he said to us.
>> congressman cummings, thanks for that.