Mitchell Reports | December 03, 2012
>>> flabbergasted. you can't be serious. i've never seen anything like it. we've got seven weeks between election day and the end of the year and three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense.
>> so how did john boehner feel about the white house 's opening offer? michigan congressman sandra levin is ranking member of the house weighs and means committee. you saw the speaker's reaction. they felt this is a nonstarter bringing up the debt ceiling, not being specific about entitlements. what is the democratic caucus ' response to the speaker?
>> i think he's wrong in this sense. i'm optimistic. i think things are coming to a head. the republicans have a clear choice to continue the norquist stranglehold or have it broken and the consequences, not continuing the middle class tax cut and continuing the wealthy for all the consequences for the unemployed, those who go to doctors and doctors have to be reimbursed, i think in the end the republicans will choose to have the hammer lock , the stranglehold of norquist ended.
>> well, some would say that the aarp has a stronglehold on the -- strangle hold on the democratic caucus now that aarp has even come out against means testing on entitlements. do you think the democrats will vote for means testing on medicare and other ways to make cuts from the entitlement side to balance what you're hoping to get on the revenue side from the republicans?
>> i don't think there is any strangle hold by aarp or anybody else on us. the president proposed last week some addressing of entitlements about $400 billion in medicare and others. there is no stranglehold. that's the difference. and i think the republicans in the end will decide not to go over the cliff with norquist. the consequences would be so substantial, as steve rattner has indicated. it just should not happen and i think the last weeks haven't been a waste of time. what's really been happening is, this as i said, has been coming to a head. the republicans have a major decision to make. and that is, essentially, who's running their party? is it norquist? is it the people who spoke in the election and voted for the president? this issue was foremost in the campaign. the people spoke. the republicans need to listen. in the end, i think that will happen.
>> and how critical do you think the debt ceiling question is to any agreement that you're willing to take?
>> i think steve rattner was correct. i think we cannot continue to just have it hang over our heads. i think it needs to be resolved as part of these discussions of the fiscal cliff. it cannot simply be allowed to hang there for the next few months. i think they have to be both resolved. i think they will be.
>> congressman s sander levin , thank you very much.