Mitchell Reports | December 04, 2012
>> interesting element besides all we talked about in terms of the monetary values here, the politics of it, absolutely fascinating.
>> luke russert , thank you, kelly and chris. joining me is north dakota senator kent conrad chairman of the senate budget committee , someone who has been here, done that, how many years have you gone through these negotiations?
>> talk about where we stand right now. because the senate -- the house republicans, the speaker, did put out their proposal last night and talking again about not raising rates, but handling the revenue side with deductions. here's what erskine bowles told my friend last night.
>> i am positive that to get a deal done your' going to have to have higher tax rates on the top 2%. i'm actuallyequally sure $350 billion worth of cuts that the president put on the table for health care entitlements, is not going to be sufficient to get the deal done. there's going to have to be compromise.
>> compromise, that's a dirty word in washington. senator conrad, what do you think is going to be the outcome? is there going to be a deal?
>> i think so. and, you know, it's not that far away . if you took the president's revenue and you took the republican's cuts, made some modifications to them, relatively modest modifications to them, you would have an overall package counting what's already been done of over $4 trillion which what is you need to get the country on track. we're starting to edge closer to a position that if you took both sides' positions you would be very close to a reasonable outcome.
>> one of the questions the president was asked today, why don't you all get together and sit down at a table and hammer this thing out. why don't they all go to camp david or andrews air force base or some other place where we can't be bothering them and just hammer it out? get rid of the lobbyists, grover and all the rest on all sides, get the aarp people away and sit down and come out on the other end?
>> i think that's ultimately what it takes. we've seen that over the years, haven't we? andrews air force base , that agreement, i don't think it would be unreasonable for the leaders to go to camp david and stay there until they come back with an agreement. it does take a certain amount of give and take back and forth between the moment is right. i think we're getting close to that moment.
>> would you tell the white house the same, that they've got to maybe make the first move to get the speaker and everybody else around the table?
>> i think the white house did a very wise thing in terms of laying out what they thought was important to an agreement on the revenue side of the equation. and to say to republicans, you want entitlement savings tell us what they are. they've done that. so now you've got the two positions outlined. that puts us in a position to reach a final agreement. i have recommended to the white house at some point going to camp david or some other location so you get away from the dueling press conferences, because at some point that can create its own dynamic and reduce the chances of getting an agreement. so far i think these discussions have been productive and constructive and i think we are stepping closer to the potential for a deal.
>> that's the most positive thing i've heard in a long time, senator. score one for the senate budget chairman's approach. quick question about another proposal floated by people like bob rubin , larry summers , other with close ties with the house, peterson and the peterson institute , what do you think of that proposal which goes through $1.8 trillion in new revenue over a decade, raising the top rates to clinton era levels, taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, internet gambling , also obviously some pretty big dramatic cuts on the spending side. is that a start in.
>> i thought it has a lot of merit. look, part of what happens in washington is the two sides spend too much time talking to each other and not listening to the other side. once in a while the other side actually has a good idea and the truth be told, in a package of this size, we're going to need to take the best ideas of both sides and we're ready now, the country is ready, i believe the people of this country are going to say at the end of the day if we get agreement, gee, i don't like this, that, but it needed to be done and we can dos this. we've done much harder things in the past. we have to in some ways buck up those who are negotiating and tell them hey look, we'll be with you if you do what's right for the country. we may not agree with every detail. do what's right for the country, we will be with you, because it would put america in a preeminent position going forward. it would be a great thing for america.
>> senator kent conrad , thank you very much. always good to