Mitchell Reports | December 06, 2012
>>> there's rapid response from the hill today, after word that one of its most prominent leaders of the tea party movement, senator jim demint , retiring. joining me, one of his colleagues, senator john barrasso , chairman of the republican policy committee . i want to talk to you about the fiscal cliff. but, first, i want to talk about jim demint .
>> what is this say about the senate , about the ability of someone like jim demint , an avowed conservative, to accomplish what he wants to accomplish within that chamber, that he felt the need or saw the opportunity to step outside of the chamber? what does that say about the folk like yourself who are still within it?
>> well, jim demint is going to continue to be a leader in this country for years to come. specifically on conservative issues. he's going to continue to push for ways to cut spending and to limit the size of government. and i welcome that. he's choosing to do it outside now rather than inside the senate but he's had a huge, positive influence on the senate and we're going to continue to see that for years to come.
>> senator, this may seem like a simple question, but i wonder, and a lot of people do is the senate from your perspective, is the senate a difficult place to be if you are someone who comes from executive background or someone committed to getting things done? is it a frustrating place to exist, day in and day out?
>> i would say to you, i saw the article that you wrote earlier today, governors do -- who are used to having their own planes and flying around their states and controlling their own schedules do find it more challenging in the senate . i came from the state senate in wyoming. i enjoyed the opportunity to work with people on both side of the aisle to discuss the issues and continue to try to move proposals forward that i believe in about. i believe this is a place where you can make an effective difference in the direction of the country.
>> now, let's shift to fiscal cliff. i want to talk to you about what another of your colleagues, tom coburn from oklahoma, had to say on morning joe about what should and should not be in the budget negotiations. let's play that and we'll come back and talk about it.
>> i know we have to raise revenue. i don't really care which way we do. actually i'd rather see the rates go up than do it the other way because it gives us greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future.
>> he would rather see rates go up than closing loopholes, reforming the tax code at the moment. do you agree with that stance from senator coburn?
>> i agree we need increased revenue. our biggest problem is the spending issue. revenue is on the table but our big of the problem as a nation is the spending. we continue to spend too much, borrow too much. now the president wants unlimited and unchecked, unauthorized ability to raise the debt ceiling without having congress involved, though the constitution, article i, section 8 , says constitution -- of the constitution says it is congress that makes those decisions. but the bottom line is, whichever you get it, the president seems fixated on this raising the tax rates , total money that that comes in is just a small drop in the bucket so the size of the deficit from last year alone. it's less than 10% of what we're. we now have 16 trillion in debt on the backs of our children and grand children. that is the biggest threat to our national security and nation's future.
>> quickly, some republicans have whispered privately, some not privately, they believe president obama , the white house , congressional democrats, want to go over the fiscal cliff because they believe that it is more politically advantageous for them to do so. is that a sentiment you agree with or not?
>> i believe that the president and the democrats see a political victory at the bottom of the fiscal cliff. i see financial problems for our country at the bottom of the fiscal cliff with unemployment over 9%, and another recession. i think -- i want to find a solution working with people on both sides of the aisle but when you have howard dean , the former chairman of the democratic national committee , you have patty murray , who ran the democratic senatorial committee encouraging going over the cliff i think it's irresponsible. i think we ought to have the president sitting down with john boehner , finding solutions that can, one, pass the house, and, two, be signed by the president, and i believe if you find that solution, it will pass the senate .
>> senator john barrasso , thank you for your time.
>> thank you.