Mitchell Reports | March 13, 2013
>>> president obama has just arrived on capitol hill . he is lunching with house republicans at this hour. start that picture rolling. as you can see him walking down the hallway on the house side. he could end up facing as many problems on his budget from democrats. who are determined to prevent any entitlement cuts. joining me not one of the democrats criticizing the president, but a member of the leadership, steve israel . thank you very much, congressman. what about what the president has committed to? he says he's committed to entitlement cuts, to at least discuss this. we're already hearing from members of the caucus that they are determined not to let that happened. isn't they caught in a crossfire potential?
>> frankly most democrats agree that we've got to have reform. but they have to be fair and balanced . why is it that in the ryan budget they say we need to reform medicare by slashing benefits so for the long term, but they don't ask big pharmaceutical companies to negotiate volume discounts for medicare beneficiaries. that by itself would save nearly $50 billion. so the question we have here is how do you want to go about reform? do you want to go about reform that is borne on the backs of seniors and the middle class ? or do you want to go about reform that takes a balanced approach where some of the special interests and the wealthiest are asked to engage in some sacrifice? what makes the most sense for the middle class and retires in our society.
>>> also criticism coming from the congressional black caucus of the fact that there are no african-americans in the cabinet yet, congresswoman fudge has written a letter. what about the diversity in the cabinet?
>> when you're the president of the united states , it is an occupational hazard that people of a diversion nature and backgrounds are not going to be happy with every decision that you make. house democrats are working with this administration to move the country forward, and we are going to produce a budget working with the administration that achieves balance, reduces debt, but makes investments in the middle class and protects benefits for retires who have paid into those programs. that's what's so vitally important. you have one group of tea party republicans seeking to divex, and house democrats including the black caucus and most diverse group congress, working to fortify and expand the middle class and working families throughout this country.
>>> tonight the president is going to go to the organizing for action dinner, the fund-raising dinner, now a her from fred wirth hyper -- what about the economics and conflicts of interest implicit in contributors to this organization getting access to the president?
>> well, look, i respect fred and respectlook, i respect fred and i respect his opinion. but the fact of the matter is we are in a battle for priorities in this country. i can promise you one thing. those gigantic republican super packs, funded by a few interests will spend whatever they have to in whatever way, shape or form they must to protect their loop holes in the tax code , to protect tax rates . they will do whatever they have to in order to preserve their special interest . so the president has an obligation it reach out to grass roots and to reach out to as many people as we can to participate in our battle for right priorities for the middle class and retiries in this country.
>> we have to leave it there. congressman steve israel , thanks for being with us today.