Morning Joe | December 21, 2012
>> we getting kind of close?
>> yeah, we're getting kind of close.
>> with us now from washington , d.c, i'm excited about this because here's a guy that if i'm speaker of the house , i go to him first.
>> i would.
>> because he's a real skifsh t conservative.
>> i'd make sure that he was side by side with me. let's see if that's what happened to republican congressman from kansas, representative tim huelskamp, also pulitzer prize -winning columnist for "the washington post ," eugene robinson . tim , i've been through this before, as you probably know, and i could never understand why, in my case, they would always go after the conservatives that represented the values that they claimed to support when they were running for speaker, and then they decided to punish somebody like yourself because you don't want to vote for a budget that balances in 2040 . i mean, if democrats put that type of budget on the floor, it would kill them.
>> we would. and i'm a conservative, and i make no bones about it. my constituents are very conservative as well, and they've been so frustrated that leadership in the house right now, the speaker has been talking about tax increases. that's all we've been talking about. you know, but clearly, i mean, the numbers are very clear, it's a spending problem. i mean, we could raise taxes on the rich. if we did, that's a few days worth of spending, but that's been the frustration. there's been very little outreach by this leadership team to conservatives. but as you indicated, it's been the other way around. punishing those that speak up. myself and three of my colleagues kicked off committees. and indeed numerous others have refused chairmanships and subcommittee chairmanships. it is about leadership, but it's about leadership in the white house , leadership over in the senate, leadership in the house. and that's my frustration as a freshman. no one wants to seem to lead and actually listen to what the american people are saying or representatives because every player in this scenario, everybody won the election. obviously not just the president.
>> right, and that's the point i've been making. but if john boehner and the leadership team had come to you early on and said listen, i don't like it, james madison , he had this idea of divided government . we're going to have to go along with raising some taxes. we're just going to have to. but what do you need in return for that, congressman? what do the people in your district need? what kind of cuts do you need? and we're at a point now where, you know, simpson-bowles was talking about $4 trillion. $4.5 trillion. we're sitting at close to $2 trillion. what if they came to you early on? could you guys have fashioned a plan that you could have lived with?
>> perhaps, perhaps. but that hasn't been the case in the last two years. it's usually john boehner dive left and conservatives on the outside and at the end of the day , they'd call the democrats and say we'll get the votes to piece that together. we have to look at what the problem is, and that's what conservatives have been saying, my constituents are saying. there's the problem. it's not a taxing problem. it's a spending problem. but i'll tell you, both sides, both the speaker and certainly harry reid , if he ever comes back to negotiations. yesterday he said he was going to leave town and not do anything. and the president -- they're not talking about spending cuts now. all their spending cuts proposals are three, four, five years down the line. we've got a fiscal cliff problem, but we actually have a fiscal abyss problem with all these entitlements coming, and that's the best thing john boehner 's been doing, talking about entitlements, that i haven't heard about that for about a week.
>> good morning. we were talking about spending cuts and taxes. remember, taxes would go up on those earning over $1 million. my first question would be how many of your constituents for would be affected by that. and two, are you prepared then to go off the cliff if we can't find spending cuts and there's only a tax increase on millionaires?
>> well, i think that we need to look at the tax on millionaires, at least 300,000 small businesses -- and in my district, we don't represent major corporations. it's farms and ranches and other small businesses . those are the folks who are going to be harmed the most. and that's what drives the economy. so it's just not millionaires. it's not the buffetts of the world. it's the folks that actually produce 41% of small business income that would see their taxes increased on the millionaire tax. i think what everybody in washington should agree on is we want to create jobs. we want to make sure 20 million americans looking for work can go find that. these tax increases will not create a single job. and that is a real frustration because that is the one thing everybody says they agree on.
>> so you'd go off the cliff? that's my second question. you're prepared to go off the cliff?
>> no, i'm prepared to keep working for another ten days. but you know, when harry reid yesterday said we're going to go home, we're not going to do anything, let's do plan "w." go to work. let's have john boehner sit down with the entire republican conference and put something together. let's see harry reid try to get something through the senate and actually have a written proposal to the president instead of everybody going behind closed doors , as the instinct in washington has been for years, and let's do something public and go to work. we can still get this done.
>> i'm listening to you. i want you to answer a very specific question. should anybody's taxes be raised? should a millionaire's taxes -- these guys, it's spending, spending, spending. yes or no? should anybody's taxes be raised at this point? please answer, sir, yes or no.
>> no. then how do you negotiate with somebody who comes from your point of view? we do have this deficit. it's purely entitlements. no taxes anywhere. a guy making $5 million a year, his taxes should not increase. and we're going to solve a problem in this country with an attitude like that?
>> mr. buffett's not going to pay a dime in taxes. that's what we're talking about here.
>> to solve this fiscal crisis without taking any, any revenue at all.
>> taxes doesn't solve the crisis at all. that's the misleading statement. all these sides are making that somehow it's a taxing problem. it is not a taxing problem.
>> congressman, i understand that completely. you know, you raise taxes. you fund the government for eight days with the tax increases. so fiscal -- you're exactly right, this is a spending problem. that said, you talk about these business owners. they've no sit around the table every day, and they have to deal with people that they may disagree with. and they may have to give up part of, you know, they may have to give up something that they disagree with. so economically i understand what you're saying. i think the question here, though, is if you got enough spending cuts, if you got the entitlement reform, because you and i both know it's medicare and medicaid that bankrupts us over the next 10, 15 years. would you go ahead and vote? you give up something that you don't want to give up and agree under a scenario to raise new revenue if you got enough spending cuts on the other side?
>> for two years i've been asked, do not ask for spending cuts. we're not going to give them. and there's not been a cut in this town for literally decades.
>> congressman, i understand that. and listen, i'm with you, buddy. ideologically --
>> but they haven't presented any cuts.
>> so let me ask you --
>> they have not offered any cuts.
>> let me ask you. okay. i'm asking, though, can you foresee a scenario if they offer enough cuts?
>> no. good question. i'll answer it. no. i don't believe so. i am not going to vote to put people out of work. and that's what these tax increases do.
>> congressman, let's put aside the economics. and we can all argue about whether you need revenues or not.
>> i'm not going to put aside the fact that this tax increase would put 200,000 to 700,000 americans out of work. we can't throw that aside.
>> let's get to the practical realities of life. we have divided government . your party controls the house. the democrats coal the senate without having 60 votes. you have a democrat in the white house . how do you get anything done without both sides being willing to compromise? you're saying you're not going to move one inch, one millimeter, one centimeter on this tax issue. so how do you ever get a deal done in a divided government ? you'd really prefer essentially to abandon all effort to govern and just let nature take its course? is that a better idea?
>> well, two years ago, let's look and see what happened. president obama said he was opposed to -- said he wanted to increase taxes. but he signed on. he went along with that. he did that two years ago, and he said it was a bad thing to raise taxes because it's going to cost you. we can do that. the president can step up and say hey, i don't want to go over the cliff. harry reid can come back from hawaii and actually go back to work. we can make that happen. we don't have to raise tacks on anyone. but what we know what we have to do is actually focus on the problem. and i think most americans are starting to understand, washington is trying to convince us that they're not taxing enough. everybody knows $1.3 trillion deficit is not a tax problem.
>> congressman, again, i agree with you, but we also live, if you see "lincoln" or see what's happened over the past 200 years, we live in a divided government . that's our constitutional republic . and there are going to be tax increases. and if you do nothing, there are going to be tax increases on january the 1st. wouldn't you rather shape it than just let taxes go for everybody on january the 1st?
>> that's a great question for december 31st . and that might happen. but again, where are the spending reductions? where are the entitlement reforms out of harry reid and the president of the yaunited states? i disagrees with boehner caving on taxes. he went over to the white house over the weekend and said we'll give you $1 trillion in tax revenue , maybe raise the debt ceiling for a year and take the lever out of the hand of republicans, but he did that without, i think, the support of the conference, as we found out. as you mentioned earlier, leadership is actually about listening, not throwing out things. but we see that from the president, lack of leadership from harry reid and oftentimes a lack of leadership of republicans on our side. yeah, let's put proposals on the table that actually are a full solution to that. will that happen before the end of the year? i don't know. i'm not giving up. i still think we have time to get it done before taxes go up and crater the economy.
>> congressman, before you go, i want to ask you a question on another topic. and just get a sense of what's in your heart on this. do you think it's time to take a look at assault weapons and discuss possibilities of changing laws pertaining to them?
>> well, we can discuss that, but i have four young children. i have a 6-year-old, and that strikes in my heart what occurred. but again, what has bothered me the most as a representative is how this has been politicized so quickly that somehow if we had changed one single law, which as i understand it, the state of connecticut had laws against these kind of things. and somehow that would have changed things. what i agree on, i think everybody can agree on, we've got a cultural problem. i've got an 11-year-old. and the type of video games you just talked about, we don't let him play that. let's have the moms and dads of america stand up and take control of their children and actually do the best they can. we've got a mental illness issue here. we can continue to talk about that. but washington has to recognize that there's no simple solutions. this has been going on a long time in terms of our culture.
>> but is it time to look at assault weapons ?
>> will that solve the problem? i don't believe so. it's not a gun problem, it's a people problem. it's a cultural problem.
>> it's not a gun problem? so tell me, why do americans need assault weapons ? why do they need these high-capacity clips? why do they need a bushmaster? can you tell me why?
>> there's been a lot of misleading statements including those said right here and saying that somehow if we ban a gun that somehow criminals won't get those guns.
>> no, i'm asking --
>> no, no, that's the reality here. it's not a gun problem.
>> it's not a gun problem.
>> there's a person doing that.
>> oh, really?
>> so compare the united states to other industrialized western countries and look at --
>> let's actually look at washington , d.c. where the ability to get a gun is extremely limited.
>> by the way, with virginia right next door with the most per missive loopholes for gun shows? i'm asking you, do you believe --
>> honest people aren't breaking the law .
>> do you believe i have a constitutional right to van assault weapon ? do you think that james madison , when he drafted the bill of rights , meant for me to have the ability to have an assault weapon ? is this a constitutional issue for you?
>> i think it's an issue of the second amendment. it says we have a right to protect ourselves. the supreme court has upheld that. but gosh, let's step back. let's not build on the tragedy in connecticut and use that to actually push a political agenda .
>> to push a political agenda ?
>> oh, absolutely. this president and his folks are using this to push --
>> let's talk about september 11th , congressman. were there some changes made in this country because of the tragedy of september 11th ? was that just using a tragedy, 3,000 deaths, to try to make americans safer? do you dare come on my show and say i am using the slaughter of 20 little 6 and 7-year-old children, i'm using that for political purposes, tim ?
>> joe, how many children do you have?
>> i've got four children, tim . answer my question.
>> so do i. and i refuse to let you say that because you have children, or anybody else, that we need to actually politicize this. but i see folks in washington -- i don't know about you. i don't watch your show. you're trying to politicize this.
>> tim , i'm not going to let you say that i am, quote, politicizing the slaughter of 20 children. but you said anybody talking about this.
>> doesn't connecticut have a ban on assault weapons ?
>> maybe some of you just believe, tim -- maybe some of us just believe we have to do whatever he we can, whether it's looking at mental health , whether it's looking at a violent culture of video games and hollywood movies, whether it's looking at the proliferation of these weapons, whether it's looking at what happened in oregon, what happened in colorado, what happened in virginia, what happened in connecticut , what continues happening, congressman. so we can't at least talk about guns without you questioning my integrity and saying that i'm using the death of 20 children to try to make life for my children a little bit safer? we can't even talk about it without you coming on this show --
>> joe --
>> -- and insulting me personally?
>> i didn't say it was you politicizing it. you're not even a politician anymore, and i understand that. you look around this town, you look within 24 hours , folks running on and saying hey, we need to change the laws. when they don't even know the situation.
>> sir --
>> all i'm saying is let's spend time looking at that but not to use the tragedy. as a very famous political strategist from chicago said, don't let any crisis go unused. i do not want to politicize this.
>> let me get this straight. so you can come on the show and say what i've said, by the way, that we've got to look at violent video games , and we've got to look at a violent culture that hollywood promotes, and that's not politicizing, but if we even bring up guns, that somehow that's politicizing the deaths of 20 children. wow.
>> what i've said is i've got an 11-year-old son. and i have a choice, whether he's allowed to play those video games . what i would suggest to moms and dads across this country is look at what your children are doing. get engaged. let the communities get engaged. and i think that would be a solution that will help the problem here. i'm not saying to pass a single law about that because i think that would be politicizing the issue.
>> yeah, okay, thank you, congressman. we'll be right back.