msnbc | December 13, 2012
>>> the talks to nowhere. the talks to the fiscal tank is nearly running empty. one wrong turn away from disaster. we're going to hear from speaker boehner in a couple of minutes. he and the president are barely speaking. on the left, minority lead nancy pelosi who took speaker boehner to school yesterday, telling him to figure it out. moments ago, she called on the house gop to stay on the hill and keep working.
>> here we are, 18 days from a possible fiscal cliff, hopefully not. 12 days until christmas. and here we are, once again, having a two-day work week, in the congress of the united states . you have to ask the question, why are we going home instead of working very hard to forge an agreement to avoid that fiscal cliff?
>> and on the right, republicans who accused the president of wanting to take the plunge in order to achieve his objective number one.
>> he'll probably eventually get his tax increases one way or another. he's going to get his wish. i believe we'll be raising taxes not just on the top earner. everyone is going to pay taxes next year in this country and i think that's what the president wants.
>> and the center in the balance. the american economy , fed chair ben bernanke warning that the stalemate over the cliff is already inflicting damage.
>> it's already affecting business investment and hiring decisions by creating uncertainty or creating pessimism.
>> with taxes poised to go up for everyone. our new nbc news/" wall street journal " poll saying increasing fed up, the majority of voters from both parties want washington to make it happen. joining me is south carolina congressman james clyburn . sir, good to have you here. we just heard nancy pelosi calls on congress not to leave the hill after a two-day work week. are republicans on the hill wanting to do the same thing, wanting to stay there and get this deal done?
>> thank you so much for having me, thomas. yeah, i do believe we want to see the deal done. i've talked to a lot of republicans who feel that we ought to do this. before we go home. then come back next week for a day or so to rat that fi whatever it is to put in place. and then go home so that the holidays with our families and friends. so people want to see this done. they know pretty much what has to be done. and they would like to see us just do it. and get out of here.
>> congressman, are the outs in the favor of this two-step process of getting something done that will save the majority of americans 98% from tax increases come the new year? is that mainly the game plan at this point, with time running down?
>> well, i hope it is. i would love to see a big deal . you know, i served on the so-called supercommittee. i was a member of the biden group. and throughout all of that, we were working on how to get to a big deal . but even back then, we were looking at a $1.2 trillion deal to just get beyond the so-called sequestration. and that would be a down payment on the bigger deal to come later, getting up around $4 trillion to $5 trillion. so i think that's still there. so i think it's still a two-step process. we may be talking different numbers.
>> but there's always going to be two steps.
>> we just heard from south carolina , senator jim demint who is going to predict that they get their wish. also accusing the president of intentionally trying to walk the country off the cliff right now. is the president sending the message right now, it's his way or the highway?
>> no, i don't think so. the president is saying it must be fair and it must be balanced. that's all he's ever said. i was here back in 1994 . and i will remind mr. demint and if my memory serves, he was here as well. and he was in the house at that time. and they were all saying the same things. well, i think rob english was here. he came later. of the fact of the matter is all the republicans back then were talking about what would happen in 1993 , to the economy, if we were to do the so-called clinton tax hikes. well, we did them. and what did it get us? it got us 22 million new jobs. it got us a big surplus after the end of the clinton years. so just because they say it does not make it so.
>> so we're waiting on this speaker john boehner 's briefing from capitol hill coming up in moments from now. we're going to take that to everybody live. but i want to get you on the record before we go to ask you what's going on in the state of south carolina the senate shuffle going on with senator demint's leaving and nikki haley . down to tim scott , the first african-american senator since reconstruction. jenny sanford being on the governor's short list to replace him. out of those names, other names like mulvaney as well as a possible consideration. what do you think about a jenny sanford being put in to replace jim demint ?
>> i think it would be a great choice. i think jim atim would be a good choice. tim would be the first african-american senator after that. jenny sanford would make the first woman to serve in this capacity, so far as i know. and he's a great person. i like jenny a whole lot. i like tim. neither one of those would be insulting to me. of course, one of them politically i feel closer to than the other. so i don't want to cause them any real difficulty. so i won't say which one of those that is i feel closest to.
>> i was going to say which compliment are you going to give this to. then the governor is going to go the other way. congressman james clyburn , thank you so much for your insight own who might come in for