PoliticsNation | February 26, 2013
>>> you for tuning in. tonight's lead, the gop losing it. we're just three days away from massive budget cuts designed to be so brutal that even far-right republicans would see the light in compromise. instead, it looks like the pressure is getting to speaker boehner .
>> we have moved a bill in the house twice. we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.
>> wow. talk about leading from behind. but boehner 's potty mouth can't hide the incoherence of the gop position when it comes to these budget cuts. boehner himself says the cuts will hurt the economy and threaten thousands of jobs. but tom price says the cuts are needed to get this economy rolling again. on defense eric cantor warns these cuts will harm national security . but wait. tom cole says fiscal questions trump defense. and when it comes to compromise, lindsey graham says he's willing to raise revenue. but boehner already slammed that door shut. the revenue debate is now closed, he says. republicans can't get their stories straight. they're a joke. it would be laughable if it weren't hundreds of thousands of jobs on the line. today president obama went to a shipyard in virginia , the state's largest industrial employer, to point out how crippling these budget cuts would be to our military, our safety net , and our economy.
>> all told, the sequester could cost tens of thousands of jobs right here in virginia . but it doesn't just stop there. if the sequester goes into effect, more than 2,000 college students would lose their financial aid . early education like head start and early start would be eliminated for nearly a thousand children and around 18,000 fewer virginians will get the skills and training they need to find a job.
>> these cuts are a disaster for virginia and they're a disaster for every state in the country. the president is trying to pull america together. but republicans are falling apart. joining me now is congressman bobby scott , democrat from virginia who traveled with the president today. and richard wolffe . congressman, help me out. does the republican position on these cuts make any sense at all to people in their district?
>> well, first of all, it depends on which decision -- which position you're talking about. but the fact is the idea the sequester should go into effect is absurd. you have $1.2 trillion worth of cuts over ten years that would be inflicted on the budget. in our area of virginia , the impact of job loss would be about the same impact as the 2008 recession. devastating impact on jobs. the idea that we need this to grow the economy is ridiculous. this will destroy the economy of hampton rhodes. but the fact is that the across-the-board mindless cuts of $1.2 trillion will have to inflict pain. and there really is no alternative. you cannot have -- well, let's have some surgical deliberate cuts. that doesn't help. the number $1.2 trillion is so huge that you'll have nationwide between 700,000 and 2 million jobs lost. if you did this strategically, you may save those jobs, but the problem is 700,000 and 2 million other people would lose their jobs. the fact is you can't cut the budget $1.2 trillion and not inflict damage and havoc on the economy and with government services. that's why --
>> you know, congressman, what i keep trying to get people to understand and said in the introduction is it was designed to be so damaging and painful that we'd never get here. i mean, i don't understand how people would not understand that it's painful. it was designed to be so painful that we'd never do it. no one imagined they would actually do it.
>> well, it was designed to be painful, designed to have us come up with $1.2 trillion in alternative cuts. the problem is you can't do $1.2 trillion in alternative cuts. you haven't seen a list of cuts that amounts to $1.2 trillion that anyone wants to be associated with. you can't do a list. so the idea if you want $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, you have to have revenues. you cannot do $1.2 trillion. and that's why no one has come up with a list.
>> that's exactly right.
>> every -- the only thing you've seen when they talk about they passed a bill, all they did was come up with a little funding to try to delay it for a little while. come up with $100 billion, but not $1.2 trillion. let's put this in perspective --
>> let me get richard in this a minute, congressman. they keep saying that the president doesn't have a plan. he has outlined a plan. they may not like the plan, but let me show you the president's plan and let me get you to respond.
>> all we're asking is that they close loopholes for the well-off and the well-connected. for hedge fund managers or corporate jet owners who are all doing very well and don't need these tax loopholes so we can avoid laying off workers or reducing financial aid for college students. i don't think that's too much to ask. i do not think that is partisan. the majority of the american people agree with me.
>> i don't think it's too much to ask either. and i don't see what's complicated about it, richard .
>> and remember that the president just won this debate both in an election and in the debate about the bush tax cuts . so republicans are on very weak ground here. they also know it. that's why their messaging is all over the place. is this good for the economy? is it bad for national security ? that's a party that is struggling. they're out there doing polling and focus grouping right now. they need to throw up a website that you saw on the podium. because no one is buying the message. there's no consistency because they cannot agree as a party. these defense cuts were supposed to be so bad, republicans would stop them from letting them happen. and they have now shifted from even where they were a year ago. they are all over the map. their messaging is wrong and the president's message just on this piece of it had just worked.
>> now, congressman, while the president explains what's at stake to americans, cantor is out saying the republicans not only can the republicans have come up with a new complaint. i want you to listen to this and respond.
>> the president ought to really stop campaigning and work with us.
>> he's focused on campaign rallies.
>> the president seems more interested in doing his campaign-style rallies. now we need the president to stop campaigning.
>> so you were traveling with him today. let me get this right. to bring the case to the american people on how it will affect their lives and how they will have the brunt of the pain if this, in fact, goes into effect is wrong -- there's something wrong with that, congressman?
>> no. it just averts attention from the reality where we are. we can afford to get out of this mess. we've had january 1st we passed almost $4 trillion in tax cuts . we're looking for just over $1 trillion in deficit reduction. obviously my position was we should have passed maybe about 2 -- don't pass any of the tax cuts , take care of the sequester and other problems, have a jobs bill. you'd be much better off. but having passed $4 trillion, now we have to find a trillion dollars worth of deficit reduction. the president's plan is very -- it's on his website, on the white house website. it includes significant revenues. unfortunately it also includes cuts in social security and medicare. now, remember, all of these cuts we're talking about now are there only because we passed the tax cut in january.
>> that's exactly right.
>> and we're trying to pay off -- we're trying to pay off the tax cuts . now, so the money's there. this isn't a situation like greece that just doesn't have the money to fix the problem.
>> no, the money's there. richard , let me say this as we have to go. what bothers me is how it affects working class people and poor people . 600,000 women and children lose nutrition aid. 125,000 families lose housing aid. 70,000 kids lose head start . 25,000 fewer cancer screenings. on and on. i mean, these are real live people who can't afford to take the brunt to protect loopholes for yachts and private planes.
>> my criticism is honestly if there's a criticism of the white house , the ships are not nearly as important as the kids. they're at a naval shipyard . i understand it's a big thing in virginia and politics. the items you just mentioned, that's what the president needs to be talking about. he needs to be with families who are going to suffer because of this.
>> and really going to suffer. congressman bobby scott , richard wolffe , thank you both for your time tonight.
>>> last night we reported these budget cuts would also shut down the airport in paul ryan 's hometown in wisconsin. well, it turns out the cuts would just shut down the tower. not the airport itself. although the airport director says it would still make an impact and create a slowdown in traffic. so it turns out mr. ryan may be able to fly home after all. and hey, that's a good thing. he can explain to voters why he's refusing to stop cuts in his home state that could cost 120 teachers and aides to lose their jobs. kick 900 kids off head start programs. and cut $653,000 for meals to seniors. one more thing. while mr. ryan may consider an airport without a working tower to be officially open, it would definitely be closed for me.
>>> ahead, the right wing is at war with chris christie and he just put fuel on that fire. big news today.
>>> and the banks' worst nightmare is getting worse. elizabeth warren