The Daily Rundown | February 17, 2010
>>> taste why maxwell house
>>> well, these are some difficult days for the party in power. a polarized congress is threatening the democrats' short-term agenda and perhaps their political fortunes this fall.
>> maryland democrat steny hoyer is the majority leader in the house . he joins us now. i want to play you a bite from the white house earlier today about washington .
>> washington right now is broken.
>> i don't ever recall a time in my career where to get anything done you need a supermajority. 60 out of 100 senators. i've never seen it this dysfunctional. i'm trying to get the other team to cooperate. to get in the game here a little bit. i understand the political motivation. but i think people say the message out of massachusetts election was to the democrats, i think it was to everybody in public life .
>> congressman, it seems like there's universal agreement, these day, among the public that is something wrong with washington . but what is -- what responsibility do you take in this? house democrats being in the majority in congress, do you accept any responsibility for this broken washington ?
>> well, chuck, i think we all have responsibility, but in many respects, what the vice president is saying when he says washington is broken, he then talked about needing 50%, of course, in the house of representatives , we only need 50%, the house of representatives , according to norman ornstein and others had one of the most productive ones in recent times last year. the president signed into law some very significant pieces of legislation. however, i believe the senate is broken. i don't think it's harry reid 's fault as the democratic leader. what i think it is, the republican leadership has determined that failure and grid gridlock are to its political benefit. of course, we've had more request for filibuster votes than anytime in history. that has brought the senate 's ability to do its business to a standstill at sometimes, and to a slow walk at others. so we need to get legislation moving up or down. if the majority of the united states senate doesn't agree with it, it ought to fail. but if the majority agree, it ought to pass. the problem is they can't get it to the problem under the procedures that the senate is operating under. a lot of people are frustrated about that.
>> yeah. and given your concerns about senate process, i want to ask you about health care reform and whether you'll insist that the senate pass a fix by reconciliation before the house passing any health care bill that the senate had already passed. i know that there was kind of a two-track plan. but that speaker pelosi and perhaps yourself, were really insisting that the senate do its fix first before the house would pass the health care bill?
>> sa van
>> savannah, what we're trying to do it get it to pass the house and see if we can reach common ground . if we can reach common ground , we think that common ground ought enacted first before we pass the house or senate bill . the suggestion has been, in effect, put into place an agreed resolution between the differences between the two houses. and then pass the senate bill through the house . that is a procedure i think we could follow. and if we can reach agreement, it perhaps is a procedure we will follow. but the objective, obviously, is to get agreement between the two hous houses and enact that into law and send it to the president.
>> that that reflect the basics that the house has $150 billion jobs bill, and the senate is now considering it may pass a $15 billion jobs bill?
>> well, clearly the experience, i don't know whether it's mistrust, but experience is a good teacher that oftentimes, the house is able to pass legislation which we think is necessary and needed. send it to the senate and the senate 's been unable to move. again, primarily, because the republicans use filibuster to stop legislation.
>> congressman, do you think primarily --
>> i think once they mistrust or experience, there is not a sense that unless the senate acts that we can count on them doing so.
>> you say primarily, but are you really saying that 40 republicans or 41 republicans are outmaneuvering harry reid , chuck schumer . even though those guys have 50 votes at any given moment? is that what you're saying that the republican majority is simply outmaneuvering the democratic leadership?
>> no, i'm not saying that, chuck. the republican leadership is abusing a process that was used relatively effectively in the '60s and '70s and '80s and even the '90s. every move of the senate requires 60 votes, the founding fathers didn't have that in mind. when people vote in elections, they expect the majority is going to prevail in our country. but it doesn't prevail in the united states senate . it's not that senator reid is being outmaneuvered, it's the rules that exist that preclude him from moving as he'd like. chuck, as you well knower as well as i do, clearly, democrat party say broad-based party. and there are some democrats who don't agree with certain propositions. that's proper. they're representing their states and their views. so that we don't always have -- even when we had 60 senators, 60 senators. but i think we almost invariably had a significant majority of those who were supportive of propositions but could not get the opportunity to vote on those.
>> right, right.
>> congressman, very quickly before we have to let you go. i want to read you a quote from one of your colleagues, bruce bailey out of iowa. he said the biggest problem is i don't think that a lot of people in congress fear the president. do you think the president needs to get in there and crack skulls?
>> i don't think it's a question of being fearful of the president. it's a question of agreeing with the president or not agreeing with the president. i think the president's been engaged. i think he's been working hard. he's reached out to republicans, he's certainly reached out to democrats. we've had one of the most productive sessions in a very long in the united states house last year. and in fact, it was a relatively productive session, a bill signed into law. today is the date on which we note the passage of the american recovery and reeninvestment act.
>> by the way, you just brought that up, was that a jobs bill or not?
>> certainly, it was a jobs bill. as a matter of fact, chuck, if you look at the statistics, whether you're looking at jobs which we've gone from losing 726,000 the last quarter of the bush administration , to only losing 35,000 this last quarter. that's not -- that's progress. we need to create jobs, not just lose less. the stock market is up over 50% since we passed the recovery act. and gdp went from a 6.4% decline in the bush administration to 57 increase this quarter. "the new york times" say private sector analysts say it added 1.6 to 1.9 million new jobs. that was a significant jobs bill. but we need to do more, chuck. and we're going to be focused on jobs and growing the economy over the next weeks and months.
>> we'll be following that over the next couple of weeks. we hope to have you back. congressman hoyer, the house majority leader. thanks for joining us.
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