The Ed Show | December 20, 2012
>>> welcome back to "the ed show." house speaker john boehner has failed to get enough support to bring his plan b bill up for a vote. majority leader eric cantor said legislative business is done for the week and sent the house members home for christmas . for more i'm joined tonight by congressman steny hoyer of maryland. steny, great to have you with us tonight. i don't know how you do a deal with a dysfunctional bunch. but eric cantor said earlier today that they had the votes, then they didn't hold the vote. where are we at this hour?
>> ed, what i think today shows very, very clearly, that in fact president obama has been willing to compromise, willing to make a balanced deal possible from his perspective. and i think john boehner wanted to get there. but what john boehner has shown tonight is that his caucus does not want to make a balanced agreement, to make sure that working americans don't get a tax increase, to make sure that we deal with the doctors' reimbursement for medicare, make sure the sequester doesn't happen. his crowd has too many theocratic members who are interested only in their own ideology and not in the welfare of the country. i think it's a sad day for our country. i'm glad that this went down to defeat because now hopefully wem come to grips with the fact the only way this is going to work, not on a partisan basis but on a bipartisan coming together, i am hopeful that john boehner and eric cantor will join with the president, leader pelosi, and myself and they'rery reid and mitch mcconnell to come to a balanced agreement that we then in a bipartisan fashion can pass because it's obvious that the republicans will not pass anything. they won't touch revenues at all, as is self-evident by this vote -- by this failure to be able to act even on their own speaker's proposal, not on a compromise but on their own proposal. it is dramatic evidence that the president was right and frankly speaker boehner was wrong. it's not us who won't come to the table to pass a balanced deal. it is the republican conference in the house of representatives .
>> steny, is this also a message that it's going to be awful tough to get around the tea party ?
>> well, you know, i still believe that john boehner and eric cantor have the ability, i think they would, and if they can't, well, i think there's a question as to their leadership ability. but i would certainly think they can get 125 or 150 or 160 members of their caucus to join a like number in our caucus to pass a balanced constructed deal at that time president of the united states will support and that will put america on a fiscally sustainable path.
>> does this mean we're going over the cliff?
>> well, the president doesn't want to go over the cliff. as you'll recall in the third debate, he said we weren't going to go over the cliff. none of us want to go over the cliff. that's not good for our economy. it's not good for our people. and we need to work to avoid that. i am hopeful that in the next five days, six days between now and next wednesday, when i presume we're going to be coming back, i am hopeful that the president i know is willing to work. the speaker and others will work to try to get to an agreement that can in fact be adopted by the house of representatives , passed by the united states senate , and signed by the president of the united states . that will require what we haven't seen in this republican majority, the willingness to compromise and be reasonable and make sure the math works.
>> but congressman, how much farther can the democrats go? aren't the democrats bound by the success of the obama team in the election and the number of seats that were picked up by the house and the number of seats in the pickup in the senate and two seats by the democrats? aren't you bound by the election results not to give in anymore? the president has reduced the price a couple of times. he also put social security on the table, which was something i think you said wasn't going to happen. so how much more can the democrats give?
>> ed, i don't think there's much more to give. i think the president, you're correct, has come a long way toward trying reach a balanced bipartisan agreement with speaker boehner . the problem speaker boehner has, as is self-evident from the debacle that occurred tonight where the republican conference is deeply divided, the problem that the speaker has in reaching a balanced deal is his caucus won't support it. the president's caucus i think would support him if it's a reasonable deal, which the president thinks is good for the country. we need to get a deal. we need to keep that uppermost in mind. and we're not taking the position as the republicans have taken my way or the highway. we understand in a democratic process the electorate has spoken, that they left the republican leadership in charge of the house of representatives . we picked up seats. we frankly got more votes nationally than the republicans did in the house of representatives . but we didn't win back the majority. so there needs to be compromise. the country needs us to come to an agreement. but what the republicans have to understand is clearly they can't get a large number of their party. i believe that speaker boehner and majority leader cantor can get a majority of their party. maybe it will be a small majority of their party. and if they come to a reasonable agreement with the president of the united states , i think we can pass such an agreement. i think it would be good for the country, good for the economy.
>> the question now is can john boehner put the country ahead of his speakership?
>> i certainly think he can. i hope he will. and as i say, in talk to the speaker, he has told me, and i believe him, he wants to get a big deal . he unfortunately, as somebody, i think, one of your speakers in the previous segment said, you can't be a leader if there aren't followers. and frankly, the republican party is having a hard time following -- finding followers who want to be reasonable, who understand that democracy is about compromise, and our economy and our country are more important than our parties.
>> well, there's a lot to think about over the holidays. that's for sure. you gentlemen are going to be back to work next week. we'll see what happens. although the hourglass tonight just got turned in a big way. congressman steny hoyer , great to have you with us tonight, sir.
>> thanks, ed. appreciate it.
>>> howard dean joins me on the epic failure by house speaker john boehner . stay tuned. you're watching "the ed show" on msnbc. sents the cold