Weekends with Alex Witt | March 23, 2013
>> senate was working. in fact, passing its first budget in four years during an all-night session being called a voter-ama. the nonbinding blueprint passed by a near party vote, the senate spent several hours taking up dozens of amendments.
>> 35 amendments. we've done 70, twice as many. doing this has been a herculean feat.
>> i know everyone is exhausted. and you may not feel it at the moment, but this is one of the senate 's finest days in recent years, and i commend everyone who has participated in this extraordinary debate.
>> with that, some of the amendments have nothing to do with the budget or fiscal policy but party operatives on both sides are keeping score of last night's votes. for potential campaign fodder in 2014 . joining me now, white house correspondent for the hill amie parnes and staff reporter for mother jones andy krul. good morning to both of you. andy , i'll begin with you. the senate working until gosh just like two hours ago. blistering through 70 amendments. so what was that about? and did anything significant happen?
>> well, the significant thing that happened was the senate finally passed a budget of its own. it was led by senator patty murray . senate 's first budget in four years. now, it is nonbinding, and it really doesn't stand a chance of becoming an actual budget by being reconciled with the house. but that on its face was important to see and something that we hadn't seen in awhile. we also had this voter ama, as you described it. while there were 70 amendments actually debated and voted on, there were some 500 offered. and you know, as you said, this was more about scorekeeping. this was more about fodder for attack ads in 2014 , in 2016 , there were amendments on the keystone xl pipeline. there were amendments on the medical tax device that pays for obama care. there are amendments on all sorts of things that don't have to do with the budget . so it was as political as it was about policy last night.
>> yeah. but amie, you know, democrats passing this first budget in four years here, how significant is that? and what does it call for?
>> well, it's significant just like andy it's sort of all politics at play. but you know, it's so vastly different from what the republicans in the house want. so i don't think -- and it's different than what the president wants. so i think that list just posturing. you know patty murray expressed optimism. she said that they might be able to bridge that divide. but i'm rather skeptical of that, alex.
>> yeah, i'm curious, andy , why do you think? because you've got one being passed by the democratically controlled senate , and then you've got the house, or the gop control, do you think there's any chance these two extreme budgets in terms of their perspectives, will be mitigated and something will be passed?
>> no. there's really no chance whatsoever. i mean, in the senate , on the democratic side you have a budget that is, you know, that trims spending by a little bit but it raises taxes in a significant way. senator murray says it's about creating jobs, and it's about growth. and then obviously on the house side you have a budget that is heavy on spending cuts and that has nothing to do with raising taxes at all. because obviously the house gop would not stand for that. so you have really, you know, clashing visions of what a government budget really should be. and what we're really going to see here is sort of a, as a future budget fight, you know, somewhere down the road , maybe later this year, over how the government writes a budget and how these two budgets, you know, had any future and if they can be reconciled or not.
>> amie let's move on to the president's trip here to the middle east . he's going in, as you know, we talked about this. the white house was lowering expectations. but did anything happen to exceed those expectations?
>> i think advise ares think that it was a largely positive trip. when you look at the headlines in israel , they're very, very, they're calling this trip a very successful one. you know, they had prime minister netanyahu and president obama had their moments. they exchanged laughs. there were, you know, it was a far cry from a moment in the oval office that we saw last year where there was very -- there was a lot of tension. i think that he sort of achieved what he wanted to do there on iran, on middle east peace, on trying to move that along a little. so i think he sort of, you know, this was a trip to really sort of embrace israel , to kind of give them a nod. he hadn't gone his entire four years, his entire first term. so i think that this was a largely positive trip for him.
>> andy , the speech the president delivered to young palestinians and israelis on thursday, it was -- it was a great speech. let's listen to some of that. oh, i wish we could have. i just got from my director we don't have it. it was a great speech. did you interpret it that way, as well? i mean it seemed to appeal to both sides. all the applause that was peppered throughout that speech.
>> the speech on thursday was the centerpiece of this trip for president obama . it was really the most significant thing. you know, the bulk of the trip really was repairing and resetting the president's relationship with prime minister benjamin netanyahu . you know, the trip was billed operation desert schmooze so it was really the bar was set very low. but this speech had powerful language. the president took a very firm stand on settlements, on occupation, and really sort of nudged open the door ever so slightly for a peace process . now, what the president's message was, that it needs to come from the people in israel , it needs to come from the people in palestine, that it needs to be come from the outside and it's not something that leaders, whether in the israeli government or the american government can just spearhead on their own, that the people need to have this. but it was a really important speech.
>> it was.
>> and i think really, really well-delivered. i love when you talk about operation desert schmooze. the other thing i was hearing out about it, you had me at shalom. it appears to be all good at this point. we'll see how it all plays out back stateside. amie, andy , thanks