tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN April 2, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
paul ryan proposed as a national starting point, and not enough for the tea party people, a monumental armageddon you cannot cut that much. and the terms of debate has moved so far, that is now the democrats' position. talking about $30 billion or $60 billion, it is a lot of money. if we are going to have a shut down, we should have a shutdown over something big like
>> unlike the c.r. when we have a certain date, the debt ceiling we know is coming but we do not know when. there is a lot of play in when we hit it and when it is. i think it is not a good metric of our obligations and needs to be fixed. this is a classic issue on a partisan vote. this is the majority's responsibility, always has been. and it dealt with splits, of but that no one wants to take, and that tax on to something else. it is an issue that the tea party has grabbed onto in an incredible way. it is about entitlement reform. those are the kinds of things that people are saying that they want. in exchange for a debt limit
then there is an opening to actually make something happen. until somebody leaves, and says we want to do this entitlement, and the other party says what they will do, we do not know what we will do. >> it seems to me that where we have the focus right now is the senate where we have 64 members saying we want a big, copper his of -- comprehensive approach. we have all these people trying
to figure out to do what needs to be done. hopefully everybody is learning about the importance of the budget and spending. whether you take social security off and put it in a separate category, it is all about the costs of medicare and medicaid. neither party is prepared to step up to that in a fundamental way. i think republicans are most effective in attacking the health-care proposals by saying, they are cutting medicare, which is what democrats said of republicans during the '90s. this has become the third rare -- rail, even so security. we do not really have an answer to it. i hope that, they spoke about
accountable care organizations and ways to reduce the costs. we are a long ways from seeing that fully implemented. i hope that something will come together in the senate and see if there is a center in the house that would support something like that -- i hope that that can comeand then see whether there is athe conventional wisdom is that this cannot be done before the presidential election. but the president would get involved if he felt that we were same time so it would not tip over. or we could react to the meltdown in a bond market that would give everyone the imperative. >> listening to them and thinking ahead, it make me realize that we're doing the easy stuff right now. the c.r. is totally straight
forward, cutting spending, and i think it was a senator who said that the c.r. is like algebra, and entitlement reform is advanced calculus. i do not think there are a lot of people up there whose integration and differentiation skills are up to the task right now. [laughter] it's interesting observing someone -- as someone who has observed a lot of budget debates, i do see a seriousness in the way people are talking about entitlement reform and debt and deficit reduction. that does not mean that anything will happen soon. but people are laying the groundwork for a serious effort to change longer-term policies. there are many obstacles in the way. when i was talking to paul ryan a couple of weeks ago, he said something that sounded resigned. maybe we need another election before this can happen.
i do not know -- it is clear that paul ryan is serious about putting something out on entitlement reform, and the budget resolution itself does not make any specific policy changes, just states an intention to do something. once that is out there, then in tangential terms into the gang of six in the senate, and there discussion is in the direction of the substantive changes and some mechanism for setting targets and the targets become the action for the in forcing event. that sounds like all of these process changes that have been enacted in the past that have had mixed success.
there are a lot of questions and if i had to bet right now -- i am not going to bet in public. anyway. [laughter] when i said i was not sure how they would get to april 8, on this one, who knows what is around the corner? >> i really agree with vic's comment that the outlook is serious, fiscal perspective. there is no question that there are serious issues and members are saying what happens in other developed countries, reading the papers, and they are truly concerned about the fiscally on stable outlook. and it is really about the health care segment. that is the issue. social security becomes a small problem relative to the rate of growth of health care spending, in excess of the rate of growth of anything else. it will eat us all if we cannot change that path. what that might mean -- given all that, i do not think that there is a strength in congress
to make the health care changes necessary in the near term. people have lived through this once and do not want to live through it again. there's too much focus on repeal and not enough preparation for the replacement. and the issues are difficult. what that might mean, if there is an opportunity to make progress, there is an opportunity to take a bite out of the smaller problems, the social security issue. a couple of things on that. for the first time, in the social security debate, i think there is an opportunity for people to look toward making
improvements to the social security problem that we face, rather than sticking it all together. so if you look at various proposals on social security reform, all of the proposals solve the problem. but congress never solves a problem. on a good day, they'll make the problem less bad. when we get serious about social security, we will talk about incremental changes instead of wholesale changes. raising the retirement age, and there is an opportunity for social security to come into forefront, because people do not want to tackle the health care issue, and the president's fiscal commission reported out last december and had the opportunity -- and i had the opportunity to serve on the tax size, but they put together a full proposal on solving the
problem by their metric. and a number of the members mentioned on the senate side were members of the fiscal commission. so there has been some work of recent on social security and some of those gang of six were members of that. there may be an opportunity to come back. what would be unfortunate is, as jan was talking about, process issues. it would be linking process with the debt limit vote.
to take away their role or raise that limit, that avoids the process and instead imposes another process. it seems to me like you're not making progress. >> do you think we are about to roll grover norquist? >> i think that in order to make -- to get the deal that needs to be done, that will have to be part of it. >> there goes your invitation to the wednesday meeting. [laughter] >> i want to come back to what jan brought up tangentially, something you hear a lot in different panels and studies, this notion that we cannot really deal with this debt and spending problem until after the next election. people have put that forward coming from many different standpoints. one is that only the current president free of the burdens of re-election can get this done. and then only a newly elected republican president with a fresh mandate can get this done. and then we need to have another
election in which there is an even stronger mandate for spending reduction than the last one. i do not buy any of that. we have had the election. the best we are going to have in terms of a mandate for spending reduction. tell me if i'm right. i do not remember any election in which deficit, debt, and spending were as predominant as in the last election. no election. we're not going to get another one of those. we did not talk about social security and raising taxes, but spending, deficit, and debt, they were the central issues. if we cannot deal with this issue now, my view is that it will be much harder after the next election. if not impossible. >> with the two parties to be responsible and in charge of every element of the government and to implement this, it will put you in the political wilderness for a period of time.
why not do it when we have divided government, when the blame will be assessed across the spectrum? publicly, both parties are better off in this environment than what they hope the next one is. >> i do have one last question i want to get out. i will throw that out while all the microphones are moving around. more about how the house works. speaker boehner and speaker pelosi, they wanted to open up the house a bit. there was an open rule quite entertaining and probably get people there late during nights as they went to the budget in great detail. what do you make of the way the house is working? and related to that, talk about speaker boehner. they have partly compared him to earlier democratic speakers.
but let me ask, boehner versus gingrich and boehner versus boehner. >> he was a committee chairman. that is important training, and different than others who move up the leadership ladder and not through the committee process. he really accomplished something. then he did what many who get knocked off the leadership ladder do, he went into the committee and became a serious legislator. he then came back into the leadership process, having been
the effective chairman of the education and labor committee. it is not a choice assignment for a republican. he did a very good job. that affects the way that he performs as speaker in a fairly significant way. we will see that as we go forward. the other thing i would say about speaker boehner, newt gingrich thought of himself as the leader of the republican party. no question in his mind that he was the leader of the republican party. other people might question that. john boehner does not think of himself that way. he gets a lot of jokes made about his emotionalism. i think there is a genuine humility in him about the position he is in. he does not view his role in politics anywhere near the way that speaker gingrich did back in the 1990's. >> he fell out of leadership. so he has been in the room when
he is imposing. one and never really serve for very long in any leadership role before he was in charge. >> let's open it up to the audience. we will start with michael barone in the first row. >> we know who you are. >> speaker boehner, then the minority leader, he was in this room in september saying that he was going to let committee chairman have the lead and encourage the development of bipartisan legislation such as
the no child left behind act in which he worked with george miller. we have now really thought of it as a bipartisan thing. he would have in effect abandoned the majority of the majority rule to bring things forward. he did so on the ge engine question, of some concern to his district. ge has a big plant in the cincinnati area to build jet engines, and it's hard for me to imagine other speakers to allow something that would defund a large projects that they wanted to see funded in their local district. denny hastert would not allow the defunding of o'hare airport. are there rules where he would say, we have to get the majority and they will set the rules so that they cannot lose? >> he allowed that on the big c.r. and a lot of other rules
have been open. strictly speaking, he has piloted the problem that everything has to be wide open. but i do not think anyone thought he would do that on everything. you do have to run the house. i don't think he has done it on any politically sensitive question, and that is something to watch for. on the continuing resolution, hundreds of amendments, and i do not see a lot of bipartisan bills coming out of committees, but the votes were bipartisan. when you have a house rules committee decides there will only be three amendments, and the majority controls it, they will go up and down on party lines. when you say that anyone can offer any amendment that they want, there were a few that you can watch a coalition on different issues.
some republicans that do not want to do that. you come up with a proposal to abolish the ge second engine for the joint strike fighter, the anti-earmark people and the people going after that for years, and it comes to a vote, and whether the speaker of the house has a local interest on it, i thought i was really remarkable. where the signs that john boehner is twisting arms on this? i did not find them. it does not seem like he has yet. >> he will have to at some point. but people are not focused on this -- allowing the kind of debate and argument and amendment process that we saw, it is an effective management
tool for john boehner. he does indeed have a fractious caucus. they were influenced by grass- roots movements called the tea party, and do not cave in to your leadership. managing this fractious caucus has been a process. i think it has been good to allow the open process and not be seen that the speaker in a heavy-handed way did what those tea party activists warned us he would do and shut us down. at some point, they will come to an issue that requires the discipline and then we will find out whether or not he can
impose that. up to now, it has been a fairly effective tactic in allowing him to coalesce the republican congress. >> i would say that he is getting the benefit and will continue to for the next two years of having one open rule. now he can close the rules process as he has done subsequently, and they said, we had one on the whole budget. he defended the argument. but specifically on the second engine, you saw where the votes were, and it was a very smart move to build his support among the tea party members, the new members of congress, who are now saying, he gave us a vote. he did not try to use his power. down the road about the challenges ahead. >> favorable ratings have gone
down to about 32%, up to 21% unfavorable. i am wondering whether -- you and the others said that most of the unfavorable ratings came from people earning under $50,000. could you speculate as to why there was more negative attitudes, the way that the press and the democrats frame it, or something that may factor in the 2012 elections? >> i have a really hard time both as a reporter and a citizen figuring out to the tea party is. i actually feel guilty any time
i use it in my stories when i do not know who they are. it's an interesting concept that has captured about polls. -- the spirit of the whole vote in 2012. an interesting challenge as a reporter, to figure out, who are the tea party. who do you talk to? there are national tea party groups, but you cannot claim that they are representative of the tea party. they have to be people -- who have it in their name. i was reporting a few months ago on the tea party in maine. i was interested at all on whether olympia snowe would get a tea party challenge. she has not. i called one person who has tea party on his blood. i ask about one candidate and they said that that is not really a tea party person. if they identify themselves as a sympathizer to the tea party movement, i say, what kind of a politician is this?
and this is getting too metaphysical about politics. i will leave it at that. i do not know about polls. >> janet makes an important instructional point. there are literally hundreds of organizations -- i am not making that up. someone told me about thousand more they call themselves tea party organizations. tea party patriots, the guys around the corner, one event coming around in minnesota, the tundra tea party. some may have a direct connection to a tea party organization in their districts. the other 60 are certainly influence, but they have no connection to it. everything unpleasant happening around the country is blamed on the tea party. >> there are tea party members
of the president. there is a group of people in the party who are mad as hell and are not taking it anymore. that impacts how issues are dealt with here in washington, and at the state level, and it is one of the things that gives the democrats hope, and they had very little four months ago. >> it is not a third party. they are operating within the republican party. it is an important dynamic over the last election. these voices have returned, but these are republican candidates. i do not know if that will sustain itself in the future,
but at the moment, we're talking about a division within the caucus. that affects the dynamic significantly. >> i am going to turn this way right here for questions. >> i like to know whether janet or anyone else on the panel could give us ideas, since you do not know who we are, do you know what we stand for? >> i have a very clear sense of the issues that people who identify themselves as tea party activists, the concerns about the size of government and the level of federal spending. no confusion about what people who identify themselves, what they believe themselves -- it is the political entity. >> let's go in the back here.
please identify yourself. >> virginia, tea party people believe in limited government. it is really simple. last year $5.1 trillion of federal and local spending, and indirect loss of about $2.5 trillion, so you have $8 trillion in a $14.5 trillion economy. that is what the tea party people are concerned about. my question is, 2000-2006, the charge was that republicans had
complete control, but in the senate, on average, they had 53 seats. so is that complete control? and why didn't the republicans respond to that? >> the senate being controlled by anyone is foreign to me. it is an institution that parties have a hard time controlling even when they have a majority. and even when democrats had a magic number of 60, they had a hard time controlling outcomes. that assumes that everyone in the party votes the same way and there are no filibusters. in the senate, the majority party has the responsibility rather than the minority party. i think the democrats had come
to appreciate themselves, especially now with the republicans controlling the house, adding a majority in the senate is far from controlling things. >> let's go right here. >> as we speak this morning, there is a hearing on the aarp and its nonprofit status. you add that to a list of planned parenthood, npr, defunding the epa -- congressman weber, are you're concerned that the new republican majority has been branded as an ideological majority and more interested in defunding the left rather than balancing the budget? >> i am concerned about that. i want to clarify. the democrats want to say we should cutspending bills of all riders and just deliver clean
spending bills. i did not go that far. if you think about republicans from a policy standpoint, the only policy leverage that they have -- that will not get it to the senate and get it signed by the president. you have identified the most emotive issues. but whether it is health care, financial services reform, higher education reform, epa regulation, things that they really care about, serious policy issues, their own ability to impact that is to put a rider or amendment on a must- pass spending bill. at the end of the day, they can probably get some of what they want. i do not go so far as to say that the republicans should concede to the democrats that we will only pass clean spending bills. but to allow big symbolic
issues to drown out this message that some people mentioned earlier, we have not made our case for our own success. we have cut spending for the first time maybe ever. but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the big budget, but it is the first time we have done it. and that is getting lost in the argument about these high- profile and emotional issues. >> it certainly has been helpful to the democrats by making the defunding of the left, as you could become the centerpiece. that has given that counter reaction on the democratic side. their base is not been energized. but the bottom line is that republicans would have been better off to do across the board cuts. they are always required to pinpoint where the impact will be. everyone thinks that the government is too big so we can reduce in size. but when you get into talking
about the small amounts of money just to make the point politically, democrats are elated. >> their rhetoric would be almost undeniable of an across- the-board cut in this environment. you mean we cannot cut 0.1% of the federal budget? but when you zero out this program, then the program becomes the issue rather than the amount cut. >> we will go back here. >> there has been some talk in the senate about raising revenue as well. the millionaires' tax, or with reducing reductions people can make on their taxes. what will happen if that makes it to the house? >> i am encouraged by the focus on tax expenditures that came out of the bowles-simpson commission.
i think we need a total reform and we need to do a lot about tax expenditures. and then i think there is bipartisan support growing for reducing rates both on individuals and corporations, but it will not be all give-and- take. >> i think they could afford the only conceptual framework in which you can have a revenue increase. it has considerable heartburn for both parties. if you are a republican, it is a net tax increase and there is no reason is that democrats would not support it. someone mentioned grover norquist earlier. that is major heartburn for republicans. but if you are a progressive democrat, you're not imposing a millionaire's tax, you are
bringing down marginal rates on individuals and corporations. that is the only way that republicans will support a net tax increase. you have a really difficult sell on both sides of the aisle for that. but i think it is possible. ryan in the house republicans who voted against the commission, they made it clear that they did not do so because of the revenue section. it was the failure to address health care spending. you have the opening to do a revenue raise, pro-growth, but the millionaire's tax will not happen. that basic -- that is contrary to basic republican economic philosophy.
>> i want to go back to that question about the increase in the unfavorability of the tea party. mr. fazio's remark about michele bachmann identifying with the tea party, and seeing herself as the leader. was there a link between some of the high-profile politicians like michele bachmann and the increase in the unfavorable side of the tea party? >> i do not think it is individuals. i think there are fights going on that are unpopular in the country. even gov. christie, they have
had to deal with issues in their own states. inevitably democrats do a good job of labeling everything unpopular as tea party. but it is not willing to these individuals trying to run to the head of the parade, if you will. it is not clear to me that there is any leader of the tea party, but many would like to make themselves the leader. >> i think there is a natural factor behind some of these polls, in that it is difficult to sustain an eagerness and happiness and support and any movement or any party. i was in arizona a couple of months ago with the tea party patriots at a conference they had organized. a number of people remarked that from the tea parties
perspective, the ability to keep things going, it is just -- people whoever they are, these tea party years, they are working hard. to some extent, it can get tiring after a while. the momentum can be lost. i think a lot of what happens in washington and the political process has to do with momentum. when my biggest concerns is with bowles-simpson is that we lost the momentum. we did not grab hold of that set of recommendations and run with it. instead there was a pause taken up by the president's budget. the excitement around them can
dissipate, and that is important for all of the issues. >> we might have time for one more question. we have a question right here. the microphone is coming. >> the night of the 2010 election, there -- one of the republican said that this was the last chance to make good on the promises. do you feel that with this 100- day period, the house republicans lost the urgency? or do you feel it is still a race against time? >> i do not think the republicans have lost any sense of urgency, quite the opposite. they feel a sense of urgency on every single bill coming up as opposed to looking at the
broader picture of a big budget. i don't think there is any loss of urgency. the question -- and i think it is a question that can be answered -- can they come to grips with the realities of the budget as opposed to the campaign rhetoric about the budget? and i believe we have never had an election in which we focused more on deficit in spending. nonetheless, the rhetoric of politicians in both parties about it was not particularly helpful in terms of getting us toward the solution we want. the democrats would have you believe it can all be solved by raising taxes on upper-income people. republicans would have you believe thatyou can find that line in the budget entitled waste, fraud, and abuse and cut it. not true. we have to talk about social security, medicare, revenues, and defense. all of those are much more difficult than taxing someone else or finding waste, fraud, and abuse. >> the sense of urgency takes me back to the difference between now and 1995. since 1995, both parties of had
the experience of gaining power, working on their mandate, and then being thrown out either because they misread their mandate or not delivering on their promises. that is why they have a sense of urgency. they know that the electorate is volatile. there is a big chunk of independent voters part of the tea party movement. if they do not deliver, it is not clear that a lot of the tea party voters will go democratic. they might just send them home. >> one last chance for panelist to do it wrapup of anything they did not say about 112th congress or where we might be going. let me start with alex. >> i think i have made all my points.
i will yield back my time. >> yes. i guess i have, too. [laughter] >> i like to point out something vin said in response to the last question. we have been dancing around budget issues for so many years. tax the rich -- waste, fraud, and abuse -- that was ronald reagan's favorite. and we have never really dealt with the problem. it has gotten bigger and bigger and more and more difficult. whether it is the bowles-simpson commission or another, or any of the others out there, we have come tosome bipartisan agreement that we cannot kick the can down the road that much longer. it is causing everyone to come in from their ideological perch, so comfortable that they had become wedded to it. our resolve in this is yet to be determined. at least we have people out
there pushing us in that direction. i really believe that the politicians, and i am certainly one of them, have contributed to this attitude the public has that we can do it all by cutting your pay, welfare, and foreign aid. the things that really matter in the federal budget -- the public is nowhere near adequately informed about the reality. they just do not know that. it has been easier to keep them in the dark, because it would have meant everyone having to give up some of that ideology. that is the encouraging news. i think it is no longer a partisan agenda. it is definitely bipartisan. or we will not get any further than we have gone in the last 30 years.
>> it might happen in this budget. is this the time? one is the time that you are hopeful? >> i think now was the only time. if it does not happen now, i am deeply pessimistic. i am not going to sum up what we said, to raise totally new issues that we have not talked about. i think there is an indication that we will have a national security debate in this country that we have not seen for a long, long time. the reason i say that is because i am looking what i have seen from republicans that would be surprising, even shocking. you have senators on the
commission talking about reductions in the defense budget, which secretary gates promptly called "catastrophic." to see conservative republicans talking about that is something you have not seen people -- you have not seen before. haley barbour coming out against libya and outright opposing what we're doing in afghanistan and calling for reductions in the defense budget. bachmann coming out flatly against what we're doing in libya. no pun intended, but i think we're going that have a debate about national security that we have not had for a long time in this country. it will have to do with intervention, heavily influenced by the cost of our military budget, and it will be a good thing but something we have not seen for a long time in this country. >> join me in thanking the panelists for a great panel. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> the annual radio and television correspondents association dinner was held wednesday here in washington. it will be seen tonight at 8:00 eastern p.m. here on c-span. >> the student can competition had students across the country to look at washington, d.c. through their camera lens. they needed to better understand the role of the federal government. >> this is a -- an explanation of how a system works. this is an example of a type of
model. it uses boxes with terrorist to illustrate what a system has. >> we want them to have a happy and productive life. people in general cannot do everything that the sighted world can do when they are blind. these kids can go and do anything they would like to do and be happy and productive people. they would still be tied to paraprofessionals that would help them do things. if they had an adult helper, they do not learn to stand on their own and be productive citizens in the united states.
>> to be independent, i am listening to my gps and will summit which way the subway is going, or if i get a taxi, it will tell me how many miles they are driving. i can tell them, you are going in the wrong way. >> the ability to do something intellectually and not be allowed to do that, but before it to stay at home. we are able to get the technology and equipment to the people and help be a contributing member to society.
>> we are able to look at the passage of the disabilities act and look at the important changes that have been made towards american society. we must be willing to make changes if need be. we clarified coverage under the ada is a fraud. anyone that faces discrimination due to disability can receive help under this act. [unintelligible]
>> this is a good example of people thinking that washington is not capable of doing something. we then find out the capabilities that they truly have. one uses that braille for everything other than math. she needs a closed-circuit television to make it big enough. what she needs is vague. >> when the teacher is explaining and then you go back to the braille, it is hard. >> as far as the books go for our kids, we ordered them.
it takes 26 books of braille to cover one literature book. sometimes it can be 14 volumes. >> it is good to have these things in the classroom. just because they have different skill levels in there does not mean they cannot do things in the same way. >> i have the textbook and materials i need for the blind to allow them to participate in a regular education setting curriculum. >> it broadens their knowledge
of the city into the world. give them a chance, and they can show you what they can do. >> someone has to read me the chapter. you do not memorize the whole chapter at once. >> some people look at them in a -- as a distraction in the classroom. it actually adds an element of patients and understanding for regular students in the classroom. >> i use this for my classis, a homework assignments. if the teacher has the system in the computer, i ask her to put
it in my flash drive. i can plug it into my equipment. >> until you are used to it, it can be distracting. the teacher will usually take time to explain what she is doing. many of our students can contribute and they are not a distraction. >> thanks for the help you have given. please do not stop. please continue to help blind students succeed and become all they can in life. we need the rest of society to pay for these people to be on welfare. >> these students benefits of the community in a way that is quite surprising. i think they make our students
more tolerant and open. the main and makes it a community of more thoughtful people. >> we see it all of the time with students in high school. kim made her a part of their class and their lives. >> it is not about legal jargon, teenagers not able to explore and develop more of their own capabilities. that is what to the ada has made possible, making the world more accessible and have a happier place. >> you can watch all of the winning videos and continue the conversation about ever documentaries on facebook and twittered. >> next, live, your calls and
comments on the "washington journal." in a house hearing on the tax status of aarp. and then of march employment figures. >> current new york city deputy mayor spent eight years as mayor of indianapolis. today he is a different boss, michael bloomberg, and a different job description. >> i want to make the streets safer, and improve -- and improve the great large cities can do well in the future. >> q&a, sunday night at 8:00 on c-span. .