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tv   Washington Journal Matt Bennett  CSPAN  October 6, 2021 12:21am-1:02am EDT

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and could occur very soon, will be vanquished. thank you, everybody. [and distinct chatter -- indistinct chatter] announcer: republicans and democrats have been at a standoff over raising the debt ceiling. the senate returns at 10:00 eastern in the afternoon. chuck schumer scheduled another vote to try and advance a debt ceiling suspension bill, which needs 60 votes. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell told reporters republicans will devote to raise the debt ceiling. -- won't vote to raise the debt ceiling. follow live senate coverage on c-span2. continues. host: joining us now is matt bennett of the third way.
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thank you for joining us. guest: thank you. host: can you describe your group and people you represent? guest: we are a centerleft think tank and advocacy organization, essentially moderate democrats and we work closely with groups like the moderates and the senate, and of course course with the biden administration. host: talk about what it is like to be a moderate democrat, especially these days on capitol hill and at the debate on the build back better administration. guest: it is the best of times and worst of times. on the good news front, there's a lot of us. we are one of the largest caucuses in the congress, in the senate. we are willing quite a bit of power.
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and the president is a self-described moderate. so it is a good time to be a moderate. on the other hand, when you're having these interparty debates and what it means to be a moderate is being defined by a small number of members, it can be tricky as well. so these are good and bad things for our democratic party. host: how would you define being a moderate? at least from your organization's perspective, what does it mean? guest: in politics, there is this image of what it means to be a democratic moderate that was forged in 1992, when bill clinton ran for president. i worked for that campaign and in the clinton white house, and i am proud of that moment when the idea of being a new democrat was born, but this was 30 years ago now. so, the notion of what a moderate is has evolved. we live in a completely
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different world. in our view, a moderate is somebody who believes deeply that the government is vital in making sure that our economy runs properly and that there is opportunity for everyone, but also the private sector needs to thrive. we believe both of those things are possible, but we need sensible regulation and taxation and spending policies to make sure that happens. host: you think both things are possible in the build back better agenda? guest: without a doubt. the president's approach to the economic mess that he took over, as well as the pandemic and climate change, and the growing inequality in the country, all require a big response. we got a little bit of that with the recovery act and now with
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the reconciliation bill, the build back better bill are the next the blocks that will move us toward a better functioning economy. host: the debate as far as progressives and moderates, one issue is the price tag -- how do you see that and how does it impact the debate? guest: on the one hand, you have folks on the left wanting to start at $10 trillion. that's where senator sanders wanted to start. then we heard it $6 trillion was their number. then the bill that came out was $3.5 trillion. so i think everybody understands, given the pressure of getting 50 votes -- 60 votes in the senate, it will be lower than that. the new number is hovering around $2 trillion, plus or minus, so i think that is
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probably where we will end up. host: our guest is with us until 9:30 a.m., but please note the house will come in at 9:00 a.m. we want to ask questions leading up to that. things are different today. if you describe yourself as a moderate democrat, call 202-748-8000. a progressive democrat, 202-748-8001. republicans at 202-748-8002. independents at 202-748-8003. mr. bennet, let's talk about the role of the moderate. let's put that in a sketch up of senator joe manchin these days, how would you see that? guest: of course, we have to have erasing no democratic vote -- every single democratic vote for the bill. in his about matters enormously. -- and his vote matters
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enormously. he is on the energy committee and that will play a role, so he is an important player. obviously, but he knew -- so, obviously, everybody knows by now that he and senator sinema are the most uneasy about the bill of anybody in the democratic caucus, so they have been having a lot discussions with the president and with the speaker about what the bill will look like. he is playing a huge role in crafting pretty much everything. host: as far as their skepticism, do you agree with it or disagree with it? guest: well, our view is we needed to have a huge response to these crises. i would say we probably agree on some things, disagree on others. i do not know exactly where the senators stand on any of these
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particular things because they have been doing negotiating in private, which is where it should have been. these deals, when they come together come are better hashed out face to face. so we do not know exactly where he is. we know where he wants to lean with the certain provisions so we are not giving away money to rich people. that makes sense. but we do not know precisely where he wants to cut. one of the big questions now is do they simply reduce the time period, or the price tag, for each of these programs, or do we take some out and keep the rest at a more robust level? i think that senator joe manchin's view is we should do the latter. some and the progressive caucus want to do the former.
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host: we know where he is as far as the price tag of $1.5 trillion. what do you thing about dropping to those levels? guest: my guess is we will not end up quite that low. i think there is a good case to be made that that would cut some of the things most urgently needed, as we confront these crises, including climate change. i think probably what we are talking about is a topline number closer to $2 trillion. that's a lot of money. the difference is the defense budget of the united states. that's inconsequential amount. and our view is the number they are negotiating over is probably that. host: matt bennett is with us. jerry in maryland, you are on. go ahead with your question or
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comment. caller: what is the total intake for the federal government on an annual basis, because the budget , i believe, exceeds half of the total intake, so where is that money coming from? number two, the democratic agenda has this policy, and we have an economy shrinking, and we have over 2 million people coming in taking away potential jobs. what's the policy that the democrats have tried to achieve? you have working people trying to get minimum wage increased, then you have the influx of new people taking away jobs, so what is the policy? why is that policy good for the country? host: thank you. guest: so, a couple points, jerry. in terms of the overall budget, the numbers we are talking about
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our 10 year numbers. what the president has made clear his along with spending increases or tax cuts for the middle and working classes, there are no tax cuts for the rich in this bill, we will offset those with increases in other places, including increases on the wealthy. people who make more than $400,000 a year. if you make more than $400,000 a year, it's possible your taxes will go up. if you make a lot of money and capital gains, which is you are invested in the stock market, you might see prices rise. taxes may go up on corporations, which saw taxes slashed by president trump. and in our view, some of those need to be rebalanced. if those move, as written, it will not add to the long-term
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debt of the u.s. on immigration, the numbers jerry said were wrong, we are not seeing 2 million people, in. t -- come in. there probably will not be an immigration portion of this bill. we do not have enough votes for immigration reform. the republicans will not allow the democrats to include immigration in the reconciliation bill. i will say this, what we have seen is that jobs are plentiful in the sectors that immigrants tend to take, those that are very difficult for employers to fill, often in agriculture or industry or in food processing. and it is not the case that immigrants are taking the jobs of americans who are looking to work, because for the most part those jobs are open and available. and there's fewer workers than
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jobs. host: steve on twitter talks about senator sinema, saying she will probably get primaried over this. are there political ramifications? guest: it is possible, there is noise on twitter and elsewhere. she's being chased by activists. so there is no question that people are upset about her hold up on this bill. my view is she will vote for the package in the end, and the interparty debates will calm themselves. remember, she is not up for reelection for another four years, so i doubt that this couple weeks of interparty feuding will lead
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we are talking many billions of dollars at stake. this kind of thing happens even intraparty. in 1993 when bill clinton was trying to pass his first big-budget and economic plan which in my view set the stage for a huge economic recovery, it was very controversial. there were moments when they
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chased senator bob kerry inside a movie theater. theater where he had gone to get away from the pressure of negotiating that bill. you saw the same things happening over the affordable care act when that was being negotiated in 2009. presidents trying to do big things and that got majorities, because almost all presidents come in and try to do their work and there was a big debate. there was the crime bill in 1994 and again in 2009. host: would you say moderates have been able to flex that kind of muscle to have an impact? guest: nobody could flex this kind of muscle because the margins were nowhere near as thin as the president's party is
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now. you cannot lose a single vote in descendant which means senator manchin or senator kyrsten sinema can hold up this process if they are unwilling to vote for certain provisions. that gives enormous leverage to the senate and to almost all of the house democrats because there is only a three vote margin. in past fights, the majority leader and descendant rebel to give passes to some ambivalent members who felt like the politics would be bad for them or their state and district. in this one, there are no passes to be given. host: let's go to nicole. she lives in chandler, arizona and defined herself as a moderate democrat. you are on with matt bennett. good morning. caller: good morning. i wanted to call in to let you guys know i am disappointed with kyrsten sinema.
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i voted for her and i was excited for her to help arizona be democratic and get the kind of government we need. i want to know why the democrats are not going harder on her. why is she not being called out for disrespecting the party? it is majority rule than most of the party wants this agenda done with president biden. guest: nicole raises an important point. there is a lot of pressure on the president, chuck schumer -- the president and chuck schumer to turn up the heat on people like senator kyrsten sinema. the problem is that the tools at their disposal don't really allow them to do that. there is not much more pressure that can be brought to bear on an individual. when lyndon johnson was majority
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leader and then-president, he would be able to threaten senators with think that would really scare them, like being taken off key committees or having campaign funds cut or being iced out of power in certain ways. that really does not happen in the modern senate. every senator is a king and queen on their own. it is very difficult to pressure them to do things they don't want to do. i think the president and other democratic leaders are doing everything they can to keep kyrsten sinema at the table. i think this bill will be passed eventually but it is tougher to do -- to try to persuade. host: is there a best way forward for moderate and progresses to come together to hash out these issues internally ? guest: yes, and i think that is
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essentially what is happened. -- happening. the president needs to be in the center of negotiating and i think he is. he met with a group of moderates yesterday. this ping-pong negotiation is the way these deals get done. it is what happened when senator nelson was unhappy about one thing and others were unhappy about others. just checking things off the list is only way to get it done, particularly when these bills are big and super complicated. host: from fred in florida, republican line. caller: thank you so much for taking my call. i have a quick question. my question is about the ceiling cap they are debating. president biden came out yesterday and put the scare tactics that we are going to
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lose our social security if this does not get past. i am under the understanding that social security is a completely different entity than what we are talking about. that will not be touched. am i wrong or can you clear the air? guest: you are not entirely wrong. it is true that the social security trust fund is different from the budget of the united states. it is likely that social security checks will continue to flow for a time. the problem is that that is kind of a fiction. there is not really a separate pot of money that exists physically apart from the rest of the u.s. budget. i think with the president was saying is that if you lose the ability to borrow, which is what would happen if the debt ceiling
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was reached and the credit of the united states was called into kristin and money fled the u.s. and went to more stable currencies like the euro or chinese currency, that could make it difficult for the government to function. it does not mean that social security checks would start the next day -- would stop the next day, but it could threaten our ability to fund social security going forward. host: from augusta, georgia, moderate democrat. good morning. caller: i am calling to reference the commentary being made. i would like to see the john lewis bill get passed because the gerrymandering going on in southern states is hurting us. i am a veteran and i am dependent on my social security check not to be interrupted
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every month. thank you, sir. guest: you have put your finger on a thing where there is absolutely no disagreement among democrats. we all believe it is vital that congress pass reforms like the john lewis bill. what we are seeing in a lot of states, especially southern states and red states elsewhere is republican efforts to make it it vote -- to make it vote and harder to make those votes to count. both voter suppression which is throwing people off of the voting rolls and gerrymandering the districts so they don't have the opportunity to choose a broader array, and other things that make it harder for people to reach the polls, that is one set of things.
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the other dangerous precedent we are seeing is a state legislatures telling a local and state election officials that the legislators will be a target in the elections. there is a dangerous and scary array of things happening in these states and it is vital for congress to pass these democracy reform bills. the problem is it cannot be done by democrats alone unless the filibuster is eliminated. that is almost certainly not going to happen. we would need to attract tenants and it republicans to vote for these bills. that is not impossible but it is a very heavy lift. senator manchin is trying to do that. he has a compromise bill that the reform groups we like. there are a few republicans who have indicated they would vote for it but i'm not sure we would get to 10. host: when it comes to the strategy of tying the budget bill and the infrastructure
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build together, what do you think of that? guest: i think it was inevitable that was going to have to happen. it is just true that a couple of folks in the senate, joe manchin and kyrsten sinema, are not on board with the idea of moving to a reconciliation bill now and that is not where a vast majority of democrats are. the notion was they wanted to pass a bill that was part of a compromise that brought the build together and made a bipartisan. mitch mcconnell voted for it in descendant. she wants -- voted for it in descendant in his -- voted for it in the senate. they would need to keep both bills tied together and that is probably right. host: from our independent line
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from massachusetts, this is dd -- this is dede. caller: i have to call bs on this conversation. i find it odd that nobody questions the fact that kyrsten sinema and joe manchin are really being looked at by the majority of the country as being the ones who know what they are talking about. the democratic party has gone insane. i am 70 years old. my first election was when i was in college in the 1970's so i have seen a bit of political history. i have never seen anything like this. you have the president lying to us about we may see -- we may say $3 trillion but it is not really big. joe would say, come on man.
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that woman who said it is a majority rule, when did it become a majority rule? it is a republic. i support joe manchin and kyrsten sinema because they are doing what their constituents want which is what they are there for, not for making millions of dollars which is a lot of what some people seem interested in. host: that is dede from massachusetts. guest: she puts her finger on a big divide in our politics. there is no question that there are a lot of americans who are worried about spending this kind of money. that is irrational fear -- that is a rational fear. it is outweighed by the huge deferred work that congress has been failing to do for decades
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to make sure we are responding appropriate to climate change, to make sure americans can get ahead. what we have seen in the last 30 years is a huge growth in the stock market, huge advancements from people at the top, unbelievable wealth accumulated by very few people. the opportunity is not spread evenly and not enough people have the opportunity to earn a decent life. when the market is acting efficiently, it means market needs to step in and do things. the market is not going to respond on its own. government is important. the reconciliation bill is paid for by tax increases on corporations and very wealthy people. it provides an enormous tax cut to the middle class.
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we think that is appropriate policy. host: from charlie, democrat line. he calls himself a progressive. guest: we really -- caller: we really need to pass the top line joe manchin will go with and fund every program because they are all important and make it over five years. funded for five years and get the ball rolling -- fund it for five years and get the ball rolling. the next people who get in there and change it at that point. but get the ball rolling. there are people waiting to get the economy turning -- economy churning again. i think about what susan collins said, we will raise the debt
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ceiling if you get this up. that is disingenuous and that is the way republicans have been. we are so far behind because all they wanted to do was get rid of obama care for years. all of this stuff needs to get done. they need to make one carveout -- two carveouts, one for the debt ceiling and one for voting rights. voting rights should be like interstate commerce, there should be level rights all across the board. there is no negotiating with the republicans. make the carveout response to getting the supreme court justices in place, let's make it even stephen here. let's get the contributing -- let's get the country moving. guest: the carveouts he was referring to would refer to the filibuster rule.
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there are a few already. a filibuster is not allowed when descendant is voting on the president's nominees to his or her cabinet. they are not allowed for judicial nominations, at least to the supreme court. those were carveouts because the rule remains pretty much for everything else. there is another one which is the budget reconciliation carveout which is more complicated. there is a lot of discussion around the idea of making a carveout for voting rights because it is so fundamental and so important and should be universal, should be national. there are a whole bunch of folks who think that is a good idea, but it is not clear that senators mansion and cinema -- senators joe manchin and kyrsten
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sinema will go along with it. i would say it is not likely we are going to see that. host: i wanted to point to something you said about these packages being paid for and liked of what the congressional budget office said, that there are more deficits to the tune of 256 billion dollars because of these packages -- $256 billion because of these packages. guest: there is always huge debate over exactly -- what impact a very large bills are going to have. we don't know what the tax sheets are going to look like in coming years and the impact of these big bills will have on the economy. will they choose economic activity so more taxes come in or will they raise inflation and have a negative impact? you get a lot of predictions from both sides of the political debate, one side saying this is
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going to be extraordinarily expensive and the other side saying this is going to bring in more tax revenue than we need. the cdo is making a prediction of its own. the president and omb have concluded that this package will be paid for. much depends on what taxes and up in the final bill, if the taxes go up, to what level, if there is any interest deduction. there are a lot of tax provisions that have yet to be negotiated and that will have a huge impact on the final number. host: andrew is in new hampshire, independent line. caller: it is actually new hampton. given the comments from the call about the debt ceiling and what has been going on with these
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bills, what senators are on board for this--what republican senators are on board for this? guest: the answer is none currently. the hope of avoiding the debt ceiling would be avoiding -- but that is not an incentive from mitch mcconnell. they have dug in their heels and said repeatedly they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling which is ridiculous. that is where our politics are. they don't try to defend it. you heard the quote from senator collins saying it has to go up, we cannot default on the debt. there are some in the republican senate who think we should, but they are a minority. they understand this is a game we are playing but it is a very dangerous game and we're getting
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close to the edge of an cliff -- to the edge of a cliff. democrats will have to do it on their own but it is hard to do and it is not certain they can get it done in time. host: from henrietta in florida, progressive democrat. good morning. caller: two points, first of all the debt ceiling and second of all taxes on the rich. if the congress wanted to change the law, they could. they could gain a lot of money from interests, people with a lot of money, taking money out of the business and not considering get a salary. you could do that. you have not done in -- you have not done it. the democrats can raise the debt ceiling the reconciliation, but they don't want to do that
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because they want to see the reconciliation to shove something else down our throat. i am sure you are a nice guy but you are lying to us, straightfaced. change the laws for the rich. don't suck it out of corporations, suck it out of the human beings in those corporations. please, stop lying. we are smart now. the one thing that trump did was rip the veil off of the elite. host: i had to clarify, you are a progressive democrat? caller: yes. host: finish your thought. caller: just saying, you want to tax the rich, go after the human beings and not the corporations. host: thanks. guest: d2 -- the two parts
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henrietta race, one is just not true. democrats were not reluctant to raise the debt ceiling on their own because it would have an impact on the record bill, it wouldn't. the rules allow them to raise the debt ceiling through the same process but through a separate bill that has nothing to do with the big bill they are negotiating. the reason they are pushing to not do it that way is because it is a responsible for republicans to require the democrats to jump through these parliamentary hoops where it is going to take dozens of hours of senate floor time and will require democrats to do it on their own, to do anything republicans admit must be done. that is the reason. i am not lying about that, those are the facts. the point about taxes, we agree taxes should go up on the wealthy. they have come down too far not
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only in the trump era but before. the wealthy don't pay enough in taxes. many of them pay nothing. democratic leaders have been saying that should go up and that is part of the reconciliation bill raising taxes on the wealthy. for example, there is a loophole that allows wealthy people to pay very little in taxes when they die and their estate is inherited by their children or heirs. we agreed that. our view is that there are some corporate loopholes that should be closed. we will just have to disagree on that point. host: this is from steve in ohio, republican. caller: thank you for taking my call. i would like to say to your guest that the democrats are not the same party as our fathers and grandfathers.
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they have gone so far bernie sanders left that they are alexandria ocasio-cortez crazy. i would like to equate it to -- answers the doubt the guest and his wife have an unlimited credit card. i doubt they give unlimited credit cards to their children if they are high school or college age. this is exactly what the democratic party is doing with this spending bill. they act like they have an unlimited credit card and they don't worry about paying it back because their rich parents will pay for it. i think it is totally responsible and i wish the guest and democratic party would find their common sense because this certainly lost it. host: that is steve in ohio. mr. bennet? caller: i will have to --
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guest: i will have to disagree with the guest. there are provisions in the bill that will pay for this. loading up national debt is a problem. it is a serious problem we will have to deal with as a nation. neither party has been particularly responsible about doing so. president trump saw the sovereign debt rise by historic amounts in parts because he massively cut taxes for rich people and corporations. that is spending also. it does not look the same, you not cutting a check, but it has the exact same effect. if the caller is worried about the debt which is a reasonably think to be, you have to look at both parties. if you look at the performance of both parties, bill clinton
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had a surplus in the budget that he handed over to president bush who ended with a gigantic deficit that he handed to president obama who got closer to even. donald trump drove it into the bed with his huge tax cuts. -- drove it into the red with his huge tax cuts. host: matt bennett, the cofounder of third way. thirdway ♪ >> c-span's washington journal. everyday we take your calls live on the air about the news of the day and we discussed policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, moving forward ceo mark l hutchins discusses police and community in jaden --
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engagement. he is on to talk about his new book come up. watch c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern, wednesday morning. sure to join the discussion with your facebook comments, text messages and tweets. >> facebook whistleblower frances haugen testified at eight senate hearing about her experience at the social media company and how to protect people -- children online. as long as facebook is hiding its -- the subcommittee hearing is three hours. >>


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