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Spending battle heats up on Capitol Hill

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., shares his thoughts on how to improve the quality of the budget debate.

Establishing a Bipartisan Budget

A Dylan Ratigan Show panel discusses whether President Barack Obama can silence critics on his budget vision and bring compromise to the battle.

MSNBC TRANSCRIPT:

>>> president obama today attempting to answer his critics on both sides of the aisle who claim a lack of leadership from the white house. he in fact is sitting down with a number of senate democrats, that meeting amid meaningless votes. the only things the republicans and democrats could agree on, both bills were to be dead on arrival.

>> the house republicans’ scorched-earth spending proposals that counts casualties such as border security, research and food safety.

>> our president has failed to lead on this debate.

>> i think it’s out of control, and needs plan will do anything to significantly alter things.

>> well, another day fighting a false budget debate chock-full of false solutions, but lots of political manipulations. republicans hitting democrats for not cutting enough, democrats says rpg are chopping too much. when the fact is both bills have one thing in common. the cuts are a drop in the bucket when it comes to the budget-busting problems this cuss han, instead of focusing on the core trillion dollar problems, health care, the big banks, the wars we’re still fighting, trade and energy, they can continue to targets silly things like cuts in education, low-income housing, and food stamps. i say silly only in the economic sense that they are immaterial to our problems, not that they are not exquisitely vital to those who actually depend on them. what happens when we’re back at square one? well, we can kick the can further down the road, of course, house republicans working on another temporary spending bill to keep the lights on for another couple weeks. we can only hope that someone finally sees the light on our trillion dollars problems and comes up with big shots and big plans we can all get behind. our first guest today does see the light for sure. he is vermont’s independent senator bernie sanders. he voted no on both these bills today, bernie. is the reason as obvious ai think it is?

>> i hope it is. i voted against the rpg proposal, because what the republicans want to do is balance the budget on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country, people who are sick, people who are elderly or go cold in the wintertime. they continue to fight for huge tax breaks for the wealthiest in this country. i think it makes no economic sense to say that all we can do to balance the budget is do it on — by cutting programs that millions and millions of working people need. they want to throw $200,000 kids off head start, want to cut back on child care, ed cakes, want to cut back on the social security administration, want to cut back on pell grand, but god forbid the wealthiest, paying the lowest effective tax rates, who receive hundreds of billions in tax breaks to pay one nickel in shared sackry nice to move us toward a balanced budget, that is beyond anything the republicans can dream of. in terms of the democratic proposal, they are going to have to bring revenue into the picture. i am going to introduce, dylan action a piece of legislation tomorrow which will impose a 5.4% surtax on millionaires, do away with some of the loop holes that prevent oil companies from paying their fair share of taxes.

>> you and i both know that we have a core problem in this country, which is high unemployment and a screwed-up housing market at the root of a complete collapse in revenue that you’re seeing at the municipal levels. the mayor of oakland says i can’t print money, i just have to fire cops. we’re seeing what’s going on in wisconsin. the cause is many ways, screwed-up banking system, a complex which continue toss extract, the china trade continues to affect that. why are the american people forced to these crumb, the debates over crumbs that affect the least politically represented and most vulnerable as opposed to seeing a politician address even — at this point i don’t care which one it is.

>> i think you just gave us the answer. those people have political connections, those people who have psi yon of lobbyists, those people who make large campaign contributions are in fact the heads of large corporations, and are wealthy individuals. the parents who have kids in head start are people who need disability benefits from social security are families who are applying for pell grants. they don’t have the power that the wealthy and the powerful have. the republicans are saying, look, that’s the easy target, go after working families and lower income people and we’ll leave the wealthy alone.

>> senator, it’s always a pleasure. thanks for the time this afternoon. bernie sanders, independent from vermont. i want to welcome jason.

>> thank you for having me.

>> perhaps you can answer this question. i feel like i’m watching a debate that proposes million and billion solutions, 2 million i think is what npr gets, the best rep proposal i think is a $60 billion cut. meanwhile, you and i both know, congressman, we have trillion dollar problems. do you have any insight to what can be done to get the political class to address or trillion dollar — i don’t care what it is, health care, energy, war, banks, trading, instead of just sort of playing these million and billion games when we have trillion dollar problems.

>> we have to tack 8 the big things, but if you can’t cut the small stuff, how do you cut the big stuff? i think we need to be looking at all of it. it’s heart to suggest we’re pinches pennies when so much is spent by the federal government. i happen to think we have to cut spending. to hear senator schumer say we’re doing it on the backs of — that’s hogwash. come on, i challenge the democrats to come up with $100 billion in cuts? and not through tax increases. that’s not what we need in this unstable economy. we need certainty. we have offered all kinds of suggestions, we have passed the bills, but they only have $6 billion?

>> listen, i don’t disagree with you, but i would criticize both parties, very 1i6r7ly this — where is somebody who’s going to come in and say we pay twice as what everybody else in the world pays for health care. we have a system that’s totally screwing up our companies. why don’t we deal with that problem? why don’t we deal with a cohesive domestic policy to deal with a trillion dollar problem. quite honestly, congressman, i feel like it’s very easy for republicans or democrats to come out and pick their pet irritants. they may be very valid irritants, and you may be right. i’m not even saying you’re wrong, but i’m saying de-fund npr, i don’t care. get rid of all funding for the epa and for that matter the jet fighter programened for theater the pell grants, i don’t care, right? you still haven’t solved the problem. until somebody comes up with a big idea to actually create energy dependence, create trade reform, reduce the costs of health care by 50% by eliminating the monopolies and fee for service. isn’t that’s what required of america’s political leaders right now?

>> it sounds like if you and i sat down we could solve those problems. i have no doubt about that. i think we need to look at across the board cuts. what republicans are set bring back spending to the 2008 spending limits. i actually like what mr. hull vainie suggested, down to 2006 levels. i think we all to be attacking all of the above, all energy aspects. when our economy is reliant upon what happens in libya and nigeria, we have a fundamental problem.

>> yes, we do.

>> so we have to make those changes. i want to abolish the department of education. let the dollars flow directly to the states get rid of the bureaucrats sitting here in washington, d.c. trying to tell the states what they should do to educate the kids.

>> i appreciate your efforts and passion. i don’t care which of the trillion dollar problems gets tackled, but to ignore every last one of them why we play nickels and dimes seems foolish.

>> i wish there was one multitrillion dollar solution to all this, but i don’t think we should raise taxes. i think 25 cents out of ever federal dollar flowing out is fundamentally flawed from the get-go, and we’ve got to make these changes. to see the chief negotiator for the white house overseas at this critical time exacerbates the problem. with all the uncertainty in the marketplace, businesses don’t know whether to hire, they don’t know what their costs will be or taxes will be, that makes the economy slow down.

>> listen, you know, we could keep going on and on. we’ve got all day here, but we really don’t. we’ll have to get a drink or something at some point. a pleasure.

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