Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., shares his thoughts on the debt deal and how members of the Tea Party Caucus will vote. A Dylan Ratigan Show panel then joins to discuss details from the bill.
Reps. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., talk about the upcoming partisan clash in Congress over the domestic discretionary spending portion of the country’s budget.
>>> now to the sideshow that is the budget battle in washington. senate democrats today helping to pass the house gop bill to keep the government running for another two weeks. that sets up the next showdown.
>> we appear to be lurching from one month to two weeks, and i don’t know what’s next.
>> we’ve got to stop spending money we don’t have on more government and calling that progress.
>> we cannot continue to go in the direction we’re going.
>> will we in fact try to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, on the backs of the poor, on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children? that is the question.
>> march 18th, that’s when the money runs out again. between now and then another partisan clash over the piece of the budget called, quote, domestic discretionary spending. what a fine example of democratic self-governance we’re setting for the rising arab world. the hoax, of course is that with both parties keeping the biggest chunks off-limits in these fights — i’m talking about defense, medicare and medicaid, and even social security– which gives billions each yore to well-on families that don’t need it. instead our laiders think these cuts are sending signals that they’re serious about getting serious, someday. are you receiving that signal, america? meanwhile, no one is talking about taking on our medical industrial complex, which gives us health care for double the cost of any other rich nation, or ask wall street’s zillion nairs to pitch in. all of this raises the question — how dumb do our leaders think we are? is this a case of good people trapped in a dysfunctional process, or does washington’s fear of dealing with reality simply hold up a mirror to our own collective state of denial? joining us are assuredly two decent men, democratic caulk cuss javier visera who voted against the extension, also a member of the president’s deficit commission, and from the gop congressman phil gingery also introduced two bills. conman ba ser — congressman ba seismt. ra, let me start with you.
>> it’s a mad, mad world. if i we are to talk to the local hardware shore and asked can you budget on a two-week basis? they would say, are you kidding? i can’t tell them that, this is crazy, but this is what happens when you for 58 days, to two months you put up a budget that everyone knew was dead on arrival and at the end of the day your bluff is called and you’re leave with very little time to do something. i hope we get to the real work now. congressman, is that how you see it? or is this a victory?
>> i would agree with my colleague from california, it is a bizarro world up here, but maybe for a little bit different reasons. they didn’t even have a budget on the 2011 fiscal year, and that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in. i don’t like two-week extensions. no. we voted for a seven-month extension and $61 billion worth of cuts, and i think that is fiscal responsibility.
>> here’s why i think americans get frustrated. a two-week extension that you have all come together to do, we’ll have the same showdown in two weeks, another game of chicken with the debt limits, it seems like there’s no end in sight to what, honestly seems like no way to run a government. congressman becerra, what do you see as the path past this?
>> i think we have to stop playing russian roulette. at this stage the democrats have put forward a budget that did cut $41 billion from what the president had requested. this two-week tenextension did four more. we have to do it without harming the investments for our schools, for our firefighters, our police officers. this budget went deep. it took out border enforcement money, took out money for cops on the beat. when people see they were, if they were ever to become law, people wo wonder, is it a mad world in d.c.?
>> congressman gingrey, it seems to be improvised every day. the republicans talk a lot about wanting certainty for world markets. you have all of the stuff in the middle east, and now you have stuff at home where it looks like we’re running ourselves like a banana republic. what’s the end game for bringing this to at least put this year behind us?
>> matt, clearly you cannot have sacred cows. if you counseled the economic stimulus package that was passed, what $862 billion, much of that went to domestic spending, not shovel-ready projects. weaver cutting from a bloated level. that’s why my bill, hr-122, the federal employee responsibility act, would say to our federal employees whour unionized, who collective bargain, we’re not taking away that right to collective bargain. we’re simply saying not on the taxpayers’ dime. you give us eight hours of work a day, that’s what you’re signed on to do, and let the union pay for the time you spent arbitrating and mediating and whatever other union activities you do.
>>> i understand what you are talking about. medicare is the piece of the budget that no one is talking about. you’re a doctor yourself, doctor payments, doctors in the united states make more than doctors overseas, which is one of the big reasons we have health care costs twice as much per capita as any other advanced nation on earth. are you ready to put the medical instrumental complex on the table? and specifically what in that sacred cow are you willing to take on?
>> well, absolutely. there are a number of things. my bill, hr-5, is on medical riblt reform, thank goodness —
>> no, no, liability reform is not the answer. i’m talking about the compensation that doctors gets the reimbursements, the big bulk of spending is in those categories. we can agree. let’s put reform, i’m with you. let’s stipulate that. what are you going to go after with doctor and hospital reimbursements. where’s your courage on that?
>> i stand strong. i took this job in congress for the pay raise. doctors were already taking cuts in medicare and medicaid reimbursement to the point they couldn’t keep the lights on. it’s only going to get worse.
>> but you know that average physician fees and income in the u.s. is much higher than it is in the rest of the world. do you acknowledge that?
>> all i know is that average primary care physicians, general internists, family practitioners probably make around $165,000 a year and they work about 80 hours a week. now, if anybody begrudges that to physicians, then i’m telling you they’re just flat wrong. we’re not going to have any physicians like that great doctor in the emergency room in tucson that saved our colleague’s life, because we’re about to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, and having the federal government literally take over the entire process. we’re going to lose the best and brightest.
>> congressman becerra, since i went back and forth so much, a last quick word on what you make of what congressman gingrey has said.
>> matt, have you ever seen a politician that will point the finger at anyone but himself? there’s a $32,000 refrigerator in a pentagon air force plane, or a plane where the pentagon has $32,000. i could buy thej a refrigerator for $2,000 and it would be great. the pentagon still hasn’t gotten money back from halliburton everybody so there’s a lot of fraud to go after. so we can do things that go after the sacred cows, but not this way, and certainly not for two weeks at a time.
>> gentlemen, we obviously have have to come back to this, and will be, because the issue is not going away. wee talk to you again.
Rep. Jim Himes and Rep. Jason Chaffetz share their reactions to President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget.