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REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Well, the president, after two years in office, is casting for some way to do with the stubbornness and callousness of the Republicans in Washington and he hasn"t found it yet. It is interesting that after two years, they finally came to the table on something. This is literally the first time in two years I can remember the Republican Party saying, if you agree to this, we will agree to that. Up until now, it"s just been no, no, no, no, no, no. So, it"s an interesting development.
But, in fact, what the Republicans have wanted from the beginning of this negotiation was an extension for two years of all the tax cuts. And, in the end, what they got at the end of this negotiation was an extension for two years of all the tax cuts.
In other words, the president didn"t really make a lot of progress in negotiating with them. And that"s unfortunate. We--he is the head of our side. He is the said of the Democratic Party. He is our highest elected official. And we need him--
SCHULTZ: Is it capitulation? Is it capitulation, in your opinion?
GRAYSON: Well, I look at it a little differently. What has happened is they played a game of chicken with him. He was driving right at them. They were driving right at him. And in the end, he was the one who turned the wheel.
SCHULTZ: Was this un-American in your opinion to hold the unemployed in this country hostage in these negotiations?
GRAYSON: Well, of course. I mean, the Republican Party sent the president a ransom note saying if you ever want to see any benefits for the unemployed again, you"re going to have to give into us on tax cuts for rich. And this two year--the price tag for this two-year agreement is another $70 billion a year out the window to give money to people who have all the money in America at this point.
I mean, the top 1 percent of America, the top 1 percent has over half of the wealth of the country at this point, and they"re going to have much more. The rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. So, what the president did faced with this ransom note is that he basically gave them what they were asking for, and that is unfortunate--not just for us, but for all America.
SCHULTZ: They got a lot.
GRAYSON: It doesn"t matter so much what happens to us, the Democratic Party. It matters that we"re giving another $140 billion to the rich so that they can buy more merlot.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. You"re spot on. You have been all along. Appreciate you being with us tonight. Thanks so much.
GRAYSON: One more thing, Ed.
GRAYSON: One more thing. I have to say this. The Republicans have become unbelievably callous, the fact that they were willing to see millions of Americans live in their cars when they stop receiving unemployment benefits points out again and again that they"re the mean party. They"re just a mean party.
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