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Joining me now, Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, and also, Congressman Jim McDermott from over on the House side.
Great to have both of you with us tonight, from both chambers tonight for perspective.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you, Ed.
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Senator, is this fight over for 2011? Are we all going home now for the holidays? What`s happening?
STABENOW: Well, Ed, we have already voted, as you said, 89 members in the United States Senate on a bipartisan basis, to make sure people get a tax cut starting in January, that it continues.
So it`s up to the House. I mean, the only thing they gave us was a bill that was basically an attack on the middle class. They said that in order to get a tax cut for the middle class, they wanted to lay off over
200,000 workers, attack people`s pensions, their health care, have Medicare costs go up for seniors. We said, no.
And so, the alternative that we gave them is one that will keep that tax cut. And I just also want to say, Ed, when you talk about $1,000 being important, you know, when I think about the mom or dad right now that`s got the Christmas toys on layaway and they`ve been paying that $20, $30, $40 every week so they can get the toys for Christmas for their kids, you better believe that thousand dollars is a lot of money to families.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, obviously John Boehner is tap dancing to the tune that the Tea Party wants to play anytime they want to play it. Is this over in your opinion for 2011? What do you think?
MCDERMOTT: Well, I can`t really tell, ed. What you`re watching is John Boehner be a puppet for the Tea Party people. He had the votes on the floor to pass it today, if he was willing to take a risk. He had 185 or 90
Democrats who would have gone with him. All he would have needed was 25 sane members of the Republican caucus.
And he could have passed it. We could have been over it. We could have taken care of the unemployed, could have taken care of the middle class, we could have taken care of the doctors and the seniors` health
SCHULTZ: That is the big thing, too -- the doctors and the seniors.
And this bill the Republicans passed in the House is a joke. It`s going to nail the seniors big-time and it`s going to cut it back the unemployment benefits to 59 weeks. I mean, they`re horribly unreasonable
and out of touch with the economy.
Senator, when was the last time the Senate got 89 votes on anything? It`s pretty rare, isn`t it?
STABENOW: You know, it`s pretty rare. In fact, the last time we got close to it was a bill I authored last spring to eliminate another provision against small business on 1099 forms. We got 81 votes. I don`t
remember too many other times this year we`ve done that.
And the reality is that we`ve got to get through into the New Year, protect that tax cut and then go back to work to convince the Republicans in Congress that multimillionaires really ought to pay their fair share.
Congressman, don`t you think that -- let`s say everybody goes home for the holidays, we got no deal. And, of course, the tax holiday is over with. And the 2 percent kicks in and then at the end of January, wouldn`t
this put the Democrats in a good position when people really see their checks smaller in a very tough time of year, in the dead heat of the winter? What do you think?
MCDERMOTT: Well, of course, it would do good for us bill politically. But, Ed, it is a disaster for human beings.
SCHULTZ: It is.
MCDERMOTT: If you are expecting a tax cut or you`re expecting 160 bucks more in your paycheck and it`s not there, for people who are living hand to mouth, it is really, really, really tough.
The same is true for people looking for that unemployment check. If that check is not there, how do they pay their rent, how do they keep from being thrown out of their housing and wind up living in their car?
I mean, you see the stories on TV about people living in their cars. That`s the result of people who`ve run out of unemployment, don`t have the wherewithal to keep their house together, and they`re simply not willing to think about the human beings involved here. All they talk about is -- well, this is going to be tough on the job creators.
I don`t care about them. They get by.
SCHULTZ: What the Republicans have said today, it`s OK to raise taxes on the workers, but it`s not okay to raise taxes on what they claim are the job creators. That`s where we are right now.
Senator Deb Stabenow and Congressman Jim McDermott, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
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