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CROWLEY: Nic Robertson on the death of al-Megrahi, the only convicted criminal in the Lockerbie bombing so many years ago. Joining me now is California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. They will be -- you see them both there. Good morning ladies, thank you so much. I wonder Senator Boxer, I know that you have -- have -- have been involved in the release of Megrahi, had wanted to look more into this. As far as you're concerned, has justice been done in the Lockerbie case?
BOXER: I don't believe so. And I wasn't for him being extradited. I have listened to the families. They feel some type of closure, but they also believe that there are more leads that have to be followed. And one thing we know about our country, we'll come after you. So we need to keep on searching. We really do.
CROWLEY: Senator Hutchison, do you similarly agree that there is more to be done in what was such a hellacious thing? It's history now to some of the folks listening, but you know it still was an ongoing case to so many.
HUTCHISON: Absolutely it was. Because it -- it was an outrageous act. The fact that no one else has been convicted. That we didn't have that kind of opportunity to really find out. That he was actually let out of prison early I think does leave a lot of questions, I agree with Barbara 100 percent.
CROWLEY: Senator Hutchison, Senator Boxer stick with us, we'll be right back with more after this.
CROWLEY: Joining me again, Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison respectively from California and Texas. Thank you again both. I want to talk to you about what is going on on Capitol Hill, which appears to be really pretty much nothing in terms of final results. Senator Boxer first to you. Senator Hutchison wrote an op- ed recently I think this Wednesday about the number and the sheer amount of tax breaks that will expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn't do something about it.
And -- and in there she wrote, "There has been a conspicuous lack of urgency from both the president and congressional Democrats about addressing these tax increases." And -- and here she is talking about the health care tax increases that are going into effect, "As well as the tax increases that will happen if nothing is done to maintain the tax cuts. The White House strategy seems to be. one -- do nothing until after the November election. Two -- blame a government shut down and economic meltdown on Congress if it doesn't approve higher taxes before the end of 2012. I wanted to get your response?
BOXER: Certainly. Well we are absolutely going to look at these tax cuts. Because the Democrats believe it's very important to ensure that the middle-class and the working poor have their tax cuts renewed and maybe even have deeper tax cuts. But we are also for fairness and justice. And we believe people earning over $1 million, multi- millions don't deserve to have another tax cut, don't need it and -- and a lot of my people in California say they don't want it.
So there's a lot of other things that are on our plate also. And we need to move forward with jobs, jobs, jobs. And I will say something very positive here. Kay Bailey Hutchison and I may not agree on everything about who should get a tax cut and how much it should be, but we do believe in creating jobs, and we worked together on the FAA bill. She was a key voice there. I'm on that committee. She's the ranking member. And now I'm the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and she's a very key ranking member in negotiating an agreement on highways, roads, transit, and you know that will be 3 million jobs.
CROWLEY: Which is great except --
BOXER: So, yes, we have to approach it all.
CROWLEY: Except for the problem here, Senator Hutchison, isn't it, that you all both agree that something has to be done to address these tax increases that are going to happen if Congress doesn't do something, and yet we have a stalemate, and it seems to me that's always the case. That everybody says, oh, we agree on the ultimate goal, but we can't agree on how to get there, and the country just gets this feeling that the entire process has broken down.
HUTCHISON: Well, first of all, I want to say thank you to Barbara and agree that we are working together to lead our country in building the infrastructure and the planning capability for our highways and roads. She's taking the lead on that as the chairman of the committee, doing a great job.
But on tax cuts, honestly, we do have a disagreement with the Democrats in Congress. Right now, 50 percent of the people in this country don't pay taxes, and so you are taking care of the working poor with that.
But on the other hand, we've got 25 million people will go into paying the AMT. These are middle-class people who are working every day, trying to do a little better for their families. They're going to go into the AMT at the end of this year if we don't address it, if we don't keep these tax cuts that we have had in place. It is going to increase the tax on capital gains and dividends, on energy. We already see how high the energy costs are. It will increase the cost of energy. Small-business people need to be able to plan, and they are scared to death to hire people when you've got the Obama taxes and fines coming into place at the end of this year, plus an increase in everybody's taxes. And they're not hiring, and that's what's causing our employment to be so low. We want to hire people.
CROWLEY: I think what you and Senator Boxer are both saying is that you do agree with your parties' main line on these issues, and I get that. And I want to posit something actually via David Brooks, who wrote an op-ed on Friday about Congress and said today, "leaders today do not believe their job is to restrain popular will. Their job is to flatter and satisfy it. A gigantic polling apparatus has developed to help leaders anticipate and respond to popular whims. Democratic politicians adopt the mindset of marketing executives. Give the customer what he wants. The customer is always right."
Do you think politics has become too election-driven, too poll- driven, and that it impedes remarkably great people -- you know, I know you both, I know a lot of people on Capitol Hill -- and it is mystifying to people why there cannot be some coming together in something so important as the budget process. Do you agree with the Brooks column?
BOXER: Well, let me take a shot at this. Let me tell you what I agree with. I agree with the fact that we're not meeting each other in the middle. I agree with the fact that why do we need to fight over passing a Violence Against Women Act and have the House over there instead of taking our bill that was a bipartisan bill, start a big fight, leave women out. We don't need that.
Why do we need to be in this conference on the highway bill that I mentioned before, where 3 million jobs are at stake? The House could have worked with us, picked up the Senate bill, and passed it.
So I don't think it's so much poll-driven as it is just a decision -- and this is my view, and, of course, Kay is going to disagree with it -- but it is backed up by two scholars who just wrote a very independent study, they're nonpartisan, that said the Republicans simply are in their corner, they won't move forward. Now, I think what I hear coming from Kay is some kind of crisis about tax cuts when we agree we're going to renew a lot of those to the middle class. And by the way, in the House, they are taxing the working poor. That's the Ryan budget.
CROWLEY: Senator, I'm going to have to give you the last 20 seconds here on that.
HUTCHISON: Yes. Candy, look, the Congress, both the House and Senate, rejected the Obama budget 100 percent. Not one Democrat even voted for it because it had so many tax increases. What we're looking for is a way forward, leadership from the president, that would provide us a way to go forward, create jobs, keep taxes low on our small businesses, make sure they have the opportunity without strangling regulation to get this economy going again. That's why I am supporting Mitt Romney, because he has had the ability to see the private sector work. It's not big government that's going to create jobs. It is the private sector, and we need to take the shackles off. That's what we're talking about here.
CROWLEY: Senator Hutchison and Senator Boxer, I have to leave it there. I hope you will come back. I so enjoy having you.
HUTCHISON: Thank you. Thank you very much.
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