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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Ed, always good to when with you.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Are Democrats united on this rate issue? We keep hearing it. Now that Boehner is starting to move a little bit and say that the money is going to come from the wealthy, yet he hasn`t identified these deductions, where do Democrats stand on rates? Is that the bottom line? The rates have to go up?

VAN HOLLEN: The rates have to two up, Ed. It`s a matter of simple math, as the president has said, which is why in the House of Representatives, the Democrats filed what`s called a discharge petition that would require the speaker to bring to the floor of the House the Senate bill, the Senate Democratic bill that immediately would extend tax relief to all middle income taxpayers and would ask higher income folks to pay more.

If we can get about 26 Republicans to put their signature on what many of them are saying they think we should do now, we could get that vote up right away.

SCHULTZ: Well, you got 178 on the petition, correct?

VAN HOLLEN: That`s right. We have 178 Democrats. I`m sure we`ll continue to get Democrats to sign. And so we just need to get to the magic number of 218.

So if we get a little help from our Republican colleagues, they would be telling the middle class that middle class folks are going to get the tax relief, 98 percent of the Americans. In fact, as you know, 100 percent of American families will get tax relief on their first $250,000 in income.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Why does -- OK. Let`s say Boehner does give up on the rates on the top 2 percent. What are you willing to give up? Where do you think the Democrats will go?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, first of all, it`s also the overall number the president`s called for. What the president has said is we need $1.6 trillion as part of an overall deficit reduction plan because if you don`t get those additional revenues, but you also try to reduce the deficit, you end up whacking everybody else much harder.

And so it`s really important to have that revenue number as high as possible.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

VAN HOLLEN: Look, the president`s already been clear, Ed, on cuts. He will continue to implement over the next 10 years over $1 trillion in cuts that he agreed to as part of the Budget Control Act, 100 percent cuts and at the time he said we got to come back and do revenue.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

VAN HOLLEN: He`s also called for over a half trillion dollars in additional cuts and he`s laid out exactly what those would be.

SCHULTZ: Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dared Democrats to vote on his debt ceiling bill. He put it out there. Majority Leader Harry Reid called him on it, called his bluff. Then, McConnell filibustered his own bill.

Here`s Senator Dick Durbin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: So this may be a moment in Senate history when a senator made a proposal and when given an opportunity for a vote on that proposal filibustered his own proposal. I think we have now reached a new spot in the history of the Senate we`ve never seen before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Congressman, proof positive they are winging it.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, look, the Senate and House Republicans are just tying themselves up in all sorts of knots. This is the latest evidence of this.

This is known now as the McConnell rule. And now he wants to distance himself and disassociate himself with it. You know, his name is attached to it. He thought of this idea.

And what the president has said is, you know, it was a good idea then, Senator McConnell, let`s continue to live with it, let`s extend it. And as you know, all we`re doing with the debt ceiling is saying that the United States will pay the obligations that the Congress has already voted on.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

VAN HOLLEN: So you can`t wake up in the morning and say you`re not going to pay your mortgage. The United States can`t wake up in the morning and say, we`re not going to pay the debts that we`ve already incurred and Congresses have already voted for.

SCHULTZ: And what else do the Republicans want? You have the Democrats willing to go with 98 percent of Bush tax policy and they`re still not happy.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Chris Van Hollen, here on THE ED SHOW.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you.

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