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Joining me now is Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland.
Congressman, welcome to the show.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Dr. Dyson, it`s good to be with
DYSON: Thank you, my friend.
What do you make of the House GOP leadership`s latest posturing? Will
the House even reconvene before January, much less pass anything? I mean,
they`ve got a lot of stuff to do, so clearly, they can`t make it back to
D.C. to do the people`s business.
CUMMINGS: It`s going to be very difficult. The -- as you said a few
minutes ago, we have been assured as members of the House that we would be
given at least 48 hours notice before we would have to come back.
So, that means right now, is that probably the earliest we will come
back is Saturday morning. That would only leave Saturday and Sunday to get
anything done, because I doubt that the House will be in session on New
Year`s Eve. I doubt it.
CUMMINGS: Basically what you`re talking about right now, Dr. Dyson,
we have two days. And this has been a game that`s been played on this.
This plan B that Mr. Boehner put forth was everybody knew it wasn`t going
anywhere. And sadly, that`s time that could have been spent seriously
dealing with the issues that you just talked about like the unemployed and
trying to make sure that we came up with a deal that would be reasonable.
DYSON: Well, look, here`s the reality, Boehner has lost a lot of
juice in his own caucus and his own party. What do you think can be done
by him? He`s already deferred to the president and the Senate to say, hey,
you all work the deal out.
But does this show him to be at his weakest? And what does this mean
for the rest of the nation?
CUMMINGS: Well, let me be clear. Speaker Boehner is now at a very,
very weak point. Keep in mind all day, you know, when they were about to
take the vote, they were telling us they had the votes, when in fact they
did not have the votes. For a speaker to bring forward a bill, Dr. Dyson,
and not have the votes is a travesty.
CUMMINGS: And then -- then what they were voting on, that is to
extend the tax cuts up to the people making a million dollars, that was not
-- I mean, you know, that is not the best proposal. But they wouldn`t
agree to that. They want not one dime of new taxes to go to folks who are
making all of this money.
And so, we have a situation right now where the speaker`s been
weakened, and you know what he did? He basically threw up his hands and
said to the president, look, there`s nothing I can do.
CUMMINGS: So I want you to deal with Harry Reid, possibly Senator
McConnell and you all come up with a deal. And, you know, in a way, that`s
kind of insulting to us in -- on the Democratic side in the House.
CUMMINGS: We all represent 700,000 people. The last thing we want is
our speaker throwing up his hands, not allowing us to come in to do the
people`s work but particularly, when we`ve got so many Americans who could
be harmed by our failure to act.
And it`s quite irresponsible. By the way, I would give some advice to
Speaker Boehner, he needs to talk to Nancy Pelosi, because when Nancy
Pelosi was speaker, she found a way even with maximum Republican opposition
to bring her diverse caucus. That is a caucus with diverse views together
to get things done like the Affordable Care Act, like Dodd Frank. She got
He needs to take some advice from her.
DYSON: All right. Well, that`s great advice, and we hope he listens.
Congressman Elijah Cummings --
CUMMINGS: I hope so.
DYSON: -- thank you so much, my friend.
CUMMINGS: My pleasure.
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