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Joining me tonight, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida,
chairwoman of the DNC.
Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIRWOMAN: Thanks, Ed.
Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Is this a big victory of sorts or is this a trap, as some
Democrats have labeled it?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It`s a little bit of both, because while it is
good to hear that the Republicans are recognizing that we cannot play
chicken with our economy, that we cannot jeopardize the full faith and
credit of the United States, you know, this is the party that used to say,
for so many years, that the business community and our economy needed
certainty. And -- I mean, it is the furthest thing from certainty to
extend the debt ceiling for three months.
And, you know, I mean -- if they ultimately send a clean debt ceiling
increase to the president with no strings attached, that would be great.
But what they need to do is they need to do it where they give long-term
certainty for our economy, for our recovery, so that we can focus on job
creation and getting the economy turned around.
SCHULTZ: How do you --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That is not what they are proposing, though.
SCHULTZ: How do you know the Republicans will come back in 90 days
and do the exact same thing they did this time?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, I would expect that it would just be
continuing to do it in short increments. If they can even get it -- get
the support among their caucus members for another three-month extension.
I mean, they`re saying -- what they`re doing here is they`re saying, OK,
we`re going to wait for a budget from the Senate. And the budget from the
Senate better have the cuts that we`re expecting.
So, essentially, they`re basically trying to extend the time in which
they tie a debt ceiling increase to spending cuts.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And as speaker -- as Leader Pelosi said, that`s a
little too cute by half.
SCHULTZ: All right. Wall Street reacted well to the news of a
Republican plan today. The Dow hit a five-year high.
Now, do your colleagues finally understand that economic consequences
of holding the debt ceiling hostage? All this talk about stability in the
economy, well, today, you got 90 days worth of stability and the market did
pretty doggone well.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I mean, how many more signs do they need?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That this is what the economy needs, the
certainty. But three months is definitely not certainty.
SCHULTZ: Will Democrats vote for this? Will you get Democratic votes
on this when Boehner brings this up?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think it`s going to depend on what it looks
like. I mean, this is really gimmicky, gimmicking garbage at the end of
the day. I mean, the responsible thing to do is to pass a debt ceiling
increase because we have to pay our bills. I`m, really, leaving this
uncertainty hanging over our already fragile recovery is irresponsible.
And to suggest that we are not going to pay our bills or tie the debt
that we have to pay to anything that the Republicans want to extract out of
President Obama is irresponsible.
I mean, the Republican that I look to right now is John Cornyn. What
a reversal. I mean, this guy writes an op-ed in the hometown newspaper in
Houston and turns around and tells the editorial board something totally
What does that say about their leadership?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It says that they are all over the map. It says
that they are basically a rudderless ship and it says that they really
don`t get what is at stake for us economically.
President Obama clearly does. We`ve had 34 straight months of job
growth. We`ve begun to get this economy turned around, unemployment rate
is continuing to drop. The stock market is doing well.
But the Republicans could very easily throw all that into the trash
can if they continue to leave the market uncertain and potentially continue
to jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States.
SCHULTZ: Congresswoman, does this now put some pressure on the
Democrats to deliver in the next 90 days? Show the spending cuts you`re
willing to make?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Look, at the end of the day, when we deal with
this sequester, we deal with deficit reduction, it has to be in a balanced
We have always said that we are willing to support spending cuts. We
put our money where our mouth is with the debt ceiling last summer. Like
I`ve said before, Ed, many of us on the Democratic side voted for $1.2
trillion in spending cuts with no revenue, no balance, and got a debt
President Obama made it very clear we are not negotiating over the
debt ceiling again because we have to pay our bills. We have to give
certainty to our economy. And we have to focus on deficit reduction in a
balanced way so we can protect the middle class and working families.
SCHULTZ: Doesn`t this give the progressive movement an opportunity in
the next 90 days to really send the message to Congress, leave the big
three alone? Go get your money somewhere else?
I mean, it would seem to me that the Republicans are going to go after
that in the next 90 days, make the case that the entitlements are really
the problem in all of this. So, this campaign is going to continue on.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It will, absolutely, continue on. And I think we
have to acknowledge that Medicare and Medicaid is a contributor,
significant contributor to our deficit. And there are savings that we can
squeeze out. We`ve already -- we`ve already added eight years of solvency
into Medicare through the Affordable Care Act that we`re able to get.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And President Obama in his $4 trillion budget plan
for deficit reduction proposed another $360 billion, almost $400 billion in
We can do a lot better, but we need cooperation.
SCHULTZ: OK. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thank you for
joining us on this Friday evening.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
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