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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript: Sequester

Interview

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SCHULTZ: Speaking of beliefs, 106 House Democrats are now asking the
president not to approve any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or
Medicaid. Let`s turn to our congressional panel tonight with three of the
106 Democrats who were signing on to that letter to the White House today.
Congressman John Garamendi is with us tonight from California. Also
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Congressman Jerry Nadler of
New York. Great to have all of you with us tonight. How serious is the
threat to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security?

Congresswoman Jackson, over the next 13 day, it`s a very critical
time. Your thoughts?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Absolutely. You know, I was on
the floor of the House and making a comment about this pending tragedy, and
indicated that those who have Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare,
they actually earned it. They paid taxes. And they actually earned it for
their time of need, for Social Security and Medicare.

And I was blasted by those who said earned it? Well, I`m concerned
because they did earn it. They worked and they deserved it. And now with
this pending crisis, we know that as sequester comes and there are across-
the-board cuts, and there is an attitude of looking for any dollar they can
find, there is rumor that what the Republicans are looking for is not to
address solvency for Social Security, but really to end it as we know it,
to cut Medicare and to cut Medicaid.

So I see it, Ed, as a very serious proposition. And the letter we
sent to the president was to hold the ground on anything that would
jeopardize Social Security for the American people, CPI and all of that.

SCHULTZ: So congresswoman, that really prompted the letter, these
kind of rumors that they`re going for the jugular on the big three, and
they really want to privatize this stuff.

JACKSON LEE: That`s all they talk about.

SCHULTZ: John Garamendi, how do you get a solution when you`ve got an
attitude like that?

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: It`s going to be very, very
difficult. We have to find the middle ground. We do have a proposal that
we put forward. It`s basically 50/50, end tax breaks for those companies
that don`t need it and make wise cuts not in the area of Social Security or
Medicare or Medicaid, but in other programs that are clearly less
efficient, ineffective, or just not needed now.

We can do that. The Republicans are absolutely refusing to allow such
a measure to come to the floor of the House for a vote. And quite possibly
the Senate will also require 60 votes, and the Republicans will stop it.
They`re headed towards another manufactured disaster.

SCHULTZ: How many jobs, Congressman Nadler?

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Well, the sequestration -- the CBO
estimates the sequestration would destroy between 700,000 and a million
jobs, just by all these cuts. And it`s a completely unnecessary cut.

We`ve already cut the budget. People don`t talk about this. We`ve cut the
budget deficit from 2009. It was over 10 percent of the economy, of GDP.
This year, it`s about seven percent. Next year it`s going to be five
percent.

We have cut it in half, the fastest reduction in deficits since World
War II. And frankly, it`s too fast. We should not be doing any cut at
this point because cuts at this point in the economy will cost us jobs.
And the real problem we is a jobs crisis, not a deficit crisis.

SCHULTZ: One word from all of you. Do you think this could walk us
back into a recession if this were to happen?

NADLER: Without question.

GARAMENDI: No doubt about it.

JACKSON LEE: Without a doubt.

SCHULTZ: House Speaker Boehner does not sound like he is willing to
compromise. Here is what he said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: The sequester will be in effect until there are cuts in
reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Sheila Jackson Lee, how do you deal with that?

JACKSON LEE: You know, Ed, I don`t know why we can`t be truth-sayers,
if you will. We`ve already cut over a trillion dollars. Congress has
already cut over a trillion dollars. The federal employees have already
taken 103 billion dollars out of their salaries and contributed to the
deficit. The economy is growing. The president has indicated that we have
an opportunity for innovation and growth.

And I believe that that is our pathway forward. If the speaker does
not want to come back to the table of compromise and address how we can
both bring down the debt and grow the economy, then all we`re going to be
facing is a recession.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

JACKSON LEE: And that seems to be what their direction is, is that
they`re willing to slash and burn as opposed to finding the right pathway
of securing revenue, which we have attempted to do and balance and bring
down the deficit. And they won`t do anything with revenue. Nothing at
all.

SCHULTZ: John Garamendi, where is the sense of urgency here? What
are you doing on vacation?

GARAMENDI: Well, we`ve been told not to be in Congress. Speaker
Boehner controls the agenda, controls the calendar for the House of
Representatives. And he sent us home. The Democrats, I think all of us
today voted not to go home, but rather to stay and work next week. And he
said no.

SCHULTZ: All right. President Obama was in Chicago today. He is
pushing hard for something to get done on gun violence in this Congress.
Congressman Nadler, what are your hopes?

NADLER: Well, I think it`s too much to hope that we`ll get everything
done that we need to get done. But I think it`s realistic to hope that
we`ll get a thorough background checks, which would mean that felons and
mentally ill people would not be able to get ahold of firearms. I think
that is achievable.

The assault weapons ban, banning high capacity magazines, I can`t see
the Republicans going with those, though we ought to attempt it. But
certainly the background checks I think is achievable with any kind of good
will.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Garamendi, do you agree with that?

GARAMENDI: I don`t know. But what I do know is we need to vote. The
president said it. We said it on the floor when he gave his State of the
Union Address. Let`s vote. Put the bills on the floor and let`s see where
the votes are.

But I`m afraid that that`s not going to happen. Clearly Speaker
Boehner is refusing to bring bills to the floor. In fact, since we came
into session on January 6th, there has been virtually nothing that has been
done other than the Sandy legislation. Beyond that, it`s just been marking
time.

We need to put these things and put them up for a vote and see where
it goes.

SCHULTZ: All right, Congressman John Garamendi, Congresswoman Sheila
Jackson Lee and Congressman Jerry Nadler, thanks for being on our
Congressional panel tonight on THE ED SHOW. Appreciate it so much.


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