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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Location: Washington, DC

MSNBC "The Ed Show" Interview With Rep. Rob Andrews (D-Nj) Interviewer: Ed Schultz

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MR. SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Congressman Rob Andrews of New Jersey.

It's almost -- Congressman, thanks for joining us tonight. It's almost as if we have to use the perfect language to get the message across to the American people. I want to ask you, taking the message to the heartland, is this going to mobilize more Americans to understand what the heck is going on? What do you think?

REP. ANDREWS: Oh, I think it will. I think that Americans are sick and tired of being abused by insurance companies. And they understand that they get a lot of run-around. They don't get the care that they're paying for all the time. And the costs are exploding.

What the president is saying is let's have some honest American competition between these insurance companies and a public option. I think he's exactly right.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yesterday I was at the Capitol. I had a conversation with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and she told me this about taxes and everything being on the table.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

MR. SCHULTZ: You've mentioned being able to pay for it. Are you willing to raise taxes to pay for it?

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Everything is on the table. Everything is on the table.

MR. SCHULTZ: Are you going to support taxing health care benefits?

SPEAKER PELOSI: Everything is on the table. And our chairman of our Ways & Means Committee has not been receptive to that point of view, but again, we want to have quality, affordable, accessible health care for all Americans.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. SCHULTZ: Congressman Andrews, it just appears to me that the Democrats, who are in control -- White House, House and Senate -- are just afraid to come out and tell the American people, "You're going to have to pay for this, and your taxes are probably going to go up." What do you think of that?

REP. ANDREWS: I think the president is going to do what he ran on. He said that people making over $300,000 a year were going to have to make a greater contribution to help pay for health care. He got elected running on that. That's what we're going to do. We're not going to raise taxes on people who drive a bus or teach school or run a small business. We're not going to do that. But we are going to do what the president ran on and got elected on, and I think that's right.

MR. SCHULTZ: Do you go along with this coop, that there would be -- would you go along with that kind of a system, as competition? Would that be enough for the insurance companies to keep the rates down?

REP. ANDREWS: No, I don't think that's enough. I think there needs to be a strong, robust public competitor, just like private universities compete against public universities, just like the Postal Service competes against UPS and FedEx. Competition is an American value. The insurance companies are afraid of it, because they're doing in many cases such a poor job. Let's have some competition and keep them honest.

MR. SCHULTZ: And Congressman, you're in the middle of this fight. You're on a committee in the House. Why aren't the Democrats just coming out hammering the Republicans? Because they're being obstructionist; they're saying no to everything. You've got a couple of people over there on the Senate side that are saying a couple of politically correct things. But I don't feel the intensity from the Republicans to do something, but I also don't see the Democrats getting after it.

REP. ANDREWS: We want to give them a chance to pass a bill and work with us. And, look, if we can have their help, we welcome it. But I assure you, if they try to stand in the way, as they have for decades, we're not going to let them do it. You know, we passed a special procedure where, if we have to, we can pass a lot of this plan in the Senate with no Republican votes.

MR. SCHULTZ: All right, Congressman --

REP. ANDREWS: We can pass it in the House with no Republicans. We'd rather have their help, but we're not going to sit and wait for them.

MR. SCHULTZ: All right. Well, that's the most aggressive thing I've heard so far. You're willing to run them over. I like that.

REP. ANDREWS: Get used to it, because we're going to be more aggressive than this.

MR. SCHULTZ: All right, Congressman, thanks so much, Congressman Andrews with us tonight here on "The Ed Show."

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