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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript


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SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. House Speaker John Boehner has
failed to get enough support to bring his plan B bill up for a vote.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said legislative business is done for the week
and sent the House members home for Christmas.
For more, I`m joined tonight by Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
Steny, great to have you with us tonight. I don`t know how you do a deal
with a dysfunctional bunch. But Eric Cantor said earlier today that they
had the votes, then they didn`t hold the vote. Where are we at this hour?
REP. STENY HOYER (D), MINORITY WHIP: Ed, what I think today shows
very, very clearly that, in fact, President Obama has been willing to
compromise, willing to make a balanced deal possible from his perspective.
And I think John Boehner wanted to get there. But what John Boehner has
shown tonight is that his caucus does not want to make a balanced
agreement, to make sure that working Americans don`t get a tax increase, to
make sure that we deal with the doctors` reimbursement for Medicare, make
sure the sequester doesn`t happen.
His crowd has too many theocratic members, who are interested only in
their own ideology and not in the welfare of the country. I think it`s a
sad day for our country. I`m glad that this went down to defeat because
now hopefully we come to grips with the fact the only way this is going to
work, not on a partisan basis, but on a bipartisan coming together. I am
hopeful that John Boehner and Eric Cantor will join with the president,
Leader Pelosi and myself and Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, to come to a
balanced agreement that we then, in a bipartisan fashion, can pass, because
it`s obvious that the Republicans will not pass anything.
They won`t touch revenues at all, as is self-evident by this vote --
by this failure to be able to act even on their own Speaker`s proposal, not
on a compromise, but on their own proposal. It is dramatic evidence that
the president was right. And frankly Speaker Boehner was wrong. It`s not
us who won`t come to the table to pass a balanced deal. It is the
Republican conference in the House of Representatives.
SCHULTZ: Steny, is this also a message that it`s going to be awful
tough to get around the Tea Party?
HOYER: Well, you know, I still believe that John Boehner and Eric
Cantor have the ability. I think they would. And if they can`t, well, I
think there`s a question as to their leadership ability. But I would
certainly think they can get 125 or 150 or 160 members of their caucus to
join a like number in our caucus to pass a balanced constructed deal, that
the president of the United States will support, and that will put America
on a fiscally sustainable path.
SCHULTZ: Does this mean we`re going over the cliff?
HOYER: Well, the president doesn`t want to go over the cliff. As
you`ll recall in the third debate, he said we weren`t going to go over the
cliff. None of us want to go over the cliff. That`s not good for our
economy. It`s not good for our people. And we need to work to avoid that.
I am hopeful that in the next five days, six days, between now and
next Wednesday, when I presume we`re going to be coming back -- I am
hopeful that the president, I know is willing to work, the speaker and
others will work to try to get to an agreement that can, in fact, be
adopted by the House of Representatives, passed by the United States
Senate, and signed by the president of the United States.
That will require what we haven`t seen in this Republican majority,
the willingness to compromise and be reasonable and make sure the math
SCHULTZ: But congressman, how much farther can the Democrats go?
Aren`t the Democrats bound by the success of the Obama team in the election
and the number of seats that were picked up in the House and the number of
seats that were protected in the Senate, and the pickup in the Senate, two
seats by the Democrats?
Aren`t you bound by the election results not to give in anymore? The
president has reduced the price a couple of times. He also put Social
Security on the table the other day, which was something I think you said
wasn`t going to happen. So how much more can the Democrats give?
HOYER: Ed, I don`t think there`s much more to give. I think the
president, as you`re correct, has come a long way towards trying reach a
balanced bipartisan agreement with Speaker Boehner. The problem Speaker
Boehner has, as is self-evident from the debacle that occurred tonight
where the Republican conference is deeply divided -- the problem that the
speaker has in reaching a balanced deal is that his caucus9 won`t support
The president`s caucus I think will support him, if it`s a reasonable
deal, which the president thinks is good for the country. We need to get a
deal. We need to keep that uppermost in mind. And we`re not taking the
position, as the Republicans have taken, my way or the highway. We
understand in a democratic process, the electorate has spoken. They left
Republican leadership in charge of the House of Representatives. We picked
up seats.
We, frankly, got more votes nationally than the Republicans did in the
House of Representatives. But we didn`t win back the majority. So there
needs to be compromise. The country needs us to come to an agreement. But
what the Republicans have to understand is clearly they can`t get a large
number of their party. I believe that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader
Cantor can get a majority of their party. Maybe it will be a small
majority of their party.
And if they come to a reasonable agreement with the president of the
United States, I think we can pass such an agreement. I think it would be
good for the country, good for the economy.
SCHULTZ: The question now is can John Boehner put the country ahead
of his speakership?
HOYER: I certainly think he can. I hope he will. And as I say, in
talking to the speaker, he has told me, and I believe him, he wants to get
a big deal. He unfortunately, as somebody, I think one of your speakers in
the previous segment said, you can`t be a leader if there aren`t followers.
And frankly, the Republican party is having a hard time following --
finding followers who want to be reasonable, who understand that democracy
is about compromise, and our economy and country are more important than
our parties.
SCHULTZ: Well, there`s a lot to think about over the holidays.
That`s for sure. You gentlemen are going to be back to work next week.
We`ll see what happens. Although the hourglass tonight just got turned in
a big way.
Congressman Steny Hoyer, great to have you with us tonight, sir.
HOYER: Thanks, Ed. Appreciate it.


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