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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript: Budget Cuts


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SCHULTZ: Do you believe that these poll numbers make it easier for Democrats
and progressives to stand strong and win the conversation as we move
forward? Your thoughts?

REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN (via telephone): Ed, I think they`re
absolutely critical, because I think the Republicans feel that they`re in
the catbird seat. These cuts that are in the sequester, the $85 billion
minus the defense cuts, are a Republican`s dream of ending so-called big
government, ending job-killing regulations, to do what Grover Norquist has
always wanted to do, to shrink government and make it so small that you
could drown it in the bathtub.

And even though between 1.4 and 2 million jobs will be lost,
Republicans would have accomplished an aspiration for their party that they
have had for a long time.

SCHULTZ: No doubt.

MOORE: And they figure that they can come in through the back door,
introduce a bill to restore the defense cuts, and with a bill that would
pass both houses by 2/3 votes, that they could get a supplemental bill to
restore defense cuts.

This is what I think their plan is.


MOORE: And were it not for the president, we may -- they might have
tried to -- they might have succeeded.

SCHULTZ: The scary thing about this is that once you see these cuts
kick in and once you see Americans lose their jobs there`s no guarantee
that these folks are going to get back and get rehired and get back into
the game. And this is the dangerous thing about these cuts that are one
week from tomorrow.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, what about that? People lose their jobs,
they`re gone, there`s no guarantee they`re going to come back. How are you
going to deal with that?

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, look, you`ve seen it.
You`ve been around the country. It`s devastating to families.

But I want people to know we`re going to win this fight. And just
like you said at the front end of this show, with the governor of Florida
now joining the governor of Michigan and Ohio on health care reform,
Republicans in the Congress are going to have to come around on these other

We live in a republic in which the elected officials have to listen to
people. And the public is what the president on all of these key issues.
And we`re going to win this fight.

Now, they`re playing a delaying game, but the truth of the matter is
that once we move forward with votes out of the Senate just like we want on
the fiscal cliff vote, we will win on this. That is to say that the
president, if he can garner a bipartisan vote in the Senate, it will put
the House Republicans in a box. And that`s --


SCHULTZ: I hear very few Democrats talking like you. They`re not
really sure how this is going to go. It`s refreshing to hear you say that
we`re going to win this thing, win it for the people.

Here`s President Obama talking about the inability of Congress to get
anything done on time.


OBAMA: I don`t know why it is in this town folks leave stuff until
the last minute. You know, there`s no other profession, no other industry
where people wait until the 11th hour to solve these big problems. And
obviously, it creates a lot of uncertainty in our economy.


SCHULTZ: That uncertainty is a big deal.

Congressman Lynch, what do you say to people who can`t understand why
Congress just doesn`t seem to get things done?

REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I have to point out that
Congresswoman Moore, Congressman Fattah, and myself all voted not to
adjourn, to stay in Washington and keep on working on these problems.

Look, I think the American people in your polls, they`re choosing
common sense solutions over radical ideology. They realize that if the
sequestration goes through, we`re talking about, just one small piece of
it, $1.6 billion being cut from medical research, including Alzheimer`s
research, diabetes research, autism research, cancer research.
So those are very important issues for the American people. And
that`s why you see this migration in those polls.

SCHULTZ: I also see that there are a lot of progressives starting to
get together in Congress, to the point where they have written a letter to
the president. And this is the quote. "We will not vote against any and
every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits including
raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that
our constituents earned and needed.

I mean, this is --

MOORE: Let me weigh in on that, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Go ahead, Congresswoman.

MOORE: This is Gwen Moore. That`s very important for people to
understand, that what was not included in the sequestration were those
programs, those mandatory programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,
food stamps, Pell grants. And what the Republicans would love to see is
for this president to serve up on a silver platter these programs and not
just make some changes in them but structural changes to undermine the
program --

SCHULTZ: You agree with that? You agree with this letter, Congresswoman?

MOORE: Oh, absolutely. I agree with that letter. Because
ultimately, in order to end the sequester, that is the demand that they`re
making on the president. That he make structural changes to Medicare and
Social Security.

SCHULTZ: Chaka Fattah, go ahead.

FATTAH: What we`ve had is a quarterback controversy. And then we had
a decision that rather than Romney, we were going with Obama. What we have
now is we have some people on the team who because they didn`t get the
quarterback they wanted they want to stop the game from continuing.

This is an inside game by the Republicans to slow the economy, to
create uncertainty that causes business decisions to be delayed. We know
that at the end of the day, they have to produce a bill that the
president`s prepared to sign. And he`s made it absolutely clear, and
you`ve made it fundamentally clear that we have to protect the middle
class, right?


FATTAH: And he has said very clearly that he is not willing to affect
these beneficiaries in these programs, that we`re going to have to get our

SCHULTZ: So it`s defense cuts.

FATTAH: But that it`s got to be balanced, right? It`s got to be

SCHULTZ: It`s going to have to be defense cuts and you`re going to
have to get Republicans to go along with that. I think they`re trying --

FATTAH: No, no, no.

SCHULTZ: I think they`re just trying to get some kind of political
narrative going that will put the president on the defensive, and they`re
thinking that people don`t know what happened back in the summer of 2011
and they`re even trying to blame the president that this is his sequester.

Congressman Lynch, you`re going to have to win the echo chamber. Can
it be done?

LYNCH: I think it can be done. Although you have to say this is just
another back door attempt by the Republicans. They tried to turn Medicare
into a voucher program. Instead of the comprehensive program that it is --
that it has been for years. They went after Social Security and tried to
take that money and put it on the stock market.

We all know what would have happened if they had succeeded. This is
just another back door attempt at that type of denigration and erosion of
basic programs that have been championed for a long time by the Democratic

SCHULTZ: Congressman Chaka Fattah, Congresswoman --

FATTAH: Ed, what the president --

SCHULTZ: Go ahead, sir.

FATTAH: What the president is saying is that it`s not just a game of
cut this or cut that. We can raise revenue. We are the wealthiest country
in the world. He says that the loopholes that Romney proposed on the
campaign, that we closed on businesses, let`s close them, let`s get those
revenues in so that we can have some cuts that are smart --

SCHULTZ: I agree with all that.

FATTAH: -- to move forward.

SCHULTZ: Democrats obviously agree with that, but the Republicans
have not identified one loophole to date that they are willing to take out
of the tax code. I mean, this is a dog and pony show.

FATTAH: They`re reading the same --


FATTAH: They`re reading those same polls that you`re reading, and I`m
telling you, we`re going to drag them on headed in the right direction.

SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Congresswoman Gwen
Moore, and Congressman Steve Lynch -- great to have you with us on THE ED
SHOW tonight. Thanks so much.

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