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CNN "Piers Morgan Live" - Transcript: Affordable Care Act


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MORGAN: Now I want to bring in two Congressmen on the budget committee Republican Scott Rigell of Virginia and Democrat Dave Cicilline of Rhode Island. Welcome to you gentlemen.


MORGAN: And it all sounds, I mean last night I went to bed feeling quite hopeful. And I woke up feeling less hopeful as the days dragged on. I might, are we really getting anyway here? What do you guys think, I mean let's start with you Scott Rigell are we actually getting to a place do you think where within 24 or 48 hours the word deal maybe breaking news.

REP. SCOTT RIGELL, (R), VIRGINIA: Well, in my short two and half plus years here in Congress. I've seen this over and over, where there is just a, a continuance of -- of a lack of a definitive of action, a clearer alternatives that would set America on a better physical path that, that guy introduced to plan the just yesterday evening in America First which is a definitive plan to, to set us back on a more of productive physical track. But, this has not been the Republican conference's finest hour. And, I'm hopeful that, that once we clear the muddy water here that we'll get to the real issue which is long term of spending and how do we address that.

MORGAN: And what, what are the problems that seems to be Dave Cicilline is just the rhetoric being used by some people seemed so utterly absurd and over the top. What I'm talking today about Dr. Ben Carson, he's a retired neurologist and, and a new Fox News commentator, this is what he had to say about ObamaCare today.


BEN CARSON, (RET) NUEROSURGEON, JOHN HOPKINS: And I have to tell you, you know, ObamaCare is really, I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is on way it is slavery in a way because, because it is making all of us subservient to the government. And, it was never about health care it was about control.


MORGAN: Dave Cicilline I mean what a load of claptrap. The worst thing since slavery, I mean when hear this kind of nonsense, what is your reaction?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE, (D), RHODE ISLAND: Well, I mean I think I have very strong feelings about the value of, of health care reform and what it's going to mean in the lives of millions of Americans it what it means for at people in my home state. But I think what people want now more than anything is solutions. They -- there's been a lot of name calling, a lot of very heated rhetoric. But what people want is they want the government open, they want to be sure that America pays its bills and that were not a dead beat nation. And then what they want to see a process where we can hammer out a long term deal to reduce our deficit, grow our economy and get people back to work.

And I think there's been a tremendous amount of rhetoric that has really undermined our ability to have that serious conversation and what we need to do is move quickly to open government, be sure that we have an extension of the debt ceiling so we pay debt. And because the impact of not doing that would be devastating to our economy. And then have a process to regular order to go look budget committee and a conference committee and work it out. There are a lot of the great ideas out there but we need a process not in the context of a threat to keep government closed or to default, you know, do those two things and then work together to find real solutions.

MORGAN: I thought a very diplomatic way of avoiding what Dr. Carson actually said this. Let me try with this Scott Rigell, I mean come on. When somebody who's an eminent physician, a retired neurologist goes on a national television in that way and says ObamaCare is the worst things to hit America since slavery. That's pretty outrage isn't it?

RIGELL: Yeah. I think. Well, I think it meets the definition of hyperbole over top. And I've been delivered about not using that type of rhetoric and I know David has too in service to his district and to our country as well. We're both members of No Labels, a strong by part as an effort to bridge the gap here and in Washington. And, on the very first day of the shutdown, I put out a tweet that said, "Look, we need to re-open the government, we need to return to regular order." And these are the things that David's mentioned. And there are number of us that are trying to do just that to put the American people first and to really grapple with some of the longer term issues that we faced together just as fellow Americans.

MORGAN: Well it seems to me Scott Rigell, let's just stay with you for a moment that from the Republicans point of view, a very hard to paint a positive picture here. In a week when if they hadn't been so intransitive. They could have been hammering ObamaCare and the President over a perfectly legitimate criticisms on what's in there ...

RIGELL: Yes sir and there are.

MORGAN: ... and also there are particularly the ways they'll implement it. But instead of that, it's been this ridiculous nonsense involving shutting down the government. And as a result, the favorable view of ObamaCare has actually risen. According with (NBCW) a Wall Street general poll. So, from September to October a rising favorability of 7 percent, whereas who do you blame for the shutdown, the gap between President and that of the Republicans widening to 53 percent to 31. So, which ever way you try and express this up, the strategy it seems to me is being completely flawed by the Republicans lead by Senator Cruz.

RIGELL: Well, I share your view. Though I've really believed that we need a better alternative to what I truly believe is the unaffordable care act that said this -- you could call it the Cruz strategy or whatever. It's lead us in to the political abyss and led us in to a legislative abyss, it's hurt our country, it's hurt our conference. There we've got to, to get our way out of this and, hopefully in the next day or so, we'll, we'll have some type of short term solution that (appears) back to the main point is that we've got to, you know, we, we got to look longer than just a couple of days here. We've got to come to a comprehensive agreement that Democrats and Republicans can saddle up with that puts America on a better physical path. This must be done.

CICILLINE: Piers, you know -- your point is though there, there is no question that it was a small group within the Republican caucus who were really obsessed with repealing or de funding, or delaying ObamaCare.

And it drove I think the Republicans to make some bad decisions that resulted in the shutdown of the government and this looming default. I think people now recognize that that's not a good strategy. I think there's been a willingness over the last day or two to understand that we need to open government and we need to avoid a default and then have a process in place for this larger conversation, but that description I think obviously is inaccurate.

It's really outrageous when you think of the benefits that the Americans will feel as a result of ObamaCare but I think the Republican conference has moved away from that, you know, that's all we heard about in the beginning of this debate. I think people realize this is the law of the land. It's here to stay. Let's work and make sure it's working well, improve it where we can, but make sure it works for Rhode Islanders and for people across our country.

MORGAN: Congressman, thank you both very much indeed. I appreciate it.


RIGELL: Thank you.


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