UYGUR: Now, earlier in the program, we told you about how the Democrats appear to be ready to give up more and more ground. And of course, it‘s not good enough for the Tea Party. They want even more in cuts. In fact, they held a rally today outside the capital as you see there. The crowd is a little underwhelming but they still had a lot of heavy weights there. Pens was there, King was there, Bachmann was there, all their top congressman. And as usual, the message was as blunt as ever. They‘re not giving an inch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING ®, IOWA: At $61.5 million, that‘s where the fight came down on HR1, the first CR. All right. So, let‘s fight on that, then. That‘s ground we‘ve taken, let‘s hold it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Well, I mean, that‘s exactly what they said, they said, all right, I can‘t believe the Democrats have given us all this. Well, let‘s hold that ground and ask for more. Now, if we gave them $61 billion, everything they wanted. Would it be good enough then?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: They gets time to get serious, don‘t you?
BACHMANN: And cutting $61 billion in my opinion is a starting point, it is not the goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: No, of course not. Because if you you‘re giving 61 billion, they‘re going to ask for 120 billion. If you‘re giving that, they‘re going to ask 240 billion. That‘s what the problem is when you keep giving and giving, you encourage Bachmann as you does that laser—it can goes, oh, my God, I want more cuts.
All right. Now, but there‘s got to be some room in negotiating, right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA: Liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and shut down the government instead of making small down fame on fiscal discipline and reform. I say shut it down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Well, he is very clear on that, shut it down. That‘s apparently what the Tea Party wants, but hey, don‘t trust me.
Let‘s bring out a Tea Party guy and found out for ourselves. Justin Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation. Justin, thank you for joining us. Well, we got an audio issue. I thought we had an audio issue earlier. Apparently, we do. I don‘t hear, sad day. Here‘s what I‘ll tell you, Justin, is saying in the press at least. He says of course it‘s not good enough. And that the $30 billion in cuts, they‘re not really cuts. It‘s a joke and that, in fact, Boehner should be fired if he goes along with this. I would like to ask him, under what circumstances he should be fired or under what circumstances Justin would be happy but let‘s try again. Justin, do you think Boehner should be fired if he agreed to $33 billion?
JUSTIN PHILLIPS, FOUNDER, TEA PARTY NATION: Hey, good evening. In the immortal words of the Verizon guy, can you hear me now?
UYGUR: Yes, I can. God bless. Go forward.
PHILLIPS: Hey, yes, I actually, I do think he should be fired. As you quoted me accurately, $33 billion is not a cut, it‘s a joke.
UYGUR: Here‘s the thing, Justin. What I‘m curious about, I mean, you get that you‘re negotiating with somebody, right? I mean, like for example, for the tax cuts, I hated them. I didn‘t want any of those tax cuts. I think they blew up the budget. I think they‘re terrible idea. But if you said to me, $400 billion in tax cuts or $800 billion, I would say all right, I‘ll take the $400 billion, because I‘m negotiating with somebody, I give somebody another side. Do you get that on this process that you have to compromise at some point?
PHILLIPS: Maybe you can compromise at some point, but when the House is on fire, you don‘t sit there and negotiating about how long you‘re going to stay. You get everybody out.
We have a $1.65 trillion deficit this year. Our national debt is now equal to our gross domestic product. When are we going to stop spending? When are we going to stop borrowing?
UYGUR: But Justin, what I‘m hearing from you in this regard, you‘re saying maybe I would compromise on some future date, but maybe not today and not on this. You want a hundred percent, you want 61 billion, and even if you got 100 percent of what you wanted, would you still want more?
PHILLIPS: Right now, I want hundreds of dollars in cuts. And hey, let me tell you something, a month ago, the government accounting office came out with a report that said, we could save hundreds of billions of dollars, just by eliminating programs that are not working or that are duplicative. So, I want to know where is anybody in Congress, Republican or Democrats, why are these guys having fights on who gets to introduce the bill that says, let‘s cut hundreds of billions of dollars. Nobody is going to object to cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars that eliminate fraud in waste.
UYGUR: Well, look, there are hundreds of billions of dollars in fraud and waste, I wish there were, that would be easier.
PHILLIPS: Sure, there are, the government accounting office says, there are.
UYGUR: No. That‘s not how it works, look, at this point, in your mind, obviously, Democrats in the Senate can‘t win, when you have no interest in that, but John Boehner also can‘t win, right? I mean, even if he got you the 61 billion, you still want him fired, right?
PHILLIPS: At this point, he‘s not committed to 61 billion, I don‘t even know if he‘s committed to 33 billion. Honestly, I don‘t know what the guy is committed too. He talks a great game when he gets out there on the road, talking to folks outside of D.C., but when he goes back up to D.C., who knows what he‘s doing. But he‘s not cutting the budget. And that‘s what the American people wanted when they put him in power.
UYGUR: You‘ve got to be living in the situation that you‘re in. I know, ideally you would cut it all. There would be nothing, there would be no government. We would live in a wonderful, you know, libertarian anarchy, Ayn Rand inspired, you know, Sharia law, Valhalla, it would be all this lovely things. But in this situation, the Democrats hold the Senate and they hold the White House. So, why should they give you what you want because you want it really bad?
PHILLIPS: Because the Republicans control the House and nobody can make the Republicans in the House appropriate money.
UYGUR: All right, well, then, all right, then Democrats control the Senate and nobody can make them do anything. So, right back at you.
PHILLIPS: That‘s right. The Republicans can stand firm and say guess what? We‘re cutting a whole lot out of this budget. Because we have a fiscal crisis here. Look what‘s going on in Europe. They have a debt crisis, how did they get there? They got into a lot of debt. Well, guess what America is doing.
UYGUR: Look, if you want an argument about how to cut the budget, you would lose that argument massively in my opinion. And I‘ll tell you why, OK? It‘s because you don‘t want to raise taxes at all. You‘re ignoring one side completely and I don‘t know how you feel about defense. I would be interested in that. But you‘ve got to cut defense. Even if you cut all the discretionary spending you want, you still would have a $1 trillion deficit. So, you‘re going about it all the wrong way. But that‘s not my point. My point is look, right now we‘ve got a situation where the Democrats control the Senate and they control the White House. Why do you think they should bend to your will? That doesn‘t make any sense. You‘ve got the compromise if you actually care about governing?
PHILLIPS: How about, here‘s the reason why they should listen. We had a referendum in November. And guess what, the American people spoke loudly and clearly about what they wanted. So, the Democrats need to pay attention.
UYGUR: All right. Just a little.
PHILLIPS: They‘re going to be out the door in November.
UYGUR: No, I hear you. I hear you. Let me ask you about that. In 2006, the electoral spoke very clearly, overwhelming victories for Democrats. Did you come out after that election and say George Bush should stop it and the Republicans Party should stop, and we should just simply listen to what the Democrats say?
PHILLIPS: Oh, absolutely not.
UYGUR: Oh, really?
PHILLIPS: No, absolutely not, and you know why?
UYGUR: That‘s weird.
PHILLIPS: No, that‘s not weird at all. You know, why, the Republicans were acting just like Democrats. They were big money spenders back then. The American people got sick of it. They said, hey, no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, we‘ll put the other guys in charge for a while.
UYGUR: So when the Democrats get overwhelming victories, we should listen to the Republicans. And when the Republicans get overwhelming victories, we should listen to the Republicans.
PHILLIPS: We should listen to the conservatives. Because they certainly make a whole lot more sense than the Democrats do.
UYGUR: But, no, that‘s not a logical argument. If you used talking about the mandate of the people in 2006 and 2008, huge mandate, that‘s why the Democrats control the Senate and the White House. But you‘re saying, ignore that will of the people. Just pretend, by the way, you know, you guys are losing support, right? I mean, you see the polls, right? You‘re down to 47 percent popularity in March in terms of the Tea Party. You‘ve lost how many points here, 19 points since January of 2010. You can get the sense that maybe your intransigence isn‘t really working with the American people?
PHILLIPS: Hey, I‘m reminded that the great quote form Israeli, there‘s lies, there‘s damn lies and then there‘s polls.
UYGUR: OK, the polls are inconvenient, and logic is inconvenient.
OK. I hear you.
All right. Justin Phillips, thanks for having the conversation. We appreciate it.
PHILLIPS: Thanks for inviting me.