Right off a cliff? Tea Party burdens GOP

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CENK UYGUR, HOST: Good evening. I‘m Cenk Uygur.

Today, we saw compelling new proof that the Tea Party is driving the Republican Party and potentially John Boehner right off a cliff. In a vote that ultimately passed a budgeted deal to avert a government shutdown, 59 Republicans broke with their leadership to vote no, despite please from Speaker Boehner.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: Does it cut enough? No. Do I wish it cut more? Absolutely.

Is it perfect? No. I would be the first one to admit that it‘s flawed, and I would urge all of you to join me in supporting this bill.


UYGUR: How was that for a sales pitch? Wow. That bill sounded great.

Now, just a few minutes ago, that same bill passed the Senate 81-19. Of course, the issue for many Republicans in the House was that the bill wasn‘t extreme enough for the right wing and their party.

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson said, “If House Republicans vote for the bipartisan compromise, they should be driven into the street by the Tea Party move and horsewhipped metaphorically speaking. In reality, they should be primaried.”

And the editors of the conservative “National Review” called the deal “a sudden disappointment.” Who says “sudden?” I guess they‘re English. All right. Oversold and dependent on classic Washington budget trickery, the episode is strike one against the speakership of John Boehner.”

I guess that‘s the best I can do for an English accent.

Anyway, they were angry about a new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showing that of the $38.5 billion in cuts, about $8.6 billion were in rescission cuts. Now, that‘s money that was appropriated but never spent. So there is a chance that some of that money will eventually not get spent.

Oh, my God. Sound the sirens! They only cut $30 billion now and an extra $8 billion that might have been spent! Ahh!

Of course, not nearly enough for the right wing. The CBO also said that only $352 million of the cuts would go into effect this year. Now, the rest of it was scheduled to get spent soon, like next year.

Ahh! We need to spend now! We wanted a trillion—no, a bazillion dollars in cuts. And we wanted them cut from next year‘s budget. No, this year‘s budget. No, from the budget of 1928.

Why didn‘t you travel in time and get more cuts for us?

The guy‘s a little unreasonable, right? All right, kids. I got it.

I got it. Enough with the temper tantrum. Settle down.

But were the cuts really no big deal? Are you kidding me?

We‘re still looking at $30 billion in cuts, including $1.6 billion for the EPA. That‘s 15 percent of their budget hacked off.

Congratulations, Republicans. You don‘t get to pollute that much more.

Six hundred million dollars was also cut from community health centers. But I guess the Tea Party wanted to hurt the community just a little bit more than they already did. Who needs health? I want my stinking tax cut.

And $500 million was also cut to pay for food and baby formula for low-income families. Why don‘t the babies solve their own formulas?

Now, look, those are huge cuts, but apparently there‘s still not enough for some. Well, let‘s talk about it now. We‘re going to get two different sets of opinion here.

First, Congressman Jim McDermott. He‘s a Democrat from Washington, a member of the Progressive Caucus who voted no on the budget deal today.

Congressman McDermott, I suspect that you voted no for a different reason than the Tea Party. What was that reason?

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: I voted simply no because there were cuts in things that did not need to be cut. And secondly, what you were seeing out here was the Republican Party demolishing itself in front of the everybody, and God and country saw them, unable to come up with 218 votes.

John Boehner is basically on his knees, on the floor, begging the

Democrats to keep the country rolling because he can‘t do it. It is simply

I haven‘t seen anything like that in the 23 years I‘ve been in Congress, where the Speaker came out and couldn‘t get the votes for something as simple as a continuing resolution.

It was really a miserable display, but it showed the fact that these people that are on his team are determined to tear this government apart. Now, either they learn something from this experience, or we are in for a terrible ride during the next few weeks, as we go in, first of all, into raising the debt limit, and then we go into a budget for 2012.

They simply don‘t understand what government is about. They think you can do it like, I don‘t know, they‘re running a seventh-grader‘s bank balance, the way they run it. And it‘s terrible, what you saw today, but the Democrats pulled it out and kept the country running.

UYGUR: All right. Now, Congressman McDermott, I know what you‘re alluding to, which is this big fight of course over the trillions of dollars. Now, it looks like they‘re not going to bend at all. In fact, of course, they‘ve said the tax cuts are unacceptable, off the table. But the president drew the line the other day and said, you know what? I refuse to extend the Bush tax cuts.

So how in the world do you resolve that?

MCDERMOTT: Well, it‘s going to be a difficult session. You now have a Speaker who is 39 votes short of a majority. That‘s a minority government in the House of Representatives.

And how he‘s going to deal—he‘s going to have to come to the Democrats and say, hey, look, guys, what do I need to get your votes? And at that point, we should be taking those tax cuts and removing them, and bringing this country‘s budget into balance. It will be very simple if Boehner will just admit that he can‘t do it himself and he‘s got to have the Democrats to help him.

UYGUR: So how does Boehner get out of this? Because they say this is strike one, right? And my guess is strike two is coming soon, because they‘re never going to be satisfied. And if he goes and works with the Democrats, oh, my God, they‘re going to lose their minds.

So, is Boehner in an unwinnable spot here?

MCDERMOTT: He‘s in a very—I sometimes almost feel sorry for him, because he has got a guy standing behind him, Eric Cantor, who is encouraging the 39 votes that didn‘t vote for the bill. So he is looking to take over the speakership, and John Boehner‘s got this guy standing right behind him.

It‘s going to be a very difficult period for him. I don‘t know how he pulls it out, frankly.

UYGUR: And today they also wasted your time on defunding Planned Parenthood, and also defunding the health care law, of course neither of which is going to pass the Senate.

Can you just—I must have missed it—how many bills did they vote on creating jobs?

MCDERMOTT: I missed them too. I must have blinked some place.

The fact is that they put those bills out there for the right-wingers, for the Tea Party people, and said, we‘ll give you a vote on these things so we can pass them over to the Senate. And even offering them that kind of CYA bill, they simply couldn‘t get the votes.

This was a day—really was a parade of the clowns, because there was no jobs in any of this. They cut jobs in health centers, they cut jobs at the NIH, they cut jobs at EPA, all things that the American people want and need, and yet they play these games. I do not understand when they‘re going to start talking about jobs in this economy.

UYGUR: All right. Congressman McDermott, one more question for you, and it‘s that critical one.

Now, Boehner is in that tough spot. There‘s no way he‘s going to get those Tea Party guys to agree to any compromise. Right? So that means, as you were pointing out earlier, Democrats have leverage now because he‘s got to come to the Democrats?

Now, how do the Democrats plan to use that leverage, if at all?

MCDERMOTT: Well, first of all, we have to be asked to the table. So far, we‘ve been denied a seat at the table. And as soon as Mr. Boehner wants to come and talk to Leader Pelosi, we will have a conversation.

There are a lot of ways in which we could use it that would be in the benefit of the American people. I can think of 20 ways I would do it if I were sitting there. But he has to first make the overture, and we‘ll see if he can do it in the face of what he‘s got behind him.

UYGUR: All right. It‘s going to be an interesting thing to watch, there‘s no question about that.

Congressman Jim McDermott from Washington.

Thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

MCDERMOTT: You‘re welcome.

UYGUR: All right.

Now, for more on the reaction of the other side, let‘s bring in Judson Phillips, leader of the Tea Party Nation, who has vowed to primary Boehner next year.

Judson, you heard us say that Erick Erickson says that he should be horsewhipped, metaphorically. What would you like to do to John Boehner?

JUDSON PHILLIPS, TEA PARTY NATION: Oh, I don‘t want anything violent or extreme. I just want to see a better candidate to replace him.

UYGUR: All right. And what would that better candidate do, just keep telling the Democrats and President Obama, no, no, no, no, no, and we‘d never have any deals?

PHILLIPS: No deal is better than a bad deal. Look, the country is broke. We‘ve got a $1.65 trillion deficit.

Boehner came in, it was going to be cut by $100 billion, then $61 billion, then $31 billion. And now, according to the CBO today, the deficit, with what they voted on today, is going to be cut by a whopping $352 million. That‘s, what, like owing $16,000 on your car and paying 33 cents? I mean, come on!

UYGUR: But Judson, no. Hold on.

Look, on the $8 billion that was appropriated but not spent, I think you actually have a decent case. And when you look at it and you say that money might have been spent and it might not have, right? But when you look at the heart of the $30 billion, that is a real cut.

I mean, you‘re unhappy that it‘s not immediate, but it‘s coming next year. Is it not enough? I always come back to the same thing with you. When is it ever enough? So you wanted $100 billion and you wanted it yesterday, right?

PHILLIPS: No, I would have settled for it for today, but here‘s the problem.

UYGUR: Are you not merciful?

PHILLIPS: But here‘s the problem. We have a huge budget deficit.

Spending is out of control.

When are we going to stop spending, when we‘re $20 billion in debt, $30 billion in debt, $40 billion in debt? There is no country in the world that has ever borrowed its way into prosperity. It‘s not going to happen with the United States of America. It‘s not happened with any other country. You end up with a debt crisis.

UYGUR: Right. You know, I know. Of course.

PHILLIPS: I‘ve said this on your show before, how do you get a debt crisis? You end up with a lot of debt.

UYGUR: That‘s right. And, you know, one way to solve that would be revenue, but I know you guys don‘t want to discuss that. You only want to discuss one side of it.

But listen, I want to get into more of what you want, because I‘m curious about it. So, for example, obviously in 2012 we have an enormous primary for the Republican side for presidential candidate. Now, I know you love primaries, so who‘s your guy? Who‘s extreme enough for you?

PHILLIPS: Well, let‘s talk about revenue for just a second. Let me go back to that real quick. Every time you cut taxes, surprisingly enough, revenue to the treasury goes up.

UYGUR: Not true remotely. Not even close.

PHILLIPS: Yes it is. It is! It is! Look at the history of it!


PHILLIPS: It happened in the ‘80s when Reagan did it. That happened last decade when Bush did it.

UYGUR: Look, here‘s what we did with Bush—we cut, cut, cut taxes.

And what happened? The economy created.


UYGUR: We created one million jobs in eight years—

PHILLIPS: Did you go through the same 2000s that I went through?

UYGUR: — and you know what? He left—hold on Judson. He left a $1.3 trillion deficit.

It‘s your Republicans who screwed up. Why don‘t you admit that on national TV right now? Republicans never balanced the budget, and they always screwed up.

Go ahead and admit it.

PHILLIPS: What was the deficit in 2007? Answer: $137 billion.

Obama, Pelosi and Reid blew more than that in February of last year.

UYGUR: That was awesome. That was awesome. Hold on. You just said 2007.

When Bush left office, it was over $1 trillion, wasn‘t it? It‘s convenient that you left that part out.

PHILLIPS: No, I picked 2007 because, guess what? That was the last year a Republican Congress and a Republican president passed a budget.

UYGUR: Oh, of course. Of course. When Clinton balanced the budget, that was because of the Republican Congress, right? And then when Bush blows a huge trillion-dollar hole in the deficit, oh, Democratic Congress.

Which one is it? Is it the president or the Congress that takes all the credit?

PHILLIPS: Hey, they get a little bit of both. But in 2007, the deficit was heading in the right direction. And when Pelosi took over, when Reid took over—

UYGUR: He had a huge surplus! You know how much—here. You know what? We got into the topic. Let‘s finish it up.

The two wars, OK, Medicare prescription Part D caused—and I‘m sorry, and the tax cuts, caused a $3.2 trillion addition to the deficit. Why don‘t you just hold your hand up and say I am guilty, I am sorry, nation? We crew screwed up and I‘m now trying to get the Democrats to fix it.

PHILLIPS: Hey, how many Democrats voted for the Medicare drug prescription benefit? I‘ll agree with you on that. That was a bad idea. It blew a lot of money.

UYGUR: A bad Republican idea, yes.

PHILLIPS: It was a bad idea, period.

UYGUR: OK. Was Iraq a genius idea?

PHILLIPS: Iraq was a necessity. Afghanistan was a necessity.

Advertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoices.UYGUR: A necessity? A necessity?


UYGUR: Now you want to cut Medicare, Medicaid. You want to cut food stamps. And Iraq was a necessity?

PHILLIPS: Yes, Iraq was a necessity.

UYGUR: Interesting values.

PHILLIPS: When you have the leader of a country who tries to kill a former president of the United States, he‘s got to pay the price for it. And I don‘t care if that former president is Barack Obama or Jimmy Carter.

UYGUR: How many years ago was that? You‘re going back to that?

OK. And so then, by the way, you agree since the horrible terrorism that Gadhafi has done, you agree with President Obama that we should have gone into Libya, right?

PHILLIPS: No, I don‘t agree with that.

UYGUR: Really? Huh? That‘s weird.

PHILLIPS: No, it‘s really simple.


PHILLIPS: We‘re stuck in two wars. How are we going to get this third one done?

Obama is cutting the defense budget. We‘re stretched too thin. Yes, I would love to see Gadhafi dangle from the end of a rope. But guess what? We‘re not the ones who are going to be able to do it.

UYGUR: All right, Judson. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before you could answer who you want in the GOP primaries, because I know none of them are enough.

You want to bring back Reagan, right? But Reagan raised taxes 11 times. You‘d probably primary him if he was around.

PHILLIPS: No, not really. Invite me back again and I‘ll—

UYGUR: Not really?


PHILLIPS: Invite me back again and we‘ll talk about the primary. OK?

UYGUR: All right. Fair enough.

Judson Phillips, head of the Tea Party Nation.

We appreciate it.

PHILLIPS: Hey, thank you.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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