Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Government Shutdown; Tom Clancy Dies; Interview With Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam; "We Were Determined to Go Through"; Shutdown Comes With High Price Tag
Aired October 2, 2013 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Forty hours into this government shutdown and our leaders are finally something that apparently didn't occur to them until now, talking to each other.
I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.
The national lead. In the absence of actual governing, the four top leaders in Congress will meet with the president shortly. Is it too much to fantasize about padlocking the door until they all solve this problem?
Also, after defeating Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito, these veterans are not going to let some red tape around their memorial stop them. Of course, the lawmakers who helped bring us to the shutdown also tried to turn today's events into a photo-op.
And the pop culture lead, he could turn the most technical jargon into heart-pounding thrills. We will still have his books, his movies and video games, but today we lost author Tom Clancy.
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Jake Tapper. Welcome to THE LEAD.
We're coming to you again today from the Capitol here in Washington, D.C., where we will begin with the national lead. Five will enter, and all five will leave because D.C. has not yet devolved into a Thunder Dome-type situation, though give it time.
Not long from now, President Obama, the four top leaders in Congress will be in the same room at the same time talking about the same thing. It's a radical idea, I know. They must come to some sort of agreement to reopen the government which partially shut down 40 hours ago, but the White House says do not mistake this for a negotiation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, the president is not going to sit down and start asking for puts and takes. He's not going to engage in that kind of negotiation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: To quote Michael Corleone, my offer is this, nothing.
This hinges on temporary spending. House Republicans have tried several times to defund, or delay, or dismantle Obamacare by attaching provision after provision to the spending bills they have sent to the Senate. Democrats, of course, have knocked them all down. Now the House GOP has a new tactic, trying to pass individual bills that will fund the government one piece at a time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We ought to be working as hard as we can to open up the government in all the areas that we agree on. And we hope that our Democratic colleagues will stop with the games and join us in trying to relieve the pain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Democrats, of course, say it's the Republicans who are playing games. Three of the GOP's individual bills failed last night because they required a two-thirds vote because of parliamentary rules. They are trying another round of bills today that will only require a simple majority, including a bill to restore funding to the National Institutes of Health, which has started turning away some of the 200 patients that it gets every week, including several children suffering from cancer for their clinical trials.
But the White House has threatened to veto any piecemeal approach to funding the government and Senate Democrats are not on board with the GOP idea either.
Our own Dana Bash asked Senate majority -- Harry Reid about this earlier. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: What right do they have to pick and choose what part of government's going to be funded? It's obvious what's going on here.
You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don't know what other word I can use. I don't know what other word I can use. They are obsessed with this Obamacare thing. It's working now and it will continue to work and people will love it even more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But if you can help one child who has cancer why wouldn't you do it?
REID: Listen --
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Why pit one against the other?
REID: Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force Base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is -- to have someone of your intelligence suggest such a thing -- (CROSSTALK)
REID: -- irresponsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And we are joined right now by chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash, the woman of that intelligence heretofore mentioned.
Dana, Senator Reid, he didn't seem to care for your question.
BASH: Really? What gave you that idea, Jake?
Look, I have covered Harry Reid for a very long time. That is sort of classic Reid and it's kind of the kind of response that sometimes gives his staffers and those who are here and those who have been here before a little bit of heartburn.
But I think big picture, what you are seeing is Democrats trying to stay on message, trying to stay firm with their insistence that they will not pass anything except for one big bill that funds the entire government and nothing else. And the reason is obvious, because they know once they agree to chip away at some of those agencies, even those that many people care about, then they are giving up some of their leverage.
Part of the reason why I asked him that question is because he says we don't pick and choose. Well, they already did in some sense pick and choose in that Congress passed a bill, the president signed it into law, making sure that men and women of the military get their salaries.
So they are, you know, playing some favorites here, and that's just the reality.
TAPPER: It's interesting because that was a Republican tactic. Let's pass this bill to fund the military. And that could have been the moment where Harry Reid and President Obama said you don't get to pick and choose. But they were -- to be honest, they blinked because they didn't want to be accused of being anti-military and they wanted these troops who are already fairly poorly paid to be paid.
They wanted them to get their checks. As you say, it's not the first time they would have done that.
BASH: Absolutely, it's not at all. I just interviewed one Democrat who said, well, that was before they -- the government actually shut down and they didn't even think there was really a chance it was going to shut down.
Look, the bottom line here is everybody is engaged in this game. You can see where this is going, which is effectively nowhere unless this meeting in an hour and a half at the White House really does produce something more than what people going into this meeting expect, which is not a whole lot.
TAPPER: All right. Dana Bash, thanks so much.
Now I want to bring in Congressman Peter Roskam, Republican from Illinois. He's the chief deputy majority whip.
Congressman, thanks so much for being here.
You and then state Senator Obama knew each other. You were friendly colleagues in the state Senate in Illinois. You weren't part of the group that played cards with him, but you know him pretty well. Is he bluffing when he says he's not going to put anything on the table, this is about you and your Republican colleagues doing your job, funding the government, raising the debt ceiling, and that you're not going to get a concession out of me for not blowing up the economy.
REP. PETER ROSKAM (R), ILLINOIS: I think President Obama is going to end up negotiating. I think he's on an island that will become more and more flooded. It's too shrill. It's actually not very Obama-like to say, I'm not going to negotiate. He negotiated on the debt ceiling, Jake, in the past, two times.
You know, one time the sequester resulted. One time no budget, no pay resulted coming out of the Senate. So I think he may recharacterize, he may redefine, but in the common understanding from two people that know what the word negotiate means, he will negotiate.
TAPPER: How do you respond to the polls that show that overwhelmingly the public disapproves of this tactic that you and your fellow House Republicans are doing, and even if they have mixed feelings or negative feelings about Obamacare, they do not feel this is the right way to do it and they disapprove?
I mean, you and your party are constantly talking about the polls showing that the American people are not pro-Obamacare, which we can quibble about polls and dive into that at a different time, but the polls show they don't like what you're doing here with the government shutdown.
ROSKAM: To that point, there's no celebration in this shutdown. And in fact the House Republican position and the bill that was sent over, the last bill that was really sent over to the Senate, said, look, let's fund the government and let's do two other things. Let's make sure members of Congress are not treated as a special class outside of Obamacare and get a subsidy that the rest of America doesn't get, and the second thing is the same delay that big business got, let's make sure that individuals get that same delay under Obamacare.
Those are two very reasonable things. And so I think most --
TAPPER: You know Speaker Boehner was fighting against the thing about treating Congress like the rest of the country, because -- and you can read -- "The National Review" has a great story about this, about how this is a demagogued story. Staffers here have no choice but to go into Obamacare because of what Congress has done, and normally what businesses do is they provide a stipend so that these individuals, some of whom I'm sure on your staff make $30,000 a year, need help buying health insurance, but now because of either -- for whatever reason, you're denying them the ability to get a stipend so they can pay for insurance. If you make $30,000 a year, you can't afford to buy health insurance.
ROSKAM: And what's the root cause of all of this consternation? Obamacare. That is exactly what is driving this --
TAPPER: I was going to say the high rate of health care in this country.
ROSKAM: No, it's Obamacare. That is what has caused this to be such a crescendo. We have seen story after story after story, rollout has failed, the cost in Illinois is more than it was proposed to be. This is not --
TAPPER: How can you say the rollout failed? It happened yesterday.
ROSKAM: It's failing. Other products, other times when you roll things out, think about the expectations. We were told by the president of the United States that two things were going to happen. If you like your doctor, you get to keep him. That's not true.
TAPPER: I'm not going to quibble with you on that one.
ROSKAM: And $2,500 per year was going to come down per family. That's not true. So my point is Obamacare is related to spending. That's why this whole thing is conjoined.
And here's where the opportunity is. I think President Obama today could do something very helpful. He says, look, let's not lurch from crisis to crisis. Let's deal with the debt ceiling. Let's deal with it all, and let's deal with it right now. And I'm willing to put entitlements on the table.
If he does that, he can pirouette and move the country I think in a direction that the country desperately wants to move.
TAPPER: Let's talk about the debt ceiling for one second, which is because -- the point I want to make is what President Obama says I think is accurate on this. The debt ceiling, the credit rating of the United States, that's different than a government shutdown.
I know with a government shutdown, these people with get back pay and it's not pleasant, but it's not necessarily something that can't be -- that's irrevocable.
If you guys, House Republicans, don't allow the debt ceiling to raise for bills that you and the Senate and President Obama racked up, then that is truly -- Harry Reid was calling Dana Bash irresponsible. That is truly irresponsible.
ROSKAM: OK, I will see irresponsible and I will raise it by saying this. The only thing that is more irresponsible than that is to raise the debt ceiling with no change in sight, in other words, a trajectory that has now taken us to $16 trillion in debt and not deal with that.
TAPPER: It's $16.9 trillion, I believe.
ROSKAM: So, not to deal with that, just to say, hey, we're just going to pile it on and pile it on and pile it on.
So, what the House is saying is, let's not do any of that. Let's instead say, let's deal with all of these things, let's do it in totality, let's put tax reform in there that can be absolutely transformational.
TAPPER: But President Obama tried to do that with Speaker Boehner and at the end of the day, and you can fault Obama for trying -- for moving the goal posts, that whole thing, I don't want to get into that -- but at the end of the day, it was unclear that Boehner had the votes and the support to deliver any sort of revenue through tax reform, that Obama is willing to look at cutting spending, he's willing to look at entitlement reform, but there needs to be some tax reform as well, meaning my taxes go up, your taxes go up.
But House Republicans, that's a nonstarter.
ROSKAM: John -- Jake, at the end of the election, the day after the election, John Boehner put $800 billion in new revenue on the table.
And that was just completely shunned by the White House. That's disappointing. When you have got the speaker of the House who puts $800 billion in new revenue saying, look, let's come -- you won, Mr. President. We won. The country wants us to work together.
I think that's the spirit and the disposition that says we can get these things done. We are at a moment in time when the president of the United States today could do something transformational, and that is bring it all together, sort of raise the stakes and say let's deal with debt ceiling, let's deal with entitlements.
He's put some entitlement changes in his own budget, but he's clung to this orthodoxy that says the only way I will do this is to raise taxes. We can come up with the money. Let's be smart about how we do it.
TAPPER: To be continued, Congressman Peter Roskam.
ROSKAM: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: You and President Obama worked together on a lot of important reforms when it came to the death penalty in Illinois. I hope that spirit can arise once again.
Coming up next on THE LEAD, a victim of the shutdown or a political stunt? As World War II veterans defy the barricades set up around the memorial build to honor them, this question remains. Why was an outdoor memorial closed by the Park Service anyway?
And think just because you haven't been furloughed or have no plans to visit a national park, the shutdown really isn't affecting you? Well, you're wrong. The staggering amount it's costing every American, coming up.
TAPPER: The beautiful Capitol Dome on a gorgeous October afternoon.
Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper and I'm live from Capitol Hill.
With continuing coverage of the partial government shutdown, they are members of what's been called the greatest generation. They fought for their country, never underestimating the value of sacrifice, hard work and more notably compromise.
So, it's no wonder veterans of World War II are reacting with shame and defiance to the stalemate in Washington. They just wanted all to end.
But this is Washington. So, of course, it's already a political issue. About an hour ago, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus lashed out at the Obama administration for putting up barricades around what many considered to be a sacred site, the World War II Memorial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: The administration decided they wanted to make this government shutdown as painful as possible for everyone including depriving our veterans the chance to visit this landmark. That's not right, and we all know that's just not fair. So I've come here to announce that the Republican National Committee has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel full-time to keep the World War II Memorial open for veterans and visitors across this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The Democratic National Committee responded with this statement. Quote, "We've already been working on a plan to open the memorial and the entire government after the GOP caused them to close. It's called a clean funding resolution and it sounds like the votes are there if the speaker would just call for a vote."
The Democratic National Committee statement goes on to say, "I think he -- was referring to chairman Priebus -- probably has Speaker Cruz/Boehner's number somewhere, and I'll bet veterans would appreciate it a lot more than this silly stunt." In the meantime, veterans are staying above the fray and still showing up to pay their respects. Today, two flights came from Missouri and Illinois, approximately 200 veterans almost entirely from World War II.
TAPPER (voice-over): For men who stormed the beaches at Normandy, a few Park Service barricades were not going to be a problem. Not for guys like Robert White, who served with the Marines in the Pacific.
ROBERT WHITE, MARINE CORPS, SERVED IN IWO JIMA AND THE PACIFIC THEATER: I'm a marine. We'd have got in here one way or the other.
TAPPER: Or Army veteran Buddy Schmidt, who served in Europe.
(on camera): It looked for minute like you guys weren't going to be able to get in.
BUDDY SCHMIDT, ARMY, SERVED IN ENGLAND, FRANCE AND GERMANY: Right. I heard someone had barricades out.
TAPPER: But you got through.
SCHMIDT: We got through. We were determined to go through anyway one way or the other.
TAPPER (voice-over): Yesterday, some of their fellow veterans broke through barricades that the National Park Service had put up. Today, even though the World War II Memorial Web site says it's closed, veterans were welcomed with open arms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, gentlemen.
TAPPER: These troops and their families came here with Honor Flights, which flies older veterans and those gravely ill to visit the memorials perhaps for their only time.
These men fought and bled for this democracy. They watched their buddies die in the sands of France and the jungles of Guam for this -- mess.
GUS STIEGLER, ARMY INFANTRY, SERVED IN EUROPE: Well, we didn't know if we were going to be here or not.
TAPPER: But you got in.
STIEGLER: We're thankful for that.
DON MUELLER, AIR FORCE, SERVED IN KOREA: Congress says it's doing their job, that sort of thing. I say they just need to work and come together for the country. That's what the people want.
GAZA BODNAR, NAVY, SERVED IN OKINAWA, JAPAN: I'm concerned about the Senate, the representatives, and Democrats just fighting one another. They're not getting done -- nothing done.
TAPPER: Fred Yanow was in the Army in the South Pacific.
FRED YANOW, ARMY, SREVED IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC: Well, I'm glad it's open because I think what the politicians are doing is nuts, absolutely crazy. If they want to do something drastic, why don't they cut their salaries? Wouldn't that be great?
TAPPER (on camera): But beyond the media circus and the politics of it all, the blame game, President Obama, John Boehner, today really was about one thing. These men and women who gave so much honoring those who did not make it back.
(voice-over): Men like Eugene Decker, a marine who fought at Guadalcanal in Saipan.
(on camera): Is this your first time at the World War II Memorial? Are you really looking forward to it?
EUGENE DECKER, MARINE CORPS, SERVED IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC: Well, I just wanted to see what it looked like. I'm glad they don't have the boys' names up there, because I lost an awful lot of good men. There were some damn good men lost there. I mean good men. When we hit those islands, those Japs didn't want us, but we took them anyhow. And I'd do it again if I was able.
TAPPER: You were fighting for freedom, sir, and we thank you. I'm glad you made it back.
DECKER: Well so, am I. I got some wonderful little children with me that I would take the world for.
TAPPER: What's it going to mean to you? Will you be thinking about Iwo Jima, the Pacific Theater?
WHITE: I don't want to talk about that. Don't want to talk about that, so I know it sounds rude, but --
TAPPER: Doesn't sound rude at all, sir. Thank you for your service. I hope it's a meaningful experience for you. Thank you on behalf of everybody.
TAPPER: Even though the memorial remains officially closed, the National Park Service issued a statement today saying it would not keep Honor Flight members from entering the site.
Coming up on THE LEAD, forget Hurricane Katrina and even Sandy, this shutdown could cost more than both those storms combined. The real price of Washington dysfunction, next.
Plus, do they stand by their man? We're in Speaker Boehner's home district, even visited his old bar to see what his constituents think of this shutdown standoff? We'll go there live, coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from Capitol Hill.
Now, it's time for the money lead.
You can call it a government shutdown. You can call it a slimdown. You can call it a showdown. The one thing you cannot call it is cheap.
Even if you are not affected by the furloughs and closures, this Washington gridlock is costing all of us every single day, and we're not talking chump change but hundreds of millions of dollars.
CNN's Tom Foreman joins us with a breakdown of the cost -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, take a look at this number back here, $300 million per day. That's how much money IHS Global Insight says is disappearing from the U.S. economy right now because of this shutdown.
How is that possible? How can you be losing that much money?
We knew there was going to be an impact up front in terms of what we call the red zone expenses, the basic payout to federal workers who were laid off, those 800,000 people out of work, and people who deal directly with the federal government.
We also knew that we'd have a green zone back here, which would be the things that weren't affected much, like air traffic control and things like the postal service and the federal courts.
The cost seems to be centered really in what we call the yellow zone here -- those in the middle, like intelligence gathering, the National Security Agency apparently down 70 percent in terms of its civilian staff right now. Some of the checking that you might do for hiring people through e-verify system. That's not working right now.
Some food inspections not happening right now. Some 19,000 families no longer with Head Start because it doesn't have funding right now. And, of course, the panda cam has gone dark over at the National Zoo.
Still, you look at all of this and you say what does that add up to?
Well, if you go beyond just the immediate payout to the people who do these jobs and say that's money that's not in the economy and you go beyond this number to say how much does this ripple out to affect everything, Moody Analytics says then you can come up with a much bigger number. You can see if this goes on for one month, the combined economic impact will be equal to hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined minus the property damage.
We're talking about the economic damage or another way of looking at it, Jake, it's costs us about a quarter to a half million dollars since I started talking -- Jake.
TAPPER: Astounding. Tom Foreman, thank you so much. Judging by the approval ratings, which at this point are lower than that of telemarketers, most of you would, given the choice, just fire everyone in Congress and start from scratch. Well, according to "The Washington Post," that's exactly what happened when Australia went through its only government shutdown in 1975. The governor, appointed by Queen Elizabeth, dismissed the prime minister after both chambers of government failed to pass a budget in the middle of an economic downturn and appointed a replacement who immediately passed a spending bill to turn the lights back on.
A few hours later, the rest of parliament was sent packing and Australia held national elections, a total control-alt-delete. And the country has not shutdown the federal government ever since.
Coming up, Hatfields and McCoys, that's how one voter is describing the feud on Capitol Hill. And that voter lives in John Boehner's backyard, Cincinnati, Ohio. We will go there live. And if you ask Tom Clancy the different between fiction and reality, it's that fiction has to make sense. We are today remembering an icon of American thrillers.