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Interview with Rep. Charlie Rangel; House, Senate Pitch Dueling Debt Deals; Interview with Rep. Jim Renacci; House Democrat Leaders Talk Debt; Interview with Rep. Mo Brooks; Votes Not There for GOP Plan.

Aired October 15, 2013 - 11:30   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I can't believe two weeks ago we were talking about the complete defunding of the Obamacare, a passed law that made it all the way through the Supreme Court. Today, we're talking about chipping bits and pieces of little wiggle rooms away. And can't you look at this in a forest, as a tree and see how much farther ahead we are than two weeks ago?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, (D), NEW YORK: You've been working on this for three weeks you say and I've been working on it for 43 years. And the way the Constitution is set up, when a bill is passed by the House and Senate and authorized by the Supreme Court, you don't use the nation's physical --

BANFIELD: That's an old argument.

RANGEL: You can't do it.

BANFIELD: Apparently, you can't. And that is causing us great grief out here in America. What we're all asking you, by the way, if I can remind you, of what your disapproval rating is right now. I think you're at 76 percent for Republicans and 61 percent for Democrats. That is not good. You have to account for that. Your job is to negotiate and to be a good negotiator. And Americans don't think you or the Republicans are doing a good job at that.

RANGEL: America is right. But there's one thing that you have to make clear, and that is this: You don't hold the integrity of the United States, you don't say that the president cannot increase the debt ceiling because you have differences with the other party. I don't care whether you're Democrat or Republican, you don't do this. And a handful of people are doing it. Most Republicans don't like it. All of the Democrats, we don't want this for Obama and any president, Republicans or conservatives to put a gun at the president's head saying if you don't agree with me politically, we're going to take down the United States of America and those countries that depend on our dollar. That is absolutely ridiculous. It's not a compromise it's a hostage taking.

BANFIELD: It's always good to have a chance to speak with you.

RANGEL: Thanks for having me.

BANFIELD: Please, work harder. That's all we ask. RANGEL: We are. We are.

BANFIELD: Thanks so much.

Coming up in just a few moments, you can see to the right of the congressman, is a live window where three flags and a lot of mics are standing by waiting for the Democratic leadership in the House is going to come and give us a briefing about probably the same thing you just heard the House Republicans briefing us about, the deal. The latest reiteration of the deal. We'll talk about that in a moment.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: -- bipartisan effort in the United States Senate. This is day 15 of the shutdown which has hit our country hard, and harder by the day. And now, for reasons that I don't quite understand, the Republicans want to, in the House of Representatives, want to sabotage the bipartisan and that will hit the economy hard and global standing as well. But what's also interesting is how it hits the American people in their pocketbooks. It will mean higher interest rates on student loans, car payments, mortgages, business lopes if you happen to be a small business person. It's going to affect your 401K and why? And why? It's hard to understand. Because this is very, very damaging. What you saw here earlier -- was that here? Where they were? The speaker was here?


PELOSI: -- was a speaker who did not have votes for his proposal. There's any hope that they don't have the vote. Why are they doing this to the American people? Sabotaging a good faith bipartisan effort come out the Senate? And in this case, time is money. Time is money. This is going to be very costly to our economy even if eventually we do lift the debt ceiling, the cost and interest payments will be in the billions of dollars. This Republican sabotaging of any effort to move forward is a luxury our country cannot afford. A country -- and you could see by their comments, they did not have the votes. There are those on the radical right who don't want to lift the debt ceiling. And you have the moderates who say they want to do so in a way that is clean, that will go to the Senate, that will pass and that the president will sign.

With that, I'm pleased to yield to our distinguished Whip.

REP. STENY HOYER, (R-MD), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: I don't know if there's much to add. I think the American people were heartened by the fact that Senators were talking. They were -- from all appearances they were close to reaching an agreement which would open up our government and make sure that the credit of the United States was not put at risk. And as Leader Pelosi has indicated, make sure as well that interest rates would not spike, 401K values of retirees would not go down, that people would not be adversely affected. In effect what they've done, once again, wend from the Republican conference, is to snatch confrontation from the jaws of reasonable agreement. That is what so angers and makes the public so upset, rightly, with their government. They want reasonable solutions so that they and their families can have confidence that their government is being run appropriately, but more importantly that their lives aren't disrupted and so government employees aren't put out, when a veteran makes an application that there's somebody there to take the application on Social Security or Disability somebody to take it, somebody to show them around the national parks. All of these things we are undermining the confidence of the American people. It is such -- it is so sad that on the brink of an agreement that would open up our government and make sure that America pays its bills, that the Republican conference met this morning, apparently after a number of them talked to Ted Cruz, and said no, it's not good enough for us.

So I want -- I want to yield now to Jim Claiborne the assistant leader.


I think that what we are experiencing at this time is a tremendous effort on the part of the Republicans in the House to once again undercut the verdict of the American people that was rendered last November. What they have added to this legislation are more extraneous issues dealing with the Affordable Care Act. And I thought we had gotten away from that. And I do believe that we are experiencing, according to the information that I have received, a nine-month low in consumer confidence. Because people are really leery of the Republican's ability to accept their verdict and move on to the next issues. So I would hope that sometime within the next few hours the speaker of the House will take an assessment, not just of his conference, but also an assessment of the American people, and allow an issue to come to the floor that would give us a raising of the debt ceiling, give us a continuing resolution, and allow for some negotiations on the budget that will put Americans back to work as we argue over these issues.

With that I would like to yield to our distinguished chair of the caucus, Mr. Becerra.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Jim.

REP. XAVIER BECERRA, (D), CALIFORNIA: 15 days after Republicans drove 800,000 Americans over the cliff and told them not to come to work, we're now in this 11th hour on the verge of watching Republicans shut down the economy as well, and simply because there is a family feud going on among Republicans. Senate Republicans have chosen to try to sit down with our -- with their Democratic counterparts to try to come up with a solution. We can disagree. But if we can come up with a common sense solution, that moves all of us forward. But this last- ditch effort on the part of the House Republican colleagues to disrupt, irresponsibly disrupt those conversations, leaves all of us at risk. And no American family should have to pay the price for the reckless behavior of politicians who are trying to get their way in a budget bill and a bill to pay our past debts at a time when so much is at risk. Three and a half years after we saw the depths of economy nick down turn, we have seen 7.5 million Americans go back to work. We cannot watch our colleagues sabotage those good efforts. We urge our Republicans colleagues to talk to us. Here in the House, we urge our Republicans colleagues not in this 11th hour to but the American economy at risk. And we urge our Republican colleagues to make up with their own Republican brethren and come to an agreement that we can then move forward with to the American people.

With that, let me yield to the vice chair of the Democratic caucus, Joe Crowley.

REP. JOE CROWLEY, (D), NEW YORK: Something that continues to challenge the logic behind the shutdown of the government. First, it was about defunding or --

BANFIELD: So you're listening to the House Democratic leadership now coming in just moments after the House Republican leadership basically. And you're hearing the same definitions over and over. They're calling what the House did this morning sabotage, effectively, saying with that the House coming out to circumvent the Senate bipartisan agreement, this is sabotage.

I want to get to Dana Bash right away on Capitol Hill.

I think that's why I asked you right off the beginning of the show, this looks like a watoozy (ph). And it sounds like the Democrats are trying to describe it as, as well, that they didn't let the process play out in the Senate and wanted to get there first.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And guess what's happening because of that, or maybe not because of that, but despite of that? It looks as though, according to now multiple Republican sources, that they don't have the votes yet to pass the brand new plan that we've been reporting on all morning. I was just told by another source that the conservative caucus, the caucus of those who really want to go very far and not give up on principles with regard to deal with Obamacare and everything else, they made clear and what I'm told was a spirited Republican meeting this morning, that they weren't going for this. So that is why when we were listening to the House speaker, to other Republican leaders, they didn't talk about the plan that we've been talking about all morning that we got from many Republicans sources who work for them. And the reason is because they don't know whether the votes are there. One Republican leadership source told me they are struggling to get the voted. That is why we're not entirely sure they're going to have the vote tonight. It's possible. But they're trying to get their ducks in a row and trying to make sure they have the 217 to pass the bill in the House. And the reason they need 217 Republicans, they don't want to go down this route to begin with. They feel more comfortable with what the Senate has agreed to, at least tentatively.

So the headline is, House Republicans went down this road this morning to have their own plan and it looks like they, at this point, do not even have the votes in their own caucus to pass it yet. Amazing

BANFIELD: And that's why we heard the Democratic caucus chairman said the words "We're watching the Republicans shut down the economy simply due to a family feud among Republicans." I'm astounded that--

(CROSSTALK) BASH: This is the latest feud, yes.

BANFIELD: I hope you're taking notes for the book. Dana Bash, stand by, if you will.

Coming up right after the break, I get to talk to one of those House Republicans. Is he one who is not on board? Is he one who is onboard with what his leader just outlined? Coming up, after the break.


BANFIELD: So as the debt ceiling deadline looms ever closer and members of the House of Representatives come out on either denouncing how they feel about each other's latest plan, then comes the news that the most recent plan announced by the House speaker, John Boehner, the Republican House plan apparently doesn't have enough votes, even if it were to hit the floor today. This coming to us via Republican leadership aide and confirmed by multiple sources. Believe it or not, folks, you get a plan first thing in the morning and, by midmorning, you find out that same plan doesn't even have the votes of its own sponsor.

So I want to bring in, well, the person who may be a yes or no vote on this, Congressman Jim Renacci, from Ohio.

I have a feeling you've probably been listening to the live news conferences. Are you a yes or no vote to the plan that Speaker Boehner just outlined?

REP. JIM RENACCI, (R), OHIO: Good morning. First, I have to say I have been listening. The word sabotage is ridiculous. I believe the reason, one of the better reasons why the House would put a plan out now is it will move things quicker. Senate could the take up to four or five days to get something passed. If we can take the C.R. vote it and move it back over there, that would be a great thing to move in further a little quicker. Quite frankly, what we've done in the plan this morning, we've taken some of the pieces of the Senate version, put them in this plan and added some things, the medical device tax. Let's face it, it was supported by 79 --

BANFIELD: We highlighted all of the outlining of what the new bill has in it. My question was to you, are you a yes or a no to your Congressional leader's bill that Speaker Boehner outlined moments ago on the show? Are you a yes or no?

RENACCI: I have to tell you, I've always been for a longer term solution. We need certainty and predictability. We're at a stage right now where we're running out of time. I am in favor of getting this passed. Moving forward, getting budget conference working, getting back to regular order and then trying to look at the real drivers of our debt which are the entitlement programs.

BANFIELD: So, Congressman Renacci, who is going to vote this down? Dana Bash has this from multiple sources saying Speaker Boehner does not have the votes within your party. Who among your Republican colleagues is not on board with this? RENACCI: Well, again, it was just presented. Some of the issues were presented to us today. There are members, of course, when you have a vibrant 220 members in a room, everybody is going to say I'd like to change this and that.

BANFIELD: Usually, it's the other party though, sir. I'm sorry to interrupt. Usually the other party wants to change this. This would be a violation of the Hastert Rule. You don't bring something to the floor unless you got the votes to pass it.

RENACCI: Look, the Republican Party does have a lot of good ideas. There is agreement and disagreement. You ultimately the plan in total, I think the majority of the members do support. I think there are some things that might have to be changed to bring it to 217 or 218. We may have 218 right now. I'm not sure. I will tell you, sure, there are people that went up and said I don't agree with this. A lot of people went up and said I do agree with it.

BANFIELD: Can I ask you something? It occurs to me we all seem to celebrate a deal of deferral. Honestly, this is a deal to defer. Shouldn't we all be really angry with you and shouldn't you all be very ashamed of yourselves that all you can do is coming up with a deal and celebrate a can kicking?

RENACCI: Well, I would agree with you. Look, I've only been here two and a half years. This is disappointing to me we always go to the last minute and to make our decisions. We should be making decisions long-term. I've met with Democratic colleagues and said, let's take this over 18 months. Let's put the entitlement programs, the drivers of our debt in the front of this and let's start to look at a longer term program. Quite frankly, we've wasted too much time.

BANFIELD: Have we ever.

RENACCI: Now we have three or four days.

BANFIELD: Have we ever wasted too much time.

Thanks for being with us today. Appreciate it.

RENACCI: Thank you.

BANFIELD: When Congressman Renacci says we've wasted too much time, this has cost us $20 billion. That could have provided two weeks of unemployment insurance for all the unemployed in America. Could have funded a school lunch program for two years. We could he have covered a third of the annual food stamp budget with that $20 billion. We could have funded half of all Pell Grants this year. The median Household income, at $51,000, $20 billion could have covered 392,000 of your Household budgets for the year. How do Americans feel about that? You're going to hear it next.


BANFIELD: Dana Bash is live with me now.

Dana, I was about to get out to Peoria to see how this is playing but you've got breaking news. What is it?

BASH: I have Congressman Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama. He agreed to stop and talk to me so viewers could get a sense of why this plan that your leadership proposed in this private meeting this morning was met with such resistance.

REP. MO BROOKS, (R), ALABAMA: Quite frankly, both the Senate plan as I understand it and the House plan as I understand it are financially irresponsible. Neither one of them addresses the cause of the problem that we're now facing. That is that we've racked up out of control deficits that in turn have threatened the solvency of our country. Now we're forced to choose between the Senate plan and the House plan. We're in effect forced to choose between which one is worse instead of which one will fix the problem.

BASH: But fair to say that conservatives, maybe you were one of them in the meeting this morning, pushed back on this idea of passing short-term debt ceiling increase and a short-term bill fund the government.

BROOKS: The real fight is not conservative, liberal, Republican and Democrat. It's between those financially responsible and those who are not. Right now, those who are financially responsible want something that addresses the problems that we don't keep revisiting these debt ceiling battles and deposited closures on a regular basis.

BASH: But the bottom line is we are where we are, and the debt ceiling deadline is two days away. Will you vote with your party or maybe even with Democrats on a bill to make sure that the U.S. does not default?

BROOKS: I'm uncertain at this point. I'm trying to decide what is in the best interests of our country given two plans, both of which wholly fail to address the challenges we face.

BASH: Thank you, Congressman.

BROOKS: Thank you.

BASH: I appreciate you stopping. Thank you.

Ashleigh, I think that really sums up the challenge up here, particularly for House Speaker John Boehner and all the leaders because they do have members who are genuinely struggling with the idea of passing what is in front of them versus what is really their principle, and that really sums up the issue, probably why we are where we are and have been for a couple of weeks.

BANFIELD: I don't know how they have time to read it, they're coming out so fast.

Dana Bash live on Capitol Hill for us.

Excellent work in grabbing the Congressman. Thank you for that.

Thank you, everyone. I'm flat out of time. Our coverage continues right after the break with AROUND THE WORLD. Thanks for watching

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting today in Washington.

You're taking a look at what may be the center of the universe right now. Take a look at these pictures. Capitol Hill, after weeks of stand still and stalemate. There are now suddenly two plans to end the crisis over the partial government shutdown, the debt ceiling extension. We're now only 36 hours away from that moment when we officially, according to the Treasury Department, hit that debt limit.