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Shutdown Showdown

Aired September 19, 2013 - 18:28   ET


ANNOUNCER: Tonight on CROSSFIRE, showdown over shutting down the federal government, with Obama care at the center of the fight.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It is a train wreck. It has to go.

ANNOUNCER: On the left, Van Jones. On the right, S.E. Cupp. In the CROSSFIRE, Congressman Charlie Rangel, who supports Obama care, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who wants to kill it. Shut down Obama care or the government? Tonight on CROSSFIRE.


S.E. CUPP, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. I'm S.E. Cupp on the right.

VAN JONES, CO-HOST: And I'm Van Jones on the left.

Look, tomorrow, the House is going to vote on a resolution to keep America's government running. Now, this should be pretty straightforward. But no, instead it's gotten all mixed up with this Tea Party nonsense about defunding Obama care. It's like the toddlers are running the kindergarten over there. And the headmaster, John Boehner, is right down there in the playpen with the rest of them.

Here he is earlier today.


BOEHNER: When it comes to the health-care law, the debate in the House has been settled. I think our position is very clear. The law is a train wreck, and it's going to raise costs. It's destroying American jobs, and it must go.


JONES: OK. Now, who is this guy? Now watch what he told ABC less than one year ago when he was asked about repealing Obama care then.


BOEHNER: I think the election changes that. It's pretty clear that the president was reelected; Obama care is the law of the land.


JONES: There we have an adult. Now you talk about a flip-flop.

CUPP: He's an adult when he agrees with you.

JONES: Listen, that was the adult. You talk about a flip-flop. You guys have been beating up on President Obama, saying he's leading from behind. This guy is leading from behind the Tea Party. Am I wrong?

CUPP: I like -- you're very convenient in your discussion of all of this confusion and chaos and childishness on Capitol Hill. The president of the United States is completely exempt from any blame or lack of leadership.

Look, what you have to understand about Republicans -- when it comes to Obama care, this is not just obstructionism. This is a moral hazard for Republicans. And implementing Obama care is akin to them to signing people up for loans they know they cannot afford. It's a crisis of conscience.

So finally, what you're seeing here today is the Tea Party and John Boehner and leadership finally on the same page...

JONES: Is that right?

CUPP: ... about the seriousness of stopping Obama care. They just have adopted the same strategy finally.

JONES: Well, first of all, I mean, the way you say it, it just sounds so great, except the problem is that there's...

CUPP: Why, thank you.

JONES: You talk about a train crash. The train crash right now is the Republican Party. You've got Karl Rove, "The Wall Street Journal" -- Peter King just came out and said that people in the Senate are perpetuating a fraud. Republicans in the Senate are perpetuating a fraud on the American people.

You make it sound all pretty, but it sounds like a train wreck to me, because you have extremists in your party that have pulled you guys off into la-la land.

CUPP: Well, I don't -- I don't want to stop you from making Karl Rove sound credible. I'm going to let you do that. I'm going to let you do that.

But I mean, I can tick off some sort of similar examples on our side. You have Howard Dean, the Virginia Black Caucus, Barney Frank, unions -- I mean, there's been a list of Democrats...


CUPP: ... and Democrat-affiliated groups that have come out to either voice concerns, ask for changes... JONES: That's fine.

CUPP: ... express frustration or outright oppose parts of this legislation.

JONES: And never threaten to shut down America's government. And we, frankly, we are having, I think, a grown-up discussion inside our party about ways to make it better.

But what you guys are doing is having a brawl on the front yard in front of everybody. When you've got people calling each other frauds, that's very different. And my concern is this. If you have a Republican Party that a leader like Boehner comes out and says, "Look, let's move on," and then get pulled out to the right, pulled out to la-la-land by a small faction, that's not healthy for the Republicans; it's not healthy for America.

CUPP: In the CROSSFIRE tonight are Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel and Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Welcome to you both.

Congressman Rangel, Republicans don't want a government shutdown. Speaker Boehner is going to the floor tomorrow to keep the government funded and running and he's going to end something that most Americans don't want. Explain to me why that's a bad thing.

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Speaker Boehner wants to be speaker. He cannot be speaker unless everyone who calls themselves a Republican vote for him for speaker. And some of them sent the message to remind him that they may not be in the majority of the Republican Party, but they've got very intelligent and attractive leaders that have a caucus in that party, and I think one of them's going to be on this show.

And they made it certain to him that, notwithstanding anything he said before, every vote they want to be heard, not as Democrats, not as Congress people but what they believe. And there's no compromise there. So the whole idea that you're going to repeal Medicaid -- or Obama care.

CUPP: Obama care.

RANGEL: The whole idea is ridiculous, and they know that it can't be done.

CUPP: No, but isn't the effort worthwhile, considering -- take a look at this poll -- considering how unpopular the piece of legislation is?

RANGEL: I said repeal is not going to happen.

CUPP: Thirty-nine percent favor it. Fifty-seven oppose all of most of it. Isn't it a worthwhile exercise to do everything you can to turn it back?

RANGEL: If it makes you feel good, yes. But it has nothing to do with removing this from the law books at all.

JONES: Let me talk to -- first of all, welcome, Congresswoman.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Thank you, Van. Thank you so much. Good to see you.

JONES: So glad to have you here.

Now, listen, you know, people -- you might say that Obama care is not popular. You know what's really not popular? Shutting down America's government. That's not popular. Are you willing to shut down America's government, stop military families from getting their paychecks, shut down $71 million of projects in your own district to get your own way on this?

BACHMANN: Well, have you texted the president? Because just as S.E. said, tomorrow we're going to do exactly the opposite. So the media wants to telegraph to the American people that somehow one political party wants to shut down government. That's the last thing we're going to do. We're going to fully fund the government. Every effort that we have all fall is to fully fund the government.

But we're also listening, Van. We're listening to the American people. Because what do they want? They want jobs. They want higher paying jobs. They want higher benefit packages. That's not right- wing Michele Bachmann. That's the James Hoffa of the Teamsters union, who's saying Obama care is breaking the bank, and it's breaking the back of the 40-hour workweek, and it's getting rid of benefit packages. Ask anyone in Charlie's district, my district. All the poor kids that are now down to 29 1/2 hours is a full-time job? It's not working. We want the economy to grow.

JONES: Hold on a second. I think we all want the economy to grow. Apparently, nobody wants to shut down America's government.

But you sometimes -- you know, you guys sound like my kids. I've got kids. They're like, "I didn't eat that cookie. He ate that cookie." I'm not trying to shut down the government. Obama's trying to shut down the government. You know, this is -- you have smuggled into what should be a normal Bill, a continuing resolution to keep America's government going, this completely other thing about Obama care. That is -- you've got to take responsibility for that...

BACHMANN: Have you talked to Bill Clinton about that? Have you talked to Bill Clinton? Because twice during Bill Clinton's presidency, he raised the debt ceiling, once with Democrats, once with Republicans.

JONES: Yes. As a politic tactic, not with a gun to his head ...

BACHMANN: He totally had a gun to his head.

CUPP: And let me remind folks that this has happened before. In 1973 Democrats did the same thing to Nixon. They held a gun to his head...


BACHMANN: Exactly. It happened with Reagan, it happened with Clinton and it happened with George Herbert Walker Bush.

RANGEL: She's a lawyer. She's a very good legislator.

BACHMANN: And don't forget attractive.

RANGEL: There's only one question. What?

BACHMANN: That came out of your mouth.

RANGEL: It did. I say that so often people say that that's sexist and everything, so...

BACHMANN: No, no, no, we like that.

RANGEL: I don't know about that "we," but no one's going to challenge your beauty.

CUPP: All right. Someone has to break up this love fest.

RANGEL: And even the beauty of having so many children that you've raised. So -- but...

BACHMANN: I like Charlie.

RANGEL: There's one thing, you're a lawyer and you're a lawmaker and you know it's impossible to repeal a law by making it a poison pill in something that tears down the government. You know that.

BACHMANN: Well, again, Charlie, you have to talk to your own former Democratic president, Bill Clinton. He did it twice. Once with a Republican Congress. Once with a Democrat Congress. Once George Herbert Walker Bush, once with Ronald Reagan.

RANGEL: I'm saying you -- I don't know -- You wouldn't shut me down. You would not do that to me. You're too nice a person.

The heck with Bill Clinton. I'm talking about the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act and that's all. They're talking about a whole lot of side effects, poor people dying and not having a veterans hospital close. I'm not talking about that. You're a lawyer. I'm a lawyer. Is it possible at all for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed?

BACHMANN: Of course it is. We did it earlier -- it's my bill, by the way. My bill is to repeal Obama care. We passed my bill off the House floor earlier this year.

RANGEL: Doesn't it take two bodies and the president's signature? What are you talking about?

BACHMANN: Charlie, for 100 years, the Democrats worked to get socialized medicine in this country. And I'm telling you...

RANGEL: If you want to get back to history, let me ask you...

BACHMANN: ... it took 100 days for the American -- and I know you wouldn't shut down a woman. I know under no circumstances would you shut down a woman. So I'll have my piece, too.


BACHMANN: Because it didn't take 100 days for the American people to say, "Oops, what happened?"

First of all, they knew that no one read the bill before it went through. Then they were told that if they liked their health care, they could keep it. That's not true.

Then they were told by the president that they would save $2,500 a year on their premium. Instead, they're paying $3,000 more a year for their premium.

RANGEL: Oh, that's not right. You're talking about feeling good and exercising...

BACHMANN: Feeling good? No, we're talking about having a job and having some scratch in your wallet. That's what the American people want.

RANGEL: I said -- I said repeal means the House and the Senate and the president's signature wipes out the bill.

BACHMANN: You're a lawyer, Charlie.


BACHMANN: You believe in equal protection for all. You believe everyone should be treated equally.

RANGEL: I believe in the Constitution.

BACHMANN: Hey, we're on the same side. But you believe that everyone should be treated equally. I know you do.

JONES: And that's what Obama care does. Obama care stops discrimination against women. Obama care stops discrimination...

BACHMANN: Unfortunately President Obama decided he was going to give an exemption for big business...

JONES: Hold on a second.

BACHMANN: ... but not for Joe Six Pack. I'm for Joe Six Pack. Why aren't you for Joe Six Pack, Charlie?

RANGEL: The president -- the president didn't get reelected because you like Medicare.

BACHMANN: And this week...

RANGEL: The president got reelected on the issues.

BACHMANN: And so did I. And so did I.

RANGEL: You've been against socialized medicine, nationalization, call it what you want.

BACHMANN: It's productive getting our points out.

RANGEL: But you're a very -- you're a very religious person. And I'm stuck with Matthews. Take care of the sick and the suffering and the hospice (ph) and comfort them.

CUPP: Oh, my goodness, Congressman Rangel we are insuring 11 million people at the expense of 200 million. Does it -- that seems fundamental...

BACHMANN: Does it help the poor, Van -- does it help the poor, Charlie, when Cleveland Clinic announces they're going to let 3,000 people go?

JONES: I'll tell you what helps poor people.

BACHMANN: Three thousand jobs gone because they have to get ready to accommodate Obama care.


JONES: ... bash Obama care. Can we actually talk about Obama care? I want -- let me say something. I want to tell you -- we're talking...

RANGEL: ... bosses (ph) were killed when their employee brought out a cigar?

BACHMANN: That's the problem.

CUPP: One at a time.

RANGEL: I'm sorry.

CUPP: I think Republicans -- I'm going out on a limb here. I think Republicans...

JONES: Don't like Obama care?

CUPP: ... actually have a victory here today. We have Speaker Boehner and Senator Ted Cruz standing together. That's a win.

JONES: A win.

CUPP: So next we'll talk about what I think is the bigger fight that's still to come, still out there. Tune in.


CUPP: Welcome back to a very lively show. Tonight, I'm much happier than I was yesterday, because today Republicans have come together to present a united front. Yes, on defunding Obama care, but they're also united, I think, for a bigger fight to come, the debt ceiling. If only we had a negotiating partner. Listen to the president explain why he won't sit down and talk.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president or a governing party.


CUPP: That statement got four Pinocchios in today's "the Wall Street Journal."

But Congressman Rangel, this is a president who is now negotiating with Assad through Putin. He's a pen pal of Iran's new president. But he's not going to sit down and negotiate with Republicans on the debt and the deficit? Isn't that his job? Is he serious?

RANGEL: The Republicans have made it abundantly clear that a part of that negotiation would be to defund the Affordable Care Act.

CUPP: Do you think?

RANGEL: And also they -- they want the type of cuts in the deficit -- in the budget that really will kill everything that the president stands for.

If only, as we see this modest increase in unemployment, the wealthy are making so much money. The disparity between the poor and the middle class, which is the heart of our great nation, is falling into poverty. We need to have the government to participate with the private sector to get our great country back to work.

But when you talk about cut further than the sequestration and to defund, that's not negotiation. That's putting a gun to the president's head.

CUPP: Congresswoman, has the president been a willing partner on any of these fiscal or budgetary fights?

BACHMANN: No. He really hasn't, because he's been used to being George III. He lays down the law, and that's the way it is.

JONES: Not true at all. What about the Grand Bargain?

BACHMANN: The president used a term like extortion. There's no criminality is going on here. And the president is a very -- a very short student of history...

JONES: Look, if the tables were turned...

BACHMANN: Let me finish. Remember, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George Herbert Walker Bush, they all worked with Congress. The reason why they were successful -- I include Bill Clinton in that list, because he was willing to negotiate. No one gets anywhere if you don't negotiate.

You're all married here at this table. When you're married...

JONES: Hold on one second.

BACHMANN: ... you negotiate. You don't -- I celebrated my 35th wedding anniversary.

JONES: You're acting like this is some ordinary thing that you guys are doing...

BACHMANN: You don't stay in that situation without negotiating.

JONES: ... and it's not an ordinary thing. There's a reason that this is weird. There's a reason -- all these other times you're talking about, we were never downgraded. This was a part of normal legislation.

BACHMANN: Yes, and under whose presidency were we downgraded?

JONES: Because of this kind of extortion -- I will use the term extortion. Extortionist tactic. This is so outside of our normal...

BACHMANN: Van, no other president has had trillion-dollar-a-year deficit.

JONES: Let me ask you a question.

BACHMANN: No other president has. That's extremely important.

JONES: You ran for president. If you were president -- if you were president of the United States...

BACHMANN: Yes. And oh, gee, wouldn't that be a dish?

JONES: Exactly. If you were president of the United States and you had a Democratic Congress that came to you and said, "You've got to triple the funding for Planned Parenthood or we're going to shut the Congress down," would you give in, would you surrender?

BACHMANN: Well, what we'd be doing is we'd be talking. Just like S.E. said, the president was willing to talk to Iraq without pre- conditions. Willing to talk to Iran without pre-conditions.

JONES: What about the Grand Bargain?

BACHMANN: But he won't talk with a Republican without pre- conditions?

JONES: We talked -- we talked on the Grand Bargain. BACHMANN: This is a red-line president who decides that he's not negotiating ever. That's his strength, and it isn't right. Because what we need to have, because if all of this -- what we need to have, it's not about me. It's not about Charlie, and it's not about the president of the United States.

RANGEL: The Obama -- the Obama...

BACHMANN: Do you know who it's about? It's about the African- American youth that can't get a job right now. It's about the people in my district that are losing their health care...

RANGEL: ... and the state and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). All the Republicans are for all those things.

BACHMANN: And it's about all the people right now that aren't getting it.

RANGEL: I know.

BACHMANN: That's what this is about. It's not about us.

RANGEL: You're talking about closing down the government and losing...

BACHMANN: Why does President Obama want to do it? What President Obama says, "I'm not negotiating."

RANGEL: I thought you were going to take your Tea Party clothes off on this one now.

BACHMANN: That means that he is shutting down the government.

RANGEL: I don't want to get involved in any debate with you. You're so good that I yield on the question of raising your voice. But I won't yield on the question of being a legislator.

Do you think for one minute the Affordable Care Act is going -- that the president is going to agree that it be defunded for any reason? No.

BACHMANN: I absolutely believe in the debt ceiling, that the president would be wise to delay -- to delay Obama care for a year. It is clearly not ready -- in fact, let me tell you one thing. Your staff got this same little memo that my staff got. They showed it to me yesterday.

RANGEL: You've made up your mind.

BACHMANN: Charlie, and I know you're not listening to me, but let me finish.

RANGEL: No, you've made up your mind that you're not going to...

BACHMANN: What the memo said is this. It's unbelievable.


BACHMANN: The memo says to our staff if you have questions about Obama care...

RANGEL: You're not going to answer the question.

CUPP: One at a time. One at a time.

BACHMANN: ... if you want to sign up in the exchanges -- which our staff have to go into the exchanges on October 1 -- if you have questions, we can't answer it for you before October 1. This is just one small example of what's happened to people all across America.

CUPP: All right. Congressman Rangel.

BACHMANN: No one knows what's happening.

RANGEL: She's been briefed to get on this show and just never answer any direct question.

CUPP: No one has spoken to Congresswoman Bachmann about how to handle us, about how to handle the show.

RANGEL: She's talking about Clinton and everything except the one question that I asked. This is what we call in legislature a poison pill. It means that this is not to be negotiated with.

I remember once the speaker saying -- why 41 times are you voting to defund Obama care? You know what he said? "Because some of our new members haven't had the opportunity to vote against it." So at least he's honest enough to know it's all -- it's all a gimmick.

BACHMANN: Remember...

RANGEL: But when you start talking about closing down the country and losing the full...

BACHMANN: And why would the president do that? Why would the president talk about shutting down government? Unbelievable to me.


JONES: You put in a poison pill for -- Why did you put into a continuing resolution which should be normal business this poison pill in order for you then to pretend, like, oh, we're not doing anything unusual. This happens all the time.

This is an extraordinary act on your part.

BACHMANN: It's not.

JONES: Otherwise we wouldn't be talking about it on national television.

BACHMANN: I'll tell you what's extraordinary. What's extraordinary is that for every year of Barack Obama's presidency, we've had over a trillion dollars in deficits every year. Never happened before. The worst year of big-spending George Bush's deficit was under $500 billion.

JONES: Before the crash? Before Bush crashed?

BACHMANN: That's the worst year.

JONES: You want to talk about George Bush on this? You want to talk about the George Bush tax cuts...

BACHMANN: So we've got -- we've got incredible deficits...

JONES: ... the George Bush wars and the George Bush crash?

BACHMANN: And now we've got Obama care that will...

JONES: You want to bring that up?

RANGEL: One at a time.

BACHMANN: It's going to -- continuous into the future of deficit. That's what we're trying to stop. It's not politics.

RANGEL: Let me -- Do you agree with me that the Republican Party as a national party, it is so dead in ten years based on a whole lot of strange...

BACHMANN: Congressman, let me...


BACHMANN: Wishful thinking on the part of the DNC.

RANGEL: You've gotten rid of minorities. You've gotten rid of gays; you've gotten rid of women.

BACHMANN: Watch the phoenix rise from the ashes, Charlie.

RANGEL: And I need the Republican Party, because we've got to have someone to beat up on.

BACHMANN: Oh, Charlie, as a Congressman, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

RANGEL: It's not national. It's good for certain red districts.

BACHMANN: Charlie, it's not about politics. It's about people.

CUPP: We've got to go.


CUPP: I want to -- I want to end with a question to you, Congressman Rangel.

RANGEL: Yes. CUPP: Do you think that President Obama has been an effective leader the last six years?

RANGEL: I don't think there's any question about it. But there was an assumption that the Congress would work with him. And he was notified by the leader, the Republican leader in the Senate, that their one obligation was to bring him down. I thought after the election they would change it, but they didn't.

CUPP: So it's all our fault? It's all Republican's fault.


JONES: I want to thank Representative...

BACHMANN: ... as a Democrat, not a Republican.

JONES: I want to thank you, Congressman Rangel and you, Michele Bachmann.

Next we're going to "Ceasefire" and see if there's anything, anything, we can actually agree on.

CUPP: We can agree on. Not that. Yes, thank you, guys.


JONES: So tonight on CROSSFIRE, we've been debating Obama care and the debt ceiling. Now we're going to call a ceasefire to see if there's anything we can agree on? And I think the answer is no.

CUPP: No. I think that was a very lively conversation. I'm glad we had it. But while we might agree there's dysfunction in Washington...

JONES: Agree on that.

CUPP: ... we fundamentally will disagree on Obama care and the role that it should play.

JONES: I agree with that.

So the debate continues online on, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

From the left, I'm Van Jones.

CUPP: From the right, I'm S.E. Cupp.

Join us tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.