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Gunshots Fired at Capitol

Aired October 3, 2013 - 18:28   ET


STEPHANIE CUTTER, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. I'm Stephanie Cutter on the left.

NEWT GINGRICH, CO-HOST: I'm Newt Gingrich on the right.

Before we get to our debate, details are emerging about a shooting just a few hours ago on Capitol Hill. CNN's Brian Todd has the latest information -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Newt and Stephanie, the latest information is from police, that the suspect, a woman, has been pronounced dead after police fired into her vehicle at the corner of Second Avenue and Maryland Avenue Northeast. That's just a few blocks east of here up Capitol Hill.

This confrontation started when the suspect in a black Infiniti sedan tried to breach a police barricade near the White House at 15th and E Streets. At that point, the suspect's car struck police officers and then fled toward the Capitol at high speed. A chase gave way.

Just behind me, at the botanical gardens, there was another confrontation where police had her pinned in, but she slammed her car in reverse and struck a police officer. Then they gave chase again around Garfield Circle here at a high rate of speed.

She sped up Maryland Avenue, where the car was then stopped, and then police fired into her vehicle. The very latest, that suspect, a woman, pronounced dead. There was a 1-year-old child in the car with her. The child is said to be fine and was rescued by police officers -- Newt and Stephanie.

CUTTER: Thanks, Brian -- Brian.

Joining us tonight are Democratic Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Republican Congressman Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania.

It's been a difficult day here in Washington. You were both on the House side. This happened on the Senate side. But when something like this happens, it affects all of us, and everybody comes together. So I just want to start with that.

Now I want to get to some other news, some other questions. It's day three of the government shutdown, and tonight I want to let a Republican make my case.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You're talking about the Tea Party Caucus.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, it's not the Tea Party Caucus, not at all. It's -- it's a lemming caucus. It's guys who meet privately. They're always conspiring. It's mostly just about power, and it's -- it's just gotten us nowhere.


CUTTER: Congressman Kelly, now, I don't know if he's talking about you, but I do have a question. You know, the writing is on the wall. I agree with Congressman Nunes. He's a member of your party, your caucus.


CUTTER: Why not just get this over with? This isn't about anything but political power. And Republicans are jumping ship, because they know they're losing on this. Why doesn't the speaker just bring this to a vote with a bipartisan majority and end the shutdown?

KELLY: You know, I think that's an easy thing to say, but a hard thing to do.

CUTTER: And why is it a hard thing to do?

KELLY: Our conference is made up of a lot of different people, diverse personalities, and they have different views on things.

I admire the speaker for allowing everybody in our conference to get up and say what they have to say, and then try to come together on something. And I think the one thing about this that was lost in the debate, it's not about either party. The unforgotten party here is the American people.

CUTTER: Right.

KELLY: And so we say what's best for the American people? As we go forward what's best for the American people? When I think the founders were very clear from the beginning, you can have legislation. Some of the legislation is not good, so they've given us different mechanisms to try and push back on things that we don't think are basically fair. And fair to me means, listen, nobody gets favor over somebody else. Everybody gets fair. And I think most of the people...

CUTTER: You're talking about the health-care law.

KELLY: I'm talking about almost everything we do in government, because government cannot pick and choose winners.


KELLY: What they should do is pick and choose the best thing for America.

CUTTER: Well, there -- there are lots of people losing in this shutdown. I want to -- Let's bring it to a slightly different topic.

KELLY: Sure.

CUTTER: Speaker Boehner announced today to your Republican caucus in the House that we're two weeks away from hitting the debt limit, two weeks from today. And he announced that he is going to bring that to a vote with a bipartisan majority. He is not going to adhere to the Tea Party Caucus and not, you know, play to them and put strings on the debt limit. Do you agree with that approach? Do you think that we should pass the clean debt limit?

KELLY: The speaker is the speaker of the House. And he's representing, really, both parties. He's a Republican, I understand that, but Ms. Jackson Lee and I are here tonight. We have a passion for protecting children and looking to the future. We were both at an event last week on pediatric cancer.

I think I have never met a member yet that I thought was not a good American. So I think the speaking by saying, "Listen, we're going to go to the entire House. We're going to get input from both people, and we're going to do something that makes sense for Americans."

CUTTER: So you agree with him that the Tea Party is not going to hold American hostage on the debt limit? That he should bring a vote with a bipartisan majority?

KELLY: Well...

CUTTER: You agree with him?

KELLY: Here's what I agree with. I agree we have a process that allows everybody to be heard.

CUTTER: So you don't agree with him?

KELLY: We'll see where it goes from there. And dealing in hypotheticals is always fun, but it's not often factual.

CUTTER: We know where this is going to end, though.

GINGRICH: Let me ask Congresswoman Lee about holding hostage. The House has passed at least four targeted continuing resolutions that are narrow and clean, one of them on D.C. you actually voted for. They're all now being held hostage by Harry Reid, who refuses to allow any of them to come to a vote, even though it's very likely all of them would pass the Senate, if he let them go.

Don't you think that Senator Reid owes it to the country to also allow the things that the House has passed to come to a vote? Isn't he -- for everybody who's blaming John Boehner, isn't Harry Reid at least as guilty of holding things hostage? REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Well, Newt, good to be with you and good to be with you, Stephanie, for all that you all have done.

Let me first say my best wishes are to the police officers who were injured, and certainly to our brave men and women and to the tragedy and the tragedy that developed around this particular person. We wish the family well.

Obviously, people are frustrated here in America, not knowing the facts of this issue. I am likewise on the homeland security committee.

But let me say this. Hostage taking is a two-way street. And I would not say that Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing anything than what he says he was going to do. And that is, along with the Democratic Caucus and the House, we want to open the government, plain and simple.

And Newt, we were there together. You were my speaker, and I had to respect your leadership, and we did. And when the House went into -- or the government went into a shutdown, it is well known that you and President Clinton were talking about the budget.

This did not start out about the budget. This is about a law that is the law of the land, that the Republicans insist on defunding. We have as much as 2 trillion-plus -- excuse me, 2 million plus that have already accessed We have the Affordable Care Act working.

We have a victim of diabetes or someone suffering from diabetes who said, "I thought I could never get health insurance in Texas." Sixty-one years old, she now has health insurance today.

So no, I would not say that we are, in essence, holding these divisive small bills hostage. What the majority leader is saying, what the president is saying, after having cut almost $2 trillion through the sequester, raising the tax rates, we have compromised.

Now is a time to segregate an issue of disagreement over a law, just like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and '65 the Voting Rights Act. Many disagreed with it.

And then the next thing is let's go forward with a budget law -- excuse me -- a bill that, in essence, opens the government. I'm ready to do it right now.


LEE: And have it done and then begin the process of the appropriations process.

GINGRICH: Everybody on your side has their talking points down. Everybody on your side is prepared to say, gee, if only Boehner would surrender and the Republicans would surrender, I would be happy tonight. My question is... LEE: I don't call it surrender. Standing for America.


CUTTER: Doing the right thing.

GINGRICH: But in a period when we are -- we should be negotiating. As you said, in 1995 and '96, we were negotiating...

CUTTER: We already negotiated. I just wanted to state that.

LEE: Absolutely.

CUTTER: We accepted the budget cuts the Republicans wanted. What we're voting on is the Republican budget.

GINGRICH: So one side gets to define when negotiations occur?

CUTTER: No. They might not want to recognize that the president has already negotiated...

GINGRICH: That's what you said. What you're saying -- what you're saying is the House -- the majority of the House is irrelevant, because the Democrats have decided what will be negotiated.

CUTTER: No, the majority of the House has dictated the budget cuts, and that's what we're voting on. They got what they wanted. They can't take yes for an answer.

And as the congresswoman pointed out, this isn't about the budget. This is about the health-care law, which has been the law now for three years.

GINGRICH: And there's nothing can be changed...

CUTTER: Two million people have already accessed the law. Seven million have sought out information on it.

GINGRICH: But delaying negotiations...

CUTTER: It's already making a difference. We've voted on it four times -- 40 times in the House.

LEE: Forty-three times. Going on 44.

CUTTER: So that is negotiation, and you haven't won.

GINGRICH: Let me ask you: is there -- because negotiations can start out here and come together. Is there nothing in this massive law that could even be considered for improvement that could be put on the table as something that would begin to break the deadlock?

LEE: We're legislators here. Three of us are legislators here; one tells us how to legislate. But we're three of us the legislators and the executives...

CUTTER: I like that.

LEE: She was in the executive. Yes. I'm making just a humorous statement. But there's always, there's always improvements that can be made to any law. Not now. This is not the time to do that.

We're on the precipice of bringing to our knees our government, our people. And this is about the people: 800,000 government workers who do services for the American people. The National Guard in Texas and many other places, they're good friends of mine who are not able to be paid or trained.

Police officers who now put their life on the line, as is evidence from the Secret Service, to the D.C. Police and to the Capitol Police were ready to put their lives on the line, depending on what the situation was, are in a position where they have to lay off essential -- or nonessential, as they may determine, and all of them are essential workers.

Here's what I'm saying, Newt. I want these two letters to be put into evidence, if you will: one from the Democratic leadership in the House and one from the majority leader in the Senate that says to our good speaker, if I might say, all we need to do is to put that bill on the floor. We will have the House open, and then the legislative regular order is in place.

Issues about the Affordable Care Act that I might be willing to listen to -- I think it is going pretty well, but there are issues that could be discussed. And this whole appropriations process that could rightly be one that we would find some common ground, as we've done.

I voted for defense appropriations over the years. Some might say, "A progressive?" But I've seen common ground, and frankly, right now, homeland security is suffering, and I think we can do that once we open the government.

KELLY: I know, but I think we have to -- we're forgetting something that's very important here. My whole life, I'm an automobile dealer. And I know how to negotiate, because that's the way I've stayed alive.

But I've never ever gone into a room to compromise with somebody, when the first thing out of their mouth is, "Just to let you know, I'm not compromising on anything." Now, this law...

LEE: The Affordable Care Act.

KELLY: This law -- this law, the president the last eight months has found -- he has found -- the administration has found different pieces of it that they say, "Well, you know what? It's OK, but this part is not OK."

And I think when you sit back and take a look at this, this is such a huge piece of legislation. I have constituents calling me. Melissa called me today talking about her daughter Riley (ph), who can no longer afford the health care that they had and were paying themselves.

Now, she started a business on her own. Her daughter's working in a supermarket. She bought her own health care. It was $70 a month. It's going to triple now.

And all these things that we talk about: if you like the health care you're on, you can keep it? Not true. It's going to reduce your -- your monthly premium? Not true. There's so many things about this where the open conversation of doing what's best for the American people -- and I just say this. Look, I absolutely want to compromise. I absolutely want to compromise.

I've not talked to one member who's relishing the thought that this country is shut down right now. And we are trying to do, on a piecemeal basis, as items come across, we will find ways to fund them.

I just find it objectionable when people, "You know what? No, no, no, no. All or nothing. All or nothing. You guys lost. The law was passed."

Judge Roberts was very, very articulate when he said, "Look, it's constitutional. We can't prevent the people from electing legislators that pass bad laws."

But the founders gave us mechanisms that we can push back on. And when with you see something that's not wrong, when we see something that's not going to achieve what it was supposed to achieve, then that's our job. We have to do that as legislators. And we have to meet, and we have to talk civilly, because when I first got in Congress...

LEE: And all of that we want to do.


LEE: All of that we want to do.

GINGRICH: Mike, let me break in.

KELLY: Sure.

GINGRICH: We have to take a break for a second. This is not the apocalypse. I was here the last 12 times the government shut down. Next you're going to be shocked at how normal this process is.


GINGRICH: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

We're finishing the third day of this government shutdown. Tomorrow will be the fourth, and it won't be the apocalypse. Under the American system, this is the process you go through when you have profound differences. One side won the presidency, the other side won the House of Representatives. It's happened over and over.

In fact, Speaker Tip O'Neill had 12 shutdowns while he was speaker, some under President Jimmy Carter, some under President Ronald Reagan.

So I would just say, Congresswoman, I understand the pressure to try to get it done, and I understand that among Democrats, there's a deep desire to not negotiate, but in fact, isn't this a legitimate part of the struggle for power until our constitutional system?

LEE: Well, think you raise a good point. We do have a process of give and take when there is a majority juxtaposed against a minority. And in this instance, a divided Congress with a Senate and the House.

However, those were budget discussions about the budget. Let me tell you why I believe that this is the wrong direction.

We came across this hill in 2011, with what was now the sequester. After a bipartisan group of members, bicameral, could not come to a conclusion. Why? Because a contingent of Tea Party.

We've already cut 2.5 trillion-plus with tax cuts and other cuts to this government. I heard a congressman who is a ranking member on defense appropriations say that we cannot run the Pentagon anymore in the kind of limited budgeting that is going on.

In actuality, the government is growing, and therefore, we should invest in this government.

So we have an issue of the law that is the Obama care being juxtaposed against an intelligence discussion about how we take this country forward in its budget and appropriations process.

I will be with the discussion, the evenhanded discussion, or the volatile discussion on the budget and appropriations, but let go of the victim of the Affordable Care Act. Let it go.

Because as you indicated about small business -- my good friend did -- we have a small businesswoman who just found insurance $7,500 less than what she had before. So we can all find anecdotal stories. It is working. Let's get through.

And here I am with my -- I've got the 17 votes listed, members, Republican members who in actuality said, "We will go with your membership, and our good speaker can bring to the floor this clean bill and we'll have this government open." And I will engage with my good friend on the debate about how we appropriate and what kind of budget we have.

CUTTER: So let's go back to the Republican strategy here. Congressman Kelly, there's a new CBS poll out that shows a couple of things. One, the American people don't agree with your strategy: 78 percent are against shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act, Obama care.

But what's more -- even more surprising in the poll is that a real split among Republicans. I've never seen anything like this. Forty-eight -- 48 percent approved of shutting down the government, but 49 percent disapproved of shutting down the government. So there's a real split.

Now, inside those numbers is the Tea Party: 57 percent approves of shutting down the government.

Doesn't this just show that you are held hostage, your party is held hostage...

KELLY: No, no.

CUTTER: ... to a minority faction in your caucus?

KELLY: No, absolutely not. Absolutely not. You know, when you look at the Constitution and you look at about everything that's in the Constitution, it's not about protecting the government from the people. It's about protecting the people from the government. I would just say that a lively and civil debate.

CUTTER: The people are not agreeing with you.

KELLY: Well, you know what? That's one poll. And I'm all for polls.

CUTTER: I think they all show that.

KELLY: I know, but if I were to ask you how do you feel about shutting down the government, you'd have a hard time finding people who say, "I think it's a great idea." So -- but what it comes down to, so why are we looking? And what are you trying to fix?

And my whole purpose of this, if you don't get this economy fixed, if you don't get a vibrant and robust economy, all the rest is just talk. Because you know what supports this health-care plan?


KELLY: A vibrant economy. What are we holding back?

CUTTER: You know what the shutdown is costing? Three hundred million a day.

KELLY: Stephanie, I can tell you something. When you tell somebody that no longer -- 40 hours is a week of work. It's now beneath 30. I've talked to people. I've come out of mass on Sunday in western Pennsylvania. When I come out of my K-mart and my Wal-Mart and I talk to people, and they say, "Would you please get this fixed for us?"

Now, I would agree with you: shutting down the government is something that most people don't like. But I'll also say, if we're not moving in the right direction to fix everything for every American, then we're not going to get it done. This piece of legislation is so big and so comprehensive, we still don't even have all regs written.

CUTTER: Let me ask you a question, though, back on the Republican strategy, because I still don't quite understand. So as the congresswoman said, there are numerous Republicans who have broken with their party, with their speaker, to say to Democrats, "We will vote with you and pass a clean budget bill with no strings attached. This is about the budget. This is not about the Affordable Care Act. And we can't shut down the government any longer. The American people don't want it. And it's costing us."

If the speaker brought a clean bill to the floor and passed it with bipartisan -- with a bipartisan majority, you haven't GINGRICH: said whether you would support it, but a bigger question is, would you support Speaker Boehner as speaker? Would you stick with him as speaker?

KELLY: Absolutely. And why wouldn't I? Since I've been here, I've never seen anything that has a better, more respect for the -- for the -- the House. Now, that wasn't true. I mean, you know, we can take this back one more session and you can find out before the election, the wave election when Mrs. -- Ms. Pelosi was in charge. There was no discussion; there was no debate. There was no "let's get the other side's point of view."

And so I would just say we've got to be careful.

CUTTER: Well, I think that House was pretty well-run.

KELLY: Well, you know what? You know what? Listen, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Speaker Boehner has been very good to let everybody come forward. The process, the committee -- and give amendments.

LEE: And as a result we've had gridlock.

KELLY: You know what? That's the design. This government wasn't designed to just go all one way or the other.

CUTTER: No, it's not. It's designed to get something done.

KELLY: Listen, I'm with you. But I've got to tell you: get something done. We can't. We've got to be open-minded.

GINGRICH: Let me just challenge both of you on this Democratic fantasy for a second. The fact is, if you allowed a free vote in the Senate, you would clearly already have repealed the tax on medical devices. You clearly would already have the Keystone Pipeline implemented, or the president would have to have vetoed it. You have a whole series of things.

What you have is a game. Everybody says, "Let's do the regular legislative process," except Harry Reid who says the regular legislative process is he's going to stop everything in the Senate. There has been -- the negotiation didn't even have to be on the continuing resolution. The president and Senator Reid could have said, "Look, if you'll give us a clean continuing resolution, here are the nine things we'll let go through the Senate."

You have had not a single commitment that anybody could trust that Harry Reid would let things through the Senate and that the president would sign it.

So now you have the Republicans in the House and you say, what are our tools? You only have two tools. The continuing resolution, the power to spend and the debt ceiling. Those are the only two tools you have that the president can't hide from and Harry Reid can't win on. And that's why this is a mess.

And the president's response has been to attack Republicans, to have no negotiations. It's the opposite of Bill Clinton in 1995.

LEE: But Newt, please. The president has been one of the most conciliatory negotiators over a period of time.

And I have to correct my good friend. I was here during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which went through regular order, which both Houses, the Senate and the House, asked for Republican input, asked for amendments, allowed them to have it. It went through what this has not gone through, which is the hearing process and as well, the mark-up process, which technically, if you look at the morning show that's on ABC that talks about how you do a bill, the old cartoon, you'll know what bills are.

But what I would say to you is that we went through the regular order. Our speaker, Speaker Pelosi, was an excellent leader. One, because the 111th Congress was the busiest, most successful in terms of bills that actually helped the American people, including the G.I. Bill that helped our returning Iraq soldiers.

KELLY: What you call a successful agenda, this president had...


LEE: It was enormously successful. I let you -- I let you -- I let you speak so let me say this.

Newt has made a point about agenda and who sets the agenda for the different houses. And it is the majority leader.

And what I would say to you, however, is that I don't see the majority leader suggesting that he would hold those bills hostage in order to make an agreement on whether the government opens or not.

This is what we're talking about. We're talking about putting -- you're saying those are the only tools that we have. What we're saying is, is that the priority of the American people are far more important, far more important than bills that we have a long period of time to be able to debate.


LEE: And is it right for McConnell and Senator Paul to be in the corner saying, "If we hold on, we can win this." Poor words if I might say.

GINGRICH: Let me say...

LEE: The only people losing in this is the American people. Put a clean bill on the floor and let's open up...

GINGRICH: Let me say there's no evidence for the first nine months of this year that Harry Reid was going to be reasonable about moving this stuff. None. We had nine months to get this stuff solved.

And you may think the president is conciliatory as a negotiator. I don't believe you'll find a single Republican in either the House or Senate that would agree with you. So there's a huge gap about reality here. And I think that's a big part of what we're looking at.

CUTTER: so you're not getting what you want, so you throw a tantrum. And the American people have to pay. That's essentially what you just said.

GINGRICH: No. What I just said was -- what I said was under the Constitution, when you have the House, you have the power of the purse, and the president has to negotiate with you. And calling to say, "I will not negotiate is not a very good way to start."

CUTTER: Because he's already negotiated.

LEE: I think the Republicans have blinders on, because this president has negotiated. Sequester is a large example of negotiation.

CUTTER: We have to go. Thank you to Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Mike Kelly.

KELLY: Thank you.

CUTTER: Next we "Ceasefire" and we take a trip back to the days when Newt had dark hair.

GINGRICH: Thank you so much.


CUTTER: Before we go, a quick trip back in time, courtesy of Newt's visit with Jay Leno last night.


JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": I've got to ask you about this photo. I think you tweeted this photo. Look at that. Kind of a punk conservative rock band look? What's going on there?

GINGRICH: Well, I think I had just started teaching, at college. And Van Jones came up with a picture of him in an afro as a college student, and the folks at CROSSFIRE said, "All right, we've got to match this." And I did my best, which was side burns but not an afro.


GINGRICH: And since no one who tuned in last night got to see the picture of Van Jones way back when, here it is.


GINGRICH: Now, I do want the audience to know that we're not going to discriminate, but we also want to ask both Stephanie and S.E. to find a suitably...

CUTTER: Nobody asked me about that before the show.

GINGRICH: A suitably appropriate picture that we'll be able to share with you at some point in the not-too-distant future.

CUTTER: Let's just say we all had our bad years.

GINGRICH: Or decades in my case, it was.

Go to Facebook or Twitter to weigh in on our "Fireback" question: "Should President Obama cancel his entire Asia trip due to the government shutdown?" Right now 71 percent of you say yes; 29 percent say no.

CUTTER: The debate continues online at as well as Facebook and Twitter.

From the left, I'm Stephanie Cutter.

GINGRICH: From the right, I'm Newt Gingrich. Join us tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE. We'll be joined by Jesse Ventura and Howard Dean.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.