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State of the Union
Interview With Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX); Interview With Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA); Interview With Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX); Interview With Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX); Aired 9-10a ET
Aired January 08, 2023 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Let's make a deal. Fifteenth time is the charm.
CHERYL JOHNSON, CLERK OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The Honorable Kevin McCarthy is duly elected speaker of the House of Representatives.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TAPPER: But after a bruising fight, can Kevin McCarthy govern?
The man who negotiated the deal to deliver McCarthy key votes, Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, joins me for his first post- vote interview.
And a lawmaker who has been critical of the rebels, Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, is ahead.
And standing together. As Republicans floundered, Democrats were unified.
REP. KATHERINE CLARK (D-MA): House Democrats stand together with you.
TAPPER: How are they preparing to are the next two years? The new House minority whip, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, joins me exclusively ahead.
President: going south. President Biden is set to visit the Southern border as he expands a controversial Trump era border rule he had promised to overturn.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's important to step back and see the bigger picture here.
TAPPER: Will a divided Congress address the immigration crisis?
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is reeling from a wild week. This morning, after a historic struggle, Kevin McCarthy is House speaker. He won ugly, but he won. It took 15 ballots, a divisive speaker struggle not seen since before the Civil War, agonizing negotiations, concession after concession, the hard-liner holdouts, and a near brawl between McCarthy ally Armed Services Committee chairman-designate Mike Rogers and chief instigator Congressman Matt Gaetz.
And it's not over yet. McCarthy needs to overcome concern now among established Republicans, the kind who actually want to, you know, govern, who are worried that maybe he gave away too much in his negotiations with hard-liners, before the House can pass a rules pack on Monday.
In short, McCarthy has the title he's always wanted, but not necessarily the power that used to come with it. He got a win, but his mandate is less assured. McCarthy required the better part of a week to grind down the conservative opposition to his speaker bid and the way things had been done in the House for decades.
One of the holdouts, Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, was instrumental in delivering him the gavel. Roy negotiated a laundry list of concessions from McCarthy designed to spread power among the House rank and file, and particularly the House Freedom Caucus.
And Roy's deal ultimately flipped up to 15 votes for McCarthy, paving the way for his victory Friday night.
Joining me now for his first interview after the speaker election is Texas Republican Congressman Chip Roy.
First of all, congratulations on everything that happened and getting what you wanted in the negotiations. It's not -- it's not necessarily a sure thing that that happens.
We're just learning some of the promises McCarthy made, capping spending at 2022 levels for fiscal year 2024, a subcommittee to investigate the Justice Department, more Freedom Caucus representation on important committees like the Rules Committee, a one-member threshold for a motion to vacate, which is what it used to be before 2019.
What other commitments did McCarthy make that you can tell us about?
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Well, first of all, let's remember that a little temporary conflict is necessary in this town in order to stop this town from rolling over the American people.
I don't think anybody on either side of the aisle could say with a straight face that they think that Washington is doing good work for the American people on a regular basis and isn't broken. We have to work to fix this place.
And, look, some of the tensions you saw on display when you saw some of the interactions there between Mike Rogers and Matt Gaetz, some of that is, we need a little of that. We need a little of this sort of breaking the glass in order to get us to the table, in order for us to fight for the American people, and to change the way this place is dysfunctional.
So, this all started going back last summer. We wanted rules to open this place up. We wanted more transparency. We wanted more openness, more ability to add amendments to the floor. So, for example, you asked, what else did we get?
We got amendments to be able to -- I mean, I'm sorry. We got the ability to offer amendments on the floor of the House during appropriations that will open it up again. We haven't done that. So, since I have been in Congress, I have not been able to offer an amendment on the floor.
There hasn't been an amendment offered in open debate since May of 2016. We changed it.
TAPPER: Is it a free-for-all? Like, anyone can offer an amendment?
ROY: Absolutely, within appropriations.
We will also be striving for more open rules. We put more conservatives, some Freedom Caucus members -- and we're still working through who those will be -- on the Rules Committee, the powerful Rules Committee, which is the funnel by which legislation gets to the floor of the House.
But, importantly, we were trying to stand up for rank-and-file members, because, too often -- and we saw this in December -- too often, bills are cooked up with a handful of people, they're brought through to the Rules Committee, jammed through, put on the floor, and you have to vote yes or no.
The American people are tired of that. We need to be able to see some of the stuff we got to see this week. You and I were talking ahead of time, cameras, because C-SPAN control the cameras.
TAPPER: Do you -- are you in favor of that? Because I love the C-SPAN cameras.
ROY: Look, I think drawing the American people into the conversation, into the debate on the floor, I mean, if you're going to have cameras there, well, let's look at the action.
TAPPER: So, you're in favor of transparency? C-SPAN gets to control that.
ROY: Well, I would -- let me go look into the ins and outs of all of that. But I think it is -- what the American people were able to see unfold on the floor was a good thing for our democracy and our republic, right?
It was a good thing for people to be able to see the inner workings. And this isn't just the shirts and skins, red and blue, two-team thing. This is history, because this hasn't happened in the last 100 years. But understand why that's so. Two-party entrenchment has made it to where we don't have a good back-and-forth to sit at the table and try to accomplish this.
So I'm all in favor of transparency. I'm a journalist. I want everything out. So, I hope you will look into the C-SPAN thing, because -- because I think that really does show the American people.
TAPPER: I don't think it's a bad thing to show Democrats and Republicans, tough negotiations, et cetera.
Will -- in the name of transparency, will you or the speaker put out a list of the concessions, of these changes, because they're not all -- as you know, they're not all reflected in the rules that are going to come up for a vote this week?
I mean, again, part of this is all sensitive, right, as you're kind of going through it and kind of holding everybody together. And we got to get through the rules on Monday. And we're going through the steering process of getting folks on committees.
But, for example, when we say we wanted -- and we -- and, Jake, we put out a list in, what, December 8, trying -- saying, hey, here's what we think we need to change transform this place. Here's what we need to see in any speaker.
And so we have been out and open about that. But I want to make clear this isn't about trying to -- Chip Roy wants a spot on a committee. I haven't been promised anything. Literally, I have got nothing out of this deal for me personally.
Does that mean I might end up on a Rules Committee? Maybe, if that's what the -- my colleagues want. We still have to go through that process. But what we have extracted are the promises from the speaker to make sure that we have ideological diversity and representation among these committees.
Appropriations, there are two Freedom Caucus members out of 33 that are likely to be in the majority. So think about that. HFC is 20 percent of the body, yet two of 33 appropriators. The Rules Committee, it's always a struggle to get anybody on there who's going to push back in the Rules Committee about, wait, why are we jamming a bill through that nobody's read?
ROY: So, let's get representation on these committees. And it's not about petty personal desires.
I don't want to be on the Rules Committee.
ROY: I don't leave my family on Sunday night and miss my kids to come up here. But I might do it, if that's what my colleagues decide.
TAPPER: So, let me ask you a question about whether or not the -- whatever you want to call it, the chaos, the back-and-forth, the...
TAPPER: Whether or not this is going to mark what the Congress is going to look like going forward over the next two years.
McCarthy promised -- one of the promises was not to raise the debt ceiling without some accompanying spending cuts.
TAPPER: Congress had a similar showdown, trying to force spending cuts in 2011.
TAPPER: It led to America's credit rating getting downgraded because the mark -- because they weren't able to arrive at a deal. The markets felt the U.S. government had become, according to the downgrading -- quote -- "less stable, less effective, less predictable."
And that had a real tangible, detrimental effect on the American people and their pocketbooks, their retirement savings. What's the plan to make sure that doesn't happen again, that the chaos we saw this week, or whatever you want to call it...
TAPPER: ... doesn't become just what happens every time, especially when we're talking about major must-pass legislation like raising the debt ceiling, which is just about paying the bills for what has already been paid?
ROY: Well, the fastest way to guarantee that we have debt rating problems is to keep spending money we don't have and keep piling up debt. And that's what we're doing.
The uniparty in Washington, Republicans and Democrats, the power brokers, which, by the way, are reflected by Mike Rogers, when he goes in and he's pushing back on the...
TAPPER: He says: "I will finish you," he said.
So, why is that? Because when you push back on the swamp, the swamp is going to push right back. We saw that on display. That's OK. So, you say, well, are we going to have this kind of conflict going forward? I hope so.
But we started this now. It's January. So the debt ceiling -- or the debate is going to be in a few months. Let's do it now, guys.
ROY: Let's get this out there, both sides of the aisle, everybody within each party. Let's figure out how we're going to actually fix this, because the American people are sick of us not doing our job.
TAPPER: There is a bigger risk, though, for the U.S. defaulting on the debt ceiling, when it comes to the debt ceiling vote, then some short-term embarrassment for Kevin McCarthy.
That's the -- the default is a bigger deal and could actually cost billions of dollars.
ROY: Understood. Understood.
But, remember, in 2011, when that cut, cap and balance was negotiated and put in place -- and, frankly, it worked for four or five years to constrain spending. Now, it had some side effects. Defense spending was getting whacked pretty good. And we don't want to see that. We want to be able to figure out how we can get this going the right way to make sure defense is protected.
But we need to put limits on spending and then get to the table. You have to do that at home, Jake. I have to do that at home. Every American has to do that. If we don't stop spending money we don't have, I promise you we will never sit at a table.
Colin Allred, who is to going be on here a little bit, that I was talking to in the green room, Colin and I need to be able to sit at a table and figure out how we're going to fix this for the country.
ROY: We can't do that if the leaders jam through $1.7 trillion omnibus bills, like happened in December, where we have no debate on the floor.
ROY: We have to open this debate up, offer amendments, do our work, limit spending within our means, and then move the country forward.
TAPPER: If McCarthy fails to offer a debt ceiling bill that all has offsetting spending cuts, if he offers what the Democrats in the Senate want, which is a clean bill, would you vote to vacate the speakership?
Because it will now be able to be one person making that motion to vacate the speaker?
ROY: Look, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to play the what if games on how we're going to use the tools of the House to make sure that we enforce the terms of the agreement, but we will use the tools of the House to enforce the terms of the agreement.
TAPPER: Will you negotiate with Democrats in the Senate?
TAPPER: Because, as you know, this isn't just about you negotiating with Kevin McCarthy.
TAPPER: Kevin McCarthy's much more conservative...
TAPPER: ... however much you think he is actually a conservative, compared to the people who run the Senate, which are the Democrats, or the White House, which is Joe Biden.
Well remember that, in 2011, Obama was in the White House, and we got cut, cap and balance, because we took it to the American people. The American people were tired of the status quo. We took the message to them, and we forced change.
Our point is, let's fight now to end the status quo. Let's get in the rooms now. Republicans should send good appropriations bills over to the House, make Chuck Schumer reject them. Let's send a good appropriations bill funding our men and women in uniform, who you, so grateful -- and I'm grateful that you support them so much.
Let's go send them a good bill. Let's go send a good homeland security bill. Let's go send legislation. If Chuck Schumer doesn't want to pass those, then it's on him.
ROY: Let's come back to the table and let's talk about it. But let's do our part to balance the budget, do our job and put everything on the table for everybody to sit down and do the work of the American people.
TAPPER: In these talks, in these negotiations, did Kevin McCarthy or his emissaries ever say anything when it came to cuts or caps on Medicare and Social Security?
ROY: So, what we're talking about here, just so everybody knows, is setting the spending at the FY22 levels, which would be, what, $1.471 trillion.
And then let's all sit down and figure out how we're going to do...
TAPPER: So, all of it?
ROY: So, well, let's sit down and how we're going to spend on that discretionary spending.
What we have been very clear about is, we're not going to touch the benefits that are going to people relying on the benefits under Social Security and Medicare. But we all have to be honest about sitting at the table and figuring out how we're going to make those work, how we're going to deal with defense spending and how we're going to deal with nondefense discretionary spending.
But we have got to spend with -- or hold spending within our means. But remember also in this deal this was about empowering people, empowering rank-and-file members. We -- as we said, we got the 72-hour rule to read bills. We are now going to be able to offer amendments on the floor of the House.
We got germaneness and single subjects, so you don't get these multisubject bills that pile on. And we have got more empowerment for everybody on these committees. I believe we will have the ability to transform the conversation right now to make sure that we try to avoid hitting a stalemate later in the year, but only if we do our work now to do it.
TAPPER: All right, Congressman Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, thanks so much for being here.
ROY: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: I know you have been coming on the show for some time, but keep coming on. We enjoy hearing it. And the American people need to know what's going on.
ROY: And for my 13-year-old son, Charlie, go, Astros.
TAPPER: That's -- why you got to rub it in? Why you got to rub it in?
TAPPER: That's mean. You already won.
Anyway, my next guest called some of the Republican holdouts terrorists. Does Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw -- of Texas Dan Crenshaw plan to walk back those words, or is this a preview of what the next few years might look like?
Coming up, the number two House Democrat will also be here to share how her party plans to operate in the minority.
[09:17:46] TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
"They are the enemies now," an unsparing description of the Republican holdouts from Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a conservative who spent the speaker's fight directing his fury at many of the never-Kevin Republican hard-liners.
Does Congressman Crenshaw still believe his House colleagues are acting like terrorists? Can he work with them to govern?
Congressman Dan Crenshaw joins me now.
Thanks so much for being here. We really appreciate it.
REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): Thank you.
TAPPER: Let's take a listen to what Speaker McCarthy had to say about the path forward for House Republicans after he was elected early, early, early Saturday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think by having the disruption now really built the trust with one another and learned how to work together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Was that your takeaway...
TAPPER: ... that it really built a trust with one another and learned how to work together?
CRENSHAW: I actually do agree with that more than I disagree with it.
TAPPER: You do?
CRENSHAW: You opened up with all terrorists comments. I do have to address that, right?
CRENSHAW: Look, things get heated and things get said.
Obviously, to people who took offense by that, it's pretty obvious that it's meant as a turn of phrase in the...
TAPPER: It's a metaphor. You're not...
CRENSHAW: It's in the context of intransigent negotiations. I -- look, I have got pretty thick skin. I'm called awful, vile things
by the -- kind of the very same wing of the party that I'm fighting, I was fighting at that moment. So I was a little taken aback by the...
CRENSHAW: Yes, by the sensitivity of it.
But to the extent that I have colleagues that were offended by it, I sincerely apologize to them. I don't want them to think I actually believe they're terrorists. It's clearly a turn of phrase that you use in what is an intransigent negotiation.
It's important to note the reason that the 200 were so upset was because we felt we'd already come to the agreement that we have now. This was not new. We had this stuff. And early on in that week, before we had taken a single vote in a conference with everyone there, Kevin McCarthy had asked one of the leaders of this group, what else do you want? Let's make this work. What else do you want?
And they couldn't answer in that moment. And that was a real turning point for a lot of people. That was what created all of that animosity throughout the week, because it's not as if we were fighting over something.
It wasn't as if we were trying to stop them from getting something that they wanted. It's that we didn't know what they wanted. So that's the only thing that Chip Roy and I will disagree on. There's going to be different narratives on whose fault that was at the negotiation table.
But I agree with everything Chip just said. I have just listened to that whole interview. Chip and I are good friends. And I absolutely agree that the new rules and the new way of doing business is good, for all the reasons that he just said.
TAPPER: So he said he didn't have those -- they didn't have those -- that deal set until they voted on Friday morning, that -- I mean, you saw -- on Thursday, we all thought that the negotiations had ended, and we had three more votes where McCarthy lost.
So, I mean, they -- he says, no, that's not right. We didn't have this deal until Friday morning.
CRENSHAW: And I don't -- and I believe him when he says he was trying to make that deal throughout the week, but he's one of the few.
There was no reason for us to keep voting, keep voting, keep -- keep -- keep allowing these speeches that just degraded and diminished and insulted Kevin McCarthy. We didn't have to keep doing that. We could have just adjourned for the whole week and just kept negotiating.
TAPPER: Yes. CRENSHAW: So that's where the heartburn is. And that's what I want people to know that. This deal was easy. That wasn't the hard part, right?
There's not as much disagreement as everyone thinks on how that rules package went by and what some of the new changes needed to be. The only thing I will disagree with this group on is that it could have been done earlier. And so that's what justifies the animosity that occurred all week.
CRENSHAW: And it seemed very, very pointless.
TAPPER: The -- one of the concessions that got made is that -- and you heard Chip Roy just acknowledge this -- is that the deal will cap domestic spending 2022 levels for fiscal year 2024, which would result in tens of billions of dollars not going to the Pentagon, not going for defense.
Are you OK with that?
CRENSHAW: No, I think it's more complicated than that.
CRENSHAW: The deal that I understand is, you got to balance the budget in a 10-year window. So that that's the deal. And that baseline for that balancing is at 2022 levels.
That does not necessarily mean there's automatic cuts to the defense budget. That's going to get worked out in the appropriations process. And I think Chip would agree with this and all of them would agree with this. The big thing they're trying to push -- and they're totally right to push for this -- is regular order, regular order, where we actually set budget limits and we actually push 12 appropriations bills and we do our best...
TAPPER: And anybody can introduce an amendment at the time for the appropriation -- legislative process?
CRENSHAW: Right. Now, it makes it messy. It makes it time-consuming. But it does make members feel like they actually have a voice.
And the other -- the other thing we have to work together as a team on now is the leverage of the Senate to do the same thing, because they're the ones who never do this process.
CRENSHAW: So, again, there's just -- there's not a lot of heartburn over what the asks were. Our heartburn was just that this could have been done without all the drama.
TAPPER: If this ends up in tens of billions of dollars being cut from the Pentagon budget, will that bother you?
CRENSHAW: It could, right?
I want to do what's right for the Pentagon. I also want them to spend their money better,OK? I think we can -- I think we can use the money at the Pentagon, make it go a lot further. I think we need to be investing in what are probably very expensive new weapons systems, new technologies that help us compete with China.
So -- but there's not a lot of disagreements on that in the conference. We have got to be doing what's right. The government has spent a lot of money, added a lot of extra programs, budget items to agencies that probably didn't need them. The EPA never needed tens of billions of new dollars going towards it over these last couple of years. It has.
There's probably going to be plenty of places to cut. And so I think we're going to be OK. Every budget process is messy. The more that you actually have everyone involved in it, the less likely it is that it gets blown up at the end, which is why I told you I actually do agree with what Kevin said in the beginning, that clip you played.
It is important to get some of this out, to get some of these grievances out at a time like this, because it does shock people a little bit. And it does get you into this phase where, you know what? We do need to bring everybody in on some of these issues much earlier.
TAPPER: You agree with Kevin McCarthy when he said that no one should doubt Trump's influence, that that was a big part of his victory?
CRENSHAW: I don't know because I just wasn't inside that circle.
We all saw the phone calls happening at the last minute. There's different accounts of why that last group of holdouts flipped present. I don't know. Honestly, I think they saw what was happening, and I think they collectively said, enough is enough.
CRENSHAW: We're still not going to vote for McCarthy, but a present vote, we can do.
TAPPER: President Biden is heading to the Southern border today to your home state of Texas after announcing some sweeping new changes to his border policy.
He is going to make it easier to turn away migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Haiti at the border. You're from Texas. You have criticized President Biden and his administration repeatedly for the border.
Do you give him credit for going to the border or for any of these changes? What's your view?
CRENSHAW: OK, so the changes -- our skepticism of the changes are simply this.
You're just changing how the migrants get into the country. Now, the other thing they have said is that it'll be capped at 30,000. To be clear, I want to see total numbers go down, but I'm adding that 30,000 in there, because you're just -- you're just reprocessing them in a different way, and doing so in a way that we believe still oversteps your actual legal authority, this parole authority that Congress grants in extreme circumstances to people -- to illegal immigrants.
They have been overstepping that wildly over the last couple of years. The state of Florida is suing them. That court case is ongoing. And so our concern is that is a bit of virtue, signaling, a bit of just going to shift around the cups and putting -- making you guess where the ball is going to be.
But if it increase -- if it decreases total numbers, that's a good thing. They should expand this policy to all countries. There's no reason it should only used to be on these particular countries. They started this as Venezuelans. We said, why not expand it? OK, it took them three months to expand it.
They're doing it as we are about to take gavels and start holding them accountable. So I also, cynically, a little bit believe that this is just meant to create counterarguments to, when we start to go after them and look at oversight over what they have been doing.
CRENSHAW: Look, I will work with Democrats on securing the border, make no mistake. And there are some Democrats who want to secure the border.
But we will not be tricked into thinking either that certain policies that make it seem more streamlined, that make it seem less chaotic equals securing the border. That wouldn't be true, because these people would still be cutting in front of the line of millions of those around the world who do have valid asylum claims and have been waiting on their visas.
And that's immoral, in and of itself, as well.
TAPPER: Are you going to be the next chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee?
CRENSHAW: Not up to me. It's up to the Steering Committee, but I will find out very soon, tomorrow, in fact.
TAPPER: All right, you will come back maybe after your potential victory.
TAPPER: Thanks so much for being here. Really appreciate it.
House Democrats were the picture of unity this week as Republicans waged war among themselves. How are Democrats preparing for two years in the minority?
I'm going to ask the new number two Democrat, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, right after this.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
In the House of Representatives this week, a split screen, on one side, Republicans in disarray, almost coming to blows, warring over the speaker's gavel, on the other side, Democrats in array, unified, enjoying the spectacle.
Now the minority party enters the 118th Congress with a new leadership team in place.
Joining me now, the new number two House Democrat, Congresswoman Katherine Clark of Massachusetts.
Thanks so much for joining us, Congresswoman.
It was a chaotic week in the House. Ultimately, however, Speaker McCarthy is the speaker. Are there areas where you think Democrats might be able to realistically work with the Republican majority? Is there any common ground on bringing down inflation, trying to alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the border?
CLARK: You know, we have shown, Jake, that Democrats stand ready at all times to work for the American people.
And it is exactly the American people and the solutions they need to meet the challenges that were completely left out of the speaker's chaos we saw this week. It not only endangered our country's national security, but it also showed that the keys have been handed over to extremists, at the top of their agenda, a national abortion ban, dismantling Social Security and Medicare.
These are the priorities they have put out. But we have demonstrated over the last two years, when Democrats are united and in charge, that we work for the American people, whether that's rebuilding infrastructure, gun safety, returning manufacturing to our shores, reducing health care costs, and making sure we're investing in climate change.
Those are going to continue to be our priorities. And we hope that some Republicans will be able to get to work for the American people.
TAPPER: Well, I don't doubt that they're going to bring up legislation to push forward a national abortion ban or perhaps cap spending when it comes to Medicare.
But those aren't the issues they talked about. They talked about balancing the budget. They talked about opening up the process. Some Democrats that I have talked to like some of the concessions that the rebels like Chip Roy exacted, that they support liberalizing the process for amendments, for allowing more people to add amendments for the appropriations process.
Is it possible that some of what happened here might ultimately be good for the American people?
CLARK: What we are seeing here is that, when they talk about process, that is a smokescreen.
What none of the representatives you just had on would take on is that they have already put this out there. This is their written agenda that they had put forward during the midterms that they are going to use the debt ceiling as leverage to take American seniors hostage.
This is their plan. They voted to raise the debt ceiling three times under the Trump administration. This is all about forcing us to make cuts to Social Security, where the hard-earned earnings of Americans reside, and Medicare, so that they can enact that in the middle of a crisis. That is taking our seniors hostage. We have to be clear about this.
And all the talk about processing amendments and germaneness, that is cover for what they're really trying to do, which is dismantle the equities of our economy and to make sure that their billionaire buddies continue to thrive, at the expense of hardworking American families.
TAPPER: Well, you -- maybe you heard when I asked Congressman Roy about whether or not Medicare and Social Security were mentioned when they talked about the negotiations.
And one of the key concessions McCarthy made to hard-line Republicans in exchange for the support was to tie any debt ceiling increase the spending cuts. Chip Roy said it's the whole budget. He didn't say Medicare, Social Security. He said it's the whole budget needs to be discussed.
America is going to reach its borrowing limit some time later this year. Obviously, the United States government is spending more money than it is taking in. Are you willing to consider any spending cuts? Will Democrats accept anything other than a completely clean bill to raise the debt ceiling?
CLARK: Let's look back at the Inflation Reduction Act, where Democrats put in place $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction.
And how many votes did we get from the Republican side of the aisle? Zero. That's how serious...
TAPPER: Those were tax increases, right, not spending cuts, just to be precise?
CLARK: That's right.
CLARK: But that -- it isn't tax increases. It is tax enforcement. It is making sure that billionaires cannot cheat, while we keep asking hardworking Americans to pay their fair share.
This is putting equity back in our system. And this is the first thing on the Republican agenda they want to undo. So we have to look past their rhetoric around, this is about process and amendments. This is about continuing to rig the system.
What has -- what has rocketed our deficit is the tax policy they put in place last time they had the majority. And they cannot wait to do it again. Who did that policy benefit? The largest of corporations and the very wealthiest of Americans. This president and Democrats have been committed to middle-class tax cuts...
CLARK: ... to fairness in our system.
And this is not what they stand for.
TAPPER: So, Congresswoman, we're running out of time, but I just want to get a clear answer.
Are Democrats only -- Democrats in the House, who stuck together through 15 ballot votes, 212 of you the whole time, including one of you that had to come back from some sort of cancer surgery, is it your position that Democrats will only vote for a clean bill when it comes to raising the debt ceiling, and will not vote for anything that has some offsetting spending cuts, which is what Republicans want to do?
CLARK: Democrats are going to continue what you have seen.
We are united behind meeting the very real challenges that Americans are facing, the concerns they talk about around their kitchen table. What we are not going to do is what we saw Kevin McCarthy do, bring Trump back into a leading position in his party, with all the division and currying of special interest and the very wealthiest Americans that means.
So we're going to continue to push to protect Social Security, to protect Medicare, to make sure that we continue to have policies like we saw come into effect just this week capping insulin at $35 a month. Those are the policies we're going to stand behind. We stand together with Americans across this country.
TAPPER: All right, Congresswoman, thank you so much, and congratulations on your promotion, the House minority whip.
Really appreciate it.
What did the 15-ballot speaker battle show us about Donald Trump's political muscle, if anything?
We're going to talk to a former White House aide and my panel. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: A speaker has not been elected.
A speaker has not been elected.
A speaker has not been elected.
A speaker has not been elected.
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy of the state of California, having received a majority of the votes cast, is duly elected speaker of the House of Representatives.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The sounds that will haunt the dreams of Speaker McCarthy for the future.
Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
Four days, 15 rounds of voting, Congressman Kevin McCarthy was finally able to secure the votes he needs to be Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
My panel joins me now.
Let's start with you, Congressman Colin Allred of Texas. It's an all- Texas show -- all Texas show we have here today.
You were in the room as all this was happening. Give us some insight as to what you saw as McCarthy was continually defeated and then finally eked it out at the end.
REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Well, I'm glad you had my colleagues from Texas on earlier.
Don't be fooled by what they were saying. This was not what they wanted. This was not good for them or for the country. We didn't know if we could do constituent services. The Congress of the United States was not constituted. I'm on the Foreign Affairs Committee. We couldn't get intel briefings on what's going on around the world.
This was not a good thing for the country. They had two months to do these negotiations from the last election. And I think it's a preview of what we're going to see throughout this Congress, which is their inability to govern.
TAPPER: And you used to be chief of staff for the House Republican Conference, Marc Short.
What do you make of what went on this week between McCarthy and the members, especially that moment when McCarthy actually walked up the aisle and confronted perhaps his chief instigator, Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida?
MARC SHORT, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO FORMER VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Well, I think it's important to keep in mind we're here because we have had three poor election cycles for Republicans, in 2018, losing the midterms, 2020 losing the presidency.
The only one who actually won a chamber back was Kevin. And so...
TAPPER: By the narrowest of the margins, but still a victory.
SHORT: Yes, look, he -- below expectations, Jake, but people forget, in 2020, when we lost the presidency, Kevin actually gained 15 seats in the House for Republicans. That's what put us in this position in the first place.
And so, look, I appreciate the congressman's comments, but I think what's bad for the country has been runaway inflation, the crisis at the border. We now have a chance to address those issues because Republicans are in control in the House.
TAPPER: So, I want to show this one moment, as Kevin McCarthy was confronting Gaetz.
As he was walking away, Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, who is the chairman-designate of the House Armed Services Committee, there you see him going up and having to be restrained by a colleague. He was confronting...
TAPPER: Look at that. The face grab is quite a thing.
TAPPER: Had to be held back, going after Matt Gaetz.
Apparently, according to reporting, he said "I will finish you" or something along those lines.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
TAPPER: I have never seen anything like that during a speaker vote.
TAPPER: What about you?
FINNEY: No, I -- as a former communications director for the DNC, I was very proud of my Democrats that, as you said, we are in array and no violence. Look, I think -- here's the thing, Jake. We don't even know how long
this is going to last, because they still have not adopted the rules. And I was hearing from senior Democratic leadership aides that they didn't have -- the Republicans did not even have the votes on Friday night early, what was it, 1:00 a.m., to adopt the rules package that got them...
TAPPER: Because some of the non-insurgent Republicans are balking.
FINNEY: The moderates, yes.
TAPPER: I don't know that they're moderate, but the more establishment Republicans.
So, point being, to what the congressman just said, we may see all of this -- we may all be back here tomorrow as this all unravels again. And I just -- the last thing I just want to say, Maya Angelou once said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
So I'm going to believe the 15th time -- by the 15th time, that chaos is going to -- I mean, all the lovely things that Marc just said you want to accomplish, let's see, because if you can't even get your rules package done, there won't be any time for any of those other things.
TAPPER: And, Sarah, we can't also ignore the fact that this all took place on the two-year anniversary of that horrible January 6 day and night, where the Capitol was attacked and invaded.
And I'm wondering what your reaction was when, after it was all over, Kevin McCarthy went out and praised Donald Trump and gave him credit for helping, even though, obviously, what he did two years ago still remains a cloud over the Capitol?
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, I mean, he certainly does owe Donald Trump some credit there.
After Kevin McCarthy didn't appear to have the votes after several rounds of voting, Trump stood by him. And so he does owe him that. I think that we will eventually see McCarthy probably come out and endorse a 2024 candidacy for Trump. I would imagine that there was some sort of agreement behind the scenes going on for him to stick by him during this whole process.
But, yes, it was certainly a cloud over that day, which should have been a success for McCarthy finally securing the speakership. We were reminded by the fact that it was the anniversary of the attack on the United States Capitol.
TAPPER: And, Marc, we also saw this image of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who, uncharacteristically, was very much in the establishment camp this time, helping McCarthy, there she is passing her phone to Congressman Matt Rosendale, one of the last six holdouts, and it says, "D.T."
Apparently, we're assuming that's Donald Trump. She wants to pass on this call to Rosendale. Rosendale is waving it off. He doesn't want to -- he doesn't want to talk. Apparently, he said something like: "You can't get -- you can't do that to me right now."
What do you make of it all?
SHORT: Well, I -- look, I think President Trump was able to sway a couple people from going no to present. I think that's the end of -- that's really what...
TAPPER: That's not a huge influence for a former president.
SHORT: So, I think that -- I do appreciate you having Chip Roy on, though, here because I think Chip was consistent and always has been on the spending.
I think what -- you watched for some of the people who were in the opposition. The reality is that, in '20 -- I'd say I'm really proud of much of the Trump/Pence administration. I think one area we failed was in spending. The highest deficit ever was in 2020. And many people taking credit for these reforms were the ones actually writing that omnibus bill in 2019 that became law in 2020.
So there's a few people in these who I think were consistent, like Chip Roy, who's always been consistent on this. But there are a lot of these people who I think are performance artists. And that's really what this was about.
TAPPER: Do you agree? Do you see it that way? Some of these people are principled. Some of these people, this was just about attention.
ALLRED: Yes. Yes.
You know, I'm friends with Chip. And I will agree he is very consistent in his radicalism in many ways. But some of the things that he's put forward could make the body better.
But I also agree with what Katherine said earlier, which is that don't be fooled by the smokescreen here about process. They are united in what they want to do on the policy, which is to hold the American people hostage over the debt ceiling. They have been saying that for months.
And that's not an establishment, right-wing -- there's no disagreement there. They are in total agreement around that.
And just going back to January 6 really quickly, McCarthy became speaker the morning of the 7th, really the day of the 6th. He said nothing about the attack on the Capitol. I think it's an insult to the Capitol Police, who kept him and us alive that day. I think it's an indicator of what kind of speaker is going to be.
FINNEY: No, I was just going to say, look, I think the other reality here, going with what the congressman just said, we know that it is an extremist group that has already won, because they showed that they can get us through 15 rounds.
And as -- also, as Katherine Clark said, abortion is one of the top issues, one of the first votes they have said. I will share with you that a post-Election Day NARAL showed not only do 80 percent of -- eight in 10 Americans believe reproductive freedom -- in reproductive freedom. About 85 percent of Americans are concerned that that is the one of the first things Republicans will do.
They're going to essentially see their concerns affirmed immediately.
TAPPER: I promise you we will talk about this issue in a future show, but we're running out of time.
Before we go, Congressman Allred, you used to be in the NFL. You're a former linebacker for the Tennessee Titans. I want to get your reaction to what happened this week with Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field, suffering a cardiac arrest during the game, the NFL taking their sweet time before deciding to call the game.
TAPPER: What was your reaction? And would you allow your sons to play football?
ALLRED: Well, first of all, let me just say every NFL player goes into every game praying to come through that game OK, because we know it's a violent game.
These are big, fast, strong men. And a freak accident happened there, one that I think shocked the country, shocked the world. That's the downside of football.
The upside of football is that the Damar had a toy drive that was supposed to raise $2,500. I think it's over $7.5 million now. That's the generosity of the American people. That's who we are. Football is an incredibly dangerous, violent game.
But it also taught me a lot. It's part of who I am. I don't think my boys -- I have two sons -- will be playing football. But I also understand that there's aspects of it that teach leadership, commitment, the idea that you're part of a larger -- something larger than yourself, that we could use a little bit more of.
I think that every member of Congress actually should have been a team -- a team sport athlete at some point.
TAPPER: And I know you all join me in wishing the best for every player on the team -- on the field today, Monday and going forward.
And, also, I know everybody supports the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl, so thank you.
TAPPER: Thank you.
They don't actually...
TAPPER: I'm the only one that supports that. Just -- I was just joking.
Coming up next: inside the stunning fall from grace of an American hero.
We're going to be back after this quick break.
TAPPER: Go inside the rise and fall of a political firebrand. The CNN original series "Giuliani: What Happened to America's Mayor?" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.
Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts right now.
I will see you tomorrow on "THE LEAD."