tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current January 4, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
>> jennifer: i'm jennifer granholm. i'm becoming increasingly clear that president obama will again deal with a congress that will not act in a rational manner that will put ideology before country; that would rather obstruct in bad faith than act in good. so tonight in "the war room," nuclear options. [♪ theme music ♪] >> jennifer: 113th congress had its first full day in session today, and we have already seen signs that the republican party is not planning to play any nicer this time around than last time around. there's some good news because in its first major vote congress did pass legislation to help sandy victims, a $9.7 billion package, and the
majority of republicans did vote for the plan presumably bending to significant public pressure. but about a third of the republican caucus actually voted against it. against a bill to help hurricane victims, and that includes some major figures like representative paul ryan. that is just one of the many signs of fracture within the republican caucus which is still reeling from yesterday's tough fight over the reelection of john boehner as speaker. he may have prevailed, but not all of his members were happy about it and one member of the anti-boehner attempted cue got caught red handed. he was caught writing a message on his ipad where he listed republicaned he thought could be
convince to join him in opposing the speaker. the title of the document was called "you would be fired if this goes out." in the end it did go out, but nobody got fired. he didn't get what he wanted and many of those on his list ultimately threw their support behind john boehner. but today the speaker showed some mercy to those who were fashioning the attempted coup. ho invited his camp along with the others who opposed him into his office and told help he would not punish anyone, saying quote . . . that is very nice. imagine that he said it with a little tear in his eye. but while republicans try to hold their party together.
congress is already bracing for its next fight. which is the debt ceiling debate. and the democrats aring sending a clear message. they plan to win that battle and they will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. both house minority leading nancy pelosi, and senate majority leader harry reid today said the president should step in and exert his executive power to win the debt ceiling fight. and senator chuck schumer said that going forward the democrats would be tough in feeling with the obstructionist republicans. >> if they realize for sure that they are not going to have a negotiating partner, they will have to find another route to bring the changes they want. >> jennifer: no negotiations, no partnership, smart thinking but perhaps the most unlikely voice of reason today was former house
speaker newt gingrich. he called on house republicans to stop playing politics with the economy. newt gingrich. >> they have got to find in the house a totally new strategy. the whole national financial system is going to come into washington by television and say oh, my god this will be a giant heart attack, you guys can't be responsible and they will cave. >> jennifer: newt gingrich the voice of reason. for more i'm joined from washington by representative eleanor holmes norton from the district of columbia. thank you for joining me again inside "the war room." >> always a pleasure. >> jennifer: is newt gingrich right? will the republicans lose power if they keep playing politics on these major economic issues? >> well they certainly did in november -- so i don't know how -- how -- i don't know how many signals they -- they need.
many of the republicans in the house are depending upon the fact that they got gerrymandered into these tight republican districts, so they think there's no price to pay. they have learned, though, that the senate is willing to operate even when they aren't, and that there are a certain number of republicans in the house who will join democrats to get done what needs to be done and that is likely the way it is going to be for the rest of the year. >> jennifer: that's an encouraging prognostication, and this week, bloomberg has a cover that calls this new congress a bunch of babies but might we see a different congress from the last one this session? >> well what -- what boehner has tried -- hasn't seemed to work, he tried taking people off of committees. that didn't work. some of those people voted
against him. remember he became speaker with the loss of more votes than anyone can ever remember. the speaker always has two or three people that make a statement, but he came within three votes of not being speaker. so he doesn't compare -- he doesn't command a lot of room to say fellas let's come in here and change. you notice that he called in some of the revolters today and said -- and tried to make nice with them. i think that was the right thing to do, because the i will get you approach hasn't worked. it would have worked i think had he started the congress saying, i tell you what i'm the speaker and there are certain kinds of things i have to get done. not all of you can be with me but most of you have to be with
me. instead he started the 112th congress when they took over by saying we will work the will of the house. that's a prescription for no leadership on on their part. >> jennifer: it's interesting what you said here. will he -- does he ultimately -- because he won by so few votes, does it make him weaker or will he stand stronger against for instance the tea partiers? will he be a leader that is broader than just his caucus. >> remember the so-called hasta bill -- i don't think that is his philosophy.
i think he now knows that when you find people not voting for you for speaker, when you find that you were able to get over the cliff only with democratic votes, i think he knows that that is the only way he is going to be able to get other cliffs from taking us down -- and there are three more cliffs to come. >> jennifer: right. now let me talk to you about another thing. gun control. you have been a really important advocate for gun safety. let's take a listen quickly to newly elected representative alan grayson today. >> i think many members of congress are afraid that if they supported anything representing reasonable gun control they would lose the next primary, and the nra would see to it that they lost the next primary. >> jennifer: and there he was saying that nothing is going to get done. now you have given me a little
bit of hope in john boehner being able to cobble together deals. do you agree with alan grayson? >> i don't think that the speaker wants anything to get done on gun control. and that's one that i think he really can stop. because they are so adamantly and ideologically opposed and if not that afraid that i don't see how we can -- can move that one, unless the senate -- i think two things that could happen. the senate could do a bill that had so many senator on it that then he would have to cobble together a -- a -- a majority made of the majority of the democrats, but i really think the only way we're going to get this done, i hate -- i hate to say this, because i don't think the burden should be on them but i think it has to come from newtown. i think this is going to fade
especially when you get the multiple economic cliffs facing the congress unless there is -- there is somebody or some group who can command at attention. i tell ya, jennifer i can think of nobody on this issue that command at attention to keep it going until we get a bill except leadership from newtown. >> jennifer: do you think if for example the parents of newtown came into the gallery, demanding a vote that -- i mean remember when bob dole sat on the floor of the senate begging for a vote for the americans with disabilities act at least to be extended internationally, they still voted no. do you think they could soften the hearts? >> but it's not coming into the gallery. that is much too late.
you don't turn around people who are opposed by producing a sympathetic person on the day of the vote. the newtown parents and those who were hurt would have to organize in newtown and keep the consciousness of the country so aroused that the -- the congress would feel it had to take action, and if they don't do it i don't really know who the messengers are going to be. none of the rest of us have been able when we have seen crisis after crisis life after life taken to move this congress. >> jennifer: i appreciate you continuing to beat the drum on this. and i agree with you, it's a horrible thought to have to put this burden on newtown. but i'm sure they would like to see a change. representative thank you so much for joining me inside "the war room." really appreciate your incite. we have been talking about the
obstructionist republicans, but if something obstructs your path, you can complain about it or find your way around it. after the break, nuclear options to avoid the debt ceiling. if congress won't work with the president, perhaps he should just go around it. and we'll tell you what people are talking about. plus money talks and while the nra may not be listening, trust me the companies who enable their reckless policies will. and later john boehner has been crying again. and i'll tell you why i differ when it comes to the speaker's pension for opening up the flood gates. that and more just ahead in "the war room." what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs
>> jennifer: the next fight is already brewing in congress. of course overraising the debt ceiling. republicans are threatening not to cooperate, and if it doesn't get done it could send the entire global economy into a tailspin. now people are looking for other solutions. is there somewhere we can turn to get rationality? they have come up with some pretty unorthodox ways of going around congress. right now platinum coin is trending on twitter. why you might ask? because the possible has been raised to have the federal reserve mint a trillion dollar platinum coin. they can't print more paper money or produce more silver or
gold, that's by law, but they actually could create a platinum coin, stamp it for a trillion dollars, put it in the federal reserve and solve the crisis just like that. oh so supporters claim. it does seem pretty crazy, but we're dealing with some pretty insane behavior now in washington. so here to weigh in on that issue is laura tyson she is now at uc berkeley's school of business, and current tv's economic advisor, and she is coming to us from washington. welcome back inside "the war room." >> thank you, jennifer. pleasure to be with you from distance. >> jennifer: yes. i'm sorry you are not here in studio. let me ask you, though this platinum coin thing. is this legit? how would this work? >> well it seems to be legally
possible because there's something in the law which essentially i think was meant for commemorative purposes. it gives the treasury the right to mint platinum coins without limit. there is a limit on gold, silver, and dollar bills, but there's no limit on platinum. so in principal -- and they don't have to have any denomination either. so in principal the treasury would mint these coins hand them over to the fed, the fed would essentially convert to cash, hold the coins and give the treasury the cash it needs. this was clearly, clearly be subject to major legal action and send a terrible message to the world that shows how the politics of the u.s. in the congress are broken right now.
[overlapping speakers] >> jennifer: they have got to be printing coins. they are printing money at will because congress is so responsible. >> right. because of a small number of congress actually. another possibility in the law is the 14th amendment to the constitution which says the security of the u.s. debt shall not be questioned. the president can essentially, legal scholars have argued, take that amendment and say it is my responsibility to essentially issue debt in order to prevent a default. i have to maintain the security of the u.s. debt. that would also be subject to a legal challenge, and again, that would be a constitutional challenge, so very very big deal. i want to go to the third nuclear option because i think newt gingrich was kind of talking about that earlier. and that is just massive
government shutdown. if the u.s. government says we will not default on our creditors, our creditors have first claim on our revenues we will have to shut down major operations of the u.s. government, and stop paying at the end of the day things we owe like social security payments because we can't raise the debt limit. and by the way the debt limit is about past spending. i they would send a horrifying but clear message to the american public that there is a small number of republicans in the congress who have forced the shutdown. newt gingrich knows that really hurts. the republicans lost deeply when we had a major government shutdown under president clinton. this would be even more dramatic than that. so those are some of the very big options if rationality does not prevail. >> jennifer: rationality has not been the strong suit of the
republican party at least on the house side. they are going into this debt ceiling debate, though saying we the u.s. -- if we don't cut spending to an equivalent amount, that we're in danger of turning go greece. here is the senator quote . . . so let me -- let me just ask you about that, though. because people often compare the u.s. to greece if in fact we don't slash spending. is that a realistic concern? >> no, for a variety of reasons. first of all greece has been in default about 50% of the time over the last 150 years. the u.s. has never defaulted.
number 2, the u.s. government is borrowing at near historic low rates about 1.9% on a ten-year treasury bond. the greek government is borrowing at i think around ten right now, but some time during the past year the cost for greek borrowing on a ten-year basis was in the 40% range. so the rest of the world is saying to us, we believe your economy is strong. we believe you can easily adjust your spending and revenue lines over time to handle that long-term debt problem that is out there. right now the debt to gdp ratio in the u.s. is around 70. in greece it is around 150. >> jennifer: wow. >> and the u.s. government debt to gdp ratio, lower than canada. lower than germany. much, much lower than japan.
and japan has been spending decade after decade of a very high ratio where nobody things japan is going to default. >> jennifer: so that comparison -- those debt to gdp comparisons are very interesting in light of the alarm bells the republicans are often sending up. there was a jobs report out today, which was the creation of about 150,000. were you encouraged by that? and what was it protend for the president's second term. >> what it protends is we are still at a growth. we have had that pace for about two years. we have brought 5.8 million additional private-sector jobs into the economy. we're still down 4 million
relative to the 2008 peak. so you have to say, yes, solid. yes, consistent. but moderate. there are a couple of pieces in the news of the report today that were kind of interesting -- >> jennifer: quickly though. >> wage growth picked up and hours picked up. and the fact that employment growth continued about the same pace despite concerns about the fiscal cliff actually is also a good sign. >> jennifer: all right. well, we really appreciate always your great incites always bringing hope and positive outlook for the future despite what we're facing in congress. up next, well poor john boehner, shuffling along with his head down, kicking a pebble muttering how come all of the democrats like nancy and none of the republicans like me? it's not fair. well, stephanie miller is going to join me with some counsel for
this increasingly forloern figure after this. party or the other. when the democrats are wrong, they know that i'm going to be the first one to call them out. they can question whether i'm right, but i think that the audience gets that this guy, to the best of his ability, is trying to look out for us. [ ryon ] eating shrimp at red lobster is a fantastic experience. 30 shrimp for $11.99. i can't imagine anything better. you're getting a ton of shrimp and it tastes really good! [ male announcer ] hurry in to red lobster's 30 shrimp for just $11.99! choose any two of five savory shrimp selections like mango jalapeño shrimp and parmesan crunch shrimp. two delicious shrimp selections on one plate! all with salad and unlimited cheddar bay biscuits. 30 shrimp, just $11.99 for a limited time. wow, that's a lot of shrimp. i'm ryon stewart i'm the ultimate shrimp lover, and i sea food differently.
house. check out his emotional reaction in the upper right hand corner of your screen. i just love this. a lot of my progressive friends like to poke fun at john boehner for his crying but not me. i like it. i think it actually humanizes him. i just feel so warm about him when i know he has been emotional and crying. and i can't blame the guy for tearing up. deep now he knows the next two years are going to be hell and it is going to take every ounce of energy he has got. if that was your job, you would cry too. joining me from los angeles to discuss and much more important things is stephanie miller host of current tv's "talking liberally." steph, welcome back inside "the war room." >> hi, gov. nice to be here. >> jennifer: where do you stand on the whole boehner crying
thing? >> i am of the opinion governor that i feel that men should only cry when something heavy falls on them. >> jennifer: oh, stop, no. >> i -- what i have noticed about him, is he only seems to cry about himself. not about other people -- he seems to be very emotional about himself. >> i had to work at a tavern! i had a job! it's like who hasn't had to have a job. whatever. >> jennifer: i know our audience probably agrees with you, but can i just say when a man is strong enough to cry even though you are seeing all of the pictures of the poor guy, nancy is going to hand him a tissue i really appreciate -- >> she'll get that tissue back all orange with bronzer all over it. come on, governor he cries a lot. can you come in here and hold me. can you spoon me?
[ laughter ] >> jennifer: do you think that part of boehner wishes that maybe he wasn't speaker any longer? >> i think that there's -- we speculated on our show gov that there is a lot of -- when his door slams just a lot of cartoon drinking sounds and sobbing and that cowardly man sobbing that -- [ sobbing ] >> eric cantor stepped on my tail! [ sobbing ] [ laughter ] >> jennifer: i can't even have a conversation with stephanie. you are like the smartest -- you are the smartest cat in the woods whatever your metaphor is but you are just so damn funny. >> thank you, gov. >> jennifer: this idea floating around d.c. to avoid this debt ceiling crisis that the treasury should mint these trillion dollar coins. do you think the president should do it?
>> i think as you were saying earlier, gov, i think we have also never seen this kind of obstructionism behavior. so while it seems like a whacky idea, is it whackier than holding the nation's entire full faith and credit hostage? >> jennifer: who's face would you put on the coin? >> partially because i'm your biggest fan and also partially because i'm the biggest suck up in the world, i would say you. [ laughter ] >> jennifer: who made up that picture? that is a total surprise to me. >> as my co-host jim ward says easy on the eyes. >> jennifer: oh, god. >> but other idea is to put ronald reagan on the coin which -- >> jennifer: that does make some sense -- >> so then it would be you voted
against the reagan coin, why do you hate america? >> jennifer: we have breaking news, president obama is going to appoint chuck hagel to be secretary of defense, and we got a little bit of an inning link that washington state governor is is likely to be head of the epa. do you think hagel's worth fighting for? >> i think that -- i like chuck hagel as -- what we remember as a reasonable republican. >> jennifer: yeah. >> that seemed to be actually interested in some sort of governing. i think the problem is almost anybody -- anything he wants they don't want because the president wants it, governor so i think it's always going to be hard for him. >> jennifer: yeah, i think everyone -- unless we get good filibuster reform. let's listen to a quick sound
bite from barney frank this morning about taking over john kerry's seat. take a listen. >> former congressman barney frank would you consider possibly being future senator barney frank if the governor calls you and says fill in for a couple of months. >> i'm not going to be coy. i told the governor that i would like to do that it's only a three-month period. i wouldn't want to do anymore. >> jennifer: is this a good idea? >> yeah, the prospect of he and elizabeth warren in the senate makes me salivate over what could be done. and it's probably making a lot of goldman sachs guys poop right now. [ laughter ] >> jennifer: to a technical term. stephanie miller the host of the great "talking liberally" on current tv, so glad you were able to join us inside "the war
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♪ >> jennifer: you are back inside "the war room." i'm jennifer granholm. i want to share a shocking statistic with you in the three weeks since the sandy hook school shooting in connecticut there has been at least 427 shooting deaths in this country. that number comes to us by interacttive project. at least 427 deaths since sandy hook. as we all know in the wake of that tragedy, there has been call for tougher gun safety measures, but the national rifle
association is pushing back. enter color of change. regular viewers of the show will remember that color of change is the advocacy group that got big companies like wal-mart, kraft, coca-cola to drop out of alec that conservative organization that drafts legislation for republican lawmakers. a lot of that is driven by the nra. so color of change is using this nra connection to pressure companies to sever all charges with alex again. leading the charge is rashad robinson. welcome back inside "the war room." >> always great to be with you. >> jennifer: which companies are you partying this time? >> right now we're continuing to look at state farm at&t and
also now ebay as well. >> jennifer: ebay? >> exactly. ebay. this california company that seems really innocuous, but they are putting money inside of alex, which has continued to carry water for the nra on a wide range of gun policies. >> jennifer: so have you gotten any response yet from the companies? >> this time around we're just -- we're just starting out. we reached out to our members today to start engaging them and doing the education work. we have been reengaging the corporations behind the scenes and we do believe over the next couple of weeks, we will continue to see corporations as americans of all classes all backgrounds, all races are outraged around what happened in connecticut in the fact that so
many lawmakers refuse even in the face of these tragedies to push for common sense gun laws and then we have organizations like alec and the nra that want to do everything from make machine guns more accessible and armor-piercing bullets more accessible we need to do all we can to hold the corporations accountable, and say they want sell us products by day and make us unsafe by night. >> jennifer: could you take on the nra directly? is there a mechanism to pressure the nra directly? >> you know, we have been involved with a number of organizations that have -- that protest that have spearheaded and reached out to the nra. we understand that the nra doesn't do its work alone. and we're looking for a number of different ways that we can get at the nra's power, and we
have identified alec is really one of the forces that has helped nra move its legislation in the state. so as we have even had federal, or seen federal law get retracted around gun policy state law has actually made it really tough for cities where we oftentimes see lots of crime to put in place common sense gun laws, because we have a lot of states primarily red states states in the south that have these really loose gun laws that have been pushed by alec people can sell their guns -- that's how 40% of guns are sold through this sort of loophole that doesn't require paperwork when individual owners sell their gun, so as a result, we have guns moving into cities making us more and more unsafe. so we have to continue to hold them accountable.
the nra is getting their money from the gun industry. so they are going to do everything they can to sell more guns, but it's how do these bills become law? and we need to hold everyone accountable who is involved. our communities need to become more safe, and we need to do all we can to make sure that happens. >> jennifer: i'll looking to you for hope on this rashad because we have had so many mass shootings in this country, it's hard to keep count and after each one of them there are always renewed calls for beefs up gun safety but in the end nothing changes. how can we make this time different? >> well, i think this time is different -- is the organizing that is going to need to happen. i think that so much -- what happens after these mass shootings if people go back to what they were doing before. but it's not just the mass
shootings. we have seen this continued gun violence happening in cities like chicago and all around the country. we have seen statistics that -- 49% of black youth report being able to know how they can get their hands on a gun, right? and this is because we continue to make handguns. we continue to make rifles and assault weapons so accessible and the gun industry has such a hold on our elected officials and so much power, so this -- the mass shootings, right, weighs our consciousness. they get us activated and excited that we need to do more be it's the every day violence that is happening in our communities all around the country that need to make all of us as vigilant as possible in pushing back. >> jennifer: all right. well rashad i really appreciate the leadership you are taking
♪ >> jennifer: so if you like your politics or your politicians for that matter if you like them cooked over an open flame, cenk uygur is your guy. the host of "the young turks" joining us now. cenk what have you got? >> i love your intros of me. god bless. that's awesome. >> jennifer: you know it's true. >> all right. so today we're going to talk about the republicans threatening a government shutdown. they are unbelievable so they are at it again. democratic congressman has an interesting idea about printing a trillion dollars coin, i thought it was a joke, but apparently it's real.
it's unbelievable. and two other topics as well. the cia lied to the makerings of the zero dark thirty about torture. >> jennifer: we did a bit on that trillion dollar coin thing, and that might be the thing to do. all right, cenk take care. thanks. and now to an update on a story we had been covering which is the chronic wait for veteran's benefits. the supreme court is actually right now considering whether or not to hear arguments in a case that could help veterans facing long waits for health care and disability benefits. the case has been filed by the veteran's rights group veterans with common sense, and that
would allow vets to challenge the systemic delays. the average claim takes nine months to process. one, for example such claim wrongs to 89-year-old world war ii veteran, james balderson. after a seven-month wait the va finally approved his pension benefits, but he never saw a dime, because he had passed away. joining me is the man who has coveraged this issue extensively. what do you think will happen with this case?
could this open up the flood gates to get some of this resolved or provide at least relief for the families to seek recourse. >> this is a very, very important case. it was brought a number of years ago, and in 2011 federal appeals court here in san francisco ruled that the va had unchecked incompetence. and they ordered a court overseen reform of the whole agency. then the va -- the government appealed and went to a special 18-judge panel of the 9th circuit, and they overturned that opinion. so now the veterans are waiting to see if the supreme court is going to hear their case and the supreme court could decide that the va needs to be
overhauled, or they could decide that they lack jurisdiction. >> you have a bureaucracy moving slowly going through a court system moving even more slowly, and all the while these yvette yvette -- veterans are waiting. >> yeah, and some of them are dying. we have information that we uncovered that in the last year, 19,500 veterans, almost 20,000 veterans had their disability claims approved by the va only after they died. these are people that said i need help for ptsd diseases caused by agent orange i need a pension in my old age, they wait. they wait. they wait. and in 20,000 cases they get that yes, we can help you only after they die. >> jennifer: some people might suggest there's a cynical
slowness to this so the money does not have to be paid. what actually happens with the families when that decision -- affirming benefits gets handed down and the person is dead? >> the families do get the money, but they have to continue fighting after their loved one dies, and a lot of people give up. >> jennifer: do they have to file a separate claim? >> you have to take affirmative action to keep that alive. so just imagine your loved one commits suicide. it is not going to be on the top of your list to file paperwork with the va. that's why a lot of people say the va's mantra is delay, deny, wait until i die, because way more than 19,500 veteraned dies while waiting for their benefits. >> jennifer: have we seen any
movement in this? >> unfortunately not. the va was saying that by the end of 2012, they would hit certain benchmarks -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> no, in fact it's moving the opposite direction. in april here in northern california, it took about 300 days to have your disability claim resolved. now they are up to 500 days so we're going in the opposite direction. we need reform maybe we lead leadership, and maybe court supervision. >> jennifer: so it is bodies they need to throw on the system? it is -- it's management. >> it's everything -- everything needs to happen all at once, but i think what we have seen with the president is his well intention putting more money to support this problem in and of itself is not going to do the trick. >> jennifer: yeah. i really appreciate you coming in and updating on this really
♪ >> jennifer: well the first week of the year is about to become old news but before it does brett ehrlich is here to offer his impressions -- first impressions of 2013. so shhhh, brett's talking now. ♪ >> it's been quite a week and while we covered the main stories of what unfolded over the last few days, here are the things you may not have heard about. after a medical scare, hillary clinton was discharged from the hospital, marking the first time in history a clinton discharge story was not about bill. budge report received 11 billion views in 2012.
it strikes a delicate balance between hard-hitting journalism and stories like this fat guy. residents of a connecticut town have announced their plans to burn violent video games. what better way to express your distaste for violence than by dousing something with gasoline and sets it on fire? also this week the women of the united states house of representatives took a photo together. see if you can find my favorite representative. no. no. there you are. i dock my invisible hat to your inridiculous see quinned cowboy one. and there is a vending machine for medical marijuana