tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC September 29, 2013 4:00am-4:31am PDT
on the brink after an early morning vote in the house, a government shutdown now looms with a midnight deadline monday, it all begins tuesday. >> house republicans are shutting down the government. >> we are simply offering a compromise of a year's delay. >> sound and fury, the expected shutdown comes after a full day of loud debate on the house floor, both sides not backing down. lady liberty closed for business, it's not the only attraction to be affected. we're going to talk about some of the fallout ahead.
good morning, everyone, welcome to a special edition of "weekends with alex witt." congress pushed the country closer to a government shutdown. it happened as house republicans passed a spending measure, which delays president obama's health care law for a year. here's a breakdown of the vote. it passed 231-192. 190 democrats and two republicans voted against it. the house took two more critical votes, we'll have more on that in just a moment. first, here's nbc's brian mooar with how the debate transpired. >> tonight, the republican majority will vote to shut the government down. >> reporter: saturday night fireworks on the floor of the u.s. house. with the government shutdown looming on tuesday, republicans passed a spending package doomed to fail because it mandates a
one-year delay in obama care. >> why are we doing this? number one, this is a program that is too expensive to afford. >> we're going to give a stark choice to the president of the united states and the senate. >> reporter: democrats say it's no choice at all. >> the senate won't take it up, the president won't sign it. house republicans are shutting down the government. >> reporter: and because of that, not all republicans are onboard. >> i support what's in there, but we can't let the government shut down. >> reporter: a contentious day wrapped up with a series of late night votes. >> the rule is suspended, bill is passed without objection. >> reporter: the house passed legislation, but there was little movement in the impasse that threatens a government shutdown on tuesday. brian mooar, nbc news, washington. >> so that final bill, which faces certain rejection by the senate, prompted reaction this morning from house minority whip steny hoyer. >> clearly, we're on the brink
of shutdown, we're on the brink of a shutdown, because republican colleagues continue to support provisions that they know will not be adopted in the senate, which requires the senate to reject it and send it back. >> but here's republican senate minority leader mitch mcconnell's take just ahead of the house vote. >> the democrats are beginning to crack, and we're just trying to give them a nudge in the right direction so we can save the american people from this awful bill. we won't shut the government down, the bill is in the house. we hope to get back something more appealing to senate democrats, because we know a lot of them are very, very nervous about obama care, as well. >> joining me now to sort this all out, nbc's kelly o'donnell at the scene of that fury, capitol hill. good morning. >> good morning, it was just hours ago the members of the house went home. when you said this morning, you really meant this morning, referring to representative
steny hoyer's comments. boy, where are we? is this not the chaos the american people find so difficult to take, and yet watching hours and hours and hours of often passionate speeches playing out on the house floor, it's clear that those divisions, at least according to members are rooted in their own hometowns. those on the republican side and took these votes believe that they are, in effect, saving, to use a word they use, the public from a health care law they don't believe is ready to roll out. of course, october 1st begins enrollment in the exchanges. the law would go into effect fully in january. and so republicans feel like the clock is ticking to prevent that from happening. and, of course, much larger than that is the whole issue of a shutdown, and are we headed for it? boy, right now it sure feels that way, alex. >> kelly, is there any procedural way this shutdown can be avoided, or has time run out? >> because we are both
optimists, alex, i'll give you a universe of possibles. until the deadline runs out, there is still time. for example, the senate is planning to do nothing with what the house passed in the wee hours, and that means they will effectively kick back to the house the same plan they had offered before those series of votes went forward, and that is in the term of our for washington, a clean c.r. that simply means extending the government funding, money to pay for federal workers and to keep the lights on, through the middle of november. and that would have nothing else attached to it. so that still exists as a possibility for a vote. now politically is it possible? that's a much easier question to answer, because that's where it really looks dire. so is there enough time? technically, yes. politically, boy, we are running out of it. it appears this will be a very calm sunday here on the hill,
where the senate, they are not in town except for leadership. the house, they left town in the middle of the night. they are probably nearby, but they are not coming to work today, so here we are this close to the deadline and nothing is expected to happen today. that in and of itself is something. it creates more pressure. and we know that washington likes to work when the clock is ticking, so that puts us to monday, the final day of the current year, fiscal year, so we're really into the bewitching hour then. and we expect that the senate will be able to come in, kick back the house action. and right now the pressure is really something we can't watch, and that's what's happening with john boehner and his leadership team. do they have an alternative they can put forward? it's in the realm of possibilities, but looking dim. >> with regard to the clock ticking, kelly, the debt ceiling, that needs to be raised by october 17th. how does this spending bill and the pending shutdown affect
that? >> well, it's hard to look at any one of these crises without looking at sort of a patchwork of crises, and the debt ceiling is a big issue. if the u.s. fails to pay its own bills, there are outside real-world consequences that go beyond what's already a difficult situation, federal workers furloughed, government shuts down, that's one kind of bad. if there's a default, there's a whole nother level of real crisis economically. again, another pressure point for lawmakers to deal with this. as crazy as it looks, they operate, at least right now in the window of time we live in, under this pressure point to pressure point that we live in, looks chaotic, feels chaotic, but they know what the road map it, they have to come to agreement. these conversations and negotiations will be going on. we're in kind of a whole month of craziness and it's right here on capitol hill. >> yeah. couple of democrats voted for the obama care delay. couple of republicans voted
against it. what's the story behind that? >> you can always look to home districts for the answer there. to have democrats who voted with republicans, that means they come from a more conservative hometown area where the law, even if people believe in the law, maybe don't think it's ready, so they want a little bit more time or it's a more conservative leaning district. trying to reflect their hometown concerns. you had more democrats, more than a dozen, that voted to repeal the medical device tax. that was one of a series of votes they took, and that's been very unpopular. it was originally put in as a way to generate revenue to pay for the expanded coverage available, but there are many who believe in both parties that medical device tax causes problems for businesses that sell and work with medical devices, so there's a lot of talk about that being an area where democrats and republicans could come together to sort of wipe that tax off the books. there are more consequences to that, too, but that's one of
those perhaps areas where there could be a carrot and stick approach to find some agreement. still mostly party line. >> i got to tell you, for someone watching this into the wee hours of the morning, you are sharp as a tack, kelly o'donnell. >> lots of coffee, my friend. >> i hear you, thanks. now to the critical votes, first, the house unanimously passed a measure to allow the government to pay members of the military. vote there, 423, no one against. also a medical device tax, which is intended as a revenue raiser for the affordable care act. the vote there, 248-174. by the way, if the government shutdown occurs, the statue of liberty, all the other national parks, will be closed for business. even before the house passed its spending bill late last night, president obama reiterated his threat to veto any measure that takes a shot as his signature health care law, but will he stick to his guns? that's the question.
joining me now from the white house, nbc's kristen welker. with a good sunday morning to you, my friend, let's talk to the administration and how they are reacting to the house bill passed, i keep saying last night, but in the wee hours. >> couple hours ago. the white house is sticking to its guns just before that veto threat was issued, jay carney put out a statement, alex, saying, "any member of the republican party who votes for this bill is voting for a shutdown." the sense behind the scenes here at the white house echoes was kelly is saying, is the sentiment on capitol hill, which is a shutdown is getting increasingly likely. every moment, the white house is just not going to budge on this issue of the president's health care law. they are not going to support something that defunds it, and they are not going to support something that delays it. in part, they believe they have t leverage in this fight and they also see a public that has said
they would put the blame mostly on republicans if the government were to shut down. having said that, i think that behind the scenes you will see a flurry of communication between the white house, between lawmakers on capitol hill, to try to get something resolved before that all-important deadline. there's also a thought, alex, that if we were to allow the government to shut down, that that would put more pressure on republicans to raise the debt limit by that deadline without using the president's health care law as a point of leverage. but at this point in time, a lot of people gearing up, preparing for a shutdown. >> yeah. >> alex? >> can you think of the best move that they have left in their playbook there in the administration? >> right. well, i think that what they will be pushing for at the very least is to try to work with harry reid to get at least a temporary extension, a week, a ten-day extension to try to work
this out behind the scenes and to move beyond this health care hurdle. having said that, if that doesn't happen, i think their next best move would be to ramp up the pressure if there were a shutdown to get the debt limit passed. as kelly pointed out, if we had these twin things, a government shutdown and a default, it would be economically catastrophic for the country. alex? >> thank you, kristen. speaking of behind the scenes, what went on there that got us here? details on that. and breaking bad meets obama care. highlights from the season premier of saturday night live. ♪ ho ho ho
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mr. speaker, it asks to delay it for one year. >> the senate won't take it up. the president won't sign it. house republicans are shutting down the government. >> that's just a sample of the intense emotions from the house before the gop-led body passed a bill to fund the government, but also postpone obama care for one years. senate democrats have already signalled they'll reject that. president obama says he'll veto it, meaning we're one day away from a government shutdown. let me bring in rachel bade and benjie starlin. benjie, i'll start with you. is a government shutdown now inevitable, and how did we get here? what went on behind the scenes that got us here? >> well, right now a government shutdown is certainly looking likely. as kelly o'donnell mentioned earlier, technically, there's time but it's not looking good. how we got here is an interesting story. as recently as a few days ago,
house leadership and many influential house and senate republicans was they didn't want to shut down over obama care, they were actively cautioning against it, but there was such a revolt from the tea party wing, from the conservative grassroots led by people like senator ted cruz, that they really felt no option but to go along with the most conservative wing of their members. and yesterday on the hill, when i was talking to even the more moderate republicans, like michael grimm and tom cole, who have been critical of the shutdown strategy, they are saying they are completely unified by this plan, which is likely to provoke a shutdown. the politics have definitely shifted on this within the republican party over the last few days and weeks. >> the bill is a complete nonstarter for the senate and the president, right? is this the view of the few prevailing over the actual many? >> yes, i guess you could definitely say that. as, you know, it was just mentioned that the republicans have actually gone further to the right on this.
speaker john boehner just a couple of weeks ago was advocating for more of a symbolic takeover of obama care that would basically allow the government spending to continue without this demand. and i would say that this is something that although it's surprising, it's not completely out of the blue, right? over the past two or three years, we've seen the republicans go further to the right because of the tea party wave and, obviously, they really hate obama care. they voted 40 times to delay it, to defund it, to get rid of it. and now leadership is listening to the rank and file. they have no other choice in the matter. they have to listen to them and they are passing this and it's basically up in the air what's going to happen at this point. we're moving closer to the shutdown. basically, republicans are banking on that constituents are going to give them some cover on this. they think constituents will forgive them, so long as they are getting rid of obama care, a means to an end. >> interesting, benjie, in today
"washington post," ezra klein looks at this half class full here, the house gop's shutdown is great news. if a shutdown begins monday night, republicans and democrats will have more than two weeks to resolve it before hitting the debt ceiling. is that sort of a silver lining here? >> i might put that as class three-quarters or 7/8 full. that's a popular theory. up of the top economists at goldman sachs, where they are very worried about a default, said you should root for a shutdown, not because they support the house republicans efforts, but they hope it will get it out of their system. but it's just as likely that the same dynamic driving the shutdown, this conservative faction of the republican party has become powerful and difficult to say no to, is going to lead to the same confrontation over the debt ceiling. perhaps they'll get it out of their system, let off steam with
a shutdown, it's very hard to say. >> what's interesting, rachel, is that the key provision the gop wants is just to delay obama care, but is that even technically possible? are the wheels in motion already? >> that's a good point. obama care enrollment for the exchanges is actually set to start on tuesday, and even in the event of a government shutdown, a lot of this is going to continue to roll out. the thing they want to delay is the subsidies. they want to basically push back the money that the government is going to give folks to basically afford coverage. that would be delayed by a year. same thing with the tax for a penalty of those who actually are not insured. >> okay. we talk about this delaying for a year, benjie. what is this, so they can, what, have another chance to get it right next year or to try to eradicate it? delay or get rid of? >> basically, the idea is that you delay it a year, purportedly, to give it a chance to function better, but that really doesn't make sense
because their actions in the past were aimed at undermining the law. they don't want this law to function properly, they are not open for fixes, but it does give them time to gather support and puts them into the next election, where they have a lot of hope they might retake the senate and give them more leverage in trying to undo the law, or at least do damage to it. there are definitely tactical considerations in this beyond let's give them more time to set up. >> you talk about how you aren't surprised we've gotten here. big picture, are we ever going to break out of this cycle of government by crisis? >> it's really going to depend on the polls. i personally think that it's going to take something like a crisis and american electorate totally freaking out in order for lawmakers to start governing responsibly. depending how the polls go, if this government shuts down, we could see republicans say, okay, maybe it's not worth it. maybe we should try to sort of come to the table, same thing
with democrats, as well, but it's really going to depend on the polls. this has real impact, if you think about it, this is going to be 800,000 federal workers without pay and a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck, so it's going to echo across the country. this is going to have real consequences around the nation. >> it will, indeed. rachel bade, bengy czar lin, appreciate it. breaking bad meets obama care on "snl." ♪ constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't.
the affordable care act was a big topic in the opening monologue of "saturday night live." in the season premiere, jay farrow was trying to sell the plan and got a young man from the southwest to offer a testimonial. >> here's a young man from new mexico with a heartbreaking story about health care before the affordable care act. so, jesse, can you come up here? thank you. [ applause ] >> what's up?
yeah, i have this friend, you know, and he got sick. like cancer sick. but because it wasn't obama care, he couldn't afford the treatments, so he was, like, backed into a corner, you know what i mean? >> and, keep in mind, this man was a teacher with a family. >> he was, he was. so he did what any of us would have done. he started cooking meth. >> now hold on -- >> and soon it wasn't just meth, it was murder, you know? and not regular murder, like he blew half a guy's face off. >> okay. i think we can probably wrap this up, but jesse from new mexico, everybody. >> wait, wait, wait -- don't you want to know what happened to my friend? >> no. >> that was good. so i guess no spoilers in it for the finale of "breaking bad." tina fey hosted last night's
version of "saturday night live" and miley cyrus hosts and performs next week. that is a wrap on this early edition of "weekends with alex witt." up next, "your business," followed by "up with steve kornacki." is just a tap away. ♪ introducing at&t digital life... ♪ ...personalized home security and automation... [ lock clicks ] ...that lets you be closer to home. that's so cool. [ male announcer ] get $100 in instant savings when you order digital life smart security. limited availability in select markets. ♪ a confident retirement. those dreams, there's just no way we're going to let them die. ♪ like they helped millions of others. by listening. planning. working one on one.
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