Whip Hoyer Discusses GOP Refusal to Compromise on Spending Deal on MSNBC

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with us steny Hoyer joining the conversation now. congressman, are we going to have a shutdown? can you hear me, congressman? i think they're just --

hi, how are you?

can you hear me? it's mika.

hi, mika.

are we going to have a shutdown?

i hope not.

what's it going to take?

it's going to take some willingness on the other side to give a little bit. we have given 70% towards the dollars they wanted to reduce and they have not given an inch on the policies that they want included, as governor daniels pointed out from indiana, candidate for president for the republican side of the aisle, he said, look, make an agreement on numbers, let's get that stabilized first, leave the social issues to other bills, that's what we ought to do. shutting down the government is a bad policy but a policy the republicans have pursued before, in 1995, in trying to bludgeon the clinton administration into things it didn't agree to. it's not good policy then, not good policy now. i will be working with other democratic leaders in the senate and house to try to keep the government open the next week or ten days, with a bridge that will get us from where we are now, negotiations, to hopefully an agreement but not shut down the government in the process.

steny, we have mark halperin with us from "time" magazine. mark.

you talked about how your party has already given 70% towards the republicans. why have you given so much ground and don't you think that has emboldened speaker boehner to seek more given you have given so much ground?

it may and that will be a mistake. i think the president is clear on what he will and will not do. he will not take positions with which he does not agree. george bush did the same thing. the difference was when george bush took those positions, we made it clear that we weren't going to shut down the government and, frankly, we agreed with the president so bills could be signed and the government could stay open.

why have you given so much ground already?

i think because the -- it's clear that the republicans, on dollars, there is a real, i think, desire among the american public, and we share that view that we have to restrain spending, bring the deficit under control. we left them with a 5.6 trillion dollar deficit when they took over in 2001. they squandered that and brought deep debt, $2.4 trillion of deficit spending during their reign when they controlled all the organs of government. we understand government spending has to be restrained, but we don't think that 100% of everything they want is sound democracy or sound negotiations.

all right.

the founder -- mort, i don't know whether you heard, the founder of the tea party patriots yesterday, in an interview with chris matthews, chris asked him what if boehner comes back with $99 billion? the founder of the tea party patriots said that wouldn't be enough. we want 100. under those circumstances, it's clear one party is stuck in the mud and will not move no matter what the consequences.

i wonder if perhaps to solve that problem, and to get one or the other party out of the mud, might be a consequence many government workers would have to endure if there was a government shutdown. do you think you and other members of congress should get paid? obviously there is a standard that will be paid if there is a government shutdown. perhaps would it make a difference if you all wouldn't receive your salaries?

i think as a practical matter we shouldn't receive our salaries, as a constitutional matter, the 27th amendment says our salaries can't be reduced. the reason is so members of congress can't be threatened by salary reduction to do this, that or the other but make their decisions on policy. the real issue, i think that's a powerful symbol and i think certainly that makes sense. the real issue is there is no excuse. no excuse for shutting down the government this time. we're very close to an agreement. there are simply some, as there were in the town meetings, didn't want to listen, wanted to shout and demonstrate and didn't want to come together and reason together. we will be working today, frankly, to try to get a bridge from where we are now to the next seven days or next 10 days to give some additional time, where reasonable people can sit down together and come to an agreement. i think that's possible and hopefully we'll get there.

to steve rattner.

speaker -- sorry, congressman, the speaker was prepared to do a deal at $33 billion on a couple different occasions but you said it is the tea party pulling him to the right. do you see any possibility the speaker would try to force a bipartisan consensus from the center and move away from the tea party which according to polls is actually losing popularity during this whole debate.

as you know, in the last cr we kept the government open for three weeks, i voted for that, a $3 billion cut per week, $6 billion total, i voted for that and brought about 85, 83 democrats with me. the republicans did not have the majority. they had 186, short of the 218 majority. in a bipartisan way, we passed that last cr. i told speaker and mr. cantor that i'm prepared, assuming internals, the components of the $70 billion, assuming we can agree with that, which i think we can, then i think i will try to help him pass this bill. so i would hope that the answer to your question is, yes, he could come away from his most hard line shutdown focused and intending members to come to a bipartisan agreement where we could make sense and reason together and keep the government open and not have the adverse effect on the economy a shutdown would have.

all right. steny Hoyer, recently promoted by steve rattner to speaker of the house.

i like it.

for being with us.