Scheiffer: Senator Durbin, Speaker Boehner is working on a plan that he hopes can be supported in the House, but Democrats have already said "no way" and that is this short-term extension of the debt limit. Could something like that possibly pass the Senate?Brilliant framing of the GOP's intransigence? Check
Durbin: Bob, let me tell you what the problem is. Those who give us a rating, a credit rating, for the United States of America -- Moody's, Fitch, Standard & Poor -- have told us "Don't do that." A short-term extension of the debt ceiling is going to jeopardize our economy at a time when the global economy is so weak, when we are facing a downgrade of America's credit rating. They have warned us not to do it and Speaker Boehner is ignoring that warning. We can't do that.
I'll tell you what will happen. We know that Majority Leader Cantor walked out of the negotiations with Vice President Biden. We know that Speaker Boehner walked out of negotiations with the President, not once, but twice. And now, the reality is if we fail to extend the debt ceiling of the United States, we will be imposing a new tax on working families and businesses across America. They'll see it in their credit cards. They'll see it in their home loans, in their automobile loans. This is a tax which will be imposed because speaker Boehner refuses to consider a tax on the wealthiest people in America.
Scheiffer: All right, but -- I take your point on all of that, but wouldn't it be better to pass a short-term extension to raise the debt limit than just letting this thing go?
Durbin: Well, we absolutely do not want to default. But this notion that we're going to replay this movie in four or five months, that we're going to face this whole thing all over again, the American economy is too fragile at this point in recovery for us to allow that to happen. We've been warned, not by political advisors -- I hear the Republicans, they want to make this a campaign issue. Ignore the political advisors for a moment. Listen to the economists who are telling us, all of them together, "Do not lurch from one five-month period to another when it comes to the credit rating of the United States of America, not at this moment in history. It's going to hurt us. It's going to stall our recovery and I might say to Speaker Boehner he should remember six words: if you break it, you own it. In this situation, he has the responsibility to lead his Republican caucus and to help this nation move forward in a stronger economy.
Scheiffer: Have you talked to Senator Reid? What's his thinking at this hour?
Durbin: He's been working non-stop, as everyone has. They've all put a lot of time into it. But an agreement has not been reached yet. It needs to be reached today. I know that Tim Geithner has warned us that at some moment, there's a tipping point here. These political negotiations will go on too long and people will start paying the price. And it won't be just the politicians. It's going to be the average working family in America, the average business, that will face this new burden from this failure to reach an agreement that they are going to sense and feel. They're going to see in their savings a reduction in value, I'm afraid if we don't extend the debt ceiling. That's why it's critical for us to reach an agreement today.
Scheiffer: Exactly. So what happens if you don't reach the agreement today?
Durbin: ...It takes a long time to move legislation through the Senate. Under the best of circumstances, a controversial bill will take you a week to go through the Senate and so we need to have an understanding today and move forward.
I would just say to Speaker Boehner: The President negotiated directly with you in good faith twice and you walked away from it. At some point, the Speaker has to accept the responsibility beyond his caucus to this nation. I met with a business leader here in Chicago yesterday who was in a meeting with Speaker Boehner where the Speaker was saying not extending the debt ceiling is not that serious a thing. Yes it is.
Proving the GOP doesn't really care about the deficit? Check
Demonstrating for all to see that the GOP chooses party over country every time? Check
Destroying the GOP's anti-tax mantra? Check
Highlighting how the GOP is square at odds with prevailing public sentiment?
only 21 percent of the people surveyed said they approved of Republicans' handling of the negotiations, while 71 percent disapprove.
Even half of the Republican respondents (51 percent) voiced disapproval of how members of their own party in Congress are handling the talks. Far fewer Democrats expressed disapproval of their own party's handling (32 percent) or President Obama's (22 percent) of the urgent quest to raise the nation's debt limit ahead of a looming default on Aug. 2 if action isn't taken.
Contrary to Republican dogma, polls show that the American people strongly support higher taxes to reduce the deficit and improve income inequality. Following are 18 different polls since the first of the year that say so.Chuh-eck!