Mr. President, we are now three days into
a completely unnecessary, completely unavoidable Republican shutdown, and there is more talk
than ever about our inability of our leaders to find common ground on central economic
and fiscal issues of our time. The government shutdown is throwing a major
wrench into a fragile economic recovery. Nearly 1 million federal employees are sitting
at home for no reason, and other public servants are working but not earning a paycheck. Cancer
patients are being turned away from clinical trials at the NIH. Veterans’ benefits are
at risk. Basic nutrition services for pregnant women and new moms will be disrupted. Small
businesses won’t be able to get federal loan guarantees.
And all this is happening on top of the idiotic sequester – drastic, across-the-board spending
cuts – that have crippled Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and investments in medical research.
We all know how we got here. For years now, we’ve heard a small minority in this country
rail against government. When I hear the latest tirades from some of
the extremists in the House, I am struck by how vague these complaints are.
From their rhetoric, you’d think they believe that anytime that we the people come together
to improve our lives that the nation is committing some terrible wrong.
From their rhetoric, you’d think they believe that the government that functions best is
a government that doesn’t function at all. So far, they haven’t ended government but
they have achieved the next best thing: shutting the government down.
But behind all the slogans of the Tea Party and all the thinly veiled calls for anarchy
in Washington, behind all that there’s a reality.
The American people don’t want the extremist Republican’s bizarre vision of a future
without government. They don’t support it. Why? Because the American people know that
without government, we would no longer be a great nation with a bright future. The American
people know that government matters. The anarchy gang is quick to malign government
but when was the last time anyone called for regulators to go easier on companies that
put lead in children’s toys? Or for food inspectors to stop checking whether the meat
in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria? Or for the FDA to ignore whether
morning sickness drugs will cause horrible deformities in little babies? We never hear
that, not from political leaders in Washington and not from the American people.
In fact, whenever the anarchy gang makes headway in their efforts to damage our government,
the opposite happens. After the sequester kicked in, Republicans
immediately turned around and called on us to protect funding for our national defense
and keep the air traffic controllers on the job.
And now that the House Republicans have shut down the government, holding the country hostage
because of some imaginary health care bogeyman, Republicans almost immediately turned around
and called on us to start re-opening parts of our government.
Why do they do this? Because the bogeyman government is like the bogeyman under the
bed. It’s not real. It doesn’t exist. What is real, what does exist, are all those
specific and important things that we as Americans have chosen to do together through our government.
In our democracy, government is not some make-believe thing that has an independent will of its
own. In our democracy, government is just how we describe the things that we the people
have already decided to do together. It’s not complicated. Our government has
three basic functions: Provide for the national defense, put in place rules of the road – like
speed limits and bank regulations that are fair and transparent, and build the things
together that none of us can build alone – roads, power grids, schools – the things that give
everyone a chance to succeed. We are a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs,
growing small businesses and thriving big businesses. But our people succeed – our
country succeeds – because we have all come together to put public institutions and infrastructure
together. We all decided to pass laws to put cops on
the beat so that no one steals your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street.
We all decided to invest in public education so that businesses have skilled workers and
a kid with an idea can create the next breakthrough company.
We all decided to invest in basic science so there is a great pipeline of ideas to create
our future. These achievements aren’t magic. They didn’t
simply occur on their own or through dumb luck. In each instance, we made a choice as
a people to come together. The Food and Drug Administration makes sure
that the white pills that we take are antibiotics and not baking soda.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees crash tests to make sure that all
new cars have effective breaks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission makes
sure that baby’s car seats don’t collapse in a crash and the toasters don’t explode.
We don’t know who they are. But there is no question that there are Americans alive
today, Americans who are healthier, Americans who are stronger because of these and countless
other government efforts. Alive, healthier, stronger because of what we did together.
The anarchy gang at the House can dump on their make-believe version of government all
they want. But when the real government fails to live up to the high expectations we have
all set for it, politicians in both parties rush to outrage. Why? Because the American
people know that government can work and believe government should work.
Today – that’s right, today – marks the fifth anniversary of President Bush signing
the bank bailout into law. That financial crisis cost us upwards of $14 trillion. That’s
trillion with a T. That’s $120,000 for every American household, more than two years worth
of income for the average family. Billions of dollars in retirement savings disappeared.
Millions of workers lost their jobs. And millions more families lost their homes.
In April 2011, after a two-year bipartisan inquiry, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations released a 635 page report that made it plain regulators could have and
should have used their existing tools to prevent the crisis. Republicans and Democrats, a bipartisan
group, found strong agreement that – you better believe it – government matters.
The attacks on government are abstract, but the consequences of this shutdown are real.
Less accountability for cheaters and rule breakers. Less opportunity for our children.
Cracks in the foundations that businesses need to succeed. And a tilted playing field
that limits opportunities for all of our people. We know the government doesn’t always work.
We know that no institution is infallible. People make mistakes. Ideas fail, and sometimes
we get things wrong. But our response isn’t to give up. Our response
isn’t to sit back and say, “I told you so.” We’re not a nation of quitters!
Our response – the American response is to fix it, to make government work better.
Our democracy is an experiment, and it’s always evolving. We constantly re-design and
re-imagine and improve on what we do together. But time and time again throughout our history,
we have reaffirmed the simple truth that government matters.
And right now, right at this moment, if you look closely, you’ll see that we are reaffirming
it once again. It’s not an accident that the desire to
shutdown government is confined to one extremist faction of one political party of one chamber
of Congress of one branch of government. It is not an accident that this extremist
faction must resort to absurd hostage tactics, threats to turn off the government, threats
to default on our debts, threats to tank the economy, to force their views on everyone
else. And it’s not an accident that this faction
is doing everything in its power to make government appear dysfunctional.
In a democracy, these hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t win
their fights through elections, can’t win their fights through Congress, can’t win
their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in court.
But these threats are not working and they will never work because this is a democracy,
and for more than 200 years our democracy has defeated extremists and rejected the idea
that government doesn’t matter. So, Mr. President, to those who have forced
us to the brink, to those who rail against a make-believe government, to those who seem
to rejoice in anarchy, to those who have salivated at the chance to shut down our government
because their extremist views have left them disconnected from the experiences of the American
people, it is time to hear a simple message: You can do your best to make government look
like it doesn’t work when you stop it from working. You can do your best to make government
look paralyzed when you paralyzed. You can do your best to make government look incompetent
through your incompetence and ineffective through your ineffectiveness. But sooner or
later, the government will re-open because this is a democracy and this democracy has
already rejected your views. We have already chosen to do these things together we all
know that we are stronger when we come together. When this government re-opens, when our markets
are safe again, when our scientists can return to their research, when our small businesses
can borrow, when our veterans can be respected for their service, when our flu shots resume
and our Head Start programs get back to teaching our kids, we will have rejected your views
once again. We are not a country of anarchists. We are
not a country of pessimists and ideologues whose motto is “I got mine, the rest of
you are on your own.” We are not a country that tolerates dangerous drugs, unsafe meat,
dirty air or toxic mortgages. We are not that nation. We have never been that nation, and
we will never be that nation. Today, a political minority in the House that
condemns government and begged for this shutdown has had its day. But like all the reckless
and extremist factions that have come before it, their day will pass, and our democracy
will return to the important work that we have already chosen to do together.
Hey, welcome to another video installment of The Scrum. I’m Adam Riley with my colleague Peter Kadzis,
talking to you after the most recent Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio, and Peter Kadzis, it seems to me the big story of the night was everyone — I exaggerate, but only slightly — seemingly everyone,
going after Elizabeth Warren, trying to knock her down a peg or two. Am I right about that? Yeah. I mean, this is her official coming out
as the front runner. Everyone attacked her, except Julian Castro, who is rumored to be under consideration to be her vice presidential candidate. Boston to Austin. I think the attack that was most interesting
and most effective was from Sen. Klobuchar — At least Bernie’s being honest here,
and saying how he’s going to pay for this, and that taxes are going to go up. And I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but you have not said that. And I think we owe it to the American people
to tell them where we’re going to send the invoice. Warren dodged the issue of how much her health care, the Medicare For All would cost. Now, it’s interesting that on Twitter, when I pointed out that she was dodging, I was slammed with a slew — — really? of tweets by people saying, yes,
she’s not giving the Republicans any talking points. This is what you should be doing.
She’s sticking to the issue. By the way, I suppose, in the short term, that’s true. But Democrats are crazy if they think that if Warren is the nominee, that the Republicans will not come after her for the huge cost here. So given that, let me ask you, why doesn’t Warren
just do what Bernie Sanders has consistently done, did again tonight, after all, it’s his plan that she says
she backs when it comes to Medicare For All, and say essentially,
yes, some middle class taxes are going to go up,
but you’re going to save on the other end much more than you’ll have to pay,
because you’re not going to have to pay deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, all that stuff that you have to pay nowadays. Why doesn’t she just take that tack, do you think? Well, I’m going to go back to my theory that I would not be surprised if before Iowa or right after New Hampshire that sometimes Warren may say, look, I’ve just been pressed too far. I have come up with an alternative health care plan. I could be wrong. By the way, I have absolutely no evidence whatsoever. All right. Let me ask you about Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders, of course, is coming off a heart attack, which his campaign was accused of covering up. Joe Biden coming off, I guess, being at the center of the nation’s impeachment drama, now that we know that President Trump
was pushing for an investigation of his son, Hunter, in Ukraine. How do you think those two fared tonight, given the distinct challenges that they came into the debate with? Bernie Sanders was good. I mean, I hate to say this, but the heart attack did him a world of good. He he wasn’t screeching. He wasn’t yelling. He was holding himself in. He was still fiery. Actually, he was in a very good mood.
I thought he was very effective. Joe Biden is like a cloud. He’s up there in the sky. You know, no one can really hit him. It’s not so much that he’s a force unto himself,
but he’s a force of nature. And the important thing to understand about politics at the presidential level, is you have to be a survivor. Biden is a survivor. Is it going to be enough for him
to say, when he’s asked about his son Hunter’s business dealings, ‘You know, my son’s statement speaks for itself.’ — I did my job. I never discussed a
single thing with my son about anything having to do with Ukraine. No one has indicated I have. We’ve always kept everything separate, even when my son was the attorney general
of the state of Delaware. We never discussed it. So there’d be no potential conflict. My son made a judgment. I’m proud of the judgment he made. I’m proud of what he had to say. And let’s focus on this. The fact of the matter is that this is about Trump’s corruption. You are running for president of the United States. You’ve been vice president. Can you just say,
‘Oh, my son’s comments speak for themselves?’ Or is that playing a little fast and loose? I’m loading the question here,
because I feel like it’s the latter. Fast and loose is, you know, standard for presidential politics. I think the effect is more subliminal. In other words, the Hunter Biden episode
isn’t something that’s going to, you know, smash the former vice president over the head. It has a subliminal effect on people, and it speaks to the sort of overall rottenness and insider-ness of Washington, D.C. Another candidate who was going after
Elizabeth Warren pretty hard was Pete Buttigieg. — Your signature, Senator, is to have a plan for everything. Except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion dollar hole in this Medicare For All plan that Senator Warren is putting forward
is supposed to get filled in. How did he fare trying to knock Warren down a peg or two compared to Klobuchar, do you think? Not that well, I mean, it was good to see that the the boy mayor had some energy, but he was letting his elbows flail, but I don’t think he laid a glove on her. Klobuchar laid more than a glove on Warren. All right. So is she your pick, I assume,
for one candidate who comes out of this, who maybe was struggling,
she’s the one who maybe gets a little boost? She also emerges and reminds people that the Democratic Party is not full of people to the left. She’s a centrist. She’s tough-minded. She didn’t take any guff. You know, I’ve always sort of had a secret political crush on her. Let me ask you one closing question. This debate over means and ends, over how ambitious the party should be to try to get stuff done. One of my takeaways from tonight was that
that is going to be around for a long time. Whether or not you have Elizabeth Biden,
pardon me. Whether or not you have Elizabeth Warren,
the idealist as the nominee, or Joe Biden, the realist, or, you know, maybe someone else. There’s this really sharp divide over, do we shoot for the moon and try to change the system, or do we make small incremental changes that we’re more likely to attain? Is that a problem for Democrats
to have this split inside the party over which way to go? It’s a problem for Democrats. It’s also a problem for the nation. We can’t agree on much. Look, if things play out the way we think
they’re going to play out, we won’t be able — we’ll agree on impeaching the president, but we won’t agree on removing him from office. These are pretty turbulent times. We don’t agree on much.
And so I don’t think the Democrats can escape that. All right. Peter Kadzis, thanks as always. Thank you for watching The Scrum. Find the Scrum podcast online and look for us again here after the next debate. Thanks for watching.
>>BACK WITH ANDREW LELLING, IN
THE 1993 BIG-SCREEN THRILLER,
THE FUGITIVE, HARRISON FORD
PLAYS A PERSON CONVICTED FOR THE
MURDER OF HIS WIFE. THE REAL KILLER HAS A
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTIC THAT IS
AN IMPORTANT PLOT POINT. IS IT ONE ARM, ONE EGG OR ONE —
ONE LEG OR ONE EYE?>>I WILL GO WITH ONE ARM.>>TOMMY LEE JONES WON AN AWARD.>>IS C3 FOR THREE?>>HE IS.>>FRED FRIEND THOMPSON — FRED
WHAT STATE DID HE REPRESENT WHEN
HE CAME TO WASHINGTON? [LAUGHTER]
>>CLEAN SWEEP.>>444, IT WAS TENNESSEE. — FOUR FOR FOUR.>>HIS VOICE ALONE COULD GET HIM
ELECTED.>>YOU ARE AN APPOINTEE OF
PRESIDENT TRUMP. DO YOU PLEAD THAT THE
IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY UNDERWAY IS
VALID?>>I WILL NOT COMMENT ON THE
BELOW THE — T
VALIDITY OF THE
IMPEACHMENT. I DON’T FOLLOW IT BACK CLOSELY. I AM SOMETHING OF A POLITICAL
JUNKIE. MAYBE LIKE A LOT OF AMERICANS, I
AM HITTING THE EXHAUSTION POINT. I DON’T MEAN THAT AS POLITICAL
COMMENTARY ON ITS VALIDITY ARE
NOT, I AM HITTING THE EXHAUSTION
POINT. I DON’T WATCH NATIONAL NEWS IN
THE GYM. I T TURN ON LOCAL NEWS ABOUT
CATS IN TREES. I AM AT THE POINT WHERE I CAN’T
WATCH ANYMORE.>>THIS IS SOMETHING I KNOW YOU
WANT TO TALK A. YOU OPPOSE SAFE IN JUNCTION
SITES. A PENNSYLVANIA JUDGE IS BEING
RULED — HAS RULED THAT THEY ARE
ILLEGAL AND PROVIDE LOGICAL
ACCESS TO MEDICAL TREATMENT. WITH AT LEAST ONE MASSACHUSETTS
MAYOR PLANNING TO OPEN THESE
FACILITIES, WILL YOU STILL
PROSECUTE?>>YES.>>IS A MESSAGE TO THE
SOMERVILLE MAYOR?>>I HAVE READ HIS STATEMENTS
AND I THINK THERE ARE A FEW
THINGS TO SAY. WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE. I UNDERSTAND THAT BOTH SIDES OF
THE DEBATE ARE WORKING IN GOOD
FAITH, INCLUDING THE MAYOR OF
SOMERVILLE. THE POLICY ISSUE IS A LEGAL
ISSUE. I AM NOT S SURE THAT IT IS A
GOOD IDEA IN REDUCING OPIOID
ADDICTION. I DON’T GET THAT FAR. THERE IS A STATUTE THAT I
BELIEVE, SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITS
OPENING THESE THINGS. YOU HAVE TO GO TO LEGISLATOR TO
GET THE LAW — L-LEGISLAURE TO
GET THE LAW CHANGED. THERE WOULD BE SOME KIND OF
ENFORCEMENT.>>YOU WOULD IGNORE THE FEDERAL
JUDGE’S RULING?>>I WILL READ THE RULING. THE WAY THIS WORKS IS THE
FOLLOWING. POLICY ON THIS KIND OF NATIONAL
ISSUE WILL VERY MUCH INVOLVE MY
COUNTERPARTS IN D.C.. THEY HAVE THE RULING. THEY WILL READ AND I WILL READ
AND THEY WILL THINK ABOUT WHAT
IT SAYS. THEY WILL MAKE A DECISION ON
WHETHER IT AFFECTS THE
DEPARTMENTS POSITION. I THINK YOU WILL FIND IT DOES
NOT. THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
ISSUED A STATEMENT LAST NIGHT
SAYING IF YOU OPEN ONE OF THESE,
WE WILL PROSECUTE. THAT IS WHERE WE COME OUT. IT IS NOT A MATTER OF IGNORING
THE COURT’S DECISION. WE JUST DISAGREE WITH IT.>>I WOULD LIKE TO GO TO JASON
LOU CORREA. IT IS ON SMALLER STATES BUT IT
IS AN INTERESTING CASE. YOU HAVE CHARGED HIM WITH
EXTORTING CANNABIS VENDORS. IS THIS ABOUT SMALLTALK
CORRUPTION?>>TO BE FAIR TO THE CANNABIS
CONTROL COMMISSION, IT IS MUCH
MORE THE FORMER. THIS IS A CORRUPTION CASE. IT HAPPENS TO BE THAT THE
ALLEGED CORRUPTION IN THIS CASE
TOUCHES ON A NEW AREA OF
REGULATION IN MASSACHUSETTS
WHERE SOME KINKS NEED TO BE
WORKED OUT. I THINK THEY WILL BE WORKED OUT. SO, THE POINT OF THE CASE WAS
NOT TO SHINE BRIGHT LIGHT ON THE
CANNABIS CONTROL COMMISSION. THE POINT WAS TO SHINE A BRIGH
LIGHT ON MAYOR KOREA. — CORREA.>>YOU HAVE TO PROMISE YOU WILL
COME BACK SOON.>>WE WILL HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON
AND THEN HIT PLAY WHEN YOU SHOW
UP. THE SUNDAY ROUNDTABLE IS COMING
UP. ELIZABETH WARREN RISING IN THE
POLLS. BERNIE SANDERS IS HAVING HEALTH