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Hullabaloo


Sunday, October 11, 2015

 
Dent vs Brat

by digby

(Are those a couple of evocative names or what?)

Anyway, if you missed it this morning the Charlie Dent, a very conservative member of the House who nonetheless understands how the government is structured and David Brat the braindead giant slayer who defeated Eric Cantor in a primary appeared on Meet the Press today and almost scratched each other's eyes out:


CHUCK TODD:

Well, to discuss what Ted Cruz calls utter panic inside the Republican party, I'm joined by two strong voices representing two different wings of the party inside the House: Dave Brat of Virginia, he's the man who arguably fired the first shot of the conservative revolution, or the most recent one within Congress, with his primary defeat of then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor back in June of 2014.

Also with us is Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. He's a strong moderate voice within the party. And he actually represents one of the few swing districts left in Congress. President Obama carried his district in 2008, and Mitt Romney narrowly carried it in 2012. Gentlemen welcome to both of you.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Thanks Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Congressman Brat, let me start with you. You're a member of the Freedom Caucus. What is it that you want, and what is it that Speaker Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor haven't delivered?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Right. Well, they all ran on a pledge to America. And just like your 72% of the folks out there in the real world, say, "We make these promises when we run, but then when we get up here, we're called 'unrealistic' by the Washington establishment and the bubble up here." What we want is what the American people want.

We have $19 trillion in debt, $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. All federal revenues will be spent in 11 years on just entitlement programs and interest on the debt. There will be not one dollar left for the military, education, transportation, and all of running government. So the American people want us to make progress on that.

Plus, President Obama, when I came in last year in November, we had the unconstitutional amnesty. Our leadership said we were going to fight tooth and nail on that thing. It's unconstitutional. President Obama said it 20 times on TV. Then you have overreach on all sorts of Dodd-Frank on the financial side, EPA regulation, a bad Iran deal. The people say, "Hey, step up and make the case for us." And so that's what we want to do.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, and Charlie Dent, Congressman Dent, I've heard and I think you're one of those who have said this, your response to him, particularly in spending issues would be, "You've done what you can with a Democratic president." Is that right?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Well, that's correct. But in order to address all the policy issues David just discussed, we have to get back to functionality. We have to prove to the American people we can govern. And that means we have to make sure the government is funded. We must make sure that we're not going to default on our obligations. We have to take care of transportation issues, tactics, extenders, et cetera.

To the extent that we are dysfunctional, we can't address these major policy issues. So really the issue is this: is we need to expand the governance within the Republican party. Those who have the capacity to say yes. What we've seen in Washington are a lot of people who hope no, and then they vote yes. We saw that on the continuing resolution a few weeks ago, and we're going to see it on a number of other issues going forward.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, it's interesting. You were nodding, nodding, nodding, and then you went, "No, no, no." Okay. Define the nod, and define the nos.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

The governing up in this place seems to always mean increased spending. That's what it means up here in D.C. That's not what governing means to the American people. Governing means getting the ship going in the right direction. So we have this budget chaos. Every year, right before Christmas, right? So we've got a CR coming up, we're going to fund it. Then we have an omni coming up second week of December.

CHUCK TODD:

Using a lot of Washington speak here. I just want to say, a short-term budget deal, or a long-term compromise.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Right. And so the point is, guess what? It's going to be utter chaos. The left is going to throw in all their toys they want into this thing, the right's going to throw it in. This was orchestrated on purpose, in my view. The budget committee finished its work back in April, May. Yeah, we voted the next step in the budget process, it goes to appropriations, 12 bills.

We passed five, the Senate only one. The Senate is a major problem. But we shouldn't be waving a white flag ahead of time. Charlie's kind of saying we should just give in and cave because we don't have the votes in the Senate.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

That's not what I'm saying at all.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

The compromise comes later when we get to the White House.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me push back though on two different things here from each side of your argument. With you, Congressman Brat, at the end of the day, the conservative movement's not a majority. And you don't necessarily even have a governing majority inside the House. So if you don't have that, how --when do you say, "Okay, I'm getting 50% of what I want, and it's the best I can do now, as I go to the campaign so I can go elect a Republican president."

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Totally disagree with the premise. We do have a majority. Last week on the CR, we had 153 Republicans vote against leadership's budget. That's the 153. The press is the only people that talks about these 40 guys and all the press today in The Washington Post said there's chaos.

The only chaos up here is on K Street and then Democrats are freaking out because if we actually have to balance a budget, right, even Keynes, a liberal economist, knew you had to run surpluses in the good years so you could pay for the deficits in the bad years. We've had seven years in a row of $500 billion deficits. It's terrible.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me-- and Congressman Dent, one of, I think, Congressman Brat's and other people's complaints, and over half of the Republican Congress has been elected in the last six years. And their complaint is this: you know what, we get here, and we don't have an opportunity to actually vote on the change, vote on some of the issues that we would like. Leadership tells us what we can or can't do. We don't get that opportunity to lose, essentially. Maybe we will lose. Maybe leadership's right, but you don't give us the opportunity to do it. What do you say to him on that?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Well, I think the leadership has been frankly very accommodating to those members who don't vote for the bills at the end of the process. This happens routinely. And I think a number of us have had enough of it. David just mentioned 150 Republicans voted against the continuing resolution. I can tell you that over half the Republican caucus strongly supported the continuing resolution. Only 91 voted for it.

CHUCK TODD:

Why?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Why? Because again we're back to hope yes, vote no. And they'd rather let the 91 of us take the flack, they can go home and tell folks that they stayed strong. This is a bill, by the way, that just level-funded the government for two and a half months. That's all it did.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, I want to do something. Go back to the future here meeting the rest of the press. I'm going to bring in my panel in here to join in the question. Eugene Robinson from The Washington Post, Hugh Hewitt, of course, who probably both of you have been on his radio show, Nathan Gonzales, who you both had an interview with before you actually won your office, and Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post. Hugh, fire away.

HUGH HEWITT:

A pox on both your wings. I am very and desperately hoping that Paul Ryan is praying about it and accepts this and here's my question. Yesterday a Russian jet was set down in Turkey. Yesterday almost 100 people were killed in Ankara, Turkey. The world is on fire. How dare you, with the American people waiting for leadership, paralyze the House? Charlie, you have to stop going on CNN and blasting David. And David, there are like 15 of you people. The Freedom Caucus is, like, 15 people. Paul Ryan's is like by 225 Republicans. Get with the program, guys.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

How do you know we're not on the program? I mean, you're doing fine.

HUGH HEWITT:

We support Paul Ryan. If he wins the conference, no, we support his agenda.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah, we have a constitution as a country, I've got five policy principles, and--

HUGH HEWITT:

And it's not a hard question. Will you support Paul Ryan--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Well, if you let me answer it, it'd be easier. I've got give policies on my webpage and five process. If he goes with that, we're gonna give him a strong look.

HUGH HEWITT:

You're holding the caucus hostage.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

The answer is, yes, I will support Paul Ryan. But Paul Ryan is also a very smart man. The underlying governing and political dynamic of the House has not changed. Paul Ryan, if he becomes speaker, and I hope he does, what will happen is he will have to make accommodations and collaborate with the Democrats to pass a debt ceiling, to pass a budget agreement, and an omnibus appropriations bill.

If he does those things, he will have his legs taken up by some of his own members. We all know that. Now, if he chooses to go through the status quo, with the status quo, then the House will continue to be mired in this paralysis and the institution will be weaker, the speaker would be weaker. He's going to have the same problems that John Boehner had and Kevin McCarthy is about to experience.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Gene Robinson fire.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Congressman Brat, your litany of complaints about the Obama years, ObamaCare, immigration, all the things that you complained about illustrate that you cannot set the national agenda from the House of Representatives. You simply cannot, that cannot be done. You have to win the White House. Are you not, with the Freedom Caucus, essentially making it less likely that there will be a Republican president elected next year? And then less likely that you'll be able to set the national agenda?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

No, absolutely not. I mean, we've got pox on both of us coming from D.C. talking heads. And then--

(OVERTALK)

REP. DAVE BRAT:

What everybody up here is missing are the objective economic numbers. We have a guaranteed financial crisis in law coming up in 11 years. And we're missing the American people. Go poll the American people. You want to know my response? I follow the American people. i don't-- Charlie here wants us to follow, like, a caucus or whatever. He wants to kick us out of our conference for voting our conscious.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I don't want to do that.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Well, you're on record last week saying it.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Populist support for Congress is--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I never said any such thing. That's an outrageous thing to say.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

-- It's Sunday morning--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

That's an outrageous thing to say.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

--No, it's absolutely true.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

That's not true. No, that's--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

You said we "need to be punished," end quotes.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

No. I said we should marginalize people that don't know how to governor, who don't want to govern. I believe that members of Congress have a responsibility to govern. And that means, you know, Hugh raised the issue of the world being on fire.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah, right.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Shutting down the government in the middle of this would be a terrible thing. Our men and women in uniform need us to provide--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Right, right.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

--Some certainty and stability. He's right. The world is on fire. So we have to get our act together. But the point is, for those who don't want to govern, we have to establish bipartisan coalitions to pass any meaningful legislation--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

There you go again.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

But that's what we've had to do all year.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

So you want Nancy Pelosi to help determine our speaker for the Republican conference.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

No, I want Republicans to, but you won't support Paul Ryan.

REP. DAVE BRAT

Our own leadership, if I could just finish my sentence--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

He just asked the question.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

How do you know that? I never said that.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

He just asked the question.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

You're missing it, Charlie. I just said I will support if he's for the process and for the policy that the American people want. Everything I said, you want Nancy Pelosi to be in on speaking in our-- and you want to kick out conservatives out of our own conference. It's unbelievable--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

You empowered Nancy Pelosi when you sided with her on the DHS appropriations bill. You sided with Nancy Pelosi on the Iran disapproval resolution.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Charlie, you're doing a discharge position and you sided with her on trade, a Republican--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

--the Republican principle

CHUCK TODD:

Let him finish this sentence.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Not me, that was you who sided.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

That's a sentence, good. Charlie, this week is doing a discharge petition with 40 Republicans to go with Nancy Pelosi to get the export/import bank back into play this week, going around the whole--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I'll tell you why.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

--going against the whole committee structure of the Republican Congress--

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

--that we're trying to bring--

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to jump in here, the final question.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

We need good process.

CHUCK TODD:

Final question here. When do you need to hear from Paul Ryan about whether he's in or not? Does it need to happen in the next 24, 48 hours?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I don't think it has to happen in the next 24, 48 hours. This is a tough decision. Paul's a smart guy. He's got to make a hard choice. May I address the discharge petition?

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Very quick.

CHUCK TODD:

Very fast.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Some of us, the governing wing, want to use the process to advance good legislation. Others want to use the process to obstruct--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

--legislation.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Crony capitalism.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

We're going the save a lot of jobs in Pennsylvania. We sent locomotives to developing countries that don't have foreign capital market--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Free markets.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me pause right here. Congressman Brat?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah?

CHUCK TODD:

Are you okay with Kevin McCarthy staying as majority leader?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah, absolutely. We have good talks with him. He came and talked with us. The whole conference is making great progress toward these reforms we're talking about, getting back to regular order. Kevin was, "Yes, yes, yes" on that. So the talking points that we're in this war, it's overblown. Get to the facts.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I am over time already. I promise.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I didn't get a turn.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you're going to get a turn later in the show. These guys have to get going. Thank you both.

Congressman Dent, I really think viewers got an understanding of the differences inside your conference. I appreciate it.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yes, thank you, thank you.

I think that speaks for itself.

And Howard Kurtz said that the liberals are over-hyping the GOP's problems in the House:


KURTZ: Kevin McCarthy's stunning decision to drop out of the election for speaker has thrown the house into an uproar. A very big story, no question about it, but some liberal commentators seem to be taking a certain glee in the GOP's troubles. […]

Are the media in general and some liberal commentators in particular, turning this into, I don't know, Armageddon?

Uh huh.

H/T to John Amato

.