GOP Rep Blasts CNN Anchor: 'Are You Here to Give Us a Tirade?'
CNN's Ashleigh Banfield scolded two Republican congressmen for bringing the U.S. economy "to the brink," and one of them retorted that she was giving them a "tirade."
"[W]hy connect the funding of the government, the entire U.S. economy, why bring it to this brink? Why not do it at all of the other times? All of the other 100-plus congresses have been able to fund the government," Banfield asked Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Except not all other congresses have funded the government. There have been 17 government shutdowns and funding gaps since 1976. And Rohrabacher didn't like Banfield blaming Republicans for a possible shutdown.
"[Y]ou're telling your listeners that we Republicans are holding this up, and the government is going to shut down. We have actually reached out to the Democrats with a compromise position," he responded. Banfield answered that she was, in fact, blaming them.
"Congressman, that's not fair. Don't you dare put this back on me," Banfield fired back. "You know full well you attached ObamaCare and defunding it."
"Am I a guest on a news show, or are you here to give us a tirade? Let me finish my sentence," Rohrabacher insisted. "Excuse me, do your listeners understand this is the same thing we're putting up with with the Senate? We offer a compromise, they won't even talk to us about it. You won't even talk to us about it. Whose bidding are you doing?"
Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Legal View on Septembe 30 at 11:15 a.m. EDT:
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: I have got another number that you know, it might tickle your fancy, because so many people are so frustrated with what is happening. In fact, the words "spoiled children" come to mind. "Acting like spoiled children in the budget debate," Republicans, 69 percent. Democrats, 58 percent. The President, 47 percent. Whenever you hear about the spoiled children, you don't want to be in any of those percents. And yet, my next two guests are going to have to deal with what Americans are saying.
Representative Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican from California, standing beside Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican from Tennessee, who's also a member of the House Budget Committee. Thank you both for being on the program today. This cannot be an easy day for you, especially when you just heard what John King was laying out in the polls and you just heard what I laid out with regard to the spoiled children factor. How are you going to weather this? And I will begin with you, Congresswoman Blackburn.
Rep. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-Tenn.): I think that what we look at is that the American people have repeatedly said they want things to be under control and run by an orderly process in Washington, D.C. We completely agree with that. And that is why we have repeatedly sent options, and possibilities to the Senate. And I'll tell you that I think that the House is as disappointed as the American people that the Senate decided they were going to take off and have a weekend to go to ball games and play golf and things of that nature. We have been here working. We wish they were back in town now and we were addressing this. We agree with the American people. Don't shut the government down. We don't want to. What we want to do is keep it open and keep working to fix some of these programs that have very obvious substantiated problems and glitches like ObamaCare.
BANFIELD: It just sounds so simple when you say it like that, and it reminds me of my time in the Middle East, where both Palestinians and Israelis say we just want peace. But you both want your way, and neither one of you seems to want to blink in this ridiculous staring contest where we're the ones that need the Visine. So Congressman Rorabacher, why the continuing resolution? And for those of us that hate the technical speak, why connect the funding of the government, the entire U.S. economy, why bring it to this brink? Why not do it at all of the other times? All of the other 100-plus congresses have been able to fund the government.
Rep. DANA ROHRABACHER (R-Calif.): Well, have you addressed that to the senate? We have already offered a compromise. You are acting – you're telling your listeners that we Republicans are holding this up, and the government is going to shut down. We have actually reached out to the Democrats with a compromise position. We passed it –
BANFIELD: Congressman, that's not fair. Don't you dare put this back on me. You know full well – no, no. You know full well you attached ObamaCare and defunding it.
BANFIELD: But you can't make something up. You cannot make something up.
ROHRABACHER: Am I a guest on a news show, or are you here to give us a tirade? Let me finish my sentence. Let me finish my sentence.
BANFIELD: You passed a bill back to the Senate saying defund ObamaCare.
ROHRABACHER: Excuse me, do your listeners understand this is the same thing we're putting up with with the Senate? We offer a compromise, they won't even talk to us about it. You won't even talk to us about it. Whose bidding are you doing? We have offered the compromise. We don't like ObamaCare, they like it. We have reached out halfway to them, put on the table a proposal, passed a resolution to keep the government going. They opposed the resolution to keep the government going, and now say that there is no negotiations, we get it all and you get nothing. So and you are blaming us for the shutdown of the government?
BANFIELD: So if you want to know whose bidding I am doing, check my Twitter account after this interview where I invited two Republicans on and not a Democrat, so let's just clear the air right there.
ROHRABACHER: Yeah, but you're not letting us speak. You are cutting me off.
BANFIELD: You said that they were doing this, and I think it's important – you can in a moment, Congresswoman – it's very important for people to understand what's at stake here. There is a continuing resolution, which is the funding bill, just for the next two months to keep the government going. And the Republicans chose under a lot of pressure – Ted Cruz for one in the Senate – creating a lot of that pressure to attach defunding ObamaCare which is the law of the land. Why would you attach it, when you knew that this was going to create the problem? Go ahead, Marsha Blackburn.
ROHRABACHER: We came to a compromise.
BLACKBURN: Ashleigh, one of the things that you need to realize – and I would hope that your listeners and watchers all realize – number one, the House passes a budget every year. We have had a problem with the Senate not passing a budget. That is why we continue to work on a continuing resolution. This year, they did pass a budget, but then they said, okay, House, we are not going the negotiate with you, unless you agree to a tax increase. We weren't going to do that. We want to do tax reform. So thereby we get into this process of the continuing resolution.
Now the biggest part of growth in the budget is health care cost. The American people by overwhelming numbers do not like what is happening with the ObamaCare. So the first continuing resolution we sent had a bill that is carried by Tom Graves in the House, and that was a defunding bill. The Senate rejected that. So we went back into the session, our compromise position that we sent back to them carried a bill that by the way, the amendment passed with bipartisan support, and that is the amendment to simply delay ObamaCare for a year.
The President has already given 1,200 waivers, he has had 19 delays, and they have missed 47 regulatory deadlines on this program. It's not ready. So we have sent that to the Senate, and what we are hearing back is, well, they didn't stay here Saturday, they didn't show up Sunday to take action on it, and so they're going to come back today. So we've offered them a compromise.
BANFIELD: I hear you. We are 12 hours and 38 minutes on our countdown clock. Which by the way, is ticking away right underneath Congressman Rohrabacher's tie. 12 minutes and 38 minutes until a lot of people aren't going to get paid and a lot of things are going to shut down. And it could cost this country $2 billion in just muckety-muckety logistics. So I want to ask you, you are both paid $174,000 a year. That's your salary. Would you be prepared to add some kind of a rider or an amendment onto a continuing resolution that would take you out of the essential services category and stop payment on your paychecks in order to get a continuing resolution through, would you both – yes or no? Yes or no. Would you both be prepared to stop your paychecks?
BLACKBURN: We are waiting to see what they send back, and I hope that as you were running the countdown clock that you are running the debt clock. I have got two grandsons. Their share of the national debt is now over $53,000 each.
BANFIELD: No no no. I'm Sorry. I asked a really specific question, I wanted a yes or no question. There are a lot of the government workers that are going to stop receiving their paychecks, and a there are a lot of the military service members who are serving overseas who might stop being paid, and there are veterans whose benefits could be affected. Would you be prepared to take a cut, and lose your paycheck as well?
ROHRABACHER: Let me answer your question specifically. Members of the Congress should not be treated any differently than any other federal employee.
BANFIELD: Is that a yes?
ROHRABACHER: For that to happen, whatever happens to the federal employee should happen to us when it comes to what we get in benefits, whether it is retirement or health care . Whatever happens to the average federal employee should happen to us, that rule should not be changed. The bottom line is we have reached out now to the Senate, when you have that numbers underneath my tie, that should be under Harry Reid's picture, not mine. I have already done my job.
BANFIELD: And it will be. Two o'clock is coming soon. Two o'clock is coming soon.
ROHRABACHER: The Republicans have wanted to compromise. They've said hit the road.
BLACKBURN: And we are working. We are working. We are in session, they are not.
BANFIELD: You are not the only two on the hot seat, but you are both really great to come on with me today. Please fix this mess for the rest of us. We really – we like to pay you your big salaries, but we'd like for you to do more and do more negotiating and figure it out. You are like intransigent kids.
BLACKBURN: No, we are not. The House has been working –
BANFIELD: All of you.
BLACKBURN: – and we wish the Senate would work with us. Get 'em here. Get 'em here with us.