New York Rep. Charles Rangel
says his fellow Democrats failed to pass the 2011 budget bill when they were in the congressional majority because it was “a political hot potato.” Rangel also said Thursday on Fox News that Congress needs to avoid a government shutdown, which would “embarrass the nation and the world.”
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly noted that when House Democrats were in the majority, the budget could have included needed spending cuts and many of the programs in contention today, including Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio.
“We didn’t get to it — we didn’t do it. It was a political hot potato — but that has nothing do with where we are today,” Rangel said. “I think what we have to do is to really see whether the whole Congress is going to embarrass the nation and the world by not being able to clean up the mess that we have and move forward — that’s the question.”
O’Reilly asked why an agreement was so elusive, since everyone in Congress knows government spending needs to be slashed to maintain fiscal solvency, and the Democrats don’t want to agree to cuts to achieve that goal.
“That’s the goal, but there are a lot of people down here that don’t understand the process,” Rangel said. “Coming down here in the House of Representatives, where you have a tremendous majority, and saying that you have got to cut everything that you want, doesn’t mean it’s going to become the law.
“So you can’t say: Either it’s my way or the highway — you have to negotiate,” Rangel said. “And, unfortunately, there are some people who believe when they got elected that they made a promise to their electorate that compromising is a sin.
“Bill, you should know — and I know you do know — that just cutting spending doesn’t mean you are going to have savings,” he continued. “You just can’t come in and slash and burn. We have already made substantial cuts.
“The major problem that we have is that there are some people, about 87 of the new Republicans, that believe that compromise — which is the basis of legislation — is a bad thing,” Rangel added.
“They won’t compromise and we’ll never get anything done until they learn how to do it.”
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