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In Press Conference, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn Express Disappointment in GOP Tactics, Approach to Debt and Deficit Negotiations – Call for Civility and Compromise

July 27, 2011

Republicans Showed A Violent Clip in Caucus to Stoke Confrontation with Democrats and President Over Debt Ceiling as Nation’s Economy Hangs in the Balance

Clip from “The Town”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGxYjJ5bcv0

The press conference can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXfLbW08Opc

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn held a press conference today to express disappointment in the House Republican’s refusal to reach a compromise on the debt and deficit in time to avoid an historic default on our nation’s obligations and prevent the United States’ AAA bond rating from being downgraded. House Republicans have hardened their position against compromise by pursuing a bill and legislative strategy that has no Democratic support, has no chance of passing the Senate, and they are girding for battle in a caucus meeting yesterday by watching a clip from the movie “The Town” in which the Ben Affleck’s character says “we’re gonna hurt some people.”

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100929/DNCLOGO)

In the press conference, Wasserman Schultz said that as the country faces an economic catastrophe “Now is not the time to be firing up the troops with take-no-prisoners rhetoric and examples like the one shown in that clip from ‘The Town.’ Now is not the time to be thinking about putting the political hurt to the other party or its President. Right now, we need to get down to the hard business of governing and coming together to prevent default and reduce the deficit.”

Clyburn likewise called for civility:

“My Dad always told me the first sign of a good education is good manners. I’ve tried to practice that throughout my entire career. Throughout my career, I’ve maintained that the distance between me and an opponent on any issue is five steps. I don’t mind taking three of them. We’ve tried to practice that. I sat in the room for ten meetings with the Biden group. In all of those discussions, I didn’t find it necessary to ever raise my voice to make a point or walk away when things didn’t go my way. We sat there every day to make our case and that’s what we’re trying to do for the American people. The American people, as I’ve said, look on the Hall of the House as a classroom. They should expect us as members of Congress to conduct ourselves in such a way that when the school children from across the country look in on us, look at how we interact with one another, they can use that as an example of how we can conduct ourselves as citizens across the country.”

Wasserman Schultz noted that the use of the clip was a “sad metaphor for what we’ve seen from the Republicans throughout the course of this debate. An unwillingness to compromise, a barely veiled interest in hurting the President politically and a plan that would hurt millions of vulnerable Americans while requiring nothing of the most fortunate. When we set out to get our country’s deficit under control, we knew we were in for a difficult debate. But I don’t think anyone anticipated that our disagreements would lead to the type of vitriol and negative tone that this clip was clearly meant to incite.”

The DNC Chair also noted that to Republicans “this is a political fight – one in which they are more interested in scoring points and hurting Democrats and the President than they are in protecting the country from an economic catastrophe. And one in which they are all too willing to inflict pain on middle and working class Americans and seniors if it would require compromise to do otherwise.”

Wasserman Schultz’s remarks as prepared for delivery can be found below. The press conference can be viewed here: LINK

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz
“The Town” Press Conference
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
July 27, 2011

I’m going to start by showing you a short clip that Republicans used in a meeting of their House members yesterday to fire up their troops regarding their approach to the ongoing discussions over debt and deficits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGxYjJ5bcv0

Normally, I would say I was outraged by such a thing. But honestly, I just find it to be a sad metaphor for what we’ve seen from the Republicans throughout the course of this debate. An unwillingness to compromise, a barely veiled interest in hurting the President politically and a plan that would hurt millions of vulnerable Americans while requiring nothing of the most fortunate.

When we set out to get our country’s deficit under control, we knew we were in for a difficult debate. But I don’t think anyone anticipated that our disagreements would lead to the type of vitriol and negative tone that this clip was clearly meant to incite.

The clip that you just watched was played yesterday by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy during a meeting of House Republicans. It comes from the movie, ‘The Town.’ And you can’t miss its point: when a criminal asks his friend for help, saying, “We’re going to hurt some people,” his friend responds simply, “Whose car are we gonna take?”

Not only did the Republican leadership apparently think this clip appropriate for their meeting, those in attendance seemed to embrace its message.

Look, I’m the last to begrudge either caucus using tools to get their members focused and motivated and I’m sure Republicans will say we’re making a mountain out of a molehill. They could have used Hoosiers, Rudy, Band of Brothers…but this?

But what does this say about the Republican caucus that such a clip was seen as an appropriate morale boost? And what does it mean for all of us, who are depending on those Republican members of Congress to reach a deficit reduction agreement with Democrats in Congress and the President in the next week? Who are they planning to hurt?

Unfortunately that short clip from “The Town” tells you everything you need to know about their approach to the negotiations over the debt ceiling and their plans for deficit reduction – which has been uncompromising and which would hurt the American people.

Let’s look first at their negotiating strategy:

Congressional Republicans have flat-out refused to negotiate in good faith with President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress.

Republicans have refused to compromise, even as the President has offered enormous concessions.
Republicans walked out of negotiations time and again, making it impossible at this point for us to pass an agreement that takes bold action to reduce our deficit in a way that doesn’t sacrifice America’s economic growth.

And now Republicans are frittering away the last remaining days we have before the United States would be forced into an historic default with catastrophic global consequences on proposals that are both unserious and irresponsible, that can’t pass the Senate and that would in any case not be signed by the President.

All of this would seem to be destructive behavior. But now we know why they’re doing it.

Now we know why Speaker Boehner didn’t mention the word compromise in his address to the nation the other night and why Republicans have refused to compromise. Why it’s their way or the highway. Why they insist without yielding on their view.

Because to them, this is a political fight – one in which they are more interested in scoring points and hurting Democrats and the President than they are in protecting the country from an economic catastrophe. And one in which they are all too willing to inflict pain on middle and working class Americans and seniors if it would require compromise to do otherwise.

Indeed, Speaker Boehner’s last proposal, if enacted, could lead to “the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

And the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” legislation passed by House Republicans last week would threaten future economic growth and innovation and would put the heaviest burden on the backs of America’s seniors and the most vulnerable.

With such legislation, Republicans certainly would “hurt some people.” In fact, they would hurt quite a lot of people.

But the craziest part is that they expect us to get in the car and go for that ride with them. Well, I’ve got news for Republicans – we want no part of it.

Now is not the time to be firing up the troops with take-no-prisoners rhetoric and examples like the one shown in that clip from “The Town.” Now is not the time to be thinking about putting the political hurt to the other party or its President. Right now, we need to get down to the hard business of governing and coming together to prevent default and reduce the deficit.

Democrats are willing to do what it takes to cut the Gordian knot and solve this issue. It’s time for Republicans to join us.

Now it’s my pleasure to introduce my dear friend and Assistant Democratic Leader, the Gentleman from South Carolina, James Clyburn.

SOURCE Democratic National Committee


Source: newswire