SPEAKERS: BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST
RAHM EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
[*] SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Rahm Emanuel is with us in the studio this morning.
Good morning, Mr. Emmanuel.
It was a big week last week. It's going to be another big one this week. When the president told the joint session of Congress on Tuesday there was nothing more important than bringing the deficit down, House Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi, jumped to their feet with applause.
Yet on Wednesday, those same Democrats passed a spending bill to keep the government running for the rest of this fiscal year that contained 9,000 -- count 'em -- 9,000 earmarks, costing nearly $8 billion.
The Senate is going to act on that bill this week, will send it to the president for his signature. It looks like most of those earmarks are going to stay in.
Is the president going to sign this bill?
EMANUEL: As you noted, that's last year's business. Second is when President Obama came to office, two major bills were passed without earmarks. The major economic recovery act -- earmark-free; the children's health care bill -- earmark-free.
He has said clearly his policies about earmarks, which is you've got to be -- more accountability, more transparency, and a reduction.
This bill has some of those, but he has enunciated his view and given an indication, when he was a senator, he, like I, when I was a member of Congress, put his own individual request on his own Web page.
That policy has now been adopted because the most important thing is to be transparent and accountable for what you ask.
Because what the American people want to know is, do these individual congressional earmarks meet a worthy public objective, or are they just an individual desire of a member of Congress?
And that's why transparency and accountability are so important.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I understand that. But why didn't he just tell the Senate, look, take these things out of here; I've told people we were not going to have these earmarks; then send it back to me?
EMANUEL: What he has always said is -- and what he's clear is, again, the economic recovery act, earmark-free, a major bill.
Second, this is last year's business. And third most importantly, we're going to have to make some other changes, going forward, to reduce and bring more -- reduce the ultimate number and bring the transparency. And that's the policy that he enunciated in his campaign.
SCHIEFFER: But it sounds to me like what you're -- what he's about to do, here, is say, well I don't like this but I'm going to go ahead and sign it, but I'm going to warn you, don't ever do it again. Is that what's about to happen here?
EMANUEL: In not so many words, yes.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, let's talk about this budget, because it was a whopper, that was outlined this week.
Republicans say it's going to increase the size of government by one-third, just next year alone. It produces a deficit of $1.75 trillion. That's the largest since World War II, probably larger than the last five combined.
On our Web cast, "Washington Unplugged," I asked former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich on Friday about it. Here's what he said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that what President Obama has done is outlined the boldest effort to remake America since Lyndon Johnson's great society in 1965.
I think he has courageously laid down the challenge to the whole country. He said, I want to become a more left-wing country with a bigger government, with higher taxes. Now, do you want to go that way or not?
And I think the challenge will be, for those of us who don't want to go that way, to articulate an alternative vision. But I think this budget sets the stage for the biggest fight over the future of America since 1965.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: The biggest fight since 1965?
EMANUEL: Three quick points, Bob. First, this is a $1.7 trillion deficit he inherited. Let's be clear about that. We inherited this deficit and we inherited $4 trillion of new debt.
EMANUEL: That is the facts.
Second, this budget is very honest with the American people. It's honest about the cost of the war, which we have never been honest for seven years. It's honest about the alternative minimum tax, which we've never been honest with the American people about. And that, in this deficit, reflects what we inherited at this point.
Second, I happen to think that Newt is right about one thing. There's a challenge now to the Republicans. Because the president is very clear. We can subsidize the HMO industry on 114 cents on the dollar rather than pay 100 cents on the dollar for health care. Will the Republican budget continue down the path of subsidizing the health care industry and the insurance industry in particular, while in fact coverage and premiums -- lack of coverage for the uninsured continues to go up? The fact is that premiums go up for the rest of America, and also America's life expectancy goes down. Will they continue to subsidize the big oil industry, while we send -- but while we send over, Bob, $700 billion of our wealth overseas. They have a challenge. Will they subsidize the banking industry rather than helping kids go to college?
We've laid out a vision -- start to invest in America, invest in your middle class, make the tough choices, be honest with the American people. The challenge will be, as he said there, which is will the Republicans meet the challenge of the future or keep us on the path that they have set for the last seven years that got us to this point of reckoning.
SCHIEFFER: You cannot say, though, can you, that this is all something he inherited, this deficit. I mean, there are things in this budget that were not in George Bush's budget, talking about health care and all of these other things.
EMANUEL: No, no, but what we are doing -- as we did in the Economic Recovery Act -- and it's fundamental to our goal -- first of all, we bring the deficit down. That's different. Second is, we and the president-- the president was very clear in the Economic Recovery Act as he is in this economic program -- it is time to invest in our energy independence, which is why in the Economic Recovery Act we doubled the size of alternative energy. It's time to invest in our kids' ability to go to college, which is why we don't subsidize banks but we subsidize kids' ability to go to college. It is time we start insuring and bring the costs down, the premiums, as well as expand coverage. Those are the type of investments that are key for America's economic growth and competitiveness going forward. The health care system is a particular example where America's economic competitiveness, its strength around the world is sapped because we have a health care system that doesn't allow American workers and business to compete. And it is the key to our long-term putting our fiscal house in order.
And the Republicans will have an opportunity not just to criticize, but to propose. And the question is, will they continue the path of the seven years that have got us to the point of basically a culture of rising deficits and more and more consumer spending? This budget deficit, this budget, an economic program fundamentally changes the culture in this way. It rejects the past and says we are going to be a culture and a society that invests and saves.
SCHIEFFER: What the Republicans also say, it raises taxes on everybody. I think everybody expected that taxes on upper-income people were going to go up. Barack Obama said during the campaign that that's what he planned to do. But Newt Gingrich and some of the other Republicans say when people find out that when you're talking about these things you're talking about on the energy front, it's going to be a new tax on everybody that uses electricity, who drives a car, and there's going to be tax increases in myriad other ways.
EMANUEL: Well, first of all, let's be very clear. Because I've seen these scare tactic before. You've seen it too, Bob. 95 percent of Americans, working Americans, will have a tax cut. As the president said Tuesday night, 95 percent of Americans will have a tax cut. And starting April 1st, they'll see it, which the Republicans voted against in large measure in the House and in the Senate.
Second, nobody will see a tax increase for two years, when we get out of this recession. And he ran on, as you noted, the fact that the wealthy 2 percent will have their marginal rates go back to where they were under Bill Clinton, when we produced 22 million jobs, and their deductions will go back to where they were under Ronald Reagan. We're going really just back to that point, that starting point.
So there will be these scare tactics of trying to talk about the fact that everybody is going to see increases. And the president couldn't have been clearer Tuesday night that working, middle-class families will get a tax cut.
In addition to that, more and more will get assistance so they can go to college in a society and a time economically where you earn what you learn, we're going to help more people go to college and have the most educated workforce.
We're also fundamentally -- the most important thing economically is getting an energy policy and a health care policy that ensures that the economy and members of our society and our country can get a health care system that works for them, rather than them working for that health care system, and an energy policy that weans us off dependence on foreign oil and towards an independent policy on energy.
SCHIEFFER: Aren't there more tax increases in this plan than Barack Obama talked about during the campaign? For example, on upper- income people, talking about reducing the deductions they can take on charitable giving. Aren't you going to get a lot of opposition from places like where Barack Obama used to work, charitable enterprises, when he was a community organizer?
EMANUEL: There will be, you know, voices of criticism. But I want everybody to be reassured by the fact, these are the rates that were -- the deductions that Ronald Reagan had, and the marginal rate is where Bill Clinton and the time in the '90s, we had. That's what they are. There's not like just something totally radically new. We're going back to those points.
And making sure -- but what do we do? We reduce the deficit and we make critical investments that are essential to the economic strength of this country. And what has not happened over the years when we were subsidizing these powerful interests is, in fact, we went farther and slid farther and farther behind while we were piling up record amount of debt and deficits.
And the question is and the challenge is, that day of reckoning can no longer be put off. And the president is very clear. He ran on this. And one of the big news here in Washington is not only did he run on it, he then proposed it, which is always a surprise, and I think one of the gaffes that you hear here in Washington. People expect you to run on one -- say one thing in the campaign and then govern different. I think what's woken up Washington is he's been consistent from the campaign all the way through to his economic programs, and he's said these are the challenges we have, and the day of running away from those challenges and not meeting them while America slid behind economically is no longer feasible or is no longer smart.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Do you think you're going to get more Republican support than you had, for example, on passing those stimulus packages? I noticed you said in an article in the New Yorker when somebody asked, "is bipartisanship dead?" You were quoted as saying, "the public wants bipartisanship. We just have to try. We don't have to succeed in getting it." What does that mean?
EMANUEL: Well, there's slightly -- a little more about that. First of all, we did succeed, number one, in bipartisanship.
SCHIEFFER: You got three Republicans. EMANUEL: No, well, let's do the entire scorecard. On the Ledbetter legislation, a number of Republicans in both the House and the Senate voted for it. On the children's health care bill, a number of Republicans voted for that.
You are right on the Economic Recovery Act, because of its boldness, we had three. But we had governors throughout the country who support it. Republican mayors throughout the country support it, and Republican voters who supported it.
Going forward, the president has been very clear. He called on the national service bill that Senator Kennedy and Senator Hatch, Republican for Utah, had proposed. He has been clear about wanting a stem cell legislation that a number -- like Senator Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, as well as Senator Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa. So we will continue to reach out, as we did in the fiscal summit earlier this week, as we will in the health care summit on Thursday.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this question...
EMANUEL: But our goal, our goal, Bob, is to continue to reach out. And it's our desire that the Republicans would work with us and try to be constructive, rather than adopt the philosophy of somebody like Rush Limbaugh, who is praying for failure.
SCHIEFFER: Rush Limbaugh. We've talked about Newt Gingrich a lot this morning and now you bring up Rush Limbaugh. Who do you think now speaks for the Republican Party?
EMANUEL: You just named them. It was Rush Limbaugh. I mean, he has laid out his vision, in my view, and he said it clearly, and I compliment him for that. He's been very upfront and I compliment him for that. He's not hiding.
He's asked for President Obama and called for President Obama to fail. That's his view. And that's what he has enunciated. And whenever a Republican criticize him, they have to run back and apologize to him, and say they were misunderstood.
He is the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party. And he has been upfront about what he views, and hasn't stepped back from that, which is he hopes for failure. He said it. And I compliment him for his honesty, but that's their philosophy that is enunciated by Rush Limbaugh. And I think that's the wrong philosophy for America, because what Americans want us to do and what President Obama has been very clear about is work together, setting our goals. We may take different roads to get to that goal, but be clear on what we have to do to build this country, by investing in our people, changing the health care system, having an energy independence policy that clearly weans America off its dependence on foreign oil...
SCHIEFFER: Do you really think he is that important, that other Republicans are paying that much attention to him?
EMANUEL: Well, he was given the keynote, basically, at the Conservative Caucus to speak. When a Republican did attack him, he was -- clearly had to turn around and come back and basically said that he's apologizing and was wrong. And I do think he's an intellectual force, which is why the Republicans pay such attention to him.
SCHIEFFER: All right. We're going to take a break here and we'll come back to talk about this, about drawing down the troops in Iraq and a whole lot more when we come back.
SCHIEFFER: Back now with the White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel .
Mr. Emanuel, General Motors is now losing $100 millions a day. They have already spent, we are told, two-thirds of what they have already received from the government. And we're hearing they want some more. They're now asking for another $16 billion.
Is the president going to do that?
Because the question I have is, how long does this go on?
EMANUEL: As you know, the panel of experts we've assembled on the auto industry is working with GM and the others on their plan. The president has been very clear, though, what his priorities are. They have to have a viable business plan, on a going-forward basis, and it's going to require a sacrifice from all the parties involved to do that.
But here's the other thing I think that people should see, in both GM as well as the others. They never invested in both alternative energy cars. They got dependent on big gas guzzlers. They didn't do -- they have a health care cost structure that's outdated.
And as, sort of, an example, we talked earlier, Bob, about the fact that their health care system is affecting their business and their employers -- and their employees, rather.
And it's an example, in my view, of what the president's saying for this country. The day of reckoning, of making sure that we had a policy on energy independence, a policy that ensures that our health care costs were under control and our ability to make sure that coverage was expanded to those who are uninsured, as one way to also bring costs under control -- that is the challenge we face as a country.
Is it GM specific? The president wants to see a business model that, on a going-forward basis, is cognizant of the market and that all the parties made the sacrifices necessary for that independence. The panel of experts are now meeting to go over those plans and help them develop something -- or review what they're doing before any other decision is made.
SCHIEFFER: So you're saying, unless they change their ways drastically, unless they come up with a new model, no more money.
EMANUEL: Basically, over the last 20 to 30 years, they had a strategy that has gotten them to, I think, a very unfortunate position both on health care costs, new types of cars, weaning themselves off of basically gas guzzlers to energy-efficient cars.
And they're making those changes now, when everybody said, for the last 20 years -- but it's a wake-up call which is clear -- what the president said on Tuesday night. It's a wake-up call to America. Do we want to have an energy policy...
SCHIEFFER: So they have to do something different?
EMANUEL: They have to...
EMANUEL: Wait a second. The plan is in front of the panel of experts, which is where it should be (inaudible) basically making sure that the restructuring is a viable restructuring plan.
SCHIEFFER: Let's talk about the president's announcement that he is going to draw down the troops in Iraq, that he's going to leave 50,000 there in support roles.
Before he made that talk, Nancy Pelosi , the Democratic leader in the House, said that 50,000 sounded like too much. Let's listen to just what she said. This was just before he spoke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't know what the justification is for 50,000, the presence of 50,000 troops in Iraq. I do think that there's a need for some. And I don't know that all of them have to be in-country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: So there you have it. And that seems to be most of the criticism now coming from Democrats, not from Republicans. John McCain likes the way the president's doing this. The Republicans -- I mean, the Democrats seem to be saying no, we need to get more troops out of there quicker.
EMANUEL: Well, first of all, as you noted earlier in the question, the president ran on this policy. He told the American people what he wanted to see. He said, on day one, I'm going to have a meeting with my national security staff to begin the process to evaluate how we can come out in 16 months. That's what he did on day one.
EMANUEL: And about a month later, he, as you saw on Friday, he enunciated that policy, because they came back, the entire apparatus of the national security apparatus for the president, on how to responsibly draw down our troops.
By August of 2010, the combat mission will be over. We will have a residual force of somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 troops, mainly dealing with training, protecting our diplomatic and civilians in Iraq, and some counterinsurgency. The president has been very clear that on a going-forward basis, as we draw down, that the Iraqis must politically and on a security basis take ownership of their country. So there will be an intensified effort on the diplomatic and political side, which is why we sent Ambassador Hill there, to work with our general and our entire...
SCHIEFFER: Do you think the Democrats are going to go -- in the end are going to go along with it?
EMANUEL: I think -- well, first of all, the speaker spoke to her concern about 50,000. There have been other Democrats also including who have been supportive and understand where we are. The speaker has a right to question that size. The president said this is what I think is a responsible plan for withdrawal and a responsible residual force, and has worked it through both with the commanders, the diplomatic corps and the political apparatus to make sure we had a comprehensive view.
SCHIEFFER: Let me go back to the budget for just one kind of cleanup question. You set a kind of a deadline for sometime in April to get most of this done. Am I correct?
EMANUEL: The Congress is working on that...
SCHIEFFER: Is that realistic?
EMANUEL: Well, yes. In this sense, Bob -- I mean, there's a lot to complement what this Congress has just pulled off. They passed the Ledbetter legislation on pay equity for women. They passed a children's health care bill that 11 million children of working parents are going to now finally get health care, who because of no fault of their own did not have health care. Passed in a bipartisan way. And then two weeks later, they passed an impressive Economic Recovery Act that begins to invest in our country once again. And they did that in a month.
The president laid out his budget, and this Congress is already beginning to work. And you'll see the president's OMB director, Peter Orszag, up this week testifying. And the activity will go forward in both the House and the Senate, and we are confident, because this Congress is here understanding the extraordinary time we find ourselves in, to meet that challenge and meet the president's objective of sending through an economic program.
SCHIEFFER: Let me also ask you quickly. We hear these horror stories coming out of Mexico. Nearly 7,000 people killed in these wars between these drug cartels. They forced the police chief of Juarez, just across the street from El Paso -- across the river -- out by threatening to kill a police officer a day until he left. And he left, after they killed four or five people. It just seems worse and worse. Does the administration consider Mexico a national security problem for the United States?
EMANUEL: As you know, the first foreign leader that the president met with was the president of Mexico. Attended that meeting. And both committed to working to stabilize the border, which is exactly what Janet Napolitano , the head of Homeland Security, said this week in congressional testimony. They want to clearly stop the guns from the United States going south. We want to stop the drugs coming north. And we have a mutual interest in working to secure that border, and that's why the president of the United States had a meeting with President Calderon, his first meeting with a foreign leader, because that border is important to us and Mexico is a key ally of ours.
SCHIEFFER: All right. We have to stop there. Thank you very much, Rahm Emanuel ...
EMANUEL: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: ... White House chief of staff.
EMANUEL: I actually enjoyed it.
SCHIEFFER: We'll be back with the final thought in just a minute.
SCHIEFFER: Finally today, we have just come through one of those who would have thought it weeks. As in, who would have thought that way back, when Barack Obama began his campaign for president, that his first State of the Union speech would hardly mention Iraq. Who would have thought back then that the state of the nation's economy would be so bad, the president wouldn't even call it a State of the Union speech, just so he wouldn't have to finish the sentence that begins "the state of the union is..."
Who would have thought the Republican Party would be laying some of the blame for the bad economy off on their recently departed leader? I guess that's what GOP stalwart Newt Gingrich was doing when he talked to me and others this week about what he labeled the failed Bush-Obama big-spending strategy. Who would have thought that when President Obama, who campaigned to bring the troops home from Iraq announced his withdrawal plan, that it would be the Republicans who liked it and the Democrats who didn't? And who, for that matter, would have thought that when the withdrawal was announced, that it would not be the lead story on the evening news? Not only was it not the lead, two or three stories about the bad economy came ahead of it, nor did it get above the fold in many newspapers.
Yes, Barack Obama campaigned on change, but I doubt he expected a lot of that. Who would have thought?
Back in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: That's our broadcast. And we'll be back right here next Sunday on "Face the Nation."