Sen. Harkin - White House Killed Filibuster Reform

Uploaded by TYTInterviews on 27.01.2011

Progressives have said all along that republicans would never stop at just trying to repeal
healthcare reform, so it wasn't surprising to see this headline on the National Journal
website today, quote "House GOP move to privatize medicare". Of course. The conservatives are
after health care reform now, but as you can see, medicare is up next. Reform has already
been repealed by house republicans and is moving closer to a vote in the senate. But
senate democrats are fighting back. Holding a hearing today featuring witnesses describing
how healthcare reform is literally saving them from bankruptcy and quite possibly saving
their lives. Here's what emily a college junior from Nebraska who suffers from a rare auto
immune disease said about reform. I could never drop off of an insurance plan, because
if i did, given the condition that I've been diagnosed with, it would have been almost
impossible for me to get back on a plan. Paying for my own health care would pretty much bankrupt
me. The passage of the affordable health care act has made almost all of those issues go
away for me. The dependent coverage clause has been a god send I mean I can stay on my
mothers insurance until I'm 26, which hopefully I won't have to, and I'll be on my own feet,
and providing myself with insurance, but having that security, I don't think words can describe
how important that is. Joining me now is Iowa senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate
health committee. Senator, tell us about how the senators in the senate obviously the Democrats
are looking to fight back against the republican repeal of health care. First of all Cenk,
thanks for bringing this up. We're going to fight back by making the republicans defend
themselves, how are they going to defend themselves by taking away emily's health care coverage.
The fact now she can stay on her parents' policy. They want to take that away from her.
I'd like to have them, put them on the defensive they have to explain how that's going to help
the american people. Have them explain how it's going to benefit people when they take
away the coverage for pre-existing conditions where you can still get coverage even though
you still have a pre-existing condition as a child. It's time to put the Republicans
on the defensive. We've got the law, the law is on the people's side. Now they want to
take it away? I say put them on the defensive. Well will there be an actual vote in the senate
on repealing of reform? WELL, Mitch McConnell said that he's going to bring it up one way
or another. They can't get a bill up but he may have an amendment they're going to try
everything they can to have votes on it. So I assume that at some point we'll have a vote
on it. But I would like to see the debate. I want to take them on on this one. Right
he says you guys are afraid of a vote. I'm not afraid of a vote. I would welcome a vote
Cenk, I would welcome a vote on whether republicans want to take away the protection that people
have right now that an insurance company can't cancel their policy if they get sick. They
want to take that away? Let them vote on it. Right it doesn't look like the polls are on
their side. One of the polls had it at 19% in favor of repeal that's not a very good
number. So, they might be careful about what they wish for. Now I do want to move on to
medicare, though. Now Jeff Hensarling of the house saying they're looking to privatize
medicare. Is that realistic and is that another fight you welcome? You bet I do. They want
to privatize social security too. You might as well throw that one in there, too. They've
been doing that since THE 1930s, they've been trying to repeal Medicare or privatize it
since we passed it in the '60s. You bet. Finally I think the american people are going to finally
wake up and find out just what they voted for last fall. The old Lincoln quote, you
can fool some of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time but not
all of the people all of the time. I think people are going to find out they got fooled
in the last election by thinking they voted for people who were going to straighten the
government out and be on their side. What they didn't, what they're going to find out
they voted people into office that are going on the side of wall street, they're going
to be on the side of the hedge funds, the private investors and they want to take away
the coverage they have under social security and medicare. Senator Harkin on the other
hand President Obama has been noncommittal on social security. It looks like he might
at some point agree with his commission to raise the retirement age. Would you fight
him on that? You bet I would. You know it's one thing when you wear a suit and tie and
go to work like we do every day, yeah we're 70 we keep working. But how about the fireman
out there and the policemen and the construction workers and the people like that how about
the woman who stands on her feet all day in a department store and you're asking her to
work until she's 70 years old? You know it's time to get real about what this means to
really average working americans. No, we are not going to raise the retirement age. All
right, I like that kind of talk. Okay so, one more for you. I know you were pushing
for filibuster reform. It looks like it didn't happen this time, what happened? Well, what
happened is people got bought off with a lot of vague promises that we're going to behave
ourselves and be a little nicer around here. That's a good one. Yeah, you know good luck
on that one. Look, Senator Jim Demint said his goal for this congress is total gridlock.
Senator Mitch McConnell said his goal is to make sure Obama was a one-term president.
I mean, let's face it. The senate has become dysfunctional. What I insist on and what i
think we ought to get to cent, is it's all right for the minority to be able to slow
things down, but right now, the minority in the senate can veto everything. You can't
get anything done unless you get sixty votes. Explain that to the American People. Guess
what? The minority rules, the minority controls the senate. That stands democracy on its head.
We're going around the world preaching democracy? Well how about yeah preaching democracy but
you gotta have but the minority gets to have a veto. Explain that to people. Yeah, and
the proposal that I really liked was when you would flip it and say if you're going
to filibuster, at least filibuster. You gotta go out there and actually do it. The current
system doesn't make any sense at all. And we lost on that one, we just want to say okay,
if you're going to filibuster, stand out there and filibuster, they voted that down, too.
Real quick, the democrats didn't they have enough votes in the beginning of the session
to do it on their own? What happened? Who'd you lose? Why couldn't the Democrats hold
it together then? Well, why couldn't the Democrats hold it together? Because we didn't have the
White House on our side. We couldn't get the people together to understand that we won't
be able to get our programs enacted unless we have a change in these rules. You know
what it is, Cenk more than anything else. People are afraid of a majority vote. I'm
not afraid of a majority vote, I'm not afraid of that. And if the people who elect these
crazy tea party people to come in here and they vote to do these whacko things, I say
give them rope, give them a lot of rope. Then the American people will find out and then
we'll have a real election next time around. Senator Harkin not playing tonight, You weren't
kidding, you came to fight. I love it. Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate
it. Thanks, Cenk, thank you.