Jim Risch: GOP Ready to Fund Homeland Security Amid Shutdown

Republican senator from Idaho says Congress should focus on solving issues the parties agree on.
3:00 | 10/02/13

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Transcript for Jim Risch: GOP Ready to Fund Homeland Security Amid Shutdown
Since this special group. I'm -- have a New York -- ABC news digital special report -- to of the government shut down with an impasse between Democrats and Republicans. And this afternoon we are joined by Idaho Republican senator Jim -- senator rich thank you for your time. First up I wanted to ask you this meeting that's -- for tonight at the white house with congressional leaders what if anything are you expecting to come out of that discussion. I don't know if I can expect anything out there when I'm open for. Certainly. Anyone who's ever served as a CEO or particularly governor. Knows that the it is the that solutions gonna come to the president has to ease the captain of the ship the ship is that. Right now floundering in. It's up to him to. To make the ship work again and so I'm hoping that he will engage and -- engage aggressively. Something's happened in the last 24 hours I think that need. Spur him to do that in the director of national intelligence and the -- National Security Agency both testified that Americans less safe now because. -- furloughed about 70% of their employees. As commander in chief he cannot ignore that he has got to do something about that so hopefully that'll get him up off the sidelines and into the game and that. And maybe we can move forward. Senator as you know the criticism by the White House is that Republicans are -- -- Affordable Care Act commonly known as obamacare to the budget talks. At the same time the White House is also making a comparison saying that what if the tables were turned -- Democrats. Wanted to type background checks and fire arms or increased financial regulations to passing a budget. Is that fair comparison. No not at all I think that it's actually the reverse of that the White House is attaching obamacare to the budget issue. Republicans. Have said all along that they are willing to vote for the entire budget funds all aspects of government. But instead the president the Democratic Party is holding a gun to the head of the American people. -- -- -- we're gonna meet you implement and fund obamacare. Or we're gonna shut off all your services I would say it's just -- reverse that but look. We need enough of the blame game. This is -- a situation that. Really is explainable Howard happen he was elected -- only -- house and senate within the past obamacare. But in 2010 the American people took that away -- the house over to the year Republicans reduce their numbers in the senate. And so now you have this law that the a lot of -- didn't vote for didn't support. Committed to our people at home that we would go up and in that fight this and now he's seen -- -- we had a congress that and that this and you guys have to fund it. You guys have to implement it. And and so here we are now you can argue whose fault it is but it it's kind of you can get people on both sides are making good arguments on it but look we need to focus on how we get out of this initially is right on the desk of the Chief Executive Officer. He's the captain of the ship. He is the commander in chief particularly with the -- said today about the weakening. Of our national security he has got to engage. Well senator let me ask you about that because you're making a reference to events that -- -- 2010 the same year. That the Supreme Court deemed the Affordable Care Act constitutional last year of course as you know the president president reelected in November. Check in the question I think a lot of people are asking is why not let the American people decide on the Election Day this year. Well -- -- again I made the like you say they decided. In 2000 can 2012. And they elected -- house -- representatives the majority of whom are absolutely opposed to obamacare at the same time they elected a president who's. Who's deeply involved in this and in his belief that he's doing the right thing to the American people so you do have this collision course. I again I don't think that's simple answer to it. I think that. We need to find a door. That both parties connects the room. It is senator -- you and your colleague from Idaho both voted with senator Ted Cruz last week opposing cloture. Essentially wanting to filibuster the house Republican bill to kill obamacare funding keep the government running. Explaining what was the logic there internally and then obviously in terms of delivering a message to the American people. Well I think the message to the American people is we are fighting obamacare. That's what we told our our folks at home we would do let. One of the biggest criticisms of politicians in America today is they either. Talked in language people don't understand or they go to DC and do something different than what they said they would do we committed. We would come here we would fight obamacare we would do whatever it talked. To keep us away from socialized medicine and and really what this socialized medicine and their movement towards -- single Payer system. We're committed to do that when we're gonna continue to do and and and all these procedural moves. They were actually part of it. But we're doing what we said we would do just as Obama is doing president Obama's doing what he said he would do limit is try to make care obamacare work. Let me ask you this what concessions. Could congressional Republicans except if Obama care is in fact off the table. In order to get negotiations going about a budget. Well I think first -- -- what why don't we just this is so simple why don't we enact what we all agree and that is -- budget. We all agreed that that national park should be fun we all agree that. The veteran should be -- we agreed that the military should be fun. Why -- we do all week that's what we all agree on what we don't agree on is is on the issue of obamacare set that aside let's resolved by the other. They will not do they actually refused to its very similar immigration has about five points immigration we can resolve four of but the the other side absolutely refuses to engage and to resolve those other four points that we agree on unless we agree on the fifth. And we are diametrically opposed to on the fifth point. Let let me ask you about this -- senator if -- -- -- talking about the concern from. From a security standpoint about a budget impasse posing a serious threat. Why in fact -- those three elements parks' funding. That's funding and funding for DC services why would those three elements be included in a piecemeal approach in -- at the -- might address national security. You know that's a really good point and the national security issue did not arise until after the how's that Democrats started those three particular items. Our -- and house Republicans started those three particular items I agree with you. The national security items should come first I'm -- -- I ever Republicans -- we would love to take the. National Security Agency and funded in in its entire. Would we we feel the same way about the CIA we feel that we about all security agencies let's do that let's find them. The other side is saying no we aren't going to do this what they call the piecemeal well when I call what part of the appropriation process. That the apps and refused to do this and I couldn't -- the more I think I think those two those should move to the top of the line. But look all of these items. We all agree let's pass lets get those on we were elected to governor let's govern and let's get past what we agree. Let me ask you this and -- Democrats and the president accepting your proposal to delay -- -- a year. In exchange for fighting the government and a permanent elimination. Of the debt limit would you be inclined to take that kind of a proposition. Not not at all I -- the debt limits got to get set aside -- what -- -- if you're talking about permanently taking media. The lid off -- the debt limit I wouldn't vote for that under any circumstances there's nothing good -- to. That we get my vote on congress is is -- needs to be held accountable for the -- it's racking up. I got -- for -- half years ago the national that was ten trillion today at seventeen trillion. You know I just said that it -- right over the top everybody's head because those numbers are so staggering. That you can even think -- what those are where we're bar when I was governor of the state of Idaho our annual budget. Was less than what the federal government borrows every single day to pay its bills. That did this is a he he truly critical problem. And and and -- in the lid off for the national debt. It no way to resolve that problem the fact indeed but we should be doing -- and are ratcheting the lid on the national -- down not up. Well let me ask US before before we let you go senator senator Barbara Boxer had to introduce legislation to forgo. Congress congress' -- during the event of a shut down and you indicated that you would be donating a portion of your salary. During the shut down where will that money be going. It'll be go to Lou it'll go to 501 C three year maturity probably divided months a number of them that are that are close to -- Will would you support that that -- legislation from senator boxer. Well yet you get -- at the wrong guy here is -- as far as I'm concerned that this is in the job. They they religion be penis but this is agreed honored privileged I would do it whether they paid me anything to do this or not so he yes I'd support that. That that's a good proposal but -- -- true. All right senator Jim rich Republican from Idaho senator thank you so much for your time you after and we appreciate it. We have a complete report on abcnews.com. For now I'm Dan Butler New York with its ABC news digital special report of the government shutdown.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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