'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Newt Gingrich, Robert Reich, Cokie Roberts, and Ana Navarro on the bipartisan budget deal.
3:00 | 12/15/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
Thanks, martha. The other big news this week, work on the got back to work, a modest budget compromise announced by paul ryan and senator murphy. Brought republicans and democrats together, imagine that, but could it tear apart the gop? Tea party activists blasted the deal and speaker of the house john boehner fired back. The powerhouse roundtable is ready to take it on, but first here's jeff zeleny. Are you kidding me? Reporter: The look on his face said it all. Speaker boehner finally fed up with the tea party. There comes a point when some people step over the line. Reporter: Is this an example of you finally saying no to the tea party? I came here to cut the size of government. That's exactly what this bill does. Not only when you criticize something and have no idea what you're criticizing it undermines your credibility. Reporter: The deal that prevents another government shutdown. Suddenly became a line in the sand for establishment republicans, like boehner and paul ryan, who have been tiptoeing around conservative activists for three years. What lessons have republicans learned from the last two months? I don't think you get anything from the government shutdown. The point is, we're not getting everything we want because barack obama is president. Reporter: The right responded with a fire storm of criticism. The republican party absorbed we limb nating any conservative -- this deal increases taxes and this's bad for the country. I think john boehner is one of the prime examples of worthless, worthless republicans. Reporter: And some republicans eyeing their own presidential aspirations piled on. The compromise also has to be a solution. It can't just be a compromise. For the sake of saying, I came to an agreement on something. Reporter: A new front in a simmering civil war, where the republican establishment is firing back. For "this week," jeff zeleny, abc news, capitol hill. All right, let's bring in the roundtable. Former speaker of house newt gingrich, robert reich, the former labor secretary, republican strategist ana navarro from cnn, and abc's own cokie roberts. So, speaker gingrich, the headline here is, there won't be a shutdown for at least two years. The republican party learned its lesson? Is that what happened? I think it's clear they didn't work. In that sense they learned a lesson. I think this is brilliant politics. On whose part? On the republican part. It strips away the danger that people will notice anything but obamacare. And the longer the country watches obamacare, the more likely the democrats are to lose the senate. From the republican standpoint, IF YOU CAN GET TO JANUARY 15th, And have eight or nine new senators, and say 20 more house members, that gives you enormously more leverage for shaping '16. So, if you were speaker of house, would you have done what boehner did here? If I was a speaker I would have run -- you were there? I was there. You remember when john boehner was the junior member, fighting you. I also remember later in my career I blew up exactly like he did. I think it's healthy. They worked very hard to get to this point. They were very battered by the shutdown. I think he thought, why not? Got fed up with john boehner. I think he's right to be fed up. He tried for two weeks to accommodate the, you know, this very right-wing faction of the party, and they just couldn't be accommodated. The guy has had it. Ana, why did it take two years? Shouldn't he have done this a long time ago? He's fel way for two years. In politics we talk about it as ablution. What happened here was the business community, corporations, wall street, they decided that the mavericks, the tea parties are just too dangerous, the shutdown scared them, but also, the default, the prospect of a default on full faith and credibility of the u.S. Scared them. The chamber of commerce and a lot of business groups, we need to get into republican primaries and we got to prevent the tea party from intimidating. That is the big change that happened. It's money. The other big thing is -- money. It's not the money. It's the 10% approval rating of the congress. But it is now so poisoned and so to have him say, look, it's worst for us to be in this position, you had what you called the perfectionist caucus, mr. Speaker, finally you get to the point, where you understand the politics are that you need to get re-elected as the republican house of representatives and that's going to be hard when people are furious. Jon, the game-changer here was the shutdown. The tea party, the naysayers they really overplayed their hand in the shutdown. In the process they strengthened john boehner's hand. It's not only john boehner who got fed up, it was a lot of other republicans got fed up and worried about seeing what was a political destruction of the republican party. But it's not over, by the way. Mr. Speaker. The other giant game-changer was obamacare. If you're a semirational republican to sit around and say, it's one thing to say, gee, that didn't work. It's another thing to say to have this gigantic christmas gift to show up on your doorstep that said, please don't screw this up. Which they did. Covering the collapse of obamacare. Not covering a fight in the republican party. Before we celebrate this budget deal, which is really marginal, you know, it shows how low our expectations has become, this is almost nothing. The real shameful aspect of it is that, 1.3 million people are not going to be getting unemployment benefits on december 28th because congress did not, in this budget agreement, see fit to extend unemployment benefits. Exactly. And democrats really didn't fight for it. Because they're happy to see the republicans fighting each other over what's in the budget deal. To robert's point, just how modest this thing is, we heard speaker of the house gingrich say for deficit reduction -- speaker boehner, the other one. 85 billion in deficit reduction, out of $6.3 trillion in added deficits over the next ten years, this was about 1%. The brilliant thing about this budget is, you can look at it and make any argument you want. You can't tell whether it's deficit reduction or more spending. Anybody can see in it what they want. That's exactly the point. We know what it does. It keeps the government going. It keeps us away from another crisis and it puts some money back into some domestic programs that are really screaming particularly scientific research. And defense. It does almost nothing for the poor. Does almost nothing. Title i, among secondary education, head start. Given the widening gap that we'll be talking about hopefully later on in this program, this budget does not do one iota to improve this. You know, the white house, the president has said for a long time, any approach to deficit reduction must be balanced, meaning, it has to be tax increases on the wealthy as well as cuts, there are no tax increases on the wealthy here, did the white house wave the white flag on that issue? I think the white house wanted some sort agreement to say bipartisanship is back. And mayebe, maybe you can build on this little scrape of bipartisanship for some larger -- that's what you're hearing out of the white house. You're hearing out of the white house, he's saying now, I got this and now I can talk about immigration, now I can talk about income inequality. I can get to those other issues. Potentially on this point, speaker gingrich, the conventional wisdom on immigration was, if you don't get it this done this year, it's not going to happen, but isn't the reverse true, if you wait until after the republican primaries? I think the house republicans will probably move five or six separate smaller bills, adding up to a large change, I think the president has indicated already that he would accept that kind of approach and i think they'll do that in the spring. I think the chairman wants to move something and I don't -- we'll have immigration reform including a path to citizenship. I didn't say that. It's possible. What comes out of the house is going to be a different bill what the senate passed. Most definitely, the window for immigration reform reopens late spring/early summer. If it doesn't get done, then it doesn't get done. When john boehner hired as a new immigration staffer who was the PERSON WHO WAS john McCain's right hand on immigration. It's unfinished business for her. Her entire work has been on immigration. Who came in particularly to help draft a house project. To help draft something that can pass political muster and policy. It can be like the com compromise of 1850. Different people vote for different parts of it and then you get the whole thing through. You think it's going to happen? It's possible. I don't. Republicans don't want to vote on anything that's pro-immigrant. Or creating a way for immigrants to come in here who are now undocumented. I think there's enough republicans that are going to support something, because a lot of people want to get it done. A lot of people want to get it off to-do list. Lot of people have a national vision and understand for the growth of the republican party in the future. Can I offer a note of hope not undo cynicism? A do-nothing congress is not necessarily bad for the republican party. A congress that inspires sin michigan among the public among the capacity of government to do anything, it's not necessarily to what republicans have been saying all along about government. Unless you own one house. Unless you own one house. I understand robert's dream of a republican party sufficiently stupid. But I would suggest to you, what happened in new jersey is really, really important. Christie got 50% of the latino vote, and that says to a lot of republicans that if you in fact are willing to lean forward and compete, and willing to pass systematic immigration reform, you might have a very different 2016 than democratic strategists expect. We should not -- it's about a republican party which is competitive in univision, competitive in telemundo. Capable of having an argument. You have to have an immigration bill. Five people on the right dividing up that vote then there's a path for bush and christie. But I want to turn to the other political development this week, which was, politifact awarded its lie of the year, it went to president obama, for his statement, "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it." First-ever lie of the year went to sarah palin talking about death panels. Is it justified? Justified or not justified? What the president wanted to talk about this week, there were 360,000 enrollees in november at the -- on healthcare.Gov. In fact, he can't talk about that. I mean, the attacks on obamacare, on the affordable care act, have been absolutely relentless. It was a terrible mistake for him to say what he said. After a while you got to look at the fact that we have one of the most important reforms of the health care system, of the united states, ever in active. Is it going to be seen that way a year from now? At the present rate of enrollment, we'll have over a million people enrolled. People will stop complaining. Unless a year from now, people start seeing their employers dropping their health insurance. Then, another wave of reaction against it. But you have to put this this context, over 5 million people have lost their insurance because of obamacare. Now we have 350,000 who have found insurance, that's a pretty bad exchange rate. In january, you'll see ads on tv by attorneys that say, if you went to the hospital and found you weren't insured and you need to sue, call me a free consultation. You're going to be providing the ad. Thousands of people are going to show up in hospitals and find out that they don't have the they had. Then the issue, you can't go to the cancer specialist you want because the government has approved very narrow networks. All of these compounding things come out next year. I mean, the notion that you could go to any doctor you wanted to -- now, the president is going to own a lot of it. A lot of it is self-inflicted injuries. The bottom line is, they launched a program that was not ready for primetime. They have been inaccurate, untruthful about a lot of the problems that have developed as a result of that. And they knew a lot of this and pretended they didn't. We got to take a quick break. Coming up, much more with the

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

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