'This Week' Transcript: Disaster in the Pacific


KARL (voice-over): Republicans are trying to kill much more than the Cowboy Poetry Festival. Their bill to fund the government for the rest of the year eliminates funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Planned Parenthood, it cuts more than $1 billion from Head Start, $1.5 billion from FEMA, $2.8 billion from the EPA, and nearly $5 billion from the Department of Education. It also hits some programs favored by conservatives, nearly $600 million cut from Customs and Border Protection and $450 million for an F-35 fighter jet it eliminates.

All told, about $60 billion in cuts that Democrats say are mean-spirited and devastating.

REID: It's a very, very difficult, bad piece of legislation.

KARL: Democrats countered with a relatively paltry $4.7 billion in cuts. Both bills failed to pass the Senate, but the Democratic bill got fewer votes, even though Senate Democrats are now the majority. Now they've got to find a compromise or face a government shutdown.

But in reality, neither bill does much at all to address this year's $1.6 trillion.

(on-screen): So this pizza represents that $1.6 trillion deficit. Those Republican cuts are only about this much, one-twenty-fifth of the deficit, and the Democratic cuts, well, they're just one-tenth of this, not much.

(voice-over): Among the items not cut by either bill, unemployment benefits for millionaires. That's right: The government spends more than $20 million a year on unemployment checks for people with more than $1 million in annual income.

And no cut to the $28 million spent each year to print the congressional record, a chronicle of every word uttered in Congress. It's already available online.

(on-screen): About the only thing the printed version of the congressional record is used for these days is filling up recycling bins on Capitol Hill.

(voice-over): And there are a bunch of bigger-ticket items, including about $6 billion a year in tax breaks and subsidies to cash-rich oil companies, which most Republicans are unwilling to touch.

(on-screen): But does ExxonMobil really need tax breaks to...


BARTON: They should be treated equally as any other domestic company...

KARL: But they have these tax credits. I mean, you said it yourself. Tax credits that go back to the early days of the oil and gas industry. I mean, why? I mean, do they need it?

BARTON: Do you want a domestic manufacturing capability? Do you want a domestic financial capability? Do you want whatever it is...

KARL: But ExxonMobil is not going to go out of bus.

BARTON: Do we want everything made in China?

KARL: Do you find it's hard to defend these -- these tax credits, though, at a time when Americans are paying what they're paying at the pump...


BARTON: I've just been doing it for the last 10 minutes.

KARL (voice-over): But the real reason for that sky-high deficit is that neither party is willing to deal with the big-ticket items. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest, defense just don't get cut. Until they do, the debt will keep climbing higher and higher, no matter what happens to the Cowboy Poetry Festival.

For "This Week," I'm Jonathan Karl.


TAPPER: And Jon makes a salient point in that amusing spot, which is that most of the budget is not being debated right now, George.

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