But we'll have to let our leaders work on this and see, hopefully, an agreement that goes as far as possible.
AMANPOUR: As this haggling continues, I'm going to ask you, Senator Sessions. Speaker Boehner this week basically said, and I think it's sarcasm, thank you guys for painting me into a box that's just where I want to be, talking about the conservative -- the Tea Partiers. Have they held the Republican leadership sort of hostage in these negotiations.
SESSIONS: Christiane, that's the Democratic spin. That's the way...
AMANPOUR: But this is what Speaker Boehner said.
SESSIONS: I know that. But I'm telling you what the real deal is. This week, the House -- Republican House will submit a mature, serious budget for long-term reform of spending in America that will avoid a debt crisis this country is facing in two years, according to Mr. Erskine Bowles.
The Democrats have no plan except the president's plan which makes the debt worse than the current trajectory we're on. It raises taxes. It increases spending even more. It doubles the debt. We'll take interest from $200 billion last year in one year to $900 billion in 10 years, crowding out all kind of social programs and beneficial programs that Senator Schumer has talked about.
AMANPOUR: Right. Senator Schumer...
SCHUMER: Well, let me say this, Christiane. Yes, I have a lot of sympathy for Speaker Boehner because he does want to come to an agreement. He knows how devastating a shutdown would be. That's his words, not ours. Although we all agree on that.
The one group that's standing in the way here is the tea party. Now they have said that a shutdown is a good thing. You saw it on that tape. Some of their leaders have said it over and over again. Sarah Palin, Mike Pence, Michelle Bachmann. They say it's our way or no way.
Well, that's not how the American government works. And I would say this though, here's the good news. The American people are seeing the tea party for what it is, extreme. And their popularity is declining.
They now have only 33 percent of people in support of them, and 47 percent people against them. And when they lose clout, it makes an agreement much more likely. It's another reason I'm optimistic.
AMANPOUR: All right. Let me just ask you this before we turn to you, Senator Sessions. Today -- or rather, this week, you sort of stepped in it, sort of recording-wise. You were caught briefing your fellow senators on how to address this issue, didn't know apparently the reporters were still on the conference call. Let's just play that, because it plays right into the spin and the language about what is going on right now.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SCHUMER: I always use the word "extreme." That's what the caucus instructed me to do the other week. Extreme cuts and all these riders. And Boehner is in a box. But if he supports the tea party, there's going to inevitably be a shutdown.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHUMER: Now, you know, Christiane, I have no problem with reporters hearing that. I said it a few hours before on the floor of the Senate. I've said on it this show. The tea party is the group standing in the way. They are extreme.