I mean, even the Democrats -- even Nancy Pelosi came out with -- with a measure that would continue government funding temporarily, freezing it at last year's level. That is what Democrats traditionally would call a cut, because you're not going with inflation. So this is -- this is really a moment. This is also the Chris Christie phenomenon. Will politicians be rewarded for making tough choices, again, something I don't think we've ever seen happen?
AMANPOUR: Do you care about being rewarded about tough choices?
SOUTHERLAND: Well, I think the American people are ready. They recognize the brutal reality that we're broke. And -- and -- and you're seeing that. We just talked in the last segment about the state level, and it certainly applies here.
We've seen record deficits. And the budget that the president, you know, introduced this past week just continues to put the pedal to the metal. So, I mean, we're talking about this year alone, we're at a $1.5 trillion deficit. And, you know, we talk about draconian measures of the C.R., but that draconian is leaving our children with debt that smothers them.
AMANPOUR: Right. But in the real world, what happens if this doesn't get past the Senate or past the president? Then what?
SOUTHERLAND: Well, look, we -- I'm not -- I'm not naive to the -- to the fact that when it goes to the Senate, they're going to make their -- their changes, and then it's got to go to the president. So, you know, it will not be in the form that we produced yesterday morning at 5 a.m. when we left the House being on the floor all night.
AMANPOUR: So you're prepared for maybe half that figure?
SOUTHERLAND: Well, I'm interested. I'm eager to see what's going to happen. I don't -- I don't know what's going to happen. But I don't expect it's going to be in the same form that we produced yesterday morning.
AMANPOUR: Where is this going, George? Everybody, of course, talks about government shutdown or not. Some do.
WILL: Well, that's premature. The Democratic senators have to decide, as does the president, whether they want to spend the next two years blocking in the Senate or vetoing on the president's desk spending bills because they're too small, because they believe the government isn't spending enough.
The Democratic senators have to decide if, out of a $15 trillion economy, the economy is going to be hurt by cutting $60 billion from the federal budget. They have to decide whether, out of a $3.7 trillion budget, there isn't $60 billion of inessential spending.
AMANPOUR: But it's still the hugest proposed cut. Who's going to blink first, Donna? You've been briefed. And I know you've been talking to -- to leadership about these matters.
BRAZILE: This is very difficult. And we all recognize that we have to begin to cut spending. As Jonathan mentioned, the House Democrats, the Senate Democrats, the president has submitted a budget, the 2012 budget, that -- that will slow the rate of growth and bring down the federal deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2015. Yeah, President Obama has a little bit of fiscal conservativism in him.
But the point is, is that this is primal scream politics; $61 billion at the current spending levels is draconian. It cuts essential, vital, necessary services.