'This Week' Transcript: Karl Rove and David Plouffe

DASCHLE: How can the Republicans be complaining about process when they themselves have put them -- put their bodies in front of that legislative process for the last 18 years?

KARL: Let me -- let me...

DONALDSON: It's a different ox to be gored. That's the thing.

KARL: Let me get to the next step, which is the Senate.

DONALDSON: You're the boss. You go right ahead.

KARL: I mean, this supposedly is not over, right? I mean, this reconciliation fix still has to pass in -- in the Senate. And many of those House Democrats that are going to vote yes today are doing so because they have been assured that it will pass in the Senate.

LOTT: They can trust the Senate.

KARL: I spoke to Senator Mitch McConnell about this, and here's what he had to say.


MCCONNELL: I think any House Democrat who votes for this bill thinking the Senate is going to clean up the mess is delusional. Plus, they're trusting the Senate to clean up the mess. As Lamar Alexander, one of my colleagues put it, you know, it will be walk off the cliff and hope that Harry Reid catches you.

KARL: And is he going to catch them?

MCCONNELL: I don't think so.


KARL: Senator Daschle?

DASCHLE: Well, listen, we're going to pass the reconciliation package in the House. It's going to go to the Senate. There are 20 hours. Amendments can be offered. Procedural challenges can be made. At the end of the day, the majority is going to rule, and Harry Reid has -- has got the votes, and he's going to demonstrate that beginning this week.

KARL: I found it interesting, he did release the letter, and it's a letter, you know, giving the House Democrats assurance, and they tell us that there are 51 signatures on the letter. But in what's been released, the signatures are left off. It is a blank sheet of paper.

WILL: And is it -- is it not the case that if so much as a comma is changed, it goes back to the House?

LOTT: That is correct.


KARL: And there's no way it goes through unchanged, is it?

DASCHLE: But this is a protected measure, that is, it is an expedited procedure that allows the majority in the House, the majority in the Senate, purely the majority. We've got supermajorities in the House and the Senate. There's absolutely no reason why we wouldn't have the votes necessary to pass reconciliation when it happens.

DONALDSON: Look, the bill is going to pass. Reconciliation is going to pass. It's becoming the law. And then in November, people will argue, as part of the off-year elections, about it. And down the road, they will keep arguing. And down the road, it will have to be fixed again.

If this bill, as I perceive it, were the only thing that's going to pass and would never change, if I were in the Senate, I'd vote no, or the House. But clearly, we have to take the first step. Tried for 100 years, couldn't do it, couldn't do it. Without a first step toward that 1,000-mile journey, you're never going to make it. Along the way, you're going to have to change the steps, but without this first step, we're ruined as a country.

LOTT: The only time I've ever seen the Congress turn tail and run and reverse a bill that had just passed, you know what it was?

DONALDSON: Yes, I know exactly. In the House...


LOTT: ... health insurance.

DONALDSON: Exactly right.

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