'This Week' Transcript: Roundtable 01-02-11

PHOTO Jake Tapper speaks George Will, ABC News political director Amy
Walter, from the National Journal, Major Garrett, and Democratic
consultant Donna Brazile on "This Week" Sunday, January 2, 2011.

TAPPER: Joining me now is George Will, ABC News political director Amy Walter, from the National Journal, Major Garrett, and Democratic consultant Donna Brazile. Thanks, one and all, for being here.

We'll start with the new Congress that are come to town this week. George, what will they face? What problem will they face that they are not expecting?

WILL: I don't know whether they're expecting it or not, but they're not ready for state bankruptcies, because there is no legal provision in American law for a state to go bankrupt.

We've already seen the administration say Chrysler is too big to fail, General Motors is too big to fail, various banks are too big to fail. Wait until California comes knocking, when, what, the third-, eighth-largest economy in the world? They're going to be unable to pay their debts. Illinois, California, New York, and other states are going to find that the bond market steps in, lenders refuse. Then what happens?

TAPPER: Amy, this will be a challenge for the Republican Congress, as well as the debt ceiling. You heard Austan Goolsbee's very -- very tough talk about the debt ceiling. What are the challenges for incoming House Speaker John Boehner when it comes to controlling his caucus? There are going to be a lot of people who don't want to vote to bail out the states or don't want to vote to raise the debt ceiling.

WALTER: No, that's exactly right. I mean, it's a real balancing act that he has right now, which is keeping that Tea Party caucus. There's a lot of new members coming in who ran exactly on that message. And actually showing that the Republicans are a party that can govern and can get things done.

I mean, that was really the message of these last three elections, has been about competency, getting to Washington, doing something rather than this infighting.

Now, I think Boehner has done a very good job, at least initially, in making sure that the folks aren't outside the tent, they're inside the tent. He put freshmen on leadership positions so that the Tea Party folks can sort of have a voice in the leadership.

He's going to have the -- the folks read the Constitution on the very first day of Congress. And on any bill that you put in has to have a constitutional sort of root to it.

But, you know, will that be enough? And how quickly can they pivot from the sort of symbolic things to showing that we're going to be able to -- to work with a party and work with a president in getting people what you talked about all morning, which is jobs?

TAPPER: Now, Major, you have a piece in National Journal talking about what this new Republican House will mean specifically for President Obama, for the White House. What will it mean?

GARRETT: Confrontation across the board. Confrontation on health care. I predict before the president delivers a State of the Union address, House Republicans will move through the floor and onto the Senate a direct repeal bill of the universal health care bill passed under President Obama's watch.

They will also challenge him on whatever the EPA intends to do starting this week to limit greenhouse gas emissions. They will try to repeal major provisions of the financial regulatory reform act. They will try to cut spending much beneath the levels the president is comfortable with. Even on the FCC's most recent announcement on net neutrality, they will try to block those regulations.

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