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

Republicans understand, because Democrats control the Senate and the president still wields the veto pen, what they have to do is essentially create a two-year argument to replace President Obama, using legislative vehicles, oversight hearings, and a body of work that says, "These policies don't work for America. They're taking us in the wrong direction." And whomever the Republican nominee is in 2012 will inherit that record, that predicate, and take it into the general election.

WALTER: Right. But that's a -- which is -- which is a very good -- if it works...

GARRETT: If it works.

WALTER: ... that can work very well. But the problem is that congressional job approval is so much lower than that of the president, and the appetite for the American public for more of this kind of stuff is, you know -- they -- sort of the infighting and the partisanship is this much, right?

So if Republicans do overreach, if they look like they're spending much more time concerned about picking away through these -- through these hearings, through regulatory reform on -- on pieces of legislation that the public is not as engaged in, then that's the problem.

GARRETT: But the linchpin will be jobs.

WALTER: Yes, exactly.

GARRETT: And Republicans will explain and defend all of these actions based on one framing issue: This is about jobs. And they'll bring Republican governors in, many Republican governors who won in the midterm elections, to say, what -- what is this law, health care? What is EPA regulations? What is net neutrality? What are all these things having an effect in your state on jobs? And if they get a negative reaction, say then we need action, here's the Republican course. It's all going to be framed around jobs.

WILL: I disagree with Amy on the message of the election. I don't think it was, "Go to Washington and work together to get things done." It was go to Washington and stop it, put sand in the gears.

To which end, another person people have not heard of that they're about to hear of is Senator Tom Udall, a freshman from New Mexico, who will lead the attempt to change the Senate rules to make a filibuster less effective to make the Senate work quicker. Now, those of us who believe that quickness in government is not a good thing object to that, but it will be the first big fight of this Congress...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Explain that a little bit more, because there are obviously in op-ed pages across the country -- we saw today and yesterday -- attempts to argue that -- that filibuster needs a reform, that it shouldn't be a 60-vote benchmark every time senators want to do something.

WILL: It used to be 67. They lowered it to 60. And theoretically, making it easier to end debate, they made filibusters much more common for a lot of different reasons.

The argument is this. The House, all 435 members of the House are elected every year. The Senate, only a third are. The House is not a continuing body. The Senate has always said we're a continuing body, and therefore our rules continue from one to the other.

And this is the kicker. In order to change the rule on filibustering, you have to get 67 votes or 60 votes, because you can filibuster an attempt to change the rules on filibustering.

TAPPER: Right.

BRAZILE: And that will never happen.

GARRETT: It means it's not going to happen.

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