Republican Senator Lindsey Graham dismissed White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod’s health care reform comments on “This Week” as campaign “spin” and that the “American people are getting tired of this crap.” In my “This Week” interview with Graham, he told me that if Democrats pass health care reform using reconciliation, “it's going to poison the well for anything else they would like to achieve this year or thereafter.”
Graham also warned that “There will be a price to be paid to jam a bill through, the American People don’t like, using a sleazy process.
Watch video HERE:
Read full exchange HERE:
TAPPER: And joining me now from Clemson, South Carolina is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham, thanks so much for joining us.
GRAHAM: Thank you, Jake. Good to be with you.
TAPPER: Now you have said that if the Democrats use reconciliation to pass the fixes to the Senate bill, it will be catastrophic to attempts to have any sort of bipartisan cooperation. But you have voted for reconciliation in the past when Republicans were in the majority, the 2003 Bush tax cuts, more than $300 billion worth in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which slowed the growth of Medicare.
Those votes seemed to pass without catastrophe. So why has this changed?
GRAHAM: Well, number one, they related to income and spending. And this is one-sixth of the economy about to be affected here. Under reconciliation, you can't make any changes to Social Security because Senator Byrd understood it was never meant to be used for a purpose like this.
Senator Byrd said you couldn't pass Senator — President Clinton's health care plan through reconciliation. It was never meant — and you can repeal the Bush tax cuts if you don't like it. If they use this device called reconciliation to deal out Republicans, it will open up Pandora's box.
And the interview I just heard is spin, campaigning. I thought the campaigning was over. Are you trying to tell me and the American people that Scott Brown got elected campaigning against a Washington bill that really is just like the Massachusetts bill?
The American people are getting tired of this crap. No way in the world is what they did in Massachusetts like what we're about to do in Washington. We didn't cut Medicare — they didn't cut Medicare when they passed the bill in Massachusetts. They didn't raise $500 billion on the American people when they passed the bill in Massachusetts.
To suggest that Scott Brown is basically campaigning against the bill in Washington that is like the one in Massachusetts is complete spin. I've been in bipartisan deals, I was in the "gang of 14" to stop the Senate from blowing up when the Republicans wanted to change the rules and use the majority vote to get judges through.
If they do this, it's going to poison the well for anything else they would like to achieve this year or thereafter.