John Culberson Backs John Boehner on Government Shutdown

Texas representative discusses republican's desire to negotiate with the Obama administration.
3:00 | 10/08/13

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Transcript for John Culberson Backs John Boehner on Government Shutdown
This is a special room. -- when -- dance company or with the CBC news digital special reports called me. Definitely. That is the message from house speaker John Boehner to President Obama. Tell the president that everything is on the table. President did pick up the phone in fact this morning but no progress was made in either the budget -- the debt ceiling by. And what could be worse the White House and the speaker's office can't agree on how they think the phone call went. BC's Karen Travers has more on this -- in the unbreakable gridlock in Washington -- -- yet probably not a good sign when they can't even agree on what was said in what was presumably a very brief -- -- but. They instant development today if you want -- -- -- that is house Republicans are proposing the idea of a so called super committee yes another one of those. This could be house and senate Democrats and Republicans that would get together and negotiate a way to -- the government shut down. Reduce the deficit and raise the debt ceiling it sounds like a very tall order and right now there is no indication that any Democrats would agree this. -- and congressional leaders aren't even focusing on the ongoing government shut down. Washington has shifted to the next great American the debt ceiling never -- -- president our history. That did not negotiated over the debt limit. On October 17 the federal government will -- its borrowing limit and unless congress votes to raise it the nation will go off on its debts. The Obama had been. Administration is sounding the alarms warning of the potentially disastrous impact that could have -- the global economy the president insists congress needs to act. Without any conditions for negotiations. -- and negotiate under the threat of economic catastrophe but house Republicans say that's not acceptable by refusing. To negotiate. Harry Reid and the president for putting. Our country out of pretty dangerous path to the Social Security Administration warned that he'd just nine days it will no longer be able to guarantee -- checks will go out. Nearly sixteen million Americans get an average of about 280 dollars a week in benefits if the government defaults there could be a very difficult choice pay lenders like China or keep commitments to retirees. Wall Street -- anxiously watching. The markets finished down yesterday and but some analysts say that since the consequences of the default are so bad. Washington won't be so reckless to let it happen we think a resolution will be reached before we ever get. Two a default situation on on US debt. And Dan -- that phone call this morning. Aides to house speaker John Boehner say the president once again said he will not negotiate the White House says. The president will negotiate but only -- government -- and is and the threat of the default is removed so Dan potato potato. -- -- -- It's all about how to Parse the words I suppose that -- president is speaking to center would have expected here saying we expect him to double down on that stance on negotiations and that you know the president obviously has the biggest bully -- in the entire country if -- the world so -- is taking advantage of that he -- and lastly go out and get sandwiches yesterday he went on to -- to talk about workers. Who were furloughed of them brought back it will be -- -- this is the president's way -- trying to stay in the narrative -- stay in the spotlight. And he knows -- he gets up there today and gives a statement no matter how brief -- is take some questions everybody will be focused on all of the networks are gonna take this why it puts him right back at the center of this but. -- we don't expect to become mountains say there's been any breakthrough that much is clear from the read out to those phone calls. It's mostly the president coming out and saying this is what I want and this is how we need to get to that point. But of course there is no indication that Republicans are eating in the consider taking one step to meet him there. Karen I have to ask -- you certainly get whiplash from this in DC watching this go back and forth because it really has been a battle getting the message. It hasn't it certainly just that battle for spin control here in Washington DC -- the president speaking yesterday that -- conduct today the president wants to -- it. It is sort of about winning the news cycle but I think one thing that's -- interesting. As -- talked about and that -- we're starting to see this melding of the government shut down. Blurring right into the debt ceiling and that was of course a big concern in September October 17 has been circled on everybody's calendars. For weeks once the Treasury Department pinpointed that date as the date that could be the potential default the government -- was of course the focus over the last two weeks. And why they're starting to see members of congress can fleeting -- -- they're all talking about it in the same sentence so. You're not hearing is much about the actual logistics of the government -- and how that would end. But really starting here about how the default issues can work out and there are some people here in Washington saying it's good that if you're a betting person that. There's the potential that the government will still be shut down but there will be action taken on the debt ceiling before 2%. And -- time takes time Karen thank you for that from Washington DC what what are the biggest opponents of obamacare the crux of the budget debate for many. Is the Tea Party caucus we're joined now by Republican congressman John Culbertson. Seventh district in Texas congressman thanks for being witness that we appreciate your time. Thank you Dan give you idiot -- speaker Boehner today so that there are no lines in the sand in the budget debate do you agree with that statement. Well certainly speaker -- in the house have done everything we -- to show. Movement to compromise to make multiple. Offers to the White House in the senate Democrats -- Frankly disappointed to hear your reporter in the lead into this segment say that there's no indication house Republicans have made any movement. Towards present position -- present position is no negotiation. The senate position is no negotiation. -- you solve any problem if one side refuses to negotiate at all their position is. You do it a 100% our way. And then we'll talk that's not acceptable and particularly when it comes to something as important. As the debt ceiling. And the government shut down these are big issues that require. Leadership from the president of the United States and leadership means stepping forward with ideas and offering an alternative. -- let me ask you then based on that on the White House statement that are there any circumstances that you can imagine where you could in fact. Move on your thoughts on obamacare are -- defining or delaying its. -- -- done that in fact and the house began. This debate -- completely eliminating obamacare -- being out completely. And then the second offer we made was to -- slow it down for a year delay the whole thing for a year. And then we read that we -- our positioning -- in an effort to compromise. Instead let's only delay the individual mandate for a year -- -- president has given 1200. Waivers. Two -- so many different people including big business -- one year delay let's let individual Americans have one year. That response for the White House in the senate Democrats has been no negotiation. No movement you do and a 100% our way or we are shutting down the government. And risking -- the -- that's just unacceptable the president has a constitutional responsibility. To step forward and lead in leadership means having the courage to come up with ideas and sit down at a table -- work it out that's all we ask. Let us through this congress has in recent polls showed the majority of Americans 70% -- now. Are putting Republicans at blame for a shot down does that bring you any pause when you see those numbers. No I'm not surprised again your reporter. Who Karen who -- her lead in to this report. Said she sees no indication that house Republicans are making any effort to move towards -- present position that is false so the entire premise. That your reporter is spreading to the public is false and most of the national news media is misleading the public in an acting like it's Republicans that are not. Making any effort to compromise we have offered. Multiple compromises in any negotiation. Both sides find areas of common ground set that aside put it behind you and then find. Each side ways -- they can move closer to each other. So that I think the national news media is. Responsible more than anybody else for misleading the American people into thinking. That Republicans are not attempting to compromise we've compromised repeatedly in all were asking for is what the constitution requires. And that is a conference committee. A negotiation between the senate the house and the president. Which the White House has refused to do so so I'm not surprised by the poll numbers. And not worried a bit because I know we're standing on principal Diane. And above all remember doing -- your own personal lives if ABC news had a spending problem he wouldn't simply solve it by raising your credit limit. You would find the source of the spending problem in trying to find a way to get that under control you certainly wouldn't raise the credit limit. For ABC news she'd find where that money is hemorrhaging and try to bring that under control and that's what house Republicans are trying to do in this debt limit debate. That it to congress and that there have been some members of your caucus who doesn't think in fact that a default would necessarily be the worst thing in fact -- congressman tango -- -- in fact it would even bring stability to the markets. The United States always fulfill. The obligations that we made the full faith and credit of the United States is vital. To our economic security to the world economy and that's why house Republicans in our first. And -- I can offer that we sent to the senate. We included legislation -- that said that the United States must always pay. Principal and interest on the debt first -- White House has rejected that the senate has rejected that so we recognize. That it is essential for the stability of the US economy in the world economy that we stand behind the full faith and credit of the United States but again a Democrat. And that the Democrats position contrary to what your reporter said. Is no negotiation. And when he comes to the debt limit. There -- there's suggestion is simply raise the credit limit and completely ignored the spending problem which is utterly and totally irresponsible. And I guarantee ABC. Shareholders would not permit your board of directors to do the same to your company. Congress I want -- -- Cuban statement that you had made and this is the 28 to September this is before the government shut down missiles in regards to. The lead up to how to vote in regard to passing a budget that would -- the president's Affordable Care Act. You had said in rallying members let's roll. I was working to clarify what you meant by that which was clearly a reference. Onto one of the passengers that was on board -- the hijacked planes on 9/11. Well let's roll. A part of the American lexicon now it's a part of our languages when my favorite expressions and immense admiration for Todd Beamer in the passengers on united flight 93 in fact every time you walk into that capitol building can't help but look at it and remember there would be up. -- smoking crater but for the courage. The passengers on flight 93. We had just -- the end caucus meeting. Debated. And then voted in agreed upon a course of action. To begin these negotiations to to set -- a starting point and then try to move on that to get two common ground. So the references one had had nothing to do with 9/11 insisted they it is -- it is. -- -- exuberant it says it's a part of our language today. And -- immense admiration for Todd Beamer. They -- they voted they decided on a course of action and took it. It's just that simple it's been nothing more complicated than that it's a great expression. And I admire those heroes immensely so there was no kind of comparison or analogy to the -- -- now I don't -- all know that. Now he's just like your reporters saying that Republicans are not even moving towards -- present position I mean we've just got this. This systematic liberal clients in the national media that does everything -- -- -- -- misrepresent. Principled conservative. Positions on everything that we do -- -- constitutional conservative. I call myself a Jeffersonian Republican -- a founding member of the Tea Party caucus because Texans want to be left alone my constituents who elected me. -- and to do everything in my power to give the government out of our pockets out of our lives out of her way in just leave us alone and let Texans -- Texas either. These are core principles and frankly -- our most important right is the right to be left alone and obamacare. Is the most massive expansion of government power in the biggest intrusion into our private lives by the government. In probably the history of the country so these are matters of principle for us. They've been routinely misrepresented by the national press corps. And I'm not surprised that the polls are showing up the way they are particularly with reporters like -- leading into this segment with something so blatantly. Inaccurate that Republicans are not moving towards the president's position. The president's position as a 100% my way or the highway and -- won't even talk tea and we moved nine times to compromise as just a fact. Congress -- ask if you feel so strongly against the Affordable Care Act then what good would delaying that by one year due. Well would do a lot of good because right now they have -- care act -- -- function. Most of the web sites -- are broken people can't sign on they are discovering that they are if there even able to find a plan. That the -- -- doctors there. I know that the memorial Hermann hospital system in used in for example has only been asked to participate. In one plan in the plan offered to pay a memorial Hermann Medicaid reimbursement rates which is one of the lowest rates areas. The largest cardiology group in the United States has not been asked to participate in any obamacare plan. We all of us have to carry it. Maternity or. Or pregnancy insurance. You know I'm 57 years old -- -- on on much building Knoblauch and are gonna have anymore kids. But. -- bodily congresses is covered we're under obamacare like everybody else in fact I will lose my insurance on January 1 time -- have both my knees replaced. In a couple of weeks because I don't do it now. I'm toast I'm not gonna have insurance come January 1 -- what we're gonna have come January 1 but -- obamacare is a disaster. Big business got an exemption. The there's 12100 other exemptions out there we -- conservatives simply want to give the individual American. Average citizen. A delay just like big business and they also -- ought to be put the same position as members of congress we're actually required to go into the exchange's. And that the only difference that members of congress is that if a big business stand for example ABC decided to. Drop your insurance coverage stand. And send you into -- of these exchanges. Businesses are -- able to continue to subsidize your health care I suspect ABC is probably paying. Diane what is ABC probably pays 6070% a year health care coverage. Well I'm mad that I mean acting -- that it takes whatever -- necessary -- write some percentage of some percentage but if ABC were to drop you into an exchange. ABC would be prevented my point is not on -- -- I don't -- trying to your own personal -- Steve's thing but. If ABC decided to move all of their employees into an exchange. The long obamacare prohibits. ABC from continuing to pay for apportioning your health care. That's a different congress was given an exception from that rule so that there -- employer the federal government could continue to pay a portion of our health care. That will go away that's part of our position as Republicans we want to be sure we're in the same boat. As every other Americans so we want no exceptions. And fairness for all Americans that's I think a reasonable position to Pena. To address the larger picture there has been some discussion of negotiating committees or super committee. To sort this out is that something that you would support. Certainly anything to get this broken loose right now we're literally faced with a White House and Democrats and it. Whose only objective is to and annihilate house Republicans their focus is on. Total political domination. Washington DC. And they're not negotiating they're not offering anything in exchange for these multiple changes that we've sent to them. So the idea of a super committee is a good one because it -- it's simply an effort. To do what we all do in our personal lives in our business lines. ABC news has been the number of mergers shell of consolidated and other companies -- those consolidations happened or when you have changes in the way your company operates. You sit down he talk it out. And and you find areas of agreement so the reason for the super committee is trying to. Find that common ground to find areas of agreement that we can begin to get this off dead -- And moving towards a solution because we've got deadly serious spending problems. The national debt is justice is the least of our problems to see all the unfunded liabilities. Stand that exceed now 85 trillion dollars we are. In this fight -- conservatives. To save the nation from bankruptcy. And to protect our kids from inheriting. And unbearable burden of debt and taxes so it's a matter principal. There has been activity in -- house and individual bills regarding funding the government in fact you were the sponsored a bill to fund veterans benefits through the shut down. And answer on it failed to pass the Republican controlled house what happens. No it actually did pass a house scandal we did was we offered it under procedure called suspension of the rules. Which requires a two thirds vote the first time -- third on the floor. And the Democrats all voted against benefits for our veterans. We didn't put it on the floor that under -- rule that only required a majority vote ended in passed so these. Bills you see the house passing every day part of find. Essentials segments of the government disability benefits for veterans making sure -- national Guardsmen are -- Making sure that Nationalists to to help this -- Harry Reid may not have much concern for kids with cancer but we do we want to make sure that. The cancer research is being done we. We're peeking out areas that are absolutely essential. And making sure that those are funded. And then passing those bills by majority vote in the house and sending -- to the senate and again the response from senate Democrats has been. -- no negotiation. My way or the highway you White House and in here readers that you do -- a 100% my way and then we'll talk about it that. That's just not acceptable we're. And -- this is of this is it democratic republic. And it requires cooperation from all three branches of government and we're doing our earnest vast. Two compromise to move towards -- president. And I hope that your reporter whose -- through it did the intro to this program. Apple will help set the record straight in the future in pointing out all the efforts of Republicans have made to move from our initial position. Of totally repealing obamacare. And in in because it's important people know. That we're here we're working we're ready to negotiate and compromise. It is the White House and Harry Reid -- -- refusing to talk. Let me ask you this and that the Republican strategy that seems to be as -- pointed out there -- almost a piecemeal approach -- however you want to characterize it. And obviously then putting Democrats. In control of putting that either a yes or no vote on there. What is the end game -- if Democrats are gonna vote no on these individual bill. Well the Democrats are gonna find themselves in the position of being responsible for keeping the government closed. Because we've given them what they've asked for the president gave a speech for example -- -- Well here's a whole list of things the government should do that are essential that we must make sure are funded. House Republicans said OK we have the power of the purse we agree with the president so. We passed all those bills we've done all the things the president listed that he said were so essential. And the senate has refused to act on the the president -- refused to sign and he said he will Vito. That he act it's incredible but the -- United States puts out a list of things he says recent -- And then when we do it he says he's gonna veto the bills which really shows a duplicity and it's just it's it's it's really disappointing so it's important remembered in that this is for all of us -- fiscal conservatives a matter of principle. We want this out of control spending to stop we want to move back towards a balanced budget. And we want the government to be open but that requires negotiation in good faith and right now at this point. No one. From the White House or the senator is talking to house Republicans the president is negotiating with the leader of -- Ron. That terrorists in Syria but he will not even talk to house Republicans it's very disappointing and very destructive. Our stay the course are our house Republicans confident that is the best way to fund a government on an individual basis like that. What we took the president and his word when he gave his speech last week and said that here's a long list of things the government has today's that we think should stay. Open. We said OK well we'll -- that so we have followed his advice and send him funding for of those programs that he asked for. And then he turns -- is going to be telling. I mean no president in American history has ever refused. To negotiate. Over a debt ceiling every president in American history has recognized they have -- sworn. Duty. To preserve protect and defend the constitution and that includes negotiating. With the senate and the house this is it. Weird -- -- democracy I represent 700000. Texans who just want to be left alone they don't want any part of obamacare. Who want the budget balanced as it is -- taxes. And the president -- even talk to me we'll talk to John Boehner. In all of us in the Republican caucus are united behind John Boehner and his effort to be reasonable to be thoughtful. And to negotiate. They're compromise. Out of this mess that we're in clinic at compromise requires. Both sides right now you've just got the house offering to compromise what what do you say then to the historical precedent that that's it has always been raised. But it -- always been raised in conjunction with some. With the underline problem. And I keep coming back to ABC news is it's a good example we are successful large corporation with an obligation to your shareholders you've got shareholders. That owns stock in ABC and they're counting on ABC to be profitable. They're -- on your board of directors to make wise decisions on the money. That you learned from commercial revenue. And if -- executive leadership and ABC. Have a spending problem and they just raised the credit limit they couldn't go to the bank can just say -- ABC just wants more money. We're not make any effort to change where in the underlying spending problem. No blank would let that happen to your shareholders would not let that happen that's all house Republicans are doing we've got -- Terrible out of control spending problem in Washington DC from. Years and years and years of liberal policies in as fiscal conservatives as guardians of the treasury. As a representative of -- constituents who are furious about obamacare and the spending we're simply asking that if we will if we're gonna raise the debt ceiling. At a minimum -- -- -- -- dollar for dollar reductions in spending elsewhere. And we want to see reforms that address the underlying out of control spending problem. That's common sense it's good business practice and I guarantee Dave Ramsey. With a B Dave Ramsey or your board of directors and ABC would do the exact same thing. Congressman -- let me ask you this and the president has been asking for straight up or down vote on a clean CR. There's been some debate on the numbers being there not being there for passage what would happen if that bill -- to go to the floor. See again it's a clean C are the focus is on a clean CR that means that we would in the house to surrender any effort. To bring spending in -- control we would surrender any effort. To institute any reforms to bring spending in potential in the future. A clean CR would mean that the president is got a 100% his way and is not making any concessions of any kind. To attempt to get to the underlying spending problem. I don't believe the votes are there for clean CR. I also think it's important that everyone listening no we will not. The fault on the full faith and credit of the United States of America that fundamentally that's -- fundamental critical. Underpinning of the US economy in the world economy and we recognize that is of fundamental responsibility. United States congress I just wish the president would recognize it as well but that's gonna require both of us talking together. And that -- and so far we've seen zero movement or negotiation from the White House. Multiple. Movements and multiple. Offers to compromise from house Republicans and I hope your reporters would report the facts that way and an extended his slanting it making it look like. So where the -- clubs around moving you are confident that I October 18 the credit rating of the United States will not have changed. No we will we are going to see the credit rating in the United States change as it has in England because we -- borrowing too much. In fact -- I -- everyone knows about tax freedom day the day that we stop working for the government and start working for ourselves. There's a far more important day people need to know and I call it national credit card day. If you think -- this just take -- a second. That America's mortgage and -- the mortgage and in taxes as we do on our personalized we pay your mortgage and taxes first out of our paycheck. America's mortgage and taxes are Social Security Medicare Medicaid veterans' benefits the national debt principal and interest. Once America pays our mortgage and taxes those things it must be paid first. We only have enough money to run the government through June 21. So every -- June 21 is borrowed and now we'll have to be paid back by our -- -- We my last address that fundamental underline problem we simply cannot borrow money forever. As Liberal Democrats wanna do Liberal Democrats -- -- has raised the credit card limit. Forever -- no reform there's not a business in America there's not a home in America there's no household. Nobody in the United States. Would raise their credit limit on the credit cards without attempting to bring spending under control and that's all house Republicans are trying to do. So when we do race -- credit limit. House Republicans are going to and suggest that we do something to bring the underline out of control spending. -- reform. Bring it in line someway somehow that had just common sense would demand that we do. All right congressman -- -- thank you so much -- I have this -- we appreciate congressman I'd appreciate thank you Culbertson from the senate district of Texas -- a complete report on abcnews.com. And on -- Cutler New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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