Rep. Walsh Talks About Potential Shutdown
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
For more on-the-budget impasse, I'm joined by Congressman Joe Walsh. He's a freshman Republican from Illinois and a member of the House Tea Party Caucus. Congressman Walsh, welcome to the program.
JOE WALSH: Thank you. Great to be here.
BLOCK: There is still no deal. House Republicans holding out for $61 billion in cuts. Is there any middle ground for you?
WALSH: And, again, unfortunately it appears that the other side turned that down. So, look, this is getting tiresome in that for 40-some days now, you know, Republicans have had deals and have had options that we put in front of the Senate. We just haven't gotten anything back in return.
BLOCK: Democrats, though, say that it's the Republicans who've been intransigent, that the numbers are just out of whack and unreasonable, that you are the side that's not compromising here.
WALSH: We literally, last Friday, put that in front of the Senate again. And basically, our mantra, my mantra has been for the last 40-some days, give us a response. I think the president should be ashamed of himself. I think he's been AWOL in this entire debate. He's finally somewhat engaged now. But, look, the Democrats are in denial. I think they want to shut this government down because their only hope is to paint the Republicans as the bad guys.
BLOCK: I'm curious about that, Congressman. You said in an interview with Time magazine, I came here - meaning to Washington - ready to go to war. The people didn't send me here to compromise. It sounds like you are just as intransigent as you're accusing the Democrats of being.
WALSH: We keep putting things in front of them. Clearly - I won't take it back - the American people sent us here to be bold. I would just love to know what the other side has to say because they've been silent.
BLOCK: I'm curious how that amounts to compromise in your view. You're saying cooperate but don't compromise. You don't seem to be backing off the number that you put out at the outset, which is $61 billion in cuts.
WALSH: And, again, just the latest, the latest John Boehner making, I think, a pretty good effort to say, let's keep this thing going for another week. Let's at least agree that we're going to fund the military, but come on, talk to us. And it just doesn't seem like we're getting anything.
BLOCK: Well, the deal that he is proposing, though, would also involve $12 billion in cuts just for this week, correct?
WALSH: Absolutely. And, again, if the president of the United States and the Democrats in the U.S. Senate want to shut this government down because they can't find $12 billion in cuts in a year when we're going to run up a $1.6 trillion deficit, boy, I'd hate to turn to the American people and say that's why we shut down the government.
MARTIN: But, Congressman Walsh, both sides have been negotiating. The Republican and Democratic leadership have been sitting down and talking and they were at the White House today. Why do you say the president doesn't take this seriously?
WALSH: They've lost the substance of this argument. I think their only play is to somehow, you know, go down the road where they make the Republicans the bad guys. Does that mean there's a shutdown, does that mean they want a shutdown? That may well be, because again, they'll do their best then to make us seem like the big bad guys.
BLOCK: Congressman Walsh, thank you very much.
WALSH: Thank you so much.
BLOCK: That's Congressman Joe Walsh, freshman Republican from Illinois and a member of the House Tea Party Caucus.
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