'Satan Sandwich': Cleaver Weighs In On Debt Deal Steve Inskeep talks with Democratic U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri about raising the debt ceiling and the deal struck between the White House and Senate leaders. Cleaver is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Over the weekend, he called the deal "a sugar-coated Satan sandwich."
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'Satan Sandwich': Cleaver Weighs In On Debt Deal

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'Satan Sandwich': Cleaver Weighs In On Debt Deal

'Satan Sandwich': Cleaver Weighs In On Debt Deal

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Welcome to the program.

R: Good morning. Good to be with you.

INSKEEP: Congressman, forgive me, I just have to begin by mentioning that we looked up a Satan sandwich. It's a variation on a moon pie, and it actually seemed kind of tasty.

R: I don't think it's going to be tasty at all. People are going to begin to take bites of it shortly. It's not a very tasty meal. I use that kind of language because I wanted people to understand that every deal is not a good deal, and you can't find a single Democrat in Washington who voted for this deal who thinks it was a good one.

INSKEEP: Very briefly, why is it so bad?

R: We've had this debt ceiling since 1970, and we probably never should have created it - at least, our ancestors shouldn't have. And we've never seen a vote on the debt ceiling connected to the deficit reduction...

INSKEEP: Congressman, I'm sorry to interrupt. I've just got a couple of minutes here. I want to ask you a couple of quick questions, if I might.

Y: Isn't there an argument to be made that whatever your politics, you have to make the numbers add up over the long term? Right now, they don't. And this deal would at least fix that a little bit over time.

R: That's the most ridiculous thing that can happen because it means that you start cutting Head Start and many other programs that I think are valuable to this country.

INSKEEP: Well, then because of those cuts, won't both sides have - I'm so sorry, congressman. Because of those cuts - in a few seconds - because of those cuts that would be automatic if they don't agree on something that everybody can sign onto - in just about 10 seconds - isn't there some incentive to come up with what you would call a more balanced approach?

R: If that were the case, we wouldn't have been in a much - into the abyss until yesterday because we have plenty incentives. The markets were trembling; people in the country had become disgusted. And still, most of the new Republicans voted against it.

INSKEEP: Congressman, thanks very much.

R: Sure, good to talk with you.

INSKEEP: Democratic congressman Emanuel Cleaver, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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