David Gregory Badgers Dick Durbin About Washington's 'Spending Problem'


Who needs Fox when you've got hosts like NBC's David Gregory repeating Republicans' talking points for them as he did here on this Sunday's Meet the Press. Somehow I don't ever remember Karl Rove's dance partner ever complaining about out of control government spending back when George W. Bush was busting the bank with a couple of wars he left off of the books and with tax cuts for the wealthy.

GREGORY: I want to get back to the automatic spending cuts and ask a fundamental question that I think Republican critics of this president are asking. Do you not concede that there is a spending problem in Washington? Even when it comes to the 50% cuts out of the sequester that are for the Defense Department. You have said in recent interviews you could live with those. You don't like the manner in which the cuts would be made, but you could live with those cutbacks to the Pentagon. So isn't there a spending problem here that must be addressed?

DURBIN: Absolutely. And I believe, as chairman of The Defense Appropriation Subcommittee in-- in the Senate, that we can save money, cut waste in the Pentagon, and not compromise our national security. But to do this in such a haphazard way over the remaining six or seven months is going to be unfair to the military and their families.

Think about this for a second. Cutting back on psychological counseling for the members of the military and their family during the remainder of this year, when we have this grievous problem of suicides in the military and readjustment when they come home from battle? We can't do that.

GREGORY: But isn't there always a reason-- (crosstalk) Isn't there always a reason to spend the money in Washington?

Can't you always find a reason not to cut? Isn't this the Republican argument that, at least here, if worse comes to worse and the sequester passes, at least we'll get spending cuts, how else to force the President's hand?

DURBIN: But listen. Do we really want to base our spending cuts on reducing medical research in America, on eliminating 70,000 children from Head Start, that early learning program that's so important? These things don't make sense. Let's sit down and do this in a thoughtful manner. And let's include revenue. We should have half of this as revenue from tax reform and the other half in spending cuts. And I support those spending cuts.

Sadly what was not mentioned here is that the Progressive Caucus in the House has a plan for reducing the deficit without causing pain to the poor and the working class. If Sen. Durbin doesn't want to help Gregory push his right wing talking points, maybe he should consider bringing this plan up the next time he's on the air: The Balancing Act.


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