Gwen Moore Discusses Government Shutdown Debate

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Gwen Moore Discusses Government Shutdown Debate

Premiere Date: 
October 4, 2013

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, on the effects of the shutdown and the debate over it.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Zac Schultz:

Now, for the view from the other side of the chamber. And for that, we turn to Democratic Representative Gwen Moore. I spoke to the congresswoman earlier today. Her Milwaukee district includes 33,000 WIC recipients. I began our interview by asking if she supports the piecemeal funding of the federal government, including a stand-alone bill to fund WIC through the end of the year.

Gwen Moore:

Zac, I am absolutely frustrated and disgusted with this masquerade and this charade of this piecemeal funding. You know, republicans are going to, you know, they would have you believe that they are going to, you know, feed suckling babes and lactating moms through the WIC program. But the reality is is that a lactating mom needs food. These are the same people who have made draconian cuts of food stamps. These are the same people who proposed a number for the budget is $72 billion below what even their chief appropriater says is the bare minimum level at which we ought to fund government.

You know, their so reactionary to the so-called shutdown that when they see that there are bad optics, or bad publicity around an issue, they then decide to fund it. You know, we have seen them when the museums and the military, World War II Museum was closed. I suspect that by the time we come back next week, they'll have a bill on the floor to fund the Capitol Police who put their lives on the line, and yet are working, now with no pay. It is totally disingenuous, and I don't support this piecemeal approach.

I say we ought to fund the government and sort of get to the negotiating table to try to roll back this sequester level, because even, even if there were any chance of this WIC funding being instituted at the levels that it's at, so many women are going to suffer, and certainly a lactating mom, a woman who is breast feeding, needs food, needs the program, needs the food stamps for fresh fruits and fresh vegetables and lean meat in order to have a healthy baby. This is just a charade.

Zac Schultz:

One of the things that hasn't been voted on in the House is a clean continuing resolution. If that came to the floor, would it pass?

Gwen Moore:

Oh, overwhelmingly. I would be willing to bet a thousand dollars that there wouldn't be any more than 50 votes against such an initiative in the entire House of Representatives. And that's the challenge that Mr. Boehner has, to be the speaker of the house or to be the head of the republican party.

Zac Schultz:

Now, do you think ultimately this shutdown will be merged with the debt ceiling debate that's coming up? Do you think that's going to be brought in with entitlement reform or tax reform? We've heard lots of ideas about how ultimately this will be resolved.

Gwen Moore:

Well, I can tell you that the business community is very, very nervous about this sort of unfolding and becoming part of the debt debate. We absolutely cannot afford to default on our debt. I think many Americans think that raising the debt ceiling means that we're authorizing new debt. All it means is that we're paying our bills. You don't get to go into a restaurant, eat, have dessert, and then say, gee, I'm not going to pay the bill. And once we do that, we risk not only our economy here at home, but our standing internationally. That would be catastrophic, and you'd see so much more grief and misery than we're seeing now.

Zac Schultz:

Now, some Democrats have said --

Gwen Moore:

I think the business community will weigh in heavily before that happens.

Zac Schultz:

Okay. Some Democrats have said they won't negotiate with the gun to their head, meaning they will only bargain after the government reopens. But isn't every bill that Congress sees an opportunity to negotiate, an opportunity to debate what may be included as part of it?

Gwen Moore:

You know, you could only negotiate in good faith. When you're negotiating, you're bringing two parties together, and you understand that there's some basic good will that's there. These bills that are being brought before congress now are not coming bearing good will. They're only being brought forward, you know, to embarrass democrats or to try to create the narrative that we're responsible for the shutdown. This WIC bill, for example, republicans care nothing for suckling babes and lactating women. We have seen so many efforts. It just enrages me at the debates and the tears that I have been in to see how willing they have been to take food, even from infants in this Congress. But they're dangling these crumbs from the master's table in order to make a political point. They're not negotiating in good faith.

Zac Schultz:

All right. Congresswoman Moore, thank you very much for your time today.

Gwen Moore:

And thank you. You have a good day. 


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