Shutdown: Day 3

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A man protesting the government shutdown outside the Capitol building in Washington, DC (coolrevolution/flickr)

A late-night meeting between President Obama and Speaker Boehner last night failed to result in progress towards ending the government shutdown. Congressman Scott Garrett, (R-NJ 5th) discusses why his party is holding fast on including Obamacare in a budget deal, and whether there's any room for negotiation. Then TIME's Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer discusses the latest news out of DC, and the deepening effects of the shutdown.


Congressman Scott Garrett and Michael Scherer

Comments [120]

"I’ve often said that the Affordable Care Act is the end of the beginning of reform. Starting October 1, 2014, that law will signify the beginning of the end of the health insurance industry as we know it.

As I’ve noted previously, my former CEO at Cigna said at a leadership retreat that what kept him up at night was the fear that big health insurance corporations might someday be viewed as unnecessary middlemen, that their “value proposition” would come under scrutiny and found to be wanting. That insurance companies would, to use his term, be disintermediated.

That day has arrived."

Wendell Potter

Oct. 06 2013 09:23 AM

I am embarrassed that this gentleman represents my district. The gerrymandering that caused this unfortunate situation brought his cockamamie district and ideas from northwest New Jersey into Bergen County and captured poor little River Edge.

I see criticism of Brian's interviewing. It is because Brian is not confrontational that politicians such as Garret will appear on his program. Brian pushes once, pushes again, and if an honest answer is not yet received, he moves on, leaving it to the listener to recognize a mealy-mouthed politician for what he (or she) is. It is indeed frustrating to hear, but that is what you get if you listen to Brian.

Oct. 04 2013 09:23 AM
ly from bx

listening to this interview was a painful experience. sadly i am past the point of expecting to hear "clear & honest" from a politician, but being subject to such egregious sophistry on the part of scott garrett made me wonder if the republican party has simply cut ties with ethics and sanity. i find myself cringing plenty at political speeches and the like but this was some of the worst.

Oct. 04 2013 07:27 AM

PS (Just noticed that my correction was muffed) Now it's right. (Was good to see that some others also saw Brian as being too "nice" to Garrett.)

I left out the word NOT in the last paragraph of the prior's the correction....

I'm NOT asking you to be rude or disrespectful...but to simply call them out when they duck a question and lie to your face. You are a world class interviewer....if you ever unchain yourself from your need to be wishy-washy/obsequious your ratings would quintuple as the show would attract much more attention. And I say this as a fan of yours who admires your intelligence, integrity, good nature and talent! You can do better!!!
Oct. 03 2013 11:03 AM

Oct. 04 2013 02:16 AM
Owen from Berkeley, CA

What a charmer this rep. is! "Maybe YOU have no brain, but my reasonable position is..."

Oct. 03 2013 07:40 PM
Jon Erik Larson from Oradell, NJ

Or, better yet, I will skip paying the mortgage and let the banks take the place.

Oct. 03 2013 05:29 PM
Jon Erik Larson from Oradell, NJ

My wife just had our daughter's room redecorated and had more insulation installed. My wife and I like the result.
I hate it.
I think that I will just put all of the appliances into vacation mode and lock up the house until my wife pulls out the insulation and brings back the old furniture.
If she does not do so by the time the next mortgage payment is due in two weeks, I think I simply will burn down the house.

Oct. 03 2013 05:21 PM
dsimon from Manhattan

Steve from Bergen County:

I am well aware of the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. You claimed that Medicare does not work well. That's simply not the case, as I described.

You say that only half of doctors accept Medicaid patients. The NY Times article I cites says that over 90% of doctors nationally take new Medicare patients. Your link says NJ is last in this category, and that the number of doctors nationally who do not accept new Medicare patients is far lower than in New Jersey. So New Jersey is not an exemplar for the nation as a whole.

Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. Current revenues are never promised to current payers. The deal is that the working generation helps pay for the retired generation. As long as people are working, there is money coming into the system. The demographic bulge of the baby boomers will require some adjustments. But a Ponzi scheme is set up to fail. There is no reason why Social Security cannot endure indefinitely. It just will take some changes to inflows, payments, or both.

I've read Avik Roy's Forbes piece, and it's highly flawed. Yes, some premiums for some people will go up. But Roy's comparison was between the cheapest policies in the state versus the cheapest policies on the exchanges. The cheapest policies in the state may not have met the minimum requirements for those on the exchanges, and so the new policies may offer more coverage. Moreover, there's no law that required the providers of current policies to give anyone that policy at that rate. If you had a preexisting condition or a sketchy family history, you might not be able to get that plan at all. So it's not just comparing apples to oranges; it's comparing apples to oranges the fruit vendor may not let you buy. And that article does not take the subsidies into account.

"So where is this magical money coming from? I'll tell you. It's coming from the government, from taxes, and it will all bankrupt us taxpayers."

Yes, some come from taxpayers who have investment income and make over $200,000. A big chunk comes from getting rid of inefficient subsidies in Medicare for Medicare Advantage plans. And there are other sources. But they don't hit the middle class, and CBO said they cover the costs. With premiums coming in on the low end of expectations, it seem the program will be less expensive than anticipated.

Yes, there are subsidies. There have to be subsidies. There is no way to provide a service for those who could otherwise not afford it without subsidies. If people can't afford the service, then other people have to pay more to make it available to them. To oppose subsidies of any kind is to say some people will just have to do without.

Again, a similar system has been in place in Massachusetts for some time. It seems to be working. Premiums there have not risen faster than the national rate. When the real world contradicts the theory, it usually means the theory has a problem.

Oct. 03 2013 05:04 PM
JohnE from New York

Brian this guy is running circles around you and not challenging any of his assumptions.

Oct. 03 2013 03:01 PM
Steve from Bergen County

dsimon from Manhattan: MediCARE and MediCAID are different programs. Obamacare calls for an expansion to mediCAID, which is a program designed for low income or disabled individuals. This is a program that only about half of current doctors accept, mostly primary care doctors. Almost no specialist accept medicaid. In my state, Medicaid is just not accepted. The journal Health Affairs found that 54 percent of New Jersey primary-care doctors didn’t take new Medicaid patients in 2011 and 2012. And this number continues to fall. So again, Obamacare will expand a program that will not help the patients. They will still seek care in the ER. Just watch it happen.

The uptick in percentage of doctors accepting MediCARE (which has nothing to do with Obamacare) is due to sheer volume. 3,000,000 people turn 65 each year thanks to the Baby Boomer generation. It's just a numbers issue.

The problem is that MediCAID is 90% funded by the US Federal Government, and 10% by the states. Because very few people accept MediCAID, those with that insurance will be forced to get their care in the ER. This will lead to higher costs per patient, because ER costs are more than a regular doctors office. All these increases in cost will just go to the Federal Government to foot the bill.

Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. Social Security REQUIRES higher numbers on the bottom paying in to cover costs of those up top taking out. And because we don't have infinite growth, it is unsustainable. There are no investments made to make profits. Please read this little article and hopefully it will convince you that these programs are on their way out.

Read this article about premiums increasing due to Obamacare. Many people will be helped, but many more will be hurt.

I read a lot about the liberals using selective facts and saying things like "John Doe will be paying only $100 a month under this new plan." And I'd just like to ask: So where's the money coming from? The Obamacare Law doesn't address medical costs at all. So where is this magical money coming from? I'll tell you. It's coming from the government, from taxes, and it will all bankrupt us taxpayers. It is unsustainable. It wont work. We need a solution, but this isnt it. And it's taking us in the wrong direct, it isnt a start. It's just wrong

Oct. 03 2013 02:31 PM

After Hillary (no big fan) got slapped down, NO ONE HAS COME CLOSE to touching this ENORMOUS problem. NO ONE.

The ACA is certainly not the answer but, it begins to address the problem and is successful in some small ways. If nothing else, it has put the issue front and center for a sustained period of time and exposed the idiots against sensible reform for what they are.

Do you really think the status quo (which OWNS the government) is going to give up the TRILLIONS easily??

I see this as the first baby step in the process. Hopefully, the small benefits and successes of the ACA will lead to true solutions...

Full disclosure: BO is also no hero to me.

Oct. 03 2013 02:17 PM

I have to agree with those disappointed by your "niceness" to Rep. Garrett. I wish you would listen to the BBC's Hardtalk to see how it can be done. When he said no, we're not tying everything to this one thing, you let him get away with it. Why didn't you ask him how he would like it if a group in Congress decided to tie to the debt ceiling/deficit a requirement of background checks for guns and reinstitution of the assault rifle ban, or federal legalization of marijuana, or re-enactment of Section 5 of the Civil Rights Act, or perhaps a more exact comparison, repeal of DOMA or the drastic immigration laws of 1996 and 2005, IIRIRA and the Real ID Act -- or to be even more precise, just defunding of the enforcement of those laws? It's such an obvious comparison, I can't believe you didn't use it. I just wish the damn Democrats would actually start bringing up bills in the House to do those things -- that would do more to help the American people understand what's going on than all of the President's quack-quack about it.

Oct. 03 2013 01:38 PM
dsimon from Manhattan

Steve from Bergen County:

Medicare is more efficient than private insurance. Medicare's overhead costs are 3-5%. Private insurance has been around 15-20%. Medicare does a better job holding down costs than private insurance. Just because we're not funding it properly doesn't mean it doesn't work.

Doctors are not fleeing Medicaid. There has been a slight uptick in those refusing Medicaid patients, but the fast majority have stayed in the program. "The analysts looked at seven years of federal survey data and found that doctors are not fleeing Medicare in droves; in fact, the percentage of doctors accepting new Medicare patients actually rose to 90.7 percent in 2012 from 87.9 percent in 2005."

The Postal Service would not be bleeding so much money if Congress hadn't forced pension prepayment obligations on it that it requires of no other business or government agency.

Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. Even if we do nothing, the SS actuaries say the program will pay out 75% of current benefits when the surplus runs out. That's not so terrible, especially since it's likely that we will do something eventually. A Ponzi scheme would just collapse.

Obamacare requires than insurance companies spend at least 80% of their revenues on actual care. It's a floor, not a ceiling, and competition will put pressure on them to do better. (It's already higher than some companies had been doing on their own.) A similar system has been in place in Massachusetts for some time and it seems to be working well, so I doubt the predictions of doom and gloom will come to pass. But we'll know some facts on the matter soon enough.

Oct. 03 2013 01:35 PM

I never wrote that I thought the ACA was a solution.

Hopefully, it's a stopgap to something real... an un-convoluted single payer system like every other SANE developed country in the world.

ALL the rollouts of the great social programs were met with IGNORANT ideological resistance and were imperfect to start. Gradually, modifications were made and we got closer to a REAL solution.

I'm on board because it is NOT the status quo which is corrupt, immoral AND unsustainable.

Hopefully a move to something better. Single payer is the only REAL solution.

Oct. 03 2013 01:06 PM
Shawn from Bergen County

Joe from nearby: Wait, you want to talk about small government? Ok, here's a recent Forbes article:

The only reason anyone could even claim that Obama had any amount of decrease in spending is because the Republicans forced his hand and didn't allow him to spend what he wanted. You can't have it both ways guys. Look at the facts. Tax and spend Democrats. Just because the Liberals didn't WIN and get their way with spending you can't claim that it was your democratic presidents policies that saved money. It wasn't.

blacksocialist from BKbaby: Care to support your garbage with facts? Look at all the previous shutdowns that happened

It's just full of Republicans wanting to decrease spending and deficits, and Dems trying to spend spend spend. So what's going to happen here? When Obama gives in and says he won't fund his crazy schemes due to Republican pressure, are you going to say again that Obama spent less? BS! Liberals only spend less when they are forced to by the Republicans. You can't have it both ways!

Oct. 03 2013 12:30 PM
Steve from Bergen County

dboy: I think we both agree that the current system needs fixed. I guess what I'm disagreeing with you on is that Obamacare is the answer. It's not.

Please name one major social government program that works.

Medicare: bankrupt in the next few years. Some say 2024, but that counts on tax increases by Obama. Some say as soon as 2016.

Medicaid: can't go bankrupt because it is just funded by the states (10%) and federal governement (90%). But that program is losing tons of money, and so it will continue to syphon from the Federal government until it bleeds us dry or we defund it.

US Postal Service: This is an independent agency of the United States federal government. The USPS lost US$ 15.9 billion in 2012.

Social Security: No one thinks it will make it past 2024 (including democrats) but also there are reports that the losses are accelerating and it will be done much sooner. It's a Ponzi scheme. Social security requires more people putting in on the younger end than take out on the older end. But the Baby Boomers are so huge that they are now just starting to pull money out. And the scheme crumbles. They started turning 65 in 2001, and for the next 16 years, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a DAY. That's 3,000,000 a year. Look at population trends and tell me that this system works. It looked great when it started, but it doesn't work when your population doesnt have infinite growth.

Obamacare: is an ATM card funded by the government. It will increase the rolls on Medicaid (which no one accepts except the ER). It will give you an option to buy a plan from a private company that can take 20% out right away in operating costs and profits (look up the 80/20 rule for insurances). The rest they divide up between hospitals and doctors, but not after fighting them tooth and nail and denying claims left and right. And the cheapest plans will leave you with thousands in deductibles. Did you actually look at the plans? The cheapest plan Obama is giving you a worthless insurance plan. Doctors won't accept it. The losses will roll back to the government. And we will all lose. This plan doesn't begin to deal with the cost of medicine. It shifts the current wasteful system to the taxpayers. It doesnt protect you from costs. You will still owe thousands in copays and coinsurance. Go to the health exchange and read about these plans. Read in depth about what you will owe for your care. This plan won't help you

I want affordable health care for all. Obamacare is not the answer.

Oct. 03 2013 12:15 PM

Scott Garrett is right, SINGLE PAYER is the ONLY WAY.

Oct. 03 2013 11:19 AM

Steve from Bergen County and a COMPLETE IDIOT ~

The current healthcare delivery system is BANKRUPTING US!!

The US spends almost twice as much per person on healthcare as any other nation. As a result of an incredibly wasteful, bureaucratic, profit-making and complicated system, the US spends 17% of its gross domestic product – approximately $2.7tn annually– on healthcare. While insurance companies, drug companies, private hospitals and medical equipment suppliers make huge profits, Americans spend more and get less for their healthcare dollars.




Oct. 03 2013 11:16 AM


I left out the word NOT in the last paragraph of the prior's the correction....

I'm asking you to be rude or disrespectful...but to simply call them out when they duck a question and lie to your faceNOT. You are a world class interviewer....if you ever unchain yourself from your need to be wishy-washy/obsequious your ratings would quintuple as the show would attract much more attention. And I say this as a fan of yours who admires your intelligence, integrity, good nature and talent! You can do better!!!

Oct. 03 2013 11:03 AM


You totally blew the Garrett interview! I am disappointed with you. You totally let him slide off the hook on the question of the legitimacy of the TACTIC of using the government shutdown and the debt ceiling as bargaining chips.

Garrett used well lubricated lawyerly bs to slickly slide off of the point...AND YOU LET HIM GET AWAY WITH EVADING THE QUESTION!

On the issue of the bill that supposed R's sent to the Senate that allows for a clean raising of the debt ceiling...he feigned ignorance as to whether there were strings.....and you let him off the hook again. lol

Garrett is practiced "at the art of deception".

Brian, I know you are not stupid. I know that you have the skills to hold someone's feet to the fire when they are BS-ing have a habit of being overly "nice" to powerful pols like Garrett.

I'm asking you to be rude or disrespectful...but to simply call them out when they duck a question and lie to your face. You are a world class interviewer....if you ever unchain yourself from your need to be wishy-washy/obsequious your ratings would quintuple as the show would attract much more attention. And I say this as a fan of yours who admires your intelligence, integrity, good nature and talent! You can do better!!!

Oct. 03 2013 10:58 AM
HAB from Sussex Co., NJ

It's disappointing that the Garrett segment on Brian Lehrer's show didn't take callers. Garrett needs to be held accountable not only to the people he supposedly represents (which includes those of us who didn't and would never vote for him) as well as the rest of the people in the country who are being affected by the harmful and irresponsible games his branch of the Republican Party is playing. The ACA was passed and later upheld by the Supreme Court. Attaching riders to a budget in an effort to whittle away at the ACA and then saying the "other side" is voting against paying veterans and active-duty military is such a blatant misrepresentation of the truth. Shame on you, Scott Garrett, and all your like-minded colleagues, for playing politics with people's lives and livelihoods.

Oct. 03 2013 10:53 AM
Steve from Bergen County

Mary in NJ: Have you heard of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)? That was a law. That was passed but HUGE margins. And guess what? It got CHANGED! Wow, what an idea! Let's get rid of laws that suck and hurt people. It can happen!

Stop talking about how Obamacare is a LAW. Sure, it's a law. But it is a horrible law. It will bankrupt our country. People who support Affordable Care should NOT support Obamacare. It's not affordable. The Affordable Care Act is a misnomer. It's a lie. Look at the specifics of the law. Obama exempted so many people it's a joke. That law will hurt our country.

I want healthcare for all. I want happiness and health for all. But this law is not the answer. And it's not the start. It needs to be repealed. I am unwilling to gamble with my kids' futures. "Time will tell"? Guess what time told us on EVERY SINGLE OTHER government social program? It told us there is waste, mismanagement, and bankruptcy.

Obama will keep using what's call "Confirmation Bias" to sway you sheep. He will give you a handful of examples that "prove" why his law is good. Well that's a well known tactic to sway for support. Stop being such cattle. You are being led to the slaughter, and you don't even realize that the republicans are trying to help you.

Oct. 03 2013 10:53 AM
Joe from nearby

@Shawn from Bergen County-

If you're going to spew Faux News talking points at us, at least get your facts straight-

"Who Is The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower? Would You Believe It's Barack Obama?"

"Under Bush, Federal Spending Increases at Fastest Rate in 30 Years"

Nice try.

Oct. 03 2013 10:48 AM
dsimon from Manhattan

Shawn from Bergen County: "Open your eyes, do some research and look for the facts. The republicans are trying their hardest to keep this country afloat. They are trying to stop another wasteful program from sucking us dry."

The research is that the health care law won't suck us dry. The CBO say has been paid for. And it is an initial attempt to get health care costs under control. Republicans have offered no other realistic alternatives.

And polls show that these Republican tactics are very unpopular. Defunding the law is supported by only 36% to 38%. Those numbers drop into the 20s when a government shutdown is involved.; And while some polls show a majority or plurality opposing the law, some of that opposition comes from those who don't think the law goes far enough. When they are factored out, there is not a majority or plurality who think the law goes too far.

So yes, let's do some research and look for the facts.

Oct. 03 2013 10:48 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

hey shawn from bergen, you effin' mor*n, guess who has balanced the budget over the past 40 years? it aint the GOP (and im not suggesting the democrats are liberal, but they aint as bad as the GOP.... and im not a democrat)..... dolt

Oct. 03 2013 10:45 AM
Shawn from Bergen County

By the way, you keep saying "Blame" the republicans for the shutdown.

I would say that many CREDIT the republicans with having the guts to shut down the government for the greater good of our country. Force these liberals who know no bounds on spending to stop.

Oct. 03 2013 10:41 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I'm not the biggest fan of Obamacare but it's the law.

The SCOTUS said it was constitutional.

Governments have the right to pass laws, even "bad" ones.

If the GOP has a problem with "Obamacare" - then get a majority in both houses of Congress and an anti-Obamacare president to repeal it.

Not this non-sense.

Oct. 03 2013 10:41 AM
Shawn from Bergen County

Brian is such a liberal spinster. He spins it like everyone is blaming the republicans for the shutdown. But it's 44%. So it's not a majority. 35% blame the liberals.

In my eyes, that's pretty close. If anyone did any amount of research they would see how much spin WNYC puts on the 'facts'. There is not this huge public uprising blaming the Republicans for this mess. It's only a republican mess in the eyes of the New York media.

Open your eyes, do some research and look for the facts. The republicans are trying their hardest to keep this country afloat. They are trying to stop another wasteful program from sucking us dry. Get with it.

Oct. 03 2013 10:38 AM
dsimon from Mahnattan

Edward from Washington Heights: "Aren't geniuses like Nancy Pelosi supposed to KNOW, to UNDERSTAND the ramifications of what is in the bill BEFOREHAND?"

She did. You're misinterpreting the quote. She said "But we have to pass the bill (Obamacare) so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." At the time, the bill was still being considered by the Senate and and people were speculating about what would be out and what would be in. Pelosi was making the unremarkable observation that only after a final version had passed both chambers would "you" the public know what was in it. Despite opponents' attempts to twist the meaning, she never said that "we"--he legislators--didn't know what was in it.

Oct. 03 2013 10:38 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Any cry baby who doesn't like segments of the Brian Lehrer show or WNYC has the ability change the frequency or operate the power switch.

Ask a child to help you if you can't figure it out.

Oct. 03 2013 10:37 AM

Why does Brian Lehrer routinely, time after time, lie down and let politicians run over him without any resistance? You might as well just run a half hour campaign speech. Garret was not challenged, except extremely weakly without even any followup, on any of his disengenous claims. Without any prepartation, while making breakfast, I was imagining one question after another in response to his lies and distortions.

WNYC, please for god's sake hire interviewers who are willing to actually challenge guests. I suppose you are afraid that gaining a reputation for actually pursuing the truth in even the most minimal way will scare off these kind of guys from showing up for an interview. The trade off you have decided on is unacceptable. Ultimately, as always, the responsibility goes to the top. This is not just a daily host failure, but a management failure.

If this is the best Brian Lehrer can do, and it is an routinely repeated performance, he should be replaced. It is not enough that he is a maybe a nice guy and knowledgable about various kinds of topics or has been there forever, or anything else. He is either unable to do his job or directed to not do his job.

Oct. 03 2013 10:34 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Didn't the Republicans in Texas redistrict their congressional districts in between 1990 and 2000? And it was upheld by the federal court?

Oct. 03 2013 10:33 AM
B Ng

Argghhhh... he is the definition of a politician. He is all smiles and friendly on the outside, but if you read between his words, you see the real context to his words and the slimy the oozes out of him. Hostage takers don’t want to hurt the hostages as long as they get their ways. Equally, Garrett and his group don’t “want” to sink the government –as long as they can get their way. But in the meantime, they are willing to hurt the US people. Can people in NJ vote him out ASAP?!!!

Oct. 03 2013 10:32 AM
JeffS from 5th District NJ

Why is there no comment link in the Garrett article area? What an embarassment to have to admit he is my congressperson. He couldn't even understand most of the questions Brian asked him, and his replies were hemming and hawing mostly.. along with whining. His psuedo-logic never changes -- oh, we tried passing individual continuations, etc. (so, as Brian said, would they plan to pass resolutions for each line item in the budget one by one EXCEPT funding for Health Care?)

The whole concept of tacking on unrelated stuff to specific bills is a large part of the ongoing problem. A bill or resolution should deal with ONE topic, with no riders and attachments. Pass or fail, but only on the one topic. Ah, but then the professional obfuscators would be out of jobs!

Has respect for congress fallen below 5% yet?

Oct. 03 2013 10:31 AM
PhD student from Amherst, MA

No Classes at University of Massachusetts UMASS Amherst. Some of the professors are federal employees. Quote professor's email: "Different agencies within the federal government are handling the
shutdown in different ways, but for those of us in USGS (of which the
Coop Unit Program is a part), we are under a complete suspension of
activities. Specifically, for us,
this means we are not allowed to do any part of our jobs, including
research activities, teaching, or travel. Any use of federal
vehicles, computers, and most other federal equipment is completely
curtailed. The out-of-office messages you are hearing and seeing on
our phones and email follow USGS instructions. As of this past
Tuesday afternoon, we have also been "furloughed", e.g., in nonpay,
nonworking status."

Oct. 03 2013 10:31 AM
Joe from New York

I am not sure that your current guest is correct when he suggests that the Treasury could continue interest payments on the debt while, say, stiffing Social Security recipients. See the FT yesterday:

Oct. 03 2013 10:30 AM
Joe from nearby

Re: the upcoming GOP-manufactured ceiling crisis, Obama should resist, let some "pain" build up, then use the nuclear option invoking the Constitution to justify stepping in & raising the ceiling himself.
Teabaggers will scream their typical nonsense that he's a "tyrant" but Americans will side with him.

This will end this insanity once & for all.

Oct. 03 2013 10:29 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Steve from Bergen County: "No gay marriage" is the law of the land? Not since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA.

Bob from NY, NY: It's not even if it doesn't affect them. If there isn't an immediately visible effect, they don't understand it.

Oct. 03 2013 10:29 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Here is a video that clearly shows how clueless Nancy Pelosi is.

Pelosi: "We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In

"But we have to pass the bill (Obamacare) so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy"

WHAT! Aren't geniuses like Nancy Pelosi supposed to KNOW, to UNDERSTAND the ramifications of what is in the bill BEFOREHAND?

Nancy Pelosi is reviewing a book WITHOUT reading it.

Oct. 03 2013 10:29 AM

Did someone say "smartest" interview. .. ummm... he couldn't understand half of the time what Mr. Lehrer asked him... or is he not capable of understanding what crisis the congress is causing the economy.

Oct. 03 2013 10:28 AM

Brian... it is one thing to give your guests an opportunity to express themselves but you did not challenge his spin and lies at all effectively. Please listen to this interview. It was a fail.

Oct. 03 2013 10:28 AM


Oct. 03 2013 10:28 AM

Just a point on what the congressman was saying about the CR. Each mini-bill (for veterans funding, parks, etc) each had a poison pill amendment. For example: veterans funding cut it ten percent lower than sequestration levels. Parks actually allowed drilling in yellowstone!

Oct. 03 2013 10:27 AM


Oct. 03 2013 10:27 AM


Oct. 03 2013 10:26 AM
dagmar skowe

Please point out that the reason "50 million" of the most-in-need will NOT get insurance with "Obamacare" is that states opted out, did not implement the Medicare part of the law. These were primarily southern states with larger-than-average numbers of poor population. They were all Republican.

Also, I heard a great clip where people interviewed on the street said they wanted "The Affordable Care Act" but did not want "Obamacare" --- !!!! So much confusion. We need to be clear when presenting these healthcare law issuew!

Oct. 03 2013 10:26 AM

We are trying to finalize our daughter's adoption (international), and now it's being delayed--both between her paperwork and various final background checks that are being done on us as part of the finalization process. I feel that the Republicans are holding our government hostage in order to overturn something that was passed into law and created by our legally elected president.

Oct. 03 2013 10:25 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

if there was someone that said the most nonsensical made up BS, lehrer would interview him and allow him to pontificate under the belief that he was being an "objective" journalist (and no one is objective, the quest should be reasonable and factual) pathetic

Oct. 03 2013 10:24 AM

Cut his paycheck along with his pals who shutdown the government, let's see how quickly they will scramble to raise the debt ceiling.

Oct. 03 2013 10:23 AM
Tothe from Ichetucknee River

Epic FAIL by BL on Doublespeak by Scott Barrett! The tortured syllogism whereby the Democrats have shut down the govt. It was worth a laugh as it happened, were it not so critical. And, BL wasn't up to the task on the logic side to rend the tissue paper-logic behind these claims. Sad, shameful almost. Hope there's another chance. Interestingly, you could hear it in Barrett's voice as he was proffering such pure distortions - he sounded terrified. Sad. Dismal state of the govt when these reps have become zombies. BL! What happened??? Had you prepared you could have pounced!

Oct. 03 2013 10:22 AM
Fred from Brooklyn

While I strongly disagree with Rep. Garrett, I am thankful to the Brian Lehrer show for forcing me to listen to opposing views. Keep up the excellent show.

Oct. 03 2013 10:22 AM
fuva from harlemworld

This interview exemplifies the dearth of rhetorical heft that allows these maniacs to prevail.
Dude is spewing logical fallacies and Brian is not checking him.
The Left's inability to untwist the spin allows these CONfederates to confuse the citizenry.

Bottom line: To get changes to a law that was passed legitimately/ upheld by a CONservative Supreme Court/ approved in referendum by the majority of Americans, they are holding the government/people/economy at gunpoint, instead of earning the majority of votes to do so...

And Blankfein and his boys bankrolled these hypocrites into office. He needs to SHUT THE F*CK UP.

Oct. 03 2013 10:21 AM
Mary in NJ from Ramsey NJ

Hey Steve in Bergen. I happen to believe in Gay Marriage and will fight to see it the law of the land.

As for Afordable Care Act being wasteful, that is yet to be demonstrated. The data is not in and there will be winners and losers. Time will tell. I'm guessing the Darwinian Repubs in the 1940s said the same thing about Social Security and later Medicare. What is wasteful is having uninsured use Hospital Emergency rooms for basic care and then having the rest of us with insurance paying for it. ACA is no doubt not perfect, and will require tweaking over the foreseeable future. But at least it's a start to ensure a basic health care safety net for all individuals. But you know what? Rational intelligent people can disagree on ACA but what is wrong and irresponsible is for a small segment of wingnuts to hold the country hostage over a piece of legislation that was legitimately passed and then supported by the Supreme Court.

Oct. 03 2013 10:21 AM


Oct. 03 2013 10:20 AM
mc from Brooklyn

This may not be widely known. The 20 million or so people not covered by the ACA are not covered because of Republican controlled states refusing to expand Medicaid (funded by the Feds) and both parties refusing to cover undocumented immigrants.

Oct. 03 2013 10:20 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

and of course the hack journalist, Lehrer, lets this sack go on and on.... wnyc needs to hire a "real" journalist between 10am-noon.... just pathetic

Oct. 03 2013 10:20 AM
dsimon from Manhattan

Garrett's are truly terrible. He says Americans don't want the government shut down and they don't want Obamacare. But polls clearly show a strong majority opposing Republican tactics.

Some polls show more people disapproving the health care law than approving it. But those polls include people who disapprove because the law does not go far enough. When those people are factored out, there is not a majority or plurality who think the law goes too far.

And polls show support for defunding the law only in the mid-30% range. Those numbers drop when defunding is tied to a government shutdown. Moroever, polls also show that a majority of those opposing the law want politicians to try to make it work, not make it fail. So there is simply no majority support for Republican efforts to defund or repeal the law.

And he avoids the question as to why he won't vote for a clean CR to reopen the entire government. I don't care if it's "one thing" the Democrats demand; why not vote for it if the "one thing" is the right thing? Instead he argues for a piecemeal approach, which is really "one thing" in disguise: holding the remainder of government hostage for changes to the health care law.

Garrett's arguments are truly fraudulent.

Oct. 03 2013 10:19 AM
beaver from NJ

The democrats have nothing to negotiate with this guy or his ilk.

Oct. 03 2013 10:19 AM


Oct. 03 2013 10:18 AM

Election Day is Nov 4 2014 and then the broom of voter anger will sweep clean. Senators who filibustered universal background checks and members of The House who didn't vote the budget up or down with encumbrances.

Rush Holt is my rep and Menendez and (soon to be Booker) are my senators. So I guess I'll go volunteer in NJ-5 and work to expel this ideologue.

Oct. 03 2013 10:18 AM
Don from New York City

This is one of the smartest interviews I've heard on NPR.
Yes. Hate on me, but all of you are bias New Yorkers, blinded by socialist agendas.

Oct. 03 2013 10:18 AM
Leslie D.

If the Congressman seeks level playing fields in laws, then why does Congress exempt itself from so many laws that impact Americans who are not members of Congress? It's laughable....

Oct. 03 2013 10:18 AM
james mccallum from Bergen County NJ

the most terrifying thing is Garrett is fully convinced in the veracity of his blatant lies.....

the definition of psychotic...

can't wait till they flush the country's credit worthiness down the toilet by letting the country default on its debt....

I wish the bankers and hedge funds that own Garrett would cut off campaign contributions to this ugly man...nothing but a diabolic shill...

but then again... they're probably short on Uncle Sam debt....and will mightily profit from the pain....

Garrett wins again...

Oct. 03 2013 10:17 AM
NJ Listener

Just want your guest to know that I voted against him last time, and will again.

Oct. 03 2013 10:16 AM
Dennis from Manhattan

What a pathetic, intellectual dishonest, in-over-his-head, tool and loser. It makes me sick to listen to him.

Oct. 03 2013 10:16 AM
ben s from nyc

Too timid Brian, you're just letting him ramble on with his talking points.

I especially like how he dodged a simple yes or no question.

Oct. 03 2013 10:16 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The Republicans are the ones putting conditions on funding the gov't., so they're the ones responsible for the shutdown, not the Democrats who refuse their conditions.

Oct. 03 2013 10:16 AM
eli-5 from Brooklyn

I am furious about this.
Why don't these righteous republicans Tea Party or Not
put their Money where their mouth is
PUBLICALLY OPT OUT of their very own tax-payer funded SUPER PREMIUM health care plans!

Oct. 03 2013 10:16 AM
The Truth from Becky

What the hell are you talking about? He who? Not strictly enforcing? ughhh Stay focused, the gov't is shuddown for the third day because of this type of insane resistance!

Oct. 03 2013 10:15 AM
dan k from park slope

Obama should exchange a concession on Obamacare for congress to pass a new "Voting Rights Act." See how Republicans respond then...

Oct. 03 2013 10:15 AM
Mike from Manhattan

Garrett is disingenuous. This shutdown is a Tea Party move meant to protect Tea Party funders from the prospect of working Americans actually liking a government expansion. This would be an existential threat to The Tea Party's billionaire funders.

Oct. 03 2013 10:15 AM
Publius from Planet Earth

Brian's flaccid questioning of far right reactionaries is too painful to listen to. Either get a backbone and question some of the BS they spout or just give them a free monolog -- which is about what they get on this show.

Oct. 03 2013 10:15 AM
Betty from Bronx, NY

So if the Affordable Care Act is so bad, what does the Republican party propose to address the lack of affordable health care for Americans?

Oct. 03 2013 10:15 AM

Pleeeaaase- somebody make it stop!

I can't take any more of his bs.

Oct. 03 2013 10:15 AM
Leah from Manhattan

Rep Garrett, get off the radio and get back to work.

Oct. 03 2013 10:15 AM




Oct. 03 2013 10:14 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Why doesn't it violate the oath of law makers to disrupt the whole government because they don't have the votes to support their idea of what should be law.

More than that, Why doesn't it set a precedent that it's OK to violate the principle of democracy to condone it???

Oct. 03 2013 10:14 AM
Erica from NY, Planet Earth

This elected official can barely veil his condescension and his even more garish political agenda.

He sounds like he has studied at the feet of a public relations specialist and earned his degree in double talk with honors.

Oct. 03 2013 10:14 AM
Julia Martin from New York City

Shame on you, Scott Barrett. Lies, misconstructions. Americans don't want Obamacare! Really! That's not how they voted. That's not what's being reported. I'm signing up as soon as I can.

I will never forgive you or your ilk for the damage you are inflicting on this country.

Oct. 03 2013 10:14 AM

NJ Congressman credibility = 0.

The party mantras = Bull

Oct. 03 2013 10:14 AM
Bob from NY NY

These short-sighted GOP "legislators" seem unable to grasp that there are MANY things that the federal government does that we don't see every day, like make sure our air and water are safe and fund medical research and fund innovation research, etc etc. If it doesn't effect them, they don't understand it. No one should be in Congress who thinks that way.

(Guest: Please don't take Abe Lincoln's words out of context for your own grandstanding, nonsensical position.)

Oct. 03 2013 10:14 AM

BL, thank you for having this doublespeak piece of #$%! on today.

It shows us just how LAME and non substantive the GOP argument on this subject really is.

Oct. 03 2013 10:13 AM
Joe from nearby

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this character a teaBircher?
What do you expect by the disinformation he's spewing at us.

Brian- he already has a platform at Faux News- don't give him one here.

Oct. 03 2013 10:13 AM
Dee from Montclair

If we really want to solve the problem, we should have a single payer system.

Oct. 03 2013 10:13 AM

When was The Constitution amended to give the House of Representatives line item veto power over the federal budget. I know the MSM is not covering items that might embarass Obama but how did I miss something this big?

Oct. 03 2013 10:13 AM
antonio from baySide

PLEASE ask this. Why not put it on a referendum in a special election? Because clearly the SCOTUS and congress doesn't matter... They are wasting money either way...

Oct. 03 2013 10:12 AM

If Republicans thought these services were important they would have left them intact!

Oct. 03 2013 10:12 AM
Michael Scoggins

Does the congressman actually believe the words that are coming out of his own mouth? Makes me want to bang my head against the wall. There needs to be greater consequences for the Republican's actions and behavior beyond elections.

Oct. 03 2013 10:12 AM
john from john

This is like when Romney said he never said things he said. These people start to believe their own lies. Wow.

Brian, can you be a little more aggresive, Jesus, ask him a hard question.

Oct. 03 2013 10:12 AM
Steve from Bergen County

Hey Mary in NJ: Guess what else is the law of the land? No gay marriage. So would you stop fighting against that just because it's the law? I'd bet no.

Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, US Post Office, Obamacare. Just because the government was stupid enough to fund ANOTHER wasteful program doesn't make it right. Every....single...time... I just can't understand how the supporters could be so stupid to think that THIS time the government got it right. They didn't. It's another cog in the democratic machinery that is bankrupting our country

Please show me some proof that our government has the ability to appropriately fund major social programs and I'll back it. Until then, stop selectively choosing which laws are "law".

Oct. 03 2013 10:12 AM
ml from inwood

Wow - hard to figure out how guys like this can get any kind of job, much less a well-paid one with good benefits. And there seems to be an entire party full of these logic-twisting Republicans. Hey New Jersey - time to clean house.

Oct. 03 2013 10:11 AM

This guy saying that the Tea Party doesn't want to shut down the government is like a mugger with a gun to your head saying he doesn't want to shoot you. He might not want to kill you, but he's perfectly willing to do it if you don't give him what he wants.

Oct. 03 2013 10:11 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Now we have a resonable explaination of Republicans lunatic behavior.
Thank you so much Rep. Garrett.

Oct. 03 2013 10:11 AM

This guy is full of it. The GOP is trying to hold a gun to our head to extract concessions. That's called "extortion." It's criminal.
It's also a complete perversion of the legislative process, as the ACA is a legit law upheld by the Supreme Court.

The GOP doesn't represent the People- it represents powerful corporate/insurance interests.

Oct. 03 2013 10:11 AM
Dee from Montclair

You know how we did a body count on people shot. Why not do a body count on people who die or go bankrupt because they don't have insurance.

Oct. 03 2013 10:11 AM
Bob from NY NY

Brian, the director of the NSA testified before Congress that this shut down is endangering our national interests and making our country less safe. Please ask your guest if he's willing to be blamed for the next terrorist attack, which we might suffer because of the effect on our intelligence agencies of this shut down? Because the Republicans WILL be blamed.

Oct. 03 2013 10:10 AM

Contrary to what Scott Garrett thinks, a lie doesn't become true if you repeat it enough times. Republicans can say they don't want to shut down government until the cows come home. The fact is, their vile attacks on constitutional process have shut down government.

Oct. 03 2013 10:10 AM
Shari_AZ from AZ, MS in the SW

Who exactly does not want the Affordable Health Care Act??? Is it a small group of powerful and rich people who are backing the dissent? In other words, the groups supported by the Koch brothers????

Oct. 03 2013 10:10 AM
pliny from soho

unbelievable dancing around and lying
how can they vote for him

Oct. 03 2013 10:10 AM

This guy has no critical thinking skills.

Oct. 03 2013 10:09 AM

Please ask why a small band of radicals believes it's the "tail that wags the dog."

Garrett = FAIL

Oct. 03 2013 10:08 AM

Garrett = PATHETIC

Oct. 03 2013 10:08 AM
Bob from NY NY

Dear carol weinstein karlin from bergen co,

Please lead the fight to get rid of this mealy-mouthed idiot.

Thank you.


Oct. 03 2013 10:07 AM
Dee from Montclair

Why do the minority who are forcing this vote, get equal air time. Let them all go into a room and stop talking on TV and radio. If you read any of the comments on websites, 90% are against these guys. They speak for very few of the American people.

Oct. 03 2013 10:07 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Bye bye. I don't need to listen to this nonsense. Just more lies and more drivel from the right.

Oct. 03 2013 10:06 AM

Garrett, YOU IDIOT!!!

The debate on ACA HAPPENED.


Oct. 03 2013 10:06 AM

Jon Stewart had the best summation of the Republican stance so far: Imagine the NY Giants losing a game and then saying unless they get the points to win, they'll shut down the NFL.

Over 40 times, we have seen that the Republicans don't have the votes in Congress to repeal Obamacare, as Brian Lehrer has pointed out. And — as Brian Lehrer effectively said — Republicans are essentially said they won't accept democracy unless they get what they want.

In a school yard, this would be childish. In Congress, it is a borderline constitutional attempt at a right-wing coup.

Oct. 03 2013 10:06 AM
Bob from NY NY

"Options"? The only option is for Congress to deal with the fact that this is a LAW that was passed, signed by the President and found constitutional by the Supreme Court. DEAL WITH IT.

This whole Tea Party-driven circus represents a breakdown of democracy. The inmates are in charge of the asylum.

Oct. 03 2013 10:06 AM
Joe from nearby

Is this guest kidding? Does he really believe what he's saying- that the GOP isn't to blame for this extortion plot hijacking our national government??

The House controls the purse strings, & the GOP controls the House. Duh.

His attitude just goes to show how dumb he thinks we are.

Oct. 03 2013 10:06 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

what a dumba$$....

Oct. 03 2013 10:05 AM
carol weinstein karlin from bergen co

Well, I must disagree with my congressman, who is not representing me in congress. Pass the bill, clean of any hindrances. Stop wasting time, money, and taking a paycheck, for gumming up government. THe ACA was passed. Get on with it.

Oct. 03 2013 10:05 AM
Mary in NJ from Ramsey NJ

Scott Garrett stop the double talk and blame game. Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Stop the brinksmanship and start working for the people. Fund the government and let's get moving. Bergen County needs to rise up and run you out of office as soon as possible.

Oct. 03 2013 10:05 AM
Robert from NYC

First , ask him where he gets the idea the "the people" don't want the health care bill now but want it postponed. Also he's dancing around this as they do because he knows he's wrong.

Oct. 03 2013 10:04 AM


Another MORON!

Oct. 03 2013 10:04 AM
Lois from West Milford

I know people who very much support the ACA but will not contact Rep Garrett because they believe he doesn't care what they have to say. Please ask him what he has to say about that.

Oct. 03 2013 10:01 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Why is Obama closing access to the WW2 memorial?

It's not like the memorial needs people to operate it.

The fake democrats and Obama are acting like a bratty child who when he doesn't get his way he takes the ball and bat and walks away preventing anyone else from playing baseball.

Oct. 03 2013 09:59 AM

1 year, 1 month and 1 day until we get to vote and settle some scores...TP House members and Senators who voted AGAINST universal background checks will have to SPEND A LOT to even have a prayer.

Do your homework and find out how your representation voted and then cast your votes in 2014 no matter what!

Oct. 03 2013 09:44 AM

The NSA needs to dig up every piece of dirt on the fools threatening default and get them out of office. I'd rather be ruled by bankers from Harvard than idiot hicks with mail order MBAs.

Oct. 03 2013 09:38 AM

Uhmmm... does anyone else find it beyond ABSURD that Lloyd Blankfein® is out there warning us all about the potential catastrophic consequence of a government default!?!?

This a$$ hole should be in prison NOT invited to the White House!!!

Oct. 03 2013 08:55 AM

What do anti-federalists gain by restarting our government ?

Oct. 03 2013 08:18 AM

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