Face in the News: Geithner, Graham, Feinstein and Rogers
This Sunday on "Face the Nation," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner doubled down on President Obama's campaign platform to raise tax rates on the top 2% of Americans, saying, "There's no path to an agreement that does not involve Republicans acknowledging that rates have to go up for the wealthiest Americans."
Secretary Geithner then discussed the Republican fallout regarding President Obama's proposed tax hikes. Geithner acknowledged that the president's plan may not please Republicans, but argued that the burden now fell on House Republicans to provide a counter-offer. "Some Republicans apparently want to go beyond that, but what they have to do is tell us what they're prepared to do," said Geithner. "And what we can't do, Bob, is sit here trying to guess what works for them." Democrats, he said, were still "open to suggestions" from the right.
Geithner did express optimism, however, predicting that Republicans and Democrats would ultimately come to an agreement in the impending fiscal cliff negotiations. "I do think we're going to get there, because the only thing that stands in the way of an agreement that's good for the American economy is if a group of Republicans decide they're going to block any increase in tax rates on the wealthiest Americans," said Geithner. " I think it's unlikely they choose to do, that of course, because there's so much at stake."
With less than a month until the fiscal cliff, Geithner closed with an appeal to Republican lawmakers, warning that deadlock in negotiations was "very damaging to the American people," and "not the responsible way to govern."
Bob Schieffer then spoke with Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who expressed disappointment with the Democrats' proposed plan. "I think we're going over the cliff. It's pretty clear to me they made a political calculation," said Graham, who serves on the Senate Budget Committee. "And the president's plan, when it comes to entitlement reform, is just quite frankly a joke. So I don't think they're serious about finding a deal."
Graham did admit that Republicans had to "put revenue on the table," even if it meant "political heat" from their more conservative constituencies, but reemphasized the need for entitlement spending reform. "A hundred percent of Americans are going to lose everything we know as America if we don't fix entitlements," the Senator cautioned. "We're becoming Greece because of out-of-control entitlement spending."
Graham, who also serves on the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Homeland Security, then turned to discuss the September 11th attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Graham, who has been critical of American Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice's statements to press regarding the attacks, toned down his condemnation of Ambassador Rice, saying "But let's just say this about Benghazi. It's just not about Susan Rice. It's about a system that failed. The military failed. The intelligence community failed, before and during. This is about a system designed to protect us that completely broke down."
Senator Graham still expressed concern about Ambassador Rice in light of rumors that she is Obama's favorite to succeed Secretary Clinton in the Department of State, but also highlighted a greater need for policy reform. "If we don't change our strategy from a foreign policy point of view, Bob, change this light footprint approach to the war on terror," Graham warned, "there are going to be more Benghazis."
Bob then spoke to Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Cal., who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Chair of the House Committee on Intelligence, on their respective views on the Benghazi attacks. Rep. Rogers criticized the administration for lax security, saying, "What I find just absolute gross negligence was that they did not take the right precautions to protect the ambassador and the consulate employees." When asked what ultimately went wrong, Rogers went on to say, "the policy and decision-makers at Department of State did not make the right security call, and I argue it's gross negligence."
Senator Feinstein expressed similar concerns, highlighting Ambassador Stevens' earlier requests for increased protection in Benghazi. In response, Feinstein said, "some improvements were made. They were, clearly, inadequate improvements." However, Feinstein clarified, the Benghazi attacks were not an intelligence failure, but rather the fault of "the decision-makers who didn't really make the right decision."
To hear more about the fiscal cliff negotiations, be sure to watch this Sunday's "Face the Nation" roundtable discussion, featuring Time Magazine's Rana Faroohar, Moody's Analytics economist Mark Zandi, Campaign to Fix the Debt's Maya MacGuineas, and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.
Watch the full episode of "Face the Nation" above.
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