Face the Nation transcripts September 22, 2013: Kissinger, Manchin, Coburn

The latest on the budget battle, the politics of gun control, and foreign policy. Plus, a panel of experts

MANCHIN: Not unless there's a movement. You know, I'm not going to go out there and just beat the drum for the sake of beating the drum. There has to be people willing to move off the position they've taken. They've got to come to that conclusion themselves. I'm still talking to everybody and I welcome everyone's input, if they think that we can make some adjustments that make them comfortable. But this is something that, really, law-abiding gun owners understand, Bob. In West Virginia, 75 percent of West Virginians agree that background checks are common sense.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I wish you the best of luck with that. Thank you so much for being with us.

MANCHIN: Thanks for having me, Bob. I appreciate it.

SCHIEFFER: OK. We turn now to Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn. He's in Muskogee this morning.

And, Senator, before we get to this whole business about the threat to shut down the government, you are the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Do you have any information for us on this awful thing that's unfolded this morning in Nairobi?

COBURN: Well, I don't have any specifics, Bob, beyond what's in the press, other than this is another indication that soft targets is where Al Qaida is going, and they're not on the decline; they're on the rise, as you can see from Nairobi.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, what is your message to House Republicans this morning who passed this budget that we can't continue government operations and funding the rest of the government unless we defund Obamacare?

COBURN: Well, I think it's a great attempt to raise the issue of some of the weaknesses and the problems with Obamacare, but it's not -- it's not a tactic that we can actually carry out and be successful, and I am sure that the Senate is going to move that bill forward. You know, the ironic thing, Bob, is that the answer now in the Senate, by those who proposed this strategy, is to filibuster the very bill they said they wanted. And that's what's wrong with the tactic. We don't have the ability, both according to CRS, nor politically do we have the ability to put a total stop and defund Obamacare. It would be nice if we did. I'd be in the fight. So I think they're going to get a chance again this next week to vote again and send us something different than that, because Harry Reid and the votes are in the Senate that this is going to be changed and sent back to the House.

SCHIEFFER: So there is no way -- what you are saying this morning, there is no way that this could possibly pass in the Senate. And so why did they do this, do you think?

COBURN: Well, there was a tremendous demand among special interests to try to prevent this bill from totally being implemented because of the dangers to our country, the ultimate costs. I agree with them that, if we could do this, we should do it, but we can't. And the political reality -- you know, tactics and strategies ought to be based on what the real world is, and we do not have the political power to do this. And so we're not -- we are not about to shut the government down over the fact that we cannot, only controlling one House of Congress, tell the president that we're not going to fund any portion of this, because we can't do that.

SCHIEFFER: What -- what do you think the fallout from this is going to be? Some people are going so far as saying that Republicans might lose control of the House next time, the reaction might be so severe, because there is no question, I think this time around, don't you agree that it will be Republicans who will take the blame if by some chance the House -- the government was shut down? I, like you, do not believe that will happen, but I don't see any good coming out of this for Republicans.

COBURN: Well, I think the exercise is fine. I don't think we will shut down the government. I think right now, with our economy where it is, the lack of confidence in our country, we actually have a crisis of confidence in our country right now, both in Congress and with the president. We have got trillions of dollars sitting on the sideline that aren't being invested. We are not going to shut the government down. What we -- it takes away from the real focus. The real focus is the $250 billion to $300 billion Senate that's totally wasted every year by Congress in the federal government, and what we ought to be is about that. And, you know, we have changed 14 times, we have made changes to ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act, and we need to make more. I would love to stop it and send it in a direction where we still have the safety net and really have competitive pricing for health care and transparency but we are not going to get a chance to do that. So the real issue is to not talk about something that Republicans can win on, which is, for the first time since the end of the Korean War we will have actually decreased discretionary spending in this country two years in a row, which is a real achievement, and we haven't even touched the surface of the waste and fraud that is out there.

SCHIEFFER: There was a very serious incident as you well know at the Washington Navy yard last week, Senator. What are we going to do about that? I mean, you know, I know there's a big argument over gun control and all of that, but it seems to me the argument should be about how do we keep weapons out of the hands of deranged people? And I don't see us making any progress on that.

COBURN: I agree, Bob. You know, that was my greatest disappointment over the gun debate. We had a great -- some great amendments. There are things we can do. The first thing is when people are having auditory hallucinations and they are telling that to people in the V.A., and they are not doing something to actually interchange with that, it sounds to me like the history that a complete mental status as a physician, a complete mental status exam should have been carried out. We would have seen some of these problems. You know, we have to make it where the health care professionals in this country, when they see somebody that is having symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia, that they can act on that by notifying the do not sell list so that people can't buy a gun. He bought a gun in spite of the fact that, at several interchanges, people were aware of his psychosis. The other question is, is how did he walk into the Navy yard with a shotgun?

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Senator, that is a question that nobody right now has been able to answer. Thank you so much.

COBURN: You bet. Thank you, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: And we are here now with Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon, one of the House Republicans who voted in favor of eliminating funding for the president's health care program as a condition for keeping the government running. Well, Congressman, we just had a conservative Democrat and a Republican in the Senate both say there is no way, no how, that this is going to get done in the Senate and, you know, other people all week have been comparing this to a kamikaze attack, a suicide mission. Why did you do it?