Watch CBSN Live

Senators recorded on hot mic: “I’m worried”

Two senators were complaining that the White House is paying insufficient attention to the budget process, apparently unaware that their microphones were still on after a Senate subcommittee meeting Tuesday.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, began discussing federal budget proposals.

"I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] just went through and whenever there was 'grant,' they just X it out," Collins said. "With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It's just incredibly irresponsible."

"Yes, I think — I think he's crazy," Reed said. "I mean, I don't say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy."

When asked later by CBS News' Rebecca Kaplan if he was referring to President Trump, Reed replied, "I was talking about the budget legislation." He did not elaborate. CBS News reached out to Reed's office for more clarification, which responded, "They are talking about budget demands."

The hot mic recording continued with Collins' reply: "I'm worried," she says.

"Oof," Reed sighs. "You know, this thing — if we don't get a budget deal, we're going to be paralyzed."

"I know," Collins said.

"[Department of Defense] is going to be paralyzed, everybody is going to be paralyzed," Reed replies.

"I don't think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything," Collins said in reference to a law outlining the budget process.

If Democrats and Republicans cannot reach a budget agreement, as Collins mentioned, there will be across-the-board cuts to discretionary spending, because of the Budget Control Act, passed in 2011. And that agreement requires 60 votes.

"He was down at the Ford commissioning," Reed says, apparently talking about Mr. Trump's recent announcement regarding a Navy aircraft carrier, "saying, 'I want them to pass my budget.' Okay, so we give him $54 billion and then we take it away across the board which would cause chaos."

"Right," Collins said.

"It's just — and he hasn't — not one word about the budget. Not one word about the debt ceiling," Reed said.

"Good point," Collins replies. The debt ceiling must be raised likely by mid-October or the U.S. risks defaulting on its debt.

"You've got [Budget Director Mick] Mulvaney saying we're going to put in all sorts of stuff like a border wall. Then you've got [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin saying it's got to be clean," Reed continues. "We're going to be back in September, and, you know, you're going to have crazy people in the House."

Following this point in the conversation between the two senators, they began discussing Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. Recently, Farenthold said in a radio interview that if Collins were not a female, he could challenge her to a "duel," citing frustration with Collins' opposition to the Senate health care bill aimed at repealing Obamacare.  

"Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?" Collins asked Reed.

"I know, trust me, do you know why he challenged you to a duel? 'Cause you could beat the s**t out of him," Reed joked.

"Well, he's huge and he — I don't mean to be unkind, but he's so unattractive it's unbelievable," Collins said of Farenthold. "Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?" she continued, referencing a photo of Farenthold wearing a matching pajama set with rubber ducks while standing next to a scantily-clad young woman.

The recording of the conversation between the two senators conversation ended after this comment. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue