Biden: We'll be out of Afghanistan by 2014 'come hell or high water' (Sunday show roundup)
NBC: MEET THE PRESS
Biden: We'll be out of Afghanistan by 2014 "come hell or high water"
Asked whether the United States was winning or losing in Afghanistan, Vice President Joe Biden said that "we're making progress on all fronts, more on some areas than in others." He contended that the July 2011 troop reductions will be "more than token," adding, "We are starting it in July 2011 and we are going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014." Biden also said he believes that there are enough votes in the Senate to ratify the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia. And he noted that he would consider WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a criminal "if he conspired to get these classified documents."
Biden praised the Senate's passage of the tax-cut deal negotiated between President Obama and congressional Republicans, pushing back against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's (R) claim last week that the deal didn't bring an end to economic uncertainty. "Had we kicked this into next year, it would have created such uncertainty," Biden said. Asked about a September interview in which he had said the administration would draw the line on the upper-income tax cuts extension, Biden responded: "We did go to the mat. ... We got to the end, we couldn't get it done and we had to make a decision." Biden did not commit either way as to whether the president would veto any bill with earmarks. "If we say we have to appropriate a levee in Mississippi" in order to retain spending to "keep my kid alive" in Iraq or Afghanistan, then Biden said he would support the president's signing of a bill with earmarks.
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION
McConnell: We'll fund the government through March
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that he found working with President Obama on the bipartisan tax-cut package "just fine," noting that the deal contained many Republican-supported line-items. McConnell also said that conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer was "totally wrong" in calling Obama the new "comeback kid." On last week's battle in the Senate over the omnibus spending bill, McConnell refused to say that his party was "buckling to the tea party." "The public is sick and tired of doing business that way," he said.
McConnell also confirmed that he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had agreed on a continuing resolution that would fund the government through March. McConnell would not commit to whether the New START Treaty would come up for a vote during the current lame-duck session or whether there were enough votes within the Republican caucus to advance it toward ratification. Asked where he saw another opportunity to work with the president, McConnell said he would "love to sit down with the administration" to work on entitlement reform.
FOX: FOX NEWS SUNDAY
Kyl: Obama should "send a letter to the Russians" on START
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) faced off on the remaining issues facing the lame-duck Congress. Durbin said that he believes he has the 67 votes necessary to ratify the New START Treaty. Kyl reiterated his opposition to the treaty and said that President Obama should "send a letter to the Russians," not the Senate, on the issue of missile defense. Kyl said that he remains "skeptical" about a bill that would guarantee health benefits for 9/11 first responders. Durbin said that he believed the bill would pass but acknowledged that he didn't know where the White House stood on it. On the Senate's passage of a bill repealing "don't ask, don't tell," Kyl said that the military has "one function, and that is to fight and to fight well and maybe to die. And the people who are responsible for that need to make the judgment about whether this will inhibit their ability to carry out that ultimate job that we ask them to do." Durbin countered that "each political generation has very few, but a few, opportunities to extend justice in America. That was our chance yesterday in repealing 'don't ask, don't tell.'"
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said that he didn't think the recent decisions of three federal judges regarding the federal health care overhaul were political. McDonnell added that he supports having the legal battle over aspects of the health care overhaul "fast-tracked to the United States Supreme Court," skipping the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
ABC: THIS WEEK
Kerry: START Treaty has enough votes for ratification
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry said that he believes the New START Treaty has enough votes for ratification in the Senate. Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said that he agreed with Kerry and believed that "several" Republicans will support the treaty, although "the problem is really getting to that final vote." Kerry said that he believes the controversy over the outing of a CIA station chief in Pakistan will not be "a major setback." Lugar said regarding Pakistan, "all we can do, we are trying very hard diplomatically, a five-year program, because it is critical. If the al-Qaida are over there and the Taliban go back and forth, things are not going to continue to work well in parts of Afghanistan without change." Kerry also said that the Senate's passage of a bill repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" law "fulfills an enormous promise of equality in our country." Lugar defended his "no" vote, saying that he remains concerned about implementation.
Ron Paul: No guarantee I'll subpoena Bernanke
Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul said that his appointment to the chairmanship of the Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Monetary Policy "gives me a better platform" on monetary issues. "That doesn't mean the first week in January I send a subpoena for [Federal Reserve chairman Ben] Bernanke," he added.
Paul maintained that in a system with a free market-based currency there would be no boom-and-bust cycle. "The Federal Reserve provides no real benefits to us long-term," he insisted. On the subject of economic crises, Paul said the government's response is "exactly like a drug addiction. ... I don't think we need regulators; we need law and order. We need people to fulfill their contracts. The market is a great regulator."
Paul said that people look for him to be "very, very critical" when it comes to assessing Bernanke and the Fed. Whether Bernanke is a better or worse manager than former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan "won't make a difference," he added. "You have to analyze the whole philosophy of the monetary system. ... This is the problem rather than Bernanke himself."
CBS: FACE THE NATION
Graham: New Congress is "going to be a test of the tea party"
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he won't vote for the New START Treaty and doesn't believe the agreement has enough votes for ratification in the Senate. "I'm not going to vote for START until I hear from the Russians that they understand we can develop four stages of missile defense, and if we do, they won't withdraw from the treaty," Graham said. Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin argued that not ratifying the treaty will "damage national security." He also pushed back against the notion that there hasn't been enough debate, saying that previous treaties "have not had longer debates than the two weeks, which we've devoted to this treaty." Asked whether Pakistan is "with us or against us," Levin responded: "Yes." Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar predicted that the Senate will "eventually" ratify the START Treaty.
Graham said that the 112th Congress is "going to be a test of the tea party," while Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions predicted that in the new Congress, "the House is going to submit a very lean, tight, tough budget. And the Senate is going to have a real difficult time accommodating the challenges that we face."
Feliciia Sonmez and Emi Kolawole
| December 19, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency, Capitol Briefing, Sunday Talkies
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