Advertisement

Sen. Gregg; Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Markey on "Fox News Sunday"

Sen. Gregg; Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Markey on "Fox News Sunday"

By Fox News Sunday - December 13, 2009

WALLACE: I'm Chris Wallace and this is "Fox News Sunday."

Help wanted -- how to get America back to work. We'll ask two Senate leaders, Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Judd Gregg .

Then, climate change. We'll have a fair and balanced debate between Senator James Inhofe, a top critic of global warming legislation, and Congressman Ed Markey, the author of the House cap and trade bill.

Plus, the president and the Nobel Peace Prize -- we'll dig into his acceptance speech with our Sunday group and ask is there a new Obama doctrine for U.S. foreign policy.

And our Power Player of the Week, leading the government's drive to keep children safe during the holidays, all right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. Tough issues are stacking up here on Capitol Hill like planes over a busy airport -- health care reform, a new jobs plan, raising the debt limit and regulating Wall Street.

Here to discuss it are two Senate leaders, Democrat Claire McCaskill , who was one of the president's point people on many issues, and Judd Gregg , the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

And, Senators, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

MCCASKILL: Thank you. Thanks.

GREGG: Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having us.

WALLACE: Let's start with health care. Right now the key to passing this -- the bill in the Senate is the compromise being offered by Senate Majority Leader harry Reid as a -- as an alternative for the public option, and let's put it up on the screen.

The Reid plan would offer two choices to those without employer- provided insurance. Starting at age 55 you could buy into Medicare. Otherwise, you could buy a private plan negotiated by the government similar to what workers get.

Senator McCaskill, do you know enough about the Reid compromise to say whether you'll support it?

MCCASKILL: Well, the whole reason we're doing this bill is to bring down cost, first for the American people in health care, and secondly for the deficit. So until we get the numbers back from the Congressional Budget Office, we're all on hold.

Until -- I have to be assured that this is going to bring down the deficit and it's going to bring down health care costs for most Missouri families. WALLACE: And if it doesn't?

MCCASKILL: Well, then we are going to have to go back to the drawing board. I'm optimistic we're going to get a bill. There's a lot of good stuff in this bill. There's a lot of misinformation out there about this bill. So I'm optimistic we're going to get a good piece of legislation passed.

But all of us are focused on those two very important ingredients, bringing down the deficit and bringing down health care costs for most American families.

WALLACE: Senator Gregg, do you know enough about the Reid compromise to be able to say whether or not you'll support it?

GREGG: I don't think anybody's seen it. Basically, it's being drafted in camera, behind closed doors, by Senator Reid and a few folks. We've seen the outlines of it, which are very, very suspicious relative to their effects on cost, which Claire has outlined is one of the primary concerns.

We just got an actuarial summary of the present bill, the present Reid bill, which was done by the president's actuary, CMS. They said that the cost curve goes up under the Reid bill by $235 billion.

In addition, we know that if you let people buy into Medicare at age 55 instead of going on Medicare when they qualify for it in the 60s that you're going to definitely get the people who are the sickest buying in, and therefore the cost of Medicare is clearly going to go up.

Now, Medicare is already a bankrupt program. It's got $38 trillion of unfunded liability out there. And I think putting more people into Medicare is going to simply aggravate the bankruptcy of the program which is coming at us.

WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, those were two of the points I was going to raise with you. I mean, the Reid plan would expand Medicare, which is already in serious financial trouble, and no one knows how much this plan will cost.

Isn't it crazy to talk about passing a plan that affects a sixth of the economy in the next couple of weeks?

MCCASKILL: No, it's not. We've been working on this for months and months. There's...

WALLACE: But not this part of it.

MCCASKILL: Well, there have been all kinds of things in this bill that the Republicans -- in fact, there's a lot of Republican amendments in this bill that we're debating right now.

And here's the thing. We've got two different analysis of this bill, and the bill's not complete yet. Both of them say that this bill is going to extend the life of Medicare. Both of these -- both CMS and CBO say we're going to extend the life of Medicare.

And both of them say we're going to reduce the deficit long term.

And both of them say for most Americans it's going to stabilize the cost of health care over time and begin to bend that cost curve.

So we've got to stay focused on the positive things in this bill. You know, there's a lot of politics around this thing. This is the time of year not only do the planes stack up in terms of legislation we're considering, but it's also the time of year that we drift away from policy and start playing bare-knuckled politics.

WALLACE: All right. But let me ask you -- and Senator Gregg brought it up, and I know this gets very complicated, but let's put it up on the screen.

The chief actuary for Medicare, a non-political government official, issued a report on Friday that said the Senate Democratic bill, instead of cutting overall health care spending, would increase it by $234 billion this decade.

And even without the new Medicare buy-in at age 55, that would put 20 percent of all hospitals and nursing homes treating Medicare patients in the red.

Senator McCaskill, you say bending the cost curve, overall spending, is your primary thing. And you sent a letter to Senator Baucus in September that said, "If we don't do that, we will have failed." By this non-partisan analysis, it doesn't bend the cost curve. In fact, it goes up by a quarter trillion dollars.

MCCASKILL: Well, first of all, the analysis of the bill they did does not include everything that we're considering now. There's a package of amendments that I'm very strongly in support of that the freshman senators are offering about the kinds of things like shouldn't you know what you're paying when you buy health care.

I mean, we know where every cup holder is in a car we buy. We have no idea what we're paying for our health care services in this country -- that transparency, the bundling of payments in a way that we are paying for outcomes instead of just for how many procedures we can do.

So the actuarial analysis was incomplete. Overall, it did say we're going to bring down taxes and costs for middle America. It did say we're going to extend the life of Medicare. But this is all a work in progress. We are up to our elbows in sausage-making right now.

WALLACE: Senator Gregg?

GREGG: Well, as a very simple fact, what the actuary said -- and remember, this is the president's actuary. This is not our actuary. It's not a Republican statement. This is the -- done by the president's actuary, the CMS actuary, works for HHS, who works for the president. And they said the bill is going to cost more. It's not going to bend the health care price down.

It's going to push more people out of private insurance and into whatever public plan ends up being the vehicle.

It's going to make Medicare very much a tentative program in the out years because people aren't going to be able to get to see providers because 20 percent of the providers are going to be under water, as your note said.

It's going to cut Medicare by $500 billion, approximately, in the first 10 years, $3 trillion over the next 20 years. That money's not going to be used to stabilize Medicare. That money's going to be taken to create a brand-new major entitlement.

We already have entitlements that are insolvent, like Medicare and Social Security, as we move into the out years. Why would we want to create a massive new entitlement using Medicare monies to essentially fund it?

And if it does not extend the life expectancy of the Medicare trust funds, if you presume -- if you presume that you're going to create this brand-new entitlement and fund it with Medicare money. They basically said it only extends it if you don't do that.

So as a very practical matter, this bill at its core has some huge problems. It expands the size of government by $2.5 trillion. I think American common sense is kicking in here. That's why 60 percent of Americans...

WALLACE: Senator...

GREGG: ... are opposed to this bill.

WALLACE: ... McCaskill, just to -- just to button this up, if you get the report on the Reid compromise and the whole bill, as you say, and it -- and it indicates that the cost curve of health care -- overall health care spending goes up, not down, you'll vote against it.

MCCASKILL: Absolutely. And here's the other thing.

WALLACE: And what happens then?

MCCASKILL: Well, we'll go back and look at other proposals. Here's the thing. Doing nothing is not an option. You know...

GREGG: Nobody's proposing...

MCCASKILL: ... Judd Gregg ...

GREGG: ... doing nothing.

MCCASKILL: ... Judge Gregg knows that Medicare Advantage -- he voted no, one of the few Republicans around that voted no -- huge new entitlement.

GREGG: No, Part D. Part D, Medicare Advantage.

MCCASKILL: On Part D, Medicare Advantage.

GREGG: That's different.

MCCASKILL: On Part D, huge new entitlement program, on the credit card. He was one of the few that voted no, but...

GREGG: Right.

MCCASKILL: ... most of his colleagues that are against this bill said fine, new $400 billion entitlement program, put it on the credit card. Medicare Advantage -- pads the profit of insurance companies, tens of billions of dollars.

WALLACE: All right. But wait, wait.

MCCASKILL: We're just pulling that money back.

WALLACE: But I want to...

MCCASKILL: We're more worried about...

WALLACE: But -- but just to button this up...

MCCASKILL: ... the people on Medicare...

WALLACE: ... you're -- you're -- you're saying...

MCCASKILL: ... than we are the insurance companies.

WALLACE: No, you're saying if this doesn't bend the cost curve, you go back to the drawing board, start all over?

MCCASKILL: My statement all along is it has to slow down the increase of health care costs over time, and that is bending the cost curve, and secondly, that it has to be deficit neutral.

We have to be saving more money for our government than we're spending. And if we're not saving more money for our government than we're spending, then not only will I not support it, the president said he won't support it.

GREGG: But I think on two of those four...

MCCASKILL: I thought we were buttoning it up.

GREGG: ... it doesn't meet those tests. Well, but I -- I would like to get a chance to participate.

MCCASKILL: No, we did.

GREGG: I know you guys want to filibuster our amendments, but at least let me participate in the program. MCCASKILL: I was short, you were long.

WALLACE: Go ahead, Senator.

GREGG: Well, basically, what the president said -- he wanted to do three things. He wanted to make sure everybody was covered. Under the actuary -- under the actuary's statements, 24 million people are still not covered.

He said he wanted to bend the cost curve down. It doesn't. It goes up. It costs $235 billion more than what we have now.

And third, he said he wanted to make sure if you had your insurance, you get to keep it. But the actuary tells us that's not true. A lot of people are going to be pushed out of their insurance into the public plans.

WALLACE: OK. Let's turn to the economy.

Senator Gregg, the president came out this week with a plan on the economy that he said would do the following -- let's put it up -- give small business tax credits to hire, cut capital gains on small business investment to zero, and spur lending to small business.

Now, all of that, I think you'd agree, is right out of the Republican play book, but you and your colleagues are against it because the president says he's willing -- or wants to use TARP, the financial bailout money, to fund some of that.

You helped write TARP. If you're willing to bail out Wall Street, why not help Main Street?

GREGG: Well, that, of course, is the thematic political statement. But there is no TARP money to TARP with or to spend on small business.

What he's talking about is there was -- there was $550 billion of TARP that's been spent. There's $150 billion that hasn't been spent. But to spend the next $150 billion, you have to borrow the money. You have to borrow it from, basically, China and then our kids have to pay it back.

So our position on the stimulus package is if you want to go forward with a stimulus package, let's pay for it. Let's not borrow it from our kids. Let's not create more debt.

We already have a massive debt coming at us. We're a country that can't afford the debt we have, and we certainly can't afford the debt we're about to put in place, especially if we pass this health care bill, in my opinion.

So we should pay for this, and we should pay for it with real dollars, not some phony statement that we're going to use TARP money that doesn't exist.

WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, TARP is borrowed money. You, in the course of the next couple of weeks -- the Senate is apparently going to have to vote to raise the debt limit perhaps to $14 trillion. Do we keep going deeper and deeper in the red?

MCCASKILL: Well, first of all, job creation and reducing the deficit are compatible goals. They're not mutually exclusive goals. Back in the ‘90s when we had a responsible fiscal picture in this country, it was because we were creating jobs.

WALLACE: But let's get to the...

MCCASKILL: And so we...

WALLACE: ... let's get to the issue. If you spend 100 or $200 billion of TARP money, you're adding to the debt.

MCCASKILL: Well, almost everything we're doing right now and have been doing for the last nine years in Washington has added to the debt. This fiscally responsible...

WALLACE: So why not stop it?

MCCASKILL: Well, frankly, Judd and I agree on something. We both are working on something to say we're not going to vote to increase the debt unless and until we begin to deal in a serious manner, outside of regular order, with our deficit entitlement problem.

And I think there are...

WALLACE: You're talking about the idea of the debt commission?

MCCASKILL: Exactly, and I think...

GREGG: Conrad-Gregg.

MCCASKILL: ... I think -- Conrad-Gregg -- and I think we have 31 sponsors, including 12 Democrats, a lot of new Democrats on the Hill. I think there is a rising recognition.

But make no mistake about it, Chris. If we're going to grow this economy the way we should, not with government employees but with small business growth, we've got to get loans out there to small businesses.

I think the most important thing we have to focus on right now is credit to small businesses so they can begin adding employees, which is a healthy way back...

WALLACE: Let -- let me...

MCCASKILL: ... to a more sound fiscal picture.

WALLACE: ... let me quickly pivot on this particular issue to Senator Gregg.

As you say, it is the Conrad-Gregg -- the two leaders of the Budget Committee...

GREGG: In New Hampshire, it's Gregg-Conrad.

WALLACE: You like Gregg-Conrad better?

GREGG: No, I'm just kidding.

MCCASKILL: What's wrong with Gregg-Conrad?

WALLACE: No, I think -- I think it has a ring to it. But there are two issues that a lot of conservatives have. One, they say you're going to let the Democrats off the hook on deficit and debt because you're going to be able to say, "Well, OK, till the 2010 election, the commission is handling that."

And two, they say it will necessarily mean tax increases, because there are going to be spending cuts, and the Democrats are going to say, "Well, there have got to be tax increases to balance the spending cuts."

GREGG: Well, listen. This nation's on an unsustainable path. We're running up debt at a level that we can never possibly repay it. We're going to pass on to our kids a country which is less prosperous than we received from our parents, which is totally inexcusable.

And it's very obvious that the regular order isn't going to handle this. I mean, we're already seeing this in the health care bill. This expansion of the government is simply not a way to address the issue of out-year debt and deficit.

So we've concluded that you have to set up a special process to do this. And yes, it is going to insulate some people by taking a vote which says that they can say, "Well, I did this vote, so therefore I was responsible." OK.

But if it reduces the out-year debt, we'll have accomplished the goal of putting us on a reasonable path toward solvency. And if we don't do this, we'll be passing on to our kids an insolvent country, which basically means they're going to confront massive inflation or massive tax increases.

WALLACE: Well, we are going to end in this holiday season on that rare note of bipartisan cooperation.

MCCASKILL: We agree.

WALLACE: Conrad-Gregg, Gregg-Conrad. Senator Gregg, Senator McCaskill, we want to thank you both so much for coming in today.

GREGG: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: You have a couple of very busy weeks ahead of you.

MCCASKILL: Yes, we do.

GREGG: Yes. WALLACE: Up next, the world looks to Copenhagen as the debate over climate change heats up. We'll take a fair and balanced look right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: The president heads to Copenhagen this week for the climate change summit, prepared to commit this country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Joining us now, two members of Congress at the center of this debate, Senator James Inhofe, perhaps the leading critic of global warming legislation, is in Tulsa, and here with us in studio, Democratic Congressman Ed Markey, the author of the House cap and trade bill.

Senator Inhofe, in Copenhagen, the president is reportedly going to pledge the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by the year 2020 and will contribute billions of dollars to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions.

How much authority will the president's pledge have?

INHOFE: Well, see, Chris, that's the reason I'm going, to make sure people in these other 191 countries know the president can't do that.

The initial reductions he's talking about are what you find in Markey's bill, and that isn't going to happen. And of course, that bill's dead. It will never even be brought up again.

And on top of that, he's going to commit, I understand, to some $10 billion a year to the developing countries. Now, here's China that holds $800 billion of our debt and we're going to give them $10 billion to stop generating electricity? I don't think that's going to happen.

WALLACE: So to answer my question directly, how much authority, how much force of power, will the president's pledges have?

INHOFE: Oh, I'm sorry. No, he doesn't have that power to do that. And people in other countries don't realize that.

Now, what he's going to try to do -- since he knows that no legislation on cap and trade is going to pass, he's going to try to do it with an endangerment finding. Now, the irony here is they just declared that on the opening day of Copenhagen, and that is all based on the IPCC.

I hope people... WALLACE: But you know -- let -- let me...

INHOFE: ... who are watching this now...

WALLACE: We'll get to the endangerment finding in a moment.

But I want to see, Congressman Markey, if you agree with this. Your bill did pass the House, but climate change legislation is stalled in the Senate. Can the president commit this country to anything in Copenhagen?

MARKEY: Without question, the president does have the authority to make a commitment based upon the endangerment finding -- that is the authority the EPA will have, combined with higher fuel economy standards and other efficiency gains which we're going to make, including improvement in renewable electricity generation.

So as the president goes there, based upon the Waxman-Markey bill, which has passed through the House of Representatives, which is a 17 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2020 -- the bill that's already passed through the Senate Environment Committee, which is also a 17 to 20 percent reduction, combined with all of the other activity that Senator Lindsey Graham , Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator John Kerry ...

WALLACE: Yeah, but none of this has passed.

MARKEY: ... Senator Susan Collins are all moving towards, there is real momentum now building for a bipartisan bill to pass through the United States Senate.

WALLACE: Senator Inhofe?

INHOFE: Chris, I have to say this. His bill, the Markey bill -- it passed through the House in the middle of the night on a weekend by a bare majority. And then, of course, the Environment and Public Works Committee that's chaired by Barbara Boxer -- there is nothing more liberal or so bad that it couldn't pass that committee.

It's dead on arrival at the floor. Everybody knows that. And we're not going to have legislation. So it has to come down to what can the president do without legislation. And I think that is highly limited. And I'll -- when we get to that, I'll explain why.

WALLACE: Well, OK. We are -- we are going to get to that. But I want to pivot a little bit here.

While much of the focus, Congressman Markey, is going to be on reducing emissions, perhaps the most controversial issue in Copenhagen will be aid to developing countries to help them shift away from the use of fossil fuels.

Now, on Friday, the European Union committed to $10.5 billion aid from the E.U. to developing countries over the next three years. How much should the U.S. commit? And how do you guarantee that if it commits billions of dollars that it doesn't end up getting wasted or stolen?

MARKEY: Well, Todd Stern, our chief negotiator, already said this week that none of this money will go to China. But we will have to help to fund the preservation of the rain forests of the planet. They are the lungs of the earth. They are the -- they are the protectors of the balance that exists...

WALLACE: But how much money? You heard Senator Inhofe talk about $10 billion. Is the president going to commit $10 billion?

MARKEY: Well, the president is talking about approximately $3 billion that he is willing to commit. But again, we are doing that in the context of ensuring that countries that are most adversely affected around the world are protected, that the forests of the world will also be preserved.

So there has to be a contribution that is made by the United States.

WALLACE: But when...

MARKEY: And by the way, the more that we preserve and protect the rest of the world from deterioration is the less that our industries will have to do...

WALLACE: But -- but when we...

MARKEY: ... to reduce their greenhouse gases as well.

WALLACE: But when we see -- Congressman, when we see the disaster that was the U.N. Oil for Food Program, how can you ensure if we spend $3 billion -- and there's talk about $10 billion a year total contribution by the developed world to the developing world, so we're talking about a lot of U.S. money, billions and billions of dollars.

How do you ensure that money doesn't end up getting wasted? How do you ensure it doesn't end up getting stolen?

MARKEY: Well, we will have to abide by the Ronald Reagan "trust but verify." We will have to have very strong verification procedures that are put in place in order to make sure that this money is being spent in order to protect against dangerous global warming.

WALLACE: Senator Inhofe, at a time when this country faces serious economic problems and a huge deficit, what are the chances Congress is going to pass billions of dollars in aid to developing countries to help them reduce their greenhouse gas emissions?

INHOFE: Well, I have to say this, Chris. Right now the Democrats control everything. They have the White House, the House and the Senate and they have huge majorities.

And in the Senate, the Senate may be able to stop it. The House will pass anything, but the Senate takes 60 votes with a filibuster. And I think perhaps we can stop that -- I'm confident that we can -- in the Senate. But keep in mind, that money's going to help all these countries do something that they don't want to do. China doesn't want to reduce its greenhouse gases, its CO2. India doesn't want to. Mexico doesn't want to.

They're chomping at the bit hoping that we'll pass something unilaterally in the United States so that our jobs will go off to China and to India. And by the way, everyone keeps saying that China is going to cooperate on this thing, and yet China is -- they're cranking out three new coal-fired generating plants every week.

WALLACE: Let me -- let me...

INHOFE: So they don't have any intention to do that.

WALLACE: ... let me, if I can, get to this question of the EPA which we talked about at the beginning.

The EPA now says -- and it does have a Supreme Court ruling that gives it the authority -- that it can regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

And this week a top White House official warned Congress -- and let's put it up on the screen -- if it doesn't pass a bill, the EPA "is not going to be able to regulate in a market-based way, so it's going to have to regulate in a command and control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty."

Command and control -- Senator Inhofe, doesn't that force Congress' hand?

INHOFE: No. But what they're trying to do is intimidate Congress into passing something. We hear this every day.

But the problem they're going to face is the same problem that we faced as Republicans when we had the White House and the House and the Senate. There are people in the environmental far left community that were filing lawsuits.

Now, if this endangerment finding -- as soon as it hits the Federal Register, Chris, there are going to be people that will be filing lawsuits because, by their own admission, the endangerment finding comes as a result of the IPCC, which is the...

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: We should explain. That's a U.N. agency, the IPCC.

INHOFE: Yeah. Yeah, a lot of people don't understand how this whole greenhouse thing started. It was all the United Nations, and they developed this IPCC. Now we know they developed this to try to -- try to steer science in their direction.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Let me -- let me let Congressman Markey get in here.

What about the argument -- and it's an argument a lot of people are making -- if the EPA wants to go down this road and try to, you know, force Congress, and Congress bucks out at that, you're going to end up with decades of lawsuits?

MARKEY: Well, it's no longer a question, Chris, of legislation or no legislation. It is now a question of legislation or regulation. The EPA can act.

And the -- not only has the Obama administration made an endangerment finding, but the Bush administration made an endangerment finding in May of 2008. They sent it over to the White House. That's the -- that's the Bush EPA. And Dick Cheney refused to accept it.

And so this is now something which is going to happen. And the only question now is whether or not, as you say, command and control of the EPA is going to be the way in which we solve the problem, or legislation that allows us to protect trade-intensive, energy- intensive industries, to protect consumers...

WALLACE: OK.

MARKEY: ... is put in place...

INHOFE: You're wrong.

MARKEY: .. which legislators can...

WALLACE: Wait, wait. Gentlemen, let me bring in -- because I'm sure our viewers are screaming at this point. They want to hear about "climategate," and they want to hear what the two of you have to say. And this, of course, are the hundreds of e-mails that were either leaked or hacked from one of the leading climate research centers in the world that happens to be in Britain.

And let's put up just two that have caused some of the greatest concern. From 1999, "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years, i.e. from 1981 onwards, and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline." And he's talking about to hide the decline in temperatures.

And from 2009, "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. Our observing system is inadequate."

Congressman Markey, I was laughing because you're bringing up this prop here. Let me ask you, how damaging are those e-mails? And let me ask you a larger question, because you and Al Gore talk about climate deniers.

Now, oftentimes that phrase is used -- Holocaust deniers. But the Holocaust was a historical fact. We're talking here about science, and science usually welcomes opposing views.

MARKEY: Well, here is the comprehensive study done by thousands of scientists around the world that is the definitive study that was used by the United Nations and the nations of the world to say that we must do something about climate change, we must do something about global warming.

Here on page 473, and on other pages, is the discussion of those e-mails, the discussion of the subject material in those e-mails -- Siberian tree rings, OK?

Now, what's happening now is that the deniers want to create a Siberian tree ring circus. They want to take a small percentage of this entire study, a couple pages of it -- 1,000 pages -- and throw out the conclusion, the overwhelming conclusion, of scientists in the world that there is dangerous global warming.

The real scandal will be...

INHOFE: I thought the Senate was supposed to be filibustering.

MARKEY: The real -- the real scandal will be -- is if we don't solve this problem...

WALLACE: OK. Let me bring...

MARKEY: ... for coming generations...

WALLACE: Let me bring...

MARKEY: ... of young people...

WALLACE: Let me bring in Senator Inhofe.

MARKEY: ... on our planet.

WALLACE: Whatever you want to say about the e-mails, Senator Inhofe, the fact is that just this week, the World Meteorological Organization said that this decade is the warmest on record and that 2009 is the fifth warmest year on record. Does that mean nothing?

INHOFE: It -- well, it means -- it means very little because that was based on the same flawed science, the IPC science, that we have been looking at.

Now, we have to say on the science thing that this is something that -- we saw this coming years ago, and for those individuals who doubt the fact that it's flawed science, listen to what the U.K. Daily Telegraph said. They said it's the worst scientific scandal of our generation. Publications all over have looked at this and decided that.

But let me say this, Chris, because I know we're running out of time. Four years ago on the Senate floor, I gave a speech -- it's in my Web site, inhofe.senate.gov -- you can look it up -- and at that time I outlined what all these scientists had come to me saying how they were denied the opportunity to give their view to the IPCC.

It's all cooked science. And now when this "climategate" came out, all that did is just verify everything I said four years ago. Look it up. It's there.

WALLACE: Gentlemen, I didn't think we were going to end this debate. In fact, we certainly have not. But I want to thank you, Senator Inhofe and Congressman Markey, both so much for coming in. And, gentlemen, please come back. This is a debate that will continue.

INHOFE: Thank you, Chris.

MARKEY: Thank you.

WALLACE: And you can learn more about the debate over climate change by visiting our blog, "Wallace Watch," at foxnewssunday.com.

Up next, the president accepts the Nobel Peace Price. Our panel discusses what some are now calling the Obama doctrine. You won't want to miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: After a series of speeches overseas in which he apologized for past American actions, President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize this week with a strong statement of the positive role the U.S. has played in the world.

And it's time now for our Sunday group -- Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Mara Liasson of National Public Radio, former State Department official Liz Cheney, and Juan Williams, also from National Public Radio.

So, Bill, the president chose an interesting time and place to make this speech, before an audience -- accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, of course, before an audience, I think it's fair to say, of European leftists. He defended the use of force and said that the U.S. is not the problem with the world.

How significant a change in the president's world view?

KRISTOL: It could be pretty significant. It wasn't the speech the Nobel Peace Prize committee expected him to give, I think, when they awarded him the prize entirely for being not George W. Bush . And he gave the most Bush-like speech of his presidency.

Those who -- what did he say? The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. That's a very elegant and strong statement of the fact that you can't just want peace.

He made it clear that you need military force, that he will act if threats are looming, not just once they've attacked. He actually articulated his own version of the preemptive doctrine.

He mentioned Iran twice in the speech -- I think it was the only nation he mentioned twice -- as a problem both for human rights and for their nuclear program. And in this speech, unlike in Prague and in Cairo, his two previous big foreign speeches, he didn't say the Islamic Republic of Iran. He just dealt with Iran as a -- as a threat.

So it was quite a different speech. And we'll see if it's followed up by real policy changes.

WALLACE: So how much should we make of that, Mara?

LIASSON: I think it was a real speech and it was preceded by real policy changes, actually. I think this speech represents a watershed in the Obama foreign policy, and it came because of the decision he made on Afghanistan.

I thought that if he had been given this prize at some other time before the decision was made on Afghanistan, it would have been a completely different speech.

I think the Afghanistan policy was a watershed, and what he did in Oslo was a more ringing explication of it than in West Point. I think that he's now saying -- the whole first phase of the Obama presidency was about engagement, about not being George Bush, about changing the tone.

But now there's something new, much more hard-nosed, much more realistic. He said, "I deal with the world as it is." He said, "Evil does exist." He did say that there has to be engagement but engagement with real consequences. If it fails, military force is sometimes justified. And yes, he said, the U.S. can't act alone and there have to be rules of conduct.

But I think this does signal something very new. I think this is a president who is now more fully inhabiting his role as commander in chief because he just sent 30,000 men into battle.

WALLACE: Liz, several leading conservatives applauded the president's speech -- Sarah Palin , Newt Gingrich. How about Liz Cheney?

CHENEY: There were certainly parts of his speech with which I wholeheartedly agree, and I think it was really good, frankly, to have the president finally enunciate some of these things, talk about, you know, the insufficiency of engagement with respect to dealing with terror or dealing with enemies, talk about the importance of America supporting democracy around the world, and also talk about the role that America has played particularly in post-World War II Europe.

I think the key will be whether the policies now follow that, and I certainly hope that they do. But we still had in this speech -- you know, it's almost like it's become reflexive, this notion that America abandoned our ideals after 9/11, and I think that it is -- you know, as we see this president repeatedly go onto foreign soil and accuse America of having tortured people, talk about Guantanamo Bay as an abandonment of our ideals, you know, I -- that part of the speech to me really is nothing short of shameful.

And it's not just an attack on political opponents. You know, it really is casting aspersions and, I would say, slandering the men and women in the CIA who carried out key programs that kept us safe and the people, frankly, right now at Guantanamo Bay who are guarding some of the world's worst terrorists.

So I think that part of the speech represents something I hope the president will stop soon.

WALLACE: Juan, I want to get beyond the rhetoric. It turns out -- because everybody agrees rhetoric in a speech is nice, but the key is policy, what he actually does.

It turns out that the CIA -- and I was fascinated to learn that this week -- the CIA has launched more Predator drone strikes in less than a year under President Obama than it did during eight years of President Bush.

And in fact, just this week they took out a top Al Qaida operative. And we're seeing a chorus now from the Obama administration talking about the diplomatic engagement is over, come the beginning of the new year we're going to get tough with Iran.

Do you think this is no more Mr. Nice Guy?

WILLIAMS: Well, I guess the philosopher king was on display this week. When you have not only Bill Kristol but Liz Cheney and Sarah Palin praising the speech, you know that something's gone wrong here.

This is a militaristic speech. He's justifying the use of war at a time when our country has been through eight years of war based on this preemptive doctrine that Bill referred to by George W. Bush that proved absolutely a mess. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

We're caught in a war in Afghanistan where we've been in there for eight years and we don't know what we're doing.

And when it comes to Iran -- so what does this speech mean? Does it mean now that Israel is justified in taking out Iran, taking unilateral action against Iran? Is that what he's signaling?

Where is the man who spoke up for human rights? Not in this speech, and certainly not in his actions, not in his actions against Sudan where Darfur is taking place, not in his actions -- he speaks about Egypt and Mubarak as heroes. This is craziness.

But somehow, the philosopher king -- everybody's making excuses for President Obama in this situation. But to me, this is a situation where he has escalated a war.

He gets the Nobel prize based on the idea that he is more a man about diplomacy and international cooperation in dealing with these kinds of threats and has to reach back to World War II and Hitler to justify his -- the steps that he's taking at this point.

WALLACE: Bill Kristol, are you going to stand for Juan Williams continuing to run down this president?

KRISTOL: I think it's terrible, you know?

(LAUGHTER) And I'm sure the president's very upset by it.

No, it shows how possibly important this speech is in the sense that he really has, I think, partly because of the Afghanistan decision, but partly because of the failure of the engagement efforts -- he tried it. He was entitled to. He won the election.

He said he wanted to engage Iran. He said he wanted to have a reset button with Russia. He said he wanted to have -- he did an Asia trip where he was very mild with the Chinese on human rights. He's totally pulled his punches, really almost shamefully so, I'd say, in the case of the Iranians who went into the streets in June. None of it has worked. And I think -- I very much hope he has really learned the lesson that it hasn't worked.

You know, what Mara mentioned -- there's still a lot of stuff in the speech that I'm not crazy about, as Liz suggested. Mara mentioned the fact that he does talk a lot about acting together, acting in concert.

But there's this one sentence, "There will be times when nations acting individually or in concert will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified." That's a pretty striking statement.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: I mean, I think any American president should say that who's looking at Iran developing nuclear weapons. I think he is -- it's not just that Israel might use preemptive force against Iran.

This speech lays the predicate for a legitimate use of force to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

WILLIAMS: That's why...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: But 11 months in you're saying give up on talking, give up on the use of sanctions. It's -- he's tried all...

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: No, no, he isn't saying give up on the use of sanctions.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: That's what -- that's what Bill Kristol -- Bill Kristol just said...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: OK. But I'm saying that's why last week I said, you know, why is -- why is President Obama reacting to the generals and to the (inaudible) generals like General McChrystal who are calling for more military action, more aggression? LIASSON: You know...

WILLIAMS: What happened to the...

WALLACE: All right.

WILLIAMS: ... Barack Obama who said he was opposed to war?

WALLACE: Mara, you...

(CROSSTALK)

LIASSON: All I'm saying is I think you guys are missing something. I mean, he laid out a kind of Obama doctrine, or the beginnings of it, on engagement and sanctions, and what happens when engagement fails, and how important it is to at least try first.

In other words, he talked about the satisfying purity of indignation, that that's not a very good alternative. This is some -- a president who's evolving, and he did try something first. He's not completely rejecting it. But there...

WILLIAMS: I hope not.

LIASSON: ... things have to happen in order.

WALLACE: All right.

LIASSON: And that's what he was saying.

WALLACE: We have to step aside for a moment.

But when we come back, is the Senate Democratic plan for health care reform in trouble? Our panel breaks down the latest news from Capitol Hill. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: On this day in 2000, Vice President Gore conceded the presidential election to Texas governor George W. Bush . His action followed weeks of legal battles over the vote recount in Florida.

Stay tuned for more from our panel and our Power Player of the Week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY REID: We hope and are confident based upon the breakthrough we had last night that we're going to be able to do the health care bill before we leave here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH MCCONNELL: Well, they're busily behind closed doors trying to figure out how to get to 60 votes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell handicapping whether health care reform will pass the Senate this year.

And we're back now with the panel.

Bill, trying to finesse the Democratic deadlock over the public option, Harry Reid did come up with a compromise this week, and let's put it up again on the screen. We discussed it with the senators at the beginning of the program.

Starting at age 55, you could buy into Medicare or you could buy a private plan similar to what federal workers get. Mr. Kristol, what are the chances Senator Reid can get 60 votes for that?

KRISTOL: I think he won't, but they're doing everything they can to get them. They're -- they -- he has not even let his fellow Democratic -- Democrats, including those in leadership, see the legislation.

He sent it privately to the Congressional Budget Office to get it scored, to get the numbers run. If you let see other people see the legislation, the CBO report would come back to the whole Senate. This way, Harry Reid gets a private report and then he can jiggle the numbers.

You know, what they've already done on the bill -- it's amazing. Ten years of Medicare cuts, 10 years of taxes -- all these were scored -- and then five or six years of benefits. That's why the bill looks like it doesn't bust the budget.

But just common sense will tell you if you let people buy into Medicare and you subsidize that buy-in, which is what they're going to do, and you let people buy into the federal employees plan and you subsidize that buy-in -- if you don't subsidize it, you're not doing anything; you're not helping anyone have access -- it's going to cost money.

So the bill cannot in any true accounting -- this is going to bust the budget -- the accounting open, and I think that people like Senator Lieberman, Senator Nelson, Senator Lincoln, some of the budget hawk Democrats, will not accept this and I think the whole thing will fall this...

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Mara, you also have some people who we haven't been talking about like Bill Nelson of Florida -- obviously, a big Medicare population -- very concerned about this buy-in and whether it's going to shake an already shaky program of Medicare.

One, what do you think are the chances the Reid plan holds? And if it doesn't, what happens to health care reform?

LIASSON: Well, first of all, we have to wait till we get the CBO numbers. There's a lot of skepticism from Democrats, centrists ones and liberal ones, that this will actually do the trick. You have to get to 60 votes. You're really only talking about a small group of senators that are in play.

Nelson is a special case. You've got Joe Lieberman, who won't vote for anything with any kind of a trigger. And then you've got Olympia Snowe, who wants a trigger. She could be a substitute for Lieberman.

I mean, I think they might have to go to a different compromise plan if this one doesn't work. I think in the end, I still don't see this failing. I mean, it has survived every hurdle so far. It looks very dicey.

But I don't see -- one thing that is true about every one of these steps -- the liberal Democrats, which is the majority of the caucus in the Senate, seem to be willing to compromise time and time again and give up more and more in order to get health care. It doesn't seem like they are drawing any lines in the sand.

WALLACE: Liz?

CHENEY: I think that the president and Harry Reid have run up against two really critical roadblocks here. One is the American people. You've seen these latest polls. Sixty-one percent in the CNN poll oppose this health care reform bill. There's a Resurgent Republic poll that's got 83 percent of seniors oppose the Medicare cuts in this bill.

The other big roadblock has been Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans, who, frankly, have done a masterful job here. And you've got now not just Senator Nelson as a Democrat voting with the Republicans, but Senator Webb from Virginia as well voting with Republicans on amendments that would gut the key portions of this bill.

This is a damaging bill. It's a bill that's going to raise taxes. It's a bill that's clearly going to hurt Medicare. And I think that the Republicans in the Senate may very well be on their way to killing it.

WILLIAMS: How can you say it hurts Medicare? I mean, Medicare needs to be reformed one way or the other. Medicare is on a line right now that would take it into insolvency. So Medicare needs to be remedied somehow, fixed financially.

And responsible behavior by Republicans would be to say, "Yes, we agree, some reform is necessary here." And when you see -- most Americans love Medicare. They don't want it cut. But when you see the opposition, the opposition is among seniors who are even opposed to any cutbacks.

They want their, you know, entitlement ultimately protected. They're not looking at the larger picture. So when I...

CHENEY: But Juan, you don't -- Juan, you don't cut...

WILLIAMS: Hang on a second. When I see the U.S. government -- and I see the Democrats say, "You know what? We're going to extend this to people who are 55," but it's only for people who are uninsured, and you're going to have to pay a premium...

WALLACE: Or that...

WILLIAMS: A small company...

WALLACE: Yeah, small company, right.

WILLIAMS: ... 50 employees or less, or, you know, people who don't have insurance, and you're going to have to pay a premium to buy in, it seems to me most Americans would say, "Well, yes, Medicare makes sense and it certainly is going to help people. This is a good thing given our high rate of people who are uninsured."

CHENEY: But that's not what they're doing, Juan. The way that you fix Medicare is not by cutting money out of Medicare and adding more people to it. That's just simply illogical, and that's what this bill is going to do.

WILLIAMS: What it's going to do is eliminate...

CHENEY: Now, if you need to fix Medicare...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Here's the -- here's the argument I would...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: If you said to me, "Where is all this waste and abuse in Medicare that the Democrats are talking about?" I will buy into that. But the idea that...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: ... you expand the universe, that you maybe raise age limits, that you increase premiums, it seems to me that's...

(CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: In a program that is already going to be insolvent -- you are now asking more of this program. It's simply...

WILLIAMS: No, you're...

CHENEY: ... the math doesn't work out...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: Here's what's going to happen. Here's what has to happen this week. These Democratic moderates need to be able to say killing health care this week before Christmas, killing this massive 2,000-page bill, does not end the prospect for sensible health care reform this session.

And Republicans, in my view -- and I've had this argument with some of the senior Republicans -- need to make clear what is true, incidentally, that there can be bipartisan agreement on a lot of reforms, small- and medium-sized important reforms, that would help ensure access to health insurance, that would take care of pre- existing conditions, that would expand high-risk pools -- lots of things that have had bipartisan support.

I think Mitch McConnell needs to make clear to Ben Nelson , Joe Lieberman, people like that, that not passing this bill in this incredible nine-day rush that Harry Reid 's trying to force them into doesn't mean they won't work together on health care reform.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: No. Mara, what are the chances that the Democrats are going to buy that -- that gambit?

KRISTOL: Only one Democratic -- only one Democrat needs to -- needs to buy it, because they're at 60-40. They only need to lose...

LIASSON: Well, plus Olympia Snowe.

KRISTOL: Olympia Snowe is not voting for this.

LIASSON: Not this. I think that it's unlikely the Democrats are going to make that deal with the Republicans.

(CROSSTALK) WILLIAMS: Why would -- why would any Democrat trust a Republican at this point, given that Republicans are out there saying...

CHENEY: Because their constituents...

WILLIAMS: ... already, "We're going to run on 2010..."

CHENEY: ... oppose this bill.

WILLIAMS: "... in opposition to health care."

CHENEY: Their constituents oppose this bill.

KRISTOL: That's right.

CHENEY: The constituents out there oppose...

WILLIAMS: No, they don't.

CHENEY: ... this bill.

WILLIAMS: Most Americans believe...

CHENEY: They do. Juan...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: In fact, most Americans want...

CHENEY: And they know that they're going to be...

WILLIAMS: ... public option.

CHENEY: ... in trouble at the polls if they push this bill through.

WILLIAMS: That's the Republican -- the...

CHENEY: It's pure politics...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: ... Republican position. -- Liz, the Republican position at this point is to simply obstruct, stop and say, "We're running..."

CHENEY: That's not true.

WILLIAMS: "... on it in 2010."

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: If the Democrats were confident that there were public support for this bill, they would say, "You know what? Let's have a longer debate on this. This is doing..."

WILLIAMS: No, they -- Bill...

KRISTOL: "... us so much good politically -- this is doing us so much good politically, let's..."

WILLIAMS: Oh, you...

KRISTOL: "... expose those obstructionist Republicans."

WILLIAMS: Yeah, and Bill Kristol...

KRISTOL: Every week this is out there, public opinion...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: ... goes down.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: You just want this to die and go away, and the...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: The status quo is better than this bill, absolutely.

WALLACE: Thank you, panel. I have to say that was the easiest segment I ever moderated. See you all next week.

And don't forget to check out the latest edition of "Panel Plus" where our group here will continue this discussion shortly after the show ends at our website, foxnewssunday.com.

Up next, our Power Player of the Week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Tens of thousands of children are hurt every year -- yes, tens of thousands -- playing with toys they get during the holiday season. Leading the charge to protect them is our Power Player of the Week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TENENBAUM: The role of this agency is to keep consumers safe, and that is the primary mission and something we focus on every day here.

WALLACE: Inez Tenenbaum is chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal agency that monitors 15,000 kinds of products. But this time of year they focus on one area, toys for children.

TENENBAUM: Every year we have 20 deaths and 170,000 reported injuries for kids under 15 from toys and other items that they receive during the holidays.

WALLACE: Tenenbaum showed us some of the toys the CPSC has recalled.

TENENBAUM: This was a dart board that had magnets, and these magnets came unattached, and a child swallowed these magnets.

This was Thomas and Friends' train, and this train had so much lead in it, this was recalled, and now we have one of the lowest lead limits in the world.

WALLACE: The little train was made in China. In recent years, discovery of lead and other hazardous materials in Chinese-made toys has led Congress and the CPSC to crack down.

TENENBAUM: Science has illustrated that lead harms children. It can cause children to die. It can cause mental retardation. Significant problems develop when a child is exposed to lead.

WALLACE: The agency is opening an office in China to work with the government on the safety of toys imported to this country.

This year's hottest toy is the Chinese-made ZhuZhu pet hamster Mr. Squiggles. A consumer group recently raised concerns about the level of a chemical in the toy, but the CPSC sided with the manufacturer.

TENENBAUM: They had all their test reports from a very reputable lab, and we were able to determine that the reports were valid and that the toy did not exceed the antimony level.

WALLACE: So Mr. Squiggles is in the clear?

TENENBAUM: Mr. Squiggles met our requirements.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Everything looks fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The CPSC requires all children's products be tested by independent labs. They also buy toys to inspect and check hospital emergency rooms for any cluster of problems.

We asked Tenenbaum what her advice is for parents.

TENENBAUM: Use good judgment. Read the labels on the toy. Make sure that you select a toy that is for your child's age limit. If you have a young child, don't get a toy with a lot of small parts because children are going to mouth things and swallow small parts if they're little children.

We're all on a mission, and that mission is to keep children and adults safe in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: We are all happy for Mr. Squiggles. You can go to the agency's when site at cpsc.gov to check the latest recalls, report an unsafe product, and sign up for e-mails with the latest safety news.

And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

For more visit the FOX News Sunday web page.
Early Forecast: More Gridlock
Ruth Marcus · November 9, 2014
Progressives Don't Need Washington All That Much
Froma Harrop · November 6, 2014

Fox News Sunday

Author Archive

Follow Real Clear Politics

Latest On Twitter