Also on the show this morning were Sunday show regulars Senators Lindsey Graham (R-White House) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). You can find their comments in the transcript linked above.
Let's get to the Dems: Jahana Hayes, former national Teacher of the Year and Connecticut's first African-American in Congress; Max Rose of New York, a decorated veteran who fought in Afghanistan and in the Brooklyn DA's office; Mikie Sherrill, a Navy helicopter pilot and former federal prosecutor, now a New Jersey Congresswoman; and Colin Allred, of Texas, a former NFL star who worked for HUD under the Obama administration.
First up? Voting to reopen the government, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Trump) says that's just a waste of time, and that Trump's stuck on his $5B.
Sherrill: We voted on the most bipartisan bill we could vote on, the one that was passed recently by the Senate, within the last month...what we're asking Congress to do is its job, and pass a bill that's going to reopen the government.
Allred: We have border security in this bill that we passed and we are willing to negotiate on border security. There is a difference, though, between border security and building a wall that we don't need and that will be a waste of money. A $5B price tag is a lot of money. There's a lot of things we can do instead of that.Allred also noted that, in Texas, there's a "significant amount of fencing" and that "fencing in certain places is absolutely appropriate" but there's a big difference between wasting money on a campaign promise and actually doing something.
Brennan asked about the impact of the shutdown and whether it's actually being felt in their districts, as there's some thinking that there's really not much impact.
Rose: We all are (feeling it). We all have federal workers in our district. This is a national disgrace. There's a lot of talk about national security and border control and we need that but we also have to talk about the fact that a shutdown should never be used in this country as a negotiating tactic.On finding room for compromise between Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's "no way, no how" stance on wall funding, he noted
The room for compromise is talking about how we can deal with the crises that we are currently facing. Right now at our ports of entry, fentanyl and other very serious drugs are just streaming in...Brennan jumped on that, asking if ports are a bigger issue than the southern border.
I think that we have serious issues throughout the country. The point here is that what I'm not willing to do is spend billions of dollars on what amounts to a vanity project - a 5th century solution to a 21st century problem... This is far more serious than just political brinkmanship, OK? Lets' get back to work. It's why we all ran and I know it's what the Republicans are interested in doing as well. And I promise you, if they did that their voters will reward them... this is not political suicide.The next question went to Hayes, on whether Dems would go along should a compromise be reached in the Senate that included increased funding for the wall or fence or what have you. And would she personally be open to that? And would the rest of them?
Hayes: Absolutely. I think we have to look at the bigger problem of immigration, reforming our immigration system, not just a wall.
Allred: I think it's important to see what's in the package... We're trying as hard as we can right now to be bipartisan. We need some bend from the other side as well.Shifting gears, Brennan asked about impeachment and whether that discussion is premature.
Sherrill: I think so... I think we've got to let Mueller finish his investigation, see what evidence he finds, and then we can make some decisions.
Allred: It's absolutely premature... And I just think that it's -- it's also something that can be used as a partisan lightning rod that we need to try to avoid.
Max Rose (on the profanity laced comment from Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan). Well, I'm from Staten Island, I have no problem with profanity... what I have a problem with though, is the fact that she's talking about this issue and urging action on this issue before the investigation has been completed, that it will just continue this era of hyper-partisanship that we have to move away from. I certainly object to it.
Hayes: Premature. The gravity of that word is too big and too important to just throw it around.Brennan then started asking them about specific issues they ran on.
Hayes: Any conversation about arming teachers is not the response to gun control. I think we have to have background checks. We have to make sure we're getting guns off the street.Banning bump stocks was a good thing, a good first step, Hayes said.
Rose was asked about drawing down troops in Afghanistan. He suggested short-term engagements without a long-term strategy is not the right way to go, nor is a politically motivated withdrawal like we had in Iraq.
We cannot afford to do the same thing in Afghanistan, but we also have to come to the realization that the only way in which we will stabilize that country is with some type of political reconciliation with the Taliban and it's our responsibility, as the part of an international coalition, to provide the freedom and that space for that political reconciliation to be realized.Sherrill was also asked about withdrawing or drawing down the troops. She too supports a long term strategy, and having conversations on how we end things.
We are always at our strongest as a country when we are moving forward with our traditional allies and NATO...And so when we're in an era where we're treating our traditional adversaries better than our allies, I think that is making it more and more difficult for us to operate from a point of power on the world scene.They were all asked how the Dems can beat Trump in 2020.
Allred: I think there is a hunger out there for people who are willing to speak honestly, who aren't, you know, just so poll tested -- and holding back on what they're really thinking...I think the country needs to heal, the divisions are growing and I think that we need a uniter to be our nominee.
Rose: ...what we can't do is campaign in the halls of Congress. When it comes to things like infrastructure and reducing health care costs, we can't say "Oh, I don't want to give this president a win because it might improve his chances in 2020." I think there's potential (that) could happen...
Sherrill: ...we need to run the kind of races that form broad coalitions...things like infrastructure reform, things like bringing down health care costs...focusing on our environment and how we move forward now, not in 50 years. Making sure we have universal background checks for gun purchases...These are things that the majority of Americans agree on, and the Democrats are always at their strongest when they're focused on families and they're focused on issues that are going to move people forward.And if that means working with Republicans, they all say that's OK, too. And Rose added this, which is where we'll leave it today:
If you think about what Donald Trump ran on, OK? If you put some of the racist stuff aside for a moment, which is difficult, I know. But he spoke about infrastructure, he spoke about drug costs, he wants to protect Medicare and Social Security, draining the swamp. We ran on many of those same things, the America people right now are united, that they want sensible solutions to deal with the things that really cause them pain and suffering. And now it's our responsibility to actually do something about it.See you around campus.