WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — In a heated Tuesday interview, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., talked with CNN host Ashley Banfield about his belief that House Republicans are “embarrassing” the country’s democratic process.
Rangel, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that he believes the Tea Party members of the House are “against anything that comes out of these negotiations.”
When asked for his reactions to House Republican leadership’s provisions, Rangel expressed his frustration with the congressional logjam.
“This isn’t a question of the House and Senate differing. This is not even a question of Republicans and Democrats differing. This is all about a handful of people who got elected as Republicans that want to bring down our government,” said Rangel.
“You can see it in the streets, you can see where they’re coming from, and the same way they fought as Confederates they want to bring down the government and reform it.”
CNN host Ashley Banfield interrupted Rangel to confirm if he was likening the Tea Party candidates to Civil War Confederates.
“Well, I can tell you this, if you look at the states that they control, take a look at the Dixiecrats, see how they went over to Republican Party,” Rangel pointed out, although Banfield quickly noted that “Michele Bachmann is not from Dixie.”
“I’m telling you one thing, if the Republicans really want to bring the government back, if the Republicans want to make certain that this country maintains its fiscal integrity, all they have to do is to accept the Senate [deal].”
Banfield stated that Rangel, despite his deep disagreement with some of the conservative House Republicans, should compromise with his “ilk” in an effort to make certain that negotiations re-open the government.
She pointed out a Washington Post poll showing that Republicans have a 74 percent disapproval rating, Democrats with 61 percent and President Obama at a 53 percent approval rating for how they are all handling the federal budget negotiations.
Rangel conceded that he believes both parties of Congress are doing a “terrible” job, but went on to say that regardless of party differences, the “integrity” of the United States should not be held hostage.
“We don’t want this for Obama and we don’t want it for any president,” Rangel insisted. “Republicans or conservatives, to put a gun at the president’s head, saying if you don’t agree with me politically, we’re going to take down the United States of America and those countries that depend on our dollar. That is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not a compromise. It’s a hostage taking.”