Sen. Tim Scott: Short-term debt deal is 'problematic'

South Carolina lawmaker on negotiations


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 11, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JENNA LEE, GUEST HOST: In the meantime, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is one of the Republican senators who met with the president today, just a few hours ago at the White House.

Senator Scott, it's great to see you. How did that meeting go?

SEN. TIM SCOTT, R-S.C.: I think the meeting went pretty well for all things being considered.

At the end of the day, what we need is some progress on a conversation around, how do you increase the debt ceiling and at the same time deal with the underlying problem, which is the -- Americans' debt? If we can have that conversation, I think you will see very quickly some progress made on the debt ceiling. The other part of the conversation, as we know, is opening the government back up. I think the continuing resolution debate continues. I hear that there's some reason for optimism as the House takes a look at some plan that may come forth in the next 24 hours.

LEE: It's interesting. I'm getting again some news flashes from the White House briefing that is happening right now. I know you were just talking to the president, that the White House is now saying that they have some questions about this House proposal, about this six-week debt ceiling increase, being worried about being back in the same position several weeks from now.


LEE: I know the timelines have changed depending on what group you're talking to. What is the timeline that you have put forward with other senators about some sort of deal, and what's your response to the White House on that?

SCOTT: Well, this is one place where I think the president and the Republicans share the same space. The notion of a six-week debt ceiling deal is problematic, because if we are going to have to go through this one more time in six weeks, it just doesn't make a lot of sense for us to come to a conclusion and raise our hands as if we have done something, if we can't accomplish a long-term, sustainable deal to reopen the government and increase the debt.

I don't see the path forward on the continuing resolution as immediate, as I do believe that there could be an opportunity for us to move forward on the debt ceiling. If we can find a way to have spending cuts that are consistent with an increase in the debt ceiling, I think you could find us all at the same table.

There was an acknowledgment today at the White House on both sides that we do have a long-term debt issue. If we can deal with that issue in some incremental process, it creates an opportunity for a deal to move forward.

LEE: How did ObamaCare come up in the meeting? Did it at all as part of these talks, these early talks?

SCOTT: Yes, the conversations on ObamaCare really is a place where we have to agree to disagree with the president on these issues.

There were some positive signs that there was an opportunity perhaps to tweak around the edges of ObamaCare. He was pretty clear that this signature legislation is not debatable or negotiable, which of course has been one of the roadblocks in making progress on our side.

LEE: Senator, before I let you go, I just got some news in from a colleague of yours. Senator Pat Roberts today is calling on Secretary Sebelius -- she's of course the secretary of Health and Human Services -- he's calling for her resignation because of all the issues in the ObamaCare rollout.

What do you think about that?

SCOTT: Well, there's no question that the first day of enrollment, October the 1st, my understanding that -- was that there were fewer than 12 Americans nationwide that were able to finish the process of signing up for ObamaCare.

If that is accurate, we have real problems within the system. The president acknowledged today that there were some concerns on the online approach. He says calling in the 800 number is fine. I will tell you that, if you have as many people responding to it as they hope, if we can't get it right day one, when you had as -- over a year to prepare for day one, I'm not quite sure how it gets better when people actually start showing up with their problems in hand.

LEE: So, do you think Secretary Sebelius should resign?

SCOTT: I have not seen enough information to think so.

I would love to see an absolute change in the leadership of her department, but we have not -- at this point, have not seen all the information that perhaps Pat Roberts has seen. But I would love to see a change in her leadership. I would love to see a change in the execution of ObamaCare, having the IRS taking it over and running it. I would love to see a leadership change there.

We have serious concerns in multiple ways and multiple departments within the administration. So if we had an opportunity to change leadership, I think we all would. We all recognize that we don't have that power to do so, but there will be many calls for many resignations in the upcoming weeks, I'm sure.

LEE: A lot of headlines rolling in. Sir, thank you so much for rolling with us on it. We appreciate it very much. Look forward to talking to you again.

SCOTT: Yes, ma'am.

LEE: Thank you.

SCOTT: Thank you.

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