Sen. Roy Blunt: Democrats own this shutdown

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," January 21, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good morning. The government shutdown enters a second day. Could there be a deal by tomorrow? Plus, some lawmakers are demanding the release of a classified memo does approve the Obama administration illegally spied on the Trump campaign.

Good morning everyone. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures." It is day two of the government shutdown. Senator Mitch McConnell is promising a vote tonight by 1:00 a.m. Monday morning to end the Senate stalemate. Is a deal anywhere close? The Vice Chairman of the Senate, Republican Congress Roy Blunt will join me live coming up. Also, did the FBI and Justice Department break the law to spy on the Trump campaign? A classified House Intel memo may hold the answers. I'll talk to former Congressman Jason Chaffetz about that. Also, coming up, I'll talk with Historian and Author Neil Niall Ferguson about his new book, The Square and the Tower, about how President Trump rode the rising tide of social networks right into the White House, as we look ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."

And good morning, Congress will be back at it once again today searching for a solution to reopen the government as the shutdown enters the second day. Rhetoric ratcheting up from leaders in both parties this morning with no signs of compromise. Democrats are pressing President Trump to protect so-called DREAMers from deportation. But Republicans and the White House want to focus solely on passing a spending bill. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying one way or another a vote to end this stalemate will happen early Monday morning. Joining me right now is Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. He's the Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. He's also a Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator, it's good to have you on the program this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: Can you tell us where we stand?

BLUNT: Well, I really can't. I think -- actually, I think that Senator Schumer has managed to take an issue that Republicans have never handled very well in the past and own it. This is the Schumer shutdown. This is - - there's no reason for this to have occurred. And one of the lessons here is we need to get back to where we openly debate these appropriations bills and get them to the President's desk one or two at a time rather than every year have this issue that frankly empowers the Minority Leader in ways that shouldn't happen. He made a decision here that he was going to have a shutdown over an issue that is clearly solvable that has nothing to do with appropriations and frankly they own it.

BARTIROMO: Yes, well I think you make a really good point. I mean, living by continuing resolutions is obviously not sustainable and not what anybody wants. How do you get there?

BLUNT: Well you know the appropriations committee gets its work done and has these bills ready. Even a couple years ago when Barbara Mikulski was the Democratic Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, she over and over again went to Senator Reid and said get these bills on the floor. Let the other members be part of this debate. Let's get them on at that time President Obama's desk and I was for that. I was for having that open process, still am. We have been dragging through the nominations process in a way where Democrats over and over again in the Senate have required 30 hours of debate on the President's nominees that would then get 90 votes or easily pass sometimes with as many as 90 votes. And by the way, Maria, no debate, so just a stall tactic that prevents us from getting to other issues like DACA on the floor or like community health centers on the floor or like chip on the floor. Now we're down to where Republicans have a bill that no -- that Democrats don't oppose anything in the bill, at least a majority of Democrats don't and they've decided to use that as the effort to get an unrelated piece of legislation and not just get a debate on it but they want it on a must-pass bill. That's not the way to legislate. First of all, you don't get everything you want on a bill that everybody else has to vote for and it's an untenable position. I don't think that the Democrats can sustain it very much longer.

BARTIROMO: So are they just doing this to make a big stink one year after the President, the first year in office on the day to create some chaos so that we're not talking about what you've already done and the progress you've already had and this White House has had but more about the chaos going on and the government shutdown? I mean, do they just not want to see government open right now?

BLUNT: You know, I really can't figure out what their motivation might be. I suppose that could be it. But clearly, the country will be better off and the Congress would be better off if we've been talking about what we have gotten done. What's happening to the economy is extraordinary. Companies decided to bring money that they earned in other countries back to the United States of America and to do it not using the whole time that was available to them but to go ahead and pay big tax amounts to our country so they can get that money back here in an economy where the regulators are no longer out of control, where judges are more likely to determine what the law says as we put more and more conservative judges on the court and where the tax policy is clearly a tax policy that makes the United States a place to want to invest money and see this economy grow. What we've seen with companies reaching out to their employees already and saying in a growing economy we want to show you more ways that we value you. Those are all of the things that maybe the Democrats don't want to talk about but certainly, every American should want to be talking about, opportunity.

BARTIROMO: Now the American people really need to understand what's happening with the military right now. I mean speaking with generals earlier, they're saying look this is very much still Obama's military. I mean when you consider the fact that we're four months into the fiscal year 18, the government is still living on a continuing resolution, the military is 50 percent of its aircraft down for maintenance because of a lack of spare parts. Pilots flying less than half of the flying hours required to maintain proficiency, mishaps are spiking, five of the Army's 58 brigades are ready for combat, five out of 58, and the military cannot grow as it remains the smallest in 75 years. Can you tell us what that means about the practical state of our military today and how you're going to get out of these continuing resolutions and increase and let these budgets that are in place?

BLUNT: Well, I'm on the Senate Intelligence Committee where we look at our threats around the world every single day when we're here in Washington. I'm on the defense appropriating committee. And what you're saying, what you're repeating and what they're saying is exactly right. And the big obstacle right now, the reason we have a continuing resolution debate rather than a let's fund the government like we funded this year debate is we've foolishly can't come up with a number that accomplishes what we need to do to defend the country and then whatever the Democrats insist on the other side of the spending ledger to allow that to go forward. You know I hear this constantly. Well, the Democrats control -- the Republicans control all three branches of government. Republicans under our system have to have some Democrat cooperation to move forward in the Senate unless you have 60 Senators and we don't have that now and there are Democrats who clearly understand these defense priorities, want to help us get there. I suspect they are as frustrated as I am that their leaders not coming up with a serious debate about what those spending numbers look like rather than how long we're going to go between now and the time we really have a real debate on how we should be spending our money this year rather than whether we're going to continue to spend our money like we spent it last year.

BARTIROMO: Meanwhile there's the near-term issue of getting this government open again. What are your expectations for this next 1:00 a.m. vote tonight?

BLUNT: Well, I don't have anything else scheduled at 1:00 a.m. tonight so I'll be there today during the day and I will be there tonight. I don't think the Democrats can sustain this much longer. They've clearly brought an issue that should have an easy conclusion, 70 percent plus the American people along with me agree that these DACA kids unless they've gotten in some huge amount of trouble should be able to stay here. But 70 percent of the American people also agree that the border needs more control and immigration needs more control. That should be easily negotiated by a Congress and a minority that wanted to function. We're not seeing that happen. I think we'll get through this pretty quickly. And if we don't, the blame is clearly a placed where the blame deserves to be. You don't deal with these issues by forcing, keeping the government open based on some other legislative issue that you insist has to be done, just exactly the way you want it done

BARTIROMO: Well, I mean, every service chief has told the Congress that the military is at risk of winning in a high-end conflict in the state it's in today. At the end of the day, the Democrats have to recognize this that it is on them if in fact, this does not move forward.

BLUNT: Well the number one responsibility of the federal government is to defend the country. And with our important leadership in the world, it's also to help do what we can to maintain a peaceful world and we're not prepared to do that. We're asking young men and women to step for forward and defend us without giving then what they need. You know, we should never want an American service person to be in a fair fight. We want them to have every possible advantage and they clearly are moving away from that long advantage they have had and we just need a number. We just need Senator Schumer to step forward and get serious about agreeing on that number that they can support and what else has to happen in the spending realm for that to happen. What he's done is tried to elevate all of these spending issues to every other issue and that just does not work.

BARTIROMO: He's trying to throw in as much spending as he can figuring that the conservatives are on their heels.

BLUNT: Well, who we don't want on our heels are the men and women who are defending us every day or the people that are dependent on the government being accessible and open and this is a foolish place that the Democrats and the Senate have forced the country to and I think they'll change their mind on this pretty quickly.

BARTIROMO: All right, Senator, we'll be watching the developments. Thanks so much for the update this morning.

BLUNT: You bet.

BARTIROMO: Senator Roy Blunt joining us there. Up next, did the Obama administration spy on the Trump campaign? All roads seem to lead there. Some lawmakers say a classified memo may hold the real answers and they want it made public. Former Congressman Jason Chaffetz weighs in on that. Follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures. Let us know what you'd like to hear on the show as we're live this morning watching all of the developments out of Washington. We're looking ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" right now. Back in a minute.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. A fierce battle erupting over whether to release a highly classified House Intelligence Committee memo that some lawmakers say contain evidence that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. Now 65 Republican Congressmen are calling on Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to make that four-page document public. They're going with a hashtag release the memo. Jason Chaffetz is the former Republican Congressmen and a Fox News Contributor. He joins me right now. Congressman, it's always a pleasure to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: Before we get into this memo, let me just circle back and get your thoughts on Roy Blunt who we just heard from. What's your take on this stalemate going on right now and what needs to happen to get the government to reopen?

CHAFFETZ: I think people actually need to ask themselves what is it that the Democrats actually want because there's nothing in the bill that they're opposed to. But what is it that they actually want? They say they want to protect DREAMers but they don't offer a bill. There's no bill to vote on. There's no insertion of an amendment that they want to try to do. I don't think they've answered the question exactly what it is they want to do. And look, at large part, I've got to tell you, Republicans in the Senate are partially to blame for what's not happening because the House passed these appropriations bills nearly six months ago and they didn't bring up a single one of them until they wanted to do a continuing resolution.

BARTIROMO: Right, OK, so there's the question for the Senate there. Jason let me switch gears and look at this memo. You have not seen the memo, correct?

CHAFFETZ: No, no. It's classified and -- so the release the memo is all about the idea that it's classified. It's a summary. It's a four-page. Look, you have Trey Gowdy, Devin Nunes, Mike Conaway and Tom Rooney who have been leading this effort in the House Intelligence Committee. They've got a four-page summary, it's highly classified. Members can go in and read it and it's startling but something like 170 or so House Republicans have looked at it but there's only one Democrat whose come in and read it. And so I don't know how as a body they can all -- the Democrats can all complain about the release of this because they haven't even read it.

BARTIROMO: Your former colleague, Representative Matt Gaetz says, if we get this memo into the public square, heads are going to roll at the FBI and the Justice Department. They're basically saying that this dossier that we know was unverified and largely nonsense about Donald Trump was used as justification to get a FISA warrant, to wiretap the Trump campaign, used by a political opponent, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton to spy on Donald Trump during the election which would be extraordinary, isn't that right?

CHAFFETZ: It really is. I mean, it goes to the core of who we are as a country. And you talk to members who have actually read the document, while they can't talk about the contents, they're very shaken by what they have seen. It does name names, it does involve the intelligence community, it does involve the Department of Justice, and we're talking about people at the highest, highest levels. I would like to see this released. I understand there's a classification problem. The President can get involved in that. And the other thing that's going to happen is the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes is the Chairman, I did this when I was the Chairman of the Oversight Committee. You can send a criminal referral to the Attorney General. So Attorney General Sessions, what he does or doesn't do with this, not just the summary but the body of the work will be interesting and you also have the Inspector General whose preparing work after a year, Michael Horowitz, 450 employees, I think there will be most - - the most explosive and most revealing look at what was happening and not happening within the Department of Justice.

BARTIROMO: But why does nothing ever happen in terms of someone being held accountable? I mean Jim Jordan, your former colleague from Ohio, Representative Jordan says, more importantly, the American public needs to see what the FBI did is just as wrong as it can be. That's a quote from him and we know that the leadership at the FBI was complicit and basically protecting Hillary Clinton's criminality saying that they -- Peter Strzok with his -- with his girlfriend Lisa Page saying we needed an insurance policy should Donald Trump win. Is the insurance policy this nonstop investigation over you know, potential collusion between the Trump administration and Russia which of course we know does not exist. There's no evidence of it.

CHAFFETZ: Well there isn't and then you've got to look at the flow of money, who is communicating with who. You have the Bruce Ohr problem where his wife is working at the company that is the subject of an investigation. And these are people at the senior-most level of government here. That's what's so scary about this. So look, the government tends to protect itself and they tend to cover each other's back. You know this whole so-called deep state, I'm telling you, the closer I get to it the more real it is because they do end up protecting themselves and pushing back Congress trying to run up the clock and they were all betting on the fact that they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win and it was never going to be an issue. One of them was actually going to a Hillary Clinton celebration party. I mean everybody is going to get a chance to vote and they've got their political views but they can't wear on their shirtsleeves when they go to work at the Department of Justice. That's not how it works in our country.

BARTIROMO: So it sounds like you don't think anybody will be held accountable at the end of the day even though it's clear that the FBI was in the tank for Hillary Clinton despite the fact that the American people voted Donald Trump in as president. They were still protecting her after and around the inauguration.

CHAFFETZ: There is no excuse for any member on any side of the party to say hey, let's not look at this. If they're for openness and transparency, then they should release this memo and the contents of it, if they have to block out a few names, you know, here and there to protect some classified information do it but America deserves to see this. They need to get it out there and the Attorney General, Attorney General Sessions has got to take action. It's all in his hands.

BARTIROMO: Jason Chaffetz, it's good to see you, sir. Thanks so much.

CHAFFETZ: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: When we come back, President Trump's use of Twitter plays a huge role in the way he communicates with the world. My next guest says it also helped get him elected into the White House. Niall Ferguson is with us next. Back in a minute.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. Thanks to rapidly changing technology. The world may seem like it's moving faster than ever. But even when it comes to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, my next guest says it has all been done before. Prolific Historian Niall Ferguson is the author of a new book, The Square, and the Tower, Network and Power, from the Free Masons to Facebook. He joins me now. Niall, it's great to see you again.


BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations on the book.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Tell us why you wrote this book and really why you say almost what's old is new again?

FERGUSON: Two reasons. I moved to Stanford about a year and a half ago so I was right next door to Silicon Valley. And I was astounded to find that people in Silicon Valley think that history began with the Google IPO and everything before that is the stone age, so as far as they were concerned my knowledge was kind of useless. I wanted to write a book that would teach Silicon Valley a history lesson but also wanted to help people who are interested in history understand the new world of networks because you need a little bit of network science to understand that world.

BARTIROMO: Tell us how it's all connected? I mean, now, we find ourselves talking about things like A.I. and how machine learning is really changing our lives.

FERGUSON: Well there's clearly a new frontier. But in terms of social networks, you don't need technology to have social networks. They go all the way back even to before the printing press. If you think about some of the things that have gone viral in history, take Christianity or Islam, those things went viral in a way that nothing in our time has gone viral, not even Donald Trump, and they did so in largely illiterate populations without any sophisticated technology for communication. So we as a species are designed to network.

BARTIROMO: You mentioned Donald Trump, let's talk about that because I enjoyed a piece on your book about networks and hierarchy in the Trump era.

FERGUSON: Well in some ways networks got Trump elected. After all, I think if you remove Facebook and Twitter, imagine the 2016 election without online social networks, I think he would have lost. Because I think Facebook was absolutely crucial to his campaign. It helped him overcome a big financial disadvantage. Remember, Hillary Clinton, outspent him 2:1. So I think if you take away social networks, he's not president, and it's not just because of the way he uses Twitter, I think it was really perhaps more important that Facebook was the key to his campaign strategy.

BARTIROMO: Even though the Trump Presidency has had this incredible success as a result of these networks, Facebook and getting him elected, to begin with, the mainstream media, some people out there in the populous, they're not buying in to the Trump administration, right?


BARTIROMO: So why is it failing in that regard and yet he's winning in other areas? I mean, if you just look at Donald Trump's policies, they're working. And yet you've got -- you've got naysayers in the mainstream media who will not buy into that network.

FERGUSON: THIS is one of the great paradoxes that there's a disconnect between the way in which Trump is portrayed in the mainstream media. It's a constant story of liberal heads exploding and the reality of policy outcomes. Whether you look at the economy or foreign policy, there are clear improvements relative to the Obama Presidency. I think the deregulation doesn't get talked about nearly enough. I think it's more important than the tax reform actually and it's giving a real tailwind to the U.S. economy. And I think the news is going to stay strong this year and those people who predicted a financial disaster when Trump was elected. A big shout out for Paul Krugman and the fake news awards richly deserved. He said the stock market would never recover from Trump's election. Well, the egg is all over his face and in his beard. But the other thing which is fascinating to me is the foreign policy success that nobody talks about. Look what's happening in Korea. The North Korean Regime has moved along way. Why? Because its faced some credible threats in military action and I think there was also pressure in China from the Trump administration that worked. Iran, Trump changes policy in Iran and it doesn't take too long before there are protests in Iranian cities. So I think there are some big shifts going on here. But in the end, the conversation in the mainstream media is not about those policy outcomes, it's about the President's Twitter feed or what he says in a casual remark, and this all gets blown out of all proportion. Historians know that history is not all about personalities, though that's sometimes forgotten by journalists. You're an exception, Maria. But when you look at the Trump presidency, when it comes to be written as history, as much will be written about the networks and structures of power as about his personality.

BARTIROMO: I think you make so many important points and another one we should mention is ISIS almost defeated because he changed the strategy and yet not talked about. But this press conference this past week with his medical doctor was beyond.

FERGUSON: It got all of the attention.

BARTIROMO: But the questions that were coming from the journalists, I just --

FERGUSON: To me it's a strange parallel universe that many journalists in habit. And I think it goes back to the fact that they were so wrong about the election in 2016. Remember, they overwhelmingly predicted the Clinton victory and they were prepared for a Clinton victory, and when you're wrong there's a temptation to kind of reconstruct reality to try to validate your position. I've seen this done by some academics too. But you know, we have to live in the reality that was created by Trump's victory. I don't defend everything the President says or does. Much of what he said has been offensive to me. After all, I'm an immigrant, my wife is an immigrant from Africa. But that is not the only issue we confront and I would urge everybody to focus on policy outcomes, pay less attention to social media including the President's tweets.

BARTIROMO: Very practical of you and we so appreciate your candor. Thanks very much, Niall.

FERGUSON: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: It's good to see you. And the book is the Square and the Tower, Networks, and Power from the Free Masons to Facebook, Niall Ferguson. Meanwhile, a showdown in the Senate over a new spending bill but is there is an end in sight for the shutdown? House Freedom Caucus Member David Schweikert is here giving up his take next up as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" right here. Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. A standoff in the Senate when Lawmakers are trying to reach an agreement on a spending bill and reopen the government. The House already passed a stopgap bill Thursday night after gaining support from members of the Freedom Caucus. Joining me right now is Republican Congressman David Schweikert. He's a member of the House Freedom Caucus. Congressman, it's good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT, R-ARIZ.: Good morning Maria.

BARTIROMO: And of course, you voted yes on the House spending bill on Thursday. What is your take on what is going to break this logjam and get the government open again?

SCHWEIKERT: Oh, it's a brilliant question because this isn't the logjam over policy. In many ways, when you look at the Senate, it's almost a policy to be named in the future from a number of Democrat members who all want to run for president. So how do you negotiate over an issue that our bill, the continuing resolution, pretty much had everything they wanted?

BARTIROMO: It had everything they wanted, so would they have sort of kicked and screamed and not agreed to anything regardless of what was in that bill? I mean because they just want this chaos?

SCHWEIKERT: Yes, you see, I think you just nailed it. This is less about policy. I truly in my heart believe this is about a number of Democrat U.S. Congress people pandering to the most radical fringe of their base. And look, they're already suffering from the fact that the economy is doing well, people who've that had a really brutal decade are finding jobs and finding income and savings. Good things are happening around us. And the fact of the matter is having a Republican President, a Republican Congress, I think they're trying to find a way basically to burn the place down

BARTIROMO: Right. That's what it feels like Congressman. But at the end of the day, still, Congress, if you do not repeal or temporarily suspend the budget caps as part of the appropriations bill, the military continues to be hollowed out.

SCHWEIKERT: Oh, absolutely.

BARTIROMO: And so, you say, you know, well, this is not about policy this is just fighting because they're jealous of the President's successes and your successes in Congress and yet look what's happening. I mean, you're on House Ways and Means Committee. You've obviously been instrumental in terms of the jobs act. You were there working on the tax plan. You've done so much in terms of moving the economy forward. What are the implications of this shutdown on the economy sir

SCHWEIKERT: Well I'm less concerned about the economy. I think the economy is robust and will snap back. We're really hurt so if you're that service member, an enlisted person out there defending this country, what about the pay hike we've promised? What about just resources to fix pieces of equipment? We had another disaster over the weekend in the California desert. You know, in many ways, the left has become heartless, is rage -- I understand rage may be a political philosophy for motivating your base but it's really, really bad public policy and I think the Senate needs to come back from this abyss and start acting rationally.

BARTIROMO: But Congressman, I mean, I get what you're saying and in many ways, I agree with you but at the end of the day you guys are in charge, and that's what the left is going to say. The Republicans are running the executive office, the Senate and the House, so how is it possible that you could blame anybody else except yourself?

SCHWEIKERT: Well the fact of the matter is we're not in charge when the Senate has a filibuster rule, that will call the (INAUDIBLE) where they must have now 10 folks on the left functioning show up and help, and that minority that those 10 Democrats have to make a decision. Do they want to pander to their base or do they want to do what's good for the country?

BARTIROMO: Do you think the American people will remember this come elections when those people are up in terms of voting against this? I mean because I'll quote the Wall Street Journal last week in an Op-Ed basically saying it doesn't matter whose fault it is and if the Senators on the Democratic side do not want to see any more successes out of this administration. The Republicans will get blamed in the eyes of the American people.

SCHWEIKERT: I desperately hope that isn't true. I actually see it a little more complicated. The country I believe is so polarized and we know the left is substantially on fire with their just their rage and hatred of the fact of the matter is Republicans are being successful. Does this end up building the Republican base to understand what obstructionists the left has become and does it start to create the enthusiasm of our base to actually show up in the 2018 election?

BARTIROMO: So that's what you're counting on. You're counting on the American people understanding the issues here that in fact this is not about policy, that they wanted everything that's in this bill anyway and yet they still don't want to come to the table because they really do want to just obstruct. Do you think the American people will figure that out?

SCHWEIKERT: I think it may take a couple layers but if you were actually to look at my e-mails last night, even folks who were not thrilled with those who were on the more conservative side were just engaged of the delay of a six-year extension on the CHIP, the children's -- poor children's healthcare, and I don't know how long the left, the Democrat liberals can sustain that unless the pandering to their base is so important to them that they're willing to basically burn the place down.

BARTIROMO: Are you willing to give on anything? Is your side willing to give -- I mean, how long are you going to dig in?

SCHWEIKERT: Well look it's really an interesting question. What are we supposed to give? The continuing resolution had all of the things that functionally had been articulated and it didn't actually have the rates of the caps for the military that so many of us desperately wanted. So in many ways, so in many ways you're saying OK, what other sweeteners were we supposed to have in this one-month continuing resolution? In many ways the left and the Republicans, we sort of came together and gave what was rational, so you're sort of negotiating with yourself here and it's a serial-type of negotiation. For those who wanted the DACA on the left side, there's not a DACA bill, so this is theatre.

BARTIROMO: Wow. You make a lot of important and interesting points Congressman. When will you get to DACA then?

SCHWEIKERT: Oh, we've been actually working on DACA for months, and months, and months. There's a lot of us particularly being from a border state know we have to work out a solution on DACA but actually want to see a more holistic approach dealing with an immigration system that maximizes economic expansion and fairness and our current immigration system doesn't do that. So it should be packaged together in sort of really substantive policy and I actually think those whose in the House here are very close to having that bill together.

BARTIROMO: All right. We'll be watching the development. Sir, thanks very much. You really laid it out so well for us and we appreciate your time.

SCHWEIKERT: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Congressman Schweikert there. When all is said and done, who will end up taking the blame for the shutdown? The panel is up next. Mary Kisiel and Ed Rollins on deck as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." We're back in a minute.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. The blame game continuing on Capitol Hill this morning. Lawmakers pointing the finger across the aisle over the government shutdown now in day two. Republicans are dubbing it the Schumer shutdown while Democrats are calling it the Trump shutdown. Who will voters hold responsible? Let's bring in our panel right now. Ed Rollins is here. He's a former Campaign Manager for the Reagan-Bush Ticket in 1984. And Mary Kissel here, she is Editorial Board Member for the Wall Street Journal. Both are Fox News Contributors. It's a pleasure to see you both. Thank you so much for joining us. Your take this morning?

ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Well the country is disgusted. I mean, the country basically now holds the Congress in the lowest like 16- 18 percent approval rating. They expect the government to function and run and it should be done. Democrats clearly want the political advantage of basically appealing to Hispanic voters, the fastest growing group in America. And I think, by being on the side of the DACA kids or whoever else are going to do on immigration is going to give them a benefit. So they're not going to give up.

BARTIROMO: So it's all about the voters then.

ROLLINS: All about the voters.

BARTIROMO: Yes, what do you think?

MARY KISSEL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Democrats would not be shutting down government unless they thought it was to their political advantage to Ed's point, and they see no reason to think otherwise. And look, Maria, it's part of a trend. They didn't participate in the healthcare reform discussions, they didn't participate in the biggest tax reform since 1986, they decided that they're not going to participate in good faith in immigration reform. And unfortunately, if you've got the press in your pocket, if you look at how Republicans were routed in November, in January, they just won a State Senate seat in Wisconsin, they think that this policy of just resisting everything that Trump does is to their advantage. And you know, we'll see if they're right.

BARTIROMO: I don't think -- I don't think they're going to be right. I mean, look, let's look at the facts in terms of what this means for the military. Military is, 50 percent of its aircraft are down for maintenance because of lack of spare parts, pilots are flying less than half of the flying hours required to maintain proficiency, only five of the army's 58 brigades are ready for combat. And at the end of the day, it looks like every service chief has told the Congress that the U.S. military is at risk in winning at high-end conflicts, Ed?

ROLLINS: With two major destroyers destroyed, the Fitzgerald and McCain, 17 men killed because they were not certified. They have not -- the manpower is stretched so thin that they basically can't function effectively. And that's not fair to the young men and women. We put on our planes and our ships and I think to a certain extent we need to fix this. We need to fix it quick.

KISSEL: But Maria, I think that the Republican Party airs in making this debate between interest groups. You know, it's the military versus immigrants. I think that's what Democrats want Republicans to do.

BARTIROMO: You don't want that, right?

KISSEL: What is the core dispute here? The core dispute is a dispute over the rule of law. President Obama did something unconstitutional for the DREAMers. President Trump says let's do this the right way. If we want to legalize them in some form, we have to do it through Congress and the normal procedure. That's what Democrats are opposed to here. That's the core dispute that they are airing. They don't want to adhere to the rule of law. Republicans should be making that argument, that appeals to everybody. If you start playing this divisive interest group politics, that just plays into the political level.

BARTIROMO: It's such an important point, and nobody made that point. I read it on Twitter what you said actually, and that needs to be communicated.

ROLLINS: Well, it does. But we should not underestimate the group -- and I'm not for interest politics either --- but the group that is suffering the most is our military.

BARTIROMO: Is the military.

ROLLINS: Our military is out there on the line every single day and the country is not going to go to heck of the DACA dried off for another six months or whatever. We need a major overhaul of our immigration. It's been 1986 since the last time it happened. Equally as important as the major rule change in the United States Senate. If we're going to sit here with 60 votes, meaning that we have to have 10 Democrats every time you're going to have a vote, they can stop everything this President wants to do or everything the Congress wants to do.

BARTIROMO: So will that ever change, the filibuster rule?

KISSEL: Well, I don't know. Republicans don't like it right now because they're in the majority. They don't want the minority to have that kind of power. Look, this is going to flip at some point in the future, and Republicans will want that when they're in the minority. But Maria, just a quick point here on DACA and the Democrats. If they truly cared about these people, when they would come to the table in good faith and negotiate separately from the budget. They're not doing that. It's the ultimate politics of Sinicism. They say they want to help but in reality, they're not doing anything.

BARTIROMO: They just want everything in there while they have one little opening.

ROLLINS: The only counter I'd make to that is the country is frustrated by the inability of Congress to function.

BARTIROMO: For sure.

ROLLINS: And I don't care what the old rules may have been. It used to be a two-thirds vote and filibuster rule used to be there to basically block civil rights legislation. It's now blocking all legislation. And the American public, if you elected Republican Congress, you expect them to do something. If Democrats get elected at the majority, then they get to do something. And now nobody can do anything.

BARTIROMO: That's right. But look back at other government shutdowns and tell us the implications. I mean, the last one was 13 days.

ROLLINS: 13 days. Well, I think it basically makes the American public think their government can't function. If you can't pass a budget which is the fundamental tour, it's not the hardship alone on the people, it's just the disarray that the country sees every single day and they lose confidence in our ability to govern ourselves.

KISSEL: I think Schumer is wagering that the President doesn't have the political leverage to exert pressure on his base and on independence. And look, if you look at the recent Wall Street Journal poll numbers, he has reason to believe that. President approval rating is at 39 percent. Granted, people are feeling better about the economy. That's at a 17-year high. Those poll numbers, that's terrific. But again, this is about politics for the Democrats. It's the politics of Sinicism. It's not about working in the national interest.

ROLLINS: Well, we need -- we need to think about policy, not politics.

BARTIROMO: Yes, and I think you make a really good point by saying it's the rule of law.

ROLLINS: It's the rule of law and immigration law has basically changed by the vote of the Congress and signed by the President and they don't -- they don't have the votes to do that, it's not going to happen.

BARTIROMO: All right. We'll take a break. When we come back, more on the rule of law sticking point including immigration and border security. Where do those talks stand right now? More with the panel as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Stay with us.


BARTIROMO: And we're back with our panel Mary Kissel and Ed Rollins. You know, it seems to me that this is exactly what Schumer wanted, exactly what the Democratic leadership wanted in the face of all of the successes for President Trump whether it be economic or ISIS being defeated, they wanted to make a stink on the one year anniversary. They don't want this whole President Trump and the Congressional delegation representing America in Davos, Switzerland that's happening next week. And that, of course, a week later, the State of the Union Address. So let's muck it all up.

ROLLINS: Well just as you see polls starting to give Republicans some advantage based on the -- or at least closing the gap based on the tax bill as people start to see it's going to work. You cloud the story. The whole story now is about this and why can't they run a government, why can't they do X, Y, and Z? And as you say, they could stay onto the President's State of the Union speech, no one's going to care what he says. And that's the speech that obviously has to set the tone of the agenda for the next year.

BARTIROMO: That's a scary thing, that no one is going to care what he has to say because the government has been shut for a week and a half. And it could happen because the last one went for 13 days.

ROLLINS: 13 day. Right.

BARTIROMO: But I just wonder though, Mary, the longer-term implications in terms of the voting public. I feel personally that people are onto the obstructionism and they know in fact this is not about policy anymore, but do you agree with that?

KISSEL: Well, look, I tend to think that Republicans always get blamed for the shutdowns. I think in 2013, they were to blame for the shutdown. This shutdown, of course, they're not because Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are filibustering. But look, Democrats are going to go out and say look the Republicans have majorities in both houses, it's all of them banking on the fact that voters won't know about that filibuster rule in the Senate and understand that it's Schumer and the Democrats that are actually to blame. But look, Trump's way to win is to have policy victories. He had policy victory in the tax plan. He should come again and explain to the American people what he wants to do clearly on immigration reform. That's been one of the problems here Maria. Republicans don't feel like they know exactly where the President stands. They don't feel like he's behind them. So Democrats feel that they can take advantage of that and that's what Chuck Schumer is doing.

ROLLINS: But the problem is no matter what happens here, the longer it goes on, obviously the more difficult it is to have any agenda. The Democrats have now proven they can stop any agenda item that wants to move forward for the remainder of this year until the 2018 elections and that's a very bad place. Might as well go home because if you can't get into infrastructure reform or anything, they now know they can basically force on the filibuster rule of the Senate, keep everything from happening.

BARTIROMO: And there's nothing the Republicans can do about that.

ROLLINS: Except change the rules.

KISSEL: Yes, but look, we need immigration reform. It's a reform that's been out. We needed it since the 80s. It's a good topic. The Republicans need to be clear about what they -- what they would accept and what they wouldn't accept.

BARTIROMO: Mary Kissel, Ed Rollins, it's good to see you.

ROLLINS: Thank you very much.

KISSEL: Thank for having us.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much. That will do it for us, this "Sunday Morning Futures." Thanks for being with me. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Tomorrow, "Mornings With Maria" live from Davos, Switzerland the rest of the week. Join us on the Fox Business Network. Here's "MediaBuzz" right here on Fox News.

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