Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on Tuesday attempted to explain to CNN host Ashley Banfield that it was impossible to work with House Republicans in good faith as long as they wanted to "bring down our government" the "same way they fought as Confederates."
In an interview following a House Republican press conference announcing a plan that would derail a bipartisan deal in the Senate to bring an end to the government shutdown, Banfield asked Rangel if he could get behind the plan because conservative lawmakers had backed down from wanting to completely defund or delay the president's health care reform law.
"This is all about a handful of people who got elected as Republicans that want to bring down our government," Rangel explained. "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."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Banfield interrupted. "I'm only assuming you're referring to the tea party members who are pretty intransigent on their views. Are you likening them to 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. "I'm telling you one thing, if the Republicans 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, however, argued that Republicans were in the majority in the House and that meant Rangel had to "deal with it and negotiate, and that's what politicking is."
Rangel reminded Banfield that the Senate compromise would be tough for Democrats to swallow, "but in an effort to make certain that it reopens government, I'm prepared to do it."
"I've been dealing with this for three weeks," Banfield said. "And what I can't believe is that two weeks ago, we were talking about the complete defunding of Obamacare, a passed law that made it all the way through the Supreme Court. Today, we're talking about bits and pieces of chipping little wiggle rooms away. And it still seems the intransigence is still as strong as it was two weeks ago. Can't you look at this in a forest instead of a tree and see how much farther ahead we are from two weeks ago?"
"Well, you've been working on this for three weeks you say and I've been working on it for 43 years," Rangel shot back. "And the way the Constitution is set up, when a bill is passed by the House and the Senate and authorized by the Supreme Court, you don't use the nation's fiscal integrity to change the law."
"You can!" Banfield exclaimed. "Well, apparently you can. And that is causing us great grief out here in America."
"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."
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Oct. 15, 2013.