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Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon On The White House Meeting Today

Thursday, October 10, 2013

HH: Joined now by Chairman Buck McKeon of the House Armed Services Committee. Mr. Chairman, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

BM: Well, thanks for having me.

HH: Can you tell us what happened at the White House today?

BM: You know, I can tell you that the Speaker’s been asking for a meeting where we can just sit down and talk, and we finally got that today. And I was there in the meeting, and it was a very productive meeting. Toward the end, we decided that we needed to split into our own camps to talk further. The President did not turn down the deal, did not accept a deal. But we are continuing to talk. He was going to talk with his people, we were going to talk amongst our people. And there could even be further discussion moving forward tonight. So I think it was very productive.

HH: Mr. Chairman, can you give us a little sort of color commentary? Where did you gather?

BM: It was in the Roosevelt room of the White House.

HH: And did the President open the meeting with a statement? Or did the Speaker open the meeting?

BM: The President always starts. And I was expecting it to be like meetings in the past where he gives quite a long opening. It was just hey, we’re all here to talk, Mr. Speaker.

HH: And so what did the Speaker say.

BM: It was down to business. The Speaker went right to the business at hand. He had an offer that he was ready to present. And he did that. Mr. Cantor enlarged on it a little bit, and then it just went to a discussion, open discussion.

HH: So the President welcomed you, the Speaker made the offer, the Leader enlarged on the offer, and then a discussion. And did the President engage in the discussion?

BM: Oh, yeah.

HH: Did he ask any questions?

BM: He was totally engaged. He went back and forth, made his points. Members in the room made our points. And it was, as I said, a very, I think, a very fruitful discussion. Now we’ll see what we’re able to work out as we put the things down that we want to carry further on in the discussion, and how we progress from here.

HH: Who else from the administration was in the room, Mr. Chairman?

BM: Pardon?

HH: Who else from the administration’s side was in the room?

BM: Treasury Secretary, Mr. Lew, Vice President Biden, the President’s chief of staff.

HH: Did they participate in the conversation?

BM: Mr. Lew did very briefly at one point, and the Vice President did briefly at one point. Basically, it was just the President talking to us.

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