Weiner Spars With Rep.-Elect Mike Kelly

Posted January 2, 2011 at 1:07pm

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) sparred Sunday with Rep.-elect Mike Kelly (Pa.), telling the incoming freshman Republican that his critique of Congress’ actions “is going to get old really fast” since Kelly is now part of the institution.

Members appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” roundtable spoke over one another, arguing about the debt ceiling and whether bipartisanship is possible. Kelly said that, as an outsider, he has been unimpressed by Congress adding to the nation’s massive debt.

“I don’t know how in the world you folks go home and look these people in the eye and say, ‘We’ve done a great job. We’ve done a great job. Your country’s $14 trillion in debt,'” Kelly said.

Weiner, one of the more outspoken Members in the House, fired back: “First of all, the ‘you folks’ stuff — now you are one of those folks, and it is your job in the majority party to govern.”

“This is now your job. This is a serious business here,” Weiner told Kelly.

But Kelly challenged Weiner, calling the exchange “amusing.”

“In your life you have never done anything on your own, with your own skin in the game,” Kelly told Weiner. He started to say, “While I respect the fact that you’re an elected Congressman, I do not respect the fact,” when Weiner cut him off again.

“What do you mean I am? We are. You’re part of this now,” Weiner said.

“This has got to stop being about who can blame who for what,” Kelly said.

“You’re sounding like you just say that. You’re sounding us vs. them,” Weiner responded. “I would hope you have more respect for your constituents.”

Weiner also said President Barack Obama needs to be able to work with Republicans while still passing good laws in the new Congress.

“We Democrats are prepared to work with them where we can, but we’re going to challenge them and fight against them where we must,” Weiner said. “As far as the president’s interaction [with Republicans], I think he’s going to find out that bipartisanship has to be a means. It’s not an end and that if just having a bipartisan deal means a success, that’s not right.”

Kelly said bipartisanship should be about passing “good legislation,” not just to say something was done in a bipartisan manner.

Weiner and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said House Republicans will need to present concrete ideas for change in the next Congress. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was also on the panel.

“Time to go beyond campaign slogans, which is all I’ve heard today from Mr. Kelly and Ms. Bachmann really ever engages in,” Wasserman Schultz said. “We have to get into deficit reduction, job creation and turn the economy around. That’s their measuring stick, that’s their yardstick.”

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.