Fox News Channel "Hannity & Colmes"
MR. HANNITY: Obama has assembled his economic team, and now some top Democrats say that they're going to have a major financial stimulus package on his desk by inauguration day. Joining us now to respond is newly elected Minority Whip Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor.
Congressman, good to see you. Welcome back to the program.
REP. CANTOR: Thank you, Sean, Alan, good to be with you.
MR. HANNITY: All right. So he was talking during the campaign about $175 billion, you know, stimulus package. You know, now we've got $700 billion in bailouts. We've got $700 billion package. He was asked today how we're going to pay for all this. Are the Republicans going to support? Is the answer government-works programs? Is the answer green jobs, as he was talking about today?
REP. CANTOR: No, that's certainly not the answer, Sean. And you know, the campaign was full of promises of reaching out across the political aisle, trying to bring this country together so that we can actually deal with the severe economic crisis that we've got upon us.
You know, families across this country want nothing else but to try and make sure that their future is more certain. And they want to make sure that they've got a job. And I'm worried --
MR. HANNITY: Let's look at areas we might -- go ahead. But I want to look at areas where we might agree with Barack Obama. For example, if he doesn't follow up on his promise to raise taxes on the 5 to 10 percent, I'm for that. If he's going to cut taxes to stimulate the economy, I'm for that. If he's going to back off the capital gains tax and raising tax rates, I'm going to support him on that. Will the Republicans?
REP. CANTOR: Absolutely. I think that's really our role right now. We're going to have to be the honest opposition. And if he is going to move in the direction of lightening the burden on the middle- class taxpayer, we will support that.
But if, in turn, what we're hearing is that they veer left and they go to the old, tired way of cranking up the big-government spending machine, we're just going to oppose that.
MR. HANNITY: All right. Let's look at some of the things -- New York Times on Sunday -- by the way, whatever you read in The New York Times, you know it came from the Obama camp because that's their official campaign, you know, spokesman.
MR. COLMES: (Laughs.)
MR. HANNITY: What's so funny about that? But here's what they talk about. They say, all right, and he reiterated a lot of these points in the press conference today. They're going to jump start this, but they're going to, quote, "rebuild" the crumbling roads and bridges and infrastructure, they're going to modernize schools, build wind farms and solar panels and fuel-efficient cars and alternative energy technologies. That's what they're saying they're going to do. That's what he said today.
So now, why do I think that that does not spur any economic growth in the economy and create any new jobs or any business incentive?
REP. CANTOR: Sean, I think you're absolutely right. I mean, what are we doing here? We know what the problem is. The reason why we're here is because of the collapse of the capital markets and the financial system due to the plummeting prices of housing across this country. And as soon as the mortgage-backed securities market began to implode, that poison began to spread across classes of assets.
So why are we dealing with issues other than the central core problem? And I'll ya, I met with Rahm Emanuel last week. And I told him, I said, Republicans want to work with you. We want to try and solve this problem so we can get the economy growing again. And I said, I know you're interested in more investment by the government. I said, but that's not going to provide a long-term solution here. Let's attack the problem. Let's address the real estate prices. Why don't we provide a $15,000 tax credit for people who want to buy a home or even give some assistance to folks who want to refinance and bring down those rates.
MR. COLMES: It's Alan Colmes. Were you listened to? Did you get a sense that what you said to Rahm Emanuel was received with an open mind?
REP. CANTOR: There certainly was a very open and candid conversation that we had. I'm looking forward to working with Rahm and certainly with the president-elect to make sure we can get a solution.
MR. COLMES: Yeah. Wouldn't it be wise to hold your fire and stop looking for a reason to be critical until he actually takes office so you can actually work together before you criticize an administration which hasn't even taken hold yet, hasn't even entered office yet?
REP. CANTOR: Alan, Alan, Alan, I'm not criticizing. All I'm saying is we've had no indication that they're reaching across the aisle, taking some of our suggestions to try and make this thing real rather than some payoff to some workers that they feel that they need to provide some assistance to.
I mean, if you look at the things that are coming out of the majority leader in the Senate, his proposal, $50 billion of that, half of that, is going to the car industry, and we've already had that discussion about --
MR. COLMES: You have a Republican administration --
REP. CANTOR: Again, we don't want to provide monies to entities, whether they're car companies or, frankly, to cities or states that aren't thinking outside the box and trying to innovate rather than just support the bloated way of doing business.
MR. COLMES: Congressman, we only have a second left here. You have a Republican administration that just spent a fortune bailing out private equity companies. How do you then ignore the car industry with all the ancillary companies and all the millions of workers that will be affected when you've bailed out all these rich money companies? How do you do that?
REP. CANTOR: Oh, Alan, come on, come on. Alan, very simply, very simply. Because if you look at it, the credit markets in this country are much a kin to a utility. So if you shut off the electricity, everyone, families, businesses, states, local governments will be affected. Same thing with the credit markets. Like it or not, our economy is built on leverage. And families save for their retirement, put their kids in college all through the credit markets.
MR. COLMES: We got to run, sir. We thank you for the interview.