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MR. HEMMER: So you've heard all about now the bad news, what's the solution? How do we get out of this?
President Obama, Democrats in Congress, say it's the stimulus plan, but will it work? And whatever happened to bipartisanship?
Michigan Republican Congressman Dave Camp is here and New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell, both members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Gentlemen, good morning to both of you.
Representative Camp, not a single Republican went with Democrats on the House.
REP. CAMP: Well, Bill --
MR. HEMMER: What don't you like about this?
REP. CAMP: Well, Bill, I think, really, the story there is that there was bipartisan opposition to this legislation, partly because the version we had created 6.2 million jobs, twice the jobs at half the cost and you reported on jobless claims earlier in the show and that's why we really need a jobs bill, one that really will help do that. Their bill didn't do that, and really, wasn't a stimulus bill. It was a spending bill.
MR. HEMMER: All right. Representative Pascrell, Nancy Pelosi was on another news program earlier today. She essentially acknowledged that a lot of these set-asides for Democratic measures will come down the road, things like education and Medicare and you get back to the issue here about whether or not this is a Democratic wish list in the end.
Is that what it shapes up to be?
REP. PASCRELL: No, I don't think it's a wish list at all. This is a recovery plan, not a stimulus plan. The question is, our economy needs recovery. So I think this is a very well balanced plan of tax cuts for American people, 95, 96 percent of them, tax cuts for businesses, restructuring their debt. They're going to save a lot of money. You're going to be able to put people to work and --
MR. HEMMER: Can I pose a few things to you?
REP. PASCRELL: And it is also, if I might say just one more point --
MR. HEMMER: Sure.
REP. PASCRELL: This is also a plan to spend money where it needs to be spent and has to be spent at a certain amount of speed --
MR. HEMMER: Okay. All right. I understand your debate there --
REP. PASCRELL: And there is transparency.
MR. HEMMER: Yeah, I don't mean to interrupt you, I just want to emphasize your point and get you to defend it.
On the screen, $25 million for new ATV trails, $400 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, $400 million for global warming research, $335 million for fighting sexually transmitted diseases, $650 million for the digital television conversion.
Does that create jobs, Mr. Pascrell?
REP. PASCRELL: In many of those areas that you just mentioned do create jobs, I mean, we're losing jobs at a rapid pace. We need a plan that is encompassing and not just quick and short-term, but will be lasting beyond the two years that this plan is supposed to be implemented.
I think it's a very well balanced plan. Are there things in it that I would rather have in it? I would rather have larger expenditures in infrastructure and transit; in fact, we did increase the transit money from $9 billion to $12 billion.
MR. HEMMER: But you don't have a problem with anything I just ticked off then, is that what I hear from you?
REP. PASCRELL: I don't have any problems because I know that that is money that's going to be well spent in areas that needed to be done. It's like you telling me, what does stimulus have to do? What does recovery have to do with people who are going to lose their job and have no health care? Well, we have a COBRA plan in here where people -- try to provide 65 percent of those people who don't have any health insurance and have been laid off. You may say, well, what job is being created there?
This is necessary; the American people are hurting right now. This is a balanced plan and for the other side and my good friend, Dave from Michigan, to be telling us that their plan is going to create more jobs, I can't see it. I don't see the numbers.
MR. HEMMER: All right. Let's get back to Representative Camp on that. Go ahead and defend that, sir.
REP. CAMP: Well, Bill, let me just say they've also got a billion dollars in this bill to follow up on the 2010 Census. We haven't had the 2010 Census yet, so, really, the spending in this bill is, I think, very much in question.
Look, we did an economic analysis. We used the president's nominee to head the Council on Economic Advisers, the top economist in the country. We used her methodology. We used her multiplier effects. We came up with twice the jobs, 6.2 million jobs created under our proposal at half the cost.
Now, let me just say, this bill was on the tracks, this was written by Speaker Pelosi, came to all the committees in the House and none of our amendments were accepted. So, yes, we'd like to be a part of the solution here. I do believe our country is in need, obviously, the jobless claims and the hurt that many families are feeling, but we haven't been given a chance to do that.
So we'd like to take up President Obama's call that we find an American solution, not a Republican solution, not a Democrat solution.
MR. HEMMER: Representative Pascrell.
REP. PASCRELL: You also quoted from economists who've been supporting your point of view, those of them, who have been supporting your point of view for eight years and that's the reason why we are where we are. You had three tax cuts that you didn't pay for, 2001, 2003, 2005, you didn't pay for them and now you're trying to convince us that now, all of a sudden, these economists are going to prove your point of view.
I think this is a well balanced plan, and by the way, do you think that the American people are going to support what you've put on the table after the mess you've left us in eight years? Do you really believe that? I don't. That doesn't make us perfectly right.
MR. HEMMER: I've got about ten seconds left. Representative Camp, defend that.
REP. CAMP: Let me just say, even the Congressional Budget Office, nonpartisan says that tax relief actually moves resources into the economy more quickly, will create jobs more quickly.
So, look, these economists are the president's own nominees to head the Council on Economic Advisers. We're using the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to come up with our proposals. They move more money faster, create twice as many jobs for half the cost.
MR. HEMMER: I think what a lot of Americans remember back in September and October is that the sky is falling, you better do something now, otherwise, you're going to pay a big price and it's going to hit you on top of the head.
REP. PASCRELL: You hit the nail on the head.
MR. HEMMER: And here is Congress pushing this through and now the American people are saying, what are you doing and that goes to both of you gentlemen. They're still wondering what are you doing?
REP. CAMP: We want to what's effective, Bill.
MR. HEMMER: We're going to work that answer throughout the course of our show. Sir, thank you. I've got to run guys.
REP. PASCRELL: The word bipartisan --
MR. HEMMER: Representative Pascrell, thank you.