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Press Conference with Senator Jim Demint (R-Sc), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Sc); Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky); Senator John Thune (R-Sd), and Others

Press Conference

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Location: Washington, DC


Press Conference with Senator Jim Demint (R-Sc), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Sc); Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky); Senator John Thune (R-Sd), and Others

SUBJECT: ECONOMIC STIMULUS LEGISLATION

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SEN. DEMINT: Well, thanks for coming. I'm Jim DeMint from South Carolina. And I've got something behind me you don't regularly see here in the Congress. It's senators and House members standing together. But this is one of the most important issues that we've ever faced, all of us who are here -- some who've been here a short time, and some a long time.

But Americans are outraged that the Democrat majority has used our economic troubles in this country as an excuse to pass the most -- the largest spending bill in history, with almost no debate over here, and to ram it through quicker than I think anything I've seen on the Senate side. They're very upset that a new administration that has promised change has the audacity to call this massive spending bill an economic stimulus plan.

Last week, in the Congress we saw something we hadn't seen in a long time. It was every House Republican standing together, because of the importance of this issue.

Their courage, despite their differences on what their alternative plans were, their courage has been contagious, all across America and here in the United States Senate. It has galvanized opposition to this massive spending bill. And every day, the support for it is declining. We now have a chance to stop this bill and to replace it with a real economic stimulus plan that will protect and create jobs.

I want to introduce Congressman Tom Price, who has helped to lead the effort on the House side, for a few comments. And I've got some senators here who want to add their comments. But the bottom line here is, this is not about obstruction. This is about better ideas, ideas that could really stimulate our economy, and ideas that the American people deserve.

Tom.

REPRESENTATIVE TOM PRICE (R-GA): Thank you, Jim, so much.

I'm Tom Price. I represent the 6th District of Georgia. And in this Congress, I'm privileged to serve as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee. We're honored to be here on the Senate side.

I want to thank Senator DeMint and his colleagues for allowing us to join them in what is, as he mentioned, the most important issue before the American people right now. And we stand before you, on behalf of the American people, for what the American people want. And that is a solution.

Last week, every single House Republican, joined by nearly a dozen Democrats, in the House, voted against a misguided House spending bill. So we're here today to encourage our colleagues in the Senate to follow suit and remain unified to come up with a bill that will in fact be a solution and not just a grab bag of spending issues.

The American people know that what went through the House and what was proposed originally in the Senate won't work. And that's why they have said, over and over and over again, we want a solution. We understand and appreciate that tax policy is the way that you get to a solution.

Two recent polls out demonstrate that the American people firmly believe that spending won't work. And they understand and appreciate that allowing Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, allowing businesses to be the job creation engine that they are, by incentivizing them and beginning to decrease the spending at the federal level, will in fact energize the economy.

So I'm pleased to join many of my colleagues, from the House, who are here, to again say to the Senate, stand strong.

There is a solution out there. The American people are behind you. Make certain that we get, at the end of the day, a bill that will, in fact, solve the remarkable challenges that we face.

Before I give it back to Senator DeMint, I just want to identify our House members who are here; some of them will be speaking. John Shadegg from Arizona; Dan Lungren from California; Bob Latta from Ohio; Louie Gohmert from the state of Texas; Scott Garrett from New Jersey; Brett -- Gregg Harper from Mississippi, one of our new members; Jimmy Jordan from Ohio; Steve Scalise from Louisiana; Jason Chaffetz from Utah. And that's the House contingent that's here. A number of them will be sharing some words with you in a moment.

Senator?

SEN. DEMINT: Thank you, Tom. I'd like you to hear from a few of my Senate colleagues, beginning with Senator Lindsey Graham.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I'm not here today to convince people of my idea. I'm trying to convince the Senate to come up with a process that would make America feel better about what we're doing.

In the House, the bill was written because Nancy Pelosi said she won. Well, I don't know if President Obama would agree that it was her winning, or him, but I know that attitude is really not the way to solve America's problems -- something this big. So now I know. I wondered, how could all the Republicans vote no? Now I know.

Whether you agree with the substance of the bill or not, the process really is not befitting of the Congress. And now we're in the Senate, the great deliberative body. It takes longer to name a post office than it is to get this bill through. The markup lasted an hour and 40 minutes, without any hearings. And the only vehicle you have to get your idea is an amendment that you're trying to throw together.

The president is right to be concerned about the near-term economic consequence of doing nothing. He keeps saying he wants a bill by Presidents Day because of the last-month unemployment numbers. I am urging the president to think bigger than that. It's not about next month; it's about the next decade to come.

And we may have to go back to the American people and ask for more money in housing, which is the root cause of this problem. And there's nothing in this bill about housing. We may have to go back to the American people and try another shot at getting credit flowing, dealing with the toxic debt in the banking system. I can assure you, if we jam through a bill like we're doing today, nobody in America is going to trust us with their -- with future requests.

So this is not how to bring the country together.

This is not bipartisanship that I envisioned after the election was over. There would be many people up here that will never vote for a compromise product, and they may have a good reason. But we don't have a process to get to a compromise that makes sense.

So I hope the president will lead on this issue. There are groups being formed in the Senate. Every five minutes five senators are trying to find a way to come up with a solution because they're scared of the product -- people running scared in the Senate because this bill is stinking up the place. I'm asking the president to take a timeout, not start from scratch, but get people in a room, in a bipartisan fashion, living up to the spirit of his campaign, and see if we can solve this problem without spending $800 (billion) to $900 billion with no rhyme or reason as to what we're doing. And that's the course we're on.

So thank you all for standing firm.

REP./SEN. : Thank you.

REP./SEN. : Thank you, Senator. Thanks.

REP./SEN. : Thank you, Senator.

REP. PRICE: Thank you, Senator Graham.

The House Republicans are so very, very proud of the senators who are standing for a solution. One of the individuals in the House who was -- who has been a leader for fiscal responsibility on our side, the gentleman from Arizona, John Shadegg.

REP. JOHN SHADEGG (R-AZ): Thank you very much, Tom, and I want to thank all of my colleagues, Senate and House, who are here, particularly our Senate colleagues. They are now going through what we went through.

I think everyone in this room understands and all of America understands that the American people want us in the United States Congress to do the best we can to stimulate this economy and to help them; to ensure that if they haven't lost their job yet, they don't lose their job; and if they have lost their job, we help them as quickly as possible.

Sadly, that's not what happened in the House. I think Senator Lindsey Graham's comments about process are something you're all already very much aware of.

I sat through a 12-hour markup in the Commerce Committee. It started at 10 a.m. in the morning. It ended at 10 p.m. in the evening. And interestingly, I suppose, there was some sense of bipartisanship. There were six Republican amendments offered and accepted. There were others, of course, defeated, but six made it into the bill.

Then we discovered, when the bill went to the floor, that three of those were arbitrarily taken out by the speaker without so much as notice of why or how they were taken out. As Lindsey Graham said, that's not a process that builds on what the president asked the United States Congress to do in crafting this bill.

I'm here to speak briefly to the American people. I was fond of saying back in 1995 when I first got elected, and I think it's still true now, that Congress is a pressure-sensitive institution. The reality is, we cannot go another trillion dollars in debt on this bill and have it fail, and then do it again and again and again. We've got to get it right now.

I urge the American people to look at what's happening in the Senate. They're making real progress on improving the bill, but they need to hear from the American people to say, don't just send us a smorgasbord of all kinds of spending that has no defensible explanation for how it will conceivably save jobs or create jobs. Use your heads. Use expert testimony. Do what the House didn't do, and craft a bill that really will help the American people. Right now that's not happening.

SEN. DEMINT (?): One of the great leaders in the Senate over the last year on all of the bailout issues, expert on a lot of banking and financial issues, Senator Jim Bunning.

SEN. JIM BUNNING (R-KY): Thank you, Senator Graham -- or Senator DeMint. You're not under the (bus/bust ?) yet.

I really -- I'm here to tell you that the bill that we have on the floor, it's 800 billion (dollars), plus 350 more billion (dollars) over 10 years in additional debt service, so it's a trillion-dollar bill. And if I thought for one moment that it would solve some problems that we are facing in our economy, I'd be for it. I would vote for something if there were some relief in the housing industry or some relief in the credit industry, but not one word that's written in that bill does anything to stimulate our economy or get people back to work or help one senior citizen.

We have 50 million senior citizens on Social Security, and we have to do something with the Social Security taxes. They're paying 85 percent taxes on their benefits that they receive from Social Security. That's unacceptable. We did that in '93. We have to make sure that we have a bill that we can coalesce together.

I listened to our president and all of our colleagues listened to our president speak to the Republican conference and the Republican conference over in the House. And somehow there's a disconnect between what he told us and what he has failed to tell the Democrats in the Senate and in the House.

We need a bill that we can support, that the American people can believe in and that will help the economy. We need it today and not four weeks from now or four years from now.

Thank you.

REP. PRICE: And House Republicans are so pleased to stand with leaders in the United States Senate who are working diligently for a solution, an economic stimulus that works. One of the folks on the House side who was instrumental in coming up with a positive solution was Scott Garrett from New Jersey.

Scott?

REP. SCOTT GARRETT (R-NJ): Great. Thanks, Tom.

I'm Scott Garrett from the great state of New Jersey. I'm pleased to be able to come and join my colleagues here from the Senate as we all come together to do what is right for the American public and do what they're asking, and that is to grow the economy. And we can do that by addressing one of the major issues, and that is jobs and job creations.

And I'll just touch on three quick points: A, that there's money out there on the sidelines waiting to be invested; secondly, that we need to be talking about private jobs, not simply public jobs; and thirdly, the fact that we are in a global economy.

On the first point, you know, I just returned from New York City yesterday, Wall Street, late last night as a matter of fact. And what they tell me is -- a resounding message is that there are investors out there who are waiting to invest, that they do have money sitting on the sidelines to try to get the economy growing again but they will not do so as long as Washington is interfering in the marketplace basically with a so-called bailout stimulus bill that is essentially picking winners and losers, for they fear that if they invest today with their investment, who knows, tomorrow Congress may be picking the other side of the street and they end up being on the losing side. So we need to make sure that we do not get involved with picking winners and losers with a stimulus bill.

And secondly, we need to be involved with picking a process that will actually create jobs. You know, the president speaks about creating 2 (million), 3 (million) or 4 million jobs or saving 2 (million), 3 (million) or 4 million jobs. I have yet to hear from him how he actually defines whether he's going to save those jobs. What is a saved job?

But even if they're -- all 3 million jobs are new jobs, you have to ask the question, what sort of jobs are they? Are they, as we've seen in some lists, simply installing new light bulbs or buying street sweepers and sweeping the street, or are they long-term creation career-type jobs that Americans are really looking for? So that is what we need to be focusing on.

And thirdly is the global economy that we're in today.

We all want to work together to make sure that we increase our exports, but the one type of export that we do not want to increase is exporting our jobs in this country overseas. And we will continue to do so as long as we are not competitive as far as corporate tax rates. And so what needs to be done is a lowering of our corporate tax rates, to make job creation here in the United States competitive with overseas.

By doing those three things, we will be working together, as I say, for the American public, for a growing economy. I'm glad to be with my colleagues to do that. Thank you.

SEN. DEMINT: One of the Senate's great new leaders, Senator John Thune.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Thanks, Jim. And I want to thank and welcome my House colleagues for coming over and slumming with us in the Senate. (Laughter.) I remember when I was in the House and I'd come to these events, and we'd have to wait behind all these long- winded senators, and they'd kind of get up and filibuster. And now I'm one of them. Sorry, guys. (Laughter.)

But I do want to congratulate the members of the House, because they really took a strong stand for principle. It was a very courageous thing to do, to stand against this disastrous spending bill, even though at the time it appeared to be the popular thing to do.

Now, I think since that time, people around the country have become convinced that this is not a good direction in which America should head. And I'm happy to be able to offer the House Republican amendment, the alternative that they voted on on the House side, in the United States Senate. I've filed that amendment, and have made it pending.

And I want to tell you what's impressive about it is, the economic model that was used to analyze the effectiveness of the president's plan was used to analyze the effectiveness of the House Republican plan. And it was discovered that the House Republican plan creates twice as many jobs for half the cost.

So, congratulations on that effort, too. And I hope we get a vote on that in the United States Senate. But it's focused where it should be and that's -- the whole purpose of this exercise is job creation. It's not about, you know, creating new government jobs. It is about creating jobs in the market; getting resources back into the hands of the American people and small businesses, who are the job creators in our economy.

So, welcome, and thank you for the bold stand that you all have taken. I think it's inspired a number of people in the Senate, and I think we're winning the debate with the American people.

Thank you, Jim.

SEN. DEMINT: House Republicans are so enthusiastic to come again back to the Senate, over to the Senate, because we're interested in urging them to stand up for a solution.

One of the individuals championing that, on our side, is Mary Fallin from Oklahoma.

Mary.

REPRESENTATIVE MARY FALLIN (R-OK): Thank you, Congressman.

I had a phone call just a couple of days ago, from a businessman in my community who was complaining about the recession, complaining about business and the economy itself. And he said, you know, Mary, our business is down around 30 to 40 percent. And he's the manager of the business.

He said, my wife came down with cancer a couple of months ago. And I just found out that I have cancer. And my son, who's in his late-30s, has just lost his job. And he has children, my grandchildren, to support.

And he said, Mary, I want to tell you, thank you for voting against the big government spending bill. He said, that is not what I need as a business manager. What I need and what my family needs is to know that you're not going to raise our taxes.

My son needs to know that he can make his house payment, that you're going to help him with his home and staying in his home. My son needs to know that he's going to have another job waiting on the horizon. My son needs to know that he can pay his bills.

And he said, as a businessperson, I need to know that you're going to create an atmosphere to where I can invest money, to where I can keep a portion of my money, to where I can employ my employees, not have to lay them off, pay our bills as a business and hopefully someday make a profit.

And he said, what I saw coming out of the House, in the stimulus spending bill, was like a Christmas Tree. It had a gift for everyone under that tree. And it was a big spending bill.

He said, the way you're going to help my business, the way you're going to help my family is to look at tax cuts and to look at creating incentives for investment and entrepreneurship and helping small business.

Small businesses create 70 percent of the jobs in the economy. But yet instead of giving money to small businesses and incentives for small businesses, we're giving money to the federal government and anticipating that they're going to create some type of jobs, when it's really just government spending on social programs.

And so as I thought about that, I was encouraged to come over here to the Senate and to lend some support to our senators, to encourage them to listen to the people back home. The recession is real. People are really suffering.

We shouldn't just be the party that says, no, we don't want to do anything. We should be the party that steps up with solutions and ideas. And we have.

We have a proposal that will cut taxes, that will give taxpayers back more of their money, that will spur investment and entrepreneurship and innovation back into society, make us more competitive as a nation. And we need to work with President Obama, to help him move forward a package, a bill, that will help stimulate our economy and grow jobs.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. DEMINT: Just one more Senate speaker, one of the leaders of the Senate Steering Committee, Senator David Vitter.

SEN. DAVID VITTER (R-LA): Thanks, Jim. It's great to be with all my colleagues, particularly the House members, who really kicked off this crucial debate in a very powerful and a very effective way. The American people get it, and they understand more and more every day that the bill that passed the House and the bill before the Senate is a long laundry list of typical Washington big-government programs, not a focused job-creation bill. And they can tell the difference.

And so their message is loud and clear: Either change this bill on the Senate floor to its core, or reject it. And they have come to that conclusion -- polls now show a plurality of Americans don't want anything like this bill. I encourage them to contact the Senate, continue e-mailing, calling, make their voices heard so we can fight for that outcome.

We need to act on the economy. But obviously, for folks to say that we need to pass this bill or else we're going to do nothing, that's a false choice. That isn't the choice at all. We need to act, but we need to do the right thing to move this economy and the American people forward.

REP. PRICE: Thank you, Senator.

The chairman of the Budget and Spending Task Force for the Republican Study Committee, the gentleman from Ohio, Jim Jordan.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Thank you, Tom. I'll be real brief.

Senator Vitter is exactly right. The American people do get it. I was home last weekend watching our youngest boy compete in his wrestling competition, and I was walking across the gym floor and someone yelled out of the stands, "Jordan! Great vote!" They understand what's going on. The American people realize that the product and the process are not what this country needs. And they understand a basic fact. Given the choice between big-government spending or letting families and taxpayers and small-business owners keep more of their money, they understand that the latter is what's going to foster economic growth and help do the things we need to do for our country.

So I'm encouraged to be here with our colleagues, and encouraged by the process that's now starting to take place where our ideas are going to be heard.

Thank you.

SEN. DEMINT: Questions.

Q Senator DeMint?

SEN. DEMINT: Yes, Tom?

Q President Obama today said that the criticisms of this plan, quote, "echo the very same theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will resolve our problems." And he said that that was the theory that was rejected by voters in November. How do you respond to President Obama?

SEN. DEMINT: I'm -- it's incredible that he said that. It's clear that whether it's John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan or when Bush did this in 2001 and 2003, the economy came out of recession.

The reason we're in recession now goes back to bad government policy, the way we -- the Federal Reserve -- loose credit -- we've gone all through this -- just bad policies of forcing banks to make loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them back, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encouraging essentially bad loans. And it's all bad government policy. It's not a failure of the free enterprise system.

That's one of the things that we're going to continue to take President Obama to task on. He's trying to blame our problems on a free people in a free America and free enterprise when in fact you -- it's clear that this is bad government policy. And in the middle of this crisis we're not talking about fixing those policies, we're talking about more government spending. And it's spending and debt and bad policy that have gotten us into this problem.

What Americans bought in November was a conservative platform of cutting taxes on -- for 95 percent of Americans. And the first bill that he signed raised taxes on Americans with the child health program. You know, he promised to reduce abortions, and now he's having -- has an executive order that's going to result in the death of probably millions of unborn children. And you can go down the list and see that a lot of the promises are falling every day. He's not going to get away with blaming this bad economy on good policy and good free markets. This is bad government policy that's got us here, and we need to fix it, and that's what the House Republicans have done, and that's what you're going to see the Republicans offer on the Senate floor.

Tom, you may --

REP. PRICE (?): That statement really is the wish of hope over experience. There are over 300 economists of remarkable stature around this nation who have said that increased government spending doesn't improve economic productivity or economic performance in our nation, including three Nobel prize winners.

What we know, what the American people know is that allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money, putting appropriate incentives in place for business, the job creators in this nation, and decreasing government spending is the answer.

If borrowing and spending would have gotten us out of the challenge we're in right now, we'd have been out of it long ago, because we've done a lot of borrowing and spending.

SEN. DEMINT: And one additional comment here. And that is amazing, and it's a total disconnect with what I experienced my first two years in the House, '05 and '06. What we heard repeatedly from the Democrats in the House was that this administration and the Republican majority were spending too much money; it was deficit spending that needed to stop. We heard it over and over and over. And then, in November of '06, the American public said, "The Democrats are right. The Republicans have been spending too much." So we got thrown out as the majority party.

And then, we heard more of that. And just like the senator said, we've been hearing 95 percent of Americans were going to get a tax cut. And perhaps that's why the Rasmussen poll out today said 45 percent of Americans are saying they now would prefer a stimulus package that was tax cuts only; 34 percent felt otherwise. That's an enormous disconnect with the White House. And so what got him elected were the Republican traditional principles, that we abandoned.

And one other thing. When you look at this incredible deficit spending, in the House, $350 billion for the bailout that we approved, and then basically this 800 and whatever it's going to end up being; it's around 1.2 trillion (dollars). When you look at how much is paid in individual income tax for 2008, it's 1.2 trillion (dollars), approximately. You want to see the economy stimulated: Tell everybody they get all their money back from 2008. They'll get the message, and the economy will be stimulated.

REP. PRICE (?): Yes. Okay. Any more questions?

Q (Off mike.)

REP. PRICE (?): I think the important thing to appreciate about that number is that, instead of it being -- creating three to four million jobs, it became saving or creating three to four million jobs.

The problem with that line is that you can't ever prove the negative. You can't ever prove that there was a job that would have gone away, that didn't go away because of the bill.

But what we did on the Republican side, what the Republican leadership did, is put a bill on the floor that would have created 6.2 million jobs, using their methodology, for half the price.

So it's important to appreciate what the real statement is in that. And saving or creating jobs is different than creating jobs that we know will happen with appropriate tax policies.

MR. : Just if I can add on to that, in addition to what the House bill has demonstrated, the Heritage Foundation ran a model against the Obama plan versus a plan that spent or allowed Americans to keep the same amount that we would be spending in the plan. And it creates 18 million jobs over a 10-year period at about the same cost.

And I hesitate to even use cost, because it doesn't cost the government anything for people to keep their own money. And it would get our economy going. So I think the Obama administration and the Democrat majority is on the wrong side of the economic argument if you listen to the experts.

Just a couple more questions. Then we need to let these guys go.

Q Senator, if I've heard correctly, you have an amendment that would strip the health care provisions primarily, the health IT provisions and the 20 billion that's being marked for that.

Is that accurate? And if so, can you say a little bit more about that?

MR. : I don't want to talk about all the amendments that are going to be offered on the Republican side. But I'm not sure that I'll be offering that one, although we filed a number of them. And we may have some in that mix like that. But it's -- we're not going to spend a lot of time on just trying to get one or two of these wasteful bills.

Senator Vitter has got a package, of these wasteful things that are in this bill, that we're going to offer to strip. And so we'll try to make the bill better. But I think it's already been said.

This bill is so bad, one of the worst, probably the worst bill that has ever been introduced in the United States Congress. And you can't fix it by tweaking around the edges.

The best thing that could happen is President Obama to lead, to call a timeout that has been suggested, get the leaders of the House and the Senate over to the White House. But to try to rush this through this week, you know; Harry Reid has said, you guys aren't going home until we pass it this week.

The biggest bill in history; they want to do it in one week. That should tell you that they don't want the American people to hear the debate on this. Because the more people find out about it, the less they like it.

Q Senator, the American Option Act, okay, is that a complete substitute for the House bill? Is it -- does it overlap with the House Republican alternative bill?

How does your bill, the American Option Act, smart stimulus, fit in with all the, you know --

SEN. DEMINT: Well, I'll vote for both of them. (Laughter.) In fact, what it -- mine is designed as a replacement for the Democrat spending bill on the Senate side. That is the bill -- we call it the "American Option" because it fits with free enterprise and a free people and it leaves the same amount of money in the private sector that the Democrats are planning to spend through their special- interest pork-barrel projects.

So both bills are good. I'll be voting for both of them in the Senate.

Q Just to follow up very quickly, both bills, you mean the House alternative --

SEN. DEMINT: The House stimulus bill, the House alternative will be introduced by John Thune on the Senate side and I'll introduce the American Option, which is just --

Q Is there much overlap between them?

SEN. DEMINT: Yeah, there is, but the House version has some different tax credits for business. My -- the American Option just stops the tax increases that are planned over the next two years as the current tax rates expire. And the only addition to that is it lowers the top marginal rate and the corporate rate from 35 to 25. And those two things alone -- stopping tax increases and reducing the top rate will create 18 million jobs over the next 10 years.

Yes?

Q Sir, real quick, do you know and can you say how you know what bills your -- the House bill or your alternative -- which produces more economic stimulus faster and why?

SEN. DEMINT: Well, there's no question on that one. The tax cuts show up in the next paycheck. And all of our estimates are that not even half of the money we're allocating are going to be spent over the next couple of years. So tax cuts jolt the economy immediately, but they also provide some permanence. Our plan is permanent. It's not a temporary plan. It makes the current tax rates permanent and it makes a top rate of 25 percent permanent.

As a businessman myself, what I'm looking for is certainty. And I think as someone is planning a major purchase as just a family, if they know that for the next several years they're going to have 2(00 dollars) or $300 more of income because of less taxes, they can think about buying a car, which we need to in this -- they can think about maybe getting back into a house and affording a mortgage.

But you can't do that if you just have a short-term tax cut. You can't make those long-term decisions.

I think that's what we need more than anything else, is permanence and certainty and just a tax rate that is competitive globally.

Okay. One more question -- make your comment, and then I think with one more question we'd better go.

Go, Tom.

REP. PRICE: Question? I was just going to close.

SEN. DEMINT (?): Okay. Yes, sir.

Q Can you talk about -- Senator DeMint, you and Senator Graham (were ?) talking about a time-out to examine the problem longer. Yet you have this alternative proposal. Why can't that just be debated and voted on in the Senate? Why do you need a time-out?

SEN. DEMINT: Well, it's unlikely in the current environment that real stimulus is going to pass the Senate unless the president leads. Just the political atmosphere of -- if you -- as you look in this big spending bill, a lot of it's political payback, special-interest favors. Has nothing to do with fixing our economy. So I think in this politically charged environment, the obvious lack of any interest in bipartisanship on the Democrats' side -- we're not going to get a good stimulus bill that we can agree on. The president's going to have to intervene and lead.

Tom, I'll let you close.

REP. PRICE: Thank you so much, Jim.

We just -- I want the American people to appreciate that this is a unique setting. To have the House and the Senate work together on an issue demonstrates to the American people that we appreciate the incredible importance of this and the gravity of this situation. So I'm pleased to join with my House colleagues to come over to the Senate with Senator DeMint and his colleagues and ask them to stand strong on behalf of the American people. We look forward to working together for a solution. We look forward to working with the administration for a solution. And I hope that that will happen sooner rather than later.

Thank you all so much.

SEN. DEMINT (?): Thank you. Thanks for coming.

END.


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