CNBC "CNBC Reports" - Transcript
CNBC "CNBC REPORTS" INTERVIEW WITH REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D-MD) AND REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN)
INTERVIEWER: STEVE LEISMAN AND MELISSA LEE
SUBJECT: OBAMA'S STIMULUS PLAN
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MR. LEISMAN: For more on the stimulus vote and the bad banks, we have Representative Donna Edwards, a Democrat from Maryland, and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee. Let me start with the congresswoman from Maryland.
What can you tell us about what you're hearing on the Hill about the bad bank idea?
REP. EDWARDS: Well, you know, I mean, it's an idea that's been floated around, actually, for a couple of weeks, you know, among economists. And I am increasingly warming to it. I mean, I know that we started out with the Bush administration's plan to buy up these bad assets, moved away from that, and there are many of us who believe that we ought to have bought those assets from the beginning so that we could restart this housing market which is really at the baseline of how this economy has gotten into such a hole.
MR. LEISMAN: Congresswoman Blackburn, can you give us a thumbnail sketch of what the Republican take is going to be on this idea of a bad bank?
REP. BLACKBURN: You know, I think one of the things that my colleagues are saying and that our constituents are saying is, you have got to be kidding me that they're going to come in and ask for more money. And of course, we're not. Of course, the current stimulus, plan b, is already at $1.1 trillion. And then we hear that there is another ask that is going to be coming next week, and this could be hundreds of billions of dollars again.
So what you have to do is say, my goodness, plan a didn't work. That was the Paulson plan, that was over $1 trillion. The Fed's into it for about $2 trillion. We've got plan b now that is over $1 trillion. They're going to tack onto that. What if we need a plan c? Are we maxing out the federal credit card? Are we limiting our options?
And I think that what is of great concern to us is that we are limiting those options. We are maxing out that credit card because we're now at a $10.7 trillion national debt. Over the past two years, the Democrats have run this debt up. It's a bridge to bankruptcy.
MR. LEISMAN: Congresswoman Edwards, would you necessarily agree with that idea that the Democrats ran up the deficit here?
REP. EDWARDS: Well, first of all, for the last eight years, it's been Republicans running up the deficit. And you know, keep in mind that we've had more spending that has gone into this deficit. And where we are now is that Democrats in the Congress and President Obama want to create 3 (million) to 4 million jobs and save jobs. We have an economy that needs to be pulled out of the hole that we're in and that's been brought to us, frankly, by eight years of tax cuts. I mean, that's what's brought us to this place.
REP. BLACKBURN: (Laughs.)
REP. EDWARDS: And we're not going to get there with tax cuts. We're going to get there with job creation.
MR. LEISMAN: We hear laughter from Tennessee.
REP. BLACKBURN: Oh, yes you are hearing laughter.
MR. LEISMAN: What is the laughter from Tennessee?
REP. BLACKBURN: Let's leave the taxpayer's money with them. You know, I think that American workers have first right of refusal on their paycheck, and they should, not the federal government. And let's get the numbers straight because we have already over a $1 trillion debt this year. Since the Democrats took control in January '07, they have moved that national debt up over $2 trillion. They are going to add yet another $1 trillion. I have an 8-month-old grandson. It hurts my heart to think about the debt that they are heaping on his head.
MS. LEE: Representative Blackburn, what sort of adjustments need to be made to this stimulus package in order to make it palatable to you? Is it the adjustment of spending versus taxes?
REP. BLACKBURN: Well, there are some adjustments that should be made, and I'm so glad you ask because we know the best economic stimulus is a job. And if you want to generate jobs growth, what we know is that you need to look at where jobs are created -- the small- business sector. And there are things that can be done there. You can have a two-year holiday, if you will, or forgiveness on cap gains for a two-year period of time, forgo collecting your payroll taxes for a three-month period of time. See what that would do.
REP. EDWARDS: Let's be clear. These are policies that have been tried and they have failed. And it's time for a new day.
MS. LEE: Representative Edwards --
REP. BLACKBURN: They always work. They always work.
MS. LEE: -- can you respond to these suggestions?
REP. EDWARDS: These are ideas that have been tried and have failed. I mean, what we know is that the American people voted Barack Obama as president of the United States to lead us into an environment of job creation which is what this stimulus bill will do -- 3 (million) to 4 million new jobs, investments in roads and water and sewer infrastructure we know that's falling apart. And I think that it's time for the Republicans to come onboard and to look toward the future and toward a future that really is about creating good jobs and restarting this economy. And we just went through losing 2.6 million jobs in this last year under a Republican presidency. I think the American people have decided it's time to start over again.
REP. BLACKBURN: Under a Democrat Congress.
MR. LEISMAN: Thank you for that. I have to get one question answered, Representative Blackburn, and we are out of time so please keep this short. What I'm wondering is this. Forty percent is the amount of tax cuts in the current proposal. What is the percentage sought by the Republicans?
REP. BLACKBURN: We can base this entire bill on tax reductions, abatements, looking at targeting where this money needs to go. We don't need to be looking at a bill that is $836 billion with only 10 percent of that going out in year one.
MR. LEISMAN: So is your answer 100 percent needs to be tax cuts?
REP. BLACKBURN: I would love to see 100 percent --
MR. LEISMAN: Well, that's a heck of a negotiating position, Ms. Blackburn.
REP. BLACKBURN: -- directed toward leaving that money with the taxpayers, good place to start.
MR. LEISMAN: We're going to leave it there. Thank you very much for this very spirited debate, hopefully in the spirit of how we're going to be holding future debates here. Representatives Edwards and Blackburn, thank you very much.
REP. EDWARDS: Thank you.
REP. BLACKBURN: Thank you so much.