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MR. SCOTT: As the president gears up to pitch his stimulus plan to the people of Florida on Capitol Hill, the Senate is preparing to vote on the bill. So where do things stand right now?
Let's talk about it with Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. He joins us now. He serves on the Finance Committee and he plans to vote for this stimulus bill.
Senator, good morning.
SEN. NELSON: Good morning. I wish I were in Ft. Myers, but I can't be there and be here and vote.
MR. SCOTT: Yeah, I'm sure you would like to be there with the president. How did things get so bad in Ft. Myers?
SEN. NELSON: It's the number one foreclosure rate in the entire country. Basically you had in that real estate bubble, you had a lot of cheap money that caused people to build houses or buy houses. The banks did not check whether or not they could afford the mortgages and then when everything started cascading in a downward spiral the other way, you have people that can't pay. That causes the foreclosures and that's what precipitated the entire national economic crisis and Ft. Myers, Florida is a good example of what started the whole thing.
MR. SCOTT: You said that you are planning to vote for the stimulus bill, the Senate's version. There's obviously going to have to be some wrangling to get together with the House on something for the president to sign. But some critics say and it primarily comes from the Republican side of the aisle that there isn't enough stimulus in this bill. How do you answer that?
SEN. NELSON: Well, that's simply not true. Eighty percent of the spending and tax cuts in the whole stimulus package take effect in the first two years, so that's simply not true, but equally as important in reviving the economy is what the Secretary of the Treasury just announced just a few minutes ago. He's scrapping the old TARP plan, which was the bailout plan. He's starting anew and he's coming out with all the controls so that it's not wasted like we saw in the last $350 billion. So in tandem, the stimulus spending, as well as the bank problem, those two should give a jumpstart to the economy to start to revive this economy.
MR. SCOTT: You've only got a handful of Republicans on board in the Senate though, I mean, clearly, they are pretty skeptical of what this thing contains.
SEN. NELSON: Well, it takes 60 votes to get anything done and we got 61 and I wouldn't be surprised by the end of this week on the final passage if we don't have more senators that are Republicans say, look, we're hearing from the people, they're hurting, they're losing their homes and their jobs and we've got to help them and this is what's on the table to help them.
MR. SCOTT: All right. Florida Senator Bill Nelson, good to talk to you. Thanks.
SEN. NELSON: Thanks, Jon.