MSNBC "Morning Joe" - Transcript
MSNBC "MORNING JOE" INTERVIEW WITH REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA)
SUBJECT: ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE INTERVIEWERS: JOE SCARBOROUGH, MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MIKE BARNICLE
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MR. SCARBOROUGH: And with us now, House Minority Whip and Republican representative from Virginia, Representative Eric Cantor.
Eric, great to see you again. Let me start with a big question.
Barack Obama's been saying that Republicans, a lot of Republicans, don't want to do anything.
MS. BRZEZINSKI: No.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Is that your position, that we shouldn't do anything on this stimulus bill?
REP. CANTOR: Absolutely not, Joe, and I don't think you could find a Republican in this town that would take that position.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Okay, Eric, let me -- I'm glad you said that, because I was going to challenge you. (Laughter.) I was going to give you $1,000. We would pool it up here and contribute to your next campaign if you could name me three Republican leaders in Washington, D.C. who believe that doing nothing is an option on the stimulus bill.
Because after all, that's what President Obama said Republicans were doing in Washington. Can you name three? For a thousand bucks. Barnicle will pitch in more because his wife works for Bank of America. (Laughter.)
REP. CANTOR: Listen, all wagers aside, you're not going to find a Republican in this town who doesn't think we ought to be doing something.
And my response to President Obama is we've got to impose upon Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid to do the right thing.
You know, honestly, this package, the largest spending package in the history of this country, just doesn't get it right. In fact, many analysts are saying that you only have maybe 10 (percent) to 12 percent of the spending in here which will actually produce jobs.
And so to say that we're only talking about a small portion is not true. You've got $136 billion of new government programs, untested, that we don't know whether they'll create jobs or not.
And the fact of the matter is for the last several weeks we've been talking to the president and the White House. House Republicans, at the urging of Leader Boehner have come together and presented our plan.
And our plan simply is much heavier on tax relief for small businesses and working families, but we also take into consideration if you're going to have a stimulus, you will have some spending. But listen, let's make that stimulus and that spending actually produce new job creation, or at least sustain the jobs we have and stem the unemployment rise.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: All right.
MR. BARNICLE: Hey, Congressman, every time I see you on TV you're smiling, which gives me an optimistic feeling about America.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: He's happy! He's happy!
MR. BARNICLE: So -- but let's, for the moment --
MR. SCARBOROUGH: He doesn't want to do nothing. He wants us to do something.
MR. BARNICLE: Let's for the moment forget Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner. Let's talk about the banks, the eight big bankers that are going to be up there in the House today before Barney Frank's committee. They're going to get the hell beaten out of them; they probably deserve to have the hell beaten out of them.
What is your plan -- your plan -- to save the banking system in this country?
MS. BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. Give us one.
REP. CANTOR: Well, and that is the question we should really be talking about. And all the focus on the Geithner announcement yesterday, I think, is valid.
Because the crux of the economic crisis in this country that is plaguing not only businesses but families has to do with the implosion of the banking system and the credit markets.
So when these CEOs come up to Capitol Hill today, I think, rightfully so, they will get some very tough questions. Because it seems that many of them are tone-deaf.
Now, look. That ought not be where we stop in terms of focusing our inquiry and our attention. We've got to design a plan so that you can have some value attached to the underlying assets backing up these securities.
And it goes back to the discussion in September with the bailout vote. Republicans put forward a plan to say, look, you can do this and protect the taxpayers at the same time.
And I disagree a little bit with the discussion that occurred prior on your show here that we can't protect the taxpayers and give some certainty to the financial institutions. We've got to strike that balance, which is why you see the negative reaction to the Geithner plan.
You just can't buy the confidence and the trust of the markets. You've got to go and lay out a specific plan. We've got a plan we put forward in September which essentially provides a government guarantee of these assets.
Now, you may not be able to assess the value of all the toxic assets, but the taint has spread to all asset classes. And there's certainly an ability to try and assess the value of some of these assets, provide an ability for the investors who hold them to pay a premium to get the benefit of government backing.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: All right.
REP. CANTOR: But somehow, the details just haven't come out on the Geithner plan.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: All right. Eric, thank you so much.
MS. BRZEZINSKI: Thank you, Congressman.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Greatly appreciate you being with us.
REP. CANTOR: Thank you.