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CBS "Early Show" - Transcript

Interview

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CBS "EARLY SHOW" INTERVIEW WITH HOUSE MINORITY WHIP ERIC CANTOR (R-VA) INTERVIEWER: MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ

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MS. RODRIGUEZ: Joining us now from Richmond, Virginia is the Republican House whip, Congressman Eric Cantor.

Good morning, Congressman.

REP. CANTOR: Good morning, Maggie.

MS. RODRIGUEZ: Let's begin with the president's housing bill, since we were just talking about it. Unlike the stimulus, will you urge your fellow Republicans in the House to support this?

REP. CANTOR: Well, Maggie, I think, first of all, when we're looking at the housing situation, we ought to all be aiming for the fact that Americans should have every opportunity to achieve the American dream and own a home. We should also do everything we can to make sure that those who are in their homes stay in their homes.

But when you're looking at the policy here, you've got to start with the fact that 93 percent of America's families are current on their mortgages and frankly are out there wondering, you know, who is going to pay for this continued succession of bailouts? Homeowners right now are suffering under skyrocketing property taxes. And if we put the bill for $50 billion-plus on top of all the bills that families have right now, you may very well be set to encourage more foreclosures.

So I'm hopeful that we can set up a plan, frankly, where lenders can modify mortgages according to some type of federal guarantee that allows buyers who qualify, that allow homeowners who qualify, to actually stay in their homes. We just cannot continue to pay for the kind of things that this administration thinks that we can. So I'm very concerned about the direction I see us going, but I know that this president has continued to say he wants to work with us. And I hope we can get it right.

You know, we're on the heels right now of the almost $800 billion stimulus bill, not having any real knowledge of what's in that 1,100- page bill, and frankly working to make sure that the public's right to know is realized.

MS. RODRIGUEZ: But Congressman, it's clear that Americans are begging for help with foreclosures. Corporations are begging for bailouts. Can the Republican Party accept that there are situations when large-scale government intervention is necessary?

REP. CANTOR: Well, you know, there's no question that the last stimulus bill that passed last week, the nearly $800 billion bill, had some programs in it that we support. I mean, listen, for infrastructure projects that are ready to roll, that we can create jobs within the first 12 months --

MS. RODRIGUEZ: But everyone opposed it. Why? Where's the bipartisanship?

REP. CANTOR: Well, I mean --

MS. RODRIGUEZ: Are you afraid of being seen as obstructionist?

REP. CANTOR: No, listen, we presented a plan that was smarter, that was simpler, where we applied the analysis of President Obama's economic folks themselves, which said -- this analysis said that our plan created twice as many jobs at half the cost. I mean, let's be realistic here. We've got trillions upon trillions of dollars adding to our deficit and our long-term debt now each and every month we proceed.

At some point I think the people of this country are beginning to understand who is going to pay for all of this. Money doesn't come out of anywhere -- of nowhere. And if you look at the bill that was put together, it was brought to the floor after a couple of hours having just been printed. No one, not one member of the Senate, not one member of the House, was able to read the bill. And I believe the public's got a right to know. So the fashion in which this plan was put together by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid was just unacceptable. You know, President --

MS. RODRIGUEZ: All right, Congressman, we have to leave it there, Eric Cantor. I'm sorry, we're out of time. Thank you for taking the time this morning.

REP. CANTOR: Thanks, Maggie


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