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SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Thanks. It"s always good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: You know, I was at this free health care clinic yesterday in Connecticut, and talked to a lot of people in Hartford. They basically feel that the Congress has struck out on health care reform.
If the Congress strikes out on job creation, who is going to pay the political price here? What do you think?
STABENOW: Well, Ed, first of all, let me say, I don"t believe that we"re going to strike out on health care. We can"t afford to do that, because it is about jobs.
We are losing jobs because of the cost of health care. We"re losing jobs overseas because of it. And as you saw yesterday at the clinic, the problems that people are having aren"t going away.
So, I"m still also very focused on doing everything we can, whatever mechanism it is, to get something done on health care. And we have got to address jobs in the same way.
I mean, jobs are connected to everything we do. And we did, by the way, do the Recovery Act last February, which did begin to slow down, has dramatically slowed down the job loss.
Now, that is not good enough, but I can tell you in Michigan, that that advanced battery manufacturing, the efforts we have put into retooling loans, causing Ford to bring jobs back from Mexico to Michigan--and we are seeing some job growth that is very important. But today, what we are talking about is moving forward to help small business, which is absolutely critical.
SCHULTZ: Senator, do you really think the Republicans are going to work with the Democrats on this or...
STABENOW: You know, I don"t know.
SCHULTZ: Isn"t it wishful thinking at this point? Do you really think that they want to see Barack Obama going out on the campaign trail saying that we have turned the job numbers around and we"ve presented a plan forward? The president would get credit for that.
Isn"t their whole mission to stop Barack Obama and not help him?
STABENOW: Well, there is no question, that has been their mission. With the new senator, who says he comes in representing the people in Massachusetts who are hurting and says he is Independent, we"ll see.
But from my perspective, Ed, I"m willing to support whatever mechanism, whatever tools we have to get things done. That"s our job. And we are going to do everything we can to get things done.
We passed the Recovery Act last year when we had 58 votes. We"ve passed children"s health insurance, a whole range of things--mortgage help, credit card help, and so on. So we"re going to proceed.
They can choose to be with us and govern or they can choose to continue. We"re at 107 objections now, higher than any other time in our history. So they can choose to do that.
SCHULTZ: Yes. We have talked about filibusters. You have talked about it in the past.
STABENOW: Right. Right.
SCHULTZ: I don"t see--this sea change, all of a sudden, the Republicans changing their attitude, I just don"t see it happening, because to create jobs, Obama"s going to get--the president"s going to get an awful lot of credit for it.
SCHULTZ: But when you take a look at the obstruction numbers, what is different about a jobs package that would turn Republicans around in their thinking?
STABENOW: Well, you know, Ed, we don"t know what"s going to turn them around. And maybe nothing will.
Maybe it"s a matter of exposing them, which we intend to do. If they choose to vote against efforts to give community banks more capital for small business, or to strengthen other efforts to help small business, then they have to be accountable for that. If they choose to vote against a jobs credit, or manufacturing efforts, or efforts to put people to work rebuilding America, then they will have to be accountable for that.
From my perspective, we have got 59 votes and we need to use everything possible that we can to get things done. People are hurting.
STABENOW: It"s not change because of Massachusetts, as you know. And so, we"re going to do everything we can. We"re going to put forward ideas and they are going to have to decide whose side they are on.
STABENOW: Are they going to be on the side of the people who are hurting, or are they going to be continuing to fight for the past, where we lost over six million manufacturing jobs under President Bush?
SCHULTZ: Senator Stabenow of Michigan, great to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much.
STABENOW: Good to be with you. Thanks.
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