CBS "Early Show" - Transcript
MS. RODRIGUEZ: I went to Capitol Hill yesterday and spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I asked her about Republican objections to the stimulus bill, including their claim that the plan includes pet projects that Democrats have been trying to pass for years that have nothing to do with jump-starting our economy.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
MS. RODRIGUEZ: Can you honestly say that every program in this plan is solely to stimulate the economy?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes, (I can ?).
MS. RODRIGUEZ: How does $335 million in STD prevention stimulate the economy?
SPEAKER PELOSI: I'll tell you how. There is a -- I'm a big believer in prevention. And we have -- there's a part of the bill on the health side of it that is about prevention. It's about it being less expensive to the states to do these prevention measures.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: Is that the same section where the Planned Parenthood provision was before, the one that you supported but was later cut from the plan?
SPEAKER PELOSI: As a matter of fact, I'm glad you mentioned it, because the Planned Parenthood section of this saved -- that was a saving of $700 million to the states and to the federal government because of the nature of the initiative. So when that came out, we had to add $700 million to the cost of the bill.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: If that Planned Parenthood would have saved money, why did the president drop it?
SPEAKER PELOSI: I don't -- I wish that it -- well, perhaps there's a better vehicle for it to be in than this, because, quite frankly, it's a distraction.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: I'd like to read a quote. "It is our duty to speak up for those who will be hurt by this, and this duty is paramount because we have been shut out of the legislative process." Can you tell me who said that?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, it could have been any number of people. It could have been me a number of years ago, because we never were included. But that's different from the opportunities that we have provided for the Republicans --
MS. RODRIGUEZ: It is you, April of '05.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yeah. And we always were shut out.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: And the Republicans have leveled the same criticism against you this time around.
SPEAKER PELOSI: But it's different.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: How so?
SPEAKER PELOSI: The Republicans asked for several things so that they could participate in the process, and we gave them all of the opportunities they asked for. But it serves their purpose -- when you're failing on the policy argument, you talk about process. And after that, you talk about personalities. They are failing on the policy aspect.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: If these votes go along party lines, as they're expected to, can we hold Democrats, can we hold you responsible if this does not stop the bleeding and things, in fact, get worse?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, we are definitely stepping up to the plate to say we will be accountable. We have the well-being of the American people at stake, and we're going to do what is best for them. We will be accountable for it. That's why the choices that we made had to be very carefully made, because we had to deliver on meeting the needs of the American people.
And I'm very proud that seven days, seven days -- eight days, actually -- one week and one day after President Obama gave the nation hope, took us in a new direction, suggested some initiatives for change, that we in this House of Representatives have echoed his call to action, for swift and bold action, to help the American people. That's what I'm very proud of. The Republicans, as I say, have had their chance. They decided to oppose. That's their choice.