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MR. HEMMER: Demcratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, member of the House Ways and Means Committee, with me now. Sir, good morning to you up on the Hill.
REP. PASCRELL: Good morning, Bill.
MR. HEMMER: Why the heat from Democrats on this?
REP. PASRELL: Well, I think that we have a great package in front of us. There'll be some changes between now and the time we vote on it. There are three major areas in this stimulus package. And that is investment in the infrastructure -- we need to do that to get more people to work; this is the best way to do it -- secondly, to have middle class tax cuts -- because no group has been more affected by this downturn in the economy over the last five, six years than the middle class; and thirdly, those people who are out of work, we got to follow up and support them in terms of their healthcare whether they're unemployed or underemployed.
So there are three major areas that the Obama team has addressed. They're going to have to do some changing after their meeting. And we started those meetings last week. We had meetings yesterday. I just left a meeting, and I'm going to go back to it after I speak to you, Bill. I'm very confident that we will have a bipartisan package by next week.
MR. HEMMER: Wow. A bipartisan package by next week, which would be --
REP. PASCRELL: Yes.
MR. HEMMER: -- even quicker than the incoming administration had expected.
REP. PASCRELL: (Inaudible.)
MR. HEMMER: Let me give you that deadline in a moment here, but I just want to focus on the tax credits a second. I know you're on the House side, but on the Senate side, I heard Democratic senators come out of this finance committee meeting, one after the other after the other, saying it's a bad idea.
So are some Demcorats in Congress already turning on the new president before he even takes office?
REP. PASCRELL: No, that's not the case. I think, you know, we're not going to rubber stamp anything. And I think that whether you're in the Senate side or the House side, back in -- we've had other plans like this to provide $3,000 credit if you hire a new employee.
I don't really think that's the most effective way to stimulate the economy. There are other ways we can do this. That's what we're discussing right now. But there's certainly cohesiveness, and many, many Republicans have come forward. They know we're in serious trouble. These job numbers this morning simply are supportive of any major stimulus package that we will put forth over the next several weeks.
MR. HEMMER: And that may in the end buffer your argument.
Back to the deadline, if I could, why are you so optimistic --
REP. PASCRELL: Yes.
MR. HEMMER: -- this thing will be -- get done in a week?
REP. PASCRELL: Because the situation is very dangerous, and it does not look like it's going to get any better soon. So we have to address this. There is a place for government when there is a serious economic -- this is a homeland security issue. If we don't get our economics, our finances in order, we're going to have more problems in terms of the international market and in terms of the world market. We need to do this as soon as possible. This is not a knee-jerk reaction.
MR. HEMMER: You know the -- you know the heat members of Congress are taking for the bailout plan that was passed in the Fall. And some --
REP. PASCRELL: Yes.
MR. HEMMER: -- are now saying that there was no proper allocation for the money, you did not know where it was going, it went too quickly.
Did Congress get burned a little bit like that? I mean, was there a lesson --
REP. PASCRELL: I think it --
MR. HEMMER: -- learned? And If so, if that lesson was learned in the Fall, it may give members of your body a bit of hesitation to move quickly now.
REP. PASCRELL: There's not question about that, Bill. You've hit the nail right on the head. Secretary Paulson, I think, overextended, but he was trying to get something done in the view of that crisis.
It didn't just happen overnight, didn't happen on September the 15th. This was coming for two or three years. We tried to point that out, many of us on both sides of the aisle, in fact. But obviously the administration was not listening. If you look at the GAO report today in regards to --
MR. HEMMER: But both sides voted for that thing to get it passed. My point simply is did you get burned a little bit.
REP. PASCRELL: We had a majority -- this is how the administration put it in front of us. We voted on it. We're responsible for our votes. There weren't enough strings attached, obviously. The GAO report this morning says that we have not put enough regulations or standards or oversight in order. And I think that's what Congressman Barney Frank --
MR. HEMMER: And that is -- that is a --
REP. PASCRELL: -- Chairman Frank is going to be doing by next Thursday. We need to do this.
MR. HEMMER: -- that's a pledge by the incoming administration. Sir, thank you for your time. We'll talk again, all right?
REP. PASCRELL: Yeah. Nice talking to you.
MR. HEMMER: You're optimistic it will be passed in a week.
REP. PASCRELL: Yes, I am.
MR. HEMMER: You got it. Nice to see you, too, on the Hill.
REP. PASCRELL: Bye bye.