CBS: ‘Obstructionist’ Republicans Oppose ‘Large-Scale Government Intervention’

Maggie Rodriguez and Eric Cantor, CBS On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor about President Obama’s proposed housing bill: "Unlike the stimulus, will you urge your fellow Republicans in the House to support this?" When Cantor criticized the proposed bill and the passage of the "stimulus" bill, Rodriguez declared: "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?"

Cantor began to explain that Republicans supported some aspects of the "stimulus," but Rodriguez quickly interrupted him: "But everyone opposed it. Why? Where's the bipartisanship?" Before Cantor could respond, she added: "Are you afraid of being seen as obstructionist?" An on-screen graphic read: "Economic Crisis, Party Politics & Recovery Roadblocks."

Cantor replied by describing the lack of "bipartisanship" of congressinonal Democrats: "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."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:08AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Joining us now from Richmond, Virginia, is the Republican House Whip, Congressman Eric Cantor. Good morning, Congressman.

ERIC CANTOR: Good morning, Maggie.

RODRIGUEZ: Let's begin with the -- 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?

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% 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 1100-page bill and frankly working to make sure that the public's right to know is realized.

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?

CANTOR: 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-

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

CANTOR: Well-

RODRIGUEZ: Are you afraid of being seen as obstructionist?

CANTOR: No, listen. We -- 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 Obama-

RODRIGUEZ: Alright, 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.

CANTOR: Thanks, Maggie.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC