Transcript: Sens. Durbin and Kyl

Photo: Health care, the economy, and Judge Sotomayor, with Sens. Dick Durbin and Jon Kyl on "This Week"

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Good morning, and welcome to "THIS WEEK."


STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Welcomes abroad. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have the blood of Africa within me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Warnings at home.

REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART (R), FLORIDA: There is a new definition for "dismal failure": stimulus -- this stimulus.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What would they do? What would they do?

STEPHANOPOULOS: The stimulus takes shots. Health care stalls. Is it time for President Obama to hit the reset button with Congress or should he stay the course? Questions this morning for our headliners, the Senate whips: Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Jon Kyl, our "THIS WEEK" debate.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Jackson...

COURIC: Michael Jackson...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Michael Jackson mania. Did the media go too far? That and all of the week's politics on a special expanded "Roundtable" with George Will, Donna Brazile, Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post.

And as always, "The Sunday Funnies."

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": A lot of us are still mourning the loss of one of America's most entertaining figures who left us all too soon, but don't worry, folks, Sarah Palin will be back.


ANNOUNCER: From the heart of the nation's capital, "THIS WEEK" with ABC News chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, live from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello, again. It was another whirlwind week abroad for the president and the whole Obama family, touched down in Washington early this morning for what may be the most momentous month of the year on Capitol Hill.

Confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor begin tomorrow. But the House and Senate are trying to pass health care by August, but the odds against that going up. And despite calls from some to scale back his agenda, President Obama doubled down this morning, writing in The Washington Post that now is not the time to defer hard decisions.

Here to debate all that is coming up, the two Senate leaders in charge of counting the votes: Democrat Dick Durbin, and Republican Jon Kyl. Welcome both back to "THIS WEEK."

And, Senator Durbin, let me begin with you on the issue that probably most directly affects most Americans, that's health care. Your counterparts, the House Democrats, are carrying forward a piece of legislation that includes a $550 billion tax increase, with a surtax of about 1 percent that starts for individuals earning about $250,000 a year, climbing to 3 percent for individuals earnings a million dollars a year or more.

Can Senate Democrats sign on to that?

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL), WHIP: I think we're going to have a different approach. We understand that we have to combine cuts in actual spending on health care, savings from hospitals, from doctors, from health insurance companies, along with some new revenue.

Now this new revenue is not just to cover those who are uninsured today, but to make sure that insurance is affordable for people...


STEPHANOPOULOS: New revenue but not a surtax on millions -- on people earning over $250,000 a year?

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