Transcript: Sens. Durbin and Kyl

KYL: Yes. And with respect to the stimulus, I think it's now acknowledged, it hasn't done what it set out to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But your government says it has in Arizona.

KYL: No. What our -- look, all governors like "free money" coming to the state. My governor is no different. But the reality is that it has added to our deficit. We're now going to have a $1.8 trillion deficit this year.

It promised to create 4 -- or save 4 million jobs. We've now lost another 2 million jobs. Unemployment is 2 points higher than it was when the president took office. And even with the stimulus, it's higher than they said that it would be without the stimulus.

The reality is it hasn't helped yet. Only about 6.8 percent of the money has actually been spent. What I proposed is, after you complete the contracts that are already committed, the things that are in the pipeline, stop it.

You can spend about half of the money on the stimulus and the last half would be spent during the eight -- last eight years of a 10- year period. Why spend that money when it could be put to better use on other things like health care, for example?

And we're digging this deficit hole even deeper than we have today.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the answer, Senator Durbin?

DURBIN: Well, the answer is this, it's a two-year plan and we're four months into it. The Republicans resisted President Obama's efforts to put together the stimulus package. And at the time that he made the proposal, our economy was in freefall.

We were facing a worldwide recession. It's true that we're not out of the woods yet. We still have a long way to go. But we have started to stabilize our economy and the world economy. And that's a move in the right direction.

What Senator Kyl fails to acknowledge is that we have actually written checks so far for $56 billion out of $787 billion. We are going to see the impact of the stimulus package start to grow.



DURBIN: Well, first let me tell you, George. First it means tax breaks for working families. Does Senator Kyl oppose that? Would he cancel those?

Secondly, it means transportation projects across America, in Arizona, in Illinois, and other states, not only creating good-paying jobs but building America's infrastructure for the future.

Does Senator Kyl oppose that?

I think these are good investments in America's future. Let's give it time to work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think you (inaudible) answer, but let me just follow up, one more question on this. With the jobs situation and the whole economy being so much worse than everyone expected, several months ago, why not focus on that right now?

Several people have said that President Obama should scale back his agenda, right now, and put all of his focus on the economy.

DURBIN: George, because that president understands that, if we want to build this economy for the future, it isn't just a matter of saving and creating jobs today; it's doing the fundamentals to make sure the American economy is strong at the end of this recession. It's taking care of a health care system.

Senator Kyl said that the idea of health care reform is a job- killer. Let me tell you, health insurance premiums today are job- killers. The cost of health insurance, I'm sure, in Arizona; I can guarantee you, in Illinois, is going up three times faster than the increase in wages. We just can't sustain that.

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