Transcript: Alan Greenspan

CORNYN: Johnny Isakson -- Johnny Isakson of Georgia has been championing the -- the tax credit for home purchases. Now it's getting ready to expire, and it's limited to $8,000 for first-time purchasers. His argument is, and I think he's right, is that the housing inventories, or excess housing inventories are what are dampening the recovery.

And I think he's right. So that's something we are...


STEPHANOPOULOS: So we have agreement: extend unemployment benefits, extend health care benefits for people who are unemployed, and extend the housing tax credit.

SCHUMER: And let me just say one other thing here, broader-term. The stimulus is working. The American people see it. Forty percent has been spent. Before the stimulus, we were losing 700,000, 800,000 jobs a month, a huge amount. It's going down. The number now is about 300,000. And Alan Greenspan said, it should turn around soon.

So, before doing a second stimulus, let's see how the rest of the 60 percent works and try to deal with the pain of some people in terms of the job front, where John and I agree, and in certain targeted areas of the economy such as housing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, then, let's get to health care, where I expect you're going to see some bigger differences right now. Probably the most contentious debate you all had all week long was on this amendment by Senator Crapo, where he was saying he wanted to put forward an amendment that would basically implement the president's policy not to have any tax increases for anyone earning under $250,000.


SEN. MICHAEL D. CRAPO, R-IDAHO: It simply provides that no tax, no fee or penalty imposed by this legislation shall be applied to any individual earning less than $200,000 per year or any couple earning less than $250,000 per year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All but one Democrat voted against that. Why?

SCHUMER: Well, because it's the way that "tax" was defined. They're defining "tax" -- you tax the insurance companies. They made huge amounts of profit. It went from $2 billion to $12 billion in 10 years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He left that out of his amendment, I think.

SCHUMER: No, his amendment was so broad, it could include just about anything.

They're calling the requirement that people have to buy health insurance a tax.

Now, you may like it; you may not like it. But it's never been a tax. We don't -- we've never called the requirement that you have to have auto insurance a tax.

So if it were narrowly defined and said, really, a direct tax on people $250,000 or lower, I think that's going to be in the bill. We're trying to avoid that in every possible way. That's the president's promise and that's what the bill does.

CORNYN: Middle-class families are going to see higher health insurance premiums. They're going to see more taxes, more penalties under this bill.

The president can't keep his promise under the bill that's currently pending in the Finance Committee or any of the other bills that are currently in front of us.

One thing that we need to focus on is, you know, affordability is the single most important issue, bringing down the cost, bring the cost curve, making it more affordable so more people can get coverage.

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