'This Week' Transcript: Shimon Perez, Sens. Dick Durbin and Mitch McConnell

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, President-elect Obama says he does want to do that, a $500 tax credit. MCCONNELL: Yes, right. This is the sort of thing we could -- we could have bipartisan agreement on. But Republican, by and large, think tax relief is a great way to get money to people immediately.

A possibility would be to take a look at the 25 percent rate currently applied to the middle class, lower it to 15 percent.

And with regard to the money to the states, one item -- one approach that I think we ought to take a look at, that I have a feeling won't be in the recommendation of the administration, is to make this money for states alone, rather than a grant.

You know, the way we're operating, under the TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the money that's being lent to financial institutions is at 5 percent over five years. And if it's beyond five years, the rate is 9 percent.

There are some states that are in good shape. In fact, I can think of at least two who have said publicly they don't want any of the money.

MCCONNELL: So why should we automatically provide funds to states...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, there are several states struggling...

MCCONNELL: ... that don't want it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... as well. Is that a red line for you? If these are grants to the states, you're not going to support it?

MCCONNELL: No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying we want to be a part of the process. And it might make sense to lend the money to the states. It will make them spend it more wisely.

I think nobody thinks we ought to be spending this money on things like Mob museums and waterslides. And if the money were lent rather than just granted, states would I think spend it wisely, and the states that didn't need it at all wouldn't take any.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Two other ideas the Democrats are discussing on Capitol Hill right now are extending unemployment benefits to part- time workers and expanding health care benefits for the unemployed. Can you support that?

MCCONNELL: I might, but those are very big, systemic changes. What the speaker said last year with regard to stimulus packages I think makes sense -- timely, and temporary, and targeted. Do we in the name of stimulus want to make long-term, systemic changes that will affect spending every single year? I think that's at least worth considering, having hearings about, having bipartisan discussions.

What I worry about, George, here is the haste with which this may be done. This is an enormous bill. It could be close to a $1 trillion spending bill. Do we want to do it with essentially no hearings, no input, for example, in the Senate from Republican senators who represent half of the American population? I don't think that's a good idea, and I don't think that...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think it's unwise for the Democrats to push for this to be done by the time that President-elect Obama takes office?

MCCONNELL: No, it shouldn't be done. I don't think that they even seriously can defend, and I don't think my friend Dick Durbin was defending doing this without bipartisan consideration. And I -- you know, this was, I think, the Democrats in Congress idea, not the president's idea, to have it on his desk by January 20th. That's just not a practical thing to do.

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...