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.