This Week Transcript: Peter Orszag and Eric Cantor

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're for that, but not for a broader budget commission right now?

ORSZAG: Well, I'm just saying, there are lots of ideas floating around out there. And, obviously, one of the things that came out of the fiscal responsibility summit that we had last week is a discussion about the best way of moving forward. We will be exploring all of these ideas with the Congress. And, clearly, I think some changes are necessary, whether it's the focus on health care or -- or our broader...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So open to it, but no final decision?

ORSZAG: Yes. STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, this week the Senate is going to be debating an omnibus spending proposal that has several thousand earmarks. The president was very clear that he wanted earmark reform during the campaign, said he wanted to get back to 1994 levels. Congressman Cantor, who's coming up, says the president ought to veto this budget because there are so many earmarks in it, yet the Democratic leaders in the Senate are defending the proposal.


SEN. HARRY REID, D-NEV., SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Since we've been a country, we have had the obligation as a Congress to help direct spending. We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats buried in this town someplace.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think he meant that personally to you, but there's a real showdown here between the president's priorities. There's a lot of spending in that bill, investments that he thinks are important. There are also several thousand earmarks. So does that mean he signs the bill or vetoes it?

ORSZAG: We want to -- this is last year's business. We want to just move on. Let's get this bill done, get it into law and move forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So he'll sign it?


STEPHANOPOULOS: And what kind of earmark reform will he call for?

ORSZAG: We're going to be working with the Congress. We want to make sure that earmarks are reduced and they're also transparent. We're going to work with the Congress on a set of reforms to achieve those...


STEPHANOPOULOS: But he signs this bill this year?

ORSZAG: This is -- this is last year's business. We just need to move on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Peter Orszag, thanks very much.

ORSZAG: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, for the Republican perspective, we go to Congressman Eric Cantor. He comes to us from Richmond, Virginia.

Let's start where I just ended with Mr. Orszag right there. You heard it. The president's not taking your advice on the omnibus spending bill.

CANTOR: Good morning, George. Listen, I mean, the president was elected by the people of this country to institute change in Washington and to finally demand a federal government that is accountable to the people. We have a -- almost a $500 billion omnibus bill that came out of the House that will be considered by the Senate.

You know, I think that we need to put our money where our mouth is and not just do as I say, not as I do. We have got to institute reform so that the public can regain their confidence. The fact that there are 9,000 earmarks in this bill and the fact that the vetting process just doesn't take place the way it should, we ought to stand up and draw the line right now and stop the waste.

I mean, George, we cannot continue to afford to throw trillions of dollars out a week on the backs of the people of this country.

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