'This Week' Transcript: Larry Summers & Mitch McConnell

MCCONNELL: Well, it will reframe what the Democrats recommend for America over the next five and 10 years. And I assure you, the amendments that we offer will not lay out a blueprint for doubling the national debt in five years and tripling it in 10 years. That is not what we think... STEPHANOPOULOS: But shouldn't you have to have a comprehensive approach that lays out the tradeoffs? If you just have rifle shot amendments, you don't have to make all the tradeoffs that you have to make in the overall budget.

MCCONNELL: Well, we're just sort of getting down in the weeds here over procedure. Through the amendment process, we would absolutely reformulate the Democratic plan. Whether you have a comprehensive approach or whether you offer an amendment approach is something that parliamentarians can debate, but the point is, we're going to have alternatives, just like we had alternatives when they offered the massive stimulus package.

MCCONNELL: We would have spent half as much money, we would have fixed housing, and put money back into pockets of taxpayers. So we have offered alternatives all along the way, and we will offer numerous alternatives on the budget when it comes up.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about AIG. You heard me talking to Mr. Summers about that earlier, and he said, you know, he's outraged. The president is outraged and as angry as anyone else, but there's nothing the government can do. Do you accept that?

MCCONNELL: Well, it is an outrageous situation. I wrote Secretary Paulson back in October complaining about the way AIG had been doing its business.

The point here is, if you're going to take the government as a partner, the message here, I'm afraid, to any business out there that's thinking about taking government money, is let's enter into a bunch of contracts real quick, and we'll have the taxpayers pay bonuses to our employees.

This is an outrage. And for them to simply sit there and blame it on the previous administration or claim contract -- we all know that contracts are valid in this country, but they need to be looked at. Did they enter into these contracts knowing full well that, as a practical matter, the taxpayers of the United States were going to be reimbursing their employees? Particularly employees who got them into this mess in the first place. I think it's an outrage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And on the bank plan, the president's bank plan, we're going to be seeing the final details in the next couple of weeks, but last week, your colleague, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, made it clear that he wasn't for any kind of a bailout for these banks. In fact, he wants to shut the worst ones down. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHELBY: Close them down. Get them out of business. If they're dead, they ought to be buried. We buried the small banks. We got to bury some big ones, and send a strong message to the market.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with Senator Shelby? MCCONNELL: Well, I'm open to talking about fixing the financial system. I supported the financial rescue package back in October, and so I'm anxious to look at what the administration would like to do. I don't know whether it will end up requiring our consent or whether it will be done on the basis of authorization that's previously been given to them, but I'm willing to listen to them.

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