'This Week' Transcript: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

WILL: Twenty years from now, the country is going to be spending a larger portion of its GDP on health care than it is now for three reasons. We're getting older, and as we age, we get more chronic diseases that interact with one another. Second, we're getting richer; we can afford to buy more medicine. And, third, medicine is becoming more competent. Therefore, we're going to spend more on health care.

KRUGMAN: But there's a...

ROBERTS: The other thing is, you know, the health care industry is the biggest employer in most of our cities now. So when -- when the speaker talks about a job creation bill...

VARGAS: A jobs bill, exactly.

ROBERTS: ... it's true.

VARGAS: Let's shift a little bit to Charlie Rangel, because we heard Speaker Pelosi talk about the fact that what he did didn't endanger national security, but it doesn't look good. We've got a handful of Democrats who have now started to join Republicans and calling for him to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a powerful post in the House of Representatives. Can he hold this post, Cokie?

ROBERTS: Yes, he can hold it, as long as people -- you know, his colleagues say he can hold it. But whether it becomes too hot for him to hold is something that, you know, sort of evolves. And you see what happens in the papers in New York and all of that and whether he can withstand it.

But, you know, in terms of that Ethics Committee report, there were two sets of issues they were dealing with. One was this trip to the Caribbean that was apparently paid for by corporations. The other was donations to members of Congress who then provided things in legislation for the people who gave those donations. I think that's a far, far more serious offense...

VARGAS: Very serious.

ROBERTS: ... and -- and the Ethics Committee basically said, "No problem." That's the kind of thing that really makes people very uncomfortable about the Congress and feel like the Congress is all on the take.

DONALDSON: Now, let's talk about -- talk about the man for a moment. Years ago, he wrote his autobiography, titled, "I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since," referring to the day in Korea when Sergeant Rangel, pressed by the enemy, led his men over a steep, frigid mountain pass to safety and got the bronze star for it. I didn't know him then.

But when he came to Congress, having unseated Adam Clayton Powell in Harlem, he came as a reformer. He was on the Impeachment Committee and the Judiciary Committee for Richard Nixon, the real impeachment process. And through the years, we've watched him.

Now, if these charges before the Ethics Committee -- and I agree with you, they're much more serious than the one for which he's been admonished...

VARGAS: And there are further ones...


DONALDSON: If, in fact...

VARGAS: ... apartments in Harlem and...

DONALDSON: ... that's -- it's all true, he has to give it up. He has to have it be taken away from him. And I think his being in the House has been good for his constituents and good for the country.

VARGAS: George?

WILL: To know Charlie Rangel is to like him.

ROBERTS: Exactly.

WILL: He's a wonderful spirit and all that. Still, one has to wonder. Suppose a Republican has revised his disclosure form and suddenly his net worth doubled and he came upon not one, but two checking accounts with $500,000 in them...

DONALDSON: They're serious.

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