'This Week' Transcript: Nancy Pelosi

Sunday exclusive: House Speaker on 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos.'

ByABC News
January 25, 2009, 6:53 AM

Jan. 25, 2009 — -- STEPHANOPOULOS: The president has made it pretty clear he wants this to be a real bipartisan effort. Yet House Republicans have said they have been shut out of this process. There were no Republican votes in the appropriations Committee, no Republican votes in the Ways and Means Committee. Is this the bipartisan effort President Obama has called for?

PELOSI: Well, because the Republicans don't vote for it doesn't mean they didn't have an opportunity to. We - the Republicans asked for a couple things. One that related to process that you described, that there would be an open process where they could present their amendments. They didn't vote for the final bill but we voted for some of their amendments in the committees that had the markups the day before yesterday and this week.

Secondly, the - some of the ideas that they had put forth in earlier meetings, President-Elect Obama at the time on January 5 had our first bipartisan meeting, House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans and some ideas that were put on the table by the Republicans at that time were contained in the bills that we wrote.

And now this morning they had some more suggestions which we will review and see if they create jobs, turn the economy around and to do so in a cost-effective way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some of their suggestions that they've put forward are permanently cutting the two lowest tax brackets from 15 to 10 percent and from 10 to five percent. Also new help for small business.

Can you include those in your package?

PELOSI: When we had the recovery package last year we brought the tax credit all the way down, regarding using payroll tax as tax and therefore you get a credit. Against using that precedent which was established with President Bush, we built upon that in this legislation and we prefer that route.

STEPHANOPOULOS: they're saying that's giving a check to people who don't pay taxes rather than cutting taxes for people who do.

PELOSI: But they do pay taxes. Payroll tax. And President Bush agreed with that last year and using that precedent we have built upon that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not going to take these new Republican ideas.

PELOSI: We will take some. We will judge them by their ability to create jobs, to help turn the economy around, to stabilize the economy and to see how much they cost.

But we're open to them and we'll review them and it all has to be done right away because our bill has to come to the floor this week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about on the spending side? Senator McConnell has said this. That the bill you're talking about right now doesn't mean your own test that the bill be timely, targeted and temporary.

PELOSI: First, let me just say this. We have a strategic vision for this legislation. Our economy is dark, darker, darkest almost. There isn't any economist who will give you an optimistic view of the direction our country is going. We have listened to their assessment of where we are. We have listened to what they have said about where jobs are created.

And from right to left they have told us that the investments that we make create more jobs than tax cuts.

Nonetheless, we have a package that has both. Heavier investments in terms of rebuilding in a green way, a new, innovative way our infrastructure. Addressing the unemployment, the needs of the unemployed in this economy, investing in education and health and reversing global warming. 95 percent of the American people, the great middle class, will get a tax cut in this legislation.

We also have some business taxes. Some of which were suggested by the Republicans.

So I would like to talk about what we are doing rather than - and be judged for what it can accomplish rather than criticized for what may not be in - by people who - it may still be in but we have to make an assessment about…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about what's in the package, then. I know you don't agree completely with the Congressional Budget Office, this estimate, assessment.

PELOSI: Well, they're going to reassess it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They're going to look at it. But what they've shown so far is that only about 40 percent of the discretionary spending, including the highway spending in the bill, is going to be spent right away in the next year and a half.