RUSH: We’d now like to provide a little safe haven for Eric Cantor, congressman from Virginia, who just finished 20 or so minutes with Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC. Congressman, it’s great to have you here on the EIB Network for the first time.
CANTOR: Rush, it is great to be on with you.
RUSH: I was able to read some of the closed-captioning, Congressman, when you were on with Andrea Mitchell, and it’s gotta be a little frustrating, but you know, you guys are doing great. You’re hanging really, really tight and tough up there against this because it’s a pork bill that Obama said would not be a pork bill. He promised that there would be no pork in this. We’re going to do new ways, and here — it could be Andrea Mitchell; it could be anybody in the Drive-By Media — just basically treating you as a suspect, accusing you of opposing this marvelous, miraculous package, just because it’s His. I don’t think she has the slightest idea what’s in it, after you told her.
CANTOR: Well, and that’s the frustrating part, Rush, but we’re not giving up, and thank goodness you’re there to try and help get the message out about what this bill is and isn’t. This is a spending bill. This is not a stimulus bill. And, you know, the message to the president that I delivered on several occasions, has been this: ‘You were elected by the people of this country because they had hope that you would actually change the way that our federal government works so that it could start working for the people again, and the first order of business should be to cut the waste and pork barrel spending in Washington.’ This bill is so chock-full of government expansion, it’s hard to even find the stimulus programs in here. Even the Congressional Budget Office, controlled by the Democrats now, says it is not a stimulative bill. Twelve cents out of every dollar could be maybe argued that it is worth some stimulative effect. That is a far cry from doing things the right way and delivering results.
RUSH: Congressman, did you happen to have a chance this morning to hear President Obama’s remarks in the White House after the two CEOs from IBM and Honeywell spoke?
CANTOR: No, I didn’t.
RUSH: I’d like for you to hear what he said. I want to play you two sound bites because I know you’ve been swamped today. I want you to hear President Obama from January 8th. He was at George Mason University. This was the occasion where he said, only government can get this economy moving. Only government can provide the short-term boost. The second sound bite — and these are short; they’re 28 and 38 seconds each. In the second sound bite from today, he sounds positively Reaganesque. Here is Obama. It’s cut 19, Mike. This is from January 8th of this year.
OBAMA: Only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the cycle that are crippling our economy. That’s why we need to act boldly and act now.
OBAMA JANUARY 8: Only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the cycle that are (sic — is) crippling our economy. That’s why we need to act boldly and act now…
RUSH: Okay, stop the tape. Now, let’s move on. This was this morning. Congressman, this is 180-degrees different.
OBAMA JANUARY 28: In the end, the answer to our economic troubles rests less in my hands or in the hands of our legislators than it does with America’s workers and the businesses that employ them. They are the ones whose efforts and ideas will determine our economic destiny just as they always have, for in the end it’s businesses — large and small — that generate the jobs, provide the salaries, and serve as the foundation on which the American people’s lives and dreams depend. All we can do, those of us here in Washington, is to help create a favorable climate in which workers can prosper, businesses can thrive, and our economy can grow.
RUSH: Okay, two totally contrasting views. When you go up to the White House and talk to him, which president…? I know it’s tough. You guys, your strategy here is to blame the House bill on Pelosi and so forth, which is great, but how do you know which president you’re dealing with?
CANTOR: (laughing) This is a good question, Rush, and to tell you the truth, you know, he came out to Capitol Hill yesterday and spoke to House Republicans, and he said he has no pride of authorship in this bill and he wants to continue to work with us. In fact, three weeks ago, before he was even sworn into office, he reached out and says, ‘Bring me your ideas.’ Well, last Friday, when we went to the White House, it was the bipartisan, bicameral leadership. So it was Pelosi, it was Hoyer, it was Boehner and I; Reid and McConnell and others; and we presented to the president our House Republican plan; and that plan is focused very much on the premise that he was trying to relate in the latest clip, that it really is the men and women in small business of this country that provide the jobs and the salaries, and all we can do here in Washington is to create an environment where you provide economic incentives for people to put their money to risk and create jobs. I couldn’t have said it better. The problem is when we got into the discussion of the kind of tax relief that really will produce that kind of stimulus and incentive, he says we have a philosophical difference. His opinion is that we ought to go the route of his make-work-pay program. Well, you know what his make-work-pay program is. It is to provide refunds to people who don’t even pay income taxes.
CANTOR: Now, the American people know that is unfair, and it doesn’t do anything to provide incentives for people to get back to work and create jobs.
RUSH: It was actually reported that in that meeting he said to you — and you were the one who specifically presented the tax cut proposals and then he smiled and said — ‘Well, I’m going to trump you on that. I won, and we’re not going to do that.’ How did that make you feel? You go up there under the auspices that he’s willing to listen to your ideas, which I guess he did, he followed through.
CANTOR: Well, you know, Rush, he is the president, so, you know, he can say that, but all I countered with and said, ‘Look, you know, again, you set the standard. You’re the one that said you want this to be a real stimulus bill. Let’s get down to business. Let’s throw out all the pork barrel stuff and really make this work.’ So he came back up to the Hill after we were at the White House and again was here yesterday. I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful, at some point, Rush, that we can get there. Again, Speaker Pelosi has really not embraced what it is that we are for. She claims she has. You know, she talks about the sacrifices that her caucus has made to include the net operating loss provisions, and you know what that is. Those are the ability for businesses to take advantage of the losses they have now and apply them against the gains and the income taxes they paid before.
RUSH: Which she has incurred, by the way, with her investment in T. Boone Pickens’ natural gas plan.
CANTOR: Well, there you go.
RUSH: She should be excited about this.
CANTOR: Right. Well, she claims that was a very heavy lift and that the Democrats don’t like that, and that perhaps we should be satisfied with that. My contention back, you know, to any of that kind of discussion is, ‘Look, we shouldn’t just be satisfied with a partial attempt to sustain jobs. We ought to be doing everything we can, focused like a laser in on preserving the jobs that are out there and providing an environment to create new jobs.’
RUSH: We’re speaking with Congressman Eric Cantor from Virginia. Two more things before we let you go. You mentioned pork. I want to play you another President Obama sound bite. He’s president-elect at this time. This is December 7th. He was on Meet the Depressed with Tom Brokaw, and he was being asked about the stimulus package, and he wanted to know how — Brokaw wanted to know how — much was gonna cost and who was going to pay for it.
OBAMA: When I met with the governors! All of them have projects that are shovel-ready. Now we’re going to have to prioritize it and do it, uh, not in the old traditional, uh, politics-first-way. W-w-what we need to do is, uh, examine what are the projects where we’re going to get the most bang for the buck. How are we going to make sure taxpayers are protected. Uh, you know, uh, the days of just pork coming out of Congress as a strategy, uh, those days are over.
RUSH: Apparently not —
RUSH: — because this a pork bill. You could call this the ‘porkulus.’
CANTOR: Right. (laughing) Let me tell you something. It is porkulus. That’s a great description. But let’s call it how it is. Even the Congressional Budget Office says less than a quarter of the money that they’ve allocated towards these types of projects even gets out the door prior to the beginning of 2011. You know, and let’s also look at sort of what they’re talking about giving states money. Listen, we need to impose reform all over the place, at all levels of government. If you just sit here and have the federal taxpayers, again, borrow the money — $2,700 for every man, woman, and child — to then go and give to the states, and there’s no reform there, how do we end up growing GDP? How do we end up getting jobs?
RUSH: We don’t.
RUSH: We don’t. See, that’s the whole point. You know, it’s great news, it is fascinating to learn all of these pork projects that are in this bill, and only 12%, if that, actually goes to stimulus. But that masks what this really is. This is a bill to grow government. This is a bill to grow the power of the Democrat Party. This is the New Deal 2. This is designed to create another 50 years of Democrat rule in perpetuity. This is not going to grow the economy. This isn’t going to create any jobs. Congressman, he doesn’t need any House Republicans. Correct me if I’m wrong. Every Republican could oppose this and it would still pass, correct?
CANTOR: That is absolutely right.
RUSH: All right. So here’s my question, final question. If this bill is so magical, if this bill is going to accomplish everything in terms of stimulus and bring back prosperity and full employment, why doesn’t he want it to be only a Democrat vote? He could ruin the Republican Party forever! If this bill actually works as he says and none of you vote for it, he can come back when it’s in full-fledged success mode and say, ‘These guys opposed it. They didn’t want this.’ They could destroy you guys, but yet he wants your cover on this.
CANTOR: Absolutely. And, you know, it’s the same as went on in prior bills when Speaker Pelosi wanted us to take responsibility along with them — and, you know what? House Republicans are not going to do that, given the nature of this bill. That’s our message to the president as well. If you want us to shoulder the burden of the product that comes out of Congress, it ought to be the right product. It ought to be a stimulative bill. It ought to create incentives for investment. It ought not be just more borrow and spending on the part of the government.
RUSH: Congressman Cantor, thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed talking to you. And, you know, keep fighting these people in the media. They are every bit as much your enemy as Pelosi is.
CANTOR: Well, listen, Rush, we’ve got so much work to be done. I thank you very much for what you’re doing. We’ve got a tremendous amount of pork lift that we can back up this description of ‘porkulus’ that I think your listeners would really like to read. So if they want to go on the Web, they can find it. It is astounding.
RUSH: All right. We’ll direct ’em to it. Thanks again and we’ll chat soon.
CANTOR: Thank you, Rush.
RUSH: You bet. Congressman Eric Cantor, Virginia.