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Interview with Rep. John Garamendi

By Your World w/Neil Cavuto, Your World w/Neil Cavuto - December 8, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Special Guests | Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 9, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the president appealing to Democrats today who may feel betrayed just as Joe goes into the lion's den. The vice president expected to meet with House Democrats any moment now. He's trying to get them to support the president's tax cut deal. And it ain't looking too good.

My next guest is offering an alternative to that plan. He's California Democratic Congressman John Garamendi.

Congressman, good to have you.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, D-CALIF.: My pleasure.

CAVUTO: The frustration is palpable, isn't it? Do you think that, given the choice of the president's plan -- we will get into yours in a second, sir -- or no plan, that they would vote no plan?

GARAMENDI: Well, we just have to see. You used the word frustration palpable. Actually, it is anger.

There is a great deal of anger about the way in which the proposal was put together and the proposal itself. You take a look at this thing and go, why would we, in this situation, where we have such a high number of unemployed, allow the Republicans to use the unemployed, the 2.5 million out there that are going to lose their benefits, as a -- a lever to gain support, so that the very, very wealthy, the richest of Americans, can get $80 billion of tax relief?

Makes no sense to many of us. And anger is probably a better word than frustration.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you and I can go back and forth on...

(CROSSTALK)

GARAMENDI: We sure can.

CAVUTO: But I want to focus on your alternative, Congressman.

GARAMENDI: Sure.

CAVUTO: What is that?

GARAMENDI: Well, if there must be a deal -- and I am not sure there must -- but if there must be a deal, then let's cut this off at one year for the richest two percent of Americans out there, and use that $40 billion to hire, well, how about, maybe, a million teachers -- oh, actually, a little less -- 800,000 teachers could be hired for one year with the $40 billion that would otherwise go to the...

CAVUTO: The same kind of teachers we have now, because they're not quite all up to snuff?

GARAMENDI: Well, yes, that is easy enough for you to say, but let me tell you what is happening in my district, where teachers are laid off and the classroom size has gone from 20 to 30, and you tell me kids are going to get a decent education? They are not, whether the teacher is good or just plain moderate or even bad.

CAVUTO: Well, I would prefer the teacher be good.

But allowing for your math, that you could hire that many people, I assume...

GARAMENDI: Yes, you could, at $50,000 a pop.

CAVUTO: ... you are saying that instead of renewing -- fine -- but instead of renewing the tax cuts for the upper income for two years, you say cut it in half one year, use the money for something else.

I think you know how this goes, Congressman.

GARAMENDI: I'm saying use the money specifically...

CAVUTO: I understand. But I know how this goes. Money that is targeted to go to something else ends up going still somewhere else. And you guys have a poor track record at allocating funds to even your most heartfelt wishes.

(CROSSTALK)

GARAMENDI: Hey, our heartfelt wishes are with the people that are unemployed -- 2.5 million are going to lose their ability even to put a Christmas meal on the table.

And for the Republicans to use them as a stalking horse to give $80 billion to the top two percent of America's richest people is just plain unconscionable.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes, but wasn't it the other way around, sir? Wasn't it the White House that threw that in there as a means of getting its support for extending the tax cuts, not the way you presented it?

GARAMENDI: No. Exactly backwards, sir.

The Republicans have insisted, insisted from the get-go, that the wealthy get another tax break, in this case, $80 billion. If you are a deficit hawk, how in the world can you even begin to argue that it makes sense?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: That is a fine argument, but then what is good for the goose should be good for the financial gander, right? Then you should say, I have got to find a way to pay for these jobless benefits, if you criticize Republicans and their fat cat allegiance and not paying for those benefits.

I mean, you have got to be consistent, right?

GARAMENDI: Well, I am certainly willing to be consistent.

And I would suggest that there is a way that you can do this. We have a foolish war in Afghanistan that is costing us well over $100 billion a year. We need to wind that down. We need to bring that money back home, so we can build our economy, educate our kids, make things in America once again, build our economy.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: No, all that is well and good, Congressman, but I am wondering if you saw what happened five or six weeks ago? Because Americans repudiated the kind of direction you and your party were going on.

(CROSSTALK)

continued...

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Congressman, good to have you.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, D-CALIF.: My pleasure.

CAVUTO: The frustration is palpable, isn't it? Do you think that, given the choice of the president's plan -- we will get into yours in a second, sir -- or no plan, that they would vote no plan?

GARAMENDI: Well, we just have to see. You used the word frustration palpable. Actually, it is anger.

There is a great deal of anger about the way in which the proposal was put together and the proposal itself. You take a look at this thing and go, why would we, in this situation, where we have such a high number of unemployed, allow the Republicans to use the unemployed, the 2.5 million out there that are going to lose their benefits, as a -- a lever to gain support, so that the very, very wealthy, the richest of Americans, can get $80 billion of tax relief?

Makes no sense to many of us. And anger is probably a better word than frustration.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you and I can go back and forth on...

(CROSSTALK)

GARAMENDI: We sure can.

CAVUTO: But I want to focus on your alternative, Congressman.

GARAMENDI: Sure.

CAVUTO: What is that?

GARAMENDI: Well, if there must be a deal -- and I am not sure there must -- but if there must be a deal, then let's cut this off at one year for the richest two percent of Americans out there, and use that $40 billion to hire, well, how about, maybe, a million teachers -- oh, actually, a little less -- 800,000 teachers could be hired for one year with the $40 billion that would otherwise go to the...

CAVUTO: The same kind of teachers we have now, because they're not quite all up to snuff?

GARAMENDI: Well, yes, that is easy enough for you to say, but let me tell you what is happening in my district, where teachers are laid off and the classroom size has gone from 20 to 30, and you tell me kids are going to get a decent education? They are not, whether the teacher is good or just plain moderate or even bad.

CAVUTO: Well, I would prefer the teacher be good.

But allowing for your math, that you could hire that many people, I assume...

GARAMENDI: Yes, you could, at $50,000 a pop.

CAVUTO: ... you are saying that instead of renewing -- fine -- but instead of renewing the tax cuts for the upper income for two years, you say cut it in half one year, use the money for something else.

I think you know how this goes, Congressman.

GARAMENDI: I'm saying use the money specifically...

CAVUTO: I understand. But I know how this goes. Money that is targeted to go to something else ends up going still somewhere else. And you guys have a poor track record at allocating funds to even your most heartfelt wishes.

(CROSSTALK)

GARAMENDI: Hey, our heartfelt wishes are with the people that are unemployed -- 2.5 million are going to lose their ability even to put a Christmas meal on the table.

And for the Republicans to use them as a stalking horse to give $80 billion to the top two percent of America's richest people is just plain unconscionable.

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