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Interview with Representative Krisi Noem

Interview with Representative Krisi Noem

By The Situation Room - September 8, 2011

BLITZER: All right, let's get some Republican insight now on the president's big speech tonight before a joint session of Congress.

Joining us, the congresswoman from South Dakota, Kristi Noem. She is a member of the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

Congresswoman, thanks very much for coming in.

REP. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Yes, thank you for having me, Wolf. Appreciate it.

BLITZER: It is fair to describe you as a Tea Party supporter, is that right?

NOEM: Well, I certainly have a lot of ideals that agree with what the Tea Party supports as well. So, a lot of my supporters back home are members of the Tea Party.

BLITZER: Now, you support reduced taxes for everyone, right?

NOEM: I do. Well, I think we need to have competitive tax rates in order to create jobs in this country. And I think it should be fair. We have a need for some real tax reforms in this country. And that's been one of the goals that I came here to Congress to accomplish.

BLITZER: So, can we just assume that all the tax cuts that the president will unveil tonight for the middle class, the payroll tax cuts, tax cuts for businesses that hire unemployed individuals or veterans, that you're automatically going to support those tax cuts? NOEM: Well, I am always in favor of the American people keeping more money in their pockets. Some of those tax cuts may be appropriate. Some may not at this point in time. What I'm truly looking for is something that will be effective, because at this point in time, people are frustrated and they want real solutions.

BLITZER: Well, which tax cuts that the president might unveil tonight -- and you know the general outlines of what he's talking about -- would not be effective, would you oppose voting in favor of those tax cuts?

NOEM: I haven't seen anything that the president has laid out there so far or a lot of the gossip that's been out there talking about what he might lay out tonight. I haven't seen any of them that right now I could say I am totally against it.

So, as far as I'm concerned, I am willing to talk about anything.

BLITZER: Well, you also -- are you open to some increased spending, assume it can be paid for, to build bridges and new roads and better schools, hiring more teachers, first-responders? Those kinds of ideas are going to be in the president's plan tonight to get jobs going. Is that something you could support?

NOEM: Well, I'm very concerned about that, because we tried that already. The president did that in the last stimulus package. And it wasn't effective.

We have lost more jobs. So I'm looking for things that will actually work. And really, honestly, Wolf, if we're going to talk about more spending, our kids are the ones that are going to be paying for it. So when I look at spending more dollars, I look at the fact, do I really want my kids and your kids and everybody else's kids in this country to have to pay that bill? Because we are certainly not going it pay for it.

BLITZER: When you say the country has lost more jobs, what do you mean? Because since then, there have been increases, albeit very modest increases? And there were zero jobs created in August. But it hasn't gone down 100,000 or 500,000 or 700,000, as was the case during the final months of the Bush administration.

NOEM: We're haven't seen a long-term increase in jobs, though.

And people talk about the stimulus package and the jobs that it was supposed to create, it certainly didn't have the intended effects that everybody was hoping for or that the president and administration certainly was hoping for. So I think it's time to lay some new solutions on the table, some new ideas.

And, honestly, when I go home and I talk to people who own small businesses and who are the job creators in this country, they want the regulations gone. They want the administration to stop giving them more requirements that cost them more money and more time because they spend more time investing dollars into that, rather than hiring people and putting them back to work. BLITZER: The proposals for tax increases for the wealthiest Americans or for some big corporations who are making billions in profits, the president presumably still supports all of that. Is that something you categorically reject?

NOEM: Well, a lot of what the president has talked about in the past has been raising taxes on those small business and job creators.

So I'm not in favor of doing that at this point in time. But there is some tax reforms we could do. We could close some loopholes and some exemptions that were put in decades ago could be looked at and reevaluated, because, honestly, we have a convoluted and a complicated tax system that it has essentially been the government coming in and picking winners and losers. And that needs to stop.

We need to have it more fair. We need to broaden our base and make sure that we're contributing.

BLITZER: So would you support closing some of those loopholes that would require General Electric, for example, to start paying federal income tax or for ExxonMobil, which is making billions, to stop getting certain tax breaks? Would you support that?

NOEM: I think that we can talk about all different kinds of specifics and loopholes, but, absolutely, some of those. If we can say that those tax cuts would actually create jobs and not increase the cost for American people out there, I think those are solutions that we could consider.

BLITZER: Those wouldn't be tax cuts. They would be tax increases for those specific individuals or for the campaigns, GE, for example, and for ExxonMobil. Those would be tax increases, in effect, for them. They would not be tax cuts.

One final question, Congresswoman, before I let you go. Some of your colleagues, Joe Walsh, for example, of Illinois and others, they have decided to boycott the president coming before a joint session of Congress.

You will be there on the floor tonight; is that right?

NOEM: Oh, absolutely. I think it's unfortunate that people won't come and hear the president speak. He is the leader of our country. He says that he has got some solutions. Hopefully, he will cast a vision.

And, essentially, we need everybody at the table. We need to fix this for the American people.

BLITZER: Kristi Noem is the U.S. congresswoman from South Dakota, a wonderful state indeed.

NOEM: Yes, it is.

BLITZER: Congresswoman, thanks very much. I know you are going to be walking into the House floor very, very soon. We will check in with you later. Thanks so much.

NOEM: Sounds great. Thanks, Wolf. Appreciate it.

BLITZER: Kristi Noem is from South Dakota, a Republican. 

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