This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," November 6, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," historic gains give Republicans new clout in Washington, but will it be different this time around? We'll ask former and future Republican Senator Dan Coats.
Plus, lessons from the elections. What Tuesday taught us with the Tea Party candidates and why the Republican wave did not sweep the coast.
And the return of divided government. Now that Republicans have the House, what will they do with it?
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Well, among the wins for the Republicans on Tuesday night were six Senate pick-ups, including the seat in Indiana, vacated by retiring Democrat Evan Bayh. In that race, Dan Coats defeated Democratic Congressman Brad Ellsworth, returning to the seat he left in 1999, after serving a decade in the Senate.
I spoke with Senator Coats earlier and what he thinks will be different this time?
SENATOR-ELECT DAN COATS, R-IND.: Paul, last time we were running relatively balanced budgets. We had a number of issues. But by the same token, this year, we're looking at an entirely different situation. From a fiscal standpoint, our government is really in tough shape. We're plunging into debt and spending money that we don't have. Clearly, we need to take bold action now. No more little incremental things. We've got to address the economic down turn and economic stagnation that we're currently in. Companies are not hiring. They are not buying new equipment. They are not expanding their plants.
The future of America, from an economic standpoint and growth absolutely has to be part of the equation here, along with stopping some excessive spending in Washington. We've got to get this country back on track. Everything flows from that, whether we support our military, foreign policy initiatives and many, many other domestic programs. If we don't get our economy in shape and get it in shape soon or at least in the target toward recovery, we're going to continue to have a lot of problems.
GIGOT: Now I'm told you have been saying to people, correct me if I'm wrong, that you think the United States Senate has to change the way it's been doing business. Is that right?
GIGOT: And how do you change it? They've still got that 60-vote filibuster rule, which they had when you were there, and that's a barrier to really bold action, is it not?
COATS: It is a barrier. At the very least we need to remove the 60-vote rule for bringing a bill to the floor and actually debating it and voting on it. The American people deserve that we are transparent with them, that we take one item at a time, that we register our yeas and our nays and be accountable to the American people for what we've done. There's been too much gathering at the end and throwing it into one big package, too much combining bills. And people say well I voted for it because I know it's got some bad stuff, but the good outweighs the bad. We need one issue, one time, one debate, one vote on an expedited schedule. There's just too much need for moving forward with action to address our serious economic situation and a number of other issues to not go forward on that basis. So I'm going to work to try to streamline the situation and move things forward.
GIGOT: Let me ask you about the debate on the Republican side that's already to emerge. The speaker presumptive, John Boehner says he wants an earmark ban, a moratorium. The minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell says, no, he doesn't favor that. Who's side are you on?
COATS: There's the middle ground here. What I want, and it goes to the first answer that I gave you, I want a procedure, a process where something is vetted. It's discussed in committee and voted on, it's brought before the floor and people have an up or down vote on it. What I don't want are earmarks that are simply attached at the end or put into a bill and we only find out about it later. Every item, if it's controversial, ought to have the opportunity for us to say yes or no on. So there's a definition of earmark that I think needs to be stopped. And there's the definition of special projects that ought to be discussed, debated and voted on.
GIGOT: You were there in the 1990s when the Republicans tried to cut spending. And they were attacked by the Democrats for gutting school lunches and throwing grandma in the snow, trying to cut Medicare.
How do you cut spending when you go in, as Republicans want to do and you said you want to do, and avoid those kinds of attacks that ultimately did slow the Republican — Republicans back to a balanced budget in the 1990s?
COATS: Well, look, if I'm a Democrat, they ought to be looking at the results of the 2010 election. What the people want is action, real action on this spending. A super majority of people across the country expressed that desire on Tuesday evening.