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Transcript: Should the Government Bail Out the Insurance Industry?

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 8, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews. 

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Some of the most powerful women in Washington were flexing their political muscles in New York today. While in town for a women's Senate New York event, they visited Times Square and closed the trading session at the Nasdaq marketsite. That was it earlier today. Hillary Clinton was in attendance as well.

We're very privileged now to speak with a couple of those distinguished senators as well. Joining us from the Nasdaq marketsite, Senator Patty Murray from Washington state and Debbie Stabenow, the senator of Michigan. Senators, welcome to both of you.

Senator Murray, to you first, the president is expected to talk to the insurance industry in about five minutes or so, where he is going to be talking about an emergency insurance, terror insurance, that would help the insurance industry. Are you for that?

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: Well, it depends on what the details of it are. There's actually several bills in the Senate to deal with the issue of insurance for terrorism. We have been looking at all of them since late December. And we feel very strongly that it is an issue we need to deal with. In fact, the Democrats tried to bring it up on the floor of the Senate today and the Republicans objected. So I think there is some details to work out, but I think both Senator Stabenow and I understand the impact this has on the real estate market and on homeowners and owners of offices and buildings that we need to deal with this issue.

CAVUTO: Senator Stabenow, do you think that this is something we have got to do now, that the more time we put off it would dangerous to our recovery?

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Well, I do think, and particularly here in New York today as we are, I had a chance to visit ground zero again and to be able to speak with people that are very concerned about the ability to rebuild, and that is really what the insurance issue is all about, is that being able to decline risk, place some levels of certainty around the level of risk so that the insurance companies can price their products, and economic development can occur. So I do think that something needs to happen. As Senator Murray said, the devil is always in the details, and we have had various versions of what amount should the companies be responsible for, when should the federal government step in, and so those are the kinds of details that need to be worked out.

CAVUTO: Senator Murray, this happened on the same day as, you are fully aware, ma'am, the Iraqis are withholding oil on our markets. On a separate issue here, I am curious what your reaction is to that and whether it heightens the need for us to find alternative energy, perhaps in Alaska?

MURRAY: There is no doubt that we cannot continue this cyclical debate on our dependency on oil. It comes around every 10 or 15 years and we see the price of oil go up and a tremendous impact to average families` ability to pay for heating oil or gas for their car, and it's something we cannot continue to do.

CAVUTO: But would you be open, Senator, to exploring Prudhoe Bay?

MURRAY: No. I think what we have done wrongly is invest all the money we have on energy resource in one thing, which is oil production. It is time for us to look at alternative energy sources, such as wind or solar or other types of biomass energy, so that we don't keep coming back to this same debate of what the Gulf is doing to us, in terms of what they do with oil and whether we should drill in sensitive places.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, as we're waiting to hear from the president, ladies, at the Eisenhower executive office building. He'll be speaking very shortly.

But, Senator, I am curious of one thing, and, Senator Stabenow, you can help me with this, this notion that this president is losing support for an outright attack on Iraq, is that true?

STABENOW: Well, I think at this point and time, we have got to make sure that we have all the information and we are coming together to make the very best decision for the country. And at this point, there is a lot of questions of Iraq. How do we keep a broad coalition? We have...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Senator, what if we do not have that broad coalition, it is just us going in there? How comfortable are you with that?

STABENOW: Well, I think at this point, it depends on the circumstances. I think we have to be extremely cautious if we do not have a broader coalition that will allow us to fight broadly the war on terrorism. It does not mean we should not go in there, but I think it means that we have to ask some very tough questions and feel very comfortable that it's the right thing for our people going along.

MURRAY: The president has not made the case to Congress or the country of why we should go in alone at this point. And I think Senator Stabenow is absolutely correct. We need a broad coalition of our neighbors around the world to take on an effort like this and be successful.

CAVUTO: Senator Murray, Senator Stabenow, thank you both very much.

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