Rep. Harman: McCain Must Address Senate

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," October 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: One journalist says that conflicts and alleged corruption surrounding the bailout have impacted internal Democratic Party deliberations. Take a look at this. David Sirota says that -- he wrote this in "These Times", "Though House Democrats spent yesterday claiming that the original Paulson plan was amended to include stronger protections for taxpayers, the Treasury Department was simultaneously holding a secret conference call with Wall Street analysts explaining how those new provisions were specifically written to be unenforceable."

Sirota is going to be our guest later in the show. He'll explain where he got that story.

But first, we're joined by Democratic California congressman, Jane Harman, for reaction to that.

Congresswoman, good evening. Good to have you here.


Video: Watch Martha's interview with Jane Harman

MACCALLUM: What's your reaction to that claim?

HARMAN: Well, I don't know if it's true. I would be surprised. That would obviously hurt over here. The House vote, nobody missed it, was negative on Monday, to my disappointment. I think, as Senator Obama just said, and every single leader of the Senate has just said, bipartisan, that what is a crisis now will be a catastrophe if we don't pass a relief package.

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The Senate has just added to the bill some tax extenders for energy, for renewable energy. That's a good thing, to support renewable energy credits. However, in the Senate bill, they're not paid for, and that is something that many of us over here on part of the Blue Dog coalition think is a wrong direction. But even with that, I agree with our majority leader, Steny Hoyer, that we must pass this package.

Senator Obama just gave pretty good remarks. By the way, I just heard that Senator McCain may not deliver remarks on the Senate floor. I find that astounding. This is the critical vote of this term of Congress, and he is AWOL. I don't understand it.

And, oh, by the way, all four Republicans from Arizona voted "no" on the package in the House on Monday. He's from Arizona. So, I think Senator McCain, I hope, will try to deliver some more Republican votes here where we were deficient. The Democrats did more than we were asked to do. The Republicans did less.

MACCALLUM: Right. Well, we should point out that there's no word either way on whether or not he will speak. He has been expected to speak this afternoon, and, you know, his people are just saying we can't confirm or deny that at this point. So, you're right. That's an interesting point, and we'll all be watching that with great interest.

HARMAN: (INAUDIBLE) and put the country first. Absolutely.

MACCALLUM: Tell me, Representative, you know, the American people seemed to be somewhat pleased the other day to a great extent that that first bill was shot down. Tell them why they should feel so much better about this one. And Wall Street seems to be faring OK in the last couple of sessions without a bill.

HARMAN: Well, that's not quite true. Stock prices have stabilized on the hope that we will fix this. But the credit markets are totally frozen. That's a statistic given by everyone who just spoke in the Senate, and I'm sure by those speaking now.

My state of California has 37,000 people. The treasurer of California has said we are going to run out of money by the end of the month and we will not be able to pay nurses, teachers, firefighters, law enforcement. 5,000 counties and cities and school districts in California will have no money to pay anyone. Millions of people, as you have heard, if the unemployment rate goes up to 8 percent..


HARMAN: Millions of Americans are going to be out of work. That hasn't changed since Monday. And it's only going to get worse, not better, if Congress doesn't act. This is not a beautiful solution.

MACCALLUM: No, it's not.

HARMAN: The request was imperfect, and this is really not great, but it is the best that Congress can field in a short period of time. Both candidates for president support it.


HARMAN: All the leaders of both houses support it. And I would urge, at least speaking to the House where I serve, more Republican members, especially those from John McCain's own state, to step up, and I think he needs to be here, speaking on the floor and come over to the House and urge our members, his members, to put their country first.

MACCALLUM: All right. Congresswoman, thank you very much.

HARMAN: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: I think a lot of people across the country are shaking their head, how did we get into this dire situation while everybody was watching all of this unravel.

HARMAN: You bet.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. Let's hope for the best.

HARMAN: Thank you.

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