This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," November 13, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Seven hundred billion-plus in bailout cash, now big questions today over who is just keeping track of all of that cash, your cash. A month-and-a-half after Congress approved it, who is watching it? Apparently, no one — a report today that the oversight posts established by Congress are still unfilled, initial monitoring is overdue, and the guy running the show in the meantime called it a mess, but whose mess?
Chris Cannon is a member of the House Oversight Committee. He voted for the bailout.
Congressman, whose fault is this?
REP. CHRIS CANNON (R), UTAH: Oh, you know, this actually goes back a ways. It was interesting to listen to Barry Goldwater and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer talk a little bit back and forth.
But one of the fundamental disagreements I had with leadership when I got elected was that Republicans, when they took power, decided to show by example that they could cut their budget and the rest of the government should cut it as well.
And you remember that, actually, in 1996, we cut the budget. We did not cut the rate of growth. We actually cut spending in that year.
CAVUTO: Well, that was then. You have slipped a long way from then.
CANNON: Yes. Oh, we sure did.
CAVUTO: And part of that is...
CAVUTO: So, I mean, you guys forgot your resolve. I don't know about you personally, but you forgot your resolve on spending.
But why didn't you check off on someone looking over this money when you voted for the money?
So, what happened in 1995, when the Republicans took over, is they fired their oversight staff. So, you know, I have heard numbers of 200 to 400 people working for John Dingell when he was the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
And, today, we probably have 20 or 30 people altogether who are oversight folks in Congress.
CAVUTO: All right, well, Congressman, I understand what you are saying, sir, but, if that was the case, why did you vote for this money, knowing very well that there wasn't anyone there to look over the money?
CANNON: Well, it is absolutely clear.
And if Steny Hoyer is still listening, we need more oversight staff in Congress. That's something that is vitally important.
CAVUTO: Well, didn't you know that when you voted for this?
CANNON: Sure I did. And the reason I voted for it is because we...
CAVUTO: So, why did you vote for it if there was no oversight?
CANNON: Well, there is no congressional oversight, but, thank heavens, Neil, if I can blatantly suck up here for a moment, we have you.
And, in fact, I love your program because you let reasonable people talk and develop their ideas, and you let unreasonable people develop their ideas. And when that happens, you sometimes ask these puncturing, sort of thoughtful questions.
CAVUTO: But wouldn't you then — I appreciate that, Congressman.
CAVUTO: But, then, would it not have been a reasonable assumption to assume, before anyone approved this package, that the I's were dotted, the T's were crossed, and there was someone looking at that?
CANNON: Well, there are people looking at it.
CAVUTO: Who? Who?
CANNON: In fairness, Hank Paulson, I think, has done a great job in what he's doing.
CAVUTO: Hank just changed the rules, Congressman. He just...
CANNON: He did change the rules.
Well, of course he changed the rules, because the environment is so volatile and changeable. So, the question is, do you want Congress to stop him from changing the rules, or do you want Congress to look at what he does and make he sure he does it thoughtfully and without corruption? Because that is what Congress is not doing.
CAVUTO: No, I think I just — I think I speak for a lot of taxpayers.
CAVUTO: I want Congress to stop everything until they realize what they are doing, you know?
CANNON: Good. Then get Steny Hoyer back on and tell him he needs more oversight staff.
You know, the House has always done it. The Senate is doing it to some degree. But the House has always been the lead, historically...
CAVUTO: Well, all you guys are responsible for this, right? There is no oversight. There is no — you know, right?
CANNON: That's right. Neil, you're absolutely right.
CAVUTO: All right.
Well, Congressman, very good having you.
CANNON: There is — there is oversight, because...
CAVUTO: All right.
CANNON: ... Paulson has been appealing to the public.
CANNON: And he's done it in a very thoughtful way.
CAVUTO: Thank you, Congressman.
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