OTR Interviews

What Economic Crisis? Congressional Splurging Revealed

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 15, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Times are tough and everyone is tightening his or her belt -- well, almost everyone. According to "The Washington Times," some members of congress are splurging on lavish meals on your dime.

Some examples-- Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo. She's a delegate from Guam and spent more than $6,000 on a dinner for 300 people at a resort in Guam. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer spent $5,380 on a women's networking fair.

Republican Congresswoman Jeanne Schmidt, she spent more than $4,600 on a catered even at the capital.

Economic crisis, what economic crisis? Joining us is Steve Moore, senior economic writer for "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page.

Steve, everyone has done it. This does not seem like a good time to be caught spending -- or even spending money, even if it's legitimate, legal, and the whole works. And this is legal, but it just does not look good.

STEVE MOORE, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": It sure doesn't, Greta. And it really infuriates me to see the way Congress is living by a different standard, by a different set of rules.

We have 10 percent unemployment, and even those who have jobs are feeling the pinch of this recession. Most families are cutting back on their expenditures, maybe not taking that second vacation this year because they cannot afford it.

And, meanwhile, Congress is spending $6,000 on banquets and going to places like Guam to these very high-class resorts. That was supposed to be a women's equality luncheon. I mean, my goodness. What are they doing spending all of this money? Many of these members spent up to $20,000 redecorating their offices?

Do they understand we are in a recession? Do they consider this a fiscal stimulus when they spent $20,000 on their office?

VAN SUSTEREN: I want to separate a couple of things. One is the congressional delegations overseas, which I support. They are smart. You see Iraq, Afghanistan, you talk to world leaders, you get a better idea. Traveling makes them better at their jobs.

MOORE: Greta, hold on. They are going to these posh resorts. That is not a fact-finding mission.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you had let me finish, you would have heard that I agree with you.

(LAUGHTER)

But this is different to have these sort of lavish meals. One other thing is that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a pledge of transparency back in June, and she actually has fulfilled that, because you go to the dispersements.house.gov, and on November 30 it went up and it showed about these expenditures.

And the one thing I also appreciate is transparency. She delivered on this, and it has been promised us by other members of our government, it at least allows us to see who is spending what, where, so that when you go to vote in November, you can vote with what is consistent with what you want. Now it's your turn.

MOORE: I agree with you. Transparency is a good thing. But we are in a very deep recession. We are not out of this recession. We have so many Americans are finding it hard to believe that Congress is living so high on the hog.

They are having these huge banquets with filet mignon and chicken cordon bleu. They have the menus for some these events, and I think it just makes Americans feel angry.

A lot of the members of Congress are millionaires, and some of them are multimillionaires. Why don't they do what a lot of CEOs are doing right now and maybe work for a dollar a year? It is just a waste of money.

And, Greta, as you know, tomorrow, a $1.8 trillion bill debt increase bill, and it's because of this is the kind of expenditure that just adds up.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's not that kind of expenditure, it's that kind of thinking. And we should say for the members of Congress, and because there is no member of Congress here, let me take the position that many of them very work hours, and when they are finished on Friday they run home to their districts to serve their constituents, shake hands, raise money, and they are back on Monday morning. It is not glamorous, and their trips overseas do benefit.

It's when they have these lavish meals at a time of economic distress that makes all of us wonder. But that is the beauty of transparency is, is that we as citizens, we can look at it. Are they spending money to stay at a place in Kabul? Or are they spending money to stay at a place in Guam with 6,000 of their friends?

MOORE: You and I agree on that, Greta. When they are going over to visit the troops or understand what's going on with the economy of these countries I think it is certainly fine.

But when you go to Copenhagen and these governmental organizations, you can't get a limousine in Copenhagen today. I thought this was about reducing carbon.

There was a $20,000 -- sorry $17,846 spent by Representative Donna Edwards of Maryland on printing and advertising. Printing and advertising? What is she advertising? She is a member of Congress.

I think these members of Congress simply start spending money like it is monopoly money, not like it is real money that you have to work for and pay taxes for.

VAN SUSTEREN: Disbursements.house.gov, real transparency. Go look at it and see what your representatives are doing. Steve, thank you.

MOORE: Thank you, Greta.

Content and Programming Copyright 2009 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and CQ Transcriptions, LLC's copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.