This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," December, 16 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, send me a letter, minority party. Address it to the other party. But I digress. House Republicans today sending off a letter to the big guy.
It reads in part — quote — "We are deeply troubled by your willingness to ignore the clear intent of Congress, which enacted TARP as a temporary measure designed exclusively to stabilize the financial markets." And we implore you to listen to Andrew Napolitano.
CAVUTO: No, it didn't say that, but you get the point. The president says that he is very open to using some of that dough to pay for a $150 billion jobs bill. Republicans say that is a no-no and that is unconstitutional.
My next guest disagrees.
Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick joins me, a member of the Appropriations Committee.
Congresswoman, worthy goal, worthy project, worthy effort though this might be in some eyes, this was not what TARP was intended for.
REP. CAROLYN KILPATRICK, D-MICH.: TARP was intended to balance to bail out our banks. And we have done a marvelous job with that, I might add. Many of them are returning funds as we speak.
And, as a result of that, this $150 billion jobs bill, which is sorely needed by our country, which will begin to repair the infrastructure, roads and bridges and the like, which will begin to people back to work, which is what America needs...
CAVUTO: That might all be well and good, Congresswoman but that was not the intent originally of this money. It would be like sort of saying, if I am getting a project on A House, and, all of a sudden, I have paid that off and someone else comes over and says, why don't you use the leftover funds for this?
KILPATRICK: Oh, wow.
Let me just tell you this. I am an appropriator. I'm one of 60 people who sits on the United States House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution is the commerce clause. And it allows and sets up the Appropriations Committee, what they give out, as well as recisions. So, money that comes back in the Treasury is the authority of the Congress. It is constitutional. Article 1, Section...
CAVUTO: But, Congresswoman, you are appropriating the rules to appropriate your needs. You're changing the rules as we go along.
KILPATRICK: No, no, no.
CAVUTO: No, no, no, ma'am, I am just saying this. And I will let you speak.
CAVUTO: But you are saying that this money that was originally earmarked for the banks, though many were against it, including myself at the time, you can't just re-appropriate after the fact and say, better yet, why don't we use this dough for this?
You just — when I did that playing "Monopoly," it was not good.
KILPATRICK: This is not "Monopoly."
CAVUTO: It is "Monopoly," because it is "Monopoly" money and it is not your money.
CAVUTO: Congresswoman, it's not your money.
KILPATRICK: Listen to me. Now may I speak?
The Constitution of the United States, Article 8, Section 1, the commerce clause, gives the United States Congress authority over the people's purse, which is the Treasury. So, though we sent the money out earlier to help the banks, and they're beginning to stabilize, the money comes back into the Treasury. And the Congress, only the Congress, given authority by the United States Constitution, has the right to...
KILPATRICK: ... major problem in our country.
CAVUTO: Nowhere in the Constitution did it say, all right, if you have a trillion-dollar bank rescue, and they give all the money back, can you re-appropriate that money and give it to any pet cause a congressman or congresswoman deems fashionable.
KILPATRICK: You are talking like a TV host.
KILPATRICK: I tell you what it is, and you're speculating.
CAVUTO: No, no, no.
CAVUTO: Ma'am, what I'm talking like is a taxpayer concerned you are blowing our future away. That's what I'm talking like.
KILPATRICK: There are millions of Americans who are unemployed. The best thing we can do today is get them back working for their families, so they can stay in their homes, so their children have safe places. This Congress is about jobs. And this is the first step to that.
CAVUTO: Then, give them that money.
CAVUTO: Since we forked over the money, give us the money back. If you are arguing that it is not a credit line, that it's not money out of ether, give it back. Just give it.
KILPATRICK: Many Americans are getting tax rebates back, and we are proud of that as well. We are also helping small businesses, so they can have tax breaks and employ other people. There is no unconstitutionality here.
CAVUTO: All right.
KILPATRICK: I am telling you, the Constitution allowed — that's what we do as members of Congress.
CAVUTO: Congresswoman, I know you mean well. I know you are trying to view your view of appropriations and your rights the way...
KILPATRICK: I'm talking constitutional law to you, sir.
CAVUTO: Man, oh, man. But nowhere in the Constitution did it allow for bank rescues. That's a whole 'nother issue.
But now I'm hearing, ma'am, that the debt limit has been raised by $290 billion. But 38 Democrats — this barely passed, ma'am — 38 Democrats voted against it. It seems that even your own party is getting a hangover on this. What do you make of that?
KILPATRICK: These are difficult times for people, no doubt about that.
I would be the first to say I didn't want to vote on it. But we have a responsibility to keep the federal government operating. We had surpluses eight years ago. We inherited the biggest debt in the history of our country.
CAVUTO: So, why are you piling on? Why are you piling on?
KILPATRICK: Because we have to take care of the people of America. That's what this is about.
CAVUTO: But you are doing it with checks that are bouncing.
KILPATRICK: We're not. There are no checks. No checks are bouncing.
CAVUTO: You just increased the credit limit, so that they won't bounce.
KILPATRICK: No checks are bouncing. No, no, no.
CAVUTO: Congresswoman, we just increased the debt limit.
KILPATRICK: Listen, sir. Listen. You are howling in my ear. You are howling in my ear.
CAVUTO: Howl back. Go ahead and howl back.
KILPATRICK: All checks are paid...
KILPATRICK: ... the United States government during — between now and December 31.
Because we are recessing for the Christmas holiday, we had to take some action to take us two months, two months, so that we can pay our bills. The federal government today, until December 31, can pay its bills.
The action that we just took — and it was a tough vote for me, too. No one wants to increase it. But at time when people are unemployed, when we don't have health care and people are getting sicker, at a time when our environment stinks and people are losing their homes, children need assistance. People need to be put back to work. And that is what you are seeing this Democratic Congress do.
CAVUTO: All right.
KILPATRICK: Do we want to decrease the debt and the deficit? Yes. And we will.
CAVUTO: But, ma'am, my only point, Congresswoman, is this, that it kind of reminds me of an old "Popeye" episode, right? Wimpy, or whatever his name is, I will gladly pay you tomorrow for a burger today. And you trust Wimpy that he's going to pay...
KILPATRICK: Way more serious. Way more serious than a "Popeye"...
CAVUTO: Well, actually, I don't know, because he's still saying he's going to pay us back tomorrow.
You still say you're going to make good on this tomorrow. I don't see it, but maybe it will happen.
KILPATRICK: But you know, and I love coming on this show, I really do, because I like to hear both sides as well.
As a citizen first, an appropriator and member of this Congress, it is our responsibility to see that the government pays its bills, that we put Americans back to work, that we have a health care system. And all of that is happening. So, it's difficult times for all of us. And we have to make difficult decisions.
KILPATRICK: I believe that we made the right one today.
CAVUTO: We shall see.
Congresswoman, regardless, always a pleasure.
KILPATRICK: Thank you. Thank you.
CAVUTO: Thank you very much.
KILPATRICK: Thank you,sir. Thank you.
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