OTR Interviews

What Will It Take to Get a Government Budget?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Jobs, jobs, we need them desperately. How are we going to get them? House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other Republicans hosted a forum on job creation today in Washington, D.C., and they invited business leaders to share their ideas. We sat down with the House majority leader.


VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, sir.

REP. ERIC CANTOR, R-VA., HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Greta, great to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: You had a forum today on jobs.

CANTOR: It was an opportunity for us to begin to demonstrate we are changing the culture here in Washington. For too long what we've seen is an attempt to really wave a magic wand and spend government taxpayer dollars to create jobs.

In contrast what we did today was, we had a forum in which real job creators, some of the largest in the country to some of the smallest, came together and we as members of Congress listened to them as to what they are facing and what they would like to see happen as far as their being able to create jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: There are lots of forums that go on around the city. But what did you learn leaving and do you think the people who attending it learn? What didn't you know before?

CANTOR: What I think is, what I heard was people really want is this country to return to the promise they thought we were about. We had a woman who was an owner of a small coal company in West Virginia. She is down to 24 employees. Because EPA has come in and big-footed the department of environmental protection in West Virginia, she has been denied four permits.

She said if the federal government could work in concert with that state's environmental protection department she could create 100 jobs. She could go from 24 jobs to 100 in a matter of two years if we just get with the attitude we want to work with entrepreneurs and business people and stop the adversarial relationship.

That's really what I think I've learned. Government is really providing an impediment to those who want to create jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: There's are two different types of permits. There are ones that prevent you from killing 50 people with some sloppy situation, and the permit that prevents from you creating and improving and making things better. How do we know which permit it is?

CANTOR: That point was made by one of the other individual who was with us, a president of a fortune 100 company, a multinational base in America that said regulation comes about in Washington often with laudable intent. But what in turn happens are unintended consequences then the intent of the regulation is totally soured by what it causes and the harm it causes to people trying to make it in this country.

And so we do have to do that it calls on all of us to look to the agencies in Washington and say, OK, are you doing your job? Are you doing the job with bearing in mind we need sensible regulation? We are not talking about ideological purity legislation, the type that may look good in theory. Let's weigh it the facts and what impact it will have on job creators.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you about the continuing resolution. The budget is well overdue. Now we have another two or three week continuing resolution because we can't get a budget to finish the end of the year. How do the American people get the House, Senate, and White House to do a budget?

CANTOR: Listen, we've been asking that question. I think we've always said we are not coming to shut down the government. We want to cut spending - that's what this is about. We want to cut spending so there's a better environment for job creation.

VAN SUSTEREN: You want to cut $61 billion, right?

CANTOR: That's a start.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's this year? I ask because that is less than two percent. It is like chump change. That's an enormous amount of money, but chump change.

CANTOR: That's the House's position. The Senate couldn't muster the 60 votes to agree to that.

Let's step back for a second. The reason why we can't get last year's work done is because our last Congress were derelict in their duty and kicked the can. We are saying, fine, let's resolve this.

We have got more things to do. We know the real problems from a fiscal standpoint the entitlement programs. If we want to live the veil of as far as the government continuing to spend and borrow, we've got to come to grips with the facts there's not enough money. We are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend here.

VAN SUSTEREN: The American people agree, but you have the power to do. And it is not being done. The House is going on vacation next week. You passed it until April 8th, now you are going on vacation.

CANTOR: The Senate and House are going to be out next week.

VAN SUSTEREN: We call it vacation.

CANTOR: Call it what you will. We are about trying to make sure that we listen to the people that put us here. That's really what has happened. If we don't remember who put us here, all the answers come out of Washington.

And that's what is going on with this budget debate right now. Somehow, we are seeing the Senate say all they can muster from Harry Reid's standpoint is $10 billion dollars off of the current year's budget? That's the status quo.

VAN SUSTEREN: I didn't get my answer on why everyone is taking off next week.

CANTOR: I'll respond to that. We put a schedule in place so we can go back and with the people who elected us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Your idea is to let everyone talk to his or her constituents --

CANTOR: The problem is up until this year we have been in a schedule that folks have not been allowed to go home and speak to their constituents. What we intend and we'll be in as many days this year as we were in the past, but yet we provided certainty so constituents can see the people they elected to go to Washington.

And frankly, we should be that Jeffersonian model, citizen legislators. We shouldn't be creatures of this town. We come from our districts, and that's where we ought to get the guidance.