This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 15, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We certainly can clos e the loopholes that give tax breaks for to big oil asking young people to pay more for their college education tax breaks to companies that send their jobs overseas while we ask seniors to pay for more Medicare, and the list goes on.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Well the president's proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America, the policies that are needed to put America back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: Top party leaders in the House weighing in today on plans to create jobs. John Boehner, the speaker, unveiled his own plan today. And before the break we asked you in our question of the day -- will House Speaker John Boehner's jobs plan pass the House and Senate? Well, 23 percent of you say yes, 77 percent say no.
Panel, I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Democrats do control the Senate, and I can't imagine that they're gonna be excited about passing anything that John Boehner puts together. Steve, what do you make of the conversation, because it sounded like today that speaker Boehner was hinting at a little bit of room to compromise.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well you have Democrats in the Senate who aren't excited about President Obama's jobs plan.
BREAM: That's true.
HAYES: So I certainly agree that they won't be excited about John Boehner's. Look, the most important or the most interesting fact to emerge today was that President Obama never actually called John Boehner to talk about his jobs bill. I mean, this is a president who had campaigned in the Midwest, you know, on his jobs tour in the Midwest before he announced this bill, and said I'm going to propose this jobs bill and then I'm gonna campaign against Republicans if they reject it.
He opened and closed his speech before Congress by saying this is not at all about politics. We need to all come together and work together. And yet we find out that he has not yet called John Boehner, the single most important person to get this through Congress if he actually, if the president actually intends to get through Congress. The president never bothers to pick up the phone, and call him, despite the fact that John Boehner sent a letter with Eric Cantor on September 6, inviting the president to have this bipartisan meeting to talk about what they could do together on jobs.
I mean if there were any question -- I don't think there really was much of a question, but if there were any question that President Obama is doing this entirely for politics and that he never thought there was any chance of having this pass Congress. I think it was resolved today.
BREAM: Well, he said, "pass this bill." And he said it to Congress, we know, more than 100 times this week. So Mary Katharine, does it strike you as strange that he wouldn't accept this phone call or meeting invitation from the speaker?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, THE DAILY CALLER: Well yeah, I think his greatest need is to have the fight over the bill, instead of to pass the bill. It may be also be his greatest desire, as we see by the priorities that he's making here. I think the Republicans have been pretty good in tone in not seeming obstructionist over this. I know there are some things we could like here. Axelrod on the other hand, saying this cannot come apart in any way. Take it or leave it. This is all you get. So it sounds very much to me like they're not interested in negotiating and Republicans are.
On top of that, I think you have a lot of Democrats very overtly saying we're not really big fans of this either. On the liberal side, you've got DeFazio and you've got Jim Webb, sort of the Blue Dog folks that you would expect to hear from. But it's beginning to look very much like the Republicans are not the issue here and maybe he doesn't want to pass the bill.
BREAM: Well, it's interesting today that Speaker Boehner said absolutely one of the deals for him is a no tax increases. He says that always kills jobs. That's the position he is coming from. And a lot of this conversation ties in the joint select committee, the big super committee on the Hill that is making decisions about long-term economic policy in this country.
I want to play a little bit of a sound bite today from, remind myself -- Senator Kent Conrad. There was this bipartisan group of senators who got together today and they're urging that committee to go, you know, swing for the fences. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KENT CONRAD, D-N.D.: This is a message from the large group of senators to the special committee, that we're with you. Be brave. Be bold. Go big. We know that the goal that has been set for them, $1.2 - $1.5 trillion, is a beginning but it should not be the ending. We urgently need a package in the range of $4 trillion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So Charles, he is asking them to triple what they have been mandated to do. Is it easy from the outside looking in to ask that committee to come up with those numbers?
CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I'm smiling here because I'm just trying to picture myself as a member of that super-committee listening to Kent Conrad saying, go ahead, fellows, I've got your back. Don't worry -- don't worry about anything. He is retiring from the Senate. He has nothing to worry about. He is not going to run for re-election.
But seriously, ya know, people I talk to in the investment committee have been saying that if you really wanted to do something for the economy to improve business confidence, create jobs, and so forth, the best thing you can do would be to come back with something bigger than what they are talking about at the super-committee, a package that would really set this country on a stable fiscal course for the future.
I'm afraid John Boehner made that a little harder today when he said we gotta take tax increases off the table. And remember, before he was bragging that he had been willing to have them on the table when he was talking to President Obama. If you want to have a compromise, I'm afraid you're gonna have to stump up on the revenue side, and he seems to not want to do that.
BREAM: Well, Mary Katharine, there is plenty of talk about tax reform and closing loopholes as long as it doesn't amount to something that's seen as a tax increase. But ya know the Tea Party and others have fought about the semantics of that.
HAM: Right. It's very tricky. I think everybody was sort of trying to massage the committee, its an unknown quantity. They're trying to put their stamp on it before it starts its work. But I think, the Tea Party does and folks like that object to tax hikes but they also object to crony capitalism. And I think that is something that has gained a big limelight recently. Solyndra one of the reasons for it, but on the right as well.
And so I think sort of taking out the string pulling of the tax structure would be something that could appeal to the right. Even if it does mean that in some cases it looks like a tax hike. So I think going broad in that sense would maybe not be a bad idea. And it's a good message to businesses.
BREAM: Do you have a super-quick last thought?
HAYES: Yeah, I think it's almost always a good time to be an absolutist against tax increases, but it's especially a good time to do that when we are now potentially sliding in a double-dip recession.
BREAM: Alright, panel, that's it. But stay tuned. We've shown you the president's repeated calls to pass his jobs bill. Now he is calling on you to help. Find out how one celebrity is weighing in on that idea.
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