OTR Interviews

Pres. Obama's Jobs Bill DOA in the Senate?

Are rumors of president's job's plan death in the Senate premature?

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 10, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And tomorrow is a big vote in the United States Senate, the one we've all been waiting for. Is the president's jobs bill going to pass, or is it dead in the water? Republican senator from Wyoming, John Barrasso, joins use.

Good evening, sir.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, R-WYO.: Great to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, the jobs bill, the president's jobs bill -- pass or not tomorrow?

BARRASSO: I don't think it's going to pass tomorrow, but it is never going to get to the president's desk. It will not get through both houses of Congress. It will not get to him for signature.

And you know, I don't think he wants to get it to sign. I think he wants to use this as the campaign manifesto for the next year-and-a-half because he's only really interested in one job in this country and that's his own.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, how -- how -- how's it help them, just the fact (INAUDIBLE) Senate votes it down, does that help him?

BARRASSO: Well, I think he wants to use it in a divisive way to try to divide our country. And I think that what he's been doing with his class warfare and vilifying people who have experienced the American dream, I think that that's a dangerous message to send to the American people.

VAN SUSTEREN: On the flip side, though, I mean, I think -- you know, I hear people say that he wants to use it, but I know, for instance, you introduced a jobs bill. Did yours ever get voted on?

BARRASSO: Harry Reid has blocked things all the way. (INAUDIBLE) Western caucus jobs frontier, a lot of senators have come together to support this. It gets us more focused on energy because you have lower-cost energy. That is a very important part of a vibrant economy. This gets -- it's also part of national security because if we're providing more American energy, you know, offshore, on federal land and in Alaska, I think that's a good thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I guess the reason I raise it is because in order for it to be sort of a political weapon to say, Well, I came up with an idea as president and I've sent it to Congress and they just voted it down, is that they would -- the Republicans would have to be sort of void of any ideas. And the fact that the Republicans -- the fact that you have a proposal, whether it's a good proposal or not, sort of defeats that. It's not a very powerful weapon to him if he simply -- if he uses his Democratic machine (INAUDIBLE) essentially not to even bring yours up for a vote!

BARRASSO: Well, they've been blocking the efforts to vote for this. The -- we've got to get a rid of a lot of these regulations. If you really want the economy to grow -- and Greta, there are 14 million Americans who want to work. About 4 million of them have been out of work for over a year. There's a better chance that they'll never work again, those people that have been out of work for over a year, than that they'll get a job.

People are hurting around the country, and I think for the president to play politics with this is a mistake. This is a way to get people to work. And we have all these regulations! This president and this administration is on a regulatory rampage. These are expensive.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, you talk about the people who are out of work or want work. There are those who are underemployed, people who would like to work full-time or would like to return to jobs that was commensurate with their work experience. I mean, there are a lot of people who are underemployed, too, that aren't even factored into your number. I mean, it's even worse. It's bleaker than that.

BARRASSO: And it is. And you take a look -- we know what doesn't work. And more borrowing and spending and overregulating and threatening tax increases doesn't work. The first stimulus didn't work, and this won't either.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's what I was going to ask you. Is this -- I have heard the Republicans say that this is just stimulus 2. This is $447 billion, his job plan, and the first one was about $850 or some billion in February of '09, stimulus 1. Are the -- are the Democrats really pushing this? Are they standing behind it or they just sort of going to the -- I don't get the sense that the Democrats in the Senate are heavily advocating for this.

BARRASSO: To the point that they actually -- Harry Reid changed the rules of the Senate last Thursday night because the Democrats did not want to vote and do not want to vote on the president's job proposal, the one that he said, Pass this -- a dozen times, he said, Pass this bill now, no changes. The Democrats have said and over a half dozen have said, We don't want to vote on this, we will not vote for this. Even Chuck Schumer of New York didn't want to vote on the president's original proposal.

So they're spending time trying to rewrite it, not to make it better from the standpoint of actually helping people get jobs, but to use it more as a political weapon in a campaign for the next year-and-a-half.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the rewrite -- the one that I think you're voting on tomorrow adds the millionaire or billionaire tax, a billionaire tax to it, is that correct?

BARRASSO: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's the rewrite.

(CROSSTALK)

BARRASSO: Go ahead.

VAN SUSTEREN: With the rewrite, are the Democrats thrilled, or the Democratic senators?

BARRASSO: Not all of them, and some have said they're not going to vote to even get to the 60 cloture vote tomorrow. Others have said, well, they might go to proceed to it but wouldn't vote for it in the end. Even the president a year ago said you shouldn't raise taxes on anybody at a time like this. And the Department of Treasury says about four out of five of the people that will be affected by this are actually the job creators of this country. So this is -- if you raise their taxes, they're less likely to hire people. We need to get people back to work, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I take it no Republican are going to vote for it. Do you have -- what's your sort of guess how many Democrats going to vote against it tomorrow?

BARRASSO: I know a couple I think they're going to vote against it. Joe Lieberman has already said he's not -- may vote to go to it, but won't vote for it. Ben Nelson has said he will vote against cloture tomorrow.

VAN SUSTEREN: So when -- so after the vote tomorrow, if the vote doesn't pass tomorrow, the Republicans come out and say, I told you so, and the Democrats come out and say, Those bad Republicans, they don't want to create jobs.

BARRASSO: And I say we want to create jobs and this Western caucus approach is a good one. It's red, white and blue jobs, American jobs. It's helping put people to work -- people back to work and making us more energy-secure and getting rid of these regulations, which are very expensive.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has the president -- has the president had any sort of presence, making phone calls or anything, to Capitol Hill to push this?

BARRASSO: Doesn't look like he's really lobbying for this even with his own members. There was an article in The Washington Post about it this weekend. He doesn't seem to be making the calls or making the visits to the Hill because I don't really believe he wants to get this thing passed.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you. And tomorrow's the vote, so we'll see what happens. Thank you, sir.

BARRASSO: Thanks.