Interviews

Rep. Hoyer: Market responded to 'good news' as if 'bad news'

House minority whip on state of the economy

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 20, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, that's what we had today, a big sell-off going on today, better than 550 points in the last two days.

Is this indicative of a bigger trend? Because for the last eight days, these type of triple-digit moves have become more the rule than not.

But, of course, this year, stocks are still up a lot more than they are down.

To House Minority Whip and Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer on all of this.

As you know, Congressman -- always good to have you. As you know, a lot of this was fueled under the idea that Ben Bernanke is going to take the punchbowl away or at least slow down what has been this rush to keep these guys happy. They're not happy that he is going to start taking the foot off the pedal. What do you think of that?

REP. STENY HOYER, D-MD., HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: Well, I'm not an expert in this area, Neil, but it seems to me that what Director Bernanke was saying is he thinks the economy is doing better, growth, jobs, and that we no longer need the stimulus that he was prepared to give, at least not cutting immediately, but over time.

And the market responded that -- to, frankly, good news as if it were bad news.

CAVUTO: Yes.

HOYER: And it may be bad news for them because he's going to stop putting money into that which has been perhaps inflating the market.

So, beyond that, it is somewhat ironic that Bernanke says the economy is doing pretty well, so we don't have to do so much, and the stock market responds negatively to the message.

CAVUTO: That's actually dead on. And you're right about that.

But what does it say about our environment right now, Congressman, whether it is the Federal Reserve providing the tonic for investors or this idea that if at all doubt the government has got our back, that here's a Fed Chairman to say, well, you seem to be doing OK on your own?

HOYER: Yes.

I think it says a lot of about uncertainty. We still have, as you know from my perspective, a federal government, Congress of the United States, that is not giving certainty and confidence to the economy, that we're going to be on a fiscally sustainable, stable path, that we're going to come to compromise, whatever the bills might be, whatever the policies might be, that we will overcome gridlock.

And I think, in that framework, that environment of uncertainty, the Federal Reserve's comments have a greater impact, and shake certainty even further. And people are hedging their bets by getting out, because they're not sure things going to be better.

So I'm one of those, as you know, Neil, that believes very strongly that we need to get our country on a fiscally sustainable path. I talked with Mr. Cantor in our colloquy today about going to conference on the budget documents that been passed so we could come to agreement, and have a bipartisan agreement on at least numbers and some policies.

So, I'm not sure what exactly -- I don't know that I could quantify the impact that has, but there's no doubt in my mind that our failure to come to agreements on whatever the legislation is -- the farm bill failed today because of very partisan additions that were put on by the Republicans.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

HOYER: We came out of the committee with a bipartisan vote, the majority of Democrats voting for it, the overwhelming majority of Republicans voting for it. Mr. Lucas, the chairman...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, it failed. No, you're right about that.

But do you think the president bears any blame and that all of these scandals, whether of his own doing or the White House's doing, and I guess the investigations will get to the bottom of each and all, that it's cast a pall, that their -- each are their own cases, I grant you, but it does sort of frustrate Americans who think that at the very least he is out to lurch and at worst he is behind this?

HOYER: No, I don't think so, Neil.

I frankly think this lack of confidence, this uncertainty, predates -- I don't call them scandals. I think some people made very bad mistakes and did wrong at the IRS. I don't think it had anything to do with the White House. I, frankly, don't think it had anything do with Washington. There's no proof that the testimony or otherwise that the -- that Washington or the White House were involved in what happened at the IRS. It was wrong. We need to get to the bottom of it.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: To be fair, sir, we do know that at least it was a Washington official in charge of these tax-exempt clearances that was involved.

(CROSSTALK)

HOYER: No doubt about it, but she he came in...

CAVUTO: So, I guess what I'm asking you is, what if it's bigger than you think and there's more to it from Washington than you appreciate?

HOYER: What I think is that the three elements that were most talked about, the IRS, the NSA, and the question about the reporters and the phones being tapped...

CAVUTO: Right.

HOYER: I frankly don't -- in my dealings with the public, I don't get a lot of questions on any of those, very frankly.

I think people are angry about the IRS. I think it's right that they're angry about the IRS. We got to get to the bottom of it and we got to make sure it doesn't happen, period. Just -- what they did was wrong. Let's make no mistake about that.

I think what the American public is most anxious about, most angry about is that the Congress is not working. I don't think it's so much the president is not working. The president is working and he's doing his job. He's...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes, but they also say the health care law is not working, right, that it's delayed, it's getting pricey.

(CROSSTALK)

HOYER: Well, no, who says that?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, no, we just know that implementing it could be delayed. We do know that even Senator Harry Reid, Max Baucus have been among those saying that it could need more money, that a lot of people are looking at it and say, wait a minute, we might have a turkey here. Right?

HOYER: Neil, I don't know that we're -- certainly we're not saying it might be a turkey.

We're saying this is a complex, big piece of legislation that deals with health care for all of us.

CAVUTO: Do you think it was bigger than you thought, Congressman, more complex than you thought?

HOYER: I think that we have had less cooperation in implementation, and that's making it more difficult than I thought, yes, that's correct.

CAVUTO: So, this is the Republicans' fault?

HOYER: Well, yes, because we need to fund adequately.

CAVUTO: All right.

HOYER: We have a cost now of $1.6 billion about. CBO says in the first 10 years, we're going to -- that's 10-year costs -- that we're going to save $200 billion and a trillion dollars in the second 10 years. I don't know whether those figures are exact. But when you are talking about one percent, two2 percent cost of implementation, that's not -- that's less, frankly, than the prescription drug bill under Bush in terms of percentage. It was less money and it was a smaller program.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So, when Max Baucus talks about the fact that he is frustrated by this, we have got to revisit this, he wasn't talking about Republicans, Congressman. He was talking about, hey, this thing has ended up to be more problematic than we knew.

(CROSSTALK)

HOYER: There's doubt that -- no doubt, Neil, that this is a very complex piece of legislation dealing with 18 percent of our economy.

CAVUTO: Right.

HOYER: And so it's tough.

I'm not sure I agree with Max in his characterization of it. But, having said that, there's no doubt it's complex. And one of the problems has been it was adopted on the theory that we would cooperate in implementation. And that's not been the case.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Where do you see everything going? We got this sell-off today. And I'm with you. I don't necessarily buy one day or a couple of days as an ominous warning for everyone.

HOYER: Right.

CAVUTO: But obviously markets are rattled, folks are rattled. What do you say to calm them down?

HOYER: Let me tell you, first of all, I reiterate, the reason Bernanke said what he said is because his perception is, the Federal Reserve's perception is, the economy is do pretty well.

CAVUTO: So, everyone take a chill pill?

HOYER: We ought to chill out and see what happens.

CAVUTO: All right.

HOYER: Secondly, I would say to my Republican and Democratic colleagues, if we got together and we passed a budget, we passed appropriation bills in some kind of bipartisan fashion, so that the Congress was working, not that people would know about X, Y, or Z provision, I think they would feel a lot better about what is happening in their country and in their economy.

CAVUTO: Steny Hoyer, thank you very, very much.

HOYER: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Good seeing you again.

HOYER: Good to see you.

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