Senator Cardin Defends Stimulus Bill

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," February 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALEXIS GLICK, GUEST HOST: There is a lot of back talk, back and forth, right now about where this stimulus package is headed. Of course, a vote is supposed to be on the House and Senate, could be as early as tomorrow. But we will see whether or not that turn out, in fact, because we're hearing a little bit of rumblings down in Washington, D.C. We will get to that in a moment.

Well, you are looking live right now — this is at Peoria, Illinois — President Obama to speak shortly at a Caterpillar plant there. He's trying to drive home the need for the stimulus bill.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin says Congress needs to get in on his desk as soon as possible. And he joins me right now.

Senator, good to see you this afternoon.

Video: Watch Alexis Glick's interview

You say now is crucial, now more than ever. Tell me what would you say to all the skeptics out there, who say it is not the right type of bill?

SEN. BENJAMIN CARDIN, D-MD.: Well, Alexis, thank you very much.

It is a well-balanced bill. It's a bill that does provide tax relief, but it also provides investments in our future. So, it creates jobs now and it protects us for jobs in the future.

It is balanced. You pointed out the tax relief. There's tax relief in it. There is going to be public construction for infrastructure improvements. That is going to create private-sector jobs. That is what we need to do. At the end of the day, we're going to have better roads, we're going to have better bridges.

Our waterways are going to be better. Our transit systems will be better. Our energy grid will be better. That is what we need to do. And that is what this bill is about. It is about investing in America's future.

GLICK: OK. Senator, let me...

CARDIN: We lost over 600,000 jobs last month. We have got to do something.

GLICK: Let me ask you a question, Senator.

Steve Moore was just talking, from The Journal, and one of the points that he made is, listen, we were kind of promised, we, the American people, were promised that we were going to get an opportunity to review this bill, just as every member of the Senate and Congress should, that we were going to be given 48 hours to review each of the details.

It appears now that we are in the late hours of a decision here to vote on this and get it on the president's desk right away. Are we giving the American public enough time to support it?

CARDIN: Well, let's wait to see when the final bill is made available and what changes are in it from the House and Senate bill.

I think that you will find it to be a scaled-down version of the House and Senate bill, and that you're not going to find anything that is relatively new in this.

So, I — we all — we do know the numbers. We do know how much is going into each category. That was announced yesterday.

But I am certain that we're going to make sure that people know what it is in this bill before we vote on it.

GLICK: And are you convinced, Senator — you know — we keep hearing all different kinds of reports — that more members of the GOP will actually vote on behalf of this in both the Senate and the House?

CARDIN: I don't know. I don't know who is going to vote for it.

I can tell you this. This is a — scaled down from either the House or Senate bill. It's going to be a little bit smaller. It's going to be better focused, I think, on infrastructure improvements in this country.

I think the tax provisions are going to be better targeted. So, I think you're going to find a stronger bill from the point of view of creating jobs and the right investment for America's future.


CARDIN: And it's going to be less costly to the taxpayer.

GLICK: Senator, let me ask you one last question. And that is about small-business owners.

There were some things originally in this that were directed toward them. A lot of that has been pulled out. They're one of the biggest job- creators in this country. What are we going to do about the situation that they are in, and the fact that they need access to credit, and they create jobs?

CARDIN: Alexis, one of the reasons why there has been some delay in getting this report finished is, I was over meeting with some of the staff for the conferees to make sure the small-business provisions are strong in this bill.

There is a provision that will help in regards to surety bonds, so the small construction companies can get some of this business. I want to make sure that provision was protected.

There's money in this to target tax relief to small businesses. I think that is extremely important. We want to make sure that those provisions remain strong in the final bill.

You are absolutely correct. We have to help small businesses. That is the economic engine of America. That is where the new jobs, by and large, will be created.

GLICK: Senator Cardin, great pleasure. Thanks for taking the time.

CARDIN: Thank you. Thank you.

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