In an election year, Pres. Obama tries to capitalize on voters' disdain of Congress and plays blame game

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Blame Congress! President Obama fighting to keep his job despite a slow economic recovery and Congress's approval rating hitting a record low. So is the president trying to cash in on America's disdain for Congress? Here's what he just told union workers.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the last year, I've sent Congress a whole series of jobs bills to put people to work, to put your members back to work.

Again and again, I've said, Now's the time to do this. Interest rates are low. Construction workers are out of work. Contractors are begging for work and the work needs to be done. Let's do it. And time after time, the Republicans have gotten together and they've said no.




VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Jeb Hensarling is the chair of the House Republican conference. He joins us. Good evening, sir. And the economy is very...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... very sluggish, very slow recovery. And the president has identified the problem. It's you, you guys, the Republicans. What's the story with trying to create jobs for the American people?

HENSARLING: Well, first, Greta, I don't think there's a president in living memory who has less credibility on the topic of jobs and the economy than Barack Obama. He told the American people if we'd pass his stimulus plan, unemployment would never go beyond 8 percent, and in fact, it would be 6 percent now. And as you well know, we've had 38 straight months of 8 percent-plus unemployment, the worst record since the Great Depression!

We were told if we passed his health care plan that it would help the economy. We know now the Congressional Budget Office says it'll cost us almost a million jobs. Frankly, private economists put the number much higher.

He told us if we'd pass the Dodd-Frank act, supposedly aimed at Wall Street, that would help the economy. Instead, what we see is that the big banks are getting bigger, the small banks are getting smaller and the taxpayer is getting poorer.

So with all due respect to the president, I don't think he'd know a jobs bill if he tripped over it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think...

HENSARLING: You know, House Republicans have passed over 30 different jobs bills, and with one or two exceptions, he's ignored them all. People can go who are viewing your show to and see what we've done. And Greta, it's mainly aimed at making the tax code fairer, flatter, simpler, more competitive, trying to make -- balance these regulations against the cost of jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman...

HENSARLING: It has everything to do with bringing down the cost of energy. Yes?

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I've -- I've looked at it, I mean, and I -- and there are so many of these. Like, there's the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act passed in the House but stalled in the Senate, Access to Capital for Job Create Act, passed in the House, stalled in the Senate.

I mean, it's, like -- and there's a whole list...

HENSARLING: You see a pattern developing there?

VAN SUSTEREN: ... and I mean, I -- yes, I mean, I -- no, no, I realize I've got -- I've got a whole list of them because I went to the website, and it is very disturbing. I think the president should call Senator Harry Reid and say, you know, Let's stop playing. You pass yours, and then we'll send them both to conference and you -- and the House and the Senate can work them up so the Americans can have some relief.

Now, I do think, though, that the president probably is jabbing you a little bit because the Senate while has passed the transportation bill which does, you know, much towards going towards construction and infrastructure in the country and creating jobs, is that the House can't seem to do it but does these sort of continuing resolutions.

So the -- it's not totally -- the House is not totally blame-free on this. So I mean, everybody's got a little bit of responsibility here. But I blame the House -- I blame the Senate more on simply not -- not writing their own bills so that these can go to conference.

HENSARLING: Well, number one, we will go to conference on a transportation bill. Infrastructure is important. But nobody believes that is the panacea. I mean, again, the president's policies have failed. He is, you know, presiding over an economy where half of all Americans now are either classified by the Census Bureau as being either in poverty or in low income. Single mothers, you have more of them in poverty than ever before. Small businesses are, frankly, just throwing up their hands at the regulatory and red tape onslaught.

And so again, this is a president who, because he can't run on his record on jobs and economy...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think...

HENSARLING: ... frankly, usually tries...

VAN SUSTEREN: I think there's another problem, though...

HENSARLING: ... to engage the politics of division and envy.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think there's another problem. I mean, Washington is without a doubt divided, but when you become president, that -- your job is to lead and try to, you know, somehow...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... get that gap to bridge. And you know, like -- and it's -- right now, on things like the budget, it's the Senate that doesn't have a budget bill. I mean, you know, the -- it seems that, you know, there's -- there's a lot in the Democratic Senate that needs to -- you know, needs to be done so that it can -- I'm not saying you guys have the perfect bills in the House, by any means, but you're not putting the stop on. That's...


VAN SUSTEREN: But the thing is, I think the leadership is -- the leadership does require you to sort of, you know, deal with two recalcitrant people and try to get everybody at least to work together. And I don't see...


HENSARLING: No, my theory is, Greta, is that they've made a political play call that it's more important that nothing gets done in Washington. I mean, meanwhile, again, House Republicans have put forth -- you know, we deal with the drivers that would help this economy.

Number one, dealing with this red tape burden to make sure that anything that has a significant impact on the economy has to be approved by the elected Congress, as opposed to the unelected bureaucracy. Tax code -- fundamental tax code to bring down rates at 10 and 25 percent on a deficit- neutral basis by getting rid of all the underbrush of the loopholes and special interest deductions.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's interesting that...

HENSARLING: Getting rid of the president's health care plan would be huge in creating jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you raise an interesting question. Even, like, Bowles-Simpson talked about getting rid of the tax code, those 3,300 earmarks, and that was -- that -- I mean, first of all, the Bowles-Simpson was outsourcing because Congress didn't do its job -- everybody outsourcing it to them. But then it was rejected. I mean, nothing ever does get done.

But I recommend a book to you. Senator Tom Coburn has written a book called "The Debt Bomb," which talks about all the gridlock in Washington and it'll make everyone's hair stand on end. But anyway, I'm going to take the last word on that, Congressman. Thank you, sir. And good luck.

HENSARLING: Thank you. Appreciate it.