When asked about Congress' really horrible recent poll numbers with only ten percent approval and eighty two percent disapproval, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor couldn't give Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace a straight answer about why they're so low. I've got a few suggestions for him should he ever decide to answer.
Republicans have done nothing but pass one abortion bill after another in the House along with their latest overreach where they're ready to go after the contraceptives mandate as well. All they've offered that Cantor calls "jobs bills" here are more tax cuts for the wealthy and gutting our social safety nets. And they're completely unwilling to govern responsibly or compromise on anything and would rather obstruct anything that might improve the economy rather than see President Obama reelected.
All we got from Cantor was more lies and pretending the Republicans have not been trying to balance our budget on the backs of the elderly, the poor and what's left of the middle class and par for the course, Chris Wallace in another softball interview let him get away with it.
Transcript below the fold.
WALLACE: Let's start with the latest polls. In a survey this week, 50 percent approve of the job the president is doing, while 43 percent disapprove. Meanwhile, the same poll, 10 percent approved of the job Congress is doing, while 82 percent disapprove.
Has President Obama out-maneuvered congressional Republicans?
CANTOR: Well, Chris, first of all, I think no one is satisfied by the direction of the economy right now. They want to see more growth. People want to see more job opportunities. I think it is that frustration that sort of focused on the fact that Congress doesn't seem to be able to get enough done as far as what people were expecting.
And I think it's that frustration that underlies this kind of poll numbers. And if you look to see what it is that we've been trying to do, we really came to this town a year ago, in a new majority and said, you know, we want to try to change the way Washington works. Much of the discussion has been around taxes and spending.
And I think most Americans get -- we spend too much money in the town and trying to get a handle on that. But every time we ask Harry Reid or the president to go along with us, you know --
WALLACE: Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic majority leader.
CANTOR: Right. Every time we want to cut a dime of spending, we are rejected because they don't want to cut spending. And every time we advance a pro-growth type measure, you know, there's some excuse as to why the Senate can't take it out.
So, again, I don't blame the American people for the frustration. We are trying to go and find those opportunities for us to work together.
WALLACE: OK. We talked about the fact -- on Friday, the House passed this extension of the payroll tax cut that so many of you opposed just a couple of months ago, in December. You don't pay, you still don't in the bill that you had. You still don't pay the $93 billion cause of extending the payroll tax cut. You pay for some of other elements. You just add $93 billion to the deficit. A lot of your members doubt that it will help the economy and also note the fact that it takes money away from the Social Security trust fund.
Didn't you cave to the president because basically he's got the political high ground?
CANTOR: First of all, Chris, I don't think we're ever the party that wants to see taxes going up on anybody. And at the end of the day --
WALLACE: The Republican caucus opposed this measure in December.
CANTOR: We supported a year-long extension of the payroll tax holiday to make sure that people will not have their taxes raised when they're out there trying to make it through the month. What we would like to have seen is we would like to have seen it done in a way that we could actually reduce spending while at the same time affording this tax relief.
WALLACE: But you didn't -- it is up to $100 million.
CANTOR: And again, every time we try to advance that, Harry Reid and the Senate and president, they just to play politics.
WALLACE: So, why did you agree?
CANTOR: Well, again, at the end of the day, I don't think it's a good idea to allow taxes to go up on working people. Basically a payroll tax says we're going to increase taxes on everybody who has a job. I don't think that that's what we need to do.
WALLACE: All right. Looking forward before New Year's, a White House spokesman said this about the president's relationship with Congress in 2012. Take a look. "In terms of essential, must-do items, the payroll tax cut extension is the last one."
Congressman, are you done legislating for 2012?
CANTOR: You know, I'm disappointed to hear White House say that because I do think there's a window of opportunity for us to get something done. And if we can take advantage of the need for growth in this economy, we could all work together. And there's two things that we're going to be taking up within the next several weeks that I think all of us can agree on.
One is a bill that we are calling the jobs act. It's called "Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups," which essentially is going to be a package of measures that has a lot of bipartisan support. These are things that the president and his jobs council advocate. Steve Case is the former AOL chairman and founder participated, oversaw the board --
WALLACE: What would it do?
CANTOR: What it does is it speaks to small business growth. And it says, we have to afford access for more financing for small businesses. We need to address the regulatory burden that small businesses are facing so we can see then start up again.
I mean, Chris, the truth is -- over the last three years, there is a 23 percent decline in small business start ups, which is indicated when you look at the job growth numbers. We know small business is a job growth engine in this country. This package represents the first opportunity for us, post the payroll tax holiday extension for us to work together in a bipartisan manner and get something done.