Cantor blames press for not covering GOP stimulus plan, minority 'ideas'
David Edwards and Jeremy Gantz
Published: Sunday March 15, 2009

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With almost no exceptions, Republican senators and representatives voted against last month's massive stimulus bill. And the GOP's leaders oppose President Obama's proposed federal budget, and were quick to voice opposition to another stimulus package suggested by economists at a meeting with Democratic lawmakers this past week.

So how, exactly, do Republicans plan on combating the deepening recession? The answer to that question has been less than clear – which hasn't exactly annoyed Democrats and their allies, happy to brand the GOP the "Party of No."

House minority whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), on Meet the Press Sunday, tried to set the record straight, saying that his party had a stimulus plan that was ignored by an unfriendly press.

"Republicans will have a plan, we had a stimulus plan. You know, part of the problem with being in the minority, David, is that sometimes your colleagues in the press don't want to cover the ideas that the minority has," said Cantor. "We had a plan on the stimulus, it was tailored to small business tax relief."

Cantor went on to attack Obama's proposed budget, saying it does not focus on job creation and short-term problems. He said by placing new taxes on energy and manufacturers, the budget would amount to a $3,000 tax for a household of four, or "essentially, an $800 man, woman and child tax."

When NBC's David Gregory pressed the Virginia representative on his concern for spending, pointing out that Republicans weren't exactly thrifty during former President Bush's tenure, Cantor acknowledged the GOP "blew it" by not being fiscally conservative.

"But that doesn't give the Democrats in power in this town the right to go in and repeat the mistakes that perhaps we may have committed in the past," Cantor said.

But a comprehensive Republican plan dealing with the economic crisis has still not been unveiled, as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) acknowledged Sunday on ABC's This Week.

Host George Stephanopoulos noted that McConnell criticized Obama's budget without offering a comprehensive alternative, and that "the Democratic party and the White House are going to make a real push to paint you as the “Just Say No” party."

McConnell responded by saying that "we are going to offer a number of amendments to the Democratic proposal" that would "re-frame what Democrats recommend for America over the next 10-15 years."

By not offering a full counter-proposal to Obama's budget, they are spared from "outlining potentially painful decisions required to bring federal books more in line with their call to hold down spending, cut taxes and reduce the deficit," the New York Times reported.

“[W]e don’t have enough votes to legislate,” said Republican leader John A. Boehner of Ohio has said. “We are not in the majority. We are not kind-of in the minority; we are in a hole. They ought to get the idea out of their minds that they are legislators. But what they can be is communicators.”

This video is from NBC's Meet the Press, broadcast Mar. 15, 2009.

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