Monday, September 29, 2008; 3:01 PM
PUTNAM: We are obviously disappointed that this bill was unable to muster the necessary votes to pass. We remain committed to working on a bipartisan basis to bring a bill to the floor that will garner the necessary votes to avoid a financial collapse.
I was disappointed that a process that over the last several days has yielded a bipartisan product, involved negotiators from both sides of the building and both sides of the aisle, took a very marked partisan turn at the end of the debate, which was very different than the rhetoric that we heard out of Chairman Frank or Leader Hoyer or our leader, John Boehner.
And with that, I'd like to introduce our leader who's been at the -- from the earliest stages of this committed to working with both sides of the aisle to produce a product that is good for America.
BOEHNER: Americans are angry, and so are my colleagues. They don't want to have to vote for a bill like this, and I understand that.
But I have concerns about what this means for the American people, what it means for our economy, and what it means for people's jobs. I think that we need to renew our efforts to find a solution that Congress can support.
I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House.
I mean, we were -- we put everything we had into getting the votes to get there today.
BOEHNER: But the speaker had to give a partisan voice (sic) that poisoned our conference, caused a number of members we thought we could get to go south.
At the end of the day this is not about Democrats or Republicans, it's about our economy and what's best for the American people. And regardless of what happened today, we've got -- we have no choice, in my view, but to work together to try to find a solution to make sure that we save our economy and we save our constituents.
BLUNT: Well, thank you, John.
We did think we had a dozen more votes going to the floor than we had. No more than that, but we thought we had a dozen more. I think, unfortunately, too many of our members were already on the floor when they heard that late speech by the speaker.
During this whole process, the tone in the room was so much better than the tone outside the room. We worked together well to try to come up with a compromise that could pass today, that the president could sign, that would do what needs to be done in the economy, but every time you'd turn on television or read an article about the press reports of what the other side was saying, it was all about how Republicans either were unpatriotic or were there too late or whatever.
Well, we're going to reach back out to them. We're certainly going to reach back out to our members. We're going to try to do our best to find a solution here that works for the American people.
No matter how many times I said or Mr. Boehner said or Mr. Hoyer said or Mr. Frank said, "We've got to put partisanship aside," there was way too much of that still going on and a clock that nobody could control. You know, clearly needing to respect the holidays of this week, the Jewish holidays of this week, meant that we had to rush things in a way that made that job very hard.
BLUNT: And we made it harder today by so much partisan discussion discussion in what should have been a bipartisan effort to solve this problem for the American people.
But we're going to reach back out to them. We're going to be talking to our members and see how we can come together in the next few days to reverse whatever negative impact there may be in the economy over the next few days because Congress has failed to act.
And, remember, we're not in the majority in the Congress that failed to act today. And we need to reach back out to that majority. And hopefully, they will allow us to be part of a solution, rather than continuing to pursue a partisan discussion.
CANTOR: Right here is the reason, I believe, why this vote failed. And this is Speaker Pelosi's speech that, frankly, struck the tone of partisanship that, frankly, was inappropriate in this discussion.
There is -- there is -- and there were several meetings, day in and day out, of members on both sides of the aisle trying to get up to speed on this issue of the economy and of the capital markets, and, frankly, a lot of agreement.
And I think that this is a case of a failure of Speaker Pelosi to listen not only to her members, but certainly to our members and the common bonds that brought our members together on this very, very important issue facing the American people.
This is not a partisan crisis. This is an economic crisis facing everyone in this country. And to look at the votes today, 94 Democrats voted no -- 94.
Now, when we were in the majority, I think we would make a decision that we would be able to come to the floor and bring a solution to the American people and pass it.
CANTOR: They made a decision to leave 94 of their votes off the table, and frankly, as you can see, a majority of our votes that wouldn't go along.
Clearly, this is an instance where you see Speaker Losi's -- Speaker Pelosi's failure to listen, failure to lead. This caps off a year that I think has been probably the most unproductive year in the U.S. Congress that I've seen in my lifetime. No -- no production of any bailout bill. No energy bill. No appropriations process. Very little to show the American people.
So we're going to go and, as our leaders have said, go back to the drawing table and look to see where we can come together, listen to our members, and produce a solution for the American people.
QUESTION: Do you take any responsibility for (OFF-MIKE)?
BOEHNER: Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I would argue that if I had not stood in the way of the original Paulson plan, there would have been far less votes on both sides of the aisle.
And the fact is, is that while we were able to move the bill drastically to the right, it wasn't -- it wasn't good enough for a lot of our members. And so, we've got to find a true middle ground that will bring enough votes in order to avert any crisis.
QUESTION: Mr. Cantor, you described what the speaker said as very partisan here, and then you said here a minute ago, you know, she had a failure to listen, a failure to lead.
Isn't that partisanship on your behalf?
CANTOR: I think it's just pretty apparent now, when she lost 93 of her colleagues on their side of the aisle as well as all the people's votes who went no on our side of the aisle.
Clearly, there was something lacking in the leadership here, that would bring a bill to the floor that couldn't meet the approval of that many number of members.
CANTOR: So we're saying, "Look, forget the partisan stuff. Let's look at the solutions. Let's look and see where members can come together and begin to provide a solution to this very, very tough economic challenge..."
QUESTION: Does Mr. Paulson need to come back and restart negotiations again?
BOEHNER: I don't know that we know the path forward at this point. But it's clear that it's going to take members on both sides of the aisle to work together in order to resolve this. And so we need to -- we need everybody to calm down and relax and get back to work.
QUESTION: Why couldn't you deliver more Republican votes? Why couldn't you deliver more Republican votes?
BLUNT: Well, we had more Republican votes going to the floor. I think some of them were reluctantly there anyway. It didn't take much to turn them off.
And, you know, Republicans all -- almost all the Republicans here remember the responsibility that the majority had when we were in the majority and there was a lot of, "Look, it's really their majority. They've got to bring a bill, a process to the floor in a timely way that works." We had a very short timeframe here after we finally were able to go to our members with the -- with the bill.
But we'd like to find a way to deliver enough Republican votes to make this happen.
Now, most people in this process over the last four days have really reached out and tried to find a bipartisan solution. But a bipartisan solution is only as good as the last person that throws a bomb into the room.
And so we've got to back away from that. I think -- I think the reality of the impact this can have on the markets will have a big impact in getting people back to wanting to work together and get this problem solved.
We're going to reach out to them. I hope they reach back out to us and find a solution that the Congress can come together on and get done. Thank you.