Rep. Congressman Dave Camp on tax cuts and unemployment

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) participates in a House Rules Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: The House of Representatives will vote today on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making less than $250,000 a year.

But one powerful Republican congressman, Dave Camp of Michigan, is already calling that vote a political stunt. And he joins us live. Congressman, welcome back to Marketplace.

DAVE CAMP: Well, good morning Jeremy. Good to be with you.

HOBSON: Great to have you. Well, first of all, why do you think it's a stunt?

CAMP: First of all, this real is a debate about raising taxes. And in this economy we really need to do everything we can to ensure job creation. And raising taxes at this time, over 100 economists including Nobel Laureates said that would be a bad idea. This vote today is one they could have had for months frankly. And we know it's not going anywhere in the Senate. The reason there wasn't a vote before the election is because they knew this Senate wouldn't do it. And it's a very restricted vote. If we could actually have a vote on not raising taxes on any American, I think that bill out pass without bi-partisan support.

HOBSON: Alright, you're one of the lead negotiators on the tax cut issue with the White House. What do you think it's going to take to get both democrats who have been pushing for this -- just an extension of the tax cuts for people making lesw than $250,000 -- to get them on board, and republicans on board who want the tax cuts to be extended for everyone.

CAMP: As I said, we really can't raise taxes on any America. And when you get over an income level of $250,000, you have half of that income reported by small businesses, and small businesses are going to lead us out of this recession. We've had more than 9.5 percent unemployment for 15 months, certainly the economic policies have not worked to date, and as I said, many people across America believe that it would be the wrong idea to raise taxes, particularly one those we expect to create jobs, to hire people, to buy equipment, which will really get our economy going again.

HOBSON: OK Congressman, Earlier this week, republicans blocked a measure that would have extended federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. We've been talking to a number of economists about that this week and every one of them has said they think it's counterproductive to end unemployment benefits for people even if it adds to the deficit. What was the calculation that you made on this issue?

CAMP: Well first, Republicans in the House can't block anything. Democrats control the rules and they structured it in such a way that it required a super majority.

HOBSON: But Republicans did vote against that, right.

CAMP: Yes, because we weren't allowed to offer any amendments to pay for the bill. I support the extension of unemployment benefits. But I want to do it in a responsible way, and I want to pay for it. And if we could have a vote on whether we do it, unpaid for or paid for, let's line them up, let's vote on both of them. I can tell you that the one that pays for the unemployment benefits will pass. That's why they're so afraid of it, that's why they won't let it come to the floor. So it actually did pass the House, but didn't pass the House be a super majority because of the way they structured the vote, and I think that's why I call more a charade on this issue.

HOBSON: OK Republican Dave Camp of Michigan, thanks so much for your time this morning.

CAMP: Alright, thanks a lot Jeremy.

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