Thom talked to Congressman Steny Hoyer about a bipartisan meeting in Speaker Pelosi's office where the leaders agreed to work on an economic stimulus package to help working families.

Thom Hartmann interviews House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 16 January 2008

[Thom]: Congressman Steny Hoyer on the line with us from Washington, DC. Congressman, welcome to the program.

[Hoyer]: Hi Thom, thank you very much, glad to be with you.

[Thom]: I am so glad to have you on. I understand you've been meeting with the leadership of your party and also with people from the other party about an economic stimulus package.

[Hoyer]: The Speaker invited to her office both John Boehner and Roy Blunt who are the two leaders on the Republican side, and Mr. Clyburn and myself. So the five of us met. It was a very positive meeting in the sense that everybody agreed we need to help quickly to try to help working families in this country who are facing a downturn in the economy, stretching their family budget, higher gas costs, and having a tough time. I think that the meeting was the basis for movement forward. We all agree that we're going to put our staff together working, and that we're talking about days in which we, a few days in which we can come to an agreement and hopefully move forward in a stimulus package that's bipartisan and, as has been said, timely, targeted and temporary.

[Thom]: That will be a marvelous think. We're talking with House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, also representing Maryland's 5th Congressional District. Congressman, starting with Franklin Roosevelt, we kind of got it in the United States that the most effective way to stimulate the economy is to put the money in the hands of people who are going to spend it; average working people. And ever since Ronald Reagan there's been this counter argument that no, no, no, the best way way to stimulate the economy is to put the money in the hands of very, very wealthy people who will then somehow 'create jobs' as if, you know, we're all sitting around waiting for a factory to be built. I thought that jobs were created as a result of demand and demand came about from working people haqving enough money to spend. There's this fundamental philosophical difference between you on the Democratic side and the Republicans who are still following Reaganomics. How's that going to resolve?

[Hoyer]: Thom, you know, as someone who voted consistently against the economic programs that you referred to, and have done so during this administration, you know, we had a recession at the end of the last Bush administration. We're on the brink of a real slow down and maybe a tipping in this administration. But this is not a time for partisan politics. It's a time to help the working families. And you ask, how are we going to do that, how are we going to bridge that gap.

[Thom]: How do you breach the philosophical gap, yeah.

[Hoyer]: Frankly, what I heard in the meeting that we had was a real understanding that the people who need to be helped are working families. They need to be helped immediately. And they need to be helped not with a tax cut for wealthy Americans but for dollars in their pockets so, as you say, they can create demand. So I was, I came out of this meeting with a very positive sense. Now, experience, of course, does not lead me to be euphoric, but I think there's a real sense that the situation is such that bipartisan action is necessary, and there needs to be stimulus. And stimulus is getting money in the hands of people who (a) need it, and (b) are going to spend it.

[Thom]: Great. Well, sir, we congratulate you on your efforts, you and the speaker, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and good luck. Good luck and God speed.

[Hoyer]: Thanks, Thom, very much, appreciate it.

[Thom]: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, thank you for being with us, sir.

[Hoyer]: You bet. Bye bye.

[Thom]: Good talking with you.


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