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Trent Lott Press Conference

Aired November 6, 2001 - 13:58   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Over at the Capitol, Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott -- talking about a meeting of Republicans. We'll listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: ... we need it now.

Unfortunately, Senator Daschle and Senator Baucus have been pursuing a totally partisan bill that is going to run into all kinds of difficulties in the Finance Committee and on the floor of the Senate.

We need to act, and we need to do it now. The way to get that done is for us to find a bipartisan process, a bipartisan bill. So I'm calling this afternoon on Senator Daschle to direct and request Senator Baucus and Senator Grassley to get together and work together to come up with a piece of legislation that would have broad bipartisan support, that would be positive for the economy.

We have been setting an example in the Congress since September 11 of working together, doing the right thing for America, not what's good for Democrats or good for Republicans, but what's good for America, for the economy, for our security.

Senator Grassley and Senator Baucus have a history, as does the Finance Committee, of working together to report out strong legislation. They did it earlier this year. It's been done in previous years. Now, if the Democrats try to just ram through a partisan bill, then we're going to have to use all resources at our disposal in terms of amendments or the process. But that's not the way to proceed. Rather than pointing fingers at what somebody else has done, it is time for us to sit together and come up with legislation that has an immediate positive impact on economic growth and the economy; that does not have long-term negative effect; and does have a stimulative effect in terms of expanding and growing based on job-hiring and purchases of equipment.

Yes, it should address the problem of unemployment compensation.

We're going to have to make sure that there is a process to get health care coverage for those that have lost their job in recent weeks and months, and we can do that. But we also have to make sure that we take some actions through the tax code that will lead to growth and job security.

As I said last week, we don't need to just be pursuing a check today for the American people. We need to be pursuing a job for the future. But my main line is, I repeat again, we need action. We need it now.

WOODRUFF: Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott, in effect, giving the Republican line, their view as the best way to stimulate the economy, saying -- accusing Democrats of being very partisan in their approach.

The Democrats, as we know, have called for unemployment benefits, for health care benefits, particularly for those workers who have been disadvantaged since September the 11th.

The Republican approach has been to cut taxes further, particularly to cut taxes for the business community. And you're hearing Senator Lott call for a coming together, for a bipartisan approach. But it still sounds as if the two sides -- very far apart and a lot of work left to be done before they can come to some agreement on the best way to stimulate the economy and to get it growing.

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