Channel: Fox News
Host: Neil Cavuto
Neil Cavuto: He’s being targeted as maybe spending the most or at least earmarking the most for his constituents. He says it isn’t fair, but we thought it only fair to give him his due and allow him to explain what’s going on. I’m talking about Texas Congressman, former Presidential candidate Ron Paul. Congressman, the rap is that you’re a porker. That a lot of pork; 73 million plus, went to your district. Is that true?
Ron Paul: Well, it might be, but I think you’re missing the whole point. I never voted for an earmark, I voted against all appropriation bills. So, this whole thing about earmarks is totally misunderstood. Earmarks are the responsibility of the Congress. We should earmark even more. We should earmark every penny. So that’s the principle that we have to follow, and is the responsibility of the Congress. The whole idea that you vote against an earmark… you don’t save a penny. That just goes to the administration and they get to allocate the funds.
Neil Cavuto: But then, who proposes the bridge or the highway or the school? How does that even get in there?
Ron Paul: I have no idea, but the most important thing is to have transparency. If you don’t earmark something then somebody else spends it and there is no transparency. So, the principle of the earmark is very crucial.
But we need more earmarks. The reason that we didn’t have earmarks on that 350 million dollars on TARP funds. We needed to earmark on every single thing. We need to earmark every single thing the Fed does. So this whole thing is a charade, just a charade.
Neil Cavuto: No, No, I understand. But it just strikes people as a little weird, Congressman, because you know, you champion and rail against government waste and I know you rejected and voted against this package. But yet your constituents are going to benefit to the tune of 73 million dollars in various projects from this package. So, it’s kind of like you are having your cake and eating it too.
Ron Paul: Neil, you’re missing the whole point. The principle of the earmark is our responsibility. We are supposed to…. it’s like a tax credit and I vote for all tax credits, no matter how silly they might seem. If I can give you any of your money back, I vote for it. So if I can give my district any money back, I encourage that.
But because the budget is out of control, I haven’t voted for an appropriation in years.
Neil Cavuto: But would you argue then, sir, that when John McCain was here he was saying the whole earmark thing itself is what’s out of control.
Ron Paul: No, no. He totally misunderstands it, that’s grandstanding. If you cut off all the earmarks, it would be 1% of the budget. But if you vote against all the earmarks, you don’t cut one penny. That is what you have to listen to. We’re talking about who has the responsibility, the Congress or the executive branch. I’m saying, get it out of the hands of the executive branch.
Just listen again to what I said about the TARP funds. We needed to earmark every penny. Now, we gave them 350 million dollars, no earmarks, and nobody knows.
Neil Cavuto: No, No, I know you are right about that. Are you saying then, Congressman, that the monies that you appropriated, whether for the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, the Texas City Channel, Wallisville Lake, the City of Bay City rehab center… that that’s money in the aggregate that you would have called waste?
Ron Paul: It’s the kind I don’t vote for because I don’t believe the Federal Government should be doing it, but if they’re going to allot the money I have a responsibility to represent my people if they say, “Hey look, put in a highway for the district”. I put it in, I put in all their requests because I’m their representative.
But, if you put an earmark for a bridge in Iraq, it’s not called an earmark. If you build military equipment in somebody’s city….
Neil Cavuto: So you don’t think their requests are waste? You don’t think their requests are waste?
Ron Paul: Well, no, it shouldn’t be done. There should be a better way to do it. But if you’re going to spend the money, the Congress has the responsibility to say that it’s better to spend it on a bridge here than spend it on a bridge in Iraq and then blow it up and build it up again. These are the kind of earmarks that don’t count. You have to look at the responsibility of the Congress to earmark every single penny.
Neil Cavuto: Congressman, thank you very much. We will have more after this.