August 15th, 2010
11:54 AM ET
9 years ago

Congressmen spar over the economy, Ground Zero mosque

Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Kevin McCarthy debated economic policy Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Kevin McCarthy debated economic policy Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

(CNN) - With midterm elections less than three months away, outspoken members of both political parties tried Sunday to blame the nation's economic woes on the fiscal policies supported by their rivals.

In an interview on CNN's State of the Union, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, accused congressional Republicans of "gambling" with Americans' retirement savings.

"If you privatize Social Security … the end result will be that that money is not there," Van Hollen told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "There is not a stable source of retirement money because we'll be literally gambling it on Wall Street. And that has been a long-held position of our Republican colleagues."

Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California dismissed the accusations as "scare tactics" designed to distract Americans from the 9.5 percent unemployment rate.

"Republicans want to secure it [Social Security] and make it there for the future," McCarthy said. "One of the reasons why it's actually losing money right now is because there are so fewer jobs out there and fewer people are paying in."

Watch the debate, after the jump:

McCarthy also dinged President Obama for repeatedly taking his focus off job creation, most recently by defending the rights of Muslims "to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances" amid a local controversy over the planned project's proximity to New York's ground zero.

"It's going to be about jobs," McCarthy said. "but this is just another example: Why isn't the President spending the time debating about jobs instead of moving into New York? And why is he so un-sensitive about this area as well, to engage in a local issue that's causing a problem throughout the nation when the nation shows…a deep sensitivity to this exact location?"

Van Hollen responded Obama was only "stating the principle that under our great constitution, we do not discriminate against people based on their religion."

"He went on to say … the decision as to where to site the mosque, this Muslim place of worship, was up to the people of New York," Van Hollen added.

But McCarthy immediately pounced, pointing out what many people see as a contradiction.

"If Chris is saying this is a New York issue, then why did the president engage in it?" McCarthy asked. "If you listen to what he first said, he brought up the exact location and said he supported it."

Filed under: 2010 • Chris Van Hollen • economic stimulus • Economy • issues • Kevin McCarthy • Religion
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "If you privatize Social Security … the end result will be that that money is not there," Van Hollen [said]."

    If people won't prepare for their own retirements, it's not the business of the idiot government to protect them from their own idiocy!

    Meanwhile, the idiot government keeps insisting on treating the rest of of like idiots because some people are idiots.

    I'm not an idiot and don't appreciate being treated like one by the idiot government.

    August 15, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. artraveler

    It is funny that none of the Republicans who are upset about the mosque haven't raised the "family values" line about the topless bar EVEN closer to ground zero. Where is the anger on that?

    And for the person who said the Democrats were in charge for 40 of 75+ years spending SS money, I think with the math I studied in college that there must be 35 years when the Republicans were in charge including the period when the deficit blossomed to $10 trillion plus on an unfunded tax cut and two totally useless and badly handled wars. Only an idiot goes to war without funding it but then again, I repeart myself.

    And anyone who buys into putting SS into the stock market must not have been looking at their financial statements on their 401K's for the past two years.

    August 15, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. D. Bunker

    What a clear distinction between rational thinkers who generally support the saner Dems and the insane illogic of the teatards and the GOBPbaggers.

    August 15, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Dianne

    Why not pass laws that donot allow the government to use social security for other expenses. Social Security would be if it were not used to pay other government expenses. Social Security for Social Security payments ONLY.

    August 15, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Jerry - Florida

    Typical hypocritical Democrats responses. Since they have really nothing to brag about, they will either blame ex-President George Bush or the Republican Party.

    And of course, President NObama's paid, full time bloggers are out en force. The Vacationeer-in-Chief and his family need to give the American people the impression that they are "on the job".

    How embarrassing! Oops! I forgot these people have no shame and, most of all, NO RESPECT FOR THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE.

    August 15, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. w l jones

    A certian church gave a country the righ to enslave every black person they found in the Americas although they had been living on this land for over one thousand years. You cannot condem an whole intitution for a few.

    August 15, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Amazed

    While it is legal to build the mosque it is incredibly insensitive.

    August 15, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Larry

    @a in austin

    The republicans voted the aid for first responders down. They don't want to help dying people.

    August 15, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Alan from Marietta

    It is clear that Republicans are pursuing a separate and unequal posture with any and every issue. If you will notice, Republicans are against any thing dealing with people of color and senior citizens. I'm not calling anyone racist. Just step back and look at all of the issues the Republicans are fighting against and identify the people who are most likely to benefit if Republicans had their way.

    I lot of people hate Obama and argue against their own self-interests so that they can oppose and defeat him, personally.

    August 15, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. JIlli

    It's sad to see the republicans forsake the constitution for their fear and paranoid. To use their term – "I want my country back" – the country that was brave and stood on it's laws and principles – not the cowering scaredy cats cowering in fear the republicans have morphed into.

    Yep, they stand by the Constitution until their fear and paranoia take control.

    Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.

    August 15, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Steve in Denver

    At what point do we dismiss the tea baggers and the Republican party as a hypocritical, lying sacks of doo-doo?

    They are for strict interpretation of the constitution, except that pesky clause in the first amendment that provides for freedom of religion, even for non-christian religions.

    They are for property rights and liberty, unless someone wants to build a building they don't like, then they can tell a private entity what they can do with their private property.

    They are for the constitution, until that pesky 14th amendment that says people born here are citizens.

    They are for a strict interpretation of the constitution, but the second amendment doesn't say anything about a "well regulated militia," it starts with "every nut case can buy an AK47."

    They are against deficit spending, unless it is to give the wealthiest Americans more tax breaks.

    August 15, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. JustMe

    I wish they wouldn't build it there, but they have a right to do whatever they want and considering the principals this country was built on they should be able to.

    August 15, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Michael

    The effect of privatizing any service will always be maximization of profits. This means cheaper product, inferior service and higher cost, for the purpose of concentrating wealth to as small a number of people as possible.
    Adam Smith never imagined a legal system that would prioritize corporate profits above the public good; the idea would have seemed repugnant to almost anyone of that time.
    The job of industry is to serve the public; the job of government is to keep it honest. The proof is plain to see: anywhere in the world, the level of misery is directly proportionate to the freedom of industry from regulation. Why do you think manufacturers always try to build factories in countries where they can be free to use children as slave laborers?
    Everyone agrees that a man whose greed poses a danger to others (e.g. a mugger) must be restrained for the sake of public safety. Why does it seem so difficult to understand that industry, which is not human and has no moral sense, must be subject to equal or greater restriction?
    Industry should always be forced to provide the greatest good to the greatest number of human beings. This does not preclude entrepreneurs seeking to make a profit. It does mean that profit must take a second place to public benefit.

    August 15, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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