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Transcript: Rep. Liz Cheney on "Face the Nation," April 11, 2021

Cheney: Infrastructure bill should be "fundamentally redone" to win GOP support
Cheney says infrastructure bill "would need to be fundamentally redone" to win GOP support 07:25

The following is a transcript of an interview with Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney that aired Sunday, April 11, 2021, on "Face the Nation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with the number three Republican in the House, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, she is also joining us from Capitol Hill. Good morning to you, Congresswoman.

REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: Good morning, MARGARET. Thanks for having me. And congratulations as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you. I love having powerful women back-to-back. 

REP. CHENEY: That's right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Straight to you on--

REP. CHENEY: Powerful women who are mothers of five, you know. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I- and I think there is something to that in terms of wrangling cats, no doubt.

REP. CHENEY: That's probably right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Back in 2017, you did support the idea of spending, you know, President Trump's proposal of a trillion dollars on infrastructure. Nothing ever came of that, of course. But you liked the concept. Why are you opposed to it now?

REP. CHENEY: Well, it's a very different proposal, obviously. Something less than 6%, as you mentioned, of this proposal that President Biden has put forward is actually focused on infrastructure. The National Association of Manufacturers has said that we will probably lose over a million jobs if this is enacted. And- and you are certainly going to see in addition to the corporate tax increases in the bill, you'll see middle-class tax increases. This is a pattern that we- we watch the Democrats use time and again, where they massively increase spending. They massively expand the size and scope of the federal government, and then they come back around and impose middle-class tax increases. So those are not things that we support, not things that I support.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that tax increase you're talking about with the National Association of Manufacturers, that was losing a million jobs over two years. It was specifically targeting the corporate tax rate going about 28%. Is that an area you're focusing in on? If Speaker Pelosi offers you an olive branch and says we'll go down to 25%, for example? I mean, is that something you can work with?

REP. CHENEY: Look, the bill would need to be fundamentally redone. It would need to be a different bill. It would need to actually focus on infrastructure, not on so many of the additional Green New Deal spending priorities, spending priorities that are focused on helping Democrat allies around the country. You know, we- we have already, as you pointed out, appropriated trillions of dollars since January and- and last year as well. I'm really concerned about the impact on the economy, the potential inflationary pressure that we might see with this additional injection of cash. And- and so much of it is unnecessary. Six percent is actually focused on the kind of infrastructure that- that there is bipartisan support for. So I would urge Democrats, let's focus on that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Portman, Republican colleague of yours, said 20% of the bill, if you're generous, is on infrastructure. You're- you're putting it even lower at 6%. On the question, though, of paid leave, which is something that Speaker Pelosi says is a long-term goal of hers, is that something you can get on board with?

REP. CHENEY: Look, MARGARET, I think that there are fundamental differences in how the Democrats and the Republicans approach the economy. We know that we've got to enact policies that are going to help spur this economic recovery, policies that are going to create jobs, policies that are- are not going to expand the federal government so that it's involved in every aspect of our lives. We understand that the engine of economic growth is the private sector.--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But as you know, that was so key when it came to female- female employment in this past pandemic-related contraction. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn't that something that you think is necessary?

REP CHENEY: I think that it is very important for us to provide opportunity for everyone. And I think that, you know, one of the things the Democrats often do is they sort of try to segment- segment women out and say, well, these are the women's issues. I think that women need to be in a position where they know that their elected officials are doing everything possible to keep them safe, to keep the nation safe, to get their kids back in school. If you want to talk about what is really going to help women get back to work, it's getting schools open again. And Speaker Pelosi, four times now since January has blocked the Reopen Schools Act from consideration on the House floor. Those are the kinds of things we ought to be focused on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Former Speaker John Boehner was just on CBS Sunday Morning saying January 6th should have been a wake up call for your party. It was an example of "political terrorism," was a phrase he used. And he doesn't understand why more in your party don't speak up. You did speak up and President Trump is threatening to primary you. Was separating yourself worth the risk?

REP. CHENEY: Look, January 6th was clearly an attack that was attempted to stop the counting of electoral votes. I just listened to Speaker Pelosi say that, quote, right now we're in a good place. We're not in a good place. We absolutely need- and it is her responsibility to create a commission, a bipartisan commission to study what happened, to understand what the provocation was, to understand what happened, to make sure that it never happens again. After every major crisis in this country whether it is September 11th--

MARGARET BRENNAN: There wasn't- there wasn't Republican support for the version she put forward,-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --which would have had a Democratic majority.

REP. CHENEY: The version that she put forward was not bipartisan. It was very heavily partisan towards the Democrats. This is a serious issue. It shouldn't be a partisan issue. You just had 140 national security officials from Republican and Democratic administrations send a letter to Congress saying, we need a commission. I think that's the single most important thing we need to do--


REP. CHENEY: --to make sure that kind of attack never happens again.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, unfortunately, last night the president- the former president, seemed to be talking in a proud way about the crowd size on January 6th. He gave the speech at Mar-a-Lago. He was the keynote speaker at the RNC fundraiser and- and talked about Vice President Pence not doing more to stop the election certification, according to reports in the Times and The Post. So is he really the best messenger for the party?

REP.  CHENEY: You know, the- the former president is using the same language that he knows provoked violence on January 6th. You know, as a party, we need to be focused on the future. We need to be focused on embracing the Constitution, not embracing insurrection. And I think it's very important for people to realize that a fundamental part of the Constitution and- and of who we are as Americans is the rule of law. It's the judicial process. The election wasn't stolen. There was a judicial process in place. If you attack the judicial process and you attack the rule of law, you aren't defending the Constitution. You're at war with the Constitution. And for us as a party going forward, we have to embrace the Constitution and we also have to put forward positive solutions. We've got to be the party of hope, of aspiration, of inspiration. The party that recognizes and understands that, you know, that the taxes need to be low. The government needs to be limited in size, strong national defense, those substantive things, not the party of- of insurrection.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Speaker Pelosi just said it's up to your party to take responsibility for Congressman Matt Gaetz, who, as you know, is undergoing an ethics investigation. Are you ready to call for his resignation? Or are you going to wait?

REP. LIZ CHENEY: You know, as soon as the mother of- of daughters, the charges certainly are sickening. And as the speaker noted, there's an ethics investigation underway. There are also criminal investigations underway. And I'm not going to comment further on that publicly right now, MARGARET.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Were you surprised at these allegations?

REP. LIZ CHENEY: I'm not going to comment further, MARGARET.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, well, here's one of your chief critics, so I needed to offer you that opportunity, as you well know.

REP. CHENEY: Thank you for the opportunity, MARGARET.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Congresswoman. We will leave it there. We'll be back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.

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