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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC's Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood Interviews Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" (Transcript Included)

Beth Goldman
Friday, 18 Jan 2008 | 8:27 AM ET

WHEN: Thursday, January 17th at approx. 4:35 PM ET
WHERE: "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. All references must be sourced to CNBC.

During the interview with CNBC's Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood, Pelosi discusses Congressional Democrats' plans to stimulate the economy, possible tax cuts, tax rebates, extension of unemployment benefits, incentives to small businesses as well as the presidential race and foreign investments in the U.S., among other topics.

CNBC's JOHN HARWOOD: THANK YOU, MADAME SPEAKER, FOR SPEAKING WITH US HERE. YOU HAD A CONFERENCE CALL TODAY. LEADERSHIP OF THE CONGRESS AND BOTH PARTIES WITH THE PRESIDENT. HOW MUCH HAS BEEN AGREED TO OR HAVE YOU ONLY AGREED TO TRAY TO WORK TOGETHER?

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PELOSI: THE IMPORTANT NEWS OUT OF THE TELEPHONE CALL TODAY WAS THE PRESIDENT ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THERE IS A NEED FOR A STIMULUS PACKAGE. THAT THE HARDSHIP IN THE COUNTRY THAT'S BEING FELT BY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY RISE IN PRICES IN INFLATION GOING UP AND UNLOIMT GOING UP AND HOUSING STARTS GOING DOWN AND CONSUMER SPENDING GOING DOWN. THERE WAS A NEED. THAT WAS REAL PROGRESS. WHAT WE DECIDED, OF COURSE, IS THAT WE WOULD CONTINUE TO TRY TO WORK TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO HAVE A STIMULUS PACKAGE THAT WOULD TIMELY. IT MUST HAPPEN NOW. IT WAS TARGETED TO THOSE MOST IN NEED SO THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THEIR SPENDING WOULD INJECT DEMAND INTO THE ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS AND THAT IT WOULD BE TEMPORARY.

HARWOOD: IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THAT, WILL YOU DEFINITELY HAVE A TAX REBATE AS PART OF THE PACKAGE? WE'VE SEEN FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN BARACK OBAMA'S PROPOSED $250 PER WORKER IN A REBATE.

THE WHITE HOUSE THINKS AROUND SIMILAR LINES. IS THAT GOING TO BE IN THE PACKAGE?

PELOSI: WE WILL ANNOUNCE SOMETHING THAT WE CAN ALL AGREE UPON.

CERTAINLY THERE WOULD BE TAX RELIEF FOR MIDDLE INCOME FAMILIES. THERE WOULD BE SOME RELIEF FOR BUSINESSES AS WELL.

AND THEN WE WOULD HOPE THAT THERE WOULD BE SOME OTHER PROVISIONS THAT AGAIN WOULD BE STIMULUS. EVERYTHING THAT MY MEMBERS SUGGEST TO ME I SAID THAT'S A GOOD IDEA AT ANY NORMAL TIME. IN A TIME OF A DOWNTURN WE NEED A STIMULUS AND IT MUST MEET THAT CRITERIA IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE ACCEPTED BY US.

I'M NOT PREPARED TODAY TO GIVE YOU THE PARTICULARS OF THE PLAN EXCEPT TO SAY THAT WE HOPE TO DO SO IN A BIPARTISAN WAY AND THAT IT WOULD BE TEMPORARY.

HARWOOD: THE WHITE HOUSE INDICATED THAT EXTENSION OF THE PRESIDENT'S PERMANENT EXTENSION OF THE PRESIDENT'S TAX CUTS MAY NOT HAVE TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS DISCUSSION BECAUSE A LOT OF YOUR MEMBERS OBJECT. WHAT IS IT THAT DEMOCRATIC LEADERS MIGHT GIVE UP IN ORDER TO REACH AN AGREEMENT WITH REPUBLICANS IN THE WHITE HOUSE?

PELOSI: IT'S HOPEFULLY WHAT WE CAN AGREE TO UNDER A FIND OUR COMMON GROUND. THE FACT IS EXTENSION OF THE PRESIDENT'S TAX CUTS ARE NOT A STIMULUS. THEY'RE NOT TIMELY. THEY'RE NOT TARGETED. AND THEY'RE NOT TEMPORARY.

SO THEY DON'T MEET THE STANDARD IN ANY WAY. WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS COME TOGETHER IN SOMETHING THAT AGREAT TO THAT WILL STIMULATE THE ECONOMY AND THAT IS IT'S NOT ABOUT GIVING UP BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF ITEMS ON THE TABLE THAT WE CAN AGREE TO. I THINK WHAT WE WANT TO DO OBVIOUSLY IS TO BUILD CONFIDENCE.

WE HAVE NEVER USED THE WORD RECESSION IN OUR DISCUSSION.

THERE'S A DOWNTURN.

WE WANT TO HEAD OFF IT GETTING WORSE.

WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS INSTILL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE AND INSTILL CONFIDENCE IN THE MARKETS AND I THINK A MESSAGE OF CONFIDENCE IS SENT WHEN LEADERS IN WASHINGTON CAN WORK TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO BENEFIT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AGAIN, IN A TIMELY FASHION.

HARWOOD: NOW SENATOR CLINTON AND OBAMA IN THEIR PROPOSALS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL TALKED ABOUT STIMULUS IN RANGE OF $75 BILLION WITH ADDITIONAL MONEY TAKING IT OVER $100 BILLION IF WE GET FURTHER SIGNS OF ECONOMIC DETIERYAGS. IS THAT THE SIZE OF THE PACKAGE THAT YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING IN THE $70 TO $100 MILLION RANGE?

PELOSI: ALL OF THE INITIATIVES I HAVE SEEN ON THE TABLE ARE GEARED TOWARD THE MIDDLE CLASS TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY IN A TIMELY FASHION IN A TEMPORARY WAY WITHOUT MAKING COMMENTS ON WHAT OTHERS ARE PROPOSING, I'M WORKING IN A BIPARTISAN WAY WITH REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE AND HOPEFULLY NOW WITH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE SO THAT WE CAN AGREE WITH THE WHITE HOUSE AS WE GO FORWARD.

BUT, AGAIN, WE WANT TO BE SURE THAT WHAT IS HAPPENING IS NOT HARMFUL TO WHAT WE WANT TO DO NEXT. IT CANNOT MAKE THE DEFICIT WORSE.

IT CANNOT INFLATE TO A POINT WHERE A RECOVERY BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT.

SO WE'RE LISTENING TO ECONOMICISTS ON ALL SIDES OF THE SPECTRUM HERE.

MR. RANGEL AND MR. FRANK BECAUSE THE SUBPRIME CRISIS HAS AN IMPACT ON THE CONDITION OF OUR ECONOMY. AND WE WANT TO HAVE SOMETHING THAT WILL LESSEN THE HARDSHIP FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE LOSING THEIR HOMES AND PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS.

HARWOOD: YOU MENTIONED THE DEFICIT AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY HAS BEEN A BIG THEME THAT YOU HAVE TRIED TOPRESS IN CONFERENCE. SENATOR CLINTON SAID THE OTHER DAY IT'S NOT A STIMULUS IF YOU PAY FOR IT. I ASSUME THAT YOU ACCEPT THE DEFICIT WILL GO UP IN THE SHORT RUN. ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE LONG RUN?

PELOSI: THE POINT IS WE HOPE TO INJECT DEMAND INTO THE ECONOMY WITH CONSUMER SPENDING AND CREATE JOBS AND INCREASE REVENUES COMING BACK INTO THE TREASURY AS WELL. WE DON'T WANT ANY BIG SPENDING PROGRAMS THAT ARE NOT STIMULUS. THAT DO NOT HAVE A SPARK IN THE ECONOMY TO GROW.

AGAIN, WE DON'T WANT TO -- FOR EXAMPLE, ANY LONG-TERM TAX RELIEF THAT IS NOT PAID TO –

HARWOOD: YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE

LONG-TERM THERE.

PELOSI: THE LONG-TERM.

HARWOOD: NOW, SENATOR McCAIN AND SOME REPUBLICANS HAVE TALKED ABOUT MAKING A CORPORATE TAX CUT PART OF THE STIMULUS. IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU COULD ENTERTAIN AS PART OF A PACKAGE?

PELOSI: WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD INCENTIVE FOR BUSINESS AS PART OF OUR

INNOVATION AGENDA. YOU WILL SEE SOME BONUS DEPRECIATION OR EXPENSING OR

SOMETHING LIKE THAT BECAUSE THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN PART OF OUR APPROACH AND INNOVATION APPROACH. SO THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT IS INCONSISTSENT WITH WHAT WE'RE DOING. THE AMOUNT WE WOULD INVEST IN THAT WOULD RELATE TO HOW MUCH OF A STIMULUS IT WOULD BE TO THE ECONOMY AND WHAT WILL PEOPLE DO NOW TO MAKE IT TEMPORARY THAT GIVES THE JUMP-START.

HARWOOD: LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT POLITICS OF THIS. WE KNOW THAT WASHINGTON HAS BEEN EXTREMELY POLARIZED OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. VERY DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO GET ANYTHING DONE ON A LARGE SCALE WITH A REPUBLICAN WHITE HOUSE AND WITH MEMBERS OF THE OTHER PARTY AND CONGRESS. WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THIS INSTANCE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO GET OVER THAT HURDLE IN AN ELECTION YEAR AND GET SOMETHING PASSED AND TO

THE PRESIDENT FOR SIGNATURE?

PELOSI: WELL, BEFORE I ANSWER THAT FIRST PART LET ME NOT STIPULATE

TO WHAT YOU SAID FIRST. LAST YEAR ALMOST ALL OF IT WAS PASSED IN A BIPARTISAN WAY AND SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT. ENERGY BILL, INNOVATION AGENDA AND THE LIKE. THE URGENCY THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE FEELING IN THEIR PERSONAL LIVES WITH HIGHER GAS PRICES AND HIGHER FUEL PRICES

AND ALL OF THE REST INSISTS THAT CONGRESS WORK IN A BIPARTISAN WAY AND I HOPE THAT THIS WILL SERVE AS A MODEL ON HOW IT WILL CONTINUE TO WORK IN THIS WAY TO BENEFIT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

HARWOOD: HOW QUICKLY DO YOU THINK YOU CAN GET ACTION ON THIS?

PELOSI: I THINK WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO BEFORE WE LEAVE FOR THE PRESIDENT'S DAYBREAK SO IN ABOUT 30 DAYS THAT WOULD BE MY OUTSIDE

LIMIT BECAUSE, AGAIN, EVERY DAY AROUND THE KITCHEN TABLE PEOPLE

ARE FEELING THE HARDSHIP AND AS WE GATHER AROUND THE TABLE TO

DISCUSS ALL OF THIS, WE HAVE TO ASSOCIATE OURSELVES WITH THEIR

CONCERNS AND MAKE OUR DECISIONS RELEVANT TO THEIR LIVES.

AGAIN, TO INSTILL CONFIDENCE IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE

ECONOMY AND IN THE MARKETS AND INCREASED CONSUMER SPENDING.

HARWOOD: I KNOW YOU HAVE TO MEET WITH REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME FOR US.




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