This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," Dec. 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Senator Jim DeMint just infuriated many Democrats, demanding that the entire START treaty be read on the floor of the Senate. Senator DeMint ultimately backed off his demand. So why did he change his mind? Earlier, Senator DeMint went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.
SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C.: Hi, Greta. It's good to be back with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the START treaty. Let's start with the START treaty. Today the White House has said -- Robert Gibbs said that you were wasting time when you wanted to have it read. And the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said -- made one reference to you as sanctimonious. And he said you'd been in Washington too long. So what's the story with the reading of the START treaty?
DEMINT: Well, that's a compliment coming from Gibbs. But unfortunately, the Democrats, Greta, are trying to push through their whole wish list right before Christmas. And they're using Christmas as a bargaining chip, effectively, and a major arms agreement with Russia should not be considered in a lame duck session.
We normally spend two weeks of debate and amendments, and they're not going to give us that. So what I tried to do is tell them if they bring it up, we're going to -- we're going to make them run out the clock on it. And so we were going to make them read the bill. But then they decided they didn't want to do that. So they gave me an agreement to burn a whole day. I'm just trying to run out the clock on this bad legislation so that they can't do any more damage before the reinforcements get here in January.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so that I understand, you've had -- the treaty's been around since at least May. So it's not a question of whether there's an opportunity to read it. And it's not a question of whether you're for the START treaty or not. But it's really tactical, as it relates to other legislation? Is that right?
DEMINT: Well, the process is bad. We should not be doing it in a few days. But a lot of us would also like to add amendments to it. I have real concerns about missile defense and some of the other agreements we're making with the Russians. We've asked for negotiating records, and they won't give them to us. So we think agreements have been made that we don't know about. So we need an open process, and you really can't do that on Christmas Eve with no real debate.
So we're just telling them, if they bring it up, we're going to do everything we can to delay it and make it hard for them to pass it. It's just too important to treat it like one of their little political check- the-box things. I know Obama wants a foreign policy victory, but I think this treaty would be bad for our country.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Now, in front of you, another topic -- I mean (INAUDIBLE) disturbs me is that things get voted on that don't get read. First of all, what is that?
DEMINT: Well, this is the omnibus spending bill. We didn't...
VAN SUSTEREN: When did you get it?
DEMINT: We got it, I guess, yesterday afternoon, sometime yesterday.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you read the whole thing?
DEMINT: No, and no one will read it. It's impossible to read. Just the earmarks, Greta, over 6,000 earmarks in small print on pages, just billions of dollars of giveaway. This is what the last election was about. America doesn't want to do business this way anymore. This is -- includes legislation that shouldn't be in the bills. And we're doing it again right before Christmas.
We're supposed to by law have this done before October to fund our government. Right now, we've got some stopgap continuing resolutions to fund the government. And now they're trying to pass this horrible omnibus, over a trillion dollars, thousands of earmarks. I can't believe anyone would vote for it!
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, a couple things that -- why can't -- why can't you guys do your work on time? Why couldn't you do this before the new year started on October 1? That's the first thing. And secondly, even with regard to the tax cuts, everybody's known since 2001 it was going to expire at the end of the month. You guys wait until after election to spring that on each other and on the American people like the tax debate.
DEMINT: Well, we tried to handle this. I brought up a continuing resolution long-term that would take us all the way through to the new Congress. But the Democrats killed it. And the same with continuing the same tax rates. We've brought up several times in the last few years to continue the tax rates so we wouldn't have this brinksmanship that the Democrats are playing. Again, they're trying to create a crisis that we have to pass something before we leave. And they expect us to pass something we haven't read.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who has read that?
DEMINT: No one has. Hundreds of staff have put together pieces of it. The appropriation committees, 12 of them, have put together pieces of it. They just threw it all together. And what we need to do is have a resolution that funds our government at the current rates until the new Congress gets here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, actually -- actually, you guys all need to do your job on time, to tell you the truth.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I understand the sort of the stopgap. But the American people say, Look, we have to do our jobs on time.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know? And it's -- there's no budget, number one. This is supposed to be done before October 1st. That hasn't been done. Now it's dumped on everybody the night before you're supposed to vote on it, and it's absolutely absurd to think that anyone would vote yes or no on something he hadn't read!
DEMINT: I mean, this is why the Democrats were just voted out. This is the first time since I've been in Congress, House or the Senate, that we haven't had a budget and we haven't passed our appropriation bills. So it's -- it's just a terrible thing and we shouldn't be doing it at Christmas. But this is a bunch of stocking stuffers for senators to try to get them to vote for it. This little bits of candy, earmarks that they can take home -- this is what we're trying to end, this culture of pork and wasteful spending. This bill cannot go through. I'm going to do anything I can. I'll work through Christmas and New Year's. We're going to do everything we can to stop this.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you've asked to read the START bill. Why don't you ask to read that?
DEMINT: We will. You can count on that. If they bring this up, they're going to read it. And it'll take them a day and a half or two to read this. Again, we're trying to run out the clock. They should not be able to pass this kind of legislation in a lame duck Congress.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir. And enjoy your reading.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I wish it weren't so serious. I shouldn't be laughing...
DEMINT: It's deadly serious. It's deadly serious.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.