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Transparency Pitch

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 7, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: OK, where is the transparency? Republican Senator Jim Bunning just introduced a resolution calling for a Senate rule change. Senator Bunning wants all bills posted on line for 72 hours before they're voted on, and he wants cost estimates for each bill from the Congressional Budget Office.

Senator Bunning joins us live. So Senator, what happened to the resolution?

SEN. JIM BUNNING, R - KY: Well, the resolution was filed today, and the final version of it has also been filed as an amendment to the bill on the floor.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which means what?

BUNNING: Which means that tomorrow, we could bring it up as an amendment to the Commerce/State/Justice Department appropriation bill. And of course, the Democrat leadership would probably demand a 60-vote majority for it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you done a head count to see whether it's realistic that your resolution is going to be passed or not?

BUNNING: We've done a head count on the Republicans, and I have all 40 Republicans who are supporting it. Today, eight Democrats wrote a letter to Harry Reid and requested the exact same thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so can we at least have the eight -- do you know -- do you know offhand which Democrats so we at least put out there...

BUNNING: Well, the...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... the Democrats so people don't write these -- these senators and say, What's wrong with you? Do you remember any offhand?

BUNNING: I can remember Blanche Lincoln, Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson and five others.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, good. All right. So we got 48 -- we now have 48 senators, eight of whom are Democrats, who want this transparency. Have you asked the majority leader, Senator Reid, What do you want? Will you agree to transparency or not?

BUNNING: Well, it's obviously through his leadership in the Finance Committee that he does not want that because the Finance Committee voted that exact resolution or amendment down in our mark-up on the health care bill.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of extraordinary to me, with all the really important issues going on in this -- in this world, even this country, in terms of the economy or war in Afghanistan, that we are forced into a position where United States senators have to pull teeth to just get something that the American people are -- should be entitled to, which is information about how their government -- what their government is considering.

BUNNING: Greta, if you would have been home with me in August and listened to people -- the people were irate at the fact that the Senate did not read the bills before they voted on them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's -- that's -- OK, that -- I'm with you on that. I mean, it is astounding to me that they would vote. And so this is sort of, like, plan B for the American people. OK, if you won't read it -- I don't mean you yourself, but if -- but if United States senators and members of Congress won't read the bill you're going to vote on, will you at least let us read it? Put it out there for us. That's our plan B, and it's almost, like, you know, we're begging you, just let us see it! And there -- and these rules are being run on us and played on us so that you have to spend your afternoon, spend it tomorrow, go around counting members' heads just simply to show -- show us what we are really paying for.

BUNNING: Well, not only that, but we got a score today back on our bill from the Senate Finance Committee, and it was conceptual language. In other words, that wasn't real legislative language. And Dr. Elmendorf, who is the head of the CBO, said to us that you cannot score a bill accurately if you don't have legislative language.

Now, you've got to realize the fact that we're going to try to merge the HELP bill that came out and they changed after it was already voted out of the committee, and the Finance Committee bill and merge that into a bill that we will vote on the floor. And before we can vote on that, Dr. Elmendorf told me that that bill can only be scored with legislative language.

So we will not -- now, the bill that the HELP committee passed out was $1.6 trillion. The bill that the Finance Committee brought out with not legislative language was scored at about $900 billion. So now we've got to combine them. And then it has to go to a conference committee with the House bill that you were talking to John Boehner about.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you know what? I'm going to do a segment, a section with Steve Moore, and here's a list of the Congressman Budget Office projections of what they were and how many revisions and how many billions for things (INAUDIBLE) These numbers are wildly uncertain, at least in my mind. But anyway, Senator, good luck tomorrow. And I hope that all the senators who are on defense tonight about whether the American people should be able to read the bill for 72 hours before the vote will rethink this and let the American people see it and just dump it on the Internet. But Senator, thank you, sir. Good luck.

BUNNING: Thank you very much.

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