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GOP Declares War?

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Sen. Jon KylFNC

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 10, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Did Senate Republicans just declare war? Earlier Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl went "On the Record" about a letter more like a missile that is rocking Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JON KYL, R - ARIZ.: There are 41 Republican U.S. senators, all of us, who have sent a letter to the majority leader saying that if you bring a reconciliation bill from the House of Representatives on this health care issue and it is subject to points of order, we will not waive those points of order. We will raise them and uphold them.

That means that the bill that the members of the House vote on will not be the bill that passes.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's extraordinary that you got all 41. It almost seems a little like declaration of war here at the U.S. Senate.

KYL: This is the response to the declaration of war. The declaration of war is to use the reconciliation process, which its author, Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia said it should not be used here. He said it would be an outrage.

So if they are going to use the reconciliation process, what all of the Republicans are saying it is, all right, then we are going to hold you to the strict limits of reconciliation. And if you go outside the line and try to get something in there that is not technically correct under reconciliation, we are going to toss it out on point of order and we have the votes to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: In looking at the first signature pate, I see the leadership, yours and Senator Mitch McConnell's signature, and then the first two names that catch my attention are the two senators from Maine who tend to be more moderate Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Accidental, or intended to send a message?

KYL: It obviously is all intended to send a message.

And Olympia Snowe has really been the leader in this. You'll recall just before Christmas Eve when we were all debating this on the U.S. Senate, she said this is the wrong way to do a piece of legislation that affects so many Americans. It should be bipartisan. That was her objection to moving forward, ramming it through at that point.

Now it is even worse if they use the reconciliation procedure. The point is clearly to send a message to House Democrats.

VAN SUSTEREN: This is directed to Senator Reid, the majority leader, but this really is a message to the Democrats in the House?

KYL: It is exactly. And we are trying to help them.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are trying to warn them.

KYL: Both. There are a lot of them obviously don't like the Senate bill. They have made that clear. So they think they can fix it in reconciliation.

What we're saying is, no, you can't count on it being fixed in reconciliation, so you ought to think twice before you vote for that bill and then vote for the reconciliation bill in the House. It isn't going to work that way.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Lindsey Graham was on our show the other night, and he made a flip remark -- who is dumber the Democrats in the House or the Democrats in the Senate? The Democrats in the House thinking things will get changed or the Democrats in the Senate once the bill signed will say we'll change meet what somebody else wants.

KYL: All of which is to say that nobody likes the bill that is out there now. They are all going fix it, except that they are not going to be able to fix it. That's our point. So they shouldn't vote for a bill that they think is going to get fixed, because it isn't going to get fixed, at least in all of the ways they want it to.

VAN SUSTEREN: How much of a punch is? All 41 senators have signed this. But when it comes back for reconciliation, are these issues subject to more than a 51 vote?

KYL: Some of these are very important issues, yes. These not peripheral issues. The abortion issue is one of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: That needs 60?

KYL: That is not an issue that we believe can be fixed in reconciliation.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's a warning to Congressman Stupak and his colleagues?

KYL: They should take this into account. The president said he wants the federal government to be the entity that determines what insurance companies can charge. That is clearly not something that can be done in reconciliation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Meaning not 50 votes but 60?

KYL: So that would be stricken from the bill. If he tried to put that in the bill it would be stricken from the bill. And there are three or four other very obvious examples like that.

VAN SUSTEREN: I take it this will not be received well by the Democratic members of the U.S. Senate. They are not going to like this.

KYL: No, they are not going to like it, but they should it. They've known all along that using the reconciliation procedure is a declaration of war. And we are not going to sit back and do nothing about it.

All we're doing is saying, all right, if you use reconciliation, then you have to abide by its rules. And if you go outside the limits, we will raise points of order and make sure they are sustained. Nothing wrong with that.

VAN SUSTEREN: We are hearing there's a timetable, the president wants it done by March 18th. Is that possible?

KYL: It's very tight. You will have to ask the Democratic leaders about that.

First of all, we don't have a bill yet. Once again they are writing a bill behind closed doors. That bill will then have be scored by the Congressional Budget Office to see how much it costs, and then they will bring it before the House of Representatives.

The reason they want to do this before March 18th is that a week later after the Senate has disposed of the bill, we go on our Easter recesses, meaning we go back home and face our constituents.

They are afraid that the same will happen this year that happened during the August recess last year when our constituents gave us an earful about this health care bill that they did not like. And I'm sure that they are correct that once again our constituents are going tell us don't pass this turkey.

And of course, if their house Democrat members hear that they are going to be less likely to support it when they get back from Easter recess.

VAN SUSTEREN: All 41 signatures are on there.

KYL: Can't read any of them.

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you have to pull any teeth?

KYL: No. It is easy for this reason. If the Democrats are going to use reconciliation, OK, then they are going to do it the right way. We're not going to let them cheat on it. They have to be between the lines.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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