This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," September 22, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: With the cost of that health care bill fast approaching $1 trillion — think about that, $1 trillion — this thing's gone up $100 billion in a matter of 24 hours — calls now for Democrats to curtail their spending. This is not coming from Republicans, though. This is coming from — I guess what they're calling a moderate Democrat.
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, joining us right now. His biggest concern at this point is that a lot of the money we're committing to this is money that we can ill-afford to commit, at least for a lot of the things they want to commit it to.
The senator joins me from Washington right now.
Senator Bayh, always good having you.
SEN. EVAN BAYH, D-IND.: Neil, it's good to be back.
CAVUTO: This is up 100 billion bucks, Senator, in a day, with all these amendments. Are you surprised?
BAYH: Well, Washington being Washington, Neil, unfortunately no.
I don't know what the amendments are because I'm not on the Finance Committee, but I am...
CAVUTO: Well, then, relax — they don't know either, but continue.
BAYH: As you know, I am alarmed about the deficit. This is bad for our country economically. It's unfair to our children. And if we don't get on top of these rising costs — driven by health care increases and other parts of the federal budget — the markets will react, our economy will suffer. The public has a right to expect better from us.
So one of my litmus tests about how I'm going to vote is: Does it really begin to get the deficit under control? If it doesn't, then it's not worth doing.
CAVUTO: So you think some of the efforts that are made here to do add-ons to get votes, that unless they're deficit-neutral — in other words, they don't add to the deficit or at least Max Baucus can prove that they don't add to the deficit — you wouldn't vote for it?
BAYH: I had a meeting with several like-minded senators, more moderate Democrats today, and there's a strong feeling, Neil, that the deficit has to get under control. Health care has to be a part of that. And one of the virtues — you know, I'm not familiar with all the details of Max's original proposal. I'm kind of watching it as it evolves. But one of the virtues was the Congressional Budget Office did say it began to get the deficit down. That's a good thing.
So if you spend a lot more money and it starts driving the deficit up once again, that is not where we want to be.
CAVUTO: I see.
So Senator, you don't mind crassly handicapping this for me? I mean, it's always been a given, sir, that you're going to have most Republicans in the Senate, if not all — with the exception of potentially Olympia Snowe — against this. But that all Democrats will be for it. The way you're sounding, that's — that's not a gimme.
What do you say?
BAYH: Well, it depends on what the final bill says, Neil.
If it focuses on getting costs under control, both for families and small businesses, starts getting the deficit down, deals with some of the things that rightfully bother people about the current insurance practices — preexisting conditions, lifetime caps, things like that. If we can deal with that to make insurance coverage more stable and secure for people who have it, it would be a step in the right direction worth supporting.
But if, you know, they try and use smoke and mirrors to delude us and in fact the deficit's going up, we're not going to control people's costs, all those sorts of things, then it's not worth doing.
So I — I suspect what will happen, Neil, is they're going to make a real effort to try and get the 60 votes, hopefully by having a more moderate fiscally sensible bill.
CAVUTO: So you say the 60 votes, they won't do this procedural thing where it will take — 51 will be enough?
BAYH: There are a lot of reasons why they're going to want to do it with 60 votes and that means they're going to have to take a more practical, pragmatic, moderate approach. But if that fails, then I think they'll decide, well heck, then we may as well just go further off to the left. It may be, you know, at that point, turn into a big spending bill and they'll try and ram it through with 50 votes and they'd lose several moderate Democrats.
CAVUTO: That's very interesting.
Senator, thank you very much. Always good seeing you. Thanks for coming on.
BAYH: Good to see you, Neil.
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