OTR Interviews

'Slaughter Solution' 101

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The House Democrats are scrambling. That magic number, 216. They must get 216 yes votes. So how are they going to do it? All sorts of ideas have been raised by the Democrats, including what Republicans call the "Slaughter solution." Now, what is the Slaughter solution? It is plan C, named after Democratic congresswoman Louise Slaughter, chair of the House Rules Committee. Now, she has a plan to get the health care bill through the House without a vote on the Senate-passed bill. How would the Slaughter solution work?

Earlier, Republican congressman David Dreier went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: The so-called Slaughter solution that's part of -- that's being proposed -- what is that?

REP. DAVID DREIER, R - CALIF.: What is happening, Greta, is every -- well, everyone says that they want openness, transparency and disclosure and accountability. Everything is being done to try and avoid that. Why? Because under this reconciliation process, as you know and the American people now know very well, the House has to pass this horrible bill that has...

VAN SUSTEREN: You mean the Senate bill?

DREIER: Yes, the Senate bill.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which the House doesn't want?

DREIER: Yes, which the House doesn't want. But the House has to pass that and it has to become law. And so they are seeking any way that they possibly can to circumvent accountability for that, doing things like self- enacting the Senate bill in a rule, which would mean there will be no debate other than the customary 30 minutes on either side for the rule to be considered.

You know, the American people understand now that process is substance. Up until June 26th of last year, when we had the 300-page amendment to the cap-and-trade bill dropped in our laps upstairs in the Rules Committee at 3:00 o'clock in the morning, when they were reporting this to the floor and our Republican leader, John Boehner, the next day proceeded to spent an hour going through it, it led the American people to say what? Read the bill. So people are now getting it. And so the idea of circumventing -- circumventing an up-or-down vote is not what the American people want.

VAN SUSTEREN: The way that I also understand it -- correct me if I'm wrong -- is that the reason why the Democratic leadership might want the Slaughter solution is it does two things. One is, if you don't trust the Senate -- meaning that if the bill goes up to the president, gets signed, you don't trust that the Senate is, quote, going to "fix" it to your liking here in the House. That's the first thing.

The second thing is that many members of Congress don't want to go back to their district having voted for this because it'll look bad in November, so that is another means.

DREIER: Well, that's -- I mean, your second point is the one that I was just arguing. It's trying to avoid accountability. You know, I've been having town meetings with thousands of people participating on these telephone town halls. In fact, I've been in touch with virtually every one of my constituents. And the message overwhelmingly is that they do not want us to see the government take control of one sixth of our economy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has the Republican Party ever done this sort of -- because, I mean, the first thing is, I mean, like, it looks like it's, you know, changing rules midstream, mid-game. And I understand that's politics. It's done.

DREIER: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: But has your party ever done anything like that?

DREIER: Well, I would commend you to "A New Direction for America," which was the document that Nancy Pelosi put out. When she attacked us when we were in the majority, she said that she would have this transparency and openness. Could we have done better? Yes, we could have done better.

But I will say this. Never before -- never before has this kind of thing taken place, where they are looking to avoid accountability on a measure that would have the federal government take control of one sixth of our economy. When Social Security and Medicare passed, Greta, we had -- there was by partisan support for those initiatives that came about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think the Slaughter solution is going to be on the table? I know there's discussion about it, but is that the way you anticipate this whole health care process going at this point?

DREIER: You know, any attempt that they can find right now to avoid accountability, they will pursue. They don't -- they're wise in not trusting the United States Senate. And I don't. I mean, this -- we were just in touch with Senator McConnell's office, and he told us a little while ago that only one time, only one time in all of the reconciliation attempts that have gone on and passage over the last several decades, have we seen a measure come back without amendments to it. Meaning, making these changes. And so any Democrat who does vote in favor of this package is voting for the "Cornhusker kickback," "Gator aid," the "Louisiana purchase," $500 billions in cuts...

VAN SUSTEREN: Except with the expectation it's going to be fixed later. I mean, that...

DREIER: But the...

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, that is the -- I mean, anyone who votes for it -- I know that they're -- that the Democrats are going to get hit with it in November if they voted for it, but anyone who votes for it has an expectation, maybe realistic or unrealistic, that it's going to get changed.

DREIER: You know, Greta, I've been around the track more than a couple of times here, and I will tell you, I would not have confidence in the United States Senate. You've heard, I'm sure...

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) from lot of members of the House!

DREIER: Yes. And you know the great old line, they say that the opposing political party is the adversary, the Senate is the enemy. And you know, the...

VAN SUSTEREN: You don't trust the Senate?

DREIER: No, I don't. And in fact, I think for good reason. I hope very much that we can have what David Axelrod said on Sunday he wanted, and that is a clean up-or-down vote. And I think that we should push for that, and all of these provisions being considered right now are a long way from that

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir.

DREIER: You bet. Always good to be with you, Greta.


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