OTR Interviews

Boehner: CBO Scoring a 'Fallacy,' 'Slaughter Solution' an 'Affront to the American People'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 18, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, House Minority Leader John Boehner! But before you hear from him, take a look at this! It's huge! Well, guess what? It's your assignment. Speaker Pelosi just gave you 72 hours to read it. We've already burned up about 8 hours, so we only have 64 hours left, so you better get reading. The health care bill -- you can find it on line.

All right, now House Minority Leader John Boehner.


VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea when this House vote is going to be?

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Well, they're trying to have it on Sunday, and that's the current schedule. But if they don't have the votes, they may be trying to do Sunday, but they're not going to bring this to the floor unless they have votes.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Any idea -- what's your head count right now? Because I realize it's a fluid situation, but what's your head count?

BOEHNER: Let's put it this way. They don't have the votes.

VAN SUSTEREN: But is it, like, one away, two away or five away? I mean, it could be a big difference.

BOEHNER: Listen, Greta, if they had the votes, they'd have done this in July or August, when they wanted to, or September, October, November, December, January, February. They never had the votes. And so we're talking about a bill that's been out there now for three months.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you say they didn't have the votes. They didn't have Congressman Kucinich. Then he had a little conversation with the president on Air Force One. They got him. Congressman Lynch in Massachusetts, who was a yes before, voted no, but apparently was going to the White House today to speak to the president. So I mean, you know, they're sort of -- they're peeling off your -- your no votes.

BOEHNER: They may be peeling off a few votes, but the fact is, they're not there yet. And if the American people stay engaged in this fight, they'll never get there. I've never seen the Congress of the United States pass a bill that the American people knew about and had already decided no. So they can push and shove, but (INAUDIBLE) it boils down to this. Are these Democrats going to vote with their constituents or are they going to vote with Nancy Pelosi?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, (INAUDIBLE) so unusual to us is that the other night, Congressman Gutierrez was on our air, on "On the Record," telling me, telling us, that he was a no vote. Now today, like, two or three days later, he's a yes vote. What happened?

BOEHNER: Well, obviously, he had a conversation with one or more persons that convinced him to do otherwise. I don't know what was in it for him. But his opposition for several days was really very hard over the issue of illegal immigration.

VAN SUSTEREN: The CBO estimate, preliminary estimate today -- surprised at it?

BOEHNER: No, I'm not surprised at it. But you have to remember something. You've got this long-term care insurance as part of this program, and they're going to collect $70 billion worth of fees over the next 10 years. There's also about $56 billion worth of Social Security money that comes in. That money is there for those programs, and they're counting it toward the cost of this new entitlement.

VAN SUSTEREN: So they're taking it from that? Are you saying they're...

BOEHNER: They're taking it from those programs...

VAN SUSTEREN: So they're going to run a deficit later to that extent, those programs?

BOEHNER: Exactly. Social Security is going to be that much short. And this new long-term care insurance is not going to have the money to pay for the benefits that people are paying in now.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, the one thing that's always baffled me, which is sort of -- much easier to understand is this so-called "doctor fix," which is anywhere from $250 billion to $350 billion to pay doctors as they should fully be compensated. And that's not included in this number, is it.

BOEHNER: It's not in there. That's why the whole so-called CBO scoring issue is a fallacy. CBO only scores what they're given. But when you start to...

VAN SUSTEREN: But they're using...

BOEHNER: But when you start to...

VAN SUSTEREN: But they're using...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... that score, though, to get their yes votes!

BOEHNER: Oh, they're trying to, but most members understand that the doc fix isn't in there. It's $250 billion to $300 billion over 10 years. They've already promised it to the doctors. That's why the AMA continues to be on board supporting this because they want this fix -- although it's not even in the bill.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the AMA -- actually, I did a little research at one point, the American Medical Association -- only about I think 30 percent of doctors are members of it. I mean, all these sort of organizations get thrown at us either from your side or their side. If you dig a little deeper, it's -- sometimes there's more to the story.

BOEHNER: Oh, there's always more to the story. But when you look at this second bill that they want to use through reconciliation, it purportedly fixes some of the problems with the Senate bill. It does fix the Nebraska problem.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think that's gone?

BOEHNER: It's gone. And I think it fixes the "Gator aid" problem so that Medicare Advantage patients will be treated like everyone else in Florida. But there are new things in here, you know?


BOEHNER: Oh, like the Bismarck bank deal.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's that?

BOEHNER: Well, if you look at this student loan provision in there, they eliminate every bank in the country and all private student loan lenders so the government can do it instead, except one bank in North Dakota. Now, why was that in there? Earl Pomeroy, House member, only member from North Dakota...

VAN SUSTEREN: Was he an uncertain? Was he an uncertain until recently? I mean...

BOEHNER: He voted yes, but he's in the undecided column.

VAN SUSTEREN: So now he's -- so this bank in his district now gets some deal.

BOEHNER: Yes, the only bank in the country allowed to do student loans.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, first of all, why are student loans even in this health care bill?

BOEHNER: Part of the reconciliation process, bringing the budget together, and that's what reconciliation is supposed to be used for, the House Democrats have passed this elimination of the student loan program in favor of a direct lending program that's run by the federal government. There are some savings there. And even those savings are going to get applied to this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, I got across my BlackBerry a short time ago that your colleague, Eric Cantor, is accusing of the House Democratic leadership of "malfeasant manner." What is that?

BOEHNER: This whole talk about "scheme and deem," the "Slaughter House rules" -- this idea that they can bring this 2,700-page health care bill to the floor and vote on it without a vote, pass it without voting on it -- this is -- this is an affront to every American...


BOEHNER: ... and an affront to a lot of us that serve here in the Congress.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I would think that you would love it. I mean, they've got -- you know, they're going to get the votes either way, whether they do it this way or that other way, I think. And It sends these Democrats back to their districts next November saying, Well, I really didn't vote for it, when they're back home, if they don't like it. I mean, it looks cowardly. Either you stand by the bill or you don't stand by it.

BOEHNER: Well, listen, they can try every scheme they want and every gimmick, but there's no way to hide from this vote. No way. And I just think that the American people are upset about the process. They're upset about the bill and the arrogance of power that's going on here, from the president of the United States to the Speaker of the House, trying to ramrod this down the throats of the American people.

I tell you what. It makes me sick! And I am -- I am angry. I held back a word that I wanted to use. I'm angry about this. Why can't we have a big, open debate? We've never debated the Senate bill in the House, and we're going to "deem" it to have passed? Nonsense!


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