'Your World': Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Trivial Tributes in Congress

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," July 27, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: It’s time to get serious about the people’s work. There are people who are suffering out there. And the frustration is that we waste our time on this. These people in the audience travel from around the country, around the world to come see us, what, debate a racetrack?


NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz fed up with the trivial tributes on the House floor, like honors for the Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints, the anniversary of the Louisville Slugger, and a salute to the Saratoga Racetrack for its new season.

And now to the guy telling Republicans and Democrats today, enough horsing around.

Congressman, boy, you just win friends fast and furious down there, don’t you? What are folks saying to you after this?

CHAFFETZ: They’re patting me on the back, saying, well, hallelujah, finally somebody’s bringing this stuff up. It’s just — it’s insane, what we debate around here.

CAVUTO: Yes, but they’re a lot of the ones bringing it up.

CHAFFETZ: Well, but — and everybody seems to go along just to get along. They seem to vote for something, hoping that maybe when their turn comes around, but that’s not what we got sent here to do. People are fed up with this.

We have got people with — who have got real issues. But we’re not addressing those. Instead, we’re talking literally about recognizing the University of Dayton men’s basketball team, who won the NIT championship earlier this year. That’s what we’re talking about and "debating"? I mean, it’s insane.

CAVUTO: All right, you better not have any proclamations in your closet, like Utah Jazz dedications or anything like that.

CHAFFETZ: You know, I voted for some. I even co-sponsored some. And, after a while, I got there and I just thought, you know what? All right, freshman, rookie mistake. I’m not going to make that mistake again.

So, I have stood up and said, hey, look, I’m going to start voting against these and just — there’s no way I’m going to support them. I don’t care. If it’s sports, you get enough recognition. You shouldn’t turn on C-SPAN to get your sports update. That’s the problem.

CAVUTO: How long is this? Because some of your critics say you’re making a big deal about nothing. It doesn’t take long to whip out a proclamation or draw up a certificate. They say you can do it online at or whatever, so why don’t you just take a chill pill?

What do you say?

CHAFFETZ: Well, look, if you want to submit something for the record, print it up nice and send it to them or present it to the mayor, go ahead. But when you submit it as a bill, there’s clerks, there’s all these legislative assistants, and then it takes time on the floor of the House.

I can’t imagine how much money it takes to have 435 members on the floor of the House voting and taking 40 minutes of time to “debate" some of these resolutions.

I mean, when Steny Hoyer brings up a resolution to support and recognize the University of Maryland men’s basketball team — I’m not making this up — before we even had March madness, then you just know that it’s just political favoritism. And that is what infuriates people. And that is what has me just fed up.

CAVUTO: It’s a good basketball team, you know, but...

CHAFFETZ: They were not good. They lost in the second round.

CAVUTO: All right.


CHAFFETZ: I’m sorry. They didn’t do very well.

CAVUTO: You could be a little kinder.

I’m just saying that here’s my benefit-of-the-doubt theory, Congressman. Hear me out.


CAVUTO: If they’re busy with these proclamations and these dedications, none of which are important, then it stops them from, you know, multi-trillion dollar spending initiatives that are very important and really wasteful. So, if they, you know, nickel-and-dime us on the silly stuff, and it keeps them away from the really big stuff, why shouldn’t we actually welcome it?

CHAFFETZ: No, you have got a bit of a point there.

But, here, we’re going to talk about funding for the Afghan war, a serious subject. The Democrats are bringing this up on a suspension. We have no ability to even author an amendment. So, you’re going to waste all of our time on the floor talking about — literally, we have one that was recognizing the 50th anniversary of the book "To Kill a Mockingbird," like we needed Congress to tell us that that was a good book.

But that’s what we’re doing this week. And you’re wasting untold — I don’t know how much money we’re wasting, and the taxpayers’ time, and it’s just — yes, if we would do nothing and go home and get to the real work, that would be fine. But we’re just wasting so much time and money.

And it’s just week in and week out. It doesn’t stop.

CAVUTO: Congressman, all right, can you give me an update, sir, on where it stands now with the extension of the Bush tax cuts? A lot of your Democratic colleagues are apparently petitioning Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer to push back the tax hike on the rich or the upper two rates for at least a year, that the economy is still dicey.

We’re told that it’s kind of going nowhere fast. There are a significant number of them, but not nearly enough to change that. What do you hear?

CHAFFETZ: It’s hard to tell where the Democrats are on this, but this is not the time to raise taxes. They’re going to try to frame and phrase this so that it doesn’t — it is not a tax hike. But it is a tax hike.

And we don’t need this in a time when so many people are suffering. If we want to incentivize and grow business, raising taxes is not the way to go.

CAVUTO: So, are you still sleeping on a cot in your office?

CHAFFETZ: Yes, I do.

CAVUTO: Really?

CHAFFETZ: Well, when my wife — when my wife’s here, I stay at the Marriott.


CAVUTO: Well, we don’t want to go there, but, all right, wow.

CHAFFETZ: Yes. Yes. And I do shower. I want you to know, I do shower.

CAVUTO: Good. Good.

Well, you’re on remote. It doesn’t matter. But if you were here in person, probably it would.

Congressman, it’s always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Neil. Thank you.

CAVUTO: Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

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