Rep. Eric Cantor on Repealing Obamacare if GOP Wins Back House in November

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: What's the political prognosis for Obamacare after the November election? The question many conservatives, Tea Party activists, Republicans and even some Democrats are asking is this: If they take the House in November, will Republicans immediately push for an all-out repeal of Obamacare?

Joining us now from Richmond, Virginia, is Republican Congressman Eric Cantor. All right, Republican Congressman Eric Cantor. You've now got to correct the record because Politico is reporting that Eric Cantor, if he's the House majority leader come -- come November, that you're going to push for a more modest approach to Obamacare, meaning defund it, not repeal it. Did Politico get it wrong?

REP. ERIC CANTOR, R-VA., HOUSE GOP WHIP: Laura, I'll tell you one thing: As you and I have known each other for several years and as many of my constituents are, I'm a big fan of yours. So I got several calls from constituents over the last day or so saying, "What's Laura Ingraham talking about that Eric Cantor is not for a repeal of Obamacare?" Of course I'm for a repeal of Obamacare.

As you know, Laura, I'm the Republican whip in the House, and the duty of the Republican whip was to marshal as many votes as we could against Obamacare to make sure it didn't become law. And in the end, we didn't have one Republican vote that voted for it. Unfortunately, the bill passed. So we are faced with a situation where, hopefully, this November, a conservative majority will regain position in the House. And we're going to do everything we can to repeal the bill, to delay the bill, to defund the bill, to do all of the above. I mean, these things go hand in hand, Laura.

INGRAHAM: Will you pledge, Congressman -- will you pledge, Congressman, if you are House majority leader, to see to it that a bill is brought to the floor of the House of Representatives to immediately repeal Obamacare? Will you pledge to do that tonight?

CANTOR: Listen, without measuring any drapes about what position I will be or won't be, if I'm in a position to make that difference, absolutely I will pledge to do that. Are you kidding? Of course. I mean, listen, the discussion, I think, in the article that you were reading was about how we going to have a comprehensive strategy to ensure that a trillion-dollar takeover of our health care in this country does not occur. And it's got to go forward on all fronts, full throttle. We've got to make sure, initially, that we are defunding every bit of the regulations process.

INGRAHAM: But 56 percent of -- see, I hear what you're saying, Congressman. But, look, 56 percent of the country wants it repealed. The latest poll out, Rasmussen, you read it. I read it. Fifty-six percent immediately want it repealed.

CANTOR: Laura, Laura…

INGRAHAM: I know you say you want it repealed but then you say, "Well, I mean, it's ambitious..."

CANTOR: Laura...

INGRAHAM: "...and President Obama might veto it." I say let him veto it. That will be great for you.

CANTOR: Laura -- Laura, absolutely. But, listen, if -- absolutely.

INGRAHAM: What's the "but"?

CANTOR: We're going to put a bill on the floor if I'm in a position to do it. You better believe it.

INGRAHAM: Well, if you're House majority leader, you'll have the position to do it. If you're House majority leader, you will...

CANTOR: Look...

INGRAHAM: ...push forward the bill immediately to repeal this?

CANTOR: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I don't see how you ever thought I wouldn't be for doing that. Now, come on.

INGRAHAM: Well, because here's one reason.

CANTOR: You and I are on the same side here.

INGRAHAM: Here's one reason. Here's one reason I just wanted to trust but verify, like Reagan. "Doveryai no proveryai" in Russian. I wanted to trust and verify because this…

CANTOR: Yes, but you know what?

INGRAHAM: ...because this -- because of this. Because the things -- some of the things that you've said -- and they're not all negative, but some of the comments you've made about the Tea Party movement: it's good as the grassroots movement, which I agree. And then you also said, but not -- as a caucus, might not be that helpful. And then, you know, your -- I think your comment, maybe it was last year about Rush Limbaugh wanting the president to fail. And people get a little worried that...


INGRAHAM: know, even Eric Cantor can get caught up in the Washingtonitis, that's all.

CANTOR: Laura, Laura, you know better than that from me. We've known each other for years. Now, come on. Listen, we've got to get a president in the White House who will sign a repeal bill. We're going to put repeal bills on the floor, absolutely. But just to do so for that sake without actually accomplishing repeal is not enough for me. I want to make the case. I want to go and expose to the American people how egregious this government takeover of health care is. It will change health care as we know it. People won't be able to afford it. We won't have the quality of care that we expect and deserve in America. We've got a lot of work to do...

INGRAHAM: We all agree on that.

CANTOR: make sure that we stop this thing from happening.

INGRAHAM: A hundred percent. Why are you not for an all-out ban on earmarks then?

CANTOR: Listen, I don't earmark, OK? And so Republicans are not about earmarking, all right? I mean, we -- we are the ones that went -- I worked for five years to make sure -- and John Boehner and I were able this year to make it so that our conference supported a moratorium on earmarks. And so what I will say is, if these earmarks come back, they will not be earmarks that will include monuments to me and teapot museums and frankly, we'll have...

INGRAHAM: They'll be good earmarks?

CANTOR: tolerance for corruption.

INGRAHAM: They'll be good earmarks?

CANTOR: Listen, there will -- if these earmarks come back, there will have to be a demonstration to the American people that their taxpayer dollars are being spent prudently in a way with a federal purpose. Listen, again, I say I don't earmark. And Republicans are not about making the case for earmarks.

INGRAHAM: They shouldn't do it. Are you going to sign on to Ryan's roadmap for the future going forward? Because I think that's a great slate of ideas, and I don't think you've signed it yet. Have you?

CANTOR: Listen, I am working very closely with Paul Ryan to make sure that we put in place a way for us to balance the budget, a way for us to get to the point where these entitlement programs that we've got don't bankrupt this country. At the same time, that we can honor the commitments to America's seniors. And I think Paul will tell you that.

INGRAHAM: All right.

CANTOR: And so we've got to have a serious conversation, Laura. And it's time for conservatives to come together so that we can win in November and begin to take this country back.

INGRAHAM: We're going to hold your feet to the fire, just like we hold the other feet to the fire. We can't go back to the old Republican ways. We have to have the new conservative Republican ways.

CANTOR: Absolutely, Laura. But it's about all of us -- it's about all of us coming together.

INGRAHAM: Not what happened in 2004 through 2008, absolutely. I appreciate it, Congressman. Thank you very much.

CANTOR: I'm the first -- and I'm the first one, Laura, that will say that we have learned our lesson from those years.

INGRAHAM: I hope so. I hope so.

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