OTR Interviews

Rep. Noem: It's Time for President Obama to Lead on the Budget Battle

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 4, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And the budget battle on Capitol Hill -- well, it's far from over. Just minutes ago, the House reached, apparently, some sort of compromise on a new continuing resolution, slashing up to a whopping $12 billion in one week. They are trying to avoid a government shutdown, but what about long-term? And do Republicans think this new CR, this continuing resolution, is a good start at making deeper cuts?

Joining us here on the set is South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Nice to see you.

REP. KRISTI NOEM, R-S.D.: Good to see you, Greta. Thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what's this -- so what do you think about another continuing resolution, this time slashing $12 billion a week?

NOEM: Well, what we're trying to do is put some safeguards in, in case the Senate never does act. You know, it's been 44 days since we have sent them a solution on funding our government to make sure we make it through fiscal year 2011, and they haven't. So what you see in this CR is some funding for our military, for our Department of Defense, and funding our priorities and still cutting spending.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, you say that this -- I think this is what, number six or number seven continuing resolution?

NOEM: Well, for fiscal year 2011, I think this would be number seven.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, number seven. You know, it's, like, it's almost -- I don't want to make you as dysfunctional as the Wisconsin supreme court, where they're -- where they're name calling and snitching on each other, but this whole idea is that we sort of limp along -- it's week and then next week and then next week, and we have these sort of dramatic moments and keeping -- why -- you know, what's -- where's the breakdown?

NOEM: Well, the breakdown's in the Senate, obviously, and with the president, the fact that he hasn't led. So you know, that's the thing that's hard for the House to swallow and hard for our conference to swallow is the fact that we sent them HR1 that was obviously our solution with our cuts to it. They did not accept that, so we did two more CRs that still had spending cuts in it. This one is guaranteeing that we make sure that we take care of our military.

I mean, I think a lot of people talk about it and you hear it when we go home on the weekends, about shutting down the government. And the options are in front of us. Well, I'll tell you that the House Republican conference does not want to do that. We recognize that if we did that -- we have men and women who are at war. When we do that, they do not get funded. They don't get paid. And they've got families at home depending on those paychecks. We want to make sure that we send that Department of Defense bill over there, take them off the table to make sure we protect them, that they do get paid, and that the Senate, hopefully, will start making some better decisions.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have the Republican -- and I guess the Republican freshmen are the ones that seem to be carrying the water on this one, I mean, sort of drawing the line on it. Have they negotiated as far as they're going to negotiate? Is there anything more for you to negotiate?

NOEM: Well, you know, when you talk about negotiating, I think what we're doing is we're negotiating on behalf of the American people. I mean, this last election...

VAN SUSTEREN: But you have your number and you have your ideas, right?

NOEM: The number was in the first HR. Absolutely. That was our first number, and that's our number that we have that we're fighting for. So we're fighting for as much as we can possibly cut because when I have this conversation back home with people, you know, I tell them all the time we accumulated more debt in February, in that one month, than we did for the entire year of 2007. So that's how quickly our spending has ramped up in this country.

And when I talk about during my campaign -- you know, we had a commercial during my campaign where my son and daughters were playing Monopoly and we said, you know, He owes $42,000 is his share of the federal debt. Well, now it's close to $46,000. So when people talk about the fact that -- you know, we've been cutting spending every week, but we're still adding to it and that the Republicans in the House are the only ones who are serious about doing something about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: The president has invited some of the leaders to the White House tomorrow to try to break the logjam. How's the president doing on this?

NOEM: The president is -- [this is] the first time that I think that everybody is very interested to see him bringing people to the White House to have the conversation himself. So I think that we're all anxious to see how that conversation goes. You know, this bill that is being filed tonight shows that the House Republican conference is unified, that the vast majority of them believe that we need to make sure that we're leading on this because nobody else is. And hopefully, the president will come to the table and start supporting some solutions.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think the president's going to do tomorrow?

NOEM: You know, I think the president -- this bill tonight will maybe make him think and realize that the House Republicans are the ones offering all the solutions. And he needs to come on board and really do what the American people need him to do. That's what we're hoping. He hasn't done it yet. And I hope people understand that if we don't come to a solution at the end of this week that that rests solely in his lap and in the Senate Democrats' lap because they haven't been -- been offering the solutions.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, there's the need to create a budget, and then there's politics behind it. How do we sort of strip away the politics?

NOEM: Well, I think this week is the perfect opportunity for every politician sitting in Congress and in the White House to decide to really become a public servant again. You know, I really think that this week is going to show us, you know, what we really are willing to do on behalf of other people instead of what works for the next campaign that we're facing. So you know, I'm new here. I'm one of the new freshmen that everybody talks about. But you know...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... fraternity or a sorority.

NOEM: That's right. You know, but we all were running businesses and were back home living these lives and got fed up with the politics that happened out here in Washington, D.C. So when people talk about us being difficult, it's because we know what real life is like and the struggle that Americans are having. And we want to come out here and bring some perspective. So that's why you see our Speaker Boehner leading us down the right path to make sure that we're going to solve some real solutions, or solve some real problems.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, nice to see you.

NOEM: Yes. Good to see you, too.