OTR Interviews

Are Sen. Majority Leader Reid and Democrats Schumer and Durbin Really to Blame for a Possible Government Shutdown?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 5, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: At this hour, the bickering between Republicans and Democrats is escalating, the closed-door meetings stretched across Washington. House Speaker John Boehner met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but they didn't get anywhere, as far as we know. Then President Obama telling the two leaders to return to the drawing board. But does anyone have a real plan? And who is really causing the impasse?

And are you ready for more? Eight-five frustrated House Republicans are now calling for Senate Majority Leader Reid to resign. They sent a letter blaming the senator for shutting down the government. But is he really to blame?

Joining us here on set is freshman congressman Allen West, a congressman who has proven he knows how to attack government waste. And I add that because I must add that I tip my hat to you because you had a bill -- you had a bill passed unanimously on government waste as a freshman. So do take your bow. So tell us what it is.

REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: Well, what we did, we looked at the Defense Department printing and reproduction, and we saw that we could take a 10 percent cut there because that's part of the waste. And having spent 22 years in the military and seeing how the Powerpoint, you know, production had just increased and the reproduction thereof, we knew that that was a smart cut that we could make. And it went through, 393 to zero.

VAN SUSTEREN: So how much money are you going to save us?

WEST: It is about $35.7 million in fiscal year 2012, a total of about $180 million over five years. And the thing is, I think that if we all came up here with that type of mindset to really look at these programs within our respective committees, we could find these type of wasteful abuses and we could make those cuts. Think about what that would mean when we add it up for 435 people.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's extraordinary, through. I mean, all the Republicans and all the Democrats -- I mean, you got a perfect -- I mean, nobody -- it makes me think if you're just been here a couple months, what in the world's everybody else doing?

WEST: Well, it's about coming here with a common sense approach. And I think that the speech that I gave on the House floor that presented that bill was something that -- it made sense to everyone. It made sense to the American people that were watching. It made sense to all the legislators that are there.

And I think that's where we have to look at -- where do we move forward? This should not be about how we create obstructionist policies and things of this nature, or the ideological divides that we see. But we have an epic proportion problem here. We have a Greek tragedy that we're staring down the barrel at. And to have people that are talking about forcing a government shutdown as a political gamesmanship or a maneuver, that's reprehensible to me and it's really despicable. And I think that we need to move beyond that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, except for one thing. Now you've joined on with 84 colleagues and reached across the Hill, so -- and it's not -- not to reach across the Hill, "Let's get along," it's reach across the Hill telling Harry Reid to get out.

WEST: Well, I think...

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Harry Reid, I should say.

WEST: Well, I think that Harry Reid, first of all, reached over on our side and he was the one that saying that, you know, we're not looking for solutions. We're just looking for one simple thing as to bring about this, quote, unquote, "recreation of 1995." And that's not how we have the bipartisanship. That's not how we come to solutions. That's not what the American people want as far as having the 535 legislators up here that should be looking at ways by which we can turn around this debt and this deficit and we can continue to move forward.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any doubt in your mind that there's going to be a shutdown at midnight Friday?

WEST: Well, I think the people you have to talk to are the Senate Democrats, with Mr. Schumer, Mr. Reid and Mr. Durbin. I think that they have dug their heels in that they don't want to hear any type of solutions. And you know, you have to also ask yourself, you know, who put us in this position with fiscal irresponsible policies, did not come up with a budget in the 111th Congress? But yet they continue to stonewall and prevent us from moving forward.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you -- do you hold any Republicans accountable for this problem?

WEST: Well, you know, you can sit around -- there's enough blame to go around. But as I'm here right now in the 112th Congress and willing to move forward, I see some individuals that are definitely being obstructionists in this process.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I go back to -- I -- I'm -- and I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I do have to -- I mean, the fact that you got a unanimous vote on something like waste is unbelievable. I mean, not -- I mean, not that people -- no one's in favor of waste, it's just that nobody seems to be looking for it. I mean, we're -- we're all -- there's so much fighting about this budget and everything, about trying to figure out what we cut, when if we just sort of look around and see where we're wasting, it -- I mean, maybe $35 million is chump change in some ways, but it's a lot of money.

WEST: Yes, but like I said, once again, you think it's chump change, but if you take that $35 million times 435, if every person was doing that, think about the fiscal situation that we could possibly be moving towards. So I think that when you go back and you look at that GAO report that came out about month ago that talked about $100 billion to $200 billion of duplicative programs, you know, we're not talking about tackling this situation. We're talking about creating this 1995 situation.

And we really don't look very competent to the American people because they know that there's waste out there. They know that there's programs out there we should be cutting. And that's what we should be focusing on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thanks, and good luck. Hope you get more unanimous...

WEST: Thanks.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... votes, and I hope you find more waste. We sure could help it. Thank you, sir.

WEST: Thank you.