OTR Interviews

Bachmann: There's a 'Very Good Chance' There Will Be an Agreement to Prevent a Government Shutdown

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 7, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a "Fox News Alert." Get ready! It could be happening, a government shutdown. Now, right now, there is no deal. The story is quickly developing with a very uncertain outcome. There continues to be a last minute scramble to get a deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We made some additional progress this evening. I think the staffs, both the House and the Senate as well as the White House staff, have been working hard to try to narrow the differences. We made some progress today. Those differences have been narrowed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: But right now, again, there is no deal. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all meeting, but in the president's words, he's not "wildly optimistic." Now, staffs will be working through the night, and the president expects tomorrow morning to get an answer from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Boehner. Now, this is the fourth time in two days that the four men have met. They met two days ago, last night, earlier today and now tonight. But still, again, no deal.

Here is the grim reality. If you check your watch, we are less than 26 hours away from Friday midnight, when the government is set to go into shutdown mode. Meanwhile, there is plenty of outrage. Try this one. If the government shuts down, U.S. troops will stay on duty, risking their lives in two war zones, but they won't get paid -- not a dime. But get this. Members of the House, the Senate and the president will all get paid during the shutdown. How do you like that one?

And there's lots more going on. House Republicans, either in good faith or to politically squeeze the Democrats, have passed a one-week stopgap that they know the president hates and has promised to veto. It was passed by the House Republicans, but this is not happening. So now what?

Joining us is Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Good evening, Congresswoman.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, the big news, of course, the president just came out and he said there's been, quote, "more additional progress," but he also said he is not prepared to express wild optimism. So how do we read those tea leaves?

BACHMANN: Well, obviously, there was no agreement tonight, but that doesn't mean that there actually will be a shutdown or that there won't be agreement tomorrow. I think there's a very good chance that there will be.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting because it's the four men in this room, and they're the ones who are going to cut the deal. I don't know what -- what catches me with some semblance of amusement that it's the staffs that have to work all night long. What are they working all night on if it's these four that have to make the agreement, or essentially these two, the Speaker and...

BACHMANN: Well, they've got big-picture things. But you know, budgets are huge and there's a lot of small, little moving parts. And so the staff needs to come in and figure out how they can actually make it balance and make it work. And so the staff will be there, and then they'll all come together again tomorrow morning. And I'm optimistic. I really am. I...

VAN SUSTEREN: Why, though? I mean, because a lot of it isn't on -- I mean, it's one thing, the money. You can split the money, and you can -- and you can maybe pick it up on the next budget or something. But there are some very strong ideological differences, even things like on funding of abortion.

BACHMANN: That's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, that is something that's non-negotiable on both sides.

BACHMANN: I agree. I agree. But remember, again, we're talking about a budget that's $3.5 trillion. And the difference that we're talking about here is tens of billions of dollars out of $3.5 trillion.

VAN SUSTEREN: But the ideological aspect, not on things like that.

BACHMANN: No, I agree. But now, again, one -- the bill that was sent over today to the Senate had to do with abortion. But what it did is, it cut out the abortion in Washington, D.C. It didn't necessarily defund Planned Parenthood. So that shows movement and negotiation on the part of John Boehner.

So that tells me that I think we'll probably get somewhere on this because, again, I think Republicans are looking to 2012, with the "Path to Prosperity," the next budget that we're looking at that Paul Ryan introduced this week. And it could be that that's where we'll see us fight over trillions and over the big ideological battles, rather than now. I'm not sure, I'm just guessing. But that may be...

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the stopgap bill that was passed today, the continuing resolution -- which I must -- I think is number seven, right?

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: There's been a lot of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway. You voted against it. And...

BACHMANN: I did.

VAN SUSTEREN: And why did you vote against it?

BACHMANN: Well, I voted against it because this morning, President Obama said that he was going to vote against the bill. And we have another bill that actually will allow the troops to keep their paychecks and just have that as a standalone bill. I thought that was a better way to go. And also, this bill didn't defund "Obamacare." I think that's also very important, that if we're worried about the troops getting their paychecks, we can do that on a standalone bill. I...

VAN SUSTEREN: But this does it -- this one does it, as well.

BACHMANN: It does it, but it has other provisions on it that President Obama said that he would veto. I think we need to get that issue off the table. I think we need to let everyone know that the troops will get their funding. I released a statement today that said I am not going to take a paycheck myself during a shutdown. As long as our troops aren't getting paid, I can't in good conscience get paid.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. If Speaker Boehner strikes a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he then has to go back and sell it to the House, to the members. There are some rather, shall we say, frisky freshmen who -- I mean, they don't seem to...

BACHMANN: They are so great!

VAN SUSTEREN: They don't...

BACHMANN: They are so great!

VAN SUSTEREN: They don't -- they do not seem to be toeing the line. Are they going to be sort of as willing to be sort of, like, to be, sort of go along if the Speaker says, This is a good bill?

BACHMANN: Well, I think they're going to listen to the Speaker. I think they'll listen to what the Speaker has to say and I think they'll act accordingly. At the end of the day, I think we're going to get something. I really do. I think it's going to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you vote for anything the Speaker says at this point is a good bill, and we're talking about between now -- to fund the government between now and September 30th?

BACHMANN: I made a statement early on that I won't be able to vote for any budget that doesn't defund "Obamacare." And so that's -- I've staked out that position.

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) no.

BACHMANN: I'll be a no if it doesn't defund.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, you told me to ask you about the message about the budget tonight ...

BACHMANN: I do.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... wouldn't forget to ask you...

BACHMANN: I do.

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: It's high risk, but I think it's going to be worth it, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: I better be worth it [or be the] end of my career!

BACHMANN: I had Chinese tonight. This was my fortune cookie. You're going to love this. "You shouldn't overspend at the moment. Frugality is important." So I think I got President Obama's fortune cookie tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know, but anyway, that was a high-risk question because I asked it without any clue as to what the answer would be.

(LAUGHTER)

BACHMANN: You're a good sport.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. All right, so we know that you had Chinese food. We know about -- about that, so...

BACHMANN: But Isn't that perfect, "You shouldn't overspend at the moment, frugality is important"?

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you have, like -- too bad you didn't have, like, about 600 of those so we could have the House, the Senate and the -- and...

BACHMANN: Oh, this is -- this is going to the White House, and I'll reprint it and I'll send it to Harry Reid, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Gold. I'm sure they'll be delighted to hear from you because they seem to like to hear from you a lot anyway.

BACHMANN: I think they do.

VAN SUSTEREN: They do. All right, so tomorrow, you expect that -- your guess is that Speaker Boehner...

BACHMANN: That's -- that's -- that's -- I'll bet you an ice cream cone. That's my guess, that we ...

VAN SUSTEREN: I'd rather to have the Chinese dinner, actually.

(LAUGHTER)

BACHMANN: OK.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think that -- so they're going to call up and they're going to say, We got a deal?

BACHMANN: Well, I think both sides are going to come together overnight. I think they will because, again, the money differences, as you accurately said, are not that far apart. And I think they'll have to split the differences ideologically. I think that's what they'll do. Again, I'm going to be a no vote because it doesn't defund "Obamacare," but my guess is between John Boehner and Harry Reid, I think they'll strike a deal.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who has the most to lose politically with a shutdown?

BACHMANN: They both have something to lose and President Obama has something to lose if this doesn't go through. What we're hearing is that the conventional wisdom said it's all downhill for the Republicans, but there's downside for the Democrats, too, because no one wants to see a shutdown on the Democrat side. They really don't.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, thank you very much.

BACHMANN: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you. And we'll have to auction off that cookie.

BACHMANN: For the troops. For the troops!

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you.

BACHMANN: Thank you.