Interviews

Rep. Noem: 'We're Going to Have to Reform This Place'

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  SEN. HARRY REID, MAJORITY LEADER, D-NEV.: This is Virginia's big weekend. It's the Cherry Blossom -- Cherry Blossom Festival.

(END VIDEO CLIP) All right, that was right up there with the old cowboy thing, I think -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD":

I'm here with South Dakota Republican Kristi Noem.

But he's saying, Congresswoman, that you guys are going to spoil the Cherry Blossom Festival.

SEN. KRISTI NOEM, R-S.D.: I am not as concerned about the Cherry Blossom Festival as I am about our military. Our military men and women, I'm very concerned with.

(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: But not the cherry blossoms?

NOEM: Well, not as much as are military men and women that are overseas defending our freedom. So...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Cherry blossoms take a back seat?

NOEM: You know this is truly a perfect opportunity for us to find out what people's priorities are.

So, I think that you see on the House Republican side we are trying to take care of our military and put our country back on a better path. So, that's our priority.

CAVUTO: OK. Just to put this in perspective for those who just caught up, the Senate majority leader was talking about the government shutting down, and you wouldn't have a Cherry Blossom Festival. We're told they will have it one way or the other. And we'll be here live tomorrow when they do, so rest assured.

NOEM: Yes. 

CAVUTO: Is it your sense that there is a division, that no matter what Republicans agree to, Tea Partiers, some of the more conservative members, are going to say, hey, you sold out?

NOEM: I think there is that feeling among a certain group within the conference.

I -- my office is certainly hearing that.

(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: Really?

(CROSSTALK) NOEM: We're hearing feedback...

CAVUTO: What are they telling to you? Stick to a number?

NOEM: People are -- people are calling in. They're saying, stick to it, that it's really important. Don't compromise, because we -- really, it's important for our future. I mean, you told us in the last election that it was important, and so now this is the time to really, really hold our ground.

CAVUTO: So, how would sell to your constituents what could be a $38 billion number, and not the $61 billion number?

NOEM: Yes. Well, I have been telling them that is why we are having this fight. We're absolutely having this discussion because we want those cuts to be as large as possible, because even if we got the $61 billion or what we had in H.R.-1, it's 2 percent of our federal government.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But you won't get that. You won't get that.

NOEM: We won't get that. We won't get that.

CAVUTO: You will get the $38 billion, maybe, tops, right?

NOEM: Yes. And absolutely. And that will lay in the lap of the Senate Democrats, because they were the ones who absolutely were not even a part of this conversation.

But when I get a bill in front of me, I'm going to judge that bill by its merits. So it is really hard for me to look at a bill that it is sitting there, seeing that it is cutting spending, and if there's nothing in there that I disagree, you know, that is how I will judge my vote. So -- but I'm fighting. I'm fighting for those cuts.

CAVUTO: So, is it fair to say, Congresswoman, your constituents are of a mind-set better to shut the government down than sell out on these principles?

NOEM: I think there's a portion of them. I don't know if it's the consensus.

CAVUTO: A majority of your constituents?

NOEM: I don't know if it's the majority, because there's a lot of people in South Dakota, and I certainly haven't heard from them all.

CAVUTO: Right.

NOEM: But there is a portion of them that would like to see us really hold our ground on this.

And that is why you see us continue to press through, even when the Senate is not taking any action and our president has been AWOL.

CAVUTO: Well, how did this Planned Parenthood thing suddenly become an issue? From what I understand, it was in the original resolution months ago.

NOEM: It was, yes.

CAVUTO: So how did it become such an issue?

NOEM: Because the Democrats saw the fact that the American people realized they're responsible for this problem. And so they needed a new message. They needed a new thing they could stand up in front of the TV cameras and say, well, let's see how we can message this to damage the Republicans.

And it's not working. People realize that we're arguing over spending cuts. It's not over the policy. There is policy addressed. Many of those have been decided. But we're fighting over the spending cuts, recognizing that we have to do that.

CAVUTO: But, in the end, then the focus is on the debt ceiling. And we're going to be doing this all over again.

NOEM: Yes.

How are they really -- we will have to get to that point, where we have to vote on that debt ceiling. How are they going to sit here and fight so hard not to cut spending, they're fighting to spend more money, and then come back and raise that debt ceiling? I don't know how the Democrats over in the Senate can live with that.

So, we're going to have to reform this place. And it will be a battle. But we are up to the game. We are up to the job.

CAVUTO: All right. And, hopefully, you are up to the late night.

NOEM: Yes, we are. Yes.

CAVUTO: It's going to be a very late night.

NOEM: Yes, we are pretty resilient, so, yes, yes.

CAVUTO: Congresswoman, thank you very, very much.

NOEM: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right. 

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