OTR Interviews

Bachmann: 'Faceless Bureaucrats' Guilty of 'Dereliction of Duty,' Write Bills That Are Never Finished in Congress

2012 presidential hopeful sounds off on Wednesday's debate, the economy, China, free trade and bureaucrats in Congress

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's three agencies of government that are gone when I get there that are gone. Commerce, education and -- and the -- the -- what's the third one there, let's.

RON PAUL, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are five.

PERRY: Five, OK. Commerce, Education, and the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: EPA?

PERRY: EPA, there you go.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously, is the EPA what we are talking about?

PERRY: No, sir. We are talking about the agencies of government -- the EPA needs to be rebuilt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you can't name the third one?

PERRY: The third agency of government I would do away with the Education, the Commerce, and let's see -- I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Obviously, a tough moment for Governor Rick Perry at tonight's debate as the candidates battled it out over jobs, taxes, and the economy. So how did Representative Michele Bachmann do? She says she is the real deal. Congressman Michele Bachmann join us from Michigan.

Congressman, I want to talk about economics. But I admit, I am a little bit sympathetic by the gaffe by Governor Perry. I don't think we should judge anyone by a single gaffe. You know, I know I have lost my train of thought, so I am somewhat sympathetic. I know the comedians are going to have a field day and the media will have a field day. But I'm curious your thought about it on the stage.

MICHELE BACHMANN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think all of us felt very bad for him, honestly. No one wants to draw a blank thought and sometimes that can happen. It's your worst nightmare. So I think everyone felt really bad for him tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now to the economic issues, any second thoughts on free trade? I am looking around the world and there are so many variables in other countries that we can't control, whether it's the Eurozone and their crisis or China and its currency level. And it all has an impact on us. We can't control the variables. I am curious whether you have any second thoughts on free trade?

BACHMANN: Well, I agree with the concept of dealing with China and the currency manipulators. But I don't want to do that at the expense of American manufacturers who are already taking it on the chin and also American farmers, because that's who would be hurt by a trade war. They are suffering enough as it is. We need to open up more manufacturing markets and more markets for our AG producers. So I don't want to close the markets off. It's kind cutting your nose off to spite your face, and I don't want to do that.

But at the same time, I do appreciate and understand exactly why we have to get tough with China. But the number 1 reason is what I mentioned tonight on the stage, and it's the fact that we are in hock to China because we are spending money on a welfare state and we have to stop it. We are in hock over $1 trillion to China, and the amount of money we are paying on interest on the debt is blinding us. So we simply have to stop it. And unfortunately, under President Obama, Greta, there is no -- there is no stopping the spending in sight.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I am curious, all of these discussions about economics tonight are on the national aspect, what are the national policies, whether it's repeal Dodd-Frank or health care. Then I look around the country and I see the number, in Detroit, in the city of Detroit in September, unemployment, 20 20.6 percent, Orlando, Florida has 20.2 percent. And they are so vastly different in terms of needs, demographics, climate, education, whatever business in the areas. How do we possibly, you know, make national policies to address the issues that are so varied around the country, the demands are so different?

BACHMANN: Well, capital is mobile. So capital moves where it can have the best return on investment. Clearly people don't see that in some cities over others. And of course that has to do not just with the national policy, but it has to do with the state policy and also the policy within a certain city.

You have got layers upon layers upon layers of regulations and layers upon layers of taxation. Just New York City alone has multiple layers of taxation. So you are seeing people flee. One state in particular is in the state of California. They're just implementing and putting online a brand-new cap and trade program that will be increasing taxes dramatically. So you are going to be seeing more businesses fleeing that great state.

That isn't what we want to do. We want to open up markets and we want to make sure that we have better to places do business. Right now, unfortunately, the United States isn't the best country in the world to do business. I can't believe that I would live to see that in my lifetime where we aren't.

That's why as president of the United States, my focus is to hang out a shingle that says the United States is the best place to do business and I am not going to rest until that is a reality.

VAN SUSTEREN: Here's one of the other problems is that on the one hand we want to police certain parts of our economy, for instance, MF Global going under and Lehman Brothers or anybody. We have all of those problems. I know there is a lot of criticism of Dodd-Frank, but as I talked with Mr. Cain about, that was enacted in July of 2010. A lot of our economic problems preceded it. So we complain about Dodd-Frank, but housing, after the housing crisis, those have nothing to do with Dodd- Frank, and we have to figure out a way to prevent those problems from happening again.

So I'm curious, how do you balance the need for certain regulations, the need to police and for a market economy and the ability to move capital? How do you balance all of those things?

BACHMANN: Well, it's tough. I mean, it's complicated and challenging. But let me tell but a fruit of Dodd-Frank, I'm the chief author of the bill to get rid of it. And for people who aren't familiar with this, it is the jobs and housing destruction act. It's causing credit to dry up for people who want to get into a house or who want to -- who want to grow a small business.

But this is what Dodd-Frank does. This is the government regulators that tell us this year, Greta, we are going to see financial services companies and banks have to put out 11 million man hours to be in compliance with the one-fourth of rules that are written near Dodd similar frank, three-fourths of the rules haven't even been written and that will cost 11 million man hours for which there will be no compensation.

Now, contrast that with when the Empire State building was built. That required 7 million man hours over 13 months. So this is complete unproductive time. It's a waste of time. And it makes the United States far less competitive than other countries. That will mean more jobs will flee the United States. So we have to look at the issue of competitiveness, how the United States can be the most competitive nation in the world, and that's what I intend to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: You just mentioned that there are no rules written for Dodd-Frank. I will tell what you I find troubling, and I know it's done all the time, is that Congress passes a law like Dodd-Frank and we vote for you and you voted yes or no for it. And then it's a fat bill. But then it gets sent to a government agency, people we never voted for, we don't even know their names and they write the rules. So with health care and with this and big legislation, that is my beef about how people write these things --

BACHMANN: You are right --

VAN SUSTEREN: -- that we never voted for it.

BACHMANN: You are right. I am so glad you brought that up because that's the problem with Congress. That's why I voted against Obamacare, I voted against Dodd-Frank, because you are right. These are bills that be never finish being written because they are written by nameless, faceless bureaucrats who write it for themselves. This is absolutely sick, Greta. It comes at a very high cost and it's a dereliction of duty on the part of Congress, which is why I oppose it.

VAN SUSTEREN: We don't know who it is, so we can't vote the person out because the person who is writing this stuff was never elected. It's outsourced, Congress outsources it.

BACHMANN: That's right. It's ridiculous. And it's a dereliction of duty. It's absolutely off the charts wrong. I am glad you brought it up. It's terrible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Bachmann, good to see you, thank you very much.

BACHMANN: Good to see you, Greta.