Rep. West fired up over government overregulation

GOP congressman rips Supreme Court's health care ruling


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 4, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, if the government is going to make Americans buy health insurance, Congressman Allen West says we can go ahead and buy something else.


REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: I believe, for personal security, every American should go out and have to buy a Glock .9-millimeter.


WEST: And, if you don't do it, we will tax you.



CAVUTO: Well, he got that crowd whooping and hollering and laughing.

And he got the blogs going nonstop reporting. We thought we would get the Florida Republican himself to talk about an issue he says is no laughing matter. The colonel, the congressman with us now.

Good to have you, sir.

WEST: Wonderful and happy Independence Day to you, Neil, and to your entire crew and family.

CAVUTO: To you as well, sir.

You knew you would get the response you did certainly inside that room and the negative reaction you got outside that room from a lot of your critics. And I always think you're a pretty shrewd guy. You don't do these things on a whim. You expected what you got, right?

WEST: Absolutely so.

I spent 22 years in the United States military, so I'm a pretty strategic level thinker. But what we have to understand on this day, when we're celebrating the 236 years of this great United States of America, remember, this country was founded on the -- the ideal of individual sovereignty, understanding that the individual rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness do not come from man, they don't come from government, they come from our creator.

And so when I look at this decision that was made last week, coming from the Supreme Court, we have an incredible precedent that is now being established which gives an unlimited taxing authority and potential to the federal government, to Congress, and we could use really taxation as a means of behavior modification.

And so that's a very dangerous thing to have in the hands of the federal government. And I think that our friends on the liberal side, if they don't want to see us mandate that Americans have a certain type of handgun, they shouldn't try to mandate that Americans have a certain type of commodity from a private sector just because they have an ideological agenda as far as -- quote, unquote -- "health insurance reform."

CAVUTO: But do you think that part of your provocative nature, Congressman, is to rattle some cages, even if it's done in a way that your critics say is over the top?

I think it was a couple of days ago when you mentioned the president and his big government approach to things that he would rather you be his slave. You know you will get that raised eyebrow, if not shock and awe reaction. You don't seem to care, right?

WEST: Well, no, I cannot care, because when I look at the situation in which I find my country, a country that, as I said, I was willing to lay down my life for, same as my father in World War II, my brother in Vietnam, and my nephew now serving, we take very seriously the oath that we took to this country.

And I'm not going to shy away from saying the things that need to be said. When you look at the fact that under this president's -- quote, unquote -- "leadership," we have had a 46 percent increase in food stamp recipients in the United States of America -- we have gone from 32 million to 46 million, 47 million. We even have a government that is using taxpayer money to run radio ads to promote people getting -- going onto food stamps.

We have almost seven million more Americans on poverty. We have close to nine million Americans now out there on Social Security disability. What we find happening is that we are creating an entitlement welfare state, where we're starting to get more people wedded to the government by a subsistence check or by employment check.

And we in turn are finding that the regulatory environment that's out there is crushing our small business growth, which is the economic engine of this country.

So, I have to say it as it is. We do not want to see economic dependency or economic slavery become the mantra for the United States of America. It should be economic freedom. But the policies of this and this administration doesn't lend that so.

CAVUTO: But you have been critical even of Mitt Romney's cautious approach or, more to the point, his aides' approach, and critical the fact of that Mr. Romney doesn't rein them in or correct them.

He did today on this whole issue of the health care law being a tax.

WEST: Maybe -- maybe he was listening to me.

CAVUTO: Maybe he was listening.

I want you to listen to this, because he made these remarks, that is Governor Romney, just today on the health care issue.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The majority of the court said it's a tax, and therefore it is a tax. They have spoken. There's no way around that.


CAVUTO: As you know, an aide has said that it wasn't a tax, and so we go back and forth.

But the Democratic National Committee seized on that say as a chance that, if that's the case, Governor Romney, what you did in Massachusetts was and is a tax. What do you think of that?

WEST: Well, I think, first and foremost, when the Obama administrators -- administration's solicitor general argued before the Supreme Court that it was a tax, and the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Roberts comes back and rules that the individual mandate is constitutional as we see it as a tax, well, then that should have been the end of discussion.

I think that Governor Romney needs to talk about the fact that what he tried to do in the state of Massachusetts was him seeing what could be best for his state, but maybe it didn't work out as well. And he should feel very bad that the president thought that he could take that as a model and try to implement that for the entire United States of America, which is not a good...


CAVUTO: Well, he's not doing that, Congressman.

WEST: Well...

CAVUTO: He&'s still standing by what he did in Massachusetts.

WEST: And I think that’s one of the things that probably should happen, because the president is going to continue to try to say that this was the paradigm that I used to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

And I think that the governor needs to come back and reassess, really, what was his decision-making criteria for implementing his health care in Massachusetts.

CAVUTO: Congressman, Colonel, always a pleasure. Have a great Fourth.

WEST: Absolutely, and you, too. And we have to stand on principle in the United States of America, regardless of the criticism you receive.

CAVUTO: All right, Congressman, good having you. Be well.

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