OTR Interviews

Democrats more united than GOP expected in House vote to repeal ObamaCare

Is there dissension as some Democrats vote to repeal ObamaCare and disagree over how to extend Bush-era tax cuts

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 11, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: So what were the numbers? It's 244 to 185. All Republicans voted yes to repeal ObamaCare, but they were not alone. Five Democrats defected and sided with Republicans. So what do Democratic leaders say about that?

We spoke with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer a short time ago.

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VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, sir.

REP. STENY HOYER, HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: Good to be here with you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, you only lost 5 votes today, so that's probably, I assume, better than you might have expected, certainly better than the Republicans expected you did.

HOYER: Well, it was certainly a lot better than the Republicans thought. They thought there were going to be a very large number of Democrats voting to repeal this bill. They didn't do so because they know in their own districts, the public likes a lot of the aspects of this bill.

They're unsure about some, but this bill is going to prove to be of great benefit to millions and millions of Americans who have insurance and will have the assurance of access to quality health care, the fact that their children or themselves can't be precluded by preexisting conditions, fixing the donut hole, making sure that their kids, if they can't get a job, can stay on their policy until they're 26. They like all these aspects.

And it's interesting. This is the 31st vote we've had on repealing health care with absolutely not one alternative offered by the Republicans. The American people are going to see that for what it is. They don't have an alternative.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you say a lot of people like it. A lot of people don't like it. And it isn't cheap! I mean, this thing -- this thing is not free. You know, it's going to cost somebody a significant amount of money. And we haven't seen it play out. So a lot of Americans really do not like it.

HOYER: I think there are a lot of Americans who have apprehension about it. I think there are a lot of Americans who have misapprehensions about it because of the Republican spinmeisters. But the latest poll out -- the Kaiser poll said that 56 percent of Americans polled said, Look, the Supreme Court said it was constitutional. Let's move on. Let's make it...

VAN SUSTEREN: But that's -- it's a difference between saying it's constitutional and whether it's good policy.

HOYER: I agree...

VAN SUSTEREN: Something can be constitutional but can be a lousy idea.

HOYER: You're right on that. This is a good idea that's constitutional, in my opinion. And I think that's what the American public were saying, those 56 percent. They weren't saying, OK, it's constitutional, they were saying, Look, it's constitutional, let's move on, let's make it work. I think that's what they're saying to us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me turn to the tax question. The taxes -- if -- under the president's plan, taxes will go up for those who make $250,000 or more a year. It's caused, you know, an outcry by some, saying that it's going to hurt small business owners. I know the Democrats come back and say it's a very small proportion. How do we Americans know who to believe on this?

HOYER: Well, I think the fact of the matter is that if you look at the Clinton era in which in your lifetime and mine -- and I'm a lot older than you are, Greta, I understand that -- we had the best economy this country has seen under the Clinton tax program.

VAN SUSTEREN: Different time. Different structure of the economy.

HOYER: It was a different time.

VAN SUSTEREN: We didn't have these wars going on. We -- you know, it was a very different global economy. We didn't have such a heavy influence from Europe. I mean, these are -- I'm not so sure you can compare decades to each other economically.

HOYER: Well, you can certainly compare the nay-sayers who said in 1993 that if we adopted that program, the economy was going to go into the tank, deficits were going to explode, and unemployment would go off the charts. None of that happened.

In fact, what happened was we had a good economy. You're right, this is a different time, a different economy, which is why we're saying, everybody's -- $250,000 taxable income for everybody -- all 100 percent of us, the first $250,000 will not see a tax increase.

But we have a deficit and debt problem, and everybody understands that and it's a very serious issue for our country. And people understand that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me...

HOYER: And we're going to have to bring that deficit down.

VAN SUSTEREN: Here's the problem. If this is the Democratic idea -- the Democratic idea was the stimulus bill. And I don't know how you think, but in -- many Americans who are unemployed, those 8.2 percent who are unemployed -- and that's probably a low number -- are not quite as optimistic about that money that was spent. That was not successful. Only 80,000 jobs in the month of June.

So if the Democrats have not been, you know, exploding with success with the economy, why should they think that you're so smart about this tax issue?

HOYER: Well, let me -- let me say this. We lost 818,000 jobs in January of 2009, the last month of the Bush administration. 80,000 is not nearly enough. I'm disappointed. The president's disappointed by 80,000. But very frankly, it's 880,000 better than...

VAN SUSTEREN: That's -- I'm not sure...

HOYER: ... the first month he took...

VAN SUSTEREN: If you don't have a job, I'm not so sure you're going to be persuaded by that.

HOYER: If you don't have a job, it doesn't matter whether 500,000 jobs were created, if you don't have a job. If you don't have a job, it's not a recession, it's a depression. If your house is underwater and you can't afford your mortgage, it's a depression, not a recession. The economy's not recovering for you. I agree with that.

But when you look at the comparison of the 8 million jobs that were lost in the Bush administration and the 4.4 million that have been gained over the last 28 months, that's a stark improvement and a success for the Recovery Act.

Enough? No. Are we disappointed that we haven't done more? Yes. Is Europe adversely affecting it? Yes, it is. But the fact of the matter is, we have made progress, but not enough.

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