Jim DeMint: Obama not dealing with 'facts' of sequestration

Heritage Foundation president sounds off


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Now, I don't know, I don't know what the president is planning this weekend, but if I see him with so much as a golf club, after the way he scared me with this whole sequestration stuff, I almost lost my appetite.

Talking about the horse thing and everything else. Well, look, I'm teeing up a major deadline drama of my own if I -- if I see him playing this weekend, because, my goodness, to hear the White House tell it, these automatic cuts go through a week from now, you can kiss your very safety goodbye, maybe yourself goodbye.

To former South Carolina Republican Senator, now Heritage Foundation honcho, very important bigwig here Jim DeMint here to say calm down.


CAVUTO: Jim, I guess we need to step back and realize -- and you know how these sequestration cuts came about -- and for some they are going to be injurious. I don't mean to minimize them. But in the scheme of things, they are relatively small and it certainly doesn't mean that we're going to lose a gazillion beef inspectors and we're going to have hundreds of thousands of mentally ill patients out on the streets without their meds.

Someone has got to calm down here.


JIM DEMINT, R - FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, sequestration is another word, a Washington word that no one knows what it really means.

These are some very modest cuts, except on the military side. The military is only about 20 percent of budget, but about 50 percent of the cuts are coming from the military. And I shouldn't even use the words cuts. I'm falling into that trap again.

CAVUTO: That's right. That's right. We're shaving the growth.

DEMINT: Because we will spend more this year and next year and every year for the next 10 years than we spent last year. So instead of...

CAVUTO: But, Senator, what does that tell you? But see what I mean? And you and I have gotten into this so many times.

What does that say if cutting what amounts to a rounding error, as I said, on a rounding error creates this big dustup and this great panic, we man, when have to get serious, like you said, I mean, man, we're not going to be able to do it.

DEMINT: We have got to balance our budget in 10 years. And this should be just the beginning of the things we need to trim back.

Unfortunately, we're not talking bat lot of things where we could save a lot of money just by letting the states do more and do it better. We don't need to be hollowing out our military, but if we have to take these cuts or reductions on the military side to get any cuts at all, that's what we need to do.

I hope members of Congress, Republicans or Democrats, will not try to stop this slight reduction in the increase in spending and start looking at other ways, particularly the areas of waste and duplication that have been identified. We have to trim back the growth of spending. And, Neil, we have to grow the government slower.


CAVUTO: All right, but I want I want to be clear. A lot of people e- mailed -- but be careful. The beef inspector thing, I need to hear from you who knows these numbers better than anyone.

Do they just -- just fire a bunch of beef inspectors, and does that mean that our beef isn't safe and that come next week at this time, there's a possibility we will be eating horsemeat? Are they serious?

DEMINT: Well, they have a little trouble with the truth in this White House.

CAVUTO: You think?

DEMINT: Because the president can cut those things, but he doesn't need to with these very modest reductions in spending.

CAVUTO: And nor would he. There are many other areas within that budget, in that case the agriculture budget, which he could cut. Why would you immediately go...


DEMINT: And, Neil, all the policemen and firemen and teachers he had behind him in this press conference last week, they don't work for the federal government.

And the federal government shouldn't be paying their salaries anyway.

CAVUTO: Amazing.

DEMINT: So, the president is -- it's -- it's really hard to work with a person who won't tell the truth, just like what he was talking about on immigration and every other issue that comes up. It's hard to deal with him if he won't deal with the facts.

CAVUTO: It's amazing.

Senator, it's always good, always good seeing you.

DEMINT: Thank you, Neil.


CAVUTO: But holy Toledo, a week from now, it all kicks in.

Everyone might want to just for next Friday at this time become a Catholic because it's Lent. You eat fish. I can't eat meat. So, maybe just to be on the safe side, just for a day, just saying. Incredible. All right.

Content and Programming Copyright 2013 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.