Heritage Action pushing to defund ObamaCare on tour

Jim DeMint speaks out on effort


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 23, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.




NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, a pretty rousing start for the folks who want to see the health care law finished, kaput, gone. Heritage Action's Defund ObamaCare town hall tour in full swing. And so far it's getting massive turnouts everywhere it pops up.

But what does Washington think of this? Is it reacting to this? Is it moved by any of this?

To the guy behind all of this, the nationwide tour, the president of the Heritage Foundation, the former Senator Jim DeMint, who joins me now from Birmingham, Alabama.

Senator, did you envision this kind of reaction?

JIM DEMINT, R-FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Neil, I haven't seen anything like this even when the Tea Party rallies were going on. We probably had 5,000 people come out in five cities this week.

And the numbers seem to be growing at every stop. Conservatives are united around stopping this unfair and unworkable bill before it's completely implemented.

CAVUTO: But, now, Senator Ted Cruz had very kind words to you. I love the pajama analogy there. But even he I think has acknowledged, Senator, that it's an uphill fight to defund this thing and even to attach it to other means by which you could even try to shut down the government as a threat. So what do you do?

DEMINT: Well, it's an uphill battle unless the people around the country speak up, let their representatives know how they feel about this in both parties.

Neil, we know over half of Americans want this stopped. And the question now is if the House Republicans actually fund the government, but don't fund ObamaCare, will the president actually shut the government down in order to save this unfair law? We're hearing more every day about people losing their insurance, moving to part-time, some losing their job.

This is not a workable program. And we need to stop it before the sign-up begins on October the 1st.

CAVUTO: You know, there are many Democrats I have talked to, Senator, who say they would love to see you sucked into that lair, not you, but Republicans, to go ahead and try to call the president's bluff or his challenge that you not -- you continue to call for funding the government, but not health care, and he obviously doesn't want an ultimatum like that. It wouldn't be he who shuts the government down.

He'd put it on you, and that Republicans once again would get the blame for doing something like that. What do you say to that?

DEMINT: Well, there's risk in any kind of showdown with the president. But the president is going to take this to the brink regardless of whether they fund ObamaCare.

We have got the debt limit controversy coming up, the sequester controversy. The president wants to raise taxes again. And he knows the Republicans are afraid every time he says shutdown. I think the Republicans should be the one who stand up and say, Mr. President, this bill is unfair. You have given waivers to Congress. You have given waivers to big business. But you haven't given any waivers or delays to average Americans. We need to stop this -- the implementation of this bill.

Neil, I think it comes down to courage. And what I have said many times this week, since when do Americans not fight for what's right because they're afraid they might lose? I think if people ran their campaigns on stopping this terrible law, then they should step up to the plate and do it.

CAVUTO: Speaker Boehner -- well, it's a separate issue in a way, Senator -- wants to do something to kind of keep the government going for another 60 days as sort of a -- you know, a limping measure to try to keep things going, but another delay, but it avoids any serious problems in 60 days and then come back and redress.


CAVUTO: But we have seen this before.



CAVUTO: Both parties have played this game before.

What do you think of that? And do you think that he shares your vigor on this issue?

DEMINT: Well, I think the frustration with conservatives is we have heard this several times since 2010, when the Republicans were given the majority primarily to stop ObamaCare.

We keep hearing, let's don't fight now, we will fight in a few months. And then let's don't fight then, we will fight -- but now this is the deadline. I mean, we are implementing this law beginning October the 1st. So to say let's fund it for just a couple more months, I think conservatives and many Americans have heard all they can take of that.

If you support the bill, or if you support the law, then fund it. If you don't, stand up for your convictions and don't fund the bill. But do fund the government. No one is talking about shutting down the government except President Obama.

CAVUTO: All right. But you know how that PR game goes. And I don't...


CAVUTO: It's crazy the way it goes, but you know the city better than I do.

So what I want to go back to on Speaker Boehner is, do you think he should be speaker? Are you disappointed in him as speaker? Because many conservative members in the House when they heard wind of this latest idea said, that's it.

DEMINT: Well, Neil, I'm not going to comment on who should be speaker. That's really not my job at Heritage.

But I will tell you this. What Americans want is somebody like Ted Cruz or Mike Lee, who are willing to stand up for what they promised in their campaigns. You saw the people of Dallas stand up and cheer Ted Cruz for minutes at a time. And they just appreciate someone with courage. They don't necessarily expect us to win all the battles. But they expect us to stand up and fight for what we believe in.

CAVUTO: Senator, while I have you here, what do you think of Chris Christie?

DEMINT: Well, I don't know him that well, Neil. So I really, really can't comment. And the Heritage Foundation, we don't get involved with elections. But we focus on what policy is good or bad for the country. And there's no policy, there's no law that could hurt this country more than this ObamaCare law if it's implemented.

CAVUTO: So, this back and forth that he's had with Rand Paul, the like -- they have quieted down a bit.

I had Ron Paul on the other day who said that he would have a tough time supporting the guy. He doesn't think he would be that different than the Democratic nominee.

DEMINT: Well, one thing good about conservatives and Republicans is, they're willing to debate within the party. They don't go in lockstep. I don't think it's that big a problem for them to have a little tussle over an issue or two.

CAVUTO: It's only a little tussle?




Senator, thank you very much.

DEMINT: Neil, it's good to be with you again.

CAVUTO: Same here.

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