Rep. Rigell calls for clean bill to end government slimdown

Virginia lawmaker speaks out


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 1, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Are we look looking at a grand old divide in the Grand Old Party? Because Virginia Congressman Scott Rigell just tweeted the following: "We fought the good fight. Time for a clean C.R." That means just a clean spending bill.

To that, we go to the congressman. Congressman, why did you do this? Why did you say this?

REP. SCOTT RIGELL, R-VA.: Well, Neil, I'm really proud of the fight that I participated in and fought with.

The unaffordable care act is not good for America. We made a series of concessions, as you know. We were met with essentially a position of pound sand by the United States Senate, encouraged by the president in that. And as we look at where we go from here, as you look at the very last offer that we gave the Senate, it was very light lift. It was a simple one-year delay of the mandate. It wasn't a full defunding. It wasn't even a full delay of the whole program. It was just the individual mandate and some subsidies for members of Congress up here, and those are -- those are -- those are noble objectives.

If you look, the counterargument to this is, look, the economic pain, the damage to our military, which is very real, and I think especially in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, come to more men and women in uniform active duty and retired than any congressional district in the country.

So the question is, does a shutdown advance our goals? I hold the view that it doesn't, and I have said so.

CAVUTO: All right, how many feel like you do and are similarly inclined to say, that's it?

RIGELL: Well, there's at least nine of us that I know for sure. I'm certain that there are many others.

How many, I don't know. But there's certainly more than ones who have already put out the press releases. I'm not actively going out and trying to find them , but they will come out on their own. Look, we're in a terrible situation here in Congress. We have these gerrymandered districts to where Congress really doesn't look like America.

And so we're at loggerheads. It's really no surprise based on the type of districts that we have created in all these state legislatures. But, look, putting that aside for just a moment, here we have in the house, we only have passed four of our 12 appropriation bills, we go on a five- week-plus recess. that wasn't right. The bills that we did send over to the Senate, they haven't acted upon not one of them, not one of them.

Look, this is horrible for the American economy. I'm a businessman in a season of public service. I have 150 or so employees right now in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District. I know this is hurting employment in our area. It's hurting our country. And I'm calling upon both parties to get back on to regular order, something that hadn't even been the case since I have been here...


RIGELL: ... about 33 months.

CAVUTO: But that's not happening in the House right now, sir. John Boehner and the leadership continuing now with I guess three issues they're going to take up today that will keep this fight going on, the way to fund veterans benefits and the like, among a myriad of issues that will discuss everything but what you're discussing now and to drop this particular fight.

So, is John Boehner being held hostage, is what you're saying, by more conservative members in the party that are holding him to this? Or what do you think?

RIGELL: Well, you can look at any objective. Any of these outside groups, if I mention their names, you would certainly recognize them as the top conservative groups in the country.

I have got some of the highest ratings of the entire Virginia delegation. I am a fiscal conservative. And I have made this clear and I have been fighting for smaller government, limited government. But the question is, right before us is, does the shutdown advance our goals? And I'm of the opinion, and of the firm opinion, that it doesn't.


CAVUTO: But you had to know, Congressman, that that -- you were very diligent and vigilant about sticking to this position on wanting to make sure we at least delayed the president's health care law.

RIGELL: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: You had to know that a shutdown was possibly in the offing. So...

RIGELL: Well, I certainly -- I knew that that was possible.

CAVUTO: Right.

RIGELL: But at the same time, every offer that we sent over there, I rejected the premise that it was trying to shut the government down.

Look, we made serious concessions along the way. And I have learned something. I think we all have. And we knew it was bad anyway, the Senate's unwillingness to negotiating. But when Senator Reid looks over at the House and essentially refers to us as anarchists, this is the type of language that hurts our country.

And the president, one of his top advisers, says, look, we're not going to negotiate with people with bombs strapped their chest. I take offense at this.


CAVUTO: What's your bet then? If guys like you -- and you say there are eight or nine others of your same mind -- how long do you think this shutdown lasts?

RIGELL: Well, listen, the temperature in the kettle increases every day. There's going to be more pain.


RIGELL: And I guess the question is, to those who think that a shutdown of seven or eight or nine days, does that advance our cause? If your answer is yes, then go down that path. My conclusion is, it doesn't.

CAVUTO: All right.

RIGELL: I'm as committed as any member of the Republican Conference to do away with the unaffordable care act. Some of it is a question of strategy.

And my -- I have made my position on that matter clear.


Congressman, thank you very much.

RIGELL: Thank you.

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