Sen. Sullivan on his decision to vote against budget bill

Lawmaker explains his frustration with the decision process


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 30, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  One of the big news items today was that Marco Rubio did sneak back to Washington to vote on this budget matter he said was so offensive.  That`s the two-year deal that shrinks or suspends the debt ceiling for a while.

A lot of people say it`s phony math and he voted against it, Ted Cruz voted against it, Rand Paul voted against it, and so did this guy, the Republican Senator from the fine state of Alaska Dan Sullivan.  

Now, Senator, it went nowhere.  That is, you guys obviously fought the good fight.  It didn`t matter to anything.  This is now going to happen, two years of a budget that adds $80 billion to our debt.  Both sides presumably get what they want.  For Paul Ryan, the new speaker, it gives him some time to get a headache out of the way and deal with other issues.

But you don`t like it.  Why not?  

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN, R-ALASKA:  Well, good afternoon, Neil.  

I don`t like it for a couple of key reasons.  It spends too much on bloated bureaucracies, doesn`t spend enough on our national defense, does nothing to grow the economy.  And you saw yesterday we announced we grew at 1.5 percent, another quarter of tepid growth.  

And here`s the big thing.  Most of the spending in this bill are up front.  
It`s up-front spending, and the cuts and the savings are way off in the future, which I think is going to lead to a much larger debt.  I think after the two years of this deal, I won`t be surprised if we see our national debt hitting $20 trillion.  And, you know, that`s not good for the country.  

CAVUTO:  Well, you`re right.  You`re well on the way to that.  And I think conservatives and kind of liberals agree that there`s nothing stopping that train.  

But I think what a lot of your colleagues who signed on to this, albeit holding onto their nose, is that, well, it beats a potential shutdown or a debt quagmire.  You have heard all that.  

SULLIVAN:  Of course.  Of course.

CAVUTO:  And that save it for when, I guess in your party`s case, a Republican president comes in, to deal with that with you guys.  

What do you make of that argument?  

SULLIVAN:  Well, look, I mean, part of the frustration for a lot of the people who voted against it wasn`t just the substance, but the way in which this was done.  Right?  

This was a deal that very few members of the Senate or the House were involved with.  It comes out, it`s announced, you have two days to read and it vote on it.  And I`m part of a new group of Senate Republicans who we campaigned against this kind of governing.  

These should be appropriations bills, regular order, where people get to see what is in it, take the time to vote on it.  And that was another problem, in addition to the substance.  

CAVUTO:  Yes.  

Senator, I don`t know whether you wade into these political matters, but much has been made of your colleague Marco Rubio and all the votes he has missed.  He kind of tried to nullify that in the debate this week by saying that no one made as big a deal about missed votes when it was either John Kennedy or -- in 1960 -- or John Kerry in 2004 or Barack Obama in 2008, but now that it`s a Republican, Marco Rubio, it`s a big deal.  

Is it a big deal to you?  Do you agree with Governor Bush, who said this is a job you signed up for, be there?

SULLIVAN:  Look, I think most of us in the Senate recognize that when you`re running for the presidency of the United States, that it`s a huge undertaking.

And we certainly want a Republican to win and we want our Republicans to do their best.  And you mentioned, Neil, whether it`s Barack Obama or others, I mean, this is pretty par for the course.  

So, I don`t think it`s a huge deal with myself and my Republican colleagues.  What we want, and I think what you saw in the debate, is a strong field of Republicans who can be the next president of the United States.  We have a great field, much stronger than the Democrats.

CAVUTO:  So, you`re saying that Governor Bush was wrong to bring it up?

SULLIVAN:  I`m just saying that, among my colleagues in the Senate, it`s not something we`re talking about a lot, because, as you mentioned, if you look at any senator who has run for the presidency of the United States, it`s pretty par for the course that they miss a lot because, whether it`s Marco or Ted Cruz or Rand Paul, they`re out there trying to win the votes of the people.

CAVUTO:  Well, we could go back to Ted Kennedy.  We could go back to John Kennedy.  We could go back to Robert Kennedy.  You`re quite right.  

SULLIVAN:  But there`s not a lot of talk about it.  

CAVUTO:  Exactly.  I hear you.  All right, Senator, thank you for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  

SULLIVAN:  Thank you, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  


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