Interviews

Hoyer: American public overwhelmingly rejecting GOP bill

On 'Your World,' House Minority Whip says the bill gets worse by the day

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, so many podiums, so many stakeouts, so little time.

This one is up on Capitol Hill, where we were waiting to hear, and still are waiting to hear, actually, from Speaker Paul Ryan. He put off indefinitely, we're told, an announcement to reporters shortly after we heard that this vote today on the health care measure was going to be delayed.

Now we're hearing it might happen tomorrow, could happen Monday. Members have been told to sort of regroup, get their ducks in order.

And I have a feeling my next guess is smiling a little bit, although I could be wrong, the House minority whip, Steny Hoyer, one of the highest ranking Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Congressman, very good to have you.

REP. STENY HOYER, D-MD., MINORITY WHIP: Good to be with you, Neil, as always.

CAVUTO: What do you think of all of this?

HOYER: Typical.

The Republicans are a deeply divided party, and have been so for the last six years. And they have great, great difficulty reaching consensus on important pieces of legislation.

And I think what you're seeing reflected is, every day this bill goes forward and, frankly, it gets worse by the day, the American public overwhelmingly are rejecting this bill now in the recent poll 3-1. They're saying, this bill is not good for them, it's not good for their country.

They are saying that they are going to pay more and get less. They're saying that the CBO -- they believe the CBO, unlike the Republicans, that 24 million people are going to lose their insurance over the next nine years, and that there's an age tax on there, where seniors are going to pay more. So, the fact...

CAVUTO: Maybe they're just confused. Right?

Maybe they figure that the Democrats rammed stuff through. They're fearing that the Republicans are ramming stuff through, and they hate both of you guys.

HOYER: Well, I don't think either one of us are particularly popular. I agree with that.

(LAUGHTER)

HOYER: Neil, you're right. I don't want to have an alternative fact that we're all very popular around the country.

But, having said that, there's no doubt that Americans post-election, when they really looked at, what have I got in the Affordable Care Act, as opposed to ObamaCare? What have I got? And they have decided that it's much better than what the Republicans are offering and that, yes, maybe we need to fix the Affordable Care Act, but we don't need to repeal it.

And I think what is happening is, members are hearing that, Republican members are hearing that from their constituencies. And it's ironic. There's sort of a pincer here in the Republican Party, where a number of members are saying, you're hurting people too badly, and, frankly, the other group -- and they don't say it this way -- but, you're not hurting enough people. In other words, you're not taking enough of the benefits.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Let me ask you about that, if you don't mind, Congressman.

Are you getting a sense that not a single Democrat then would vote on this effort of Republicans? Obviously, you count your own members as well. Not one would vote for this? Not one? Because say what you feel of a lot of features of this. It does fix some of the things. But you're saying not a one would vote?

HOYER: Well, Neil, I'm not sure I accept your premise that I don't know what it fixes.

But the fact of the matter is, not a single Democrat is going to vote for this Republican bill.

CAVUTO: Really?

HOYER: They believe it's bad for their districts, bad for their people, and bad for their country.

That doesn't mean they all agree that we shouldn't not have some changes in the Affordable Care Act. And I told the Republicans last night that I and the leadership of the Democratic Party is prepared to sit down and say, look, if you don't like certain portions of the ACA and you want to make it better, the Affordable Care Act, and make it better, we're prepared to work with you on that. That's a reasonable thing to do.

CAVUTO: But you mentioned the leadership of the Democratic Party, Congressman.

HOYER: Yes.

CAVUTO: And Nancy Pelosi was asked about this as well.

Who is that leadership? I know you're in that leadership. I know Nancy Pelosi is. Who is the Democratic leader today?

HOYER: The Democratic leader in the House of Representatives is Nancy Pelosi, period. Now, we have a...

CAVUTO: All right. And you're the silver medalist.

HOYER: Well, I suppose I'm the silver medalist. I think my voice is pretty influential within the party.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: See, the reason why I mentioned it, not to be facetious, sir, but that you're not offering real help. And you're bashing, which many might feel is Democrats' chance to go back at Republicans on the way they were treated and bashed, but that the tit for tat is getting old.

HOYER: No, it's certainly tit for tat is getting old.

But, by the way, if you review the Bush administration and you review Pelosi as speaker and me as majority, you ask George Bush. Don't ask me. He will say we worked together on important issues.

You ask John Boehner, in terms of the sustainable growth rate for reimbursement to docs on Medicare, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, Steny Hoyer, McCarthy worked together, and we got a bill done.

And, very frankly, we got it done, notwithstanding the majority of Republicans in many instances who were opposing us. Overwhelming majorities of Democrats and Republicans joined together.

CAVUTO: So, it's possible. You're right about that. It is possible.

(CROSSTALK)

HOYER: No, Neil, hold -- whoa, whoa, whoa.

CAVUTO: Oh, go ahead.

HOYER: Not only is it possible, but I would suggest that it wasn't possible for Republicans to work with us when Obama was president of the United States. And they didn't. I was in all the meetings. And they simply didn't do that.

Now, Eric Cantor and I did come together.

CAVUTO: You should have heard what they said about you.

(LAUGHTER)

HOYER: Well, actually, they're pretty good to me. And so...

CAVUTO: Well, I guess what I'm trying to get a handle on, Congressman, is this view that -- I don't know the parliamentary rules, or whatever the term is for how you guys do things.

But if they're so divided on this, can they legally, or whatever the term is, move on to tax cuts, if that is their next big thing, and just shelve or what?

HOYER: Well, certainly, legally, the answer to that question is yes.

The tax bill is an independent bill, a discrete bill, if you will, from the health care bill, although, as you know, the health care is a very, very substantial tax cut for, we believe, the wealthiest in this country.

But, that aside, certainly, they can move on to a tax bill. I'm not sure they have consensus on a tax bill, very frankly, Neil.

And I think the problem you see -- and I don't have to say it to you. You have watched it for six years, a deeply divided party. That's why John Boehner is not the speaker of the House. That's why Paul Ryan is having so much difficulty for his piece of legislation, notwithstanding he has a Republican president working with him.

CAVUTO: Well, you guys, no offense, are hardly the Waltons. Right? You're not all together. Right?

HOYER: We're a pretty united party, Neil. I have been at this business a long time.

And the Democratic Party, both when we were in the majority and when we were in the minority, we passed everything with 218 Democrats.

CAVUTO: But I guess what I'm saying, that there are those progressives in the party who are saying what Bernie Sanders is saying, you have to charge harder left, others saying moderate a little bit.

I would put you in that latter group. I could be wrong. What do you say?

HOYER: I think that's probably -- I think that's probably where most people put me.

But the fact of the matter is, we have been able to work together. And the record shows -- you go vote after important vote after important vote, the Democratic Party has been united. I don't mean 100 percent. I don't mean unanimous, but certainly united.

And we're united in this effort, not because we believe the Affordable Care Act is perfect, but because we believe it's much, much better than the alternative being offered by the Republicans, which would, frankly, undermine affordable health insurance and health care for millions and millions of Americans.

And the CBO, both under Republican leadership and under Democratic leadership, Steve Elmendorf agrees with Mr. Hall, who is the Republican CBO director. So, you have got the Democratic director and the Republican director agreeing that the findings of the CBO are accurate.

And the American public is saying, this is not good for us, it's not good for our country. And they're urging us to -- by a 3-1 margin at this point in the time in the most recent poll to reject this. And that's why...

CAVUTO: Have you talked to the president on any of this stuff?

HOYER: Very, very, very briefly for one meeting some weeks ago.

CAVUTO: OK. OK.

Steny Hoyer, very good catching up with you. I appreciate it.

HOYER: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip in the House, second most powerful Democrat in that own. All right.

END

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