Democrats Discuss Bill Behind Closed Doors

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," November 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, Harry has it. And, in one hour, he is going to show it, but not to us, certainly not to you.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.

Door-gate, yes, day 32. Harry has got the bill. He knows the score, but Harry ain't speaking, and not to us, not to Republicans, because no one is being allowed near the door. It is to the LBJ room. And this is the closest we can get to it. Our camera crew says it is forbidden to shoot it or get anywhere near it, even the hallway near that door.

So, we have resorted back to the "Twilight Zone" door. The only people getting in are Democrats, but not before Harry went over the game plan today with Vice President Joe Biden and former Senator Leader Tom Daschle. They are looking to sway at least three moderates who are not wild about Harry or certainly Harry's health care plan.

The V.P. is schmoozing with one of those Democrats, Senator Ben Nelson, moments ago.

One person not swayed, Republican Senator Tom Coburn. He wants every word of that bill, expected to be 2,000 pages at least, to be read aloud on the Senate floor. That would take some 50 hours, at least.

The senator joins me right now.

Senator, good to see you, obviously not invited behind that closed door. What do you think is happening?

SEN. TOM COBURN R-OKLA.: Well, I think we will get to see it. I think he has got to sell his caucus on it. And he's going to explain what is in it.

And then we won't have the benefit of that explanation. But, hopefully, some time late tonight, we will be get to see the bill. The important thing is the American people ought to get to see the bill and they ought to know absolutely without a doubt what it is going to cost.

And we ought to have at least three or four days to look at it. So, whether or not we are going to get to read the bill or have the bill read, the American people need to know exactly what is in the bill.

CAVUTO: All right. So, Senator, I take it as a given that if and when they agree to read the bill, you and your Republican colleagues will sit through the reading?

COBURN: Well, either that, or we will read it ourselves and comment on it. There's all sorts of ways that we can do this.

The whole goal is not to delay — it's not to delay the process. It is to make sure we know that the American people have a chance to actually understand what is in this bill.


COBURN: A bill this big, we have not seen anything this big in my lifetime.


CAVUTO: I got you, Senator.

But I have read the House measure. And I read it fast. I read it slow. I read it in between. There's a lot of legalese in these bills. I don't know how the final Senate version will come out. But I have heard from Republicans and Democrats that these things have gotten to be so complicated that you really do need a SWAT team of lawyers to go through it.

Is that not the problem, that if you need that type of expertise, maybe you don't need a bill like this?

COBURN: Well, I think, first of all, as you know, I am adamantly opposed to this plan that will actually move health care to the government, that will actually raise people's insurance premiums, will raise taxes, and create more debt. There is no question about that.

And we could do four or five simple things that would change people's cost of health care. But a 2,000-page bill — I suspect this one is greater than 2,000 pages — we have an obligation to know what is in it, to understand it, and explain that to the American people, as well as try to convince our colleagues of the error of their ways.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, now we are waiting, as well, on CBO scoring for this. So, could we read anything into the delays, that maybe the CBO already has scored this and it hasn't come out the way that Harry Reid wants?

COBURN: Well, you know, I don't really know the answer to that, Neil. What I am worried about is, we will get a tentative score. And a tentative score doesn't count. We need the CBO to come out and say, this is what we think.

CAVUTO: Gotcha.

COBURN: And if Harry wants to fudge on the 72 hours on the score, I think we ought to raise some objections to that.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator, good seeing you again — Senator Tom Coburn in Washington.

COBURN: Good seeing you, Neil. Take care.

CAVUTO: Thank you, sir.

COBURN: You bet.

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