This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 30, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The American people are sending a message loud and clear: Read the health care bill. In a new FOX poll, 92 percent of Americans say members of Congress should have to read legislation before voting on it, even if it's thousands of pages long. But that's not all. Americans also want transparency. In another poll, 83 percent of Americans say legislation should be posted on line before Congress votes on it.
Congressman Greg Walden is fighting for a 72-hour review period for all bills in the House. He joins us live and -- he brought us a little reading material! What have you got there, Congressman?
REP. GREG WALDEN, R - OR.: Well, let's see, 1,420-page national energy tax, cap-and-trade. Here's the health care bill, 1,026 pages, right, 1,026 pages. We had 14 hours and 43 minutes before the committee voted on the bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about for the cap-and-trade bill? How much time...
WALDEN: Cap-and-trade bill...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... did you have before (INAUDIBLE)
WALDEN: We had 16-and-a-half hours. This is the cap-and-trade bill. This is the one that passed the House. They had a 390-page amendment filed at 2:49 in the morning the day we voted on this.
VAN SUSTEREN: So...
WALDEN: This is outrageous!
VAN SUSTEREN: So let me get this straight...
WALDEN: See why people are angry?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, now, before we even get to the third one, does -- tell me how this works. So the committee comes out with a bill...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... in the House, and they say, OK, we're going to take it to the floor and vote on it.
WALDEN: So it goes up to the Rules Committee.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. So you got to grab it between the committee and the -- and before it hits the floor?.
WALDEN: Right. But it goes to a separate committee, the House Rules Committee. They decide the terms of debate. They decide what amendments will be allowed. And frequently, what will happen is you'll have a 390- page -- think about half this, about 400-page amendment to this bill that then is combined, but there's never a combined document. They may put it up on line, but we're voting a matter of hours after that.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's the third one?
WALDEN: The third one is the so-called stimulus. So it was 1,073 pages, 12 hours. Now, Speaker Pelosi said we'd have a minimum of 24 hours.
VAN SUSTEREN: But even that's insane!
WALDEN: It is.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, you got to sleep in the 24 hours, so it's not really 24 hours.
WALDEN: And you know the real issue here. Both parties have operated Congress like this for too long when they've been in charge. We need to change the process. Brian Baird, my Democrat colleague literally across the river in Washington state from my home state of Oregon, and I have been -- it's his bill. I filed a discharged petition. I've been part of the effort on this. We've got 181 members of the House that say, Bring the bill to the floor that changes the House rules so that people have the chance to read the bill.
You know, you can go to a Web site called Wethepeoplecanread.org (ph), and you can track the progress we're trying to make to get members of Congress -- it only takes 218, and we have 181 tonight who have signed a petition to allow this stuff to be put on -- require it to be put on the Web -- 72 hours.
VAN SUSTEREN: But even 72 hours...
WALDEN: Oh, I agree.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... is lame! I mean, that's 72 hours, no one's going to read it, and why couldn't we have two weeks?
WALDEN: I'd go for it. I talked to Jeff Eager, a city councilor in Bend, Oregon. He called me on this process, and he said, You know, when we do a resolution here in Bend, it may only be a one or two-page resolution, but we'll notice it for one week, notice it for the second reading. Three weeks -- it's takes about 30 days for a city to go through the process so the public has a chance to know how their rules are going to be changed.
Congress -- we're rewriting the whole energy situation, spending a trillion -- $787 billion on the stimulus here, adding to the debt, taking over health care, and you can't give us 72 hours?
VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) I want two weeks...
WALDEN: It's nuts!
VAN SUSTEREN: ... but tell me...
WALDEN: I could go for two weeks.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... has any member of Congress said to you, No, I don't want to vote for this? I'm voting against it.
WALDEN: Well, now, here's what's interesting, Greta...
VAN SUSTEREN: I want to know who -- I mean, who -- I mean, I want to out these people!
WALDEN: There's a lot of dancing going on right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: So they're cowards! They won't even say no!
VAN SUSTEREN: They won't say yes or no.
WALDEN: They won't sign the petition.
VAN SUSTEREN: What a bunch of cowards!
WALDEN: Well, and here's the deal. So what did they do? A week ago, by voice vote, they said when the energy and -- the energy appropriation bill, energy and water, comes to the House floor, we should have 48 hours. They instructed the conferees, 48 hours.
VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) not enough.
WALDEN: Guess what happened? Guess what happened tonight in the Rules Committee? They approved a rule, and the energy and water bill comes to the floor tomorrow, 18 hours max, if you stay up all night and read it. Last week, they said 48 hours.
VAN SUSTEREN: So nobody -- so the -- so the opposing party hasn't even seen this bill! I mean (INAUDIBLE) committee...
WALDEN: Right. Tonight. It'll be on the Rules Committee Web site tonight for the first time.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, can you give me -- who -- I mean, who's leading the -- has anyone said no to you? I know said a lot have danced around, but has anyone said no?
WALDEN: Well, here's the deal. We have every Republican but one, and she's...
VAN SUSTEREN: Who's -- who's that?
WALDEN: Well, she said -- she pledged long ago never to sign any discharge petition, and so that's -- it has nothing to do with this issue.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right. Give me a Democrat.
WALDEN: So then you have a whole bunch of Democrats. You have 37 that have co-sponsored the bill that would require the change in the rules, and yet only 5 Democrats have co-sponsored this.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right.
WALDEN: The only way we get to 218 is if you get another 36 members, 34 members...
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, write Speaker of the House Pelosi, tell her that, you know, two weeks -- I don't even think 72 hours. But anyway...
WALDEN: I agree. Transparency.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, right.
WALDEN: Wethepeoplecanread.org. Go there. You can track it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much, Congressman.
WALDEN: Thank you.
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