Rep. Cuellar Holding Out on Vote

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," March 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: All right, another Fox News Alert for you: Dennis Kucinich is not — I repeat — not available for an interview. The Democratic congressman who is usually roaring to go at a moment’s notice politely declining an interview request today. It might have something to do with this.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Your own congressman, who is tireless on behalf of working people, Dennis Kucinich.



OBAMA: Did you hear that, Dennis? Go on. Say that again.




CAVUTO: All right, as you know, Kucinich, who has been a very frequent critic of the president’s health care plan, getting the full White House treatment, including a ride on Air Force One, he was a no-vote. Right now, he’s not saying. In fact, he’s one of those saying that, originally, this didn’t go far enough.

My next guest says that he’s still undecided, though, and won’t make a decision until he sees the bill itself.

Congressman Henry Cuellar is a Blue Dog Democrat, a member of the Hispanic Caucus, both vital groups.

Congressman, very good to have you.

REP. HENRY CUELLAR D-TEXAS: I’m doing fine. How are you doing?

CAVUTO: I’m OK, sir.

Where you do you stand right now?

CUELLAR: Undecided. I still — as a good attorney, and I guess a good legislator, I want to see the language. I cannot commit to a piece of legislation without knowing what the fine print is.

So, I’m waiting to get the final language, and then I will read it, and then we will take it from there.

CAVUTO: Congressman, is anyone in the party leadership, Nancy Pelosi or anyone, told you, look, we really need you; it would be very vital to have you?

CUELLAR: Well, yes, of course. The leadership has talked to me. And I told them that I want to wait to see the final language.

I have been talking to them about some reform language that I certainly want to see. I’m one of those Democrats that believes in tort reform. And I want to make sure that this bill doesn’t preempt any of the tort laws that have been passed by other states, certainly want to see some efficiencies from any agencies that we do set up.

And, then, the last thing, of course, I’m still waiting on the final Stupak language. The bottom line is, I just want to make sure no federal funds are used to fund abortions. And whether it’s the Stupak language or there’s another language, I want to see that language.

CAVUTO: You know, earlier, your Blue Dog colleague, Congressman Altmire, was talking to our friends on Fox Business Network, which, Congressman, if you don’t get, you really should demand. But I digress.

And one of the things that he mentioned was this so-called Slaughter amendment, where they sort of get their way around the rules of a straight up-or-down vote. I want you to hear his reaction to that.


REP. JASON ALTMIRE D-PA.: I have a big issue with the way that they’re doing the process. I think it’s wrong. And my constituents don’t like it.


CAVUTO: What do you think of the way they’re handling the process?

CUELLAR: Well, again, I don’t think the decision has been made as to what process are we going to get to have the final vote.

Again, I want to see what the language is. I certainly want to see more transparency. I, you know, don’t mind voting yes or no on it. But, again, we have got to wait to see what final rule is going to be used to get to that point.

CAVUTO: All right, so, when you hear colleagues of yours reportedly getting — I don’t know if threatened is the world, but reminded by the possibility that union money could leave their campaign and fund a primary challenge or a third-party challenge, what do you make of that?

CUELLAR: Well, I know some of my colleagues have been reminded about that. I’m in a different situation.

CAVUTO: Who has reminded them, Congressman? Do you know?

CUELLAR: Well — well, again, I don’t want to speak for other members, but I will tell you that, you know, I used to be the unions` number-one target when I supported CAFTA, so I’m not in that particular situation. So, I’m not worried about that situation about unions targeting me.

I want to see the final language. I want to see what sort of impact that it has on my district. And, quite honestly, does it bring the price of premiums down? You know, if we provide some coverage, what sort of impact will that have on different states? So, you know, we have to look at different factors before we get to that point.


CAVUTO: But let’s say the abortion language, Congressman, doesn’t change substantially beyond what’s already written in there...

CUELLAR: Well, you know...

CAVUTO: ... but, by and large, the basic bill remains the same. Yea or nay on your part?

CUELLAR: Well, again, I want to wait until the final language. I want to see if anything is added to it. And then I’m going to be looking at — at everything.

You know, bottom line is, the Henry Hyde amendment says you should not use federal funds for abortions. And I want to make sure that’s adhered to.

CAVUTO: OK. Congressman, thank you very much. We will watch closely.

CUELLAR: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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