This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," February 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, now Arizona senator Jon Kyl goes "On the Record," but first, a sneak peek on what Senator Kyl thinks of the $787 billion stimulus bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Mr. President, the bill that we're considering now was made available to us at 11:00 PM last night, long after the Senate was out of session. This is it. Now, I dare say, I doubt that any of my colleagues have read this bill. I have not, I confess. And yet we're going to be voting on it in about three hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Does Senator Kyl still feel that way? Let's ask. Senator Jon Kyl joins us live. Senator Kyl, I know you didn't get a chance to read the bill before. Do you know anybody who has voted for or against the bill who has read it since?
KYL: No, I do not. And I doubt very seriously that I'd lose a bet if I -- if I put money on that. There were a lot of staffers who stayed up very late, divided the bill into sections so they could get through it, and then they advised us as to what was in it. So our staff did a great deal of work. But no, we didn't have time to read the bill, and that was one of the problems with it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, since you are from Arizona and fly back to see your constituents, tell me, how many hours does it take to fly from Washington to Phoenix? And you'll figure out why I'm asking in a second.
KYL: Yes, well, last Saturday, we had headwinds, and it was over five hours, about five hours and five minutes. So you can do the math. The president flew out here, stayed last night, went to a high school this morning. There was a big crowd there to greet him. He gave his speech and then he left town. And I understand he did the same thing in Denver yesterday.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the reason why I ask you -- and you know, this is -- you know, look, I never complained before about presidents using 747 and Air Force One. I've always been very proud of it. And I never -- I've never looked at the cost, but now we're a lot of focus on the economy. If you're telling me it took five hours just to Arizona and back, not counting the Colorado trip...
KYL: No, that's just one way.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right. No, I know. SO it's 10 hours round trip, that it cost almost $600,000 just if you were to do that one leg from Washington to Phoenix and back, in 2004 terms. Now, the estimates we have are for 2004. That's before the fuel costs going up. I -- I mean, like -- I mean, I -- if it's just used as a backdrop, if there's no other business, why in the world are we spending that kind of money just to sign a bill or make an announcement?
KYL: Well, why indeed? It's for show. And he didn't need to come to Arizona to do it. We know how bad the circumstances are out here, which is why I applauded the fact that we were trying to deal with housing, though I've got some concerns about his announcement today.
There was another interesting thing -- during the campaign, he talked about how we were all going to have to turn our thermostats down. And a reporter went to the White House the other day and it was just roasting hot in the Oval Office. And they asked the aide why, and they said, Well, President Obama likes the feel of Hawaii, so he keeps it about 80 degrees in here. Now, if that's a true story, it's another indication of how, you know, Don't do as I say -- well, I guess it is, "Do as I say, not as I do."
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there's an article by a reporter named John McCaslin in The Washington Times which caught my attention. One is that the president's talking about if the taxpayers are helping you -- you know, he's quoted saying if the taxpayers are helping, you then you have certain responsibilities to not be living high on the hog.
• Watch Greta's interview
And let me emphasize, if -- if it weren't simply a backdrop, if there's a legitimate presidential purpose, I want him traveling on a 747.
VAN SUSTEREN: I want him to be safe. but if it's just for a backdrop to sign a bill in Colorado and to announce a mortgage in Arizona, to spend this kind of money -- you know, I don't know why...
KYL: And it's...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... People aren't screaming.
KYL: And especially, Greta, since there was such a great rush to hurry up and pass the bill so that he could sign it, and then he waited four days and brought it out to Denver and signed it. Can I make a...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, wait a second!
KYL: ... Quick point about this housing...
VAN SUSTEREN: There's even one other thing, too, is that -- is that they dragged poor Senator Brown from Ohio Friday night in the middle of his mother's funeral matters, is they dragged him back to sign (SIC) it and they sent him back to Ohio and it wasn't signed until Tuesday. The poor guy. But go ahead on the housing.
KYL: Well, I just want to talk a little bit of the substance on the issue here. I didn't think the president would actually talk about the cramdown provisions being in this legislation, but he did. I thought they'd try to sneak it in because Democrats have been trying for several years to get this passed. They've never had the votes to do it. This is where you go into bankruptcy, and the judge can actually write down your mortgage. He reduces the interest rate of your mortgage to the point that you say you can afford to do it.
Everybody from Larry Summers, the chief of the Council of Economic Advisers (SIC) to the president, to the bipartisan or non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says this is going to raise rates for everyone else because the banks have to cover the risk of this so-called cramdown. That's just one of the things in this announcement today that raises a real red flag.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there's so many things going on in terms of programs coming out of Washington right now that, you know, we Americans are just sort of, like -- it's, like, going over our heads. We just hear these incredible numbers, and we don't -- we know we don't have the money. We're all hoping that it's the right solution, but if nobody even bothered to read the bill that everybody voted on, that's rather terrifying because we can't even tell if it's a good idea or not, but send people to Washington to make these decision for us, and we find out that they're just basically rolling dice. It's terrifying, Senator.
KYL: Well, and it's a -- in that case, it's a trillion-dollar gamble. Now, again, our staff was able to point out a lot of things in this legislation that were not good. And we talked about those things. But at the end of the day, spending a trillion dollars, you want to get it right. This was not targeted legislation. To the extent it stimulates anything, it's going to be luck, rather than careful, careful planning. And it's going to be wasting an awful lot of money, putting permanent programs in place that over a 10-year period, Greta, are going to spend $3.27 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. So permanent programs, a lot of money.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'm just hoping that my fears are all completely off the mark and that -- you know, that this -- that this is going to work, but we'll have to see. Senator, thank you.
KYL: Thank you, Greta.
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