Bachmann, Weiner Face Off Over Debt Ceiling, Health Care
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And the Republican take over a Congress, it's called, a lot of angst among Democrats on Capitol Hill, but the tension was building even before John Boehner officially took the gavel.
Now, over the weekend, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner squared off with Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on CBS's "Face the Nation." Now, they're going to join me in just a moment. But first, let's watch their exchange because it seemed to showcase the Democrats' sour attitude about the new GOP majority. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y.: The Republicans have come in saying that they are going to not raise the debt ceiling and they're going to allow the full faith and credit of the American people go down the tubes. It is their ship to run now, that's the responsibility, this is, you know, this is an adult game now.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: The Congress has had a big party the last two years. They couldn't spend enough money. And now they're standing back folding their arms saying, oh, taunting us, how are you going to go ahead and solve this big spending crisis. It is not good for anyone to shut the government down. It's not good for anyone, that's why I think it is important for Democrats who are so willing to spend money to now be a part of trying to figure out how we can be responsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. At issue now is not only whether to raise the debts ceiling but whether to repeal the Democrats' health care bill, where to cut congressional spending and how to get the country back on course.
And joining me for now round two are Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Guys welcome back to "Hannity."
WEINER: Thank you.
BACHMANN: Thank you, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. Congressman Weiner, let's start with the debt ceiling, are you going to vote to raise it or not?
WEINER: Depends what the bill looks like. You know, I'm not inclined to do it if the Republicans say they're going to use the extra money to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, they're going to repeal the health care bill which cost the Treasury $1.2 trillion. They've got irresponsible policies, I'm not going to facilitate them.
HANNITY: All right. But let me ask you this question, because this is really important. We have obviously debt that's out of control, spending that's out of control. The American people say the economy is their number one issue. If we can cut enough spending, would you be supportive of that?
WEINER: Depends on where the cuts are. Look, I'm going to stand up for the values that I believe my constituents believe in, protecting Social Security and Medicare, making sure veterans' benefits are protected, make sure the middle class are protected. Now, if they want to use the money to give tax cuts to billionaires like they wanted to do to repeal health care so that the costs for health care goes up all around the country, I'm going to be a no.
HANNITY: Do you think that we are putting the U.S., the full faith -- of the U.S. government at risk if we don't raise the debt ceiling?
WEINER: That's what I'm told.
HANNITY: So, you believe that. All right. Let's go back to 2006 and these are the words, I'll put it up on the screen, of Barack Obama, then Senator Barack Obama when he said, "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It's a sign that the U.S. government can't pay its own bills. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." And then, he voted not to raise the debt ceiling. Did he back in 2006 not support the full faith and credit of the U.S. government?
WEINER: Well, listen, this is a question you should ask to John Boehner, he's the one who's going to get to write the bill. I'll take a look at it.
HANNITY: No, I'm asking about Barack Obama.
WEINER: You're asking about Barack Obama in 2006? You got Anthony Weiner in 2010. I'm a much better interview than interviewing his old statement, much better.
HANNITY: Really? I don't know the president is going to like to hear you are such a better interview but...
WEINER: Why don't you have him on your show and ask him?
HANNITY: He's welcomed any place, anytime, anywhere. I don't think he's going to -- but wait a minute, you just said to me.
You just said to me it is irresponsible. Barack Obama did this in 2006, was he irresponsible then?
WEINER: Listen, I've already answered the question what I think about the debt limit right now.
HANNITY: All right.
WEINER: The real person, you should be directing this question to Congresswoman Bachmann and her party. They're in charge. They're going to get to the side of bill we vote on. If it is a responsible bill that makes sense, that shows a real plan to try to get things under control, then I'll certainly consider voting for it. If it's the same kind of policies they've had recently, tax cuts for billionaires, repealing health care which cost the Treasury $1.2 trillion, then I'm a no. I don't know what more I can tell you.
HANNITY: Well, I guess, Congresswoman Bachmann, it's irresponsible now but it wasn't irresponsible then? Your reaction to all this.
BACHMANN: Well, just consider that it was only about seven months ago when we had the debt ceiling go up to 13 trillion in a brief seven month's time, we've overspent so much money under Nancy Pelosi's watch. Then now, we are looking to being forced to have to raise the debt ceiling again. This is the 10th time in 10 years that we're raising the debt ceiling. It is as if your viewers back home, go out and spend too much money on their credit card, and then they ask the credit card company, well, just raise the limit that I can spend. We aren't making any principle payments, only interest payments. And we can't go down that road.
And so, my staff and I have sat down, we've come up with about $450 billion worth of cuts. I would invite also my colleague Anthony Weiner to sit down with his staff and come up with cuts as well. Let's all put green eyeshades on. They were only too willing to spend money for the last two, actually four years under Nancy Pelosi. Now it is time to get real and come up with the cuts, because we can't see ourselves in six, seven months from now, also increasing the debt limit again. At a certain point, we won't even be able to keep up with our interest-only payments, this is insane. We can't do this to the next generation.
HANNITY: Congressman Weiner, since Nancy Pelosi was speaker, the country accumulated $5.2 trillion in new debt, 3.2 trillion of that, 5 trillion, 5.2 was since Barack Obama has been president. Do you not see a problem with that type of reckless spending?
WEINER: Well, hold on a second, before you move on, did I hear Congresswoman Bachmann say that she is no on raising the debt limit?
BACHMANN: I am no longer raising the debt limit.
WEINER: OK. And I missed it, Sean, how come you didn't pepper her with questions about irresponsibility?
HANNITY: Because I don't think it is irresponsible that we can have cuts. I agree with her.
WEINER: That's OK. I get it. I get it. Go ahead, what is your question?
HANNITY: Poor Anthony Weiner, he's having such a tough time here.
BACHMANN: But I thought Anthony, you were also voting no on raising the debt ceiling. Isn't that right?
WEINER: Right. That's exactly right and Sean is telling me how irresponsible I am. He didn't seem to say that to you --
HANNITY: No, I don't think so.
WEINER: I guess he doesn't think you are.
HANNITY: No, well, first of all, you didn't say for sure if you were voting against the debt ceiling or raising it.
WEINER: I'm just curious when a member of the majority --
HANNITY: But number two you wouldn't say it was irresponsible when Barack Obama didn't vote to do it.
WEINER: It seems to me that the majority party who was very successful two years being the party of no is now in charge. Michele Bachmann's party gets the chance now to say what their proposal is. Maybe her $400 billion worth of cuts I'll agree with, maybe I won't. But I'm curious, if she doesn't get those cuts, she is a no, is that right? And isn't she the majority party and does she speak for her colleagues?
You see, the problem here is, that they seem to want to be in control but they don't want any of the responsibility.
HANNITY: Go ahead.
BACHMANN: Anthony, if I could ask a question directly of Anthony Weiner. I've sat down with my staff and done the hard work of coming up with 450 billion in potential cuts for discussion. These are painful cuts, they're sacrificial. But on the other hand, I would ask, have you done that same exercise? What have you done with your staff? Have you come up with cuts?
WEINER: It is interesting because, just the --
BACHMANN: Yes or no?
WEINER: Just let me answer your question. It's just recently, I voted against a bill that added 850 billion. So I'll raise, yes, $850 billion that I said, I would not go along with.
BACHMANN: And would that bill be the tax -- would that bill be the tax compromise?
WEINER: Just next week -- let me ask you something, next week, are you going to add $1.2 trillion to the debt by voting to repeal health care? Is that a yes?
BACHMANN: What -- so -- I will vote to repeal health care but that won't be added to the deficit. It won't be adding to the deficit because those are fake numbers.
WEINER: According to the CBO.
BACHMANN: Well, let's remember how CBO works. We all know. These are numbers that the Democrats gave to the CBO. So, if it is garbage in, it is garbage out. And we all know that's exactly what those numbers were with CBO.
WEINER: What was the source -- fefore we go off this subject.
HANNITY: Hang on Congressman! Hang on! I asked you a very specific question.
WEINER: Before we go off this subject.
HANNITY: Let me ask the question.
HANNITY: In the four year, Nancy Pelosi was speaker, she accumulated $5.2 trillion in debt, 3.2 trillion of that money was during Barack Obama's first two years. The country now is $14 trillion in debt and you just had the biggest electoral midterm loss in 70 years. Are you not listening to what the American people are telling you?
WEINER: No, I think the debt and a deficit is a huge problem. It was very expensive digging out from the policies of President Bush who had --
BACHMANN: For heaven's sake, Sean, that is ridiculous. I've got a chart with me, I don't know if you can see it.
WEINER: Is that a CBO chart? That's not a CBO chart is it?
BACHMANN: This is a CBO chart.
WEINER: That's what I thought.
BACHMANN: This was debt accumulated under President Bush, this is the debt under Barack Obama. Barack Obama accumulated four times the debt of George Bush. So, I think we need to put to bed that false canard that somehow Barack Obama was trying to dig out from under George Bush. Barack Obama created a tsunami of debt and that's why just a few short weeks ago, the American people repealed Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. And two years from now, we will repeal Barack Obama as president of the United States. That's the only way we'll finally repeal Obamacare.
WEINER: So Congresswoman Bachmann just said in the course of two questions, you can't believe what CBO says and here look at my chart based on CBO.
HANNITY: No, those are --
BACHMANN: It depends on the numbers that go in.
WEINER: Yes it does.
HANNITY: Wait a minute, Congressman, those are the real numbers...
WEINER: It depends on whether the numbers agree with your thesis, I guess. $1.2 trillion to repeal health care. That's what CBO says, $1.2 trillion --
BACHMANN: No, it depends upon the numbers that you give CBO.
HANNITY: We have to take a break.
WEINER: Let me tell you -- OK.
HANNITY: We will come back. Hey, stay right there, we'll have more with Congresswoman Bachmann and Congressman Weiner in just a moment.
HANNITY: And we continue now with two members of the brand new Congress, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Congressman, I got to go back, this is too important an issue. This president has accumulated more debt, record deficits than any other president in the history of this country. $3.2 trillion, Nancy Pelosi presided over $5.2 trillion debt. You and I argue about CBO, I don't care about CBO, I worry about a country where we are bankrupting our society and ruining opportunity for our kids and grand kids. And I would think as a Democrat, that you would be concerned about their future.
WEINER: Yes. Absolutely. That's why next week, we are going to have a chance to vote on a bill that will either add $1.2 trillion to our debt or not. We just passed a rules package by the Republicans that took away what was a pay as you go rule and replaced it with something that exempted every health care, piece of health care legislation, fully 20 percent of our economy. Doesn't sound very serious to me.
HANNITY: All right. Let me give you some specific --
WEINER: Let me just finish my answer, the reason why this is important, people need to understand, repealing health care is a huge budget buster according to, wait for it, the CBO. The same agency that Michele Bachmann just referred to in her chart.
HANNITY: All right. Let me give you some facts because what your statement about this $115 billion is misleading and I'm going to tell you why. The law was written to measure 10 year of taxes to offset six years of new spending. Remember, we pay taxes for four years before these all kicks in, number one.
WEINER: That's not true.
HANNITY: Number two, the Democrats, you strip costly provisions that were included in the initial CBO score and enacted them separately to add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit, hiding spending does not reduce spending, so that's misleading. Number three, to be clear that the dispute is not with the CBO as much as what the Democrats put in front of them legislation that was packed with smoke and mirrors, hiding the true cost of health care in very creative accounting deceptive ways.
WEINER: That's not true.
Congresswoman Bachmann, that should, I would assume the Republicans will be answering the question that way.
BACHMANN: Yes. You will see that. And just think in terms of common sense. This bill was intended to add 30 million more people to the rolls of government subsidized health care without them paying very much money in. Doesn't it make sense that that's going to cost the Treasury a lot of money, if you add people in, and we're giving them another free benefit? That's exactly what this bill was about. The American people were resounding and the more that they learned about Obamacare, the more they want it repealed. We are going to do what the people want us to do, repeal this unconstitutional bill. Never forget that for the first time, this bill puts a mandate on every person as a condition of citizenship, they must buy health insurance. Not that they want. That the government tells them they have to purchase, this is an unconstitutional bill. We are doing the will of the people and we are going to repeal it.
HANNITY: All right. Congressman Weiner, I assume, you want to respond.
WEINER: Well, let me start by correcting your explanation of what the CBO score means. That's why I keep giving you a 20 year number, $1.2 trillion because it's not six years or 10 years. Secondly, your idea that the six years of funding for 10 years of service or whatever, we're starting right now, seniors right now are getting help with their prescription drug coverage. And to what Congresswoman Bachmann said, she misunderstands the idea that the uninsured are getting health care now and we are all paying for it in the most expensive way possible, if you provide then with subsidies to get insurance, the costs go down because we are aggregating risk. And as far as this notion that this some kind of government takeover, it's subsidies to buy private insurance policies like the ones all three of us have. This government takeover idea is to simply to save states like Minnesota a lot of money. Now, if she doesn't believe that Minnesota should save that money, maybe she should re-ask the CBO how much Minnesota is saving from having uninsured coverage.
HANNITY: All right. Congresswoman.
BACHMANN: You know, it is so interesting. Because what he is talking about are unfunded mandates. And mandates that the government puts on people, forcing them to buy insurance that they don't necessarily want.
WEINER: Not funded? I thought your complaint is it's funded.
BACHMANN: Again, what you're suggesting is moving away from personal responsibility. That's what got us into this problem in the first place.
WEINER: That's not true.
BACHMANN: People need to own personal responsibility for their own health care but it is the government forcing people to buy policies that they don't necessarily even want.
WEINER: But if they don't -- if they don't buy it -- But Congresswoman Bachmann, if I can just ask you, if someone doesn't have insurance and they are hit by a bus in Minnesota, who do you think pays the bill, it's us. So, this is a policy that requires them to take responsibility, so you and I don't pay.
HANNITY: Let me ask you a question, Social Security, government is bankrupted, it's headed for insolvency, Medicare is headed for.
WEINER: What' are you talking about, it's a giant surplus in Social Security, you are completely wrong.
HANNITY: Relax. It is schedule to go bankrupt.
BACHMANN: On Social Security, with this surplus --
WEINER: It is not scheduled to go bankrupt.
BACHMANN: All the surplus in Social Security is a big vault stuffed with IOU notes. There's not one dime sitting in there. So, these IOU notes you're talking about.
WEINER: Are you surprised to learn Congresswoman Bachmann, we don't have a room filled with dimes?
BACHMANN: These IOU notes that you're talking about is the future labor of the generations that are yet unborn. That is cruel.
HANNITY: I guess my question to you -- my last question to you Congressman Weiner is, it is bankrupt in Social Security, Medicare is bankrupt. We've got 14 trillion in debt. We got to raise the debt ceiling. And you want to add a new tax and a new entitlement. And I just wondered, why do you have so much faith in the government?
WEINER: First of all, I just want to say, first of all that the idea, I understand Congresswoman Bachmann wants to know where the room is with all the dimes --
HANNITY: Can you answer that question?
WEINER: That's not exactly the way our government functions. We have a trust fund for Social Security, and it is nowhere near going bankrupt, it's in a giant surplus.
BACHMANN: It's totally in bankruptcy.
WEINER: I agree with the challenge facing Medicare. If you repeal the health care reform bill, you shorten the life of Medicare by 10 years. That's something Michele Bachmann supports and Anthony Weiner opposes because I stand up for the middle class.
HANNITY: We've got to go.
BACHMANN: You stand up for bankruptcy Anthony, that's what you stand for.
WEINER: Am I relaxed enough for you there, Sean?
BACHMANN: No, you stand up for irresponsible bankruptcy.
HANNITY: The country -- if we stay on this path, we will be bankrupt.
BACHMANN: We will be bankrupt.
HANNITY: Guys, good to see you, thank you for being with us.
WEINER: That's why we have to give Democrats --
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