Dire Warning From GOP Senator: Balance the Budget or Bankrupt the Country
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 4, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: This could be the week that the clock you are looking at strikes zero and the federal government officially runs out of money. Now, it was an action-packed weekend on Capitol Hill with rumors circulating that a budget deal had been struck between House Republicans and Senate Democrats. But those reports were at the very least tentative, because an official agreement has still yet to be reached. But have no fear America fresh off a Sunday round of golf, President Obama is now ready to roll-off his sleeves, and get down to business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Earlier today, invitations were extended to Speaker Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Dan Inway (ph) and Chairman Hal Rogers to a meeting tomorrow at the White House with the president to discuss ongoing negotiations on a funding bill to bring us through the end of this fiscal year. He looks forward to having this meeting. He thinks it is important and he thinks we need to reach an agreement because an agreement is within reach and get it done.
HANNITY: All right. So, what will the magic number be at tomorrow's meeting? Now, the rumored $33 billion in cuts? Well, is that going to be the number, we're closer to the House GOP's initial proposal of 61 billion.
Here to help sort through all of this is South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. Senator, welcome back to the program, thanks for being here.
SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C.: Thank you Sean, it's good to be back and this is I guess a complicated week with all the numbers they are throwing around.
HANNITY: Well, it is going to get more complicated. Paul Ryan will be on this program tomorrow. He's going to outline unless we are in jeopardy of a government shutdown, I think he releases his 2012 budget which I understand in spite of reports is going to be closer to the $6 trillion mark or higher in real cuts. And look, you had a piece out, America must get balanced budget or the country's going to go bust.
HANNITY: So, is that -- explain to the American people.
DEMINT: Well, we've got to get on the same page here in Congress, Sean, the Democrats are not even engaged in the real discussion here. They voted against a resolution a few weeks ago that would have called on Congress to balance the budget. We need to pass a constitutional amendment that would force Congress to live under a balanced budget. If we don't do it, the Democrats will continue to sit on the sidelines and just complain and criticize every time we try to bring up these things that need to be cut. They are already criticizing Paul Ryan for making changes in Medicare that need to be made. I think it is going to create a lot better product, a lot better health care for senior citizens. But they are criticizing it because they don't feel like they have to make any cuts. But Sean, as you know, if we don't balance the budget, we're going to effectively bankrupt our country. And that's the first thing I think we need to do. And hopefully, we'll get a vote on it, in next few weeks.
HANNITY: Governor, I'm a registered conservative. I wrote a book conservative victory, Republican victory, and here's my point on that, is they made very specific promises when we had this historic election. They said they would repeal health care, they've done it. They said, they would, after the repeal they would defund it, they are in the process of doing it. That's part of what HR1 is about in the House. But they also promised that they would make the $61 billion in cuts this year. Some people are saying, Hannity, forget this year, this is only tens of billions. My argument is, if they are pressured to give up their principles, here, on $61 billion, how are they going to hold the line on $6, $7 trillion?
DEMINT: Well, if we don't put up the fight now, when are we going to put up the fight? And it is going to be hard for me to vote for anything less than what we promised. But more important than the amount Sean, because effectively, you know, we are arguing about two drops in a bucket basically as far as the amounts. But what does this fund? If it funds Obama-care or Planned Parenthood, or public broadcasting, if we don't take the funding out for these things that are so obvious, then I think it is going to send a signal we are not serious about standing for those things we talk about last year.
HANNITY: Look, if we can't cut $60 billion of a $3.7 trillion budget with $1.65 trillion in deficits, we are never going to reform Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. Interestingly, all things the president says we need, but he punted when was given this opportunity.
DEMINT: You are right. And I agree, Sean. But it's hard to fix it in the middle of the year. Last year when the Democrats had complete control of the government, they didn't pass a budget, they didn't fund the government. And now, John Boehner is trying to pick up and make this happen. And they did pass a $61 billion cut to the current budget, which Harry Reid killed in the Senate. And as you said, Obama has been AWOL on any leadership here. So, it is hard when you just control one House of Congress to actually get this done. I'm going to continue to insist that we stick to that number. I thought it was too small when it first came to the Senate and voted against it. Only a few of us did.
DEMINT: But the big battles are ahead with the balanced budget amendment, the debt ceiling. And we need to get the American people engaged with us.
HANNITY: All right. Rasmussen poll recently out shows that on the economy, the president's rating is 34 approve, 66 disapprove. When you break it down even further, you know, it gets worse for the president. With independents, it is only 21 percent approve, 78 disapprove. And then on moderates, it is 36 approve, 63 disapprove. And with women, a demographic he did very well with, it is almost the same, apparently. And he's not getting better marks on National Security either, senator.
DEMINT: Well, that's encouraging to me. But I think the president and some of the Democrats think the American people stupid. And it is pretty clear from those polls that Americans understand what the president is doing to this country on health care and many other issues. And so, hopefully, as we go through these budget battles here that Republicans will get their courage from the American people and see Americans are tuned in. They are watching. And they want us to stick to what we promised during the last election.
HANNITY: Yes, promises matter. And, you know, this is almost in my mind senator, the equivalent of read my lips, no new taxes. And if they capitulate now, I think the Democrats will almost hold them hostage and they will keep threatening a government shutdown. And if it works on $61 billion, it will work on seven trillion.
DEMINT: And you are right.
HANNITY: All right. Senator, appreciate you being with us.
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