This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight on Capitol Hill Democrats are scrambling to secure the votes they need in the House to pass their health care reform plan. But at this hour the party's top leaders are very much in disagreement as to whether or not they have reached the magic number of 216 votes.
Now some say they have the votes. Some say they will have the votes. But other prominent Democrats aren't so optimistic and are even floating the possibility this vote will not be held before the Easter break.
Now throughout much of the day Americans jammed the phone lines of their elected representatives in Congress bringing the phone system to the brink of failure. Now the volume of calls was so extensive that thousands heard only busy signals as they tried desperately to have their voices heard on this issue.
Now here is where we stand as of this moment. Now keep in mind, these numbers are fluid, they could change throughout the hour. But as of rate now it appears the Democrats are, in fact, short of the 216 votes needed to pass the bill. And it is expected that each and every House Republican will, in fact, vote against the bill.
Now that means all eyes are on the 55 House Democrats who as of this moment are undecided. Now these members will need to begin to flip into the yes column if the Democrats have any hope of passing this universal nightmare.
Now we're going to be all over this very important story throughout the next hour. Now we'll also even be hearing from President Obama's own cousin on the matter. And by the way, he's a doctor himself.
But, first, joining me now live from Washington are Tennessee congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn, and Georgia congressman, Phil Gingrey, who is also a medical doctor.
Guys, welcome to the program.
CONGRESSMAN PHIL GINGREY, R-GA.: Hi Sean.
CONGRESSWOMAN MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TENN.: Good to be with you, Sean.
GINGREY: Good to be with you.
HANNITY: All right. Let's start with, do they have the votes?
BLACKBURN: I don't think that they do have the votes, Sean. I think that what you're seeing play out is the people are weighing in on this. Many times what we are hearing when they are talking to us and getting on the phone with us or like the tea partiers that were on the hill today.
They feel like it that many representatives have — betrayed their trust. They feel like they are very disrespectful — the citizens — and that they are not representing the view that they have. So every day that passes it is harder for Speaker Pelosi to get those votes.
HANNITY: Phil, now, I talked to Michele Bachmann earlier today. She said that if the bill gets killed this week she thinks this bill is killed. Do you agree with that assessment?
GINGREY: Sean, I do. I really do. And I think Jim Clyburn is probably right when he said that they may not have the votes. And if he's thinking that they can come back after an Easter recess of two weeks and a replay of what happened last summer during the August recess, he's got another thing coming.
I think if this — if they don't get the votes by Friday or Saturday — of course the president has his drop-dead date so he can fly off on Air Force One to Australia.
And I agree with my good friend Marsha and — who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee with me. I don't think they have the votes despite what Miss Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and other say. I think Jim Clyburn is right. They are six or eight votes short. And I don't think they're going to get them.
HANNITY: Yes, I don't think so. You know what's amazing about this is, if they had votes I think they'd be on the House floor. I think they —
HANNITY: Yes, you agree with that, Congresswoman. I guess —
GINGREY: And I do, too.
HANNITY: Here — all right. So we're all in agreement. All right. Now here's the point. If they try after the cornhusker kickback, after they try and take care of their union buddies, the Louisiana Purchase, reconciliation.
Congresswoman, if they now go to the Slaughter solution — in other words that House members would actually vote for a rule change so they never have to vote on the vote — vote on the bill — it's confusing. So you have to go home to your constituents and say to your constituents, oh no, no, I only voted for the rule change. Do you think that will fly?
BLACKBURN: Not at all, Sean, think about this. They're going to go home and they're going to say, hey, not only did I not read the 2,700 page bill, but we let it pass without a vote.
Article 1, section 7 of the Constitution, I think that action is in violation of that section of the Constitution. I fully believe that people that do that and go home and then try to justify that to their constituents, I think that it's going to be Katie Bar the Door. People are watching this vote very carefully. It will be the vote that marks a person's career.
HANNITY: Yes — no, I agree with you, Congresswoman, completely.
Now, Congressman, you're a doctor. This is what you do for a living. Now I've examined the Senate bill and they're not going to be able to change the bill is my understanding because they're using the reconciliation process.
But you've got nearly, what, half a trillion in Medicare cuts. You've got a dramatic expansion of government including 159 new offices, agencies and programs they're going to add to the bill.
It's going to raise taxes by $500 billion. You've got these corrupt backroom deals. What does it do to medicine from your vantage point?
GINGREY: Well, Sean, it can literally destroy it. As you point out, $500 billion cut, that's about a 10 percent cut to Medicare each and every year over the next 10 years. And $120 billion of that is to the Medicare advantage program. That's about an 18 percent cut of that program and 25 percent of our seniors pick that as their choice because it covers wellness and preventive care and screening and that sort of thing.
So $500 billion cut to Medicare, that's $35 trillion worth of unfunded liability over the next 50 years. And then another $500 billion worth of the tax increases.
The American people are looking at that and they're saying, wait a minute now, you — that's a hundred — a trillion, $300 billion deficit for one year and you're going to add another trillion dollars worth of debt to $12 trillion.
No wonder the economy is so bad and 16 million people are out of work and we have 10 percent unemployment. So this is all about the economy and jobs. This is a job killer. And in fact, some of the physicians will be losing their jobs because they are so frustrated that there's no fix to the doc payment in this bill.
Sean, it's an absolute mess.
HANNITY: You know what I don't understand, Congresswoman? You're there. You know these Democrats. I assume you probably even have lunch with them every once in a while.
What I don't understand is, are they not hearing or understanding the mood of the country? Are they not understanding the American people?
BLACKBURN: I think that they have underestimated the way the American people are watching this bill. And they are watching very closely. They are very upset. They are frustrated. They are angry. They feel as if members have been very disrespectful when offices have been called or contacted. And, Sean —
HANNITY: But here's my point.
BLACKBURN: They are paying close attention.
HANNITY: But why would they then vote — you know, basically to end their career? Because I think that's what they're doing.
BLACKBURN: And it is something that I think they have underestimated. They don't think that people are that upset. They say once they understand the bill, that they will be supportive of it.
But Dr. Gingrey will tell you we tried repeatedly in committee to put things in there that would protect seniors, that would allow those that are uninsured to have access that would actually get down the cost.
BLACKBURN: When the bill left committee Speaker Pelosi stripped them out before it went to the House floor.
HANNITY: All right, guys. Good to see you both. Thank you both for being with us.
BLACKBURN: Good to see you.
GINGREY: Great to see you, Sean.
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