Is Sen. DeMint's Plan to Repeal 'Obamacare' Gaining Momentum?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 1, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We've heard from two Republican senators looking to hack away at key parts of the new health care law. But our next guest just wants the whole thing tossed out. With Democrats still in control of the Senate, how far will he get? South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.

SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C.: Greta, it's good to be back.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, you are seeking to repeal the Senate -- the health care law in the Senate.

DEMINT: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where does it stand? It's attached to an FAA authorization vote? Is that correct?

DEMINT: Well, we're really getting in the weeds now, but all 47 Republicans want to repeal the health care bill because it has such a devastating effect not only on our health care system but on jobs, the whole economy here in our country. We're not sure exactly how it's going to pass. But Senator Mitch McConnell has taken the lead in pulling this up. It looks like, at least for now, it's attached to an aviation bill that is on the floor right now. And it'll probably come up as an amendment vote. Hopefully, we'll have a couple of days to debate it. But Harry Reid could try to table it tomorrow. So the vote could be tomorrow, Thursday or sometime next week.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would be the strategy for him to want to table it? Because he -- you don't have the votes to pass it anyway.

DEMINT: Right. Well, he may just want to get it out of the way. He can table it, and the vote would come up right away. Otherwise, we can debate the health care bill throughout this week and part of next week. It just depends on how much the Democrats want to hear Republicans talk about how bad "Obamacare" is. I mean, we can talk about the 500 waivers he gave last week, a lot to his union friends. And Greta, that's what really makes me mad. A lot of the unions around the country spent a lot of money pushing this health care bill down Americans' throats, and now they all want waivers from the program because it's so expensive to implement.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what I'm sort of curious about, trying to figure out, you know, the maneuvering up here because you guys do a lot of maneuvering on both sides of the aisle -- it's quite a chess game -- is it seems to me that there are some senators on the Democratic side that might not want to vote on this. For instance, Senator McCaskill, because there's an amendment in Missouri, where overwhelmingly so, the people of Missouri don't like the mandate. So if there is a vote on it, she's got to -- she's got to pick which horse, you know, where she's going to -- and if -- and so I guess to table it, she doesn't have to vote on it.

DEMINT: Well, that's right. Tabling gives them a little cover, although a lot of times, I think these folks think people are stupid back home. They're not stupid. And if you vote to table this, you're voting against repealing it. So I don't think they can hide, but they'll try to find a strategy that gives them a little cover. But Joe Manchin said he was opposed to the bill. So we're hoping to get some Democrats that'll just break away from their partisanship and go with their voters back home.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the point of this? Is it in some way just to keep your promise to the voters because you know it's not going to pass? I mean, you've got your colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham in your state, who's doing it a little different way. He's doing -- he's trying to pass something so there's opt-out provisions so states can opt out, thinking to gradually defund it will sort of emasculate the health care law. But so what's the point? You know it's not going to pass.

DEMINT: Well, we need to get everyone on record so Americans and the voters in 2012 will know where their senators stand on it. Every Republican in the House and a few Democrats voted to repeal it. So the process...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we know that, though. I mean, like, we -- we know...

DEMINT: Well, we -- we...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... we've seen that all 47...

DEMINT: Everyone...


DEMINT: Everyone needs to take the vote. That's important. Then we need to do everything we can to defund it. And we need to give states waivers. We need to do everything we can to allow states to get out of it. But the way judges are ruling, like they did this week, more and more, I think, people are starting to see this as a massive overreach of federal power. And if this stands, there's nothing Congress can't do. If they can tell you you have to buy a government-approved health insurance plan, they can tell you you have to buy anything.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you mentioned the court down in Florida. Just to tease you a little bit, how about those trial lawyers that helped you out?

DEMINT: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: How about those mean, bad trial lawyers that you conservatives always talk about?

DEMINT: I love them! Today, they're my best friends.

VAN SUSTEREN: I figured they were. All right, now, in terms of this health care bill -- let me ask you about the opting out that Senator Lindsey Graham is seeking. Is that something that will eventually -- let's assume it passed and states were allowed to opt out. Then how would this health care bill -- law, I should say, not bill -- be funded?

DEMINT: Well, I think all the states would opt out if that kind of thing's passed and the bill would be dead. But the thing I don't want to do right now is to go in try and fix a bill. It's built...


DEMINT: Yes. We don't want to...

VAN SUSTEREN: It's a law, right?

DEMINT: Well, it is a law. You're right.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, because you guys call it a bill and...


VAN SUSTEREN: It is a law.

DEMINT: It is a law. But to go back and try to fix pieces of it, recognizing that it's built on a government foundation, a foundation of government health care, we don't want to fix pieces of it. What we want to do is repeal the whole thing, and then step by step improve the system we have now, which is the best health care system in the world. And so we're not only trying to protect our health care system but our way of life, and hopefully, constitutional limits when this whole thing is over.