Lawmaker calls Buffett's bluff

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Hey, Warren, it's time to pony up, and walk the walk. Put your money -- OK, you get the picture.

A Republican from Virginia has accepted your offer to match any donations made to pay down the nations’ debt. His name is Scott Rigell.

And he joins me now.

Congressman, what are you doing?

REP. SCOTT RIGELL, R-VA.: Well, Neil, I read the news this morning about Mr. Buffett's offer.

And well before his offer, I had been contributing 15 percent of my salary back to pay down the federal debt. Now, look, I'm a 30-year businessman. I'm under no illusion that that act in and of itself will fix our problems, but I really believe in leadership by example, a principle that I learned at Parris Island a long time ago.

So I knew for me it was the right thing to do to give back a position of my salary and my service to my country.

CAVUTO: So you're giving 15 percent of your salary to go toward paying down the debt?

RIGELL: That's correct.


CAVUTO: So about $23,000? OK.

RIGELL: Well, about $23,000 last year and about $25,000 or $26,000 this year.

And it's a part of a whole effort, Neil. I've declined every congressional benefit I could decline, federal health insurance, the retirement program, the 403(b) program, which I think is overly generous. I've got self-imposed term limits of six terms if I have the privilege to serve that long.

I think we need people in Washington who really have more of a sense of a George Washington approach to it, which is to serve and go home. I think far too many of both parties see it as a career. And I don't think that's good for our country.

CAVUTO: Now, have you heard anything from Warren Buffett? He said he would match such contributions on his own. I think in the case of Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader that he would even go 3 for 1 with whatever he donated. Any word from him?

RIGELL: Well, we haven't heard back yet, but I sure Mr. Buffett is a man of his word. And he certainly has the capacity, doesn't he, to fulfill his commitment.

So, we did write him a letter. It was a short letter. And in that letter, I really applauded Mr. Buffett for being engaged in this whole debate. And I think that every American -- this is an all-hands-on-deck moment for America. And I think it is good and important that every American is informed, understands the issues and whether I agree with them or not, comes into the public forum and we hear from them.

CAVUTO: All right, well, good for you. You put your money, quite literally, where your mouth is.

Congressman, thank you very, very much.

RIGELL: Thank you, Neil.

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