McCain Leading Charge Against Earmark-Stuffed Spending Bill

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Despite suffering historic losses in the midterms, the Democratic Party still does not get it. In one of the most brazen moves in recent memory, Senate Democrats have unveiled a staggering $1.1 trillion spending bill, and contained within this monstrous piece of legislation are thousands of earmarks estimated to cost upwards of $8 billion.

Now, Senate Republicans are leading the charge against this outrageous bill. Chief among them is Arizona Senator McCain, who had some very strong words for Democrats, just yesterday.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: The American people said just 42 days ago, enough! Are we tone-deaf? Are we stricken with amnesia? What is going on here?


HANNITY: Now, Senator McCain has released the so-called top 10 pork barrel projects in this bill. They include $350,000 for swine waste management in North Carolina; $165,000 for maple research in Vermont; over a million dollars for cranberry and blueberry research in New Jersey; $413,000 for peanut research in Alabama; and even $125,000 to buy fishing equipment in Guam.

Now, today, we learned that Congress's approval rating has reached an all time low. It's now at 13 percent. And the scary part about this number is that Gallup conducted the poll before this bill was even unveiled.

And joining me now from Washington to respond to this reckless piece of legislation, the man himself, Arizona Senator John McCain.

Senator, welcome back.

MCCAIN: Thank you, Sean, and that's great intro.

By the way, could I add another one, $300,000 to string more lights along the Columbus River walk in Columbus, Ohio; $1 million for a sewer pipeline in North Pole, Alaska, population 1,700. I'm not making these up.

HANNITY: No, bridge to nowhere, everywhere. Look, Senator, I'm as perplexed as you are. Why are these politicians so tone-deaf to the last election that just happened 43 days ago?

MCCAIN: I don't know, but they are tone-deaf. And it's a direct repudiation of the voters of last November 2nd. It is a direct insult, sticking their thumb right in their eye.

I was on the phone with the Tea Partiers all over Arizona today, they are enraged. They are outraged. And I want to see an uprising all over this country, the same people that caused the victories, we got to hold these people to account. And, frankly, I've got to tell you ,there's some Republican senators who intend to vote for this. There are many Democrats, many who are up next time.

I don't often give advice across the aisle. I say to my friends, both Republican and Democrat, you vote for this, you do a great -- you put your political future in great peril. It's disgraceful.

HANNITY: Senator, we are days from -- the entire government -- we're days away from Christmas. Here we got -- I guess this is our Christmas present every year. They ram a 3,000-page bill or 2,000-page bill down the throat of the American people. But we're days away.

These were supposed to be 12 separate, individual spending bills that should have been handled earlier in the year. Now, they are putting it altogether with all their omnibus. They're buying off each and every congressman and senator along the way to get this thing done.

And I'm just -- why did they wait so long?

MCCAIN: Well, they waited so long because it was political cowardice. They didn't want to take the votes before the election. Also, by the way, we have no budget. Also, by the way, there's $1 billion in this pork barrel bill to start implementing Obamacare -- again, in direct contradiction to the votes of November 2nd.

It's really -- I think this is a seminal moment. And I say to my Republican friends, they gave us a second chance last November. You saw the approval rating of Congress is down to 13 percent. They gave us a second chance. And if we Republicans allow this to go through and I'm not sure they are going to give us another chance.

HANNITY: Right. Now, President Obama was elected and the first bill he signed, omnibus bill, had 9,000 earmarks in it. Let me play President Obama on the campaign trail. You actually may remember some of these highlights.


THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA: Our earmark system, what's called pork barrel spending, in Washington is fraught with abuse. It badly needs reform.

I pledge to slash earmarks by more than half when I'm president of the United States of America. I'm not going to stand here and simply tell you what I'm going to spend. I'm going to tell you how I'm going to save.

We will go through the entire federal budget page by page, line by line. We will eliminate programs that don't work.

Senator McCain talks a lot about earmarks. There's no doubt that the system needs reform and there are a lot of screwy things that we end up spending money on and they need to be eliminated.


HANNITY: They need to be eliminated. Just like he said on the campaign trail, he would never support a deal that extended the Bush tax cuts.

MCCAIN: All he's got to do is tell the Democrats over here that he's going to veto this bill and we could shut it down in a New York minute. And by the way, all we have to do is pass a 45-day clean continuing resolution. In other words, no earmarks, no pork barrel, no nothing, just keep the government in being and operating until the middle of January, beginning of February. And let the new representatives of the voters of November 2nd, take charge and go to work. That's all they have to do.

HANNITY: Senator, that was during the campaign. You knew well what was saying because you were running against him. But after this recent midterm election, he said the same thing. Let's go to this tape.


OBAMA: I agree with those Republicans and Democratic members of Congress who have recently said that in these challenging days, we can't afford what are called earmarks. As a senator, I helped eliminate anonymous earmarks and created new measures of transparency so Americans can better follow how their tax dollars are being spent. As president, time and again, I've called for new limitations on earmarks.


HANNITY: His memory is short because as senator, he requested $800 million in earmarks. But that's an aside, he said that November 13th of this year, right after the election, Senator. I mean, does the president's word mean anything anymore?

MCCAIN: Well, it certainly is brought into question. By the way, another thing he said during the campaign was all these negotiations on this legislation, including Obamacare, was going to be on C-Span.

This bill is written by a handful of powerful senators, who are appropriators, without the input of any of the rest of us. None of the authorization that comes from the various committees, jammed into as you mentioned, whatever it is, 2,000-page -- 1,924-page bill, and then presented to us.

So, he not only has violated all his other pledges, but he's also refused to tell the Democrats to have some transparency and some -- about this -- it is real an egregious process.

HANNITY: Is this bill going to pass, Senator?

MCCAIN: Right now, I would say that it may, because we have five or six Republican senators who may vote for it and a whole bunch of Democrats, obviously.

But if the American people speak up, if our Tea Partiers get going, come on up on my Facebook, come on up on Twitter, come on up on our Web site, get together, tell the Democrats and Republicans in Congress to stop this. I think that the American people can be heard and we can stop it.

HANNITY: Well, some of the -- by the way, Bob Bennett of Utah, who's leaving, Voinovich, who's leaving, they appear willing to go along this.


HANNITY: Apparently, Kit Bond of Missouri is on the Appropriations Committee. I'll tell you, I got very angry today, Senator, at some Republicans, because, you know, here, Jim DeMint gave an opportunity to make these tax cuts permanent. There were six Republican senators, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Mark Kirk, Lisa Murkowski, Olympia Snowe, George Voinovich all voted against the DeMint bill which would have allowed the tax cuts to be permanent.

I'm trying to figure out. Did they understand the electorate in this election?

MCCAIN: I don't know. But, obviously, we were able to achieve, I think, a significant success by extending all tax cuts. But this mortgaging of our children's futures, the debt and deficit -- you look at it in one way, we have a worse debt problem in the short term than Greece and Spain does.

What is -- what have they done in the Senate and the House? It's really an outrage and an insult to the American people. And I hope that our viewers will get active, call and jam up their phone lines, get going. Let's charge.

HANNITY: All right. Senator, good to see. Appreciate your time. Thanks for being with us.

MCCAIN: Thanks, Sean.

Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2010 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.