This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 4, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning has had enough with Washington's out-of-control spending. So he decided to stand up and do something about it.
And that is our headline this Thursday night, "The Bunning Blockade." Now over the past week Senator Bunning sustained a one-man filibuster for several days blocking the extension of unemployment benefits. And he did so for one simple reason — the proposal was not paid for.
Now ironically all this comes on the heels of the passage of the so-called "pay-go" bill which requires Congress to pay for every dollar of a piece of legislation instead of simply adding it to our debt.
So Senator Bunning — he did the right thing for the American people. He blocked the final vote until Democrats finally found a way to pay for it. A rare moment of fiscal responsibility in Washington.
And the man behind it all, he joins me now, Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning.
• Watch Sean's interview
Senator, you've become a hero over the last week. Welcome to the program.
SENATOR JIM BUNNING, R-K.Y.: Thank you, Sean, very much.
HANNITY: How much support — because there was some ambiguity about this. Did you have the support of every Republican on this?
BUNNING: Well, when they voted on the final passage after my — you have to go through the process. You know the only reason I relented is that the — Harry Reid and his minions that run around after him gave me — were going to give me an up-or-down vote on my amendment to pay for this bill.
BUNNING: And that's why I relented and stopped my objection. So they gave me a chance to pay for it. And then when I offered the amendment, Sean, Barbara Boxer threw a procedural method of objecting because a budget point of order stood against my pay for.
My pay for was reducing — I gave three different pay-for's and they rejected all three and she made a budget point of order, and then they voted. And we got — let's see — we got 18 Republicans total to vote no on the 30-day extension.
HANNITY: All right. Now you made a very passionate plea. I didn't know until the other day you have nine children and 40 grandchildren. All right? So —
BUNNING: That's correct.
HANNITY: All right. Now you made the case, wait a minute, I'll support the extension of unemployment benefits, but I'm not going to — I'm not going to put this country into further debt. I'm not going to spend — I'm not going to support deficit spending and you're going to support "pay-go".
And you made a very passionate plea because you think the country is headed into some really, really tough economic times. I want you to explain what your reasoning was here.
BUNNING: Well, my reasoning is that I'm on the Budget Committee, have been on in the House and Senate, for the last 20 years. I'm on the Finance Committee so I get the report back from the Federal Reserve, as far as our conditions on our economic well-being is concerned.
And then I thought about who in the world is going to finally payoff the $12 trillion plus, the $1.5 trillion we're adding this year, and, so, when I got the word from Ben Bernanke who I'm not a big fan of, by the way. That it's — the debt is unsustainable. And I got a word from Dr. Elmendorf, the head of CBO, and he showed me the budget projections that our dear friend, President Obama, has projected in his budget.
And he showed me that at the end of this year there would be a $1.5 trillion added to that $12 trillion budget that we already have under our books right now. And then he said — that Dr. Elmendorf said, if you carry this budget 10 years out, in five years it doubles the debt, the public debt. And in 10 years it triples.
And I'm saying, well, if I add two and two, they make four, that means we'll have an unsustainable economy. That's why I'm not really listening to the talking heads. They are giving me a rosy scenario about where this economy in the United States is now.
HANNITY: Yes. All right. You use the term unsustainable. It's an adjective that I've used a lot in the last year. So let me get your assessment. How bad is it? Do you think this country is going bankrupt?
BUNNING: If we don't stop the spending, absolutely.
HANNITY: What does that mean for the — you mean, so we're going to lose our AAA bond rating? What do you see in the future?
BUNNING: Do you know how much it cost if you don't have a AAA rating to borrow money on the open markets? And obviously, right now we're borrowing money at the cheapest rate possible because Fed funds are at one-half — one-quarter of one percent.
Where — and when we go to the market, people are buying our debt because we have a low interest rate. And they're continuing to do it. But if the Fed happens to jack up our — by 50 basis points, by 100 basis points, every time we go to the market we're going to have to pay more in interest.
The thing that struck me that Dr. Elmendorf said — and he's the head of CBO — is that at the end of 10 years, we will be paying $800 billion in interest alone.
HANNITY: That's frightening.
BUNNING: Now you know what kind —
HANNITY: That's frightening.
BUNNING: Frightening! It's the most scary kind of thing that I've ever heard of. Because how big does the economy have to be to support that?
HANNITY: All right, let me ask you this. Newsbusters — this is Brent Bozel's Web site — had a piece out, and said that ABC News covered your issue involving your filibuster, if you will, six times more than the coverage they gave to Charlie Rangel's scandal, which is a real scandal.
And here's I guess in the context I want to ask you this question. Do you think that there are enough people in Washington with the political courage to say what you're saying and take the tough political stands to bring America back to balanced budgets?
And by that, I mean will Republicans stand on these conservative principles? Do you see enough Republicans supporting you?
BUNNING: Right now? You're asking me at this present time?
HANNITY: Right now, yes.
HANNITY: How many short are we?
BUNNING: We're about — if you're talking about if we happen to have a good election in 2010, how many are we short? How many do we have to make up —
BUNNING: — to get a conservative majority in the U.S. Senate?
HANNITY: A majority that will —
BUNNING: About 30.
HANNITY: Thirty more. So you said the — there are 20 Republicans that are not on board with taking a tough stand to balance our budget?
BUNNING: That's about right.
HANNITY: All right, Jim Bunning, thanks for being with us, appreciate it.
BUNNING: Thanks, Sean, for having me.
HANNITY: All right. I don't want to get in the batter's box against you, by the way. He used — by the way, he pitched two no-hitters in the Major Leagues.
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