Where's the 'Transparency'? GOP Transparency Amendment Shot Down

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Do some senators think that you and I are stupid, or are they hiding something from us? Or both?

We told you this outrageous story last night. The Senate Finance Committee just voted down an amendment. That amendment would have required the full text of the finance committee's health care reform bill be posted online 72 hours before it is voted on.

The Senate Finance Committee voted down that idea. So what is that all about? Republican Senator Mike Crapo voted in favor of posting the whole bill on the Internet so you could see it. He went "On the Record."


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

SEN. MIKE CRAPO, R - IDAHO: My privilege, thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you serve on the finance committee. Where is that bill that we all want to see?

CRAPO: Well, it is in an incredibly difficult markup right now. It's a partisan markup, and, frankly, I hope everyone in America is watching right now, because we really are digging into and drilling down into what's really in that bill.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'd actually like to see that bill. What happened to that? Why is no, Democrats, and ashes and Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas does want to put it on the Internet and Republicans do, why won't the Democrats put it on the Internet now?

CRAPO: It was remarkable. It was one of the most interesting debates I have ever been able to participate in here in Congress because we were told it would be confusing to the public.

VAN SUSTEREN: That we are stupid?

CRAPO: Yes, and that the public would not be able to understand legislative language and therefore we needed to put it into plain English for them. And I think there are people who can understand.

Everybody understands you need to know what the bill says before you vote on it. And it was remarkable to me because although there was everyone in the world to try to say well, we really don't need to do this now, but it's just intuitively obvious to the American public that we should have the bill in front of us before we vote on it.

VAN SUSTEREN: But even the American people, this administration has sort of pitch to us that we are going to have transparency, so we sort of got the idea that if you're going to change the economy for the better, we hope, with a health care reform, the least we could see what is going on as it was happening in case we didn't like something then we could say hey senator, how about this?

CRAPO: That's exactly right.

And the Congressional Budget Office told us very clearly they can't even give us an accurate score on this bill as to what is going to cost until get actual legislative language. And yet we still have the resistance to allowing us to see it.

All the amendment that we had would have done is it would have said before we vote on this we should have the language of the bill on the Internet for 72 hours and the cost score from CBO.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have a copy of it?

CRAPO: Of the bill?


CRAPO: No, because it does not exist.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you have?

CRAPO: We are working off of a 220 page conceptual paper which has been amended with another 36 pages of amendments by the chairman. So 256 pages of conceptual language, which you and I both know when translated into bill language is probably going to be 1,000 or maybe 2,000 pages.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, who wrote to the conceptual language?

CRAPO: The conceptual language was put together primarily by the staff, the majority staff of the finance committee.

VAN SUSTEREN: So not your staff, not the Republican staff, but the Democratic staff. Is that what we are told is going to be or is on the Internet right now, the conceptual?

CRAPO: Yes, the conceptual language is I believe on the Internet now.

Think about it this way -- if you were going to purchase a car and the person trying to sell you a car said I can show you a conceptual design of the car but you can't see the car, and by the way, I can tell you how much it's going to cost until we actually build it. But we would like you to make the purchase decision now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a bill actually written firmware they created this conceptual package?

CRAPO: No, there is not.

VAN SUSTEREN: There is no written bill anyplace?


VAN SUSTEREN: So we have this conceptual package, and suddenly it will either be agreed upon or not agreed upon, and then this big 2,000 pages will sort of bloom from it?

CRAPO: That's exactly right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who is going to do that?

CRAPO: That will be done by the lawyers in our legislative division here at work for the Congress. They will do it once they get this conceptual language, and then they will try to put it into words to see if they can make the legislative language match the concepts.

VAN SUSTEREN: I hope you raise hell about this, because the American people, we just want to see it. And we hope that you get to see it before you vote on it.

CRAPO: Thank you. We are raising heck.


VAN SUSTEREN: Raising heck. You are from a different part of the country than I am.

CRAPO: But -- and we will continue to do so.

And I really do hope that everywhere in America people not only pay attention to this but they speak out.

People who have been speaking out on these kinds of issues have been labeled as being un-American or radical. I don't think so. I think Americans who are upset about this kind of thing should speak out and they should be commended for paying attention and speaking out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

CRAPO: Thank you.


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