Fox News "On The Record With Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Lindsey Graham
Date: Nov. 11, 2009
Location: Unknown

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Senator Lindsey Graham says dead on arrival. He is talking about the House health care bill. He says it doesn't have a snow ball's chance in hell of passing. And that's just the beginning. Senator Graham went "On the Record."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: The House bill, you have been quoted, correct me if I am wrong, is that when it gets over here to the Senate it's, quote, "dead on arrival."

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R - S.C.: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's what you said.

GRAHAM: I believe it because, number one, moderate Democrats, red state Democrats are not going to vote for this bill in the Senate just like they didn't vote it for it in the House.

There was a reason that you had a 40-seat democratic majority and the bill passed by two votes. Moderate Democrats, red state Democrats ran away from this bill like it was the plague.

$1 trillion dollars of new spending, $500 billion in new taxes, $500 billion-dollar cut in Medicaid for seniors, on top of that, the government option -- it was a bill written by liberals for liberals, and moderate Democrats ran away from it like it had the swine flu.

When it gets over to the Senate, it's going to meet the same fate.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's going to die here.

GRAHAM: It's going to die because needs 60 votes to get the bill through the Senate. Joe Lieberman has promised to filibuster any bill with public option because he knows as I know that if you have the public option private sector insurance companies will go out of business. Nobody can compete with the government.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Lieberman, although he is an independent, he caucuses with the Democrats. But he has a lot of the insurance companies in his state. So he cares about that.

GRAHAM: He has his ear to the ground. If this were a good deal, if this bill really did lower cost and improve health care it would have passed by more than two votes.

There's a pattern in the house. All the liberals voted for it, one Republican voted for it, all moderate Democrats ran away from it because they understood what would happen when it went back home to explain this bill.

Senator Lieberman just represents a way of thinking that I think is the predominant way of thinking among Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate. And the reason no one has challenged my analysis that it's dead on arrival is because it is.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader thinks about this bill? I mean, he must have watched Saturday night. What do you think he thinks?

GRAHAM: He knows he has got a monster on his hand. He understands that there are not the votes for this bill. The public option, again, is a death blow to private health care choice. Do you really want to put in front of the Senate a bill that cuts Medicare by $500 billion?

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Nelson from Florida I'm certain doesn't want to do that.

GRAHAM: No. Harry is in a bad spot. Look at what Nancy Pelosi did. She ignored Republicans. She dealt moderate Democrats out. This was a bill written by the left for the left. And Harry Reid is stuck with this a stinker of a bill. That's why it's going nowhere.

There is no way a moderate Democrat, Blanche Lincoln, Bill Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman are going to vote for this bill because they can't explain it back home.

VAN SUSTEREN: Will Senator Harry Reid be cornered on the public option deal and take that out?

GRAHAM: Now, this is what people need to watch. I wouldn't vote for a bill Lindsey Graham wrote in the Senate, because what will happen is it passes the Senate, it has to go in conference with the House.

So to any senator out there, you should not vote for a Senate bill until Nancy Pelosi promises not to put the public option in conference and the president agrees to that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that going to happen?

GRAHAM: I don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Chances?

GRAHAM: The chances are -- here is what I believe, that any bill that the Senate passes will wind up with a public option in conference with the House because that's where they want, a single-payer plan.

This government option is the first step toward universal coverage and government controlled health care. So no matter what we do in the Senate, it has to be conferenced with the House, and that report only requires 50 votes.

You need 60 votes to pass a bill in the Senate. But once the House and the Senate compromise of a bill, all you need is 50 votes.

So I'm urging every Republican and every moderate Democrat do not vote for any bill until the Speaker of the House promises not to put the public option into conference.

VAN SUSTEREN: Isn't that the current plan or thinking of the Democrats?

GRAHAM: That's the current plan.

VAN SUSTEREN: You do it without it -- you get the Senate bill without the public option. You get it in conference. In conference you put the house government option in. You only need 50 votes, and there you go.

GRAHAM: There is the plan. And I think that plan is going to fail because really the 60th vote is the American people. The American people understand what happens with their private choice when the government gets into health care. Seniors ought to be outraged that their Medicare advantage program they enjoy today is going to be cut by 40 percent.

And every small business person needs to speak up and say "I can't handle any more taxes, and all these taxes are going to be passed on to the consumer."

If you want this bill to stop and die, speak up, speak out, call your senator. At the end of the day, they have a plan to get it back in the bill. And that's in conference with the House.

So I hope the Senate will hold firm and next year we'll start over with something that makes sense, because what they are trying to do at the end of 2009 is to take one-sixth of the economy and turn it upside down.

It won't lower cost or improve private sector health care choices. It will increase cost, increase the deficit, and eventually lead to a government run healthcare system for everybody. That's what's at stake. Speak up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)