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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcripts

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty, thanks very much.

Let's bring in Senator Jon Kyl, the Republican senator from Arizona, to ask him that question, where do the Republicans go from here?

This is now the law of the land -- health care reform -- Senator Kyl.

What are you going to do about it? SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Well, first of all, as of today, by 59-39, the American people oppose this legislation. Only 19 percent believe that they will be better off...

BLITZER: Well, let...

KYL: -- everyone else thinks that...

BLITZER: Let me -- let...

KYL: Let me just finish my point.

BLITZER: Let me...

KYL: -- 19 percent say that they will be better off. Everyone else says they'll be worse off or not any better off, in any event...

BLITZER: All right, well let...

KYL: And I think what...

BLITZER: Let me interrupt you at that...

KYL: -- we will do...

BLITZER: -- at that point. Excuse me for interrupting you, because these poll numbers are very important in getting a sense of what's going on.

You were referring to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, which had that 59 percent number. But of that, about 12 or 13 percent, they didn't like it because it was not liberal enough -- it didn't have a public option, it didn't have a -- a single payer. So it wasn't just because they thought it was going too far on the part of the government.

Let -- let me bring to your -- your attention, if you haven't seen this new Gallup Poll that was just put out today by Gallup USA reacting to the passing. This was a poll that was done since the signing -- since the passage Sunday night. Our poll was done before.

The reaction to the passing of health care reform, those who said they were either enthusiastic about it or pleased were 50 percent; disappointed or angry, 42 percent.

So this new Gallup Poll that was done since it passed the House says that more Americans like it than dislike it.

KYL: Yes. A, I don't believe that. I think all of the polls that, in the last few days, have sought to get American public opinion show that it is very fixed against the legislation. I don't doubt that there is a bump when the president has a signing ceremony and, you know, he's out there with the only coverage of his conversation showing some -- some bump in the polls.

But as I started to answer your first question, I -- my point was this. I believe that those numbers will hold between now and the end of the year because the American people will have an opportunity to see things that we have been talking about coming true.

Will their insurance premiums go down or will they go up?

They're certainly not going to go down.

Will they see their taxes go down?

No, their taxes are going to go up.

Well, what about the budget deficit?

Well, the budget deficit is going to go up.

And what about more government involvement in health care...

BLITZER: All right...

KYL: -- both health care and now student loans -- the government is going to take over student loans as a part of the health care bill...

BLITZER: So the...

KYL: -- partially so that the student loan program, now run by the federal government, will help to fund health care.

BLITZER: I think on all those points, the Democrats would disagree with you on that. Certainly, the president will.

But practically speaking, can you do anything to stop this from going forward?

KYL: The president signed the bill this morning.

BLITZER: So it's the law of the land?

KYL: Yes.

BLITZER: What are you going to -- what are you going to do as far as the reconciliation bill, the separate bill, the "fixes," as they're called, that's now before the Senate.

KYL: That -- that bill plays out over the next, roughly, three days. Republicans will offer amendments to it. I'm assuming Democrats will vote in lockstep. They've always opposed our ideas. They'll probably continue to oppose our ideas. If they should adopt some of our amendments, that would be wonderful. But they haven't done so so far.

It will at least be an opportunity for us to remind the American people of what we have been for and what we remain for. Eventually, we hope that the bill will be repealed and replaced with other solutions to the problems that we all agree exist. But... BLITZER: So if I what I hear you saying, practically speaking, with 41 Republicans in the Senate, there's no way you're effectively going to be able to stop the 50 -- 59 Democrats from passing this?

They only need 51 votes.

KYL: Right. And, you know, unless Democrats suddenly decide to accept some Republican ideas, chances are the bill is not going to be amended. Now, there could be points of order that lie against the bill. If so, we will sustain those and then the House would have to vote for the bill again. But I'm assuming that this bill eventually goes to the president, maybe in roughly a week or so.

BLITZER: All right. Before I let you go, a very quick question on Arizona politics. Your colleague, Senator John McCain, how much of a challenge does he really face from J.D. Hayworth, who's challenging him for the Republican nomination?

They have a primary battle underway.

Is this a serious challenge, not so serious?

How worried should McCain be?

KYL: Well, John is taking it seriously, I can tell you that. It -- he's taken every challenge seriously. He's working very, very hard. And I'm sure because of that and because the voters of Arizona have elected him many, many times, that he'll be returned to the United States Senate next year.

BLITZER: And you're -- you're with Senator McCain on this one?

KYL: Yes, I am.

BLITZER: OK.

Senator Kyl, always good to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Thank you very much.

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