STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: The House expected to burn the midnight oil, as lawmakers debate a $17 billion add-on that Democrats are trying to tack on to a spending bill meant for our troops. It could include everything but the kitchen sink.
Listen to this: $5 billion of Pell Grants, $10 billion for teachers, $180 million in energy loans, $50 million in food assistance. It is a 110-page amendment. And the list goes on and on and on.
My next guest plans to vote yes anyway. He's Blue Dog Democrat Adam Schiff, and he's from California.
Sir, welcome to the program. It's good to see you, sir.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF D-CALIF.: Good to see you, too. Thanks for having me.
VARNEY: Before we discuss all these add-ons to this war funding bill, I want to bring something to your attention which I have just found out about. If this bill is passed, there's a provision in it which would deem as passed a budget.
In other words, vote yes, and the budget is deemed to have passed, even though it's not passed and not been voted on. Are you aware of that, and how do you feel about it?
SCHIFF: Well, Stuart, you know, this is the way, unfortunately, the supplemental appropriations bills have been under both Democrats and Republicans.
They're not just war funding bills. They're supplemental appropriations bills that bring in a lot of funding for things that were not anticipated when the original funding bill is done earlier in the year.
So, you're right. There are things in addition to the war funding.
VARNEY: I'm not talking about the add-ons. I'm talking about a budget which is deemed to have passed, and there has not been a vote on a budget to my knowledge.
VARNEY: Now, doesn't this bring to bear the issue of the process by which we're creating legislation? And the public is on occasion outraged about this.
SCHIFF: Stuart, it does bring together the process as you point out. And I have to point out, too, though, in fairness, that the deeming language that you're talking about is the same kind of deeming language that was used under the Republican Congress when they wanted to raise the debt limit. It was deemed to be raised as a result of passing a rule and other legislation.
VARNEY: But the public is still upset about this.
SCHIFF: This is -- no, you're absolutely right. This is a bipartisan problem. And frankly it's not the way that I would like to do business. And unfortunately there's a long tradition of it in both parties.
VARNEY: But you're going to vote yes on it. You're going to do it.
SCHIFF: Well, the important thing is, I am going to vote for it because I want to make sure we get these funds to the troops. I want to make sure that General Petraeus has the resources that he needs to accomplish the mission. I'm fully supportive of what we're doing in Afghanistan.
And I want to make sure, as Secretary Gates points out, that we don't put any impediment in terms of getting that money in the pipeline. But I agree you on the process.
VARNEY: I'm sure you realize that I have gone through just a very small list of these add-ons. I can add in $3 billion for Haiti. That's another add-on, as I said, $5 billion for Pell.
VARNEY: Hold on a second.
VARNEY: Now, Congressman, this amounts to a separate and new stimulus program. It's that big. That's what it amounts to.
SCHIFF: Stuart, let's be fair about this, though.
There are emergency spending items, such as Haiti funding, such as what is going on in the Gulf, that are emergency, that are not anticipated in the full extent at the beginning of the year. Indeed, the war funding itself, the reason it's part of a supplemental is because the full extent of what was necessary for the war effort has increased during the course of the year.
VARNEY: Ten billion for teachers?
SCHIFF: It's designed -- it's designed -- well, yes. In the state of California, for example, just one illustration, there are massive layoffs of teachers going on.
VARNEY: Yes, I know. I know.
SCHIFF: That wasn't something, frankly, that was anticipated at the beginning of the year.
VARNEY: But you're uneasy about this. I suspect you're uneasy about this. I don't think you're real gung-ho for this, are you?
SCHIFF: It's not the process that I would like. I think it's not the process that my colleagues in the GOP would like or liked when they were running the place.
Unfortunately, there's now a long tradition of doing it this way. And I, as you say, would like to get back to the point where we have more straightforward, clean votes on things. But we're not there yet.
SCHIFF: And I think, at this point, the most essential thing is to deal with these unanticipated both war expenses and domestic expenses, do our best, as we do with the teacher funding, to make sure we pay for them as well.
VARNEY: You think it will pass, I take it?
SCHIFF: You know, I don't know. It's very close right now. I certainly hope it will pass. Unfortunately, the Senate is already out of session, so it's unlikely to get to the president before the July Fourth recess. And that concerns me.
VARNEY: Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat from California, thanks very much for joining us, sir. We do appreciate it. Thank you.