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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript

Interview

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And joining me now is one of those eight Republicans on that committee, Congresswoman Nan Hayworth of New York.

And Congresswoman, we appreciate you sticking around town and talking to me here. And I can only guess that you're staying in Washington not because you like how the Jefferson Memorial lights twinkle, but it's because you're hoping that you're going to be called back to do your job. Yes?

REP. NAN HAYWORTH (R), NEW YORK: Right. Yes. We are hoping very much, because we're here to fight for the American people.

Two months versus one year, you be the judge, Brooke. It's far preferable to have a one-year tax holiday than two months, and then being on a cliffhanger again.

And not only that, but we have Medicare, seniors, their patients, their doctors who are seeking relief from what will be a terrible burden, a 27-plus percent cut in reimbursements that will start up two months from now, or two months from January 1st, if we don't act. In the bill we passed through the House, with Democratic votes, we had a two-year relief from that burden. It's going to be hard to make appointments. It's hard to make a schedule. It's hard to make plans when you have got that hanging over your head.

So we're fighting as hard as we can.

BALDWIN: I want to press you on this a little bit, but I do just want to ask -- as we pointed out, a number of your colleagues are in town. I'm just curious about Democrats. Do you know how many of them are around town right now? And have you at all spoken with any Democrats at this point, the last 24 hours?

HAYWORTH: I haven't spoken with any of our Democratic colleagues since we left the floor yesterday, but would be more than happy to. And I think at least a couple of them are around. And we'd love to join them at the negotiating table.

BALDWIN: Here's the thing, Congresswoman Hayworth. And I know you talk to your constituents, you know this. Americans are fed up.

You've seen the approval ratings for this Congress. They are at an historic low. There is bipartisan -- I don't even want to use the word "malaise." I think it's beyond that. It's frustration, it's anger. And many saying, including Senate Republicans, it's the leadership in the Republican-controlled who is holding this thing up.

Listen. If I may, I want to play some sound. This is Republican Senator McCain speaking with Wolf Blitzer just yesterday. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It is harming the Republican Party. It is harming the view if it's possible any more of the American people about Congress, and we've got to get this thing resolved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Harming the Republican Party. Harming your party. Do you agree?

HAYWORTH: Well, Brooke, we were elected overwhelmingly in 2010, the most immediate voice of the American people to -- actually, then Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The most immediate voice to fight for the American people, to fight for common sense in the way we burden them with taxes, in the way we burden them with regulations.

We're trying to lift those burdens. We'd like to lift them for a full year. That's fighting for the American people. That's common sense at work.

BALDWIN: But a lot of these voters, they certainly did vote for change. They wanted members of Congress such as yourself to hold the government accountable, but yet we're looking at this impasse, and in 10 days we're looking at these Americans who voted for you to serve them to be paying a little bit more in their paychecks if this things expires.

HAYWORTH: Well, Brooke, I think that the firm aim of all of us participating in this conference committee so far designated only by our House Republican majority, it's true, is to assure Americans that they will have that relief. We're not trying to leave anybody in limbo, and we're going to get this done as fast as possible.

We are all too mindful, as we should be, of their needs. So we will get the relief that they need.

BALDWIN: So, straight up, 10 days. What do you tell your husband, your family, who I'm sure are eagerly awaiting you to come home for the holidays? Will you be home for the holidays with a deal?

HAYWORTH: Well, I certainly hope so. And the best Christmas present that someone like me could have, or Hanukkah present, in the case of my combined family, is to be able to work out a longer-term solution for America's taxpayers, for our seniors and doctors who participate in Medicare, and for everybody who needs some certainty that things are going to improve, the federal government is going to be on their side.

BALDWIN: But if the short-term deal is the only thing on the table, and you've got 10 days, two days, do you take it and walk away, or do you not?

HAYWORTH: Well, you know, Brooke, we're here ready to work. So we're concentrating on that goal right now, and I think that's important.

BALDWIN: OK.

Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, I really appreciate you speaking with me. Thank you.

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