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Public Statements

Fox News "Your World with Cavuto" - Transcript

Interview

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": All right, you are looking live at the House floor, where debate is going on. Tomorrow at this time, lawmakers could make history repudiating what the Supreme Court justices decided just across the street. The Republican-dominated body is expected to vote in favor of repealing the health care law, but it probably ends there, because the Democratic-controlled Senate ain't even taking it up there, even though some Democrats in shaky races of their own are expected to join in the repeal vote and say, well, get rid of it.

Let's just say this outgoing Blue Dog Democrat will not be among them.
That's because even though Pennsylvania Congressman Jason Altmire voted to repeal the law originally, he won't be following up with a similar vote tomorrow.
Why not, Congressman?

REP. JASON ALTMIRE, D-PA.: There are things in the bill that are worth doing that are making a difference for people in my district.

I oppose the bill as a whole. I don't have the line item veto. When you vote on a piece of legislation, you cannot say I like this part but not this part. But in repeal, I can say, look, the closing of the doughnut hole for Medicare recipients with prescriptions drugs that's making a difference for people in my district.
The limitation on preexisting condition exclusions for people with chronic health conditions that's a good thing. Coverage of people up to age 26 on their parents' health care plan, tax credits for small businesses to afford health care for their employees, those are all good things. And I think, as a whole, the bill did more harm than good. But I don't see, in repeal, any reason why you have to also throw the baby out with the bathwater.

CAVUTO: But isn't that what this vote about tomorrow? It's the baby or the bathwater?

ALTMIRE: Well, this bill's the -- this vote tomorrow is on the entire bill. And, again, there are things -- everything I mentioned has already taken effect, it's already implemented, making a difference for real people in the district that I was elected to represent.

I don't want to go back...

CAVUTO: So why in the beginning -- why in the beginning then didn't you do that? I can understand yea or nay, it's not so simple. But effectively tomorrow, that's the vote, yea or nay. It is that simple.

ALTMIRE: I opposed the bill when we had to vote on the bill, as you know.

CAVUTO: Right.

ALTMIRE: But, again, in repeal, there's no reason you have to do away with the things that are good, that are making a positive impact to do away with the things that aren't so good.

CAVUTO: So, when this comes up and likely passes the House -- that is the repeal effort -- it really, unless a miracle happens, it doesn't go anywhere in the Senate.

And Nancy Pelosi even intimated even as much. This is her take on where this whole process -- OK, I apologize. I thought there was sound of her.

But her take was that this doesn't go anywhere in the Senate, the Senate doesn't take it up, because it would go nowhere anyway, she says. Maybe they're afraid of a vote that might go the other way because it's that tight and there are that many vulnerable races. But then where does there go? Where does this go? If you want to repeal it, as Republicans do, where does this go?

ALTMIRE: The only way that the law's going to be repealed is if you have Mitt Romney as president, a Republican Senate, probably needing 60 votes-- there's some dispute about that -- and continuing Republican leadership in the House. And then you have to have the vote and have the president sign it.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: And it would have to be a substantial Republican takeover of the Senate, right? Because just a close vote, or even if it tips ever so slightly to Republicans, that's not enough, right?

ALTMIRE: Well, you need 60 votes to bring a bill to the floor.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

ALTMIRE: You only need 51 to pass it. I know majority -- Minority Leader McConnell has said that he believes he only needs 50 votes because of a procedural move in the Senate.

But, regardless, you're going to need to retake the Senate at minimum to have any chance of repealing it. And they're a long way from that right now.

CAVUTO: Now, you're a Pennsylvanian.

I wanted to get your thought on what's going on in Scranton right now, where the mayor has effectively not declared bankruptcy, but acted like the city is bankrupt and that all public workers, all 380-plus of them in Scranton, including himself, paid the minimum wage. They're raising holy hell. What do you make of what's going on there?

ALTMIRE: The district that I represent, Neil, is way on the other side of the state on the Ohio border.

And I heard a little bit of the story that you were talking about before I came on, but I don't know enough about the specifics of what's happening in that municipality of Scranton.

CAVUTO: Do you think though there is a wildfire here going on, though, Congressman, that maybe it goes back do what happened in Wisconsin and then happened in San Jose and San Diego, and now with Los Angeles' generally liberal, union-friendly mayor saying he has to cut, Andrew Cuomo in New York saying he has to cut, that something's going on here?

ALTMIRE: Well, I don't think there's any question that what happened in Wisconsin has emboldened people who are having trouble negotiating with unions, to show that the unions don't have the ability in situations like Wisconsin to make that kind of difference.

And maybe that's what is happening in Scranton. Again, I don't know enough about the specifics of that case, but there's probably something to that.

CAVUTO: You know, you always honestly answer a question. You are one of the few I know who just says, I don't know.

I've never-- I've never fathomed that.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Congressman, always good seeing you. Thank you very, very much.

ALTMIRE: Thank you, Neil. Thanks for having me.


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