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FOX "Hannity" Transcript: The Fiscal Cliff


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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The amount of time left before America goes over the "fiscal cliff" can now be measured in mere hours. House lawmakers have been called back for Washington and we'll return this Sunday night. And Fox News has also learned that President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders tomorrow.

But even though President Obama cut his wine vacation short, flew back to Washington today, he didn't seem too worried while playing his 108, 109th and 110th round of golf since the start of his presidency, and of course hitting the gym over the Christmas holidays.

Now, I have said from the very beginning that the president, he wants to convince you that he will do everything in his power to stop us from going over this cliff. Unfortunately, that has never been the case.

Now, the president and his Democratic allies, they are hoping that we do go over the "fiscal cliff," and I make the contention, this is been their plan from day one. Now, why? Now, this would give the Democrats everything they want. Democrats would get to raise taxes on you, every American. They will get massive defense cuts that they have always dreamed of, and to top it all off, they would also get to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Republican lawmakers.

But as I've said before, this president is playing a very dangerous game of chicken with the American economy. And yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner detailed just how serious this situation is. Now, in an open letter to Congressional lawmakers Secretary Geithner explain what will happen if the U.S. hits the debt ceiling on December the 31st and is not able to pay its bills. Now, he wrote that the Treasury Department will have to take quote, "extraordinary measures."

I'm not really sure what Secretary Geithner hopes to achieve by sending that letter, because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has proven again and again his incapable of acting. After all, they have not passed a budget in the U.S. Senate in over 1,300 days.

And earlier today, while speaking on the Senate floor instead of offering solutions Senator Reid just started pointing fingers again and again. Watch this.


SEN. HARRY REID, D-NEV.: If we go over the cliff, and it looks like that's where we are headed, this president, the House of Representatives, as we speak, with four days left, after today before the first year, aren't here with the speaker having told them they will give them 48 hours notice. I can't imagine their consciousness, they are out wherever they are around the country and we are here trying to get something done.

John Boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership and about keeping the nation on firm financial footing. It's obvious, Mr. President, what is going on around here. He's waiting until January 3rd to get re-elected as speaker before he gets serious with negotiations, because he has so many people over there that won't follow what he wants.


HANNITY: Senator Reid went on to refer to Speaker Boehner as a, quote, "dictator." Watch this.


REID: The American people I don't think understand the House of Representatives is operating without the House of Representatives. It's been operated with a dictatorship of the speaker.


HANNITY: Now this entire fiasco could have easily been avoided if Senate Democrats would simply pass an extension of the Bush tax cuts. After all, the House sent them that bill months ago.

Now, Senator Reid and his Democratic allies, they have been in control of the Senate for years, so why haven't they passed a budget? Now, they are clearly not serious about our nation's debts and our deficits. We now have $16 trillion in debt, we are running out of money yet again, trillion dollars deficits every year for the last four years, and get this, we are also borrowing at this moment 46 cents of every dollar that they spend in Washington.

On top of that, Social Security is going bankrupt, as is Medicare, and all Obama is fighting for is increasing taxes that will only pay for eight- and-a-half days of government spending.

Now, President Obama has not been a leader on this. He's not been serious. He's been acting weak and, of course, clinging to his rigid radical ideology.

But enough is enough. Maybe it's now time for Republicans to call the president's bluff. Let him take the country over the "fiscal cliff" if he so chooses. Republicans, they were elected to go to Washington to get this country's fiscal house in order. And maybe now, it's the time for Republicans to stand up for your kids, for your grandchildren. Maybe they should dig in their heels and say they are looking out for the future and future generations. Maybe now is the time to take a principle stand and say, they are not going to let Washington continue with this out of control spending, this debt, these deficits. Maybe now, at this moment, maybe that's the right thing to do.

And joining me now with reaction to this developing story are two House Republicans, Congressman Louie Gohmert and Congressman Tim Huelskamp. Gentlemen, welcome back to "Hannity."

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, R-TEXAS: Always good to be with you.

REP. TIM HUELSKAMP, R-KAN.: Good evening.


HANNITY: Go ahead.

GOHMERT: I can totally sympathize with Reid's remark that he cannot imagine our consciousness in the House because you would have to have one to imagine ours, and he's shown repeatedly -- over three years of no budget? Come on! The guy has to have no conscience or he would have been embarrassed and would have given up leadership on his own if he had any conscience whatsoever. We have passed a bill to deal with the "fiscal cliff."

HANNITY: All right. So, Congressman Huelskamp, let me go through this. They haven't passed a bill in 1,300 days in the United States Senate. By the way, constitutionally, something by law they are required to do. They haven't done it. The president, 18 hours on the golf course, 20 hours in the air, plenty of time working out. Now he races back to Washington, you know, like the Lone Ranger on his horse Silver in to save the day. This isn't serious. This is not a president that's serious about spending, is it?

HUELSKAMP: This is not about leadership. One thousand three hundred and thirty seven days, Harry Reid hasn't passed a budget. They have been in control the whole time. This "fiscal cliff" was predictable. We knew this was going to happen two years ago. And don't forget, these are the Bush- Obama tax cuts. All the president needs to do is actually propose some spending cuts. I think with Geithner's admission that the debt ceiling will be burst through on December 31st clearly shows this is a spending problem. It's not a taxing problem. Real leaders which is not coming out of the presidency or out of Harry Reid, would say hey, it's time to cut spending, not for now but future generations who are the ones that have to pay this off.

HANNITY: All right. It seems to me, Congressman Gohmert, this has been the Bush tax cuts have been law since what, 2001 and 2003. It seems that if the President doesn't want to go over the "fiscal cliff", you guys pass the bill, Harry Reid could do something he hasn't done in three years, over three years, they can pass it in the Senate, give it to the president, and then nobody's taxes are going to go up, crisis averted and then they can spend time after the New Year negotiating tax reform, entitlement reforms, spending, living within our means. Why don't they just do that?

GOHMERT: Well, they could, but they want to demonize the House. They want to pontificate without actually doing anything in the way of legislating. And Sean, if you look back at the history, the deficit ceiling bill back a year-and-a-half ago had the "super committee" and I think you and I knew it wasn't going to work. But one of our republican senators made a proposal to raise taxes and two Senate Democrats were reported to have said, wow, this is a breakthrough. We can get a deal now. We will be able to work this out.

They go talk to President Obama and Harry Reid, come back and say, sorry, we are not allowed to work a deal. They didn't want a deal then, they don't want a deal now. It worked out well for them not to allow a deal last time. They blamed us all last year. The mainstream media helped them, and it worked. He got re-elected. So they figure why not go over the cliff, blame Republicans, not let the Senate pass anything, we get away with it again.

HANNITY: All right. Here's, then, the quandary, the moral dilemma, Congressman Huelskamp. For the Republicans, now, it was interesting when Speaker Boehner brought up his "Plan B," conservatives in the House stood up and said, no, we are not going to go along with it. We made a promise not to raise taxes and we want to deal with the spending issues. By the way, in principle, I think it's the right thing.

So, now that this going to come back, I assume at some point, will the Republicans hold the line on the principles that they ran on or do you expect that maybe many of them will cave? Because to me, I think the American people would like principled leadership. Does that exist?

HUELSKAMP: Well, I think it does. I mean, the House acted. We acted on August 1st and last week, we rejected a proposal from our leadership that would have gone where the president wants to go and raise taxes on certain -- certain folks. But we have acted. The Senate has not acted. They haven't acted for 1,337 days on a budget. They haven't acted on months on this issue. We knew the end of the year was coming. We knew taxes would go up if they did nothing and here we see Harry Reid demanding the House do something when he won't call the Senate into action. They are working bills other than the "fiscal cliff" bills. I mean, Mr. Reid, go to work. You have had years to lead this Senate. Go to work on that. I think we have principle leadership in the House.

HANNITY: I agree. And President Obama --

HUELSKAMP: And if we stick to our core principles. But often times, I'm worried both sides are going to at the end of the day cave on principles and the real issue here is spending. It's a spending problem which is demonstrated by the debt ceiling issue that just came up.

GOHMERT: Exactly. That's right.

HANNITY: So where do we go from here, Congressman Gohmert? It's now been put squarely in the Senate in their hands. And we heard from Harry Reid today. He doesn't have any intention of moving forward. I understand that the president at this last hour is reaching out finally to some Republicans in the Senate but they don't have the right to originate constitutionally spending bills from there. Where do we go from here?

GOHMERT: Well, either the Senate will do their constitutional duty of taking a bill that originated in the House in dealing with this issue and pass their version of it. Then it would go to a conference committee where a compromise gets worked out. Harry Reid is becoming the ultimate cliff diver here by saying, we aren't even going to let our house -- their Senate house -- function. We are going to dive off the cliff and blame the Republicans on every ledge down the way.

HANNITY: All right, gentlemen. Good to see you. We're going to continue to monitor this. We appreciate you being with us and happy New Year to both of you.

GOHMERT: Good to see you, Sean.

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