Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., Ways and Means Ranking Member

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 21, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You get the idea that we're thinking about money a lot these days? Well, meet the Democrat who doesn't plan to roll over for the Republicans, especially when it comes to those tax cuts, and especially when it comes to how Republicans want to parcel out those tax cuts. With us now, New York Congressman Charlie Rangel.

Congressman, always good to see you.


CAVUTO: Let's talk a little bit about what the Republicans want to do when they step in with the new Congress, they'll be in the majority, they'll have a heftier majority in the House, a heftier one in the Senate. They want to make these tax cuts permanent, what do you want to do?

RANGEL: They have been wanting to do this. And they've taken advantage of Sept. 11 with the president's popularity to do things that they have been trying to do for decades. As a matter of fact, if you listen closely, you will hear the secretary of the Treasury saying he wants to abolish all corporate taxes. And it just seems to me that now is the time to take advantage of the president's popularity to bring together Democrats and Republicans and say there is no partisan way to resolve the economic problems our country has. We have to move forward in national defense. We have to have an economic program. And we have to find some way to have an equitable carrying of the burden of taxation.

CAVUTO: So you would be against making the tax cut permanent?

RANGEL: Yes is the answer, but I just would not want to be stigmatized in saying I don't want it to be permanent. The question is, asking any economist, can we afford to have it be permanent? Is there any economic growth advantages to it? If you cut the taxes for the higher income, are they going to stimulate the economy? The cuts in the right direction. And the truth of the matter is if you want to do something you have to reform the tax system.

CAVUTO: Well, that is something that Treasury Secretary O'Neill is interested doing, Congressman. He wants to maybe readdress the way we gather money in this country.

RANGEL: Secretary of Treasury O'Neill does not have the support of the administration much less be the spokesman for a bipartisan effort to reform the taxes.

CAVUTO: He is still there. He is still there.

RANGEL: Yes. And we still haven't done anything with taxes. We haven't done anything with Social Security.

CAVUTO: We got a $1.3 billion tax cut…

RANGEL: I know, but when you think about the size of…

CAVUTO: It's not as if they have been sitting on their thumbs, right?

RANGEL: If you think of the size of the deficit and you think about the recovery, there is no economist going to tell you that making this permanent gives us light at the end of the tunnel. We have.

CAVUTO: So you would be against that. Now there are efforts in your party, with these rebates, or upfront payroll tax cuts, that sort of thing, would you be for that?

RANGEL: Yes. Because what we are talking - it has to be connected in my opinion, not - what they are doing is a popular ideology which says that the less taxes and the less government, the best. And that would mean that if Social Security and Medicare went out the window.

CAVUTO: But your party is moving closer to that view after they got shellacked in the elections. And you don't like that right?

RANGEL: I would hope not. I don't think they are. I think a lot of members believe that it is popular to support the president right or wrong. And I think that most voters, if they want a Democrat to act like a Republican, they will go for the Republicans.

CAVUTO: But have you been true to your stripes. You've been consistent. People can agree to disagree. But you are true to your stripes. But a lot of people in your party, they are all over the map now. Are they just scrambling or.

RANGEL: There are not that many No, no, no. The problem with my.

CAVUTO: Well, Al Gore, let's talk Al Gore. He was for first Persian Gulf War. He's against this one now if it ever comes to pass. He was for the president's tax cut, now he seems to be against the president's tax cut. He could be the standard-bearer in a couple of years, does that worry you?

RANGEL: No, it doesn't, because he has to earn the right. Which direction my party goes worries me. But I think that.

CAVUTO: He is sounding more populist now, so would that help or hurt you?

RANGEL: I don't care what he does or what care he does or what all of them do. We have to come together and get our act together.

CAVUTO: If Hillary Clinton were kind of the Senate's voice and face for the Democrats, would be OK with that?

RANGEL: You don't know us Democrats. It is obvious you don't hang out with us. We are so diverse. We have such different of opinions. Our biggest job is to get..

CAVUTO: But she is closer to your thinking, right?

RANGEL: Yes. But leadership.

CAVUTO: Is Nancy Pelosi think closer to your thinking.

RANGEL: My thinking is what is going for the country and what is good for the party. Democrats have to subdue some of the thoughts that we have in order to have a message. Our problem is we didn't have a message. And we have to get together and get it. Nancy Pelosi.

CAVUTO: So, you're afraid that you guys are going to be watered down. And it's going to be.

RANGEL: I am not afraid of anything. I still feel the pain of having lost. But I feel the excitement of having to regroup.

CAVUTO: You didn't lose, you romped.

RANGEL: No, no, no.

CAVUTO: Your party.

RANGEL: Being chairman of the Ways and Means Committee puts in the card.

CAVUTO: That was nice. That was nice. All right, Charlie, always good seeing you.

RANGEL: Always good to be back, you run a good show.

CAVUTO: The feisty Congressman from New York, Charlie Rangel.

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