Sen. Toomey: We Will Meet November Deadline

'Super Committee' member on spending cuts, tax reform


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 19, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Well, as these riots break out in Greece today, they got pretty nasty over these new austerity measures there, and group of debt fighters holding a crucial meeting here. The so-called super committee sitting down with members of the gang of six in Washington today, but one lawmaker looking to deep-six that committee, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters saying -- and I quote here -- "Since the super committee's single charge is to reduce $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, which could include cuts to programs that create jobs, it must be promptly dismantled."

She is introducing legislation that would do just that.

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey, a member of that super committee, what do you make of that? When it comes time for the pushing, some are saying drop it.


Well, Neil, you know if Maxine just waits a little while, the select committee will go away. The statute that creates the committee gives us a very, very limited life span, as you know. We have got to have our product finished, scored and reported out of committee if we can reach an agreement by November 23.

CAVUTO: Will you make that deadline, Senator?

TOOMEY: I certainly hope we will. And we are working every day to try to get there.

But the point is the committee goes away. Now, let me just say I think this is a terrible process. But everything else has failed. We have not had a budget. We have not gone through the ordinary appropriations process. We had a meltdown over the debt limit in part because of these things.

So now we have got this committee created that has the power to force up-or-down vote on a legislative product if we can get a majority of the committee to agree to it. This is not the way Congress ought to operate, but everything else having failed, I think we ought to give this a shot.

CAVUTO: You do not succeed, then these other locked-in cuts roll in, right?

TOOMEY: That is exactly right. There is an automatic sequestration goes into effect, about $1.2 trillion worth of cuts, half of which goes right into the defense budget. That is a very, very big and very crude number to whack at defense. I think that would be bad policy.

The other thing is, what we really ought to be doing is looking at what is driving our fundamental deficit problem medium term, long term, and everyone knows it is the big entitlement programs. Everybody knows they are growing at an unsustainable rate. And they have to be transformed.

CAVUTO: Yes, but are you going to be able to address any or even part of that ahead of the November 23 deadline?

TOOMEY: It is certainly possible, and I certainly hope we will. We will not have made significant progress on our goal unless we do, Neil. That is what the problem is.

And, by the way, I'm not suggesting we will fix all our fiscal problems, but if we could turn the corner, if we could make some progress, if we could start to move in the right direction, at least, that would be real progress.

CAVUTO: I know you are against any sort revenue enhancers, any way to raise revenues. The six Democrats of course counter that that has got to be on the table.

I know ostensibly everything is on the table, but if that is an anathema to you and those Democrats say any curtailing even in the growth of this spending on entitlements has got to be off the table, hope springs eternal. Don't get me wrong, Senator. But you seem -- your committee seems like a mini-version of the frozen nature of Congress itself.

TOOMEY: Well, first of all, all of the ideological and philosophical divides that occur in Congress are present and accounted for at the table with the 12 of us. I will concede that point in a heartbeat. One of the things I have long argued -- and I will not get into the specifics of what we are discussing at that table -- but I have long argued that fundamental tax reform, or at least significant tax reform, could be the key to unlocking this apparent set of differences.

And by that I am talking about a simplification that broadens the base, lowers marginal rates, encourages economic growth. Everybody agrees that if we simplified the code, lowered marginal rates, you could do it in a way where you maintain progressivity and unleashed significant growth.

And that has a huge boon in revenue. So, that is the way we think we ought to grow revenue. It is a lot of revenue. More importantly, it's jobs and economic growth. I think that that ought to be one of the ways we can bridge the things that keep us apart.

CAVUTO: All right, we will watch. Senator, thank you. Good seeing you again.

TOOMEY: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Pat Toomey.

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