Will GOP cave on taxes if president is reelected?

Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": If, if, if the president ends up winning, does the GOP end up caving? Congressman Tom Cole catching some heat for saying that if the president wins reelection taxes are going up and -- quote -- "There is not a lot we can do about that."

The Oklahoma Republican joins me now to explain that.

Congressman, you are aware of the reaction you got for that, that the GOP would fold like a cheap suit. Is that what you meant?


REP. TOM COLE, R-OKLA.: Absolutely not.

Look, the reality is, all the Bush tax cuts run out at the end of 2010. The best way to extend them is to elect Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States. Absent that, without a presidential signature, the president is in the catbird seat. He gets to decide which ones can be extended or not.

Now, do I think our people agree to that? No. But at the end of day, all of them will expire unless Mitt Romney is president of the United States. And if Barack Obama is president of the United States, I take him at his word. He's going to let taxes go up, at least at some level.

CAVUTO: But even if Republicans do not gain control of the Senate, but they still have hold of the House, don't you think that even in the possible outcome you mentioned, the president winning reelection, and, again, the Senate remaining in Democratic hands, just control of the House of Representatives would stop that, wouldn't it?

COLE: No, it wouldn't. They all end automatically.


CAVUTO: That, I know. That, I know. But it's not a given that they all go up. You are saying that at least for the rich they would?


COLE: Well, actually, all the Bush tax cuts end on December 31.

This, by the way, happened in 2010. It's nothing new.


COLE: We struck a bargain with the president of the United States. In exchange for allowing those tax cuts to continue...


CAVUTO: But you think it would be harder to strike a bargain now, right?

COLE: Yeah, absolutely.


COLE: He's told us he is not going to accept that bargain. We should try. Actually, my preferred position would be to do something like Bill Clinton, of all people, suggested, which was let's extend the current tax cuts for a year and renegotiate the whole tax code, bringing rates down and offsetting some of the lowering of rates by the elimination of some of the deductions and credits.

CAVUTO: Others read into your remarks, congressman, that you were a realist, you were looking at the lay of the land and that if the president is reelected, I mean, he was famous for saying, elections have consequences. The consequences of that...


COLE: Sure enough.

CAVUTO: No, no, hear me out, sir, that the consequences of that is the president getting his way and Republicans not.

Is it that simple?

COLE: Well, I am a realist. And if he is reelected, he told has us he is going to allow taxes to rise. I take him at his word.

Again, the best way to avoid that is to make sure he is not reelected, to elect Mitt Romney. I take him at his word as well. But don't think that the Republican House of Representatives by itself is some sort of firewall that can prevent this. The president of the United States has to agree to the extension.

If we get a new president, we know that we're going to get that kind of agreement.

CAVUTO: But you're saying that president reelected, if with the House of Representatives as it's typically commanded by Republicans, it would be very hard to get even the rate increase for the rich rescinded, right?

COLE: I think it will be hard.

Now, we were able to do it two years ago, but again we did that by giving the president a payroll tax holiday and an extension of unemployment benefits. He's told us that he's not willing to make any sort of deal again.

So, again, if he is reelected, taxes are likely to go up, unless he has some change of heart. The better course is to elect Mitt Romney. Then we know they're not going to go up. And we can negotiate a fairer tax code that will lower rates and offset that by paying for or eliminating some deductions and credits.

CAVUTO: All right, congressman, thank you very much for stopping by. We appreciate it.

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