Interviews

President calling for $1.6T in tax hikes

California Congresswoman Karen Bass weighs in

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Anyway, the next guest here is backing the president's call for a $1.6 trillion tax hike.

To Democratic Congresswoman from California Karen Bass.

Congresswoman, go to have you back. How you doing?

REP. KAREN BASS, D-CALIF.: Thank you. I'm doing fine. Good to be back.

CAVUTO: I take it from the president's remarks today, congresswoman that it has to be a rate hike on the rich that deductions and playing around with credits and tax breaks won't cut it. Did I interpret that correctly?

BASS: No, I do think that you interpreted it correctly, but it will be interesting to see exactly what the details are.

And I will look forward to that. But in terms of the CEOs that are meeting with the president right now, I will be curious to see what they say as well, but I do think there have been indications from many sectors of the business community, including the Chamber of Commerce that they want to see a deal.

And everyone has been saying that people do see the need for revenues.

CAVUTO: Yes, but Chamber of Commerce, you mentioned, Tom Donohue, we're showing there. This is the prior time he was able to go to the White House. He is across the street, Congresswoman, and he wasn't invited. He wasn't invited.

BASS: Oh, he wasn't? Oh.

CAVUTO: No. No.

BASS: I see. Well, that is interesting. My understanding is...

CAVUTO: This might shock you. I wasn't invited.

(LAUGHTER)

BASS: Neither was I.

CAVUTO: But, look, I'm not thin-skinned about these things.

But, Congresswoman, here is what I want to know.

BASS: Sure.

CAVUTO: It would seem to me that many in key congressional caucuses, progressive caucuses and the like are urging the president not to give an inch on this rate hike for the rich. Are you among those urging the president don't blink on this, we still don't forgive you for what you did two years ago when you extended them? What is the deal?

BASS: Well, mine is the part of not forgiving him from two years ago. But I think that it is absolutely essential that we allow for tax cuts to continue for 98 percent of Americans, but for people who earn above $250,000, I do think the rates need to go back to where they were there.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: We can quibble over that, as you and I have in the past.

BASS: Sure.

CAVUTO: But then what do Republicans get in return? Because I don't hear much volunteering about slowing spending or reining it in.

BASS: Well, no, no, no, I do believe that the president supports a balanced approach and so do I.

There have already been very severe cuts that have been implemented over the last couple of years and there are other places that we can cut. I also think when it comes to some of the entitlement programs, that there are ways to find savings for...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: When you say severe cuts, though, Congresswoman, when you talk severe cuts, we are looking at a fifth years in a row likely of a $1 trillion-plus deficit.

BASS: Right.

CAVUTO: Maybe the cuts would have been more dramatic or the growth would have been more dramatic without them, but the fact of matter is we are piling up $16.2 trillion in debt right now and that has gone unabated.

BASS: Right, but what I was going to say about the entitlement programs, both Medicaid and as well as Medicare, there are ways to find savings in both of those programs without fundamentally changing them.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Tell me one thing you would do for Medicare, one thing you would do for Medicare. Would you raise the age?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Would you raise the age?

BASS: Well, no, one thing that I do for Medicare would be, I would look at the prescription drug -- the cost of prescription drugs and look for a way to negotiate a smaller amount.

But the other thing that I think is really big in Medicare, at least once a year one of the news magazine does reports about fraud in Medicare, where people set up these dummy corporations and get medical equipment.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: These are good points. But what troubles me about not all, but some Democrats, is they then say, we want you to give some ground on the tax hikes for the rich.

BASS: Yes.

CAVUTO: But when it comes down to what are you going to do, we have to watch waste, fraud and abuse, something you always criticized President Bush when he was bemoaning that problem.

And these are namby-pamby alternatives when in the scheme of things to address the bulk of these programs, we have to rein in their growth through either raising retirement ages, by scaling back benefits, adjusting how they're rolled out for generations. I don't know the details, but I don't hear that kind of talk.

(CROSSTALK)

BASS: No, no, no.

I do think that we should look at the programs. But what I gave you specifically was not namby-pamby. It is billions of dollars of waste.

CAVUTO: That was namby-pamby. The waste and abuse that was namby- pamby.

BASS: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

CAVUTO: OK.

BASS: I gave you the specific example of the fraud that takes place every year in Medicare where people set up these dummy corporations.

CAVUTO: All right.

BASS: And it is billions in fraud that we need to crack down on harder.

That is just one example.

CAVUTO: All right.

BASS: So, I think when the president says that everything needs to be on the table, it does, but I don't think...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Do you really think everything is on the table?

Because allay me of my suspicions that everything is not on the table. It is just sock it to the rich and maybe, maybe we will get around to addressing spending.

BASS: No, no, no, no, I really don't believe that. I think the president has put forward and I think the Congress has put forward on the Democrats and obviously on the Republican side -- really painful cuts have already been put into place. And I think people are willing to go further in cuts.

CAVUTO: We had a plan, Congresswoman, the president -- what I think you're referring to -- a trillion of that was already factored in with wars already done and already budgeted for being done.

BASS: Right. That's right.

CAVUTO: And it is $4 trillion over 10 years, $4 trillion off the growth of government over 10 years. So 10 years from now, we would still have $6 trillion more of government than we do now. That is dramatic? That is a big cut?

BASS: Yes, no, it is. And I do think that things can be done.

CAVUTO: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I will tell you what. Congresswoman, I will tell you what.

BASS: What?

CAVUTO: I could have gained 15 pounds, but so far this year, I am up only 10.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Net-net, I'm down five.

BASS: I see.

I do believe there is a new tone is being set right now post the election. And so I am optimistic that we will be able to solve the problem before the end of year.

CAVUTO: I hope you are right. Congresswoman, we shall see. Very good to have you again. Thank you.

BASS: All right, thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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