WH, Boehner resume talks aimed at reaching fiscal cliff deal

Reps. Justin Amash, Michael Capuano weigh in


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 10, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": That's right. I am suiting up and headed down to our nation's capital to save our country.

It is not enough that I presented a realistic seven-point plan to avert disaster that I think takes from both sides. I guess that wasn't good enough. I have to bring the plan in person, as if I don't have enough to do buying processed meat and cheese kits during my work hours for those I love this holiday season and, OK, those I don't.

But enough about me. Back to me saving the planet. Live in Washington tomorrow, we will be stopping by the Capitol and the White House -- talk about a busy talk, but that is just what superheroes do.

Now to Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash, who is here to say what his party shouldn't do.

Congressman, your fear, cave on taxes. Don't do it. Right?

REP. JUSTIN AMASH, R-MICH.: Well, I think given the deals we are talking about, absolutely not.

We shouldn't be caving on taxes when the amount of spending cuts we're talking about over 10 years are just a drop in the bucket.

CAVUTO: So, when you lost your leader -- a committee leadership assignment was -- did that opposition play into that? Did Speaker Boehner and his staff tell you if you had been although quieter you would still be kin a key role?

AMASH: Well, Speaker Boehner's staff have not talked to me.

The only talking they have done is to the press off the record and anonymously. So I have not heard anything directly from the speaker. And, look, it is not about who will compromise and who will work with Democrats. Who will do what is right for our country is what matters.

And right now, the kind of things that we are hearing from both the speaker and the president are not what is right for our country. We need much bigger spending cuts. We can talk about taxes, but it needs to be part of a larger deal. And it's got to be a deal that balances our budget.

CAVUTO: All right. So, Congressman, you are not averse to revenues being part of the equation, but part of the equation, not one or the other. You are not liking the return offers you're hearing out of Democrat? Because they're saying they are offering program cuts. They want to revisit $1 trillion in cuts agreed for last year. And you say that is sort of like leftovers. Explain.

AMASH: Well, we don't need any more revenue in Washington. That is pretty clear. We have enough revenue to run all of our constitutional functions.

But if we are going to talk about making a deal with the Democrats, then let's be serious about it. So far, neither party has been serious about it. If Republicans want to talk about it, they have to put Pentagon spending on the table. If Democrats want to talk about it, we have to have entitlement reform

But the deal has to be much, much bigger than we are talking about. Right now, they are only talking about dealing with things that might resolve one-tenth of the problem, if that. We need to resolve the whole problem because we are heading for a real financial crisis, not just this fiscal cliff.

CAVUTO: So, you don't like the idea of making a promise to address these more serious issues next year. You want did see some numbers, even tentative ones, this year.


AMASH: Well, Neil, Congress has been making promises for decades. And that is why we are where we are.

That's why we have a $16 trillion debt. Every single person in this country has $50,000 of debt that is responsible, the responsibility of Congress. That is where Congress put us. We have to make some changes and we have to make them now.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you threw a lot of good things up there for everyone to consider. Congressman, thank you very, very much.

AMASH: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right. Fair and balanced. Now to a Democratic lawmaker on what the president shouldn't do.

Massachusetts Congressman Mike Capuano joins me.

What did you think of what the congressman just offered? And that is, go ahead, serious cuts, which would include defense, a Holy Grail for Democrats -- for Republicans, I should say. But we have to see more out of Democrats in terms of those spending cuts. What do you say?

REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO, D-MASS.: Put me in a room with Justin and maybe we can come up with some deals.

We don't agree on many philosophical issues, but I think he is a good man and has the right intentions. I do agree that I -- I am not looking to kick the ball down the road anymore, if at all possible. I don't like the idea of saying we promise to make more cuts next year and we promise to raise taxes next year. I think whatever we do; we should do so we can get on to the rest of the business of Congress.

CAVUTO: But what I am hearing thus far is that -- and, again, it could be very wrong because no one has been saying any hateful things to each other today which could indicate, like you say, something is happening behind the scenes.

CAPUANO: That could change.


CAVUTO: But that if you are going to agree to revenue hikes -- and I -- like you, I agree they will go up -- but the flip side then should be serious and well-spelled-out spending cuts to go along with that. It is the flip side of that, it's the flip side of the revenue part, the tax increase part, that people find wanting. They are getting nervous about it.

Should they be?

CAPUANO: Well, I am nervous. I think everybody ought -- but I am nervous about the whole thing. Even the tax revenue part of it, I'm not sure I have seen enough details from either side to really settle on whether I would support it.


CAVUTO: By the way, on the revenue side, Congressman, I'm sorry, but it has to be a rate hike for you, not this limiting deductions or...


CAPUANO: No. In my former life, when I made money and had a life, I was a tax attorney.


CAPUANO: So, rates are important. They're good symbolism and they are easy to measure, but there are other ways to raise revenues, if they were reasonable and they were thoughtful and they fell on the right people, so that rates for me are not the magic goal, but who pays them.


CAVUTO: All right, but as long as also the spending cuts are delineated year as well, not a promise to address in the New Year.

CAPUANO: Same thing. I agree. I think that would be a mistake.


CAVUTO: So, when the Congressional Black Cause says don't touch entitlements, when you hear Nancy Pelosi say much the same, does it trouble you that your party is not in sync with what you just offered?

CAPUANO: I wish my party were as monolithic as you imply. It's not.

Look, I don't want to cut entitlement benefits either. At the same time, I also understand that Medicare and Medicaid need to be tweaked in order to keep them viable for the future.

CAVUTO: Well, they're not even tweaking. They're not even tweaking.

CAPUANO: Well, some people are not. Some people are.


CAPUANO: And the question is what do you mean?

And, again, someone's tweak is someone else's devastation. So, the details matter. They matter a lot. It's like spending cuts. I am all for spending cuts, but which ones? Just like maybe Justin or others might be tax increases, which ones?

CAVUTO: You two should take over this whole operation.


CAPUANO: Don't we wish?


CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very, very much.

CAPUANO: Thanks, Neil.

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