OTR Interviews

Sens. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee on tax reform, Netanyahu's speech and Hillary's email woes

Sens. Marco Lee and Mike Lee unveil their tax reform plan and sound off on the fallout from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's controversial speech before Congress on Iran and the Hillary Clinton email scandal


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 4, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, two powerful Senators and one powerful plan to overhaul our tax code and your taxes. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Utah Senator Mike Lee teaming up, going ON THE RECORD to talk about their plan to overhaul your taxes. That's not all. They have much more to say.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senators, nice to see both of you.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R- FLA.: Thank you.

SEN. MIKE LEE, R-UTAH: Likewise.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have a proposal for tax reform.

And let me start first with you, Senator Rubio.

What is your tax reform proposal?

RUBIO: It does two things. It's pro-family and pro-growth. On the business side, it's, I think, the most aggressive pro-growth plan I have seen in the while. It will make America the best place in the world to invest and innovate again. It tells companies, the more money you pour back into the company by growing, by building a new factory, hiring more workers, the less you are going to pay in taxes.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it goes to the corporate tax?

RUBIO: It goes not just do the corporate tax, it takes away the disincentive to invest and improving your capital facilities. It says that you can you immediately expense whatever money you spend to grow your business, you can immediate deduct that from your taxes. That will encourage more businesses to grow, to start new lines of work, to expand operations and hire more people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Lee, as I understand one of the provisions bringing the corporate tax down 35 percent to 25 percent. But a lot of American people have other objections to the tax code, is that they can't figure out their own taxes, that they are 3300 or 3500 earmarks in it if you follow Simpson/Bowles, so they don't like that. Members of Congress can't fill out their own tax reform and neither can the rest of us because nobody can fill it out. So while it's laudable to lower the corporate tax rate to spur business, what about the little guy out there?

LEE: Well, there is a lot in this plan for them. In fact, that's why we wrote this is to help the little guy, on the individual side and on the business side. I mean, look, I sit on the Joint Economic Committee here in Congress. A few months ago, we had an expert who came to testify as a witness. This man had a PhD in the U.S. Income tax code. That was his Phd. I feel bad for the guy but that's where he chose to pursue his doctoral studies. I asked him, do you do your own taxes, he said, no, absolutely not. Why? There is no way I will ever be sure I got it right. That's one of the things that got me thinking, how can we change this because we have got to change it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does your reform bill, besides -- I mean, I realize that there are going to be fewer tax brackets, and I realize that corporate advantage. You know, for the person who is filling out his tax -- a lot of people want a flat tax. They want a sales tax. They want a lot of things. They want like wild reform to change everything. Does yours do that?

LEE: Absolute. And for 80 percent of Americans, this would be a flat tax. This would be single-rate tax system.

VAN SUSTEREN: When we start going into the deductions, the -- as I call them loopholes or the earmarks, it get so enormously complicated. That seems a little unfair.


VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe you're a lobbyist, you get a loophole.


VAN SUSTEREN: Are you getting rid of all that?

RUBIO: All of them except the mortgage and charitable deduction. Everything else is that flatter tax rate. For 80 percent of Americans, they'll be paying 15 percent. If they have children, of course, they qualify for the child tax credit. It would significantly simplify it. It's a major step in the direction of flattening the tax code and making it easier to fill out.

VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you involved all the Republicans in the Senate to go with you. Could you get any Democrats?

LEE: Well, I have been in conversations with some Democrats about it. Some of them are very intrigued. We are going to see where we can go with this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Lots going on on Capitol Hill. Netanyahu, prime minister yesterday, any thoughts on his speech?

LEE: I thought it was an absolutely amazing speech. And I have never -- I have been here four years as has Senator Rubio. I have never seen anyone address a joint session of Congress and be received so well. I have never seen anyone present a joint session of Congress and inspire the place to erupt as if a rock star had entered the room.

VAN SUSTEREN: Because his speech will have an impact?

RUBIO: I do. He spoke like a man. He spoke like what he is, a man country fighting for survival, faced by a brutal enemy who wants to eradicate them from the face of the earth and is on the verge of acquiring capability. He sees the strongest ally in the world, the United States, on the verge of signing a terrible deal that virtually guarantees at some point in the next decade that Iran will have a nuclear weapon and will do so with the permission of the international community. That's what he spoke of, as somebody who understands what's at stake here. We should heed his warnings.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, controversy over the emails?

RUBIO: Number one, it appears she violated the rules that the State Department had established. But the bigger concern is was she transacting government business on a server that's not secure? Because we know these servers are targets for foreign intelligence. We know the Chinese, the Russians, the North Koreans, the Cubans and others are constantly trying to hack into computers, and especially that of governmental officials. She if was transacting State Department business on an insecure server, that alone is reason to be alarmed.


LEE: It will be interesting to see how it pans out. I don't know a lot of facts of the case, but I echo the concerns expressed by Senator Rubio.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have been here four years. Politics meaner than you expected?

LEE: Well, you know, sure. It's mean. There is a lot of mean to be had here. But I think a lot of times people miss the fact that there is also a lot of nice here. There are a lot of people who get along well. Marco and I both have friends on the other side of the aisle. We both have colleagues with whom we agree on several issues while disagreeing on a whole lot of others. And I think there is a lot more goodwill here between members of different parties than a lot of people are inclined to think.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not going to ask you if you are going to run. Why would you want it?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, just some perspective about the nature of our politics, in America, if you say something -- if you are opposed to someone's ideas, they will write a bad editorial or maybe run a negative campaign. In Russia, they shoot you. So just have some perspective about --


VAN SUSTEREN: In Iraq and Syria, you get your head chopped off.

RUBIO: Exactly right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just for a thought.

RUBIO: Look, as I said before, I'm seriously thinking about running for president. I haven't made a final decision. Either way, I think important for our country to transition into the 21st century. It's time to turn the page on the 21st century. Part of that is to become globally competitive again. That's why I'm excited about tax reform. It makes us globally competitive again.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think most people agree we should do something about our taxes. When none of us can do our taxes ourselves, that's a bad sign.

Anyway, Senators, thank you both.

RUBIO: Thank you.

LEE: Thank you.