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Sunday Morning Futures

Exclusive: Speaker Ryan talks budget battle; Battle lines drawn over Scalia replacement

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," February 14, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good Sunday morning, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia. The influential conservative of the Supreme Court dead at the age of 76. His legacy, the impact on the court, coming up. Plus, the debate over his replacement.

Fireworks. Six of the remaining GOP candidates trading jabs last night ahead of the critical primary ahead of South Carolina. Who were the winners and losers? Ahead.

Plus, my exclusive interview with House Speaker Paul Ryan. His take on immigration and the state of the economy today, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(MUSIC)

BARTIROMO: The country pauses to remember Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, the iconic conservative justice who served since 1986, died yesterday at the age of 79. And now, this gives President Obama the chance to shift the balance on the high court, by appointing a successor.

My guest this morning, Thomas Dupree, a constitutional attorney, and John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department.  He was also a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and knew Justice Scalia.

Good to see you, gentlemen. Thanks very much for joining us.

THOMAS DUPREE, CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: Good morning.

JOHN YOO, FORMER LAW CLERK TO JUSTICE THOMAS: Thank you.

BARTIOMO: So, John, let me kick this off with you, Mr. Yoo. You clerked for Clarence Thomas. Let's talk about the man and the legacy of Justice Scalia.

YOO: In terms of legacy, Justice Scalia is the leading light of the conservative revolution in the law. When he came to the court, he put a stake into the heart of the Warren court, what we call the Warren court and its cases, even though he came many years later. He really set the terms of debate for constitutional law ever since, just as today in politics we sure live in the world that Ronald Reagan said, today in constitutional law, we live in the world defined by Justice Scalia -- turning the attention to the text, and the history of Constitution, being conscious of judicial restraint and deferring to the democratic process, and rejecting the idea most importantly that the Constitution evolves and changes.

He firmly believed that the Constitution endures based on its meaning at the time it was ratified. Those who agree with him and disagree with him still argue with it in terms of that debate today.

BARTIROMO: Tom Dupree, he was known as saying words say what they say, words matter, really known for his integrity, defending the Constitution, to the exact word. Your thoughts on his legacy?

THOMAS DUPREE, CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: That's exactly right. One of the things he always maintained fidelity to the original intent of our framers.  One of the points he would often makes in this opinions, frequently dissenting opinions, was, what kind of country do we live in if at the pass off some of the most decisions to what he would call nine unelected lawyers? He had a great respect for democracy, he had a great respect for the structure, this wonderful structure that the framers bequeathed to us.

And he did everything he could in his power to maintain and preserve it, and he did as John said, changed the terms of the legal debate in this country.

BARTIROMO: It's true. Also proud Italian-American I should point out.

Now, after his death, Obama has an opening to shift the balance in the Supreme Court. Where does this go now? Let's talk about the process, and what the president now will do in terms of shifting the balance on the Supreme Court?

Tom, how do you see it?

DUPREE: Well, I think the fate of the Supreme Court will be in the hands of the Senate Republicans form the president within hours of the news yesterday announced his intent to push forward with a nominee.

I think that's not the right decision, I think it's hasty. The president is determined to get someone up, get someone nominated, get someone confirmed.

And so, I think the spotlight will shift to the Republicans in the Senate, and whether or not they want to allow this to proceed or whether they want to defer and permit the new president to make his or her selection.

BARTIROMO: Right. Which is why, John, almost immediately you heard from the candidates running for president, basically saying leave it to the American people. Let's see what the American people want once this election is through, and have the next president nominate and appoint someone.

YOO: If you're a Republican candidate or a Republican in the Senate, the last person you want to give the pick to is President Obama, who many of his decisions I think have violated the Constitution are actually before the Supreme Court right now and are going to be affected by Justice Scalia's passing. I suspect he won't pick someone seriously, because he already knows the Senate won't confirm anyone, so someone symbolic he can use to beat on the heads of the candidates for not confirming, because the Senate won't confirm them, and it would be one of the many issues that this election is going to be important for, is the future direction of the Supreme Court.

BARTIROMO: Right. So, it sounds like you don't think that the president will be successful in actually pushing his nominee through?

YOO: No, there's a precedent for this. In 1968 in the last year of President Johnson's administration, Chief Justice Earl Warren was sat down and President Johnson tried to appoint Fortas. Justice Fortas, the Supreme Court -- I'm sorry, the Senate tried to filibuster and did successfully, and the seat was left open for President Nixon to fill.

BARTIROMO: Yes, let me ask you, Tom, you to go through a couple important cases now pending in front of the Supreme Court. So, viewers understand what's at stake over the near term?

DUPREE: Well, where to begin, Maria? Coming up this term, we have the challenge to the president's executive action on immigration. We have a very significant abortion case that's coming up, there's affirmative action cases. There are cases concerning separation of powers.

So, I think there are many, many critical issues that now are going to be decided by the Supreme Court, scheduled to be decided in the next few months. As John noted, many of these concerned actions the president himself did. So there's no surprise he wants his ninth point to pass judgment on the legality of the constitutionality of his own actions.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I think that is absolutely right. So, do you agree with Tom then, John, in terms of the president probably broadband unlikely to get his nominee through or just symbolic?

DUPREE: I think it will be very difficult, but to me it's not entirely clear which strategy the president is going to take. I agree with John it's possible he'll make a political choice and someone he can use to rile up his political base. It's also possible he may look to a nominee who at least the president would try to portray as a consensus nominee, someone who could draw support from Republicans and Democrats alike, but of course the objective there too would also be to score political points by saying, look, I put up someone who should command assent and agreement, and the Republicans rejected him.

So, whichever way it cuts, I suspect the president is going to view this through a political lens.

BARTIROMO: Yes, really important points that you both make. John Yoo, Tom Dupree, thanks very much for joining us this morning. Gentlemen, we appreciate your time. We'll see you soon.

DUPREE: Thank you.

YOO: Thanks.

BARTIROMO: The death of Justice Scalia just one of the many topics in last night's Republican meanwhile and were turned outing to be a verbal slugfest last night.

Take a look at the high stakes showdown in South Carolina. How it will impact next week's primary.

Follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures, and let us know what you'd like to hear.

Coming up on the program, we're speaking with House Speaker Paul Ryan coming up. Stay with us as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: A showdown in South Carolina and the sparks went flying. The remaining six GOP candidates getting confrontational last night, in the final debate before the state's primary. One of the sharpest and most personal exchanges happening between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I get sick and tired of him going against my family. My dad is the greatest man alive in my mind.

(CHEERS)

While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe, and I'm proud of what he did.

He's had the gall to go after my mother. He's had the gall to go after my mother.

(BOOS)

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The World Trade Center came down under his brother's reign remember that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO: Some boos there at the end.

I want to bring in Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, who's a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

Sir, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. MICK MULVANEY, R-S.C.: Maria, good morning. Thanks for having me.

BARTIROMO: So, you're a lifelong resident of the Carolinas. Let me get your take on that exchange and the boos we heard when Donald Trump basically tried to say that it was George W. Bush's fault that the Trade Towers came down.

MULVANEY: Yes, that was strange. I'm not really sure why Mr. Trump did that. It was a fairly pro-Bush audience last night, you could tell that during the introductions. And as critical as Trump has been of different parts of the Bush presidency, I don't know of anybody generally in the country who blames George Bush for 9/11, and certainly nobody in that room blamed George Bush for 9/11. That was the strange part of the day or the evening. Of course, it was a strange evening for most of the time.

BARTIROMO: What do you think this plays for the people who are going to be going and voting next Saturday in the primary in South Carolina?

MULVANEY: Yes, I didn't n think that Mr. Carson, Dr. Carson, did particularly well, and I don't think the Jeb Bush did particularly well.  I'm not sure why he was attacking Donald Trump. First of all, he's not going to get Donald Trump's voters away from him in the first place. And secondly, even if he did peel them off, they would go to Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. So, I'm not really what Mr. Bush, what Governor Bush was trying to accomplish last night. I don't think he did particularly well.

I think John Kasich did fairly well. I thought that Marco Rubio did well and I thought that Cruz and Trump and sort of tread water. So, my guess is you won't see Dr. Carson do very well and you won't see Governor Bush do very well next Saturday.

BARTIROMO: Wow, OK. It's interesting because it felt like these last couple days, Jeb Bush was getting his sea legs a bit back, fighting back a little more aggressive, but you don't think -- but you don't think it's going to necessarily materialize in votes?

MULVANEY: Well, look, if he's going to do well, he'll do well in South Carolina. South Carolina is a good place for him. That was a good audience for him last night. I don't think he had a Newt Gingrich type of moment. People forget that four years ago, Newt Gingrich was in fourth place and he ended up winning through a strong debate performance. I don't think we saw that last night from Governor Bush. So, as effective as he may have been, I don't think he changed places. In fact, if anything, he probably lost ground to Kasich.

BARTIROMO: And I guess, you know, Kasich really is doing much better than before. He's emerging. In terms of the most important issues to the people in South Carolina, what do you think number one and two issues are?

MULVANEY: Immigration still drives a lot of things here. Immigration still drives a lot of the debate. You saw that last night and you saw where that was probably more of the meat of the discussion, the candidates tended to agree on a lot of the areas until they got to immigration, and then there was a brought variety of policies on display. I thought that was helpful and good for the debate.

The one thing that disappointed me was the words "debt" and "deficit" were only mentioned twice. The word was only mentioned twice last night once by Mr. Bush and once by Dr. Carson. And that's unfortunate because that I think that's driving a lot of discussion here in South Carolina as well.

BARTIROMO: And you have to give Donald Trump credit for pounding on this issue of immigration. Actually, we're going to be speaking with House Speaker Paul Ryan who joins us at the bottom of the hour.

Let me get your take on Justice Scalia. Obviously, a lot of conversation and talk this morning about his fantastic legacy. What would you like to see take place this morning in terms of the president fighting back, saying, look, he's going to nominate the next justice?

MULVANEY: I have to give credit to Governor Kasich. I'm not one of his supporters, but I thought his answer was the most thoughtful. We all know somebody will pick the president. If you're the president, you're going to nominate somebody.

But when Governor Kasich suggested the president that he pick somebody with bipartisan support and be a uniting force on the court, I thought that was a good answer. Maybe the president would serve well to follow that advice.  My guess is that's not going to happen.

BARTIROMO: Do you think the president will be able to get his nominee through?

MULVANEY: No.

BARTIROMO: Simple answer there.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: Sir, good having you on the program this morning. Thanks very much.

MULVANEY: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: We will see you soon.

Joining us there, Congressman Mulvaney.

House Speaker Paul Ryan will join me for an exclusive interview on his agenda during the president's final year in office and the issues most critical to our national security.

We're looking ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures." Paul Ryan is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

My next guest, House Speaker Paul Ryan, reacting to the shocking news yesterday of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death, releasing a statement saying in part, quote, "The passing of this brilliant jurist is a great loss, but his writings will guide generations to come. I learned so much from this man. I knew him. I respected him. I looked up to him. We all did."

Meantime, Speaker Ryan laying out the top priorities for Congress in the final year of President Obama's term and beyond. I spoke exclusively with the speaker earlier about his agenda, after receiving the president's budget last week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARTIROMO: Speaker Ryan, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: My pleasure. Thanks for having me, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Good to see you.

You have announced a six committee-led task force charged with developing a bold new growth agenda that will be presented to the country in the coming months. Can you go through some of those priorities for us?

RYAN: Sure. Basically five big priorities that we think are in desperate need of reform. Number one, growing the economy. That's things like tax reform and energy development, and getting the regulatory burden lifted from our small businesses.

Number two, we've got a lot of people in poverty, Maria we are not re- claiming the American idea, this notion of upward mobility and opportunity.  There are a lot of people who don't believe it's there for them anymore and we have to have better ideas for getting people out of the poverty and reforming welfare so we get people from welfare to work.

Number three: ObamaCare isn't working, it's failing, and our health care entitlements are bringing us to a debt crisis. We've got to address that.  And so, we have to go from being an opposition party to being a proposition party. And part of that means, what will we replace ObamaCare with. What are our solutions for patient-centered health care?

Number four, the national security is a wreck. The military is under duress. We don't really even have a foreign policy. So, we need to show people what a vision likes look.

And number five, arguably most important, how do we re-claim the Constitution? How do we reclaim the principles of self-government and government by consent? How do we get the separation of powers put back on track, so that we truly have checks and balances, so that people do have representative government and not this government by bureaucrat, which is really the trend these days?

All five of these things we think are necessary to see our country back on track. We don't think the nation is heading in the right direction, and we believe we owe it to our fellow citizens to offer an alternative. And this is what we could accomplish with a Republican president in 2017. And so, that is basically what we're going to lay out.

I learned this in 2012 running with Mitt Romney. I think we owe the company a really clear choice. We can't wait until fall to put this choice out there in the crescendo of a presidential election. We need to do this earlier so that we can talk about it all summer, all fall long, so that we really truly give people a clear choice so that the people of this nation gets to choose, and this is what you can do with a Republican president to get our country back on track.

And that's the agenda that we're fashioning. And we're doing it bottom up.  It's not a top-down, you know, one person taking it. It's all members of the Republican conference listening to our constituents, talking to interested parties, and putting it together. And that's what we're doing right now.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I think you make all great points, and I know that viewers agree that these are the priorities. I want to go through some of those priorities with you, particularly tax reform, given what's going on with the economy right now.

But let me start with national security as it relates to immigration, because I feel like one of the biggest issues this election cycle has been immigration. We know that every year the U.S. issues 1 million green cards to immigrants, and yet polls show, they continue to show that voters think that's too many. That immigrants are taking American jobs at the time that this economy is not producing enough jobs.

Would you support legislation to cap the number of immigrants and green cards issued?

RYAN: Well, I've always believed, look, we're not going to put immigration reform other than securing the border in our national security agenda. We think a key component in national security is actually securing the border.  So, that will be the component, but you're asking something different than that.

I have always supported from what people call a chain migration system to an economic-based immigration system. And that's not what we have -- most countries choose how to give the visas out based on their economic needs, if there is work that is not being done. And that's not what we do and I think we should change that immigration policy.

I don't want to confuse what our agenda. We're not going to be dealing with those things other than as part of our national security agenda, making sure we secure the country, secure the border, so that we know who's coming and going in this country, which we right now do not have and it's a serious national security threat.

BARTIROMO: Right. And you've been very vocal in terms of the path to citizenship, in terms of securing the border. I feel like this is one of the central or fundamental issues of the country, right? How do you know and who is allowed to live in this country? Work in this country, participate in our democracy?

PAUL: Can I get --

BARTIROMO: Given the pushback from the voters, even the candidates in terms of number of green cards issued, would you not put a cap?

PAUL: Yes, we have a cap, and we can have a good debate about where that cap is set, but I would say what kinds of green cards are we giving out?  Should we be giving green cards out based on who you're related to? Or should be giving green cards based on what you contribute to the American economy?

I would argue we should be giving more green cards out based upon what you contribute to the economy. But let's not paper over a problem. That is labor force participation is abysmally low in this country. We haven't seen thinks rates since the Carter years. What does that mean?

That means we have tens of millions of American citizens who are able- bodied adults, who are not working, who are not looking for a job or who are not even getting an education or a skill, or being in school to get a job. That's what I think we need to be focusing on, is how do we get people out of poverty into work, how do we get people from welfare back into the workforce.

Tens of millions of people are right here in this country that aren't working that should be working for their own sake, for the economic growth, and we don't want to have a culture of dependency. We want to have a culture of entrepreneurship. We want to have a culture of people rising, of people getting out of poverty, of people defining and deciding their own lives.

And so, to me, Maria, before we talk about how many green cards, let's make sure we get people in our communities who aren't working back to work.  That to me the biggest labor problem we have right now

BARTIROMO: Right. But isn't this issue central to that? Because Americans do not have the jobs they need to have, partly because you've got foreigners coming in taking their jobs. So that's the central issue really that I'm asking you. Do we want to keep open borders the way we have?

PAUL: No, no.

BARTIROMO: Or do we want some level of cap?

PAUL: Yes.

BARTIROMO: Again, would you propose legislation that lowers the number of green cards issued?

PAUL: I'm not going to get into the details. I think we should have a cap, of course, and I think we should change the way we give green cards so that we have economic-based visas.

Let Congress do its job and work its will on how those -- where those caps and how those caps should be adjusted and set. But of course we should have a cap. None of this works if we don't have a secure border.

That is why a part of our five-point agenda is national security, building our military, and securing the border, but also, don't forget we've to get in this country, who are citizens in this country, from welfare to work. I think that's really important.

And first point, as we mentioned, tax reform, energy development, regulatory reform, what do those things do? They decide whether we have economic growth or not, they decide whether we have rising wages or not, they decide whether people are getting a raise, whether people can save for their kids' colleges or for retirement. That's the critical thing.

So, that is why we're going to be offering a bold specific, pro-growth agenda, to grow this economy, get people from welfare to work and make sure that we have a secure country. So, that's why we're not going to be talking about visa caps in our agenda and promising what we're going to do if we have a Republican president. We're going to be talking about how to grow the economy, get people from welfare to work and secure this border, secure this country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BARTIROMO: All right. Stay right there. More of my conversation with Speaker Ryan coming up. I'm going to tackle the economy and trade next with the speaker as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARTIROMO: So, how worried are you about the growth story of today?

RYAN: I'm very worried about it.

BARTIROMO: I mean, you're talking about a economy growing barely two percent, the worst beginning to the year of the stock market of any year ever. There's clearly nervousness out there, $2 trillion of wealth wiped out just in 2016. How did we get here?

RYAN: Government. I mean, look, Obamanomics. You have a regulatory state that is just on fire. They're regulating left and right.

This is a fourth branch of government that's unaccountable to the people, so you have a chilling effect of job creation. A chilling -- I was in Milton, Wisconsin, the other day talking to two guys, two brothers who left their jobs, started a small business. They have 40 people. They could grow faster, they could grow more, but they're turning away business, because they could hit the 50 employee cap because of Obamacare and the costs that were incurred with that.

BARTIROMO: Right.

RYAN: So, you have government regulation and government and laws like ObamaCare, taxes that are stifling economic growth. I would argue strongly, Maria, that our fiscal policy, no path to balancing budget, no president supporting a balanced budget, tax rates that are extremely high, making us extremely uncompetitive, keeping money overseas, and a regulatory state that is killing jobs especially in the energy sector.

So, it is government, it is the federal government that is putting all these barriers in place and disallowing businesses and people to grow. If we have a pro-growth economic policy, there's no doubt in my mind we can get this economy growing faster, people could get better jobs, get rising wages, but for our government. And that's why we're going to roll an agenda out there and give the country a choice, here's what we will do if you give us the ability to do it so that we can do it in 2017.

BARTIROMO: Also why you've announced the budget plan is dead on arrival.

RYAN: Of course.

BARTIROMO: I mean, the president has said that he wants a string of new taxes, $2.6 trillion in new taxes over the coming decade, he wants a controversial oil fee to pay for infrastructure, $10 oil tax. You said it has zero chance of passing in Congress.

So, we know the conservatives are upset. So, they want to know, are you going to propose a new budget this year? Or are you going to allow the president to continue his agenda of climate change, of refugees, of Obamacare? What's your answer?

RYAN: Well, first of all, just so you know, Maria, if we want to get rid of ObamaCare, if we want to change who is running the regulatory state, you have to have a new president. We have proven by passing through our reconciliation procedures, we can get a bill on the president's desk. We just did that. He vetoed it and we had a veto override.

So, we have proven we are willing and able to put bills on a president's desk to get rid of all those things you just said. Guess what? You've got to have a president sign those bills into law.

BARTIROMO: Right.

RYAN: That's why you need a new president. That's why we're putting in an agenda out there in 2017 showing how we would do that. We have passed five budgets that specifically show -- I wrote four of them, that specifically show how we would balance the budget, how we can pay off the debt.

We can do this, but you have to have a Republican president to do this, and that's the whole point of our agenda.

BARTIROMO: Right. I understand that, but I mean, I guess people are frustrated the spending of this year is locked in.

RYAN: No kidding.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

RYAN: Well, the spending for this year is locked in because we have a bipartisan agreement which makes sure that, by the way, there's a big concern about our national defense, about our military. And we are fixing some of that, I would argue because of our president we're not doing any near what we need to do to fix our foreign policy and our military.

By the way, because of a Republican legislature, because we've had the majority, we have actually cut discretionary spending. We've actually had real actual spending cuts, hundreds of billions will have been saved because we were in the majority versus the Democrats being in the majority, because of what we have done under discretionary spending, but that's a third of our budget.

It's entitlements that are going to be the cause of the debt crisis. These programs are going bankrupt and we have a president that refuses to do anything about it. We have a president that has rejected every single idea to balance the budget and pay off the debate that's been presented to him so the theme of this point here is we need a new president.

BARTIROMO: Yes. I mean, there was nothing in the budget whatsoever about Social Security. I mean, it's crazy. When everybody knows what the problems are.

Final question, this is about trade, Mr. Speaker. It goes back in the summertime you were approaching the fast track of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Where does the TPP stand right now?

RYAN: I wrote the law, the Trade Promotion Authority law, which gives Congress the say-so, the final say-so on whether or not we're entering a trade agreement. Right now, I don't see the votes there for TPP, because I think the administration negotiated an agreement with problems, flaws in it. They're going to have to figure those out and work those out if they want to get the votes to pass in Congress, which I don't see the votes there right now.

BARTIROMO: So, is it dead then? I mean, if you don't see the votes there --

RYAN: No, I wouldn't say it's dead, I wouldn't say it's dead. But right now, they have a lot of work to do. If we brought it to the floor today, it wouldn't pass. That is the point I make.

BARTIROMO: But that's the point I'm trying to make. If you don't have the votes now, why would you have the votes later? I mean, when you -- does it actually need fundamental change? When you look at --

RYAN: You know, I think that's the point I'm trying to make, Maria. I think there are things that need to be addressed. I won't go into all the details, but cross-border data flows, dairy, there are biologics, intellectual property rights protection. The point I'm trying to make is I don't see the votes for this agreement now. That's why I think they need to go back and work on this agreement.

BARTIROMO: Can you commit not trying to get it to pass during a lame-duck Congress? I mean, what I'm trying to say, if it's not going to pass now, if you can't get the votes now, what do you want to change in order to get the votes?

RYAN: I'm not going to -- look, I don't know -- I'm the speaker of the house, I'm not the dictator of the House, I'm not the micromanager of the House. And I don't see where these votes are right now and I'm just being honest with people about that, and I don't know if and when that's going to change.

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about the broad economy right now. What do you think is the most important lever to push in order to see growth move? Is it tax reform? And do you think you can get tax reform done in the first term?

RYAN: You cut out there for a second. Done in the next president's first term?

BARTIROMO: Yes.

RYAN: Yes, 2017 is our plan.

BARTIROMO: You think you can tax reform done, first year of a new president?

RYAN: Yes. Yes. Ronald Reagan did it. Why can't we?

Let me say this. I think the Federal Reserve with their loose money, with QE-forever I guess we call it now. You can't charitably say they tried to bail out policymakers for a while to give us time to right our ship. That never happened.

The reason it never happened isn't because of the Congress. We've actually passed budgets dealing with the fiscal policy. We have a president who never wanted to tackle balancing the budget, getting us off the debt crisis path that we are on, and we have a president that wants higher tax rates, not lower rates.

So, this has been our problem. So, we just blew eight years where we could have had a chance to get our fiscal policy right.

So, do I believe in 2017 we can turn this around very quickly? Yes, I do.  I think tax reform is probably the biggest piece of this. I think regulatory reform, people giving smart regulation and regulatory certainty is critical key to unlocking capital and job formation, but I also think it's important to get or fiscal policy on track, that we show that we're going to balance the budget, we have a path to preventing a debt crisis.

That helps takes our policy off the present collision course, and I think that's good for certainly, it's good for our currency, it's good for lots of reasons. And I think that is the secret to a pro-growth strategy.  Combined that with the fact we ought to be the dominant centering producer of the world, and we should be able to lock in those gains by unlocking this potential, which because of our government we are not.

So, those three things right there, good physical past, opening up our energy policy, and painting our regulatory state and tax reform, those things in my mind are critical components of an economic growth policy, fiscal policy that in 2017 we need to get right on it. And that is why we want an election where we give people a really clear choice and commit ourselves to it so that we can finally what we need to do to get this turned around and get us back in the right track.

BARTIROMO: I know this resonates with our viewers and certainly voters.  Good to see you, sir. Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker.

RYAN: You bet. Thanks, Maria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BARTIROMO: There you have it, another presidential debate in the books.  GOP candidates hitting each other hard in South Carolina last night. We will talk winners and losers, what it means for when the Palmetto State heads to the polls. We're looking ahead this morning, on "Sunday Morning Futures."

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: The smoke is still clearing after a fiery GOP presidential debate last night. The six remaining candidates facing off in South Carolina, the next state to go to the polls. Boy, was it brutal. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For most of his life, his policies have been very, very liberal. For most of his life, he has described himself as very choice and a supporter of partial birth abortion.

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You are the single biggest liar, probably worse than Jeb Bush.

This guy lied -- let me just tell you, this guy lied about Ben Carson when he took votes away from Ben Carson in Iowa, and he just continues.

CRUZ: Marco went on Univision in Spanish and said he would not rescind President Obama's illegal executive am nest on the first day of office. I have promised to rescind every single illegal action, including that one.

(CROSSTALK)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Very quickly -- first of all, I don't know how he knows what I want on Univision, because he doesn't speak Spanish. And second of all --

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, the bottom line is the people of this country and this state want to see everybody rise and they want to see unity. I don't want to get into this fighting tonight, because people are sig of the negative campaigning, and I'm going to stay positive about what I want to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO: Whoo, on that note, let's bring in our panel, Ed Rollins, who's a former principal White House adviser to President Reagan, also Fox News political analyst, Judith Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author and Fox News contributor, and Mary Kissel, editorial board member at "The Wall Street Journal."

Good to see you, everybody.

Ed, winners and losers last night?

ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think to a certain extent, the American people lost. I think this is a very derogatory, and from my perspective, if this is going to go two more debates like this, we're going to lose voters every single we have them on there.

You can't be calling each other liars, you can't be turning each other down, and if you want to quote Ronald Reagan, who I obviously work for, they better practice what Ronald Reagan preached, which is, don't say nasty things about your opponents, Democrat or Republican, and in the death of Justice Scalia, one of the finest I've ever known, and he never basically would get into this kind of rhetoric, I just think it's outrageous to have this.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I want to talk more about Justice Scalia, his legacy, as well as of course what happens now, because this is quite important.

But let's stay on the debate for a second, Judy. How -- what are your observations?

JUDITH MILLER, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING REPORTER AND AUTHOR: I think the company may have lost, Ed, if you were watching television, it was an extraordinary debate.

BARTIROMO: Good TV.

MILLER: Absolutely amazing.

And I think Rubio helped himself a lot. I think he did not repeat a single thing he had said twice. And moreover, I think Kasich may have helped himself. I don't know if nice guys do not finish last, but I know when he said this calling one another liars, this invective, this helps get Hillary Clinton elected.

BARTIROMO: Now, we know what happened last time, Romney/Obama.

MILLER: Exactly.

I think they all did well, but I think Trump was rattled. I think he wasn't used to being booed. Some of his assertions about, for example, we can come back to this WMD, these are Democratic talking points, and radical Democratic talking point and it was just outrageous.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

MILLER: And I think people reacted.

BARTIROMO: You're right. All that booing, Mary, I wasn't expecting that.  It was a fair amount.

MARY KISSEL, WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: It was an education at bloodletting. The New Hampshire primary did not winnow the field at all. This was about taking on the front-runner Donald Trump.

And there were two essentially questions -- his temperament and whether or not his policies are sound and good for the nation and interests abroad.  We certainly learned about 'tis temperament last night. He repeated conspiracy theories that are worthy of MoveOn.org.

In terms of his policies, we're finally seeing the candidates explaining what a Trump presidency would be. You saw Bush again explained eminent domain and how Trump has abused it. You saw Cruz talking about Trump on social issues, that he supports partial-birth abortions.

And you also heard some education about foreign policy. Trump said he liked Putin, and both Cruz and Rubio pushed back on that and explain why that's a dangerous idea.

So, yes, it wasn't fun thing to watch. It wasn't a pretty thing to watch, but I think the American public learned a lot last night.

BARTIROMO: So, you think the plume is coming off the rose for Trump? It sounds --

KISSEL: When you think temperate and policy, I think we're finally starting to get an insight into both of those issues.

ROLLINS: I will guarantee Trump did not lose a supporter last night.

BARTIROMO: Really?

ROLLINS: People that are for him. The critical thing in politics is addition. He didn't add anybody and it's going to make it harder and harder for people on the other side to basically come support him in the end if he becomes the nominee.

I think the reality is that the Democrats are very vulnerable. They look high-minded compared to this debate and I reality is we have many substantive things that we can lean, we've got four very substantive people left, the two governors, two senators, Carson needs to get off the stage, he knows nothing about politics. And no disrespect to him as a man, and Trump, obviously, is a big personality. You put it on Monday night wrestling, you get the same show and the same kind of ratings.

BARTIROMO: We've got to jump, but I want to talk about who drops out next and also more with our panel on the political battle over the replacement of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

We're looking ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures." We'll be right back. And what happens now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back with our panel and back to our top story. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Back to our panel, Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, and Mark Kissel.

Your thoughts on the man, the legacy, and what happens now, Ed?

ROLLINS: He's one of the heroes of American politics. Certainly, one of the heroes of most important appointment Ronald Reagan made.

I served on the judicial selection panel of the White House for five years.  He was one of the first ones going on the appeals court in 1982. He was the model I used to judge everybody else after that.

He was impeccable. He was knowledgeable. He was a brilliant writer. He got along well with other people. And I just think he's very hard to replace.

BARTIROMO: I agree with you. I mean, I interviewed him a couple times, actually. I always felt he came across not just so smart and with such integrity, but also down to earth.

ROLLINS: He was a wonderful human being.

BARTIROMO: He was a proud Italian-American, I'll tell that you.

(LAUGHTER)

ROLLINS: A very devout family man, a very devout Catholic, and a real role model for young lawyers. Whatever your ideology is, to have his integrity is very important.

BARTIROMO: So, what happens now, Judy?

MILLER: Well, I mean this is -- President Obama did not wait a nanosecond after talking about what a wonderful man he was.

BARTIROMO: He's going to nominate.

MILLER: He's going to nominate someone. This is the moment in which suddenly President Obama sees an opportunity to really establish the legacy, to change the balance on the Supreme Court.

And my sense is he's going to go for it. He's going to try and nominate someone who can get through the Senate process which will be enormously difficult. But as long as President Obama is in legacy mode, this is his moment.

BARTIROMO: Will he be able to do it, push his person through, Mary?

KISSEL: I think the fact that we're even talking about this shows how politicized the court has become, especially under the Roberts court. One of the great virtues of Justice Scalia wasn't that he was a conservative and believed in conservative ideas, he's trying to return the court to its actual mission under the Constitution, which is the key to the Constitution and to interpret the text of the law.

In fact, liberals should have loved him because liberals wouldn't want a conservative Supreme Court reinterpreting and making law. This was Scalia's great contribution.

So, you know, when you heard President Obama come out last night, less than 24 hours after this great figure passed away and talk about politics, to me, it shows just how much the court has been degraded and how necessary and important it is to return the court to its original purpose under the next administration.

ROLLINS: I agree with all. That there is only one person in America that he can get through and that's Vice President Biden. Senators couldn't vote against Biden because they have relationships. He's former chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He can sit as vice president.

I'm not trying to argue that is what he's going to do. Nobody else will get through.

MILLER: Or a liberal Republican.

ROLLINS: No liberal Republican is going to get through, I promise you.

BARTIROMO: A liberal Republican will not get through?

ROLLINS: Why do we want a liberal Republican? Why do they want a liberal Republican? We had those by our own appointments. We don't want another --

BARTIROMO: So you think he'll try to push through Biden even though there's been --

ROLLINS: I think Biden is the only one he can get through. The Senate couldn't vote against Biden because there are too many friendships there.

MILLER: I think we have to wait and see. I don't think this is going to be just a symbolic appointment.

I think that President Obama, of all people, whose own policies, so many of them are now before the court, understands how important it is to change the judicial balance and he's not going to -- he's not going to say no to an opportunity.

BARTIROMO: I thought President Obama himself wanted to be a Supreme Court judge. That's what Hillary and he agreed upon.

KISSEL: I've heard that, too. If he were politically savvy, he would put up someone that Republicans would have a hard time delaying.

BARTIROMO: So that he could get the job.

(LAUGHTER)

KISSEL: But, unfortunately, I mean, this is a hyper-politicized White House and, you know, I don't expect him to find a compromised candidate.

BARTIROMO: All right. Short break then the one thing to watch in the week ahead. Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Back with our panel.

Ed Rollins, I guess South Carolina --

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: If Trump wins South Carolina after his performance last night, it's going to be very hard to stop him.

BARTIROMO: Wow, what do you think, Judy, important?

MILLER: Will we have a cease-fire in Syria? Will the bloodletting stop?

BARTIROMO: Mary?

KISSEL: The president is hosting a clutch of Asian dictators and autocrats. Is he going to say anything about human rights? I doubt it.

BARTIROMO: That's certainly to watch. China reopens on Monday after being closed for the new year. I'll be covering that on the morning show tomorrow on the Fox Business Network.
Thanks for joining us, everybody. That will do it for "Sunday Morning Futures." I'll see you tomorrow on the Fox Business Network, 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Join us. Have a great Sunday.

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