Interviews

Rep. Meadows: Hope to have tax reform bill by this summer

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 7, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  I think there's a little confusion here.  The legislating is going to be done this year.  We are going to done legislating with respect to health care and ObamaCare this year.

The question is, how long does it take to implement the full replacement of ObamaCare?  But as far as legislating is concerned, we're going to do our legislating this year.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, I don't know if that satisfies Mark Meadows, a crucial member of the so-called House Freedom Caucus. In fact, he's its chairman.  

The North Carolina Republican with us right now.  

Are you satisfied with that, Congressman, that the legislating part of repealing and -- ObamaCare will be done?  The replacement thing is a little vague, but what does that mean?

REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-NORTH CAROLINA:  Well, I think what the speaker is talking about there is not just that we're going to look at repealing.  

And I fully expect that a vote on the House floor happens within the next 30 days in terms of repealing.  It's that replacement aspect that we have been saying should happen at the same time, in fact, the same day.  

But there may be more components to that.  So, the legislating part the speaker is talking about will continue on until the August recess to make sure that we get that to provide a smooth transition.  

We think the sooner we act, the better it is for the American people.  And any anxiety that is out there, Neil, really starts to get alleviated when people realize that we're going to address the preexisting conditions and making that sure health care is indeed affordable.  

And so, as we look at that, it's all hands on deck.  I know we're having a number of hearings next week to hopefully push this along.  But I would like to see a vote in February.  

CAVUTO:  Yes.

All right, in the meantime, tax cuts, because it seemed like you got sidetracked, you guys, on this whole repeal and replace argument, ObamaCare.

MEADOWS:  Right.  

CAVUTO:  And I know it's a very big issue.  I don't minimize its importance.  

But tax cuts and that sort of thing that could really boost the economy at a time when even the most robust economist says that things are slowing down and that you need to do something to spur this -- whether tax cuts are the answer is up to debate -- you're not doing that.  And that could be delayed.  And this is the lead engine of the train.  

MEADOWS:  Well, let's make some breaking news here right now, Neil, because I just came from a meeting with Chairman Brady, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee.  

I probably have met more times on tax reform than literally we have on the Affordable Care Act and the replacement.  I know that we had our caucus meet with the chairman to talk about not only the border adjustment tax, but overall tax reform.  

And what the chairman indicates is that he hopes to have a bill where we can vote on that by this summer.  And so it is going on parallel tracks. But I, like you, believe that the economy has to take on a more robust...

CAVUTO:  Well, wait a minute.  You said Peter Roskam, the chairman.  Right?  

MEADOWS:  Actually, it's the chairman of the full committee, Chairman Kevin Brady that we just met with a few minutes ago.  

CAVUTO:  Oh, all right.  All right.  All right.  I'm wrong.

So Brady has told you that, what, you would have a tax cut measure out of committee when?  

MEADOWS:  Well, he's hopeful that we can vote on that by this summer, is what he just told the Freedom Caucus a few minutes ago.  

And what that means is, is that his staff, Peter Roskam and Kevin Brady and their entire staff has to work around the clock between now and then to make sure that we have all the details mapped out.  

But I'm looking forward to corporate tax reductions, to individual reductions where hopefully the American taxpayer can fill out their tax return on a postcard.  We have been promising it and working on it for decades.  It's time that we act.  The American people expect it.

CAVUTO:  Would you marry those two, Congressman?  Was it your understanding and the chairman's understanding that you would wed the corporate tax relief with the personal income rate relief at the same time?  

MEADOWS:  I think you have to, Neil, when you really look at comprehensive tax reform.  It's an all-inclusive.  

As you know, from a business standpoint, some of that flows through to individuals, depending on what type of corporation they have.  So, you have to make it all together.  And the American people are looking for ways to bring back jobs to America.  And so the chairman's working with the administration.  But I can tell you that it hasn't lost our focus in terms of what is important.

CAVUTO:  Is everyone roughly on the same page?  Does everyone seem to feel, do you feel, Congressman, does the chairman feel that this is something that should be revenue-neutral, in other words, everything is paid for?  

MEADOWS:  Yes, I think everybody believes that it should be paid for and that, as we look at that, it's there.

But when we're talking about job creation, you need to make sure that you understand that the dynamic nature of it is that when we grow the economy, we actually get more revenue.  And so we can't discount that as well.  

And so I can tell you that this makes our second meeting this week on tax reform.  We anticipate having another two next week.  And so it's a priority for us here in the House.  

CAVUTO:  All right, so let me understand that priority.  And you have talked to Kevin Brady, the chairman, and that the goal here is to get a combined corporate-individual tax relief package out in relatively short order, at least out of committee.  

Would it include a measure that has been kicked around by some of your colleagues for a border tax or something like that that would effectively pay for a lot of this up front, or is that even important?  

MEADOWS:  Well, it is important.  

I think any reform really has to address that critical area of the border adjustment tax that you're talking about.  That's really been the focus.  A lot of the other items that we look at really come back to that one area.  

Do you -- you do the border adjustment tax.  Is it something that is picking up steam?  I would say, yes, that it is.  There's still a whole more information that has to come in.  So, we evaluate that.  

CAVUTO:  Would those tax cuts be retroactive?  That's another issue that has come up and Wall Street has been paying attention to.

What do you think?  

MEADOWS:  It's too early to tell in terms of retroactive.  

Generally, there's a phase-in period.  And so I would not normally expect them to be retroactive.  

CAVUTO:  Right.

MEADOWS:  That adds a degree of complexity.  

But as we start to look at that, if I were a business owner, I would be looking at supply chains and what we can look at in terms of making sure that they can take advantage of real reform that I'm hopeful happens here in the next 90 to 120 days.  

CAVUTO:  All right, when you talk about real reform within the next 90 to 120 days, even if you guys are stalled for whatever reason on the repeal and replace of ObamaCare, would you shift over to the tax cut thing if that is getting delayed or would you do both simultaneously?  

MEADOWS:  Well, I think I they go on parallel tracks.  

One has a vehicle that I think the repeal and replacement actually doesn't stall, that it actually does get done in March, hopefully, from that.  But then, as you go on, the reconciliation instructions that would be needed would actually be in the 2018 budget.  

CAVUTO:  I see.

MEADOWS:  And so I don't see that you can have one without the other.  So, we need to answer this Affordable Care Act issue as quickly as we can, so we can move on to tax reform.  

CAVUTO:  All right, but assuming we get this push in March or April, whatever the time frame is, sir, is it safe to say that it would effective at the rate it is approved, in other words, that the moment it is approved, and not going back to January 1?

MEADOWS:  Right.  

I think what you do is, you have an effective day that once the president signs it, then that certainly would affect the markets.  And as they look to implement that, you know, having that as an effective day.

Retroactive accountability makes it more difficult to try to figure out the numbers.  That being said, I want to make sure that I don't preempt the chairman on any of that, Neil.   

CAVUTO:  Fair enough.  

MEADOWS:  And as he looks as that, we're going to look for a smooth transition that will actually provide some real encouragement to the markets.  

CAVUTO:  But you're saying again in the committee and debated and hopefully out of committee by March, April, in that time frame?  

MEADOWS:  Well, the chairman is truly wanting to move this by the summer. We get out in August.  You have got to actually be moving on that in the very near future.  

CAVUTO:  OK.  All right.  Congressman, thank you.  

Broke a lot of news here.  We appreciate that.  

Again, for those of you who might have tuned in late to this interview -- and I always say, Mark Meadows, when he comes on, he breaks some news here-- the indications are that the Republicans are not only on with these tax cuts, but on for getting them done sooner than had been considered, a March-April event, so that they could have this wrapped up by summer. That is big news.  

END

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