Interviews

Rep. Scalise: Trump is focused on keeping his promises

House Majority Whip discusses the timetable for tax cuts, ObamaCare repeal

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 28, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  In the meantime, Steve Scalise joining us, the House majority whip.  A lot at stake tonight.

Congressman, we don't call this a State of the Union address.  It's the first opportunity for this president to address a joint session of Congress.  And, already, we have got an indication out of some, hardly all Democrats, who will not be waiting along that line to get a chance to shake hands with him.  

So it sounds like there's still many who are wincing at the thought it's going to be Donald Trump in the well of the House and not Hillary Clinton. What do you think of that?  

REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA., HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP:  Well, Neil, clearly there's some over on the liberal side that haven't gotten over the fact that Hillary Clinton didn't win, that the American people said that they want Donald Trump to be president.  

And he's doing a great job as president, at moving forward on his agenda to create jobs and get the economy back on track.  And I'm looking forward to a real optimistic message from him tonight.

And if liberals are still trying to deny what the voters of this country said they wanted, that's their problem.  But what I'm excited to see is that he's really focused on keeping his promises in these first few weeks in office.  And this is what he ran on.  He said, I'm going to focus on jobs, getting some of these regulations that are killing jobs out of the way.  

Obviously, today, you saw action.  Last week, he signed a bill to save 70,000 coal miners jobs, something really good for American energy, something really good our economy.

Look at Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court pick, literally one of the people that he listed as somebody he would recommend to the Supreme Court if he were elected.  And he's following through on that promise too.  So, that's a refreshing thing.

CAVUTO:  How about on the budget parameters that he's laid out, sir?  Some have questioned whether he can get the $54 billion he wants to add to defense, for example, through other means.

Now, he's talked about cutting the State Department budget by 37 percent. Already , Mitch McConnell is saying he's very leery and concerned about that.  But, regardless, it wouldn't come close to addressing the $54 billion he wants to add to defense.  

Now, he's also talked up the growth he will see courtesy tax cuts and all. Is that timetable still looking doable to you?  

SCALISE:  It's looking doable.  The budget is going to formally come out in the next few weeks.  

I think it's encouraging that President Trump is talking about strengthening our national defense, something he ran on again.  And this is something we have wanted to see in Congress for a long time.  We had eight years of Barack Obama depleting our military, ignoring a lot of the threats around the world.  

And Donald Trump has been laying out a real aggressive plan to strengthen America's national security.  And then if you look at some of the other things that he is going to be laying out, it all deals with creating real optimism, getting the economy moving.  Lowering taxes, Neil, as you know, is something that our economy has needed critically.  We are not competitive as a nation right now.  It's the highest rate in the world.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO:  I'm sorry, sir.  I just want to be clear.  

You see that timetable as still on?  They will be able to do this, you will be able to do this in the time frame that has been talked about, right? Because there's some concern, with the repeal and replacing ObamaCare, whatever you want to call it, that that can push things back because you guys are not in agreement on how to go about that.  

SCALISE:  We're working on those details now.  In fact, our committees have been having hearings.  Our committee are going to be filing bills in the upcoming days and weeks to actually file and vote on legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO:  Concurrently?  In other words, repeal it and then replace it very quickly after that, or what is the gap between...

(CROSSTALK)

SCALISE:  There are some things in the repeal bill that we're going to include.  There are some limitations the law has, but as much as we can do to not just repeal ObamaCare, but replace it with reforms that actually put people back in charge.  

Medicaid, probably one of the broken forms of health care, we would like to see the states have real flexibility.  Every state is different in how they run Medicaid, yet there's a one-size-fits-all program right now out of Washington, where government bureaucrats who aren't elected make those decisions.  

How about we let the states be innovative on Medicaid and do much better and smarter things?  That's something we would like to put in the repeal bill and other things like that, so, strengthening health savings accounts, something that has been very successful at giving families and patients real choices in health care and lowering costs.  

That's something we want to include as well.  

CAVUTO:  All right, Congressman, thank you for taking the time.  I know you're going to have a slightly busy evening tonight.  Thank you for joining us.  We appreciate it.  

SCALISE:  Looking forward to it.  Always great to be with you, Neil.  

END

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