Interviews

Sen. Rand Paul talks infrastructure push, tax reform

Kentucky Republican weighs in on 'Your World'

 

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

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, they're going to revisit this health care thing. They're going to try to get the tax cut thing off the ground and now maybe it maybe the infrastructure to entice potentially Democratic votes. Too soon to say.

But a guy who is in the know is Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul.

Senator, good to have you.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY: Thank you.

CAVUTO: How do you feel about this infrastructure plan? And I -- and is it an attempt on the part of the White House to sort of move Democratic votes its way potentially for tax cuts?

PAUL: You know, I'm for an infrastructure plan.

And I think one way you could pay for it is to try to encourage American profit to come home, tax it at a small rate, and take that revenue and put it into a designated fund for infrastructure.

There's about $2 trillion of American profit overseas. None of it is coming home because the tax rate is 35 percent. I would lower that to about 5 percent. Make it voluntary. But take all the revenue that comes home from that and put it into a road fund.

I had a bill like this with Barbara Boxer last year. I think it could be bipartisan.

CAVUTO: All right, do you think you need something like that, Senator, to get Democrats on board with what presumably, I'm reading from the White House, would be the next step, support for comprehensive tax reform?

PAUL: Yes, I think comprehensive tax reform is harder, because there's 1,000 moving pieces you got everybody to agree to.

I have always thought we ought to try one simple bill, call it an infrastructure funding bill, and lower this repatriation tax. Republicans like to lower taxes. Take the money and spend it on highways. Both parties like to do that.

But let's don't do it through borrowed money. Let's don't make the debt worser -- worse. Let's actually have a new revenue stream for highways and for a highway fund. And I would leave it in place. I would just leave a low tax on money coming home and I would leave that in place, and I would fund our roads with it.

CAVUTO: Senator, much has been made about how aggressive the administration or Congress or you guys, you specifically, will be about tax cuts, that there's not a lot of wiggle room here, and that if you buy the argument they have be to revenue-neutral, whether you're using static, dynamic accounting, whatever you guys ultimately go with, there isn't a lot of room for making them really, really big tax cuts.

Do you agree with that?

PAUL: No.

I think we should not insist that they be revenue-neutral. I'm for a tax cut. I want government to be smaller. I want people to keep more of their own money. I also don't think that you stimulate the economy. If I shift the tax person from Johnny to Mary and the revenue stream is the same, have I really stimulated anything?

So, I'm for lowering rates, but I also want government to receive less money. And I would compensate for that not by raising someone's taxes. I would compensate for that by actually lowering spending.

CAVUTO: Well, there's a concept.

Need I digress about -- didn't give you a look at what is happening right now in the House Ways and Means Committee. Has nothing to with taxation, the health care, any of that. They're moving ahead with a procedure push by Democratic New Jersey Congressman Pascrell to demand the treasury secretary of the United States to hand over Donald Trump's tax records.

Steve Mnuchin, as you know, in that capacity, oversees the IRS. I guess it's not going anywhere. It's procedural. Kevin Brady isn't stopping it. He's allowed and members are allowed to do this.

But what do you make of this?

PAUL: Well, I think we might learn that Donald Trump may have paid more taxes than President Obama, and, as a percentage, that he paid more taxes than the socialist Bernie Sanders.

And so I think people know that he has a far-flung, large business hotel empire. And I don't think there should be a requirement that you show your tax return. We have to do pages and pages. I have to reveal every mutual fund that I own in my retirement account, every one of them.

If I do a stock transaction, I have got to reveal that. I think there are plenty of forms. And I think people have a pretty good idea of who Donald Trump is. But, no, I think insisting on tax reforms is overkill. And I think we don't need to do that for everyone.

CAVUTO: All right, back to this health care measure they want to take up again, is that risky, especially if it's going to depend on just Republicans getting together on this? Because they didn't last time.

PAUL: Well, I don't think we gave it long enough.

I think we were getting closer. I know the people in the House Freedom Caucus very well. These are principled men and women. This is a good group of people who honestly want your insurance rates to go down and they want to fix the problem that President Obama created with ObamaCare.

And I think they are actually getting closer. And I think we're all getting closer. I'm continuing to talk to the White House, continuing to talk to colleagues.

I do think that the one thing that unified us for a half-dozen years now has been repeal. We have not been so unified on replacement.

CAVUTO: Right.

PAUL: But I think the closer we get to a repeal bill, the closer we can get to unity.

CAVUTO: All right, so do you think the simultaneous repeal and replace hurt it?

PAUL: Well, the thing is -- and this is what is confusing.

I have been advocating for simultaneous.

CAVUTO: Right.

PAUL: But what I always meant by that was two separate bills, because I think some of the things may or may not be allowed by the rules. And I think a separate replacement bill should go much further.

And it will require Democrats will support it. But I think if Democrats will not support replacement, then the onus is on them to still carry the heavy burden of ObamaCare. One of the biggest things that we could transform the marketplace with is letting large groups buy insurance all with one negotiator.

AARP has over 30 million people. If let them have one negotiator, my guess is then the insurance companies, the executives would come on bended knee and give us something good for a cheap price.

That's what I want, is more leverage for the consumer. That may require a separate replacement bill.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Rand Paul, thank you very much. Good seeing you.

PAUL: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

END

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