Interviews

Rep. Davidson makes push to work through summer recess

Ohio congressman talks agenda on 'Your World'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 4, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DAGEN MCDOWELL, GUEST HOST: Ohio Republican Congressman Warren Davidson is one of these who wants to work through the summer recess.

Congressman, good to see you.

Let's start naming some names of people who don't want to give up that recess to get that agenda list done for the American people.

REP. WARREN DAVIDSON, R-OHIO: Well, thanks for talking with me.

Let's start with -- the previous segment, I thought, was really good. But the part that is not there is, when you say recess, a lot of people think, well, you're just on vacation. That simply means that it's not in session.

So a lot of the people that don't want a recess to happen are people that really wait for a long time to get events scheduled on your calendar back in the district.

So, really, if you are going to represent people, you have to meet with them and know what their issues are. So, for most of my colleagues, and certainly for, as a new guy, we try to get five to seven events in, in a day and really get out and talk to constituents. But that really highlights it and frames it.

MCDOWELL: But do you need the whole month -- but do you need the entire month of August to do that?

Because you get plenty of recesses. I think that you worked eight days in the month of April. And it doesn't -- again, communicate with your constituents on Twitter and stay in Washington and take care of some of this agenda.

DAVIDSON: Yes, you're right in.

So just so, yes, let's understand, what you do really with that time? But the message is clear. Like, go get stuff done. And so that's really been something that I have joined a bunch of colleagues in saying, hey, we're happy to go meet with constituents, but I would rather stay here and get things done.

We're on a path where we don't have a budget number. We're talking about tax reform. We haven't finished health care reform and we have got a debt ceiling that we're running up against. So there's a lot of work that needs done in a very limited number of legislative days.

And when I was in manufacturing, when I was an infantryman, you certainly want to hit your deadlines, but, when you don't, you do what it takes to accomplish the mission. And I think that's the message that everybody is trying to send right now.

MCDOWELL: How do you feel with the House, the House GOP, at least, passing-- and it was tough -- passing health care bill? Now that it's in the Senate, do you feel like senators are dragging their feet?

DAVIDSON: Well, you know, we went through the same process. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, because I got there last June, June 9 for me, and came in to what had -- people had campaigned on for years is repeal and replace.

So, were there plans? Yes. There were several competing plans. But it really was much harder to get a consensus. And I think that's really where the Senate is. I believe they will pass a bill because they have to. This is a broken system. They have promised reforms.

And I think the bigger thing is, it can't just be about one bill. It has to be an unrelenting commitment to solving the problem. And it is going to take more than just this bill, because it's a much weaker bill than I think most of the country was expecting.

MCDOWELL: In terms of tax reform that is moving in the House of Representatives, are you closer than you were even a couple of weeks ago? Because, again, it's the issue of the border tax, which would essentially be maybe a 20 percent tax on imports into this country.

That is a huge, huge no for a lot of Republican senators -- members of the House. So, where are you on that? Has that finally been tabled?

DAVIDSON: It has not been tabled.

And, really, when you think about the border tax a stand-alone thing, this is really like a total different operating system. It's like trying to compare Windows and Mac. And, you know, Windows found that just to try to make it look like Mac isn't enough. You have to change some other things. You are going to have a few bugs as you work it out.

And so when you talk about the border tax, it really makes it shift from a-- just a tax on income to a consumption-oriented tax. And it really ends this tax on global profits and shifts it to destination-based.

And so when you pull that away, it gets pretty complicated and it really involves a shift back from this new logic that is in the Republican blueprint to a different logic that is really the traditional. And I think a lot of people are afraid we're going to wind up with a few tweaks around the margins, instead of a big overarching reform.

MCDOWELL: Right, maybe some marginal tax cuts.

But what are you hearing from your constituents? Because a border tax, you try and sell a consumption tax to people, and that's a nonstarter. But what are your constituents telling you? Are they happy with the way that the Republican Congress is behaving so far?

DAVIDSON: Well, they're happy with a lot of the results.

When you look at the era of governing by cell phone and pen, they like the fact that that is gone. And when you talk to -- even when hear the president talk, he's not just talking about executive action. Most of his executive actions have undone previous executive action to return it to the way that it was.

But many of them have been followed up with laws. The 14 congressional review acts -- the president has signed into law more things than any modern president. The pace has been a good one. But the big-picture things are harder to get done.

So, people are seeing some of that. One that really got too little attention, because the public was distracted by Democrats on other things, but the reform to Dodd-Frank with the CHOICE Act, that was a really big win.

MCDOWELL: Right.

DAVIDSON: The reforms to the VA, one of the most important things and frankly one of the most bipartisan things in the House was fixing the VA. And we finally got that signed into law. So, there's a lot of good things under way.

MCDOWELL: Well, here's my prediction, that when the Republican congressmen and the senators go back home and they're home over the Fourth of July holiday, they are going to get such an earful, they will want to stay in Washington in the month of August, because you all need to get a move on.

(LAUGHTER)

MCDOWELL: Thank you so much, Congressman. It was good to see you, Congressman Warren Davidson.

DAVIDSON: Thank you very much.

END

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