Sen. Rounds confident GOP can get tax reform done this year

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 16, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, it comes down to getting it done, right, getting the tax cuts done. Can the GOP do that?

Let's ask South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds.

Senator, what do you think?

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS, R-S.D.: Yes, I think we can get it done.

It's going to take a team approach. We are going to have to lay the agenda out, and then we're going to work through the issues that -- you know, that divide us. But we're going to have come together and get it done.

And we'd like to get it done this year. I appreciated the fact that they gave us some leeway in case we run into some real problems. But our goal is to get it done this year. It starts with the budget this week, and then we move forward.

CAVUTO: Yes.

Everything has to fall into place, as you reminded me last time we were on, Senator. But the one thing that comes to mind is where there might be movement to try to appeal to wayward voters, maybe even some Democrats.

I have heard bandied about this idea that the corporate tax rate, which you guys want to bring down to 20 percent, you might not do at all once, that if it's a matter of satisfying deficit hawks in your party -- you might as well be one, sir -- you could extend that over two, three years. Is that true?

ROUNDS: Well, I haven't heard of it put that way yet, Neil.

Our plan is to get a good step forward this year. But let me put it in perspective. We have made promises of about 5.5 trillion in tax reductions. But we have only got room within the budget that we're going to be voting on for about $1.5 trillion in actual reductions in revenue coming in.

So we have to have revenue enhancements of about $4 trillion in order to meet the difference. So, that means that the overall joy of having $5.5 trillion in tax decreases is going to be slowed down a little bit with the fact that we will see revenue increases, which means some changes in deductions and so forth totalling $4 trillion for a $1.5 trillion net loss in terms of revenue.

That is what within the budget that we're voting on. That's the reason why several members have expressed concern about whether or not the pain that goes along with that $4 trillion in revenue enhancements is going to be too tough for some of our members to swallow, and makes it more difficult to get 50 votes plus the vice president and the chair to pass it out.

CAVUTO: Do you think you can get any Democratic votes?

ROUNDS: If we get to 50, the answer, I believe, is yes. If we don't get to 50, then they're going to let us stew in our own juices.

CAVUTO: I have a feeling.

ROUNDS: Then I think it's very possible that we will end up with 53, 54 votes.

But we have to get to 50 on our own. And, look, I really believe we can do it. I'm confident that we're going to able to work this thing through. The real issue here is we have got to grow this economy. And in order to grow the economy, you have got to give enough tax revenue back to businesses to where they actually can reinvest it.

And we have got to repatriate the dollars overseas. There's, conservatively, $2.6 trillion, $2.7 trillion that if it comes back in would really help to generate in excess of 2.5, 2.6, $2.7 billion over a 10-year -- or $260 billion over that first couple of years.

CAVUTO: Yes.

ROUNDS: That helps to reduce some of the revenue losses elsewhere.

CAVUTO: All right, but, to be clear, you think that there's still a good possibility to get this done, voted on, approved this year?

ROUNDS: Yes, I do.

CAVUTO: OK.

ROUNDS: And, in fact, we're -- look, we our team wants to get it done. There isn't anybody in there saying, I don't want to get it done. Everybody is saying, let's find a way to get to yes.

We recognize how critical it is. We want to do the tax reforms. We want to do the tax deductions. And we just want to make sure that, when we do this, we do it in such a fashion that we actually start to rebuild the economy. We have got to get growth and GDP up over 3 percent if we're going to make this thing work.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator, thank you very much for taking the time, Senator Mike Rounds, beautiful state of South Dakota.


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