This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 19, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, "YOUR WOLRD" HOST: All right, the president is very keen on making sure that these tax cuts get done. That, of course, means on the Senate side getting a budget done first. This could explain the turnaround in the Dow, which was down triple digits today, finished up in record territory today, on optimism that such a deal can get done.
And, of course, this is the man who is leading the effort in the House of Representatives. I'm talking about the House majority whip, Steve Scalise. Congressman, so glad to have you. Thanks for taking the time.
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA, HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: Neil, great to be back with you.
CAVUTO: First off, on a personal note, how are you feeling?
SCALISE: Feeling really good. Still have a lot of rehabilitation to go, but, boy, I'm lucky to be alive. And it's just really good to be back at work and back in my district getting around and seeing friends that I haven't seen in a long time.
CAVUTO: Yes, people have been looking at your pace of activity, and they're saying, geez, in case Democrats were thinking he would be slowing down, just the opposite. But, again, as you know, sir, some are saying time is a wasting on this. Doable by the end of the year, tax cuts?
SCALISE: It is doable.
And, look, this is the time to get things done. And this is the biggest thing we can get done, and that is to lower taxes for everybody, to make our country competitive again, to rebuild the middle class, Neil.
You look at what has happened over the last 10 years, and we have seen the middle class evaporate. We have seen jobs move overseas. We can reverse that quickly through tax reform. And that's what our bill will do.
CAVUTO: Congressman, I'm wondering what kind of give and take -- you don't have to negotiate on this show, although you can feel free, by the way -- of what Republicans will do to get Democratic votes.
CAVUTO: I guess it's more of an issue, sir, in the Senate, where the margins are tighter.
And a lot of Democrats are dead set about any package that would include tax cuts for the wealthy, maybe phasing them in or phasing that rate out for some at the top.
How do you feel about that? How negotiable is that?
SCALISE: Well, you still see that class warfare being played on the left.
And, frankly, that whole approach to government was rejected in the last eviction. Donald Trump ran as a businessperson who was going to bring jobs back, who was going to make America great again.
And, again, the quickest way to do that is through tax reform, which means you lower taxes for everybody. Don't play, hey, I don't want my taxes lowered, but I don't want somebody else's lowered.
Let's lower everybody's taxes. But, more importantly, let's make America competitive again and bring jobs back to America that left to foreign countries.
Why criticize companies that send jobs overseas? Let's talk to them, and say let's bring the jobs back to America. And we can do that. Let's do that now and let's get it done.
CAVUTO: Some of your colleagues also even within the Republican ranks, Congressman, are saying maybe we have to stagger in these corporate tax cuts that will get to 20 percent, but we won't get there right away. We will do it in stages.
Are you of that mind?
SCALISE: Well, if you really want to get the economy moving, which I do, you do it all immediately.
Whatever you are going to do, if you stagger it or if you delay it, all that means is you are going to delay the growth and the success of this economy and you are going to delay the jobs.
We don't need to wait any longer. We have been waiting 10 years to get real economic growth. Let's get it started now. President Trump wants to get it started now. And I'm real excited to be back working with him.
Let's go and get this done and make these effective immediately, so we can see the real economic boost and again rebuild the middle class that evaporated over the last 10 years.
CAVUTO: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin had said yesterday, sir, that if the tax cuts somehow failed or didn't get through, the markets wouldn't like that.
Do you agree?
SCALISE: Look, I will let smart people like you that understand markets really well figure that out.
What I know is, we need to get this done. This is not only a promise that was made to the American people, but it's also something that really can unleash the potential of the American economy to create more jobs and to rebuild our middle class.
That's why we need to get it done. So, you know, my focus is, let's lay the plan out, let's build a consensus to get it passed, and then let's see the economy take off like nothing we have seen since 1986, which is the last time, by the way, that we reformed our tax code.
CAVUTO: You mentioned these markets and the assumption that I know what I'm talking about.
But having covered them for all these years, 30 years, I think I better toupee, frankly, Congressman, but I digress. I do find it amazing that a sell-off or a big drop-off happens when few expect it.
So, Ronald Reagan was of the view of rarely talking about the markets. And they were doing very well and did very well by the end of his eight years. We were a lot higher than when he entered office. Taxes were a lot lower and a lot more Americans had jobs.
But he was leery of talking about the markets. This president isn't. He talks about them quite a bit. And they have had an impressive run-up since his election certainly this year.
Do you think there's a danger to that, that it can boomerang on you? What do you think?
SCALISE: Well, we know markets go up and down.
I think what we're looking at right now is wages. Wages have been stagnant for 10 years now. And a lot of that is because of the slow economic growth.
When you see the country hovering at a 1.9, 2 percent, or less than 2 percent economic growth, that ultimately results in a lot of bad things for middle-class families. And for most people, it means they haven't seen a pay raise in a long time.
Under our plan, a new report came just out this week that shows if the Republican tax cut bill passes, the average family will see $4,000 more in their paychecks. Plus, they're going to be paying lower rates. And, oh, by the way, Neil, under our plan, we simplify the tax code so much that over 90 percent of Americans can actually fill out their taxes on a postcard.
Imagine how big of a benefit that is going to be to people, that not only are going to have more money in their pocket, but they're also going to have the simplicity of the tax code that they don't have to go pay somebody money to do their taxes. They can do it themselves and then maybe use that money to go on a vacation or add on to their house.
CAVUTO: But, still, there's those -- I'm talking about the Senate as well, maybe colleagues of yours in the House as well, Congressman, who worry that if the middle class end up, because let's say a deduction for state and local taxes is phased out, and they pay more, people like Rand Paul say, well, I can't vote for that, I'm a no-vote for that.
What do you think of that?
SCALISE: Well, you know, you ought to be focused on how you can vote for something that is going to create jobs and rebuild the middle class.
And I'll tell you this. Chairman Kevin Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has been doing a great job of working with all of our members to address concerns they have got to make sure that this plan works for everybody, all sections of the economy, and, again, with the main focus of being getting the economy back on track, creating jobs and bring all of those tens of thousands of high-paying jobs that left America, bring those back to America. Bring those jobs back home.
That's what our plan does.
CAVUTO: Do you think then the president has got to marshal all his resources -- and they're very considerable -- to get yes-votes, not only in the House, but in the Senate, and that tweeting, as he did a couple of weeks ago, nasty things about Senator Bob Corker is counterproductive?
SCALISE: Well, I know this, that if you look at the health care bill which the House passed, President Trump worked day in and day out to help us get the votes to pass that bill.
That was a very tough bill to pass out of the House. Frankly, I wish the Senate would have worked harder and stayed and got it done. But they missed it by one vote. We passed it with one extra vote.
SCALISE: And President Trump was critically involved in helping close a lot of those votes. And he's going to be important to us passing this tax reform bill.
And you're already seeing him out front talking about how this is going to help rebuild the middle class.
CAVUTO: Sir, does it hurt that chance when, whatever the justification might be -- he says that the other -- Senator Corker started it, Senator Corker responding in kind -- that it gets in the way of getting that yes- vote?
SCALISE: Well, in the end, this is going to be a process where everybody is going to vote on a bill.
And, hopefully, whatever your personal issues you have with somebody are, when you are casting an important vote, a vote that important that has a major implication on the economy and the future of families across this country, you're voting based on the policy.
And this is really good policy. This is a win for American families who have been waiting, waiting for their taxes to be lowered and waiting for the jobs to be brought back to America and to see the middle class built back up again. This is going to be an important vote that is bigger than any one person or some spat somebody might have had with an individual.
CAVUTO: You might have seen today earlier the chief of staff, General Kelly, defending the president and his call to this woman who lost her husband in Niger.
And I'm wondering what you made of the dust-up over that.
SCALISE: Well, again, I'm not focusing on these individual personality conflicts.
Surely, you wouldn't want to see them happen. But, regardless of that, I think this vote is going to be so important, especially after the failure of health care in the Senate, the fact that they couldn't get that done.
This is the biggest thing that they can do and we can do to get this economy moving again. That's where the focus needs to be. Let's go create those jobs. Let's get our economy back on track.
And you can vote yes to make that happen. And if you vote no, you're voting for the status quo and stagnant economy, and I sure wouldn't want to have to go back home and explain that.
CAVUTO: Thank you, Congressman.
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