Rep. Curbelo on being denied entry to Hispanic Caucus

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 17, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

REP. CARLOS CURBELO, R-FLORIDA: You know how to say Ways and Means in Spanish?

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

CURBELO: Ways and Means. Kevin Brady.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. KEVIN BRADY, R-TEXAS: Thanks, buddy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, that guy just could be a star.

Not talking about the established star, the House Ways and Means Committee chief, Kevin Brady, of course, the guy who introduced him, Carlos Curbelo. He is the Florida congressman who represents the -- I guess southernmost Florida district. Right?

Very good to have you, sir.

CURBELO: Thank you so much, Neil.

CAVUTO: You're a rock star in your party.

CURBELO: That's generous.

CAVUTO: Obviously, they showcase you at a number of events here. But you are persona non grata within the Hispanic Caucus. Why is that?

CURBELO: Well, apparently, for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, you're only a Hispanic if you're a Democrat.

And that's a shame, because there's millions of Hispanic Republicans in this country, millions of Hispanic independents in this country who I think should also be represented in a caucus that claims to be bipartisan, except for the fact that they won't allow any Republicans on the caucus.

CAVUTO: So there's no Republican in the caucus?

CURBELO: No. And I tried to join. And I was told that I don't share their values. So, apparently, I'm not Hispanic enough for them.

CAVUTO: Interesting.

All right, we did reach out to the Hispanic Caucus. We have not heard back, sir.

But one thing that does come up is that the Hispanic Caucus itself supports a lot of things that you do not. So, let's go through the thing that was obviously the most divisive. And that is on immigration.

You're tough on that. Explain.

CURBELO: Well, look, we have many disagreements. And when I filed my letter asking to join, I said, we're not going to agree on a lot of issues, but there are issues where we do agree. And one of those is dreamers, the DACA recipients, young children, now young adults who were brought to this country as children.

Some of them were babies. They don't even remember where they came from.

CAVUTO: Right. So you're not for kicking them out or...

(CROSSTALK)

CURBELO: No, no, on the contrary. I filed the first bill this Congress to give them permanent status in this country, because most of these young adults are contributing to this country.

They're paying taxes. They're working. They want to serve in the military. And I think we should welcome them. Why can't we work together, Republicans and Democrats, to do that?

CAVUTO: And even with that, they say no to you?

CURBELO: Even with that, they were not interested.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you. What is it that Republicans then can offer Hispanics? As a group, while not as monolithic a vote that goes Democratic as, let's say, African-Americans, still, Hispanics, by and large, vote Democratic.

So what do Republicans have to do, what do you try to remind Hispanics that Republicans are doing?

CURBELO: Neil, the Hispanic American families that live in South Florida, in my district, the main reason a lot of them wanted to come to the United States and came here is because they wanted the opportunity to work hard to earn their success.

And I think the best thing that we can offer, not just Hispanics, but all Americans, is a growing, vibrant economy where everyone has the opportunity to rise to achieve their success, whatever that means.

That's why I think this tax reform bill that we're working on is so important. A lot of Hispanic families, and not just Hispanics, a lot of American families, broadly speaking, feel like the economic recovery never reached their homes, and like they have been left out of a lot of the growth that we have seen since 2008-2009.

This tax reform bill is the opportunity to make sure that recovery reaches into every household in this country.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I read a good deal of the Florida press.

And the Florida press is presenting it as one -- like the -- many in the press, as skewed to the rich, certainly not pro-minority.

CURBELO: That's incredible.

CAVUTO: Certainly not pro-Hispanic. So, how do answer them?

CURBELO: So, the top marginal rate, 39.6, we don't touch it in the House. We leave it exactly where it is.

Then we expand the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600. The first $1,000 will be refundable. We create a parent credit to strengthen families, $300 for parent. For the first time, we have a credit for non- children dependents, if someone is taking care of a sick relative at home, or if a son or daughter stays at home to go to college. Now there is a credit for that.

This tax reform project, proposal is dedicated to strengthening American families and making them more prosperous.

CAVUTO: But there's a lot of Hispanic voters in a lot of high-tax states. Florida is not one of them.

But they're concerned about, you know, the deduction for state and local taxes going away. Now, in the House plan, you still allowed $10,000 for mortgage interest and the like, but in the Senate plan it's not there.

And I'm wondering if you're wondering and worrying that that could be a problem?

CURBELO: So, selfishly, I should not care about this issue, because Florida, thank God, is a low-tax state, and that's why we have such a strong economy there.

But I'm concerned about people who live in New York and Illinois and California. And I actually think we need to do more to accommodate them in the tax reform proposal.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: More than even the $10,000 thing?

CURBELO: I really do. And I think there's a way.

Our chairman had a proposal for a flexible credit.

CAVUTO: Right. How do you feel about what the Senate is trying to do to free up some funds by dropping the individual mandate?

CURBELO: Well, if it's done in a way where those funds are redirected into helping the median family in the United States of America, that typical family of four, then I think it could be interesting.

Also, I think the Senate wants to restore the medical expense deduction, something I support. If those dollars are pumped into those ideas, I think it could be worthwhile.

CAVUTO: But are you worried that some senators are concerned, why are you throwing this into the mix? It was our third rail before in the Senate. We perished on it. So, they're worried about this coming up in this measure. Are you?

CURBELO: Without question, it convolutes the process. And it muddies the message. And I do have some concerns about that.

This is a tax bill, and now some people are going to think it's health...

CAVUTO: Do you think it gets through? Do you think it gets through?

CURBELO: I think, at the end of the day, it gets done. Why? Because the American people need this.

CAVUTO: All right.

CURBELO: The American people need a future where everyone has the chance to succeed, not just some.

CAVUTO: All right, Carlos Curbelo, remember that name, if you haven't already. Republicans are certainly showing him off. So they should. He's a pretty dynamic guy.

END

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