Biggs: Freedom Caucus to have fierce advocates in conference

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 5, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The taxes, we're so thrilled about, so popular.

And I think something is going to be coming out of conference pretty quickly, as opposed to long-term. I think it's going to go pretty quickly.

We decided that let's put it into the conference and let's come out with something where everything is perfecto.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Perfecto means very soon-o to the president.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. And you're watching "Your World."

And the president of the United States making it clear in no subtle terms: I expect this on my desk and soon.

And things look good, and they do. Now, there is a separate issue here that is staring us like a big old bump in the road. And that is a budget that they have to cobble together, and soon. In the meantime, the prospects for tax cuts, despite a little hemming and hawing here and there, are still looking pretty good.

But so many details to iron out, and so fast.

To Fox News Channel's Peter Doocy on Capitol Hill with the latest.

Hey, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, we just got word from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, he wants there to be a two-week long budget to keep the government open.

As of right now, they have only got enough cash to keep the lights on here until Friday. And there's a fight about how long it should be extended.

Leadership wants to go until the 22nd, three days before Christmas, and then pass a longer-term budget, so people can head home for a few weeks and celebrate the holidays.

But conservatives don't think anything truly conservative is going to get done with the holidays hanging over their heads. They want people to come back after Christmas with a budget that would go until the end of the year.


REP. DAVE BRAT (R), VIRGINIA: Usually, we load up the Christmas tree at the end of the year with Democrat votes. We want to avoid that scenario, so that will help us.


DOOCY: This is intertwined with the tax reform effort, because some conservatives from the House Freedom Caucus last night withheld support for a time for a key tax vote to make a point to Speaker Ryan about this spending dilemma.

It was a big surprise that they did that. And now Democrats in the Senate are saying it could all be avoided if they're just given a seat at the table.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., MINORITY LEADER: We hope the Republican leadership can avert more of this unnecessary hostage-taking, like we saw on the House floor last night, which can only impede the serious ongoing bipartisan negotiations.


DOOCY: Schumer is also telling his Republican colleagues in the Senate, it's not too late just to vote no on a motion to go to a conference that would take the Senate tax bill and the House tax bill and streamline them, so there's one thing that they can pass together and then the president can sign.

But Majority Leader McConnell insists a conference vote is coming. He says it's going to happen later on this week, and there's a lot of good feelings among Republicans that they're actually going to get this done by the end of the year, Neil.

CAVUTO: Incredible.

They're breaking pace here. All right, Peter, thank you very much, Peter Doocy on Capitol Hill.

Well, the House is not having any of this notion that they will just rubber-stamp whatever the Senate came up with.

Arizona Republican Congressman, House Freedom Caucus member Andy Biggs with us right now.

Congressman, thank you for taking the time

REP. ANDY BIGGS, R-ARIZ.: Thanks, Neil. Good to be with you.

CAVUTO: Now, I know you and your colleagues were a little bit startled by this sudden AMT issue that developed in the Senate to get that thing passed.

I can understand why they did it. You guys are not happy that they did, and you want to remove it. Where does that stand?

BIGGS: Well, since we have gone to committee, we're trying to continue our push to get that back the way the House had it, which was to eliminate the AMT on both the corporate side and the individual side.

And the Senate side kept it in because they wanted to fund some additional spending here or there through the tax bill. So, you know, within committee, we have made our wishes known. We're told that we will have fierce advocates in the committee.


BIGGS: I hope we do.

CAVUTO: But are fierce advocates, Congressman, no votes if it doesn't go your way?

BIGGS: I'm not sure that we get there yet. But I do think that people will take a real hard look at the whole package once it's done.

I know that they better not give it to us on a Thursday night and say we're voting at 9:00 on Friday morning.

CAVUTO: But the ATM as an issue, sir, is a dead one to you and your members, right?

AMT. I'm sorry.


CAVUTO: So, you might have to go to an ATM to pay for it.

BIGGS: Yes. That's right.


CAVUTO: But do you have any sense now, the way things are going, that a rise in the corporate tax, to maybe adjustment, because the Senate is prisoner to these deals that require everything to balance out, at least on paper, over 10 years.

And an idea that they have kicked around, some have kicked around, the president in fact raised, is going slightly higher in the corporate rate, maybe to 21, 22 percent, so that issues like these go away.

What do you think of that?

BIGGS: I'm not a big fan of it, but I have talked to corporations -- not corporations, but their representatives. They think that they could live with 21, 22 percent.

But we need to do that immediately, not do it with the one-year delay that the Senate is talking about, because we will be denied the benefit of that substantial corporate tax reduction.

So, we can kick that around, but they need to do this immediately and not protract this and say let's kick this down the road one year, because we're not going to get the benefit. We have to get the benefit immediately, so this economy will continue to grow.

CAVUTO: What did you think of your Arizona senator, Jeff Flake, who has had some run-ins with the president, sitting right next to the president today among those half-dozen senators who had a powwow with him?

BIGGS: You know what? Politics made strange bedfellows. And it looks like maybe they have -- maybe they're getting over their differences. That would be great.

CAVUTO: What is the read back in Arizona with this back and forth between these two, also John McCain? But they were both yes votes on this tax cut deal. Are bygones bygones, or what?

BIGGS: In Arizona, people are saying, let's support President Trump.

I will speak for my district. My district supports President Trump.


BIGGS: And they want to get this tax reform package done. They want to see reduced spending.

They want to see us basically enact the Trump agenda. And that -- and we're getting some of it. But this would be a big win for the state. And I think everybody in our delegation, both in the Senate and the House, we want something positive done for the American people.

CAVUTO: John Conyers, as you probably heard today, Congressman, is going to be stepping down.

A lot of issues, whether it's his son or someone else who moves up. Does that put pressure, you think, on Republicans to tell any controversies in their bunch, including Roy Moore, if he comes in, that he should go as soon as he does?

BIGGS: Well, I don't know that it puts any pressure on any one party.

I think what it does is, it says, you know, you have to face up to the facts of what the allegations, if they're proven. You need to take care of those. And we need to protect victims.

And I think that's really what we're seeing here. You have a member of our body who is -- not a harassment charge, but he said, look, I was inappropriate. I'm going to announce my resignation -- or not resignation, but his retirement.

So we're seeing that happen.

CAVUTO: Right.

BIGGS: And what you're going to see every day, I think, is more and more of these allegations come out.

But I hope that we're all learning a very valuable lesson, that these are very serious things. And we need to take care of them appropriately.

CAVUTO: All right, real quickly, back to the tax cut, you're optimistic this can all be signed, sealed and delivered to the president by Christmas?

BIGGS: I actually am. I am optimistic about that.

CAVUTO: All right.

Very good seeing you again, Congressman. Be well.

BIGGS: Good to see you. Thanks. Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, well, you know, Republicans are happy about that, Nancy Pelosi not so much.

In fact, she says, if Republicans get their way, you know what is going to happen? Armageddon.


CAVUTO: Republicans might be smiling about those tax cuts that are coming, Nancy Pelosi not so much. Can you say disaster?

Take a look. All right, I know what you're thinking. Neil, you're just using that as an excuse to some of our favorite 20th Century Fox disaster movies. Not so.

Nancy Pelosi spelled it out exactly. Here are her words.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This is Armageddon. This is a very big deal. They take us further, more deeply into debt. What can you do but raise taxes?


CAVUTO: And sink ships and destroy cities, well, whole streets. You see any flooding going on now? It's just a matter of time.

All right. We have Democratic strategist Robin Biro, The Federalist Bre Payton, conservative blogger Allie Stuckey.

Allie, her point is, get ready. It's going to get to be a disaster. What do you think?


Well, I say if Americans keep more money in their pocket is Armageddon, then maybe it's time for the world to end.

I mean, Nancy Pelosi is completely unhinged. We have known that for a long time now. Unfortunately, we have also seen this kind of rhetoric from other people on the left. We have seen Patton Oswalt and Linda Sarsour say that, one, this is going to be the end of America as we know it, and, two, people are going to die.

Well, there's problems with those statements. One, this is not the end of America as we know it, because America wasn't built on high corporate tax rates and forcing people into health insurance.

And, two, people are not going to die, because taxes don't keep people alive. The government doesn't keep people alive. So, it's very hard to hear any legitimate complaints from the left, when this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric is their mode of operation.

CAVUTO: Well, all I know is hyperbolic rhetoric is not just assigned to just Democrats. I heard Republicans say a lot of stuff with the health care bill. And they thought that was justified then. I'm sure Democrats feel this is justified now.

But, Bre, is there a sense here that that will resonate, though, this fear that Democrats have perpetuated that, hey, not only are you not going to get as big a tax cut as you wanted, some of you going to get chump change compared to the rich?

Now, it's not true. And we have crunched the numbers and done some comparisons. It is what it is. That's the perception people have. And it's a bad Armageddon movie, not that we have ever made, as a company, a bad Armageddon movie, but the fear is out there.


BRE PAYTON, THE FEDERALIST: Yes, you know, I actually kind of agree with Nancy Pelosi, that we are -- I think that this tax plan does perpetuate the fiscal Armageddon that we will soon find ourselves in if we don't fix the deficit and if we don't fix our spending problem, quite frankly.

And you know what? This tax plan does add over a trillion dollars to the deficit. It does not pay for herself. So I actually kind of like seeing Nancy Pelosi act like a budget hawk.

I think it's really funny. And I get a really big kick out of it. But you know what? The fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, she's lying and they are lying about this being the end of the world, in the sense that, you know, acting like people getting a tax cut is going to be this horrible thing for them. Right? That's just a flat-out lie.

They're doubling the individual deductions that people just get off the bat. So it's very clear. And in every tax bracket, individuals are getting a tax break, right? So a lot of the rhetoric that the Democrats are perpetuating are straight-up lies. And a lot of people can see right through that.

CAVUTO: So you got to go hyperventilate on this.


CAVUTO: And some of these disaster movies, the one good thing about them is, they breed other disaster movies. And thank God we as a company have cornered the market on them.

But I'm looking at this, Robin, and I'm thinking back and forth what will happen vs. what won't happen. And I think it is quite correct to point out that there was an obsession about how we pay for these tax cuts and the revenues that might not work out.

But no one said boo about the $9 trillion in additional debt spending that is going to accumulate over that same period of time, as if that didn't really matter. What do you make of that?

ROBIN BIRO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, Neil, the deficit is in excess of $20 trillion.

CAVUTO: The debt, the federal debt.


BIRO: Yes.

And adds a little more than $1.4 trillion. So I think the logic here by the GOP here is just, what is a couple more trillion dollars in debt?


CAVUTO: I understand what you're saying. And both sides play this game.

But don't you find it a tad disingenuous to worry about that $1.4 trillion in tax cut revenue and not say boo about the $9 trillion extra in spending that brings us far deeper into a hole?

In other words, we're focused on one-tenth of the pie here. I tend to look at pies and I see the nine-tenths and want to eat that one, you know?

BIRO: I do understand your point, Neil. And that is a valid concern.

The argument that they make, though, is that by taking out more money for this deficit, that it's going to somehow pay for itself. That's kind of like me going to the bank and saying, if I take out this great big loan, don't worry about it. It's totally just going to pay for itself.

CAVUTO: Did you say that, though, Robin, when everybody was spending like a drunken sailor?


BIRO: I don't know. I was still -- I really appreciate the GOP fiscal hawks like Rand Paul and Corker. And I'm glad to see, as Bre mentioned, Nancy Pelosi stepping up and saying...


CAVUTO: You raise a good point.

Allie, you touched on in the beginning. I'm a little bit frustrated with both parties for not getting serious about this. You want tax cuts, and I think Americans deserve tax cuts. They certainly plow a lot back to the government. I don't know if this is the answer. I don't know if this is the elixir.

I do know that they didn't take an opportunity of a moment where they could have reined in at least the growth of spending. That's all we're talking about. Just could you rein in the growth of it?

STUCKEY: Yes, absolutely.


CAVUTO: Allie first. Allie first. Go ahead.

STUCKEY: Yes. No, absolutely.

But I think that you make a good point. And Rob said that Nancy Pelosi is stepping up to the plate. And I don't know if that is absolutely true, if she's being genuine in this. I think that she's just looking for a reason to slam the Republican plan.

I don't think that she cares about spending at all. Now, I agree with her that we should rein in the spending. And I agree with you, Neil.

But for her say that, oh, we're adding to the deficit, since when have Democrats cared about the deficit? They love spending. That's their mode of operation. They would love to add more to the deficit.

So, if that's the only complaint that she has, I just don't think I can take it to heart.

CAVUTO: All right, we will watch closely, because the next stop is doing something on spending. I guess they have a couple of week temporary measure just to get us through the hump year before the holidays. But it's a sad commentary, if that's where we are.

Guys, I want to thank you all on this very busy breaking news hour.

All of these anti-Trump messages, and we only discover late in the action that the guy who was writing them, well, harbored some pretty ill views of the United States, not so ill views of the former first lady of the United States.


CAVUTO: All right, no agenda?

That seems to be what we're getting from Robert Mueller and this entire investigation, but troubling revelations, nevertheless, for his special counsel, and those issues are not dying on the vine.

Our Catherine Herridge has more.

Hey, Catherine.


This really breaking just within the last few hours. A top prosecutor who now works for special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian probe praised then acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she was fired in January by President Trump for refusing to defend his controversial travel ban.

The e-mail obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal lawsuit shows that on the night of January 30, Andrew Weissmann wrote to Yates under the subject line, "I am so proud." He continued "and in awe. Thank you so much. All of my deepest respects."

Yates then forwarded the e-mail to her home account.

The disclosure follows confirmation this week that another Mueller investigator, FBI official Peter Strzok, was fired over the summer from Mueller's investigation after allegedly sending anti-Trump texts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not good for the FBI, which holds itself up as a paragon of virtue, where there's no political motivation and we just follow the facts. That's all.

And everybody knows that is not the case. The FBI is an organization of human beings with political interests, political calculations. And of course that happens.


HERRIDGE: The same FBI agent, Peter Strzok, also changed Comey's earlier draft about Clinton's e-mails and her use of an unsecured personal server for government business.

He changed the wording from grossly negligent to extremely careless. And that is a significant change, because gross negligence is the standard under the criminal statute 793-F.

And it's important to know that Strzok was also part of Clinton's FBI interview in July of 2016, according to these FBI summaries that were released earlier this year.

For the special counsel's part, Robert Mueller fired Strzok earlier this year because of these allegations against him, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Catherine, thank you very, very much.

HERRIDGE: You're welcome.

CAVUTO: Meanwhile, we could have the case of the media caught in a bad place on stories that is pushing on the president. This time, it involves The Wall Street Journal that still stands by reports that they are looking in, or that is authorities are looking into the president's banking regards, particularly with Deutsche Bank.

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel. Mary, update me on this, because everyone connected to the administration says this is not going on. I think Deutsche Bank took the unusual measure of denying that this had even happened.

Where does this stand?

MARY KISSEL, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, that's a news side report, Neil, not from the editorial page.

So, I have to take the White House at its word today that they have not received the documents. But, hopefully, we will getting updates in the coming hours.

CAVUTO: So, the argument was that -- and I remember, last summer, if I'm right, Mary, there was talk about the president being examined and all his transactions, even while he -- long before he became president, I believe even before he was a candidate for president.

He did have a number of activities and financings through Deutsche Bank on a lot of his projects here in Manhattan and elsewhere. And then it died down. The president at the time had expressed concern that that might be a case of overreach.

If it proves true that this is what is going on, help connect the dots for me. What are they looking for?

KISSEL: Well, look, the Mueller investigation was a very vaguely worded mandate. So, while the original intent was supposedly to investigate so- called collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, we now know that the special counsel has taken that as a writ to delve into Trump's business practices, Deutsche Bank connections, possibly other links that he might have had to Russia.

But, Neil, you have to keep this in context here. The point of this whole kerfuffle, right, was to say or to somehow imply that the election was rigged and Trump's collusion is why Hillary Clinton lost.

CAVUTO: Right.

KISSEL: I think that that's ridiculous. And to date, Robert Mueller has provided no evidence that that is the case.

CAVUTO: It's still early on, as smart folks like you remind me. We now know that they spent about $7 million, a little more than $7 million-plus on this investigation, which I'm told by people who knows these things is still relative chump change in the scheme of things for investigations that end up costing tens of millions of dollars more.

So where are we in this, do you think?

KISSEL: Well, we just ran a big editorial this morning on Robert Mueller's credibility problems.

There's a lot of questions still about the treatment of Hillary Clinton and her aides, who, by the way, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills lied to the FBI and yet were not prosecuted for that. There's questions about how the FBI treated Michael Flynn, who they originally thought had forgotten his conversation, made a genuine mistake when he was interviewed with the FBI, and that he was subsequently pursued.

There's questions about why the FBI and the DOJ are withholding documents from some of the congressional investigators trying to investigate how the FBI treated the so-called Steele dossier.

There's questions about the court order that was given that allowed the FBI or other, rather, intelligence agencies to listen in on the Russian ambassador. There's questions about how Michael Flynn's name was leaked.

So, Neil, a lot of questions here, not a lot of answers. And I'm personally hoping that the congressional investigators can get the documents that they need from the FBI and the DOJ to lay this all out in public and to give the American public the full story that I think we all deserve.

CAVUTO: I think one lawyer I talked to earlier on FBN has said, to the effect, it's a fishing expedition and has the looks of a fishing expedition, and this goes to the powers we grant special prosecutors in these cases to go anywhere and everything it takes them where they want to go, hence the dustup over what is going on with possible examinations of the president's financial records.

That, we don't know. It's still too early. But I -- what is your general sense of where this investigation stands now, who it is targeting? What do you think?

KISSEL: Well, we know for sure that the crime of leaking Michael Flynn's name has not been investigated.

We don't know enough about that. The Flynn plea didn't give us a lot of new information, because we knew earlier this year that he lied to the vice president or misled the vice president, and that's why he was fired.

I think the real action, Neil, is going to be in Congress with Devin Nunes, who is actively subpoenaing the FBI and the DOJ, trying to get an explanation of the Comey investigation, of this new development that we have with Peter Strzok, as FOX's Catherine Herridge has reported was fired by the Mueller investigation, but was also involved in the Clinton investigation.

I just think there are a lot of pieces here of the puzzle that we just haven't gotten clarified yet. And so I would look to Congress, who is accountable to the people, rather than a wide-ranging special investigator, to eventually give us the full story.

CAVUTO: Yes, whenever that comes.

Mary Kissel of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, very good seeing you again. Thank you.

KISSEL: Thanks for having me.

CAVUTO: All right, continuing our Nancy Pelosi Armageddon theme, it's not going to be quite like this. This is a separate story here, same theme, though, an arctic blast about to sweep across the U.S.

Yes, because of the tax cuts.



CAVUTO: All right, you remember the scene in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Santa says, I'm going to have to cancel Christmas?


CAVUTO: You don't? Well, I do.

Anyway, UPS just said it might to have to delay it.

We're back in 60 seconds.


CAVUTO: All right, now they got the teams in place, House Speaker Paul Ryan picking nine Republicans to serve on that tax cut negotiating team.

One of his picks with us right now. You have seen her before, a pretty powerful figure in her own right, the House Budget chairwoman, Diane Black.

Congresswoman, very good to have you. Thank you for taking the time.

REP. DIANE BLACK, R-TENN.: Oh, it's great to be with you.

Thank for inviting me on.

CAVUTO: I guess the bombshell for you folks in the House was this last- minute maneuver on the part of the Senate to clear the Senate and get the things passed, to include an AMT, and this idea that an Alternative Minimum Tax, as horrendous as it is to a lot of folks, on the individual and corporate side, it can raise a lot of money and solve a lot of problems.

You disagree, right?

BLACK: I do disagree. I adamantly disagree. We have been talking about this for years.

And, of course, when the AMT, the alternative minimal tax, was put into place, there may have been a reason for that. But over the years, we see that this is really hitting the people right there in the spot that we're trying to really help, and that is the people in the middle income.

And so we're all for repealing that AMT.

CAVUTO: All right, now, I know you want to get this done pronto and get these differences resolved quickly.

Does it trouble you -- polls are polls, Congresswoman, so we don't necessary overanalyze them here -- but a lot of people feel that it's not going to be a big deal for them, corporations are going to get a big benefit.

How do you answer that? And do you worry about that?

BLACK: I really don't worry about it. And I'm listening.

And we want to continue to listen throughout this entire process as we go into the conference committee and we resolve the differences between the House and the Senate.

But what we know is that this really is going to do what we intend it to do. It's going to be something that is a simpler code; 95 percent of the people will be able to fill out their tax reform on a single postcard-sized sheet of paper.

CAVUTO: Really? Do you really see that?

BLACK: Yes. Yes. We do.

CAVUTO: I don't see that happening. Really?


BLACK: Well, we will see when it does occur.

CAVUTO: All right.

BLACK: Then we will come back and talk and you say, golly, Diane, you were really right on that.

CAVUTO: Because you know what I think when it comes to tax cuts, Congresswoman?

I think most people would just be happy to have one as big as the New York yellow pages if they get a significant tax cut. A lot of Americans are of the perception -- it could be wrong -- that they will not.

What do you say to that?

BLACK: Well, they're -- they're -- we know that, across the board, there are going to be tax cuts.

And some are going to benefit more than others. But we looked at and our goal was to go to the middle income and give the middle income the greatest tax relief.

And it's not just the relief that we give them on the taxes. It's the growth in the economy, the jolt of the economy. Look at what the markets have done with just anticipation.

And so the independent sources say that there will be a growth in jobs, there will be a growth in wages. And in my own state of Tennessee, there will be about 18,000 new jobs that will be created, with an additional $1,800 in people's pockets. And, look, that's real money.

CAVUTO: So, you don't think that's been reflected in these independent groups that have priced it out and all? And they could be wrong. And often they are. I understand where you're coming from.


CAVUTO: But a lot depends too how you sort out these differences.

As you know, the Senate wants to delay the corporate tax cuts until 2019. Is that a deal-breaker for you?

BLACK: It is for me. I don't want to see that happen at all.

And I may be in the minority in that committee, but I'm going to fight as hard as I can, because we know -- and if you look back at the time when this was during Reagan's tax reform, and Art Laffer, who is a good friend of mine, will tell you very clearly that, when they delayed that corporate tax, that they didn't see the growth that they wanted to see.

And it wasn't until that occurred that they actually saw the growth that they had anticipated.

CAVUTO: And, by the way, you're quite right. It cost them more than a couple of dozen seats in the House in '82.

BLACK: It certainly did.

CAVUTO: You're right.


CAVUTO: So that's something you don't want to budge on. You don't want to go higher on the corporate rate as well.

The Senate has been talking about wanting to lower the top rate more than you do. The House plan doesn't call for it to be lowered at all. I think they bring it down to 38.5 percent.

How do you feel about that?

BLACK: I think that is a room for discussion and I think that may be a part of their plan that we do consider.

We went back and forth on that within our own body. But we also knew that we were running into a place where we were -- the dollars were not available to do that.

CAVUTO: Right.

BLACK: And we wanted to focus on that area that we said to begin with we would, right there in the middle.

But now that there's the Obama -- the individual mandate repeal, we have some extra dollars that we can use. And we're going to be looking at maybe that being one of those places that we can fill -- take that money and fill that hole to lower those rates.

CAVUTO: John Conyers, as you probably heard, Congresswoman, is going to be stepping down.


CAVUTO: Do you think that's the way it should be, that anyone brought up on charges, whether they can be immediately proven or not, should just leave?

BLACK: Well, we know that that was the case with him and that there was a settlement that was done by the lady that had the accusation.

And so we know that. And I wish they would have called for his resignation.

Look, that's not representative of who we are as a body. We should not be above the law. And I think when someone has those kinds of actions, they should be asked to leave their -- their office. And, frankly, I think that they should do that on their own willingly.

CAVUTO: Would that include Roy Moore with these charges that, if he should win the legislation, just leave?

BLACK: If those charges are real, and they are something that can be shown to be real, then I believe that, just like others that are in -- in this kind of elected position and position of honor should willingly leave when those kind of things happen.

CAVUTO: All right, Congresswoman, thank you very much for taking the time. We do appreciate it.

BLACK: You're welcome.

CAVUTO: Diane Black, the House Budget Committee chair.

BLACK: Thank you for having me.

CAVUTO: On this panel that will be ironing out these differences. They have their work to do. All right.

All right, we talked a little bit about John Conyers. He is going to be leaving, the longest serving member in the House of Representatives.

But it's what they're cooking up next that is raising just as many hackles -- after this.


CAVUTO: All right, the Senate has just voted to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen as the new head of the Department of Homeland Security. She will be the new secretary of that august department.

And that is going to be effective -- I believe tomorrow they're going to do the swearing-in and make it official.

All right, in the meantime, you have got Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers out, one week from now, talks in Alabama that this guy could be in, Roy Moore, depending on the polls and what you look at.

We were discussing a little bit about who you allow in, out, whatever, but it has added to a lot of confusion on Capitol Hill.

RealClearPolitics' Caitlin Huey-Burns, U.S. News & World Report's Ashley Pratte.

Ashley, let's talk about how Conyers wanted to handle this, with his son assuming his seat. As if.


CAVUTO: But doesn't that complicate and insult people more?

ASHLEY PRATTE, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Yes. And I'm pretty sure the Michigan governor is the one who gets to decide whether or not a special election happens. So, I think it should be done that way.

However, I do think this adds some insult to injury here, saying that he wants to continue on his legacy, seeing as that legacy is now a little bit tarnished, seeing as these reports have come out of further allegations from multiple women, as well as the settlements that happened.

And with him being the longest serving member of Congress, I think that there's a lot to be had here as far as discussions. This moved very, very slowly when it came to his resignation.

It took awhile for people to kind of unite behind this on the Democratic side, to say this was wrong and he should resign.

Things seem to be moving very slowly when it comes to political candidates and people in political office when it comes to these sexual assault allegations.


But it's a lot faster in the corporate world, right, Caitlin?

PRATTE: It is, right.

CAVUTO: And one of the things that has come up in these cases, as well as what happens to Roy Moore if he arrives there -- and these are decades-old charges here -- in corporate America, you're gone.

It's immediate. And then they will sort out the details later. I'm not trivializing it. I'm just saying it -- they argue it's justified because of the cast and the pall that is there, but not so on Capitol Hill.

What do you make of that?

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right. I think that's very notable. I think a lot of Americans have been asking themselves over the past few weeks, why are members of Congress or people in politics held to a different standard than others in other industries?

And we have seen this as an issue that has been pervasive across industries.

I think it was significant that Conyers did resign today. I think it's also worth noting that this is an issue that is prevalent in both parties. You have Blake Farenthold, for example, a congressman from Texas, who also paid a settlement, something to the tune of 70...

CAVUTO: And he opted not to run for reelection, right? And there was Congressman Barton, right?

HUEY-BURNS: No. No, he's -- that was a separate congressman, right, which goes to show...

CAVUTO: All right.

HUEY-BURNS: ... that there's a lot of things going on here.

CAVUTO: Yes, I'm losing track. Yes, my bad.

HUEY-BURNS: And, of course, the president, there have been multiple allegations against him as well prior to this, during the campaign.

And so there are a lot of people asking why members of Congress, why Congress as an institution is lagging. The way in which you report sexual assault on the Hill is a very...

CAVUTO: Or pay them off, or pay the victims offer.

HUEY-BURNS: Exactly.

CAVUTO: It's one thing in corporate America.


CAVUTO: I think the one thing that stands out to me, Ashley, is the fact that so many -- and I talked to the biggest in both parties on this -- they had no idea about this, I guess, for lack of a better team, slush legal fund to pay off victims.

Someone is signing those checks.

PRATTE: Right.

CAVUTO: And, to this day, we don't know who.

PRATTE: Well, yes, I mean, I would like to call it the hush fund here, because we're keeping victims silent.

And I think, at this point, we need to look at Congress and say, what is going on? We want to talk about transparency, and yet the government is the most ineffective and not very transparent when it comes to these allegations that have been happening for quite some time.

And the only reason it's being exposed now is because victims are speaking out and talking because they're feeling safe in numbers. And I applaud them for doing that and for coming out. It's very hard to do.

And anyone who has experienced this, including myself -- I don't know if Caitlin has -- but it's one of those things that is very difficult to talk about.

And while we're having these conversations, it's important to remember the very private nature of things that have been happening for quite some time. This is not a partisan issue. It's a bipartisan issue. And Democrats and Republicans need to come together to be more transparent and find ways to work together to resolve this.

CAVUTO: One of the things that I find interesting is that people look at it and say, all right, well, we're over the worst of it.


PRATTE: Right.

CAVUTO: But, so far, we're not over the worst of it.

And the one thing I'm curious, Caitlin, now let's say Moore comes in. You have Mitt Romney saying, he doesn't represent us. Don't accept him.

You have the president saying, he sure beats the Democratic big-spending liberal alternative, who will be echoing whatever Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer want.

What do you think?


I think this is an issue that Republican lawmakers have already been trying to figure out. You have heard -- now that the president has endorsed Moore, you have heard more Republicans who wanted to distance themselves from him say that it's up for the voters to decide.

Now, if Moore is elected, Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said that he would probably go through the Ethics Committee and take care of it that way.

CAVUTO: Well, hang on there, Caitlin. I just want to pass this along, because this is an item that has just come into our newsroom.

And, Ashley, I will raise it with you. Jeff Flake has apparently written a check to Doug Jones for the U.S. Senate for $100.

PRATTE: Well...

CAVUTO: He argues in the memo line "country over party."

Now, Flake earlier today was sitting next to the president at the White House, among a half-dozen senators. I don't know whether he conveyed that to the president at the time. But he is not pretty much echoing the Mitt Romney posture on this, accepting Roy Moore as qualified to join the United States Senate.

What do you make of that, Ashley?

PRATTE: So, I want to mention right now, Neil, because this is going to bring me into my next point, I have been a Republican for as long as I can remember, have donated, have worked on Republican campaigns.

And this is the first time I have donated and/or advocated for a Democratic candidate, and that is in this election. And that is because of the fact that the Republican Party needs to put principle and integrity first, as Mitt Romney said the other day, and recognize that the party doesn't come first and foremost.

We have some serious allegations here and some deep thinking to do as the Republican Party moves forward, if this is something we're going to accept and tolerate.

CAVUTO: So you disagree with the president's view, whatever you make of the decades-old charges?

PRATTE: Oh, yes.

CAVUTO: If you want a Democrat in there, who is going to be doing all the things we as conservative don't like -- go ahead.

PRATTE: I'm at the point -- I'm at the point of the Republican Party had come out and said things about the Democratic Party not returning donations from Harvey Weinstein, all of these things, amidst those sexual allegations.

But here we are supporting a Republican candidate just because of party lines.

CAVUTO: All right.

PRATTE: We need to look at the behavior here and say that.

And I donated $25 to the campaign.

CAVUTO: OK. Ladies, I didn't want to just jolt you with that news. It just came into our newsroom.

But I want to thank both very, very much.

Again, for those who just tuned in, Jeff Flake has written a check to Doug Jones, a Democratic candidate for that Alabama Senate race for $100. And in the memo line, he says "country over party," echoing a theme that has some within the Republican establishment clearly at odds with the Steve Bannon, I guess, by extension, President Trump wing that says philosophy over party and conservatism over this necessary view that this is the politically correct way to go.

Bottom line, this is going to add to some of the drama a week from now, when we have that special Alabama race. We will be covering it on FBN.

Much more after this.


CAVUTO: Here we go with the weather again, massive wildfires spreading across Southern California.

We have got Adam Housley in the middle of it all.

Adam, what can you tell us?

ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Neil, another horrific situation here in Southern California, fires burning across Southern California. We're in Ventura. We're in the city of Ventura. Hundreds of homes have burned.

I want to show you something here, in the middle of a horrific tragedy, sympathy. Firefighters cannot save this home. One of the neighbors whose home has already been saved came over here and said the family had to evacuate with their kids.

The firefighters, as this home is burning down, are grabbing children's clothes. They have the same train that my son has and plays with and is currently up around our Christmas tree. There's the Christmas cards coming out.

I mean, they're grabbing whatever they can. And if you look to the left here, you can see this home is going to be lost, Neil. The home next to it burned down. The home next to it burned down. The home next to it burned down. The home above it burned down.

This home was the only one that they have been able to save. And, unfortunately, the winds here are blowing so strong, in some cases gusting 70 miles an hour, embers blowing as much as a mile away.

We saw a three-story home burn down in the middle of town, Neil, on our way up here. But you can see the firefighters going in and out. They got -- made sure everybody was out of the house. And while they're here, they might as well grab some of the stuff to give this family.

These are little kids' clothes they're bringing out. It makes you feel -- just it's heartbreaking to watch all this stuff lost. We saw this in the wine country, Neil, about a month-and-a-half ago.

And now it -- look at the Christmas tree coming out the door. I mean, again, the most important thing, Neil, is lives here. But you can see this is what is happening in Southern California, Neil.

CAVUTO: And so fast, right? This just accelerated so quickly, right.

HOUSLEY: So fast.

Some of these fires -- yes, some of these fires just started in the last maybe half-an-hour to an hour. This one has been burning now for about 14 hours. These guys haven't slept.

CAVUTO: Amazing.

All right, be safe yourself, Adam. Thank you very, very much.

HOUSLEY: Will do.

CAVUTO: Count your blessings, my friends. Count your blessings.

We will have more after this.


CAVUTO: All right, UPS stunning a lot of folks today, warning there could be some delivery delays here.

Obviously, if you are getting ready for the big day, that's not the kind of news you want to hear on any day.

Deirdre Bolton with more.

Deirdre, what is going on?

DEIRDRE BOLTON, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so, Neil, more people shopping online.

UPS apparently not quite ready for this change in consumer habits. So, this year, Cyber Monday sales hit $6.6 billion in that 24 hours alone. That's an increase of more than 17 percent from this time last year.

Now, as a result, UPS taking longer than expected to deliver some packages. So, the company is adding one or two days in transit time on an unspecified number of deliveries following record sales.

So, a spokesperson for the company says the issue will be resolved by midweek. Further ahead, that same spokesperson says the vast majority of the 750 million packages that ship via UPS between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be delivered on time.

Now, UPS did try to smooth out the volume of orders, but it did so by adding new surcharges to packages delivered during the busiest week. So, some retailers responded by offering either slower shipping times or suggesting competitors, such as FedEx.

ShipMatrix, who is a software provider that analyzes shipping data, said, last week, more than 89 percent of parcels shipped through UPS were delivered on time, but that is still less than FedEx. FedEx is beating UPS; 99.4 percent of FedEx packages arriving on the day they were scheduled to be there.

So, Neil, I was going to say if you have a very special presents that need to be there before Christmas, start thinking now -- back to you.

CAVUTO: Those processed meats and cheeses better be there pronto, kiddo. That's all I'm saying.


BOLTON: Really.

CAVUTO: All right, Deirdre, thank you very, very much. Great work today. Always appreciate it.

The fallout for our economy on all of that, something we will be looking at tomorrow on FBN and on FNC. It's actually good news about our economy.

We will see you then.

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