Rep. Brady: Americans already seeing benefits of tax reform

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 9, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You know what? I'm speechless, and not just because I have a cold. Don't feel sorry for me. We can get through this next hour.

I'm speechless because of something I witnessed as we were covering it live on FOX Business a couple of hours ago, nearly one hour straight, on-camera, a Cabinet meeting, featuring prominent Democrats, prominent Republicans, all gathered with the president of the United States, discussing some thorny and contentious issues.

And I am thinking of a certain bestseller that is out right now from an author named Michael Wolff, who argued the president has not attention span, that he's essentially a nut, can't think in better than 10-minute increments.

And then I witnessed, well, this:


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I also think that, after we do DACA -- and I really believe we should be able to be successful -- I really think we should look in terms of your permanent solution and to the whole situation with immigration. I think a lot of people in this room would agree to that also.

But we'll do it in steps. And most people agree with that, I think, that we'll do the steps. Even you say, let's do this, and then we go phase two.

Kevin, what would you like to say?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF.: Well, first, I want to thank you for bringing everybody together. You got the Senate, you got the House, you got both parties. And I like the exchange of ideas.

But let's solve the problem, but let's not tell the American public at the end that it's solved when it's not.

TRUMP: Well, I think a good starting point would be Bob Goodlatte, who has done a bill.

And I understand you're ready to submit it. And you're going to take that and you'll submit it and they'll negotiate it in Congress or the House. And then it goes to the Senate, and they'll negotiate -- both Republican and Democrat. But it could be a good way of starting.

Now, if anyone has an idea different from that -- but, I think, starting in the House. Starting in the House -- Mike, you good? You're ready. I think you're ready to go.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-TEXAS: We are, Mr. President.

TRUMP: I would like to add the words merit into any bill that's submitted because I think we should have merit-based immigration like they have in Canada, like they have in Australia.

REP. BOB GOODLATTE, R-VA.: We have to address the problem we have with the DACA kids being in limbo, as Dick Durbin described it, and I agree with that. But we also have to make sure this does not happen again.

TRUMP: And, Dick, you and the Democrats are going to have a lot of things that they're not going to agree -- you're going to talk to us about it.

I just felt that this is something that was long overdue. You'd have a meeting and you'd say, this is what we want. We'd have a meeting -- and this has been going on for years. And I just -- you know, at a certain point, maybe I will just lock the doors and I won't let anybody out, until they come and agree.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: If you have strong borders. You have created an opportunity in here, Mr. President, and you need to close the deal.

TRUMP: Thank you, Lindsey.

You know, it's very interesting because I do have people that are -- just to use a very common term -- very far right and very far left. They're very unhappy about what we're doing, but I really don't believe they have to be, because I really think this sells itself.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R-ARIZ.: I don't see how we get there before March 5.

TRUMP: That's OK. So I think that's why we make it a phase two. We do a phase one, which is DACA and security, and we do phase two, which is comprehensive immigration. And I think we should go right to it.


CAVUTO: That went on for, like I said, upwards of an hour.

The tape was rolling. Cameras were rolling. This was something at least I cannot recall witnessing at a White House so-called spray, where reporters are allowed in, take some quick pictures, and they're usually kicked out.

This went on and on and on. Now, we featured mostly Republicans there, just because they were getting into the weeds, and we wanted to show the president's proficiency with happily debating the weeds, and as well as arguing with Democrats.

It wasn't his way or the highway. It was all ways to get a DACA deal done, talking to California Senator Dianne Feinstein, even if it meant a stand- alone DACA deal now, and one that could obviously propel an overall budget deal down the road later.

But he was wheeling and dealing on live TV, the likes of which I have never seen.

There was a market impact on this, about this. And I will get to that later.

First, I want to get to my buddy John Roberts, who has witnessed this himself.

And, John, it was just extraordinary.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, I have never seen anything like it. I have covered this White House now from different presidencies for more than seven years.

And we have been allowed in, in sometimes what are called extended pool sprays, where people who are around the table will make remarks that are really kind of sort of tailored for the camera.

But that got into a real back-and-forth negotiation, where the people in the room almost seemed to forget, despite the incessant click of the still photographers, that the cameras were there, and started actually having a discussion.

And it really served two purposes. You mentioned the Michael Wolff book and the charges that were included in that about the president's capacity, mentally, to be able to handle the job. It certainly seemed to satisfy that particular argument, to show that the president was capable, quite capable, of handling a contentious meeting with 22 members of Congress there.

And it also lifted the veil to give us a look behind the curtain. Very, very rare glimpse of what happens behind the curtain to see to some degree how the legislative sausage is made.

Now, apparently, the meeting, according to some members of Congress that I talked to after the cameras were finally escorted out, did get a little more frank in its language, a little more pointed in the conversation.

But what we saw there, Neil, was I think very much how these meetings go. So, it was a very interesting lifting of the veil, a little more transparency than we have seen from any other White House that I can remember.

CAVUTO: Why -- I imagine it was the president's call the cameras were rolling and allowed to roll so long.

ROBERTS: you know, I think he just kind of freelanced it.


ROBERTS: I think, initially, he wanted to sort of show what was going on in the meeting.

This was an issue in which he wanted to bring Democrats and Republicans together. I think he thought it was in his interest to show the fact that he was getting them together in the same room over such a thorny issue.

But from then on, I think the president just kind of rolled with it, because he said at about the half-hour mark, well, we're going to show the cameras the way out in just a couple of minutes here. And then it kept going for another 25 minutes.

So, I think he just kind of got comfortable with what he saw happening. He felt good in the environment, probably thought it made him look good as well. So, he just let it stay almost, almost until the end. It only won't on really for another 20, 25 minutes after that.


You know, it maybe gave us an inkling of how the sausage is made or how they go about wheeling and dealing and debating key points that they want, points they don't want. But the president had apparently a great comfort level with the material and the issues that flies in the face of the Michael Wolff book that just hasn't just one outfit shy of being a resident of Creedmoor.


CAVUTO: You have got to wonder, like, who has got the real story here?

ROBERTS: I have said time and time again, because I covered his campaign, I spent time with him on his airplane, I spent time with him in private, and you see a different person in private than you see in some of these public appearances that he has.

And the story that you get about Donald Trump from some people seems to be at odds with the President Trump that I, and candidate Trump, that I came to know covering him for almost two years now.

And, Neil, I think there really is a contrast there, people who say, oh, he doesn't have an attention span. But then I have seen him wheel and deal in meetings where he does flip from one topic to another very quickly. But I think that's only because he thinks, let's give this a certain amount of time, let's be over and done with it and on to something else.

But I think that this meeting did him a world of good in terms of public perception. Now, what we also saw here in this meeting, particularly with the White House statements about what happened during the closed session, where they said they got an agreement from everybody that they're going to tackle this in two phases, DACA and border security first, and then comprehensive immigration reform separately.

Steny Hoyer came out at the end of that meeting and said there was unanimity on addressing DACA, but didn't go beyond that. So, I think there is still maybe a little disconnect here, Neil, between what the president thinks is on the table and what Democrats believe is on the table.

So, we will see how this goes in negotiations going forward.

CAVUTO: By the way, given the drama with this book that's out right now, we are getting reports in The New York Times that Steve Bannon is stepping down from Breitbart News.


ROBERTS: Not surprising.

CAVUTO: Yes. Yes.

ROBERTS: No, not at all.

He lost the support of Rebekah Mercer. And when you lose her, you have lost one of your biggest backers and benefactors. And I just -- I think the writing has been on the wall since.


ROBERTS: And as Hogan Gidley said aboard Air Force One as the president was on his way to Nashville yesterday -- he's one of the deputy press secretaries here -- he doesn't see a way back for Steve Bannon here.

So, he may be out there on an ice floe all by himself for a while, Neil.

CAVUTO: Thank you, John Roberts, very, very much.

Again, reports from The New York Times, and this was largely telegraphed, given the controversy from this Michael Wolff book, that Steve Bannon is stepping down from Breitbart. Of course, he had some very disparaging comments to make about the president, particularly the president's children.

He has since said that Michael Wolff took him out of context on some of that stuff. Be that as it may, he's out.

Back to the unusual drama we saw play out on live TV at a meeting of minds, because it comes at a time when some are saying the president doesn't have one or he can't keep attention or he can't keep to any focus.

Well, that aggressive give-and-take -- and there was a lot of arguing going on there with Democrats who wanted this, other Republicans who said don't go too far on this. The president very comfortable taking the criticism, taking the heat, even volunteering to take the heat, something that you don't hear a great deal about in the mainstream media.

But I do want to address it with Joe Concha with The Hill, Gabby Morrongiello of The Washington Examiner, and Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins.

Joseph, this is not the drill you get about the president, that he's not up to that task. He seemed very up to it today.

JOE CONCHA, THE HILL: You know, when you're from New York, they say you're street smart sometimes. This was a street smart move by the president.

And I actually started writing about this. So, I'm just going read from my notes. The president did a very shrewd thing today by allowing reports and cameras into the debate between congressional leaders. It is a great retort from the president to those who say from afar that try to actually analyze this president from a mental perspective, from a physical perspective, that he is incapable of doing the job.

And what I have noticed, Neil, time and again that the stories around what the president does in private, things you can't prove, gossip that is treated as gospel through these ubiquitous unnamed sources, that's where all the mental instability stories come from.

But whenever we see him in public, it's a different story. And I think many in our industry are trying to make this leap from the president's communication style, particularly on Twitter, where he's unorthodox and he is unconventional, and trying to make the leap into saying he is unstable.

Just because he does things differently, we can't be making that leap irrelevant responsibly and recklessly. And many people in our industry have been doing exactly that.

CAVUTO: Michael Starr Hopkins, I was mentioning when we were covering this live on Fox Business and just going around the whole hour with it, that we have a view in Washington, I think, that makes everything seem like professional wrestling.

If you're on the right, you hate the left. If you're on the left, you hate the right. Everyone is intransigent. Everyone is a jerk, the president included. The president thinking that way about the others, yet around that table, the arguments got fairly heated, but never to the point that they stopped talking.

And there was a free and open flow of ideas. And I thought that was very instructive and hearkens back to days when this sort of thing wasn't unusual.


Listen, I have been very critical of the president, but I have to say today was a presidential moment for him. And it was good not just for the president, but I think the American people as a whole. They got to see how democracy works.

And they saw Republicans and Democrats sitting down at a table and disagreeing, but without being disagreeable. And I think we need to see more of that. I think people will have more faith in institutions when we see these kind of pictures.

CAVUTO: Gabby, one of the things I'm reminded of -- and you and I have gotten into this before -- is this hatred, this contempt, this poisoned well that seems to exist in Washington.

At their core, these guys are -- have their differences, political and otherwise. But they're human beings. And they're not awful human beings. And they get together and they try on come up with ideas. We just saw it live in real time, didn't we?


And I think that's one of the things that this president realizes is a benefit of getting Democrats and Republicans just in the same room together talking about issues like immigration, like tax reform, like everything else that this administration has sought to accomplish in its first year and going forward.

He really sees that there's a good opportunity to engage in important dialogue like this, when everybody is around the table.

And I do want to just touch briefly on the access that was granted today, because it is really important for White House reporters like myself to be able to witness something like that, to see the president, to see this policy-making process unfold, but also to prevent leaks from happening.

That's one thing that we haven't heard mentioned yet. But oftentimes out of meetings like this, you have Democrats and Republicans and their aides leaking the transcripts or leaking certain comments that may have been made to reporters to try and set their narrative.

And that's one thing that was wholly avoided today because the president went on the record for 55 minutes during this pool spray.

CAVUTO: And he was able to take the heat, offer some ideas, seemed to show a great comfort level.

And I want to say Democrats, too, they, Joe, at that same session were coming up with ideas of their own. What if we do things this way? But it was a free exchange of ideas, where no one treated the other like crap.

And yet the impression is that's what Washington has disintegrated into. I don't buy it.

CONCHA: It's amazing how alert and focused you can be when you suddenly you realize that millions of people are watching on you national television.

CAVUTO: Well said. Well said.

CONCHA: And I really hope that this sets a precedent moving forward for more negotiations to be on camera.

CAVUTO: Wait a minute, Joe, are we live right now? We're live right now. Oh, my God.

CONCHA: This isn't taped?

CAVUTO: Oh, my God.

CONCHA: I thought this was for the new Saturday show.

CAVUTO: Right. Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness.


CAVUTO: No, no, you raise a very good point.

Michael, this the sign of things to come, or could it put to rest this notion that the president is just aloof, out of it, a nut, as some have said?


HOPKINS: Well, I have hoped before that the president would continue these presidential moments, and he's let me down.

So, I'm not going to put too much weight into that. But what I will say is, there's 11 million immigrants and 800,000 DACA recipients who are really hoping that the president gets this done. So, I hope he gets this done.

CAVUTO: We shall see. Hope springs eternal.


CAVUTO: You just saw it on live TV.

We will have more after this.



JAMIE DIMON, CHAIRMAN, J.P. MORGAN CHASE: I always ask, what is the right thing to do? Answer that question first before you start yelling and screaming about what's good for me, particularly if you're a patriot.

And so we have these flaws in the system, as people protect their own special interests, which I think is just a huge mistake.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So, it's going to be more expensive for you and for me and for others in New York, but it was the right thing on do?


Well, remember, they also cut the top tax rate. So, I'm going to save some, a couple percent from that. And I will have to pay a couple percent more -- even more from that. But it is what it is.


CAVUTO: All right, that's J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon telling our Maria Bartiromo that he's going to suck it up, that people who are complaining about the tax cut and what this next guest worked on and orchestrated, first of all, that they're whining too much.

And, secondly, it's not that bad. It's good for the country, so good, he thinks we're going to see on a big pop in growth.

That is coming from Jamie Dimon.

To Republican Congressman, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady.

Suck it up, I think that's what he said. Chairman, what do you think?

REP. KEVIN BRADY, R-TEXAS: Neil, look, this tax -- this new tax law is already helping families and businesses in New York and other high-tax states.

A typical family of four in Mendham, New Jersey, where you live, will see a tax cut of over $6,000. That means a lot to working families. And already we're seeing millions of Americans who are seeing higher paychecks, new bonuses, better savings plans, and new investments in America, because of the tax code.

And these are just the early signals. There's more to come.

CAVUTO: All right, what he was getting at, what Maria was getting into as well and we have gone into a good deal ourselves, is that for those in high-tax states who can't write off their state and local taxes, up to $10,000, they are going to get gouged.

He stepped back from it, Jamie Dimon, to say, even if that were the case -- and he has some doubts it would be significant -- but, net-net, all good. Do you buy that?

BRADY: I do.

And let me just make this point as well. Look, we have got a lot of governors and mayors who do a really good job across this country keeping tax rates down and becoming efficient.

But I have to tell you, in those high-tax states, you know, the era of tax to the max is over. The curtain has been pulled back. And I think families and workers in high-tax states now see clearly just what a burden and how much of their paychecks are being taken by local officials.

And so my advice to these local governments is, look, spend less time evading taxes, and try and create new loopholes. Find more time to become efficient and try to lower taxes on families and workers.

CAVUTO: Chairman, we saw a different side of the president at the outset, showing clips from that meeting he had with Democratic and Republican leaders on the budget matter, DACA, et cetera.

He seemed to be in possession of his faculties there. Nothing like a certain book portrays him to be. What do you think?

BRADY: That is -- I haven't read the book, but that -- that's -- all that is just silly.

Look, anyone who was on the phone in conversations with president, as I was repeatedly, repeatedly, in-depth, on key parts of the tax reform have understand this is a president who really gets the economy, understands the burden and complexities of the tax code, and was shaping and continues to shape the work that we're doing.

And so I will just tell you, if everyone has the same experience -- and I know these issues pretty well. And so when President Trump is winging in with me, I will tell you, that's a leader who is engaged, and, by the way, delivered for the first time in 31 years the new tax code.

CAVUTO: Real quickly, Steve Bannon out at Breitbart, are you surprised?

BRADY: Well, I don't know. I haven't followed all that as clearly probably as maybe others have.

I will just tell you this. I have -- this president delivered. And I love working with him every moment. And we're not through yet. I think there's more for the economy we can do.

CAVUTO: Chairman, thank you very, very much.

BRADY: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: The fallout from all of that after this.



TRUMP: Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well.

I did one of her last shows. She had Donald Trump -- this was before politics -- her last week. And she had Donald Trump and my family, and it was very nice. No, I like Oprah. I don't think she's going to run.


CAVUTO: All right, I don't know if the president would be happy or sad if she did. But Oprah Winfrey, courtesy of a 10-minute speech or so at the Golden Globes, propelling a possible run for president? Stranger things have happened.

UVA Center for Politics and author of "The Kennedy Half-Century," among so many others, Larry Sabato.

All over one speech, what do you make of that?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Well, actually, I think Trump is probably right. I doubt she runs in the end.

It's easy to talk about, and you get a lot of flattering comments from people who want you to run. But politics is a hothouse. And most people wilt quickly after they get in it.

Oprah has never been through anything like that. She's dabbled in politics. But I don't think she understands how vicious and nasty it's gotten. So, I think he's probably right she won't run in the end. But who knows? People do unusual things these days.

CAVUTO: Like Donald Trump himself, right?

SABATO: Exactly.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you, though, a little bit what propelled this, and it was -- and she did give a very stirring, moving speech on behalf of women and outcasts at the Golden Globes.

But that 10 minutes alone seemed to propel this talk. I was thinking to myself, Barack Obama had a similar moment at the 2004 Democratic Convention that nominated John Kerry, right?

SABATO: Yes, that was his speech where he said there is no red America, there is no blue America, there is only the United States of America.

CAVUTO: Right.

SABATO: Well, he got into office, and he found out there actually is a red America and a blue America.


SABATO: And they don't meet very often.

CAVUTO: But one speech can do it, right, or one moment where the public...


CAVUTO: ... is first exposed to you. The closest thing I saw, let's say, to John Kennedy, on whom you're a great expert, is that exposure Americans had to him in the 1956 Democratic Convention, when he was touted as a possible vice presidential candidate.

But that can stick with people, can't it?


And in that particular convention, Adlai Stevenson was the Democratic nominee. And, surprisingly, he threw open the vice presidential nomination to the convention.

CAVUTO: Right.

SABATO: Kennedy ran. He almost won. He finished second. He was very lucky to lose.

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

SABATO: Both because Stevenson was defeated handily by Eisenhower, but also because he got all that positive exposure and no -- no -- wasn't held accountable at all for the loss in November. So, it was perfect for him.

CAVUTO: I was thinking of people like Mario Cuomo, who, I think, in '84, his shining city on a hill, where he would counter the Reagan motif.

A speech can go a long way. Did -- let's say, regardless of her interest, whether she will follow through, is there something there with Oprah that could hint of a successful candidacy?

SABATO: She's very wealthy. I don't know how wealthy, but obviously hundreds of millions of dollars, somewhere in there.

And, second, she has nearly 100 percent name I.D. So, of course, so does Trump.

CAVUTO: Right.

SABATO: But, in a sense, that's why Democrats are looking at her.

In part, they see her as being able to fight fire with fire. She's the antidote to Trump, because she has some of the same saleable qualities as Trump.

We will see.


SABATO: And then, again, I don't know if she can -- she's going to enjoy the political give and take. And that's a very mild way to put it these days.

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

Talk about give and take, a lot of people were mesmerized, myself included, when we were covering this Cabinet meeting at the White House with Democratic and Republican senators and representatives, you know, jousting with the president over DACA, what to do.

But it hearkened back to days you would write about in the past, where both sides would have a free exchange of ideas, not quite Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan in the White House residence, but not a dead concept either. What did you make of it?

SABATO: Well, I thought it was unusually civil.


SABATO: That's why people were fascinated by it.

It would be nice if we had more of that. And I can just hear people screaming out there, because the right doesn't want that civility and the left doesn't want that civility.

CAVUTO: Right.

SABATO: But that's how it used to work in the United States.

And it would be nice to see more of that again. I will bet you it doesn't last 24 hours. But maybe I'm being too cynical. You have accused me of that before, Neil.

CAVUTO: Yes, cynical, jaded, mean.


CAVUTO: All of the above.

Seriously, Professor, very good having you.

SABATO: Thank you so much.

CAVUTO: It was a good moment to watch.


CAVUTO: Real quick look at the Dow today, up 102 points.

Now, one of the catalysts, among others, by the way, was this free and open exchange that showed, you know, civility is not dead and, by the way, the president is not a nut. The markets appreciated that -- after this.


CAVUTO: Did the president really say, you want to bring back the love in Washington, bring back the earmarks to Washington? Yes, it's not such a crazy idea.

How the quid pro quo and the wheeling and dealing can get things done -- after this.



TRUMP: Maybe you should start bringing back a concept of earmarks.

It's going to bring you together. You're going to do it honestly. You're going to get rid of the problems that the other system had. And it did have some problems. But one thing it did is, it brought everyone together.

And this country has to be brought together.


CAVUTO: He got a lot of uh from both sides on that one.

FOX News Channel's Mike Emanuel on making earmarks cool again?

What are you hearing, bud?


President Trump says it could lead to greater cooperation here on Capitol Hill. The president's endorsement came at that bipartisan meeting discussing immigration reform.

And he noted the difficulty of getting big things done in this environment. Earmarks could be another bargaining chip.

One senior member of the House Appropriations Committee says his idea is doing limited earmarks, with the lawmaker putting his or her name on it in a much more transparent way.


REP. JOHN CULBERSON, R-TEXAS: My proposal is to make sure these projects come from state or local government, they're done at subcommittee with the member's name attach, that doesn't increase spending, and goes through the entire legislative process out in the sunshine.


EMANUEL: Congressman Culberson points to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. He says state and local officials in the Houston area know what needs to be done as part of rebuilding after that devastating storm.

But it's bogged down in the federal government bureaucracy. David McIntosh from the Club for Growth is not impressed, saying -- quote -- "Bringing back earmarks is the antithesis of draining the swamp. Earmarks will only benefit the special interests that grow government, at the expense of working men and women."

Others say it would return the power of the purse to lawmakers, rather than unelected bureaucrats. But it wasn't that long ago that the word earmark was toxic. You might remember the bridge to nowhere -- Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Michael, thank you very, very much, Mike Emanuel.

Now, the president's thrust with this is, say what will of earmarks, I got both sides talking. They had to talk. And that was part of the wheeling and dealing.

So, let's ask Charles Payne about that, Democratic strategist David Burstein, and The Wall Street Journal's Shelby Holliday.

Shelby, what do you think?

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It's an interesting concept.

It certainly had both Republicans and Democrats talking, so we may see some sort of bipartisan support. However, conservatives are very against it.

And if you want to do deals, if you're President Trump and you campaigned on the art of the deal, sweeteners aren't going to hurt you. And so I think that's where the president is coming from. He knows that sweetening the deal, if done in the right way, he did there have to be limits, could be beneficial to getting things done in Congress.

And let's not forget Congress has very low approval meetings. They're hovering around 15 percent according to Gallup. And a lot of that is because there is no effort to come to some sort of bipartisan solution on a lot of issues. Earmarks may just help Congress achieve that.

CAVUTO: Charles Payne, what do you think?


CHARLES PAYNE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: They have the low approval ratings as a result of earmarks and corruption and bridges to nowhere and pork barrel spending, and the kind of backroom deals that were the antithesis of what we watched today that was really one of President Trump's best moments in office so far.

Listen, I like the idea that he threw it out there at a -- quote, unquote - - "concept" and he talked about an honest -- bringing everyone together in an honest fashion. I don't trust Congress that way just yet.

CAVUTO: The idea behind it, David, also is -- it's a means by which you get votes on the things that you really want to get done.

And if a bridge is the way you get a bridge to a big deal, let's say, a DACA deal, for example, so be it. You say what?

DAVID BURSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, this is business. This is what people do. People need assets and resources to get things done.

And it would be nice if people would just do things in politics and Congress because they were the right thing the to do. But we know that they don't do that. Right? And the reality is, part of the reason Congress has a such low approval rating is because they can't get anything done.

And if they could actually get something done, and the price we have to pay is a couple billion dollars for earmarks, we spent more money last year on a jet that the Pentagon said it didn't want than we spend on earmarks in the previous incarnation.

So, I think earmarks have really gotten a very bad rap over a long period of time, that because of these, the bridge to nowhere and all these things. But actually they helped grease the wheels a lot.

CAVUTO: Yes, they did get the bad rap back in John Boehner's time when he said, that's enough, we're not going to do it anymore.

But, Shelby, to hearken back to Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill days, or even LBJ, and how he twisted arms, these were the means to that end. What do you think?

HOLLIDAY: Well, they are an means to an end. And then a lot of the backlash was this pork barrel spending.

And so even some Republicans, according to my Wall Street Journal colleagues, are saying, if we bring them back, we might want to name them something else, don't call them earmarks, don't call it pork barrel spending.

CAVUTO: Just call them I-marks.



HOLLIDAY: Right. There may be some branding. And who knows. The president loves branding.

But it is also a tool that legislators, members of Congress use to direct federal spending to projects that actually need funding. And so they also saw the removal of earmarks as a bit of an inhibitor to what they hoped to accomplish.

And I think that's why we're hearing them talk about it right now.

CAVUTO: I don't see this going anywhere, Charles, but I could be missing something. If it means that the two sides can start talking, the president seems to be reasoning all to the good.

PAYNE: I keep hearing people, everyone on the panel saying that this is a way to get Congress to do their job.

How about doing your job? How about doing the things that the American public elects you to go to Washington, D.C., to do in the first place?

CAVUTO: Well, there is that, yes.

PAYNE: And I think voters are hip to this and they're voting people out.

There will be a lot of pressure come election time for people who are not doing their jobs. You don't need to bring back a bridge to nowhere and put that at the bill -- at the foot of the taxpayer. Do your job and you don't need these kind of gimmicks.

HOLLIDAY: Fair point.

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

We have a lot of breaking news here, including the House just approving a resolution in support of those Iran protests 415-2. I'm trying to think, who are the two who voted against?

More after this.


CAVUTO: Well, the president tweeting this afternoon that it was a great honor to sign legislation that creates a national historic park to honor the late Martin Luther King Jr.

Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., daughter of A.D. King, was there when the president signed the bill.

Very good to have you.

DR. ALVEDA KING, NIECE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: It's wonderful. And happy new year, by the way. So, thank you.

CAVUTO: To you as well. To you as well.

KING: Yes.

CAVUTO: Did you know that this was coming?

KING: I knew that Congressman John Lewis and the House and Senate had passed a bill saying that the Martin Luther King Historic Site in Atlanta would now be a national park.

And it's the first park in honor of an African-American. So, that was very exciting. And it got to the president's desk. And he had a certain amount of days to sign it. So I just thought about it, and I said, well, he has to do it by the 8th. And then I got a call, would you like to be there when the president signs the bill?

And I said, well, absolutely, of course. And my cousin Isaac Farris Jr. was there, Bruce Levell, who is at the top of the Trump Diversity Council. And I'm the spiritual adviser there.

So, we were invited on to Air Force One, Neil. Isn't that amazing?

CAVUTO: Wow. You moved up in the world, young lady.

KING: Oh, boy.


CAVUTO: Alveda, I was thinking about you, because you have obviously seen this New Yorker cover that features your uncle Martin Luther King kneeling in sympathy with the likes of Colin Kaepernick and others at these football games. What did you think of that?

KING: Well, you were kind enough, Neil, to let me have that conversation when Colin first took the knee or took a knee.

And I said at that time, well, he has got the method down pat, taking a knee, but he's forgetting the message. Martin Luther King Jr. and my dad, Reverend A.D. King -- and there are pictures out there on the net of them both taking the knee, along with other civil rights leaders.

But when they took that knee, it was in prayer, in repentance for their own sins, for the sins of others, for the nation, forgiving others who had harmed them, and then asking God to help this nation, and to end racism and the injustices against people.

So, without that kind of prayer, when you take the knee, it is just a symbol. So, when they had Martin, Uncle M.L., in between the two athletes with taking the knee, I said, well, I hope you know what he would take the knee for. He would be praying for you, for your concerns. He would be praying for America. He would be praying for President Trump.

So, I was concerned that they were only catching the method, without taking the message of God's love.

CAVUTO: Do you think that of your uncle or even your dad, A.D. King, that they would be sympathetic to minority football players in particular who feel that the African-American man, woman is not treated fairly today?

KING: My uncle, my dad, A.D., M.L. King, daddy King, certainly believed in justice and equality for all people. And I do, too.

Uncle M.L. said, we must learn to live together as brothers. -- and I will add as sisters -- or perish together as fools.

So, it's not divided down a color line. We want justice for everyone, African-Americans, all Americans and to see each other as that Acts 17:26, of one blood God made all people to live together on the face of the Earth.

And if we're brothers and sisters, then fighting over skin color will stop. My uncle would encourage us to stop fighting over skin color. And so I believe President Trump said, during his inaugural speech, no matter what color our skin is, we bleed red, we are Americans.

We have got to embrace that American dream, get that check that my uncle talked about, the insufficient funds check. It has got to be cashed for everybody. That definitely includes African-Americans.

CAVUTO: You think it would include Oprah Winfrey if she wanted to run for president? Should she?

KING: Well, should she run for president? That would be just absolutely fascinating, wouldn't it?

We have not seen a fight like that. We thought we had one. Of course, I believe that President Donald John Trump is a winner. You know I voted for him. So, it would be a challenge. But he's always up to a challenge.

CAVUTO: Do you think, though, that Oprah Winfrey, in that -- in those remarks, 10 minutes of them at the Global Globes, she obviously touched a lot of people, hence all this discussion.

Stranger things have happened.

KING: Well, strange things happened in this last election, and we got a president who's giving us a tax cut, helping us to stop aborting babies, putting people back to work, bringing jobs back to America.

And that was kind of strange, because America had no idea what we were going to get. So, strange things do happen.

I believe that Oprah, as she speaks to the American people, will have something to say. There again, I believe we have a winner in the White House, and I think he would be up to that challenge.

CAVUTO: All right, and we were up to electing an African-American in Barack Obama. Are we up to, whatever your opinions are, electing an African-American woman?

KING: We will see.

I believe that America will have a woman as president one day, and we will just to have see what is ahead of us.

CAVUTO: So, until you declare, we just have to wait?

KING: Yes.


CAVUTO: OK, there you go.

Alveda, very good seeing you again. Happy new year.

KING: Thank you so much. Happy new year to you, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, we will have a lot more after this, including the House Freedom Caucus chair, Mark Meadows, what he makes of the DACA back and forth -- after this.


CAVUTO: Speaking of watching, the reviews apparently are in on the president's tour de force performance today, and Democrats too with the president.

And they're coming from Democrats. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer saying -- Steny Hoyer, I should say -- saying, "Today's meeting at the White House was a positive step forward, in that everyone in the room agreed to take immediate action on DACA."

It goes to say: "I was pleased the president agreed that we need to address DACA now, and I hope that we can come together quickly to reach an agreement," paraphrasing there to save my voice.

Mark Meadows joins us, the House Freedom Caucus chairman.

And, Mark, you have probably heard among the ideas the president discussed, let's do a separate DACA deal now and revisit this, maybe something a little bit more involved, later. What do you think of that?

REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-N.C.: Yes, Neil, let me go into this.

Today was a probably historic day, when you actually have live coverage from inside of a negotiating room at the Oval Office.

I was impressed with the transparency that this president was willing to do. Now, that, being said, I can tell you, I just left the House floor. We had votes, came to speak to you and the viewers.

I can tell you that there's an excitement level on the Republican side of things, because we defined four different parameters. One is, is about a border security. The other is the end of chain migration. Another is to get rid of the visa lottery in exchange for the relief for these DACA recipients.

And so now we know those four parameters. I think the negotiations are heading in a good way. I do believe that the president -- some people left hearing different things, but if that's the first step of this process, then we're certainly willing to look at those substantial things as we move forward.

CAVUTO: But, Chairman, you run a conservative group, pretty conservative group, these Freedom Caucus members, who obviously wanted something back for addressing the DACA issue, those 800,000 or so who got here to this country, parents are illegal.

They were some babies or children when they got here, so to legalize them. But you wanted some quid pro quo here. If the president scores a deal with Democrats to settle that issue, and down the road address these other issues, would your members buy that?

MEADOWS: Well, we wouldn't.

That's not what the president is proposing. I tell you that if he's looking at a stand-alone deal that only addresses these DACA recipients, that's a nonstarter in the House, because...

CAVUTO: So, that wasn't your impression?

MEADOWS: No, that's not -- I know that was the...

CAVUTO: When he made that exchange with Dianne Feinstein, that wasn't your understanding?

MEADOWS: No, it's not my understanding.


MEADOWS: I have talked with some administration officials since that meeting, and I don't know that it was their intention.


MEADOWS: If that got out there, I can tell you that what they're looking at are these four parameters.

If we're talking about just DACA by itself, that's a nonstarter here in the House. And the reason is, Neil, is because history shows us that if we do that, we're going to be coming back addressing this problem again and again and again.

And so it is time that we actually deal with this. This president has put it back in Congress' lap to do that. I believe that we will get it done this month, possibly next month, as we really start to look at it.

CAVUTO: In other words, it's a temporary measure to get us to the next one, right, whatever happens.

MEADOWS: Well, no, I think whatever happens is actually going to be really substantial immigration reform.


MEADOWS: I think if it's going to actually pass both chambers and go to the president, it will be substantial immigration reform.

CAVUTO: But it won't be done in two weeks?

MEADOWS: Well, actually, there's a bill being introduced tomorrow, the Goodlatte bill, that has some real merits.

CAVUTO: Right.

MEADOWS: I that think you will see a real broad support for that.

CAVUTO: So, your confident something will get done?

The president wants earmarks back. Do you?

MEADOWS: No, I'm not a big fan of earmarks.

I think that our constitutional responsibility should lie with the entire $1.1 trillion that we're about to appropriate, not just a few small dollars. It's normally a way to provide leverage and increase spending. I don't know that it's something that I could support.

CAVUTO: Even though the president seems to be saying it's a way to get both sides talking?

MEADOWS: Well, the president -- this is not -- this one of the few things that is not the president's decision.


MEADOWS: It's really a decision of the House.

And so, you know, if you're going to say grease the skids by spending more money, that's not what moms and dads back home have told me to do.

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

Very good seeing you again.

MEADOWS: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Mark Meadows.

So much that has to be done in a little more than two weeks.

The president says he started a discussion. Today, he did.

"The Five" is next.

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