House Majority Leader Rep. Tom Delay, R-Texas, Part II

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, March 14, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, the Senate is turning its nose at it, while the House is ready to push it through the gates. As it stands today, the president's tax cut plan, despite some opposition there, is in limbo.  Earlier, I spoke to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who said that passing this plan is important to the economy, but that the Senate is still at a standstill. So I asked if there was a sense of splitting the plan apart.


REP. TOM DELAY, R-TEXAS, MAJORITY LEADER: If we can't do the dividend thing -- but we're not going to give up on that -- there are other things. I mean we can lower capital gains again. That's a huge stimulus in long-term growth. The dividend is a great idea and the president is right to propose it. But if it can't carry the day, certainly capital gains -- and David Dreier, a congressman from California, had suggested a fire sale for capital gains, where if move your assets around, you'll have a two-year holiday, where there would be no capital gains. That would have an incredible stimulus effect.

So there are all kinds of ideas out there. The important thing is that the House get a bill out of the House, and the Senate get a bill out of the Senate. And we get to the conference committee and we work out our differences and actually write the bill there.

CAVUTO: Was the feeling, sir, that the president thought that if he did get into Iraq, had success in Iraq, that that would be sort of like the political wind at his back as well and might increase his chances of getting what he wants on this tax cut package?

DELAY: Well, I have never heard the president exactly put it that way.  And I don't think that is his strategy. I think that the president is trying to fight a war on terror of which Iraq is a central part. And he's also fighting a war on the economy. It's not like is he doing one thing and not the other. He is working very hard at both.

CAVUTO: Do you buy those, sir? The argument from some Democrats that this is not the time to be talking tax cuts because of all of this extra money for war now. What do you make of that?

DELAY: Well, first of all, the Democrats have no credibility when it comes to these issues. I mean they were in control for 40 years and they ran up deficits forever and forever, and it took a Republican House to actually balance the budget for the first time in 40 years. And it is because they have this world view that if you cut taxes, it's a loss of revenue to the government. And history just proves them wrong time and time again.

If you're going to pay for this war, if you're going to lower the deficit and bring it into balance, you have to have an economy that will support this government. And in order to have an economy to support this government, you have to cut taxes, let people invest in themselves, grow the economy. Therefore, revenues are higher for the government, and we get to balance eventually.

CAVUTO: So you are not concerned that for the significant shorter term we are looking at deficits?

DELAY: No. These deficits, as a percent of GDP, are relatively small.  But that is not the point here. We're at war. And you have to do whatever it takes to protect the American people and their security.

And if we have to run deficits for a few years in order to win this war, we'll have to do that. But at the same time, we can hold down spending in other areas and we can cut taxes and grow this economy, and at least bring some fiscal responsibility to this issue. What Democrats are proposing is totally irresponsible. They want to raise taxes, spend more money on social programs. It will drive the deficits even higher.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you about your role in this entire process. You know Republicans really admire you; Democrats are terrified of you. Do you see yourself as the leading tax cut proponent? In other words, when some Republicans get wishy washy on the subject, that you're going to keep the religion?

DELAY: Well I've tried to keep the religion as a whip, and certainly as a leader. Most people don't realize the House of Representatives, since we took over the majority in 1995, have passed tax cuts every year that we've been in the majority. And the most important thing is we haven't had a tax increase in eight years. And this Republican House will continue to pass tax cuts every year that we stay in the majority.

CAVUTO: Mr. DeLay, let me switch gears here, if you don't mind. I know your time is a crunch here, but this foster children initiative, I know what people don't realize about you is that is a cause that is very dear to you. But ironically, it paired you and Hillary Clinton. What was the deal there?

DELAY: The odd couple, they're calling us. Hillary has done a lot of work in foster care, and particularly abused and neglected children. We kind of hooked up over an adoption bill many years ago and sort of stayed in touch.  And I have accelerated the focus on foster care, and we have been doing some things here. And she is helping us in the Senate. So she is a very good ally to have when you can have her as an ally.

CAVUTO: But how were those meetings? And I don't know if it ever came to that, but here you were leading the charge to impeach her husband a few years back, and now you guys are, you know, joined at the hip on this issue.

DELAY: Well this issue transcends everything. Foster children out in the country are living in a system that is just horrible. Driving them into criminal acts and children moving from home to home almost every other month. And it is just a system that we have to change to give these children a safe, permanent home. Not just for themselves, which is badly important, but for society as a whole. We are growing every generation of criminal through the foster care system, and it has to change.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the fact that you have pushed so much on this -- and what few people realize about you, sir, is that this has been a life- long commitment of yours. This isn't just something that sort of popped up on your radar. Does it bug you when people say, Tom DeLay, this is a guy who is a heartless conservative, he doesn't care about people, he is a ruthless cost cutter? How do people react when they hear this side of you?

DELAY: They are a little surprised, because the media has created this image that isn't me. It doesn't bother me. I know who I am and know what I am working for. And I will just continue to do that.

My wife and I have been foster parents. That is why we know this system and what it is doing to our children, and why we are so adamant about changing it. So you know whatever the national media writes about me, a lot of times I don't even read it, but it does not bother me.


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