This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," November 8, 2006, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Reaction to all of this, as well as Tuesday's election results, from certainly one of the most powerful Democrats in the House — some now say the most powerful.
I'm talking about New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, who stands to head the most powerful committee of all: House Ways and Means.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.: Good to be back with you.
CAVUTO: I have to do that, right? Good to see you. All right. Here is what I want to know: The president's tax cuts, the deadline, 2010 — I know your line about, you don't buy, you know...
RANGEL: Green bananas.
CAVUTO: .... green bananas.
Are they going to be extended under Democrats?
RANGEL: Why in the world would any responsible tax writer speculate on an extension of a tax cut in 2010, when we have no idea what the economy is going to look like?
If, indeed, the thinking behind a lot of Republicans would be, Rangel and the Democrats are going to raise taxes, why don't we take a look at the alternative minimum tax? Why can't we get our arms and wrap around that, and see how, collectively, we can relieve these people, where it was never intended that they carry that tax burden?
CAVUTO: Let — let me ask you, Charlie, I had Chuck Schumer on the — on the show yesterday. And I was trying to get out of him, when he said that we have to target tax relief to the middle class, how you pay for that, and would he be open to then looking at the tax rate for the upper income — now 35 percent — maybe bringing it back to what it was prior to this president taking office.
Are you open to that?
RANGEL: Not repealing. You are talking about after 2010?
RANGEL: I don't think we will be speculating as to what's going to happen after 2010. I said it, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.
CAVUTO: All right.
So, as far as...
RANGEL: But let me...
CAVUTO: And some in your — no, no, no. Here's what I want to be clear on: Some in your party have seemed to indicate that the rich have had a free ride over the last six years. And they say that, now — now, times are a-changing. Do you agree with that, that maybe the rich, maybe the well-to-do, who have profited, done very well these last six years, should see their taxes go up?
RANGEL: I don't really think that the tax-writing committee should determine who is going to get increases or tax cuts, without taking a look and see what the impact is going to be on the economy.
It's not saying: I love this class. I dislike this and I prefer to do this.
CAVUTO: Then, what's the first thing you are going to do?
RANGEL: To do — just before I came here, I talked with Secretary Paulson. And he has agreed that, if I can bring the tax-writing committee together at a retreat, where we can talk and find out whether there is some housekeeping things that we can do to show that Democrats and Republicans can work together — you have to realize...
RANGEL: ... half of these members, Democrat and Republicans, never have worked in harmony. And, then, we can see what we can really tackle.
The president talked a great deal today about private accounts. I don't know whether that's staying the course or not.
CAVUTO: Is that a non-starter to Charlie Rangel?
RANGEL: If it's in addition to maintaining Social Security as we know it, no, it's not a non-starter.
But, you know, just getting rid of Rumsfeld doesn't mean that he has changed the course.
CAVUTO: Well, what do you make of that? Now, a lot of Democrat have called for Rumsfeld's head. And — and now you got it. He is out.
RANGEL: Cut it out.
CAVUTO: All right. I don't — don't know what you were saying on this. But he is gone. So, what now?
RANGEL: I — I don't — I heard you say, what does the president get for doing this, like it's Saint John's head delivered on a platter.
Rumsfeld had no policy. You cannot say this is the right thing to do, until you see what the new person is going to do.
CAVUTO: I — I understand. But, Congressman, everyone of — of — of influence in your party was saying, get rid of Rumsfeld. Get rid of him.
CAVUTO: So, maybe the first salvo the president threw back at you is: All right, I'm going to — I'm going to get rid of him. He is gone.
How do you feel about just that?
RANGEL: I think that's good. That's a good first move.
CAVUTO: So, are you impressed that the president went over the line for you?
RANGEL: I'm impressed that the president can read the election results. After all, these were American voters. These weren't Democratic voters.
And — and I want to say, what Carly, the lady, was saying...
CAVUTO: So, has this addressed your biggest concern going forward about Iraq? We need someone new in charge. We need a new policy. Are you satisfied with that?
RANGEL: Do you really believe that changing the secretary is changing the policy?
If he was to come before the Congress and the American people, and say that this course hasn't worked; we are going to have to change this policy; we have to get our friends, especially those in the region, to assist us, to see how these people can take care of their own problem; we have got to pull our troops out of harm's way, I would say, hey, that's what we are talking about.
You really didn't have to change Rumsfeld, if he was to say those things.
CAVUTO: All right.
Let me ask you this. You are going to run House Ways and Means, most likely. But there is talk that your — that those in your party want to start a series of investigations into how we got into the war and all of that. Do you think it's a safe bet, Congressman, that the next two years will be dominated by hearings, investigations, and that's what we will see?
RANGEL: You know, it's absolutely amazing how people can agree that oversight is something that the Congress should be doing on everything.
CAVUTO: No, no, no, I'm not asking whether you — I don't care whether you call it oversight or you're going to — whatever. But we are going to see a lot of that?
RANGEL: Not a lot of that.
But you are going to see a responsible Congress. And when someone...
CAVUTO: And a responsible Congress doing what, then, having hearings on the war, on — on — on Halliburton, on...
RANGEL: Well, suppose we were talking about changing Social Security. Wouldn't we want to bring in the director of Social Security and ask, why do we have that type of deficit and what do we intend to do about it?
You know, I get the impression that, if there are people that believe there is something that — that — that is going on in the administration and they don't want to tell the truth, that the Democrats are now going to come in and subpoena them.
CAVUTO: OK. All right, I just want to know, unequivocally, last question, taxes going to go up under Charlie Rangel?
RANGEL: I think they are going to go down for alternative minimum taxes...
CAVUTO: All right. All right.
RANGEL: ... and for the middle class.
CAVUTO: Charlie Rangel, maybe the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, thank you very, very much.
RANGEL: Good to be here with you.
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