Will Democrats Hike Taxes to Fund Obama's Health Care Plan?

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," June 16, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: First, the speech and now the sell.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.

Well, another day and more number-crunching — Democrats looking for a trillion bucks to pay for the president's health care plan. Guess what? Two key proposals include some potentially hefty tax hikes.

Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah is fine with it, as long — as long as we get a health care plan out of it.

Congressman, good to have you back.

Is it inevitable tax hikes are — are — are coming?

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, it's good to be back, Neil.

Well, Look, I think the reality is, is that we're going to pay more, as the president said, if we don't cover everyone. But, yes, there's going to have to be — the cost for this is going to have to be budget-neutral, and we are going to have to find a way to pay for insuring the other 46 million or so of our fellow citizens and make sure that they have health insurance.

CAVUTO: All right. But you're going to pay more for it.


CAVUTO: Everyone, everyone pays more, right, not just the rich? It's going to be everyone is going to have to pay more, right?

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FATTAH: Well, look, you know, we paid billions to make sure that every Iraqi could have health insurance, right? This was part of our program in Iraq in the reconstruction effort. We built children's hospitals in cities where there were no children's hospitals. We can do the least — we can at least do as much for our own here in this country.

We have been working at this for decades.


CAVUTO: I know that, Congressman.


CAVUTO: I'm sorry but if you don't mind...

FATTAH: The president is committed to getting it done.


CAVUTO: My original question was, do you envision, then, taxes going up for everybody to provide health care for everybody?

FATTAH: Then you go right ahead.

Well, what Chairman Rangel has said is that his committee is going to meet within hours, I think, or sometime tomorrow. They're going to look at all the revenue raises that the administration has on the table, and they're going to look at others. And we're going to find a way to pay for this.

Now, you have heard the insurance say that they can produce about $2 trillion in savings over 10 years. You have seen the president put $600 billion in his budget as a down payment. But there is still a gap. And that gap is going to have to be filled with larger efficiencies and with other taxes that are needed to make sure that we can cover everyone.

CAVUTO: Right.

FATTAH: But we're going to have do it in a way in which it's budget-neutral.

CAVUTO: All right. I understand that goal, but, you know, Congressman, a lot of your folks in your party are going to have to go back to the American people and say, I know we said the taxes were not going to go up on the middle class, but, news flash, they are. Now, you might be able to tell them, yes, but, for that tax hike, you're going to get health coverage for everybody.

You are going to have to pray that they are OK with that, right?

FATTAH: Well, the first thing we want to do is tell them about the real news flash, which is that 95 percent of all Americans have a tax cut right now, today, under their president's recovery program. They have it this year and they have it next year. So, he's already done a larger tax cut than anything Bush has done during his time.


FATTAH: ... people.


CAVUTO: All right.

But are those 95 percent going to be told, enjoy it while you can, because the taxes are going to go up for you, yes or no?

FATTAH: Well, you know, we have a responsibility. As they teach in our church, that we have a responsibility to be our brother's keeper.

We can't have 46 million Americans without health insurance. Who among us would want to trade places with someone who has a serious illness and no...


CAVUTO: Congressman, I'm not dismissing what was said in your church. You also have an obligation telling the American people the truth, then. If that is the case, do you think it would have been incumbent on Democrats, upon all parties, to just say, look, if you're going to get national health care, the fact of the matter is, everyone, not just the rich, everyone is going to have to pay for it?

FATTAH: Well, we are going to lay it out specifically. There is going to be a bill. It's going to show how it's going to be paid for.

So, I don't want to say that everyone is going to pay until we see the details, but I think we should be clear is that we are going to pay for all that we get in this world. And Americans, in some stripe, whether it's just the wealthy, or whether it's just corporations, or whether we're going to look at closing tax loopholes, however the Ways and Means Committee puts this together — now, you can jump ahead and say, well, everybody is going to pay. I don't think we are actually there yet.

CAVUTO: Right.

FATTAH: But I do know that, yes, some among us will have to pay.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised, Congressman, the more Americans hear about this health care, the more concerned they are, that a lot of them like the policies they have, and a lot of them are wondering now, when you are talking the potential of their taxes going up to pay for something that they are not necessarily too keen on, that you might be thinking they are keener for this than they are?

In other words, you might be digging yourself a really big hole.

FATTAH: Well, you know, a lot of our detractors and the president's detractors would hope that would be the case.

But, Neil, let me assure you of something. The president has said, and you have heard him say it, if you have a health care plan that you like, you can keep it. You're going to be able to keep your doctor.

We are not trying to take something away from people who are doing well. We're trying to provide health care insurance...

CAVUTO: Do you believe that? Do you believe that?

FATTAH: Let me just finish my sentence.

We are trying to provide health care insurance for millions of our neighbors who don't have health insurance. That is the goal here. We think we can meet that goal. And there will always be critics, as there always are.


FATTAH: And they will say all the things that they can say. But until we have a bill...


FATTAH: .... I think the American people will give the president an opportunity to get it done.


CAVUTO: Well, I will tell you why there are critics, Congressman.


CAVUTO: All right, all right.

You don't have to be a critic to just say, we need more there there. We need more details. You even said you don't have enough details yet to tell us how many people's taxes will go up, and that is fine.


FATTAH: Well, the details are coming. Over the next few days, you're going to see it all.


CAVUTO: Well, you know what? That is fine. But you can't accept and expect people to be jumping for joy at this, — when — when they don't know the details, because, apparently, you don't know the details, right?

FATTAH: Well, look, what I do know is this, is that the president has laid out a plan to cover all Americans.


FATTAH: We have said that we are going to produce a bill. We are going to get it on the floor. We are going to vote on it over the next two months. It's going to have all the details you want.

CAVUTO: All right.

FATTAH: And there will be an opportunity for people to try to pick it apart.

But the goal here is to provide health care to all Americans. And we, as a society, we are the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't do it. So, either, we are completely incompetent as a nation, or we can find a way to do this and to share decent health care with everyone in this country.

CAVUTO: Congressman, a pleasure. Thank you for coming on.

FATTAH: Thank you for having me, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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