Brady on GOP health care bill: momentum is on our side

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 21, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  We have got the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Kevin Brady, joining us right now.  He's in the middle of this health care storm that prompted a big sell-off at the corner of Wall and Broad today.

Chairman Brady, I have heard from a number of your conservative colleagues who are not going to go along with this health care repeal and replace effort.  I talked to one, Congressman Brat, a colleague, who says that he counts at least 30 who won't go along, which would doom it in the House.

Are you worried?

REP. KEVIN BRADY, R-TEXAS:  Well, look, I don't know what David's whip count is for the Freedom Caucus.

I know the discussions I'm having are very positive.  I think President Trump's visit today with House Republicans was very persuasive.  And I have more members, especially those who were undecided, now saying absolutely.

This is the most conservative bill that's going to pass the House or the Senate.  And so, look, we got some work to do.  But I'm -- the momentum the momentum is all our direction.

CAVUTO:  All right, we're having a live interview right now with the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Kevin Brady, at the epicenter of this battle, which I guess we will know in a couple of days where things stand.

President Trump was up on the hill, sir, saying that, look, I mean, we have got -- I'm paraphrasing -- maybe you can tell me exactly what he said -- we have all got to stick together on this, or we're -- we're going to lose the Senate and the House next year.

Do you agree with that?

BRADY:  Yes.

And he made it clear this is a historic moment, both for Republicans and for those who promised to repeal ObamaCare and actually to begin to replace it with free market principles.  And he was very direct:  I'm all in.  This is our moment.  It's time for us to unify.

And he said:  Look, we will always look to improve this in the Senate as well.

And so I think that was persuasive as well.

CAVUTO:  You know, you're under enormous pressure.  And, Congressman, it's easy to criticize.  I understand what you're trying to craft here and keep everyone together.  Separately, you're orchestrating what could be the most significant and comprehensive tax reform we have seen since Reagan.

But a lot is pegged to this.  Right?  You just -- if this were to fail, this health care rework, can you proceed on to tax cuts, or no?

BRADY:  Look, it is going to pass.  In my view, it is, and through the Senate as well.

CAVUTO:  What if it doesn't?  What if it doesn't?

BRADY:  But I will tell you, the tax cuts in here, nearly a trillion dollars of it, it's really critical to tax reform going forward.  I think having momentum from passage of this is critical.

Look, we're running a second rail here.

CAVUTO:  You're talking about the trillion dollars here in...

BRADY:  Yes, in tax cuts.

CAVUTO:  For the -- related to the health care bill, right?

BRADY:  Yes.  They're all -- they're really job-related.


CAVUTO:  So, you're optimistic that -- I'm sorry, Chairman.

You're optimistic that this will happen.  Some of your colleagues are not. And I don't know the count.  You're probably much more up on that than I will ever be.  But they don't think it is.

So, I know it's just a hypothetical.  But if it doesn't happen on Thursday, can you just say, all right, we will fight this battle another day and move on to taxes, or no?

BRADY:  You know, no, I think it's critical that this pass, one, because of the tax cuts, two, because of the momentum, and, three, because it will show that we can unify behind bold ideas.

We are running a separate track on tax reform.  We have never stopped since November on this.  So, we're making progress in a significant way.  But it really is important, because not just in health care, to move on to the budget and the next reconciliation that opens the door for fundamental tax reform, it's very important all of this move forward, which is why, I will tell you, members get this.

Republicans in the House understand the importance of this, not just stand- alone, but going forward as well on tax reform.

CAVUTO:  When the president was up on the Hill, Chairman, did -- did -- there were reports that, earlier on, he wondered aloud whether the health care thing did have to go first.  I guess it was explained to him, given the way things worked, that it did have to.

Did it have to in the end?  I mean, given some of the headwinds you're running into and resistance from fellow members, did it have to go that way?

BRADY:  I think every one of us would have preferred to lead with tax reform.

But for us to get the reconciliation in the budget process going forward and to act on a collapsing health care law, frankly, yes, it probably had to go in this sequence.

And why I think it's even more important that, look, let's deliver on this. Let's get it to the Senate.  Let them make the improvements that they can. These are all their rules we're dealing with.  But members of the House are just focused on, let's get to tax reform.

CAVUTO:  All right, so assuming -- and let's you get your way, you surprise some folks, and the president was able to twist enough arms to get this through the House, get support in the Senate, then what?  Where do we stand with this?

Because a lot of them might be feeling the pressure that the president would campaign against them or push a primary battle on some that don't vote along with this.  Is that true?

BRADY:  Yes, well, the House has really set the Senate up for success here. We have carried the ball down the court in a major way.

And so they can make some improvements.  We have given them space to do that.  They have got obviously a president backing them in the Senate as well.  And so I'm very -- you know, I'm just -- I'm just optimistic, at the end of the day, the Senate follows through after the House delivers this week.

CAVUTO:  You know, been in this part that, let's say, you get passed this and we talk about these tax cuts.

Has there been any more talk -- the president kind of outlined it in an interview on FOX, that he sees it being truncated to three, maybe four bracket -- rate brackets, and that, without spelling the numbers out, I believe the lowest of the corporate tax options was 20 percent, and that the lowest of the tax ranges for the upper income would be about 33 percent.

Are those broad parameters still right, Chairman?

BRADY:  They are.  They are.

And beyond that, obviously, the work we're doing to make sure not just corporations, but all other types of businesses have an equal 43 percent rate cut, that's going very well.  That full and unlimited expensing is critical.

And I looked at the modifications that we're considering, both on interest deductions going forward and border adjustability as well, to make sure that's an element that can be embraced in tax reform.  And I think, at the end today, it's a given that it will be.  I'm just encouraged by the work that we're -- and discussions we're having.

CAVUTO:  Real quickly, do you agree, if this -- and I know you don't think it will happen -- it does go down to defeat, that this is that big a deal that Republicans will actually lose their majorities in the House and Senate?

BRADY:  You know, I'm confident it's going to pass.


BRADY:  And I think the president made the case today.

Look, you don't want this to fail for a lot of reasons.

CAVUTO:  All right.

BRADY:  And one of them is that, deliver on your promises.

CAVUTO:  Chairman Kevin Brady, House Ways and Means Committee, thank you, wrapping up our live interview with him.

BRADY:  Thank you, Neil.


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