Sen. Portman on tax reform: The proof is in the paycheck
This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 19, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, hell, yes, it cleared the House of Representatives. Now it on to the Senate, where the battle royal is on.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. You're watching "Your World," and a historic world, at that.
A generational shift in the direction of taxes, the likes of which we haven't seen since Ronald Reagan. Might not be as big as that, might not be as widespread as that, but it's noteworthy just the same.
But it was be a battle royal in the House. It promised to be at least that much in the Senate, where all this could -- and I stress -- could end late tonight, if not in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.
Peter Doocy on Capitol Hill has been following it all -- Peter.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, normally, when Congress follows through on a proposal, votes on a proposal, passes something, it takes constituents a really long time to notice it or to feel the effects.
But tax reform is apparently a lot different.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN BRADY, R-TEXAS: New Year's Day, America will have a new tax code for new era of American prosperity.
In February -- on February 1, look at your paychecks, because you will see the tax relief we delivered today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: As soon as the bill sailed through the House, it was physically ferried over to the Senate. That's where it sits right now. The vice president is around, just in case he needs to cast a tie-breaking vote.
But it doesn't look like there can be a tie, because John McCain's absence means an odd number of senators will be voting.
Democrats in the Senate do not have the votes to stop this measure from passing and heading to President Trump's desk. But they're trying to pressure Republicans into changing their minds by arguing that this bill is not in the best interests of their constituents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., MINORITY LEADER: Our Republican colleagues have indicated they intend to schedule votes later today on their final tax bill. They will rue the day they did it.
Given the bill's substance, it's no surprise they're in such a rush -- 11th-hour backroom deals have managed to only make their bill even worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: House Republicans are jubilantly calling tax cuts by Christmas a promise kept.
The thought is that the Senate will wrap up approving the tax bill that came out of that conference committee by late tonight, which means that we could see a signing ceremony, where President Trump inks it into law sometime tomorrow -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, thank you, Peter Doocy.
Now, that, by the way, is not such a sure thing, given some of the timing and the mechanics of that to be worked out on this. I was learning a lot listening to John Roberts.
John at the White House, apparently, there's some little I's that have to be dotted and T's crossed to do that, right?
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There are hundreds of pages of I's that have to be dotted and T's that have to be crossed.
But, first of all, and I just -- I reconfirmed this with a White House official a short time ago, Neil -- the White House isn't even expecting to get this bill, if it passes the Senate, until either late Thursday and maybe on Friday. It has got to go through an enrollment process there in Congress.
Some bills, like continuing resolutions, come out pretty quickly. This one, because it's so involved, likely will take a couple of days. Then the White House has to review it as well. It's a possibility that the president could get a chance to sign it, but that would be working so quickly that I don't think the White House will be comfortable with the review process.
So, likely, the earliest that the president could sign this would be sometime next week, which would involve, if he wants to actually sign the bill and not auto-pen a signature, putting the bill on an airplane, flying it down to him in Mar-a-Lago, having him sign it, and then fly the bill all the way back up to Washington.
That, I'm sure, would be frowned upon by some members of Congress, who would call it a needless waste of taxpayer money. So, the most likely scenario is that the president will wait until he and Congress get back probably the 2nd or the 3rd of January, and then he will have a massive celebratory signing ceremony to codify this into law.
And then everything will start to kick in after that. The president certainly, Neil, praising the House for passing this bill, tweeting out -- quote -- "Congratulations to Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Kevin Brady, Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and all the great House Republicans who voted in favor of cutting your taxes."
We know the top rate is coming down to 37 percent. The corporate rate is going to be about 21 percent. The pass-through tax will be slightly less than 30 percent. Double the standard deduction. Double the child care deduction.
One thing that will not be in this bill is closing the loophole for so- called carried interest, which really affects hedge funding managers who make tens of millions of dollars every year.
It's interesting because this is something that the president promised to do. And that's not in this bill.
I asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders about that a little while ago at the briefing. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: The carried interest loophole is still there in this bill. Why did not the president not insist getting rid of that?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, the president was focused and he laid out what his four biggest principles were that he wanted to make sure were part of any piece of legislation.
We feel that the piece of legislation, where it is now, certainly answered and addressed that. That's been our focus all along, and what we have continued to talk about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: One other thing that this bill does is, it gets rid of the tax penalties for the individual mandate in Obamacare, meaning that if people don't buy tax -- don't buy health insurance, rather, they don't have to pay a tax on it.
And that added up to $695 per adult and $347.50 per in 2017. So, that led the CBO to project that people will not buy health insurance in the millions. In fact, 13 million people, they said, will go without health insurance and it would cause premiums to rise by 10 percent.
But Sarah Huckabee Sanders this afternoon said that is a much-needed fix in Obamacare. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: We have said all along that our health care system is broken. It has to be fixed. It's not sustainable.
This is one step in that process. We are going to continuing moving forward and looking at the best ways to improve our health care system, and we anticipate that being a big part of our focus next year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: One of other big things about signing this in 2018 vs. 2017, there is what called the pay-go formula, that any tax cuts have to be paid for with offsets to entitlement programs like Medicare.
Neil, if the president were to sign that bill in 2017, and they don't get a waiver in the next three days in the spending bill, those cuts would kick in, in 2018, an election year. So, if he waits until 2018 to sign in, those cuts wouldn't kick in into 2019, giving them an entire year to fix it.
But the White House thinks they will get the waiver. By the way, the vice president will be presiding over the vote tonight in the Senate, just in case -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Just in case. John Roberts, thank you, my friend, very, very much, John at the White House, obviously.
All right, well, the vice president there ready just in case, as he says.
To Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman whether he thinks it's necessary the vice president should be there.
What do you think, Senator?
SEN. ROB PORTMAN, R-OHIO: Neil, I don't think he will be needed.
I'm glad he's there and I know he's really excited about this tax cut and tax reform proposal. But we have the votes. We saw that on the vote that just occurred, which is the motion to proceed to the legislation. Republicans all stuck together. But so did Democrats. But there were enough votes to get it done without the vice president breaking the tie.
CAVUTO: Do you think all Republicans will vote for this and stick together? One I guess that is still a holdout, we don't know for sure, Senator, is your colleague Jeff Flake.
PORTMAN: Yes, look, I think my colleagues are going to stick together, because it's exactly what we have been talking about for years.
It does provide real middle-class tax cuts, but it also gives the economy an important shot in the arm that you and I have talked about on this program for years, Neil, is to make us competitive again, to make America the best place to do business.
And that is going to create even more help I think to middle-class families in Ohio and around the country, because you're going to see wages start to go up.
CAVUTO: That's your hope anyway.
And one of the fears, maybe it's because many Americans can relate to closing on a house that somehow falls through at the last second, the president's signature on this might be delayed for a variety of reasons, review and everything else, and then waiting, you know, until maybe after the Christmas holiday.
Do you think he should just sign the thing now, if you approve it tonight?
PORTMAN: Yes, yes.
PORTMAN: Look, there's an enrollment process you have got to go through.
And you have got to sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed. But I think he should go ahead and sign it. And I don't think the concerns have been raised about 2018 and when the vote might occur in terms of the pay-go rules is really relevant. I mean, all of us...
CAVUTO: In other words, before he leaves for Mar-a-Lago, sign it now, sign it, but don't let anything possibly, you know, risk it?
PORTMAN: Yes, I think you go ahead and sign it, because, actually, the tax relief should start on January 1.
PORTMAN: And, otherwise, it would be retroactive, as you and I have talked about.
So let's have it signed now. Let's have it start on January 1. The IRS has to adjust the withholdings on all of our paychecks. That will take a little while, let's say by the end of February. People will see in their paychecks the cuts that have started on January 1.
So they will begin to see this in the paycheck itself. The proof is in the paycheck. And I think that is important. People need the relief now. Let's provide it.
CAVUTO: But it's your betting that the IRS will have that all ready by February, so that companies can pass along those new tax tables and obviously the higher net that you will hope will pop up in many Americans' paychecks by then.
CAVUTO: The reason why I raise it is, apparently, companies are obligated, too, to resubmit W-4s to all their workers that where everyone sort of reclaims whatever exemptions they're going to claim.
Some are going be out there. Others are in. A lot of people didn't know that. Is that true?
PORTMAN: It is. It is, yes.
And so there's an adjustment process here. But I think, by the end of February, we should have that completed. And, again, people are going to be able to see in their paychecks the tangible evidence of the tax cuts.
CAVUTO: I'm sorry, Senator.
I just want to be clear on this, because a lot of people didn't know this. But they have to fill out a W-4 all over again? They can't not, right? They can't go on the old one they have?
PORTMAN: Yes, I think they will, unless, Neil, they choose not to make any changes.
CAVUTO: I see.
PORTMAN: And many people who take the standard deduction won't have to change anything, because they haven't taken deductions.
About two-thirds of the people I represent already take the standard deduction. That doubles to $24,000 per family, instead of $12,000 per family, which means probably 95 percent of people I represent are going to take the standard deduction.
There will be some opportunity there to clarify what your status is and what deductions you're still taking. But most people won't itemize. Most people will -- the vast majority of people will do the simpler form.
And that's part of the simplification of this. And it's also part of how you get middle-class tax cuts, because that first $24,000 is essentially a zero bracket.
CAVUTO: All right, Senator, thank you. I know you have a long night ahead of you. Some NoDoz or whatever -- whatever works for you.
PORTMAN: No, just the energy of good tax reform.
CAVUTO: Just adrenaline, all right.
PORTMAN: Make our country better.
CAVUTO: Senator Rob Portman, thank you very, very much.
PORTMAN: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: If we don't chat again, sir, merry Christmas to you. All right.
I always told you this would be like me giving you dietary advise. Prominent Democrats are now worried about, well, all the debt. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD NEAL, D-MASS.: They're telling us this is their Christmas present. And you know what they're doing with it? Adding $2.3 trillion to the federal debt.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEAL: As we proceed to the holiday, they're telling us this is their Christmas present. And you know what they're doing with it? It's going to be Christmas hangover debt, and they're putting it on the credit card and adding $2.3 trillion to the federal debt.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, Democrats making hay of the -- what they consider $2.3 trillion added debt because of the tax cuts.
They do that because they also count in expired tax cuts that they don't think will be expired, credits and the like that will actually balloon up to $2.3 trillion, ignoring, by the way, the fact that the regular conventional spending part of that debt, where we exceed what we take in, that is going to balloon another $9 trillion or $10 trillion.
But, again, who is counting?
But this is the fault of both parties here, ignoring just the accumulation of debt, and then you have to decide, well, which is worse, the $1.5 trillion tax plan cost or adding another $10 trillion in debt in combined deficits over that time.
To The Hill's Michael Starr Hopkins and Washington Examiner's Emily Jashinsky.
Emily, I think it's playing fast and loose with some of the numbers here and what is a priority, but I will also stress that it's unusual for a prominent Democrat to bemoan debt and the accumulation of debt coming off the last nine or 10 years that we have had.
EMILY JASHINSKY, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yes, it is, of course.
And what is interesting is, Democrats know they have the compete in states, especially in 2018, where the president is popular. And so I think they're trying to use this line of attack to make the bill less palatable to people in those states, people who maybe are in the center or maybe right of center that they see that are persuadable on this.
But it's really rich coming from the party that I suspect, when we hit 2018, and Republicans try to tackle entitlement reform, will not be willing to take a serious look at entitlement reform. And, yes, this is the fault of both parties. Both parties used the debt and the deficit as a political football. That's why it continue to balloon, because nobody wants to take serious steps to tackle it.
And then we're going to see the same thing here in the coming year.
CAVUTO: Michael, do you distinguish between tax cuts and spending?
MICHAEL STARR HOPKINS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely.
I think that there are areas where we can cut taxes. You and I have talked about this before. I think it's good to have cuts for businesses on their tax rate. But we also have to make sure we're affording the middle class the same benefits.
And I think that when you look at the last two Democratic administrations, you had Bill Clinton, who balanced the budget. Then you had Barack Obama, who inherited a calamity that he then had to fix.
And so I think now what we're doing is asking millennials, asking people in their mid-20s, early to late 30s to pick up the tab for this mess. And that's exactly why I'm...
CAVUTO: But both parties have done that, right?
Under Barack Obama -- I know he did inherit a mess and all that. I understand that. But the fact of the matter is, we added another $10 trillion in debt.
HOPKINS: We have. And you know what? That's exactly why I'm exploring a run for Senate in New Jersey, because I think people are tired of the government spending their money.
CAVUTO: So, you find it a little disingenuous? Sort of like me offering you dietary advice?
HOPKINS: It is, because I know you live in New Jersey. And you know how removing the SALT deductions will hurt not only people in New Jersey, but people in New York, people in California, people who are really just trying to figure out how they're going to send their kids to college.
CAVUTO: Well, no, you raise a good point about that.
Emily, we don't know how this sorts out. We do know that tax cuts, when they're first proposed, if we go back to Ronald Reagan's, gosh, if we go back to JFK, George Bush's, they're very unpopular coming out of the gate.
Actually, Donald Trump's or the Republican plan this go-round is a little more popular than they were at the time. But those tax cuts invariably enjoy a following and a support that builds over time. Do you think these will?
JASHINSKY: Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if that happened at all.
I think Republicans actually have a really tough sell with tax cuts -- or tax reform, I should say, which is something that seems on its face would be easy to sell to the people. But it's always contorted to say this is something that does not benefit the middle class, this is something that is only for the wealthy, when, in fact, of course there's a lot of things in this bill that will benefit middle-class Americans.
CAVUTO: And, by the way, there's a lot of wealthy people in all of those high-tax states that Michael alluded to who are going to pay, significantly more.
JASHINSKY: They're not going to be happy.
CAVUTO: Michael, this cuts a variety of ways.
But it does get back to the fact that government, at the local level, at the state level, at the federal level is just growing out of control. Now, what is wrong with telling Washington -- because, when all is say and done, Washington is still going to be taking in about $2.75 trillion in taxes.
Certainly, it can find a way to support its services and responsibilities on that. Can it not?
HOPKINS: Absolutely. I don't think people have an issue with paying taxes. I think they have a problem with their money being spent in a way that they think is wasteful.
And so I think, when you look across the country, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, what you want to know is that your money is being spend so that you can make sure our schools are better, our roads are drivable.
CAVUTO: Well, we pour a lot of money into both, right, and we get squat for it, right?
HOPKINS: I think we have cut money in a lot of areas when it comes to educational funding. We're talking about now cutting deductions for student interest rates and allowing deductions for private schools.
And so I think that we have to have a balanced approach.
CAVUTO: We spend more money on education than all of Europe combined.
HOPKINS: True, but we also have a education system that I think looks at everything as a one-size-fits-all approach.
CAVUTO: But you would use this as an opportunity and do that, Emily, to reassess, maybe at least slow the growth of spending down, right?
Well, there's certainly ways, different ways to look at our spending. It's like we were just talking about with the education system. Throwing money at a problem is not the solution to the problem, and especially not so when it's taxpayer money.
So, hopefully, when we reach the new year, that there's a serious look at entitlement reform, because...
CAVUTO: I hope there is, guys. No, seriously, I hope there is, because I think you both reach a very profound common theme here, that every time we have even tried to slow a growth in entitlement or what have you, just slowing the growth has been met with complete anger and frustration and ads on the other side -- both sides do this -- out of control, right?
HOPKINS: I know it's unlikely to happen.
But I think both sides need to slow down on this, and let's have some hearings. Let's the American people hear about what is going on and answer some of the questions about Corker and the president's taxes, and just in general know what is going on. This can't be slipped through.
CAVUTO: Yes, all right, guys, I want to thank you both very, very much.
HOPKINS: Thank you.
CAVUTO: In the meantime, we're getting a better understanding of what happened to that Amtrak train yesterday.
Speed was the issue. In case you think it rings a bell, it should. Think Philadelphia. Think a couple of years ago. Think what they said never, ever, ever happening again potentially happening again -- after this.
CAVUTO: Eighty miles in a 30-mile-per-hour speed zone, if that is true -- and investigators are hinting in the case of the Washington state train derailment that might have been exactly what was going on, something that seems eerily similar to what happened in Philadelphia with a similar Amtrak disaster in 2015.
Dan Springer in DuPont, Washington, with the latest.
Dan, what are you hearing?
DAN SPRINGER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Neil, National Transportation Safety Board members arrived here on scene in Washington state late yesterday.
And the very first thing they did is they took the event data recorder out of that rear engine, which is the only part of that train left on the tracks. And, stunningly, it confirmed reports that the train was in fact going 80 miles per hour on that sharp curve where the speed drops down to 30 miles per hour.
Now, just looking at the track and the angle of the curve as they cross over Interstate 5, it's obvious that speed was the major factor. The question seems to be, was it the only factor? And why had the train not slowed down?
We got a much closer look at the mangled train cars as crews worked through the night to remove them. The NTSB expected to be on scene at least a week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELLA DINH-ZARR, VICE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: We don't know at this point. I think it's too early to tell. And that's why we want to carefully look at the track and the signals and the human performance.
And so we will be, we hope, interviewing the crew, and to find out if they have more information that they can help us figure this out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SPRINGER: Officials did not say whether a positive train control system could have prevented this tragedy.
That's a system by which you can actually slow down a train that is going too fast. Meantime, we're hearing more and more stories of heroism and unbelievable stories of survival.
The stories keep coming. First-responders used whatever they could to get inside those train cars as they were hanging over the trestle behind him. Three people were killed and 70 were sent to local hospitals. We don't know all the conditions and how many are still critical.
But everyone who survived is grateful to be alive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE, WASHINGTON AMTRAK CRASH SURVIVOR: After getting myself upright and my legs unfolded, I saw her legs. And I reached down and I shook one. And she shook it back.
I said, oh, oh. I said, are you all right? And she says, I think so.
BEVERLY, WASHINGTON AMTRAK CRASH SURVIVOR: There was this body lying there. I mean, it was -- he had -- hardly had any clothes on. The clothes had just been ripped off him. And he was obviously dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SPRINGER: Just terrible stories coming out of this, and also, like I said, stories of heroism from people who responded and arrived and helped the people who were in that train.
Interstate 5, by the way, Neil, continues to be closed southbound here; 60,000 cars pass through here a day. It's a major inconvenience for folks. But we're being told by transportation officials that they should be able to reopen this perhaps by Friday, Neil.
CAVUTO: Dan Springer, thank you, my friend, very, very much.
So, again to Dan's report here, why was the conductor, the engineer going in excess of 80 miles an hour on a bend in the tracks?
Oliver McGee is a former deputy assistant secretary of transportation for President Bill Clinton.
Very good to have you, Secretary.
What do you make of that?
OLIVER MCGEE, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, I think this is an issue about speed.
Positive train control wasn't necessarily in place and other protection technologies that were necessary to control the speed as this train approached the 30-mile-per-hour curve, but at 50 miles per hour over speed.
And positive train control, which is a control engineering mechanism, is designed to communique with the rail with the control cockpit or the engineer himself or herself, and to be able to essentially stop the train or to significantly slow it down.
It's also designed to look for any types of obstructions that may be on the tracks or any type of dense traffic that may take place, which this is not the place here.
But, most importantly, the NTSB is being very careful because they need to look at what was happening when the train was approaching the curve. And if it was leaning over too much, Neil, you could have possibly had some torsion and twisting with the connections. And then simulations that are online are showing that the cars twisted relative to each other and then rolled down the embankment.
And without crash containment along the approach to the bridge, then that's why you had all the tumbling of the cars going down the embankment or, more importantly, in the worst condition of tumbling a car onto another mode of transportation, which happens to be Interstate 5.
CAVUTO: Secretary, do we know whether the conductor and/or engineer or anyone involved had been tested for drugs or anything like that? I would imagine that's a routine follow-up to something like this.
MCGEE: That is what the NTSB is being very careful about, because that human factor is a very critical thing for the FRA. And it's the second most factor of crashes in derailments.
CAVUTO: Because why would someone be going that fast?
Let's say it was something mechanical or that they couldn't control it. I mean, the other obvious issue is that he or she wanted this to move very, very quickly and was eager trying to make or get ahead of schedule. This was an inaugural run on this particular train. A lot more trains were planned that day as part of this new busier run.
What do you make of that?
MCGEE: Well said, Neil, because some of the speculation out there has been that this was sort of like a Titanic run.
Remember the "Titanic" movie and you're trying to do the inaugural path on inaugural travel, and you need to get there early to show that this train is going to be fast and efficient and get there very, very fast.
Like I said in the beginning of our segment, this is all about speed and this is all about communicating that speed as well. But sometimes when you get a little overzealous and try to get to home base pretty fast, you sometimes miss the target. And that's probably what happened here.
But we -- this is all speculation...
MCGEE: ... until the NTSB gets deeply into their investigation. They're already past the flight data recorder, but they need to do all their work.
And we need to wait for that, just like what we have to do with NTSB with airplane crashes. And it usually takes a little bit of time for them to do that investigation.
CAVUTO: All right.
MCGEE: But they're very, very good at doing that.
But they're going to look at every aspect associated with this event. And they're going to give us a pretty good solution of what's going on here within a few days.
CAVUTO: All right, we hope so.
Secretary, thank you for taking the time very, very much.
MCGEE: Thank you for having me, Neil.
CAVUTO: Oliver McGee, the former deputy assistant secretary of transportation during the Bill Clinton years.
All right, the tax cut halfway there, one that we're told you can, well, fill out on a postcard. Well, maybe not all of you. The guy who came up with the postcard, Kevin Brady, is here.
CAVUTO: All right, here's how you know the holiday shopping season is very, very busy, FedEx expecting a record shipping season this year. The stock is up 2 percent after-hours.
Ho, ho, ho. Back in 6-0.
CAVUTO: All right, taking you to Orrin Hatch, the Senate Finance Committee leader. He's the guy who was shepherding this process through in the Senate. They are going to have a lot of debate.
We're told it could go up to 10 hours. They're at least allowed to go that long. Equal number of Democrats and Republicans who can just pontificate about this, where the issue then is a late-night vote tonight. Could go into early tomorrow morning.
But they're not risking this being a tomorrow event. So the feeling seems to be that they're going to move fast on it and get it wrapped up and hopefully set for the president's signature, they hope, for before the Christmas recess.
Anyway, Texas Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady with us on that.
Chairman, very good to have you. Congratulations.
BRADY: Hey. Thank you, Neil, very much.
CAVUTO: You expect any hurdles in the Senate? Jeff Flake seems to be the only one that I can think of, Chairman, who has not committed to a yes vote among Republican senators.
What do you think?
BRADY: Yes. So, I'm confident the Senate is going to approve this bill tonight and going forward.
Look, they worked hard on this. We worked hard to find a good common ground between the House and the Senate. We found that. And the truth of the matter is, with a good strong vote from the House on this tax relief, I expect it to move forward.
CAVUTO: Were you surprised that the no votes you got were only a dozen? That is one less than last time. And there had been some thought that it could push, you know, up to 20, especially given representatives from those high-tax states who might wince at the removal of the state and local tax write-off?
BRADY: Yes, well, I was pleased.
But this is why. Those lawmakers from California and New York, they stayed at the table, worked with us to get a state and local deduction that they could fill up with property or sales in income tax, whatever worked for their family.
Lowering the top rate was a high priority for our SALT lawmakers. They achieved that. So, they were at the table, made things better for their constituents. That's why they supported it.
CAVUTO: Do you have any fear that this is coming out the gate with such low public support?
Now, I must stress that other tax cuts, as you know, Chairman -- you and I have discussed this -- have come out the gate, even Ronald Reagan's, George Bush's, with even less support from the public, and eventually that grew. But this is also behind the eight ball.
BRADY: Yes, I'm not surprised, because, look, what are people being asked?
To weigh a tax bill that they have only been told about by the media. But you ask them specifics. Do you think, is it good to double your standard deduction to protect more of the dollars you earn? Yes. Do you think it's important to have a child tax credit twice the size of what it is today, where four times more Americans can actually get that help? Absolutely, yes.
Do you want our jobs coming back from overseas with the redesigned tax code? They're all in.
So, I think, look, they have -- Democrats have lowered the expectations because they fear Americans keeping more of what they earn. I think when Americans, families and small businesses get a chance to really dig deep into this, they're doing to like what they see.
CAVUTO: All right. You hope, right?
I do want to say, while I'm talking to you, Chairman, that Bernie Sanders is saying, under the U.S. parliamentarian rules here, that there are apparently three provisions in the Republican tax bill that violate those Senate rules.
I don't know what they are. This is what was largely expected, that there were going to be people questioning the parliamentary nature of this...
CAVUTO: ... and whether you guys and everything is to order here.
But if they do make any changes in the Senate, don't they kick it back to you guys in the House and you go through this again?
BRADY: They do. We expect it. It will occur tomorrow. I think it's just, from a parliamentary or a process standard, no big deal.
And the two provisions that I think the parliamentary ruled again, I'm going to look to restore that in a future tax bill. So, I think we're going to move together forward again on a very tight timetable.
CAVUTO: All right, so whatever they do, if they are going to have a parliamentary challenge, this gets a little in the weeds here.
CAVUTO: It would have to go back to you, so you guys would have to vote on that. Would it be tonight, Chairman? Would it be tomorrow morning? What?
I would anticipate tomorrow. And our belief is, so what?
BRADY: You know, listen, if we can get to vote twice on cutting taxes for families and small businesses, glad to do it.
CAVUTO: Let's switch gears a little bit.
The president -- and I guess there's some confusion -- I'm confused, Congressman -- about when he would sign this. I always liken this to closing on a house. You want to make sure you close. And you don't want to delay that, because anything can happen, like losing the mortgage and/or the house.
So, are you concerned by reports that the administration, because it has to review this and all of this, that this could get pushed beyond the Christmas break?
BRADY: You know, I have heard some chatter.
I haven't talked with the president about the timing of this. I think they're going to want to sign it sooner, rather than later, and especially since, look, key dates here.
New Year's Day, America is going to have a new tax code for this country. February, workers will be able to actually see tax cuts in their paychecks. And April 15 -- I love this -- last time people will ever have to file under this cruddy tax code that we have had to live under for way too long.
CAVUTO: I remember that scene of you with the president at the White House showing this index card you can fill your taxes out. That might still be the case, Congressman, but this is still loaded with a lot of rates, a lot of rate levels, seven, not the four that you originally had.
BRADY: Yes. Yes.
CAVUTO: In fact, you wanted three, I think, when it all started.
CAVUTO: So, what do you make of that? That kind of takes the simplification out of it. Right?
Here's the good news. Nearly nine out of 10 will still be able to file using a postcard-style system. There are more brackets. We on the House side, we really went simple, really stripped the tax code down to the foundation, and rebuilt it based on what we heard from the American people.
And so, at the end of the day, this seemed like common ground with the Senate, still delivers the tax relief we were hoping for.
CAVUTO: There are all different ways to read this and look at the math. And you have heard it before.
And I wonder how you feel about the criticism that came on the floor of the House today, and it's echoed again on the Senate by some Democrats, who say that this is a giveaway to the rich, that it's not a middle-class tax cut, and that, if it is, it's a paltry one.
BRADY: Yes, just the opposite.
I think people are going to see this in a big way in their paychecks. What I have concluded, they don't really worry about tax cuts for the rich. They worry about tax cuts for average people, because if American families can decide how they spend their money, rather than Washington decide, everything in Washington changes.
That's what they fear, Americans having more control over their earnings. But that's what this tax reform does. We choose you, the American people, over Washington.
CAVUTO: Would you be disappointed if companies, given the fact that they can bring back a lot of money held abroad, could be trillions, they end up just plowing it back into their company's stock or their dividends? They're free to do that.
But the job boom that you expect from that might not materialize. In fact, what could happen is, you get companies emboldened to buy competitors, and that produces job losses. What do you think?
BRADY: Well, no one has yet convinced me a dollar stranded overseas is better than a dollar brought back to America for almost any reason.
What we have heard from our businesses is they cannot bring their research, their manufacturing, they can't acquire U.S. companies because our tax code said spend it overseas. That now changes.
And I'm convinced we're going to see real growth, and we're going to see more businesses growing here in the U.S. as a result.
CAVUTO: Do you find it surprising, Chairman, that George W. Bush, the last president who had substantial tax cuts across the board, hasn't said boo about this tax cut or any of the principles behind it?
BRADY: Well, I know this.
I sat down with him in Dallas on tax reform, because we incorporated a number of ideas from his tax commission on tax reform, as I worked through what we're doing to redesign the code so our companies can compete and win anywhere in the world, walked through..
CAVUTO: Did he like it? Did he like what you were coming up with?
BRADY: Yes, he did. He liked it a lot.
And so it was really good discussion, because his commission actually played I think an important role in new ideas.
CAVUTO: All right. And just as you said, sir, it's now looking like, because of this Senate parliamentary move, that the House would have to revote on the tax bill after presumably the Senate approves it tonight.
CAVUTO: And that, you think, is just perfunctory and then expected?
BRADY: No big deal. I'm -- frankly, I will vote on it as many times as it takes.
CAVUTO: OK. Break out the Red Bull, as they say.
CAVUTO: All right, Chairman, thank you very, very much.
BRADY: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right.
And just to -- again, he explained this, but, again, this was largely expected that, in the Senate, they could argue over a bunch of parliamentary matters that don't add up to snuff.
And if they change anything, remember, it cannot just be changed in that body and just ruled official and done. They have to then kick it back to the House. The House will reassess this, revote on this. They kick that then back to the Senate.
But if the chairman is right, it's happening, a little later, but it's happening -- after this.
CAVUTO: You're not that far from Christmas. Right?
And if you put off your shopping, you Gates be in big trouble here, because a lot of the things you want, well, they're gone.
Fox Business Network's Deirdre Bolton with all the explanations.
DEIRDRE BOLTON, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, oh, yes.
CAVUTO: What's going on here?
BOLTON: Oh, yes.
Apple's Bluetooth AirPods, if you wanted those, you may be out of luck. They're sold out at Apple stores through January. So, you see people jogging with them, no wires attached. Apple sells them for $159 a pair, and is not alone, by the way, in being out of stock.
So, Best Buy, Target also out of stock. AT&T online stores have promised them two-day delivery, but an extra fee of $14.95.
So, last year, basically, this exact same thing happened, those sales delayed until late December, missing much of Christmas last year. So, in some ways, Apple has basically just been playing catch-up with this product since it launched in fall 2016.
Every year, Neil, you know this as a dad, there's a hot to you for kids. This year, it's a robotic monkey. They are called Fingerlings, because you don't just buy one. So, they're in plural.
They attach to your finger. They make sounds when you interact with them. Wal-Mart does have the toy, but a spokesperson said supplies are tight. Toys 'R' Us said they sold out within a few hours.
Target is out of them on the Web site. Some customer comments, as I was going through, indicate that a few stores may have them left, but no promises. So, Fingerlings, yes, they attach to your finger and you can just play with them and then they kind of squeak.
Slime also a hot give for kids this year, which you can make if you feel like making your kitchen be sort of a live lab. Or you can buy it.
But as proof of tech changing our world, even potential gift disappointment has changed. Auction site eBay doing a very brisk business. Some sellers, resellers were smart enough to buy up these items.
So, Apple AirBuds, for example, sell for as much as $350 on eBay. Fingerlings also selling for multiples much higher than that $15 list price -- Neil, back to you.
If you're interested in a little robotic monkey, tell your family they must go on eBay.
CAVUTO: That's incredible.
You know, Deirdre, you will be happy to know that plenty of processed meats and cheeses, they are in infinite supply.
BOLTON: This is your favorite.
CAVUTO: Yes. They are in infinite supply.
BOLTON: Santa knows this for you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Just got that in into our newsroom.
BOLTON: Cracker Barrel.
CAVUTO: They were worried about that. Yes. There we go.
BOLTON: Yes. There we go.
CAVUTO: Deirdre, thank you. Thank you very much.
BOLTON: Sure thing.
CAVUTO: All right, the tax cuts getting very close to reality here. They have got some problems, though, that they have to kick back presumably to the House to revote.
But in the middle of this, we could have a dreamer nightmare on our hands. I will explain.
CAVUTO: All right, on the floor of the Senate right now, they are going back and forth on this.
They have some parliamentary issues to take care of, some that are going to kick this back to the House. We don't know exactly the provisions. Chairman Brady of House Ways and Means Committee was hinting that they are easily fixable, addressable and revotable.
So, it will get kicked back to the House presumably sometime tonight. But we don't know.
The Federalist's Bre Payton is here.
Bre, is this not such a sure thing? Or how would you interpret what is going on?
BRE PAYTON, THE FEDERALIST: Yes, I mean, in terms of the political outcome of this bill, I think that kind of seems to be changing minute by minute, and depending on what member you keep talking about, and I think the reason why we are getting such different information from people on different sides of the aisle is because, zooming out, looking at the larger picture, I mean, Republican leadership is in crisis.
And it's enabling certain de facto Republican senators to be able to grandstand and push forward on certain things that they want to do, right, like all of the drama surrounding whether or not Susan Collins is going to vote for this and whether or not they're rail them and add some Obamacare subsidies.
CAVUTO: But they will get it done, right? I get a sense that, through all of these, the mechanics and all, they are going to get it done.
PAYTON: Yes, I think you're right.
CAVUTO: Is it your sense that the president will quickly sign this to make sure it's signed, sealed, and delivered? I don't think he can afford to wait a lot of days.
Yes, I think you're definitely right about that. And, I mean, Democrats are definitely looking at that same aspect of this as well, right? They know that the narrative isn't going to go over well for Republicans if they let the government shut down over Christmas. And they know that they are so distracted with this current tax plan, which adds over a trillion dollars to the deficit, by the way, that they are deciding -- the Democrats are setting the table.
This is their home court. The ball is in their favor right now. They are able to say, do this right now, or you're going to completely lose the narrative that you're trying to build about the tax plan.
And so I think, at the end of the day, you're right that this is going to get done, but I think the cost of that is going to be exorbitant, in the sense that Republicans are just going to end up squishing on a lot of things.
And I'm really interested about whether or not Hyde amendment language is going to get included in this bill or not. I think that's going to be a really interesting thing to see whether or not Republicans are willing to just completely roll over seven years of pro-life rhetoric that they have pumping out in order to get this done, in order to keep up the Christmas narrative.
CAVUTO: Well, they're worried about that you have got the spending measure. They just want stuff done. They just want stuff done. Rush, rush, rush, right? Get it done.
PAYTON: And, yes, they are rushing through this. And that's exactly the problem.
They are going to end up squishing on a lot of things that are important to a lot of their constituents in order to pass through sloppy legislation.
CAVUTO: But it will beat the alternative, which is not getting it done, I guess.
So, we will watch, though, Bre. It's going to be crazy right at the end. Thank you very, very much.
PAYTON: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Sorry for all the breaking news.
But, again, they hope to get this wrapped up. They hope to get it wrapped up tonight. But this parliamentarian, this procedure and these details and the mechanics could delay until tomorrow. No way of knowing.
"The Five" is right now.
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