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Moderate Democrat Says President Trump Looking For Bi-Partisan Deal On Tax Reform

Moderate Democrat Says President Trump Looking For Bi-Partisan Deal On Tax Reform Read Transcript


I'm here with the Democratic Senator from West Virginia,

Joe Manchin, who is fresh off a small bipartisan dinner

at the White House.

So Senator Manchin, thank you so much for being with us.


JOE MANCHIN: Thanks for having me.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON: I just first want

to ask you, when pressed Trump was elected,

did you ever envision yourself dining with him at the White

House in his first year as president.


JOE MANCHIN: Not really, but you know, always hopefully,

and then it works to the point where

if you have an opportunity to be at the White House

and having a private dinner with the president, then

you want to make sure that the things that you think can help.

So many people come with their own agenda.

And it's for their own help, it's not really

for the help of the country.

And I know we need to fix health care,

we need to have a tax policy and overhaul the tax policy.

It hasn't been changed since before we had cells phones.

So a lot has changed.

The world has changed.

And I want to make sure we're moving in that direction.

So it was a very, very productive dinner.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON: I heard you say earlier,

and I'm not sure if you were quoting someone,

that our current tax code is nine times bigger

than the Bible, without the interesting stories.

So how committed--


JOE MANCHIN: I was quoting Vice President Pence.

He came to West Virginia, gave a very enlightening speech.

And I was in the audience.

And he says the tax code has to be overhauled.

He says it's nine times larger than the Bible

with no good stories.

And he's absolutely correct.

So it's time to do it.

And we all believe that.

It has been bipartisan.

People up here believe that well, we

have to have all 52 Republicans and we just

got to get eight Democrats on the Senate side.

Or it has to be all 48 Democrats,

and we'll get 12 Republicans.

Why can't it be 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans working


We're not going to get the far reaches of the outside right

or the outside left.

That's not going to happen.

Their ideologically entrenched, I understand that.

But there's enough people, I believe,

that live their life in that middle realm, or sphere

if you will, that are willing to look at commonsense procedures

and move forward.

I think the president felt very comfortable about talking

in a bipartisan manner.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON: Do you feel like House and Senate

Republican leadership are as committed as the president

seems to, working with Democrats and bringing you

all into the conversation on tax reform?


JOE MANCHIN: Right now, the Republicans

have control of the agenda.

So it's up to them whether they want to bring us in.

But both parties have been guilty of this.

So I'm not chastising the Republicans.

They happen to be in charge now.

They did not bring us in the health care talks.

But then again, they said Democrats didn't back in 2009.

So that tit for tat goes back and forth.

The leadership has to understand,

our founding fathers set up the bicameral form of government

that we have much differently.

And the Senate had a purpose.

The Senate was a cooling off saucer, if you will.

The House only needs a simple majority.

So if you have 51 Democrats, or 51% of the Republicans,

you can do anything you want to without even

talking to the other side.

The Senate was supposed say let's calm things down.

Let's get a more bipartisan approach to this,

so it's more representative of all the people,

not just certain parts of the population.

And that's what we're trying to get back to.

And the president seems to--

I evaluated the president as feeling very comfortable

looking for a bipartisan solution

rather than being entrenched on one side or the other.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON: Do you think President Trump,

hosting this bipartisan dinner, is that a sign that he's

trying to take a new--

take a new approach to getting things done in Washington.


JOE MANCHIN: Well, there were some critiques

being made about him working with Chuck Schumer and Nancy


It wasn't that.

He was looking-- I truly believe it was a masterful stroke.

Saying listen, we can kick the can down all you want to.

But three months is enough for us

to either get a continuing resolution,

to get the debt ceiling, or to get a budget done.

If you give us 18 months, we'll take 18 months and one day.

If you give us two years, we'll take two years and one day.

That's just the way this system works, and it's wrong.

And people are upset about that.

The president put a short leash on us,

says, OK, you have 90 days, get it done.

Let's work it out.

And he is, by him reaching out, he's

leading by showing I'm willing to work in a bipartisan way.

And that's what it takes.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON: So what would a tax reform

plan, that you would be willing to support, look like?

And is there anything you wouldn't compromise?


JOE MANCHIN: Well, you know, you always

have to look at compromise.

I'm never going to get 100%.

It's not going to be a perfect bill.

My biggest concern I have is adding more debt.

We have $20 trillion of debt.

I have 10 grandchildren.

I've got look at my little grandchildren and think,

OK, here it is, this is what we're giving you.

Good luck.

That's not right, that's criminal almost.

And we can fix it.

So we're going to change, and make sure

that we don't continue to pile on more debt.

But it's got to be competitive.

And the president said off the get-go,

this is not going to be a tax cut for the super rich.

This is going to be basically an adjustment tax

cuts for the working families, that

get every everyday, to spur the economy on,

to make things grow, to have a global market that we

can compete with our corporation tax.

Those are things that sound good to me.

I haven't seen the details, but I'm interested,

and I'm willing to do it, to look at it,

and see it, and see how we can move forward.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON: One final question

that I know our viewers we'll be interested in,

what was on the menu at last nights--


JOE MANCHIN: You know, I was telling people,

it was such an interesting meal.

It was a great meal, and it always is at the White House.

We had a great salad.

And on top of that, you have a medallion, a beef medallion

with the vegetables.

And then the dessert, dessert was very interesting.

The dessert they brought out was a strudel,

it was an apple strudel, which I recognized very quickly.

And I saw this perfectly shaped egg.

And I'm thinking white, beautiful egg, why would

I have an egg.

I've never eaten this, but I said, I'm willing to try.

And it was ice cream.

They do everything pretty special there.

So they shaped it and it looked like a perfect egg.

And I'm thinking-- but it was ice cream, and we enjoyed it,

and it was a great dinner.


Thank you so much for being with us today, Senator Manchin.


JOE MANCHIN: Thanks for having me.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON: And David and Jenna, the White House

has said that they want to put a tax reform plan in place

by the start of the new year.

So it's only a matter of weeks until we

see what that looks like.

Back to you guys.


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