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WH Budget Director Expecting Tax Reform Bill by Year’s End

WH Budget Director Expecting Tax Reform Bill by Year’s End Read Transcript

Through the White House now, the budget director

Mick Mulvaney joining us here on Faith Nation.

Director Mulvaney, thanks so much for being with us,

appreciate it.

Thanks for having me, that was a nice transition.

I liked that, it's a very smooth.

Director, health care reform.

There's the Graham Cassidy bill that

is getting a lot of attention, a lot of talk.

What do you think are the chances of it actually

passing the Senate?

I honestly don't know.

It's sort of popped back up here in the last couple of days.

I know that Senator Graham, my former colleague, I'm

from South Carolina and served South Carolina in the house.

So I've known Lindsey for many, many years.

I know he was working on it quietly

behind the scenes for much of August,

and now into early September.

And now here it is, back on the public stage.

I think if you asked me how many votes it has as of today, 48,

49, maybe.

Which last time I checked, is not enough.

50 is the threshold.

But I know they're probably not going

to vote on it till next week at the earliest.

The Senate, as believed, just wrapped up today, or if not,

be wrapping up here shortly in observance

of the Jewish holidays that begin shortly.

So they'll be back next week.

And by then, maybe we'll have better ideas of where

we stand on health care.

So Director Mulvaney, talk to us a little

bit about this preliminary CBO, this Congressional Budget

Office score that most likely what

will come out early next week.

But it's not going to be a full CBO score.

So there's a lot of concern about some folks

that maybe have to, you know, Democrats

are making a big stink, as you might imagine.

But even some Republicans might have to vote to a degree,

not blindly on this.

But there are going to be some unanswered questions, even

with that CBO score out there.

Keep in mind, the requirement of the CBO score

is just a function of the 1974 Budget Act.

But I know I just put half of your audience to sleep.

But it's the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office,

which is the professional accountants and economists

and so forth.

But while their data is required,

it's been wrong a lot in the past.

In fact, I think this is the same organization that

during a previous discussion about health care back

in the spring, said that if we got rid of the federal mandate,

that people would actually choose to go off

of Medicare, expanded Medicare.

Think about that for a second, that getting something for free

and the CBO office assumes that if you're no longer required

to buy something, you would give up

what you're getting for free.

It's absolutely absurd, and I think

we've lost 12 million people under that calculation.

So the CBO has its weaknesses, just like anybody else

does who's trying to estimate the impact

of a particular piece of legislation on 16%, 18%,

20% of the American economy.

That's a long answer to your question.

The CBO score, we do expect out next week.

We expect it will be sufficient to meet

the statutory requirements to allow the Senate to vote.

And that's really all the CBO score does,

is just sort of check the box anyway.

And director, on the topic of tax reform,

do you think that there will be a bill on the president's desk,

say, by the end of the year?

I hope so.

That's still the president's top priority,

though again, health care would be great.

We've been pushing taxes now for the last several weeks

in an effort to try and jump start the economy,

get the economy back to what we call

this 3% sustained economic growth, what we call around

here MAGAnomics.

How do you get back to a permanently healthy

American economy again?

That story I tell is of-- you've got listeners

watching this show or viewers watching this show who

are 30 years old, they've never had

a job in a truly healthy American economy,

and that's defined as 3% or greater.

So we want to try and get back to that.

And tax reform is a central piece

of that, which is why we've been working so hard on it.

I understand that more details should be coming

up next week on taxes as well.

So to your viewers' question about how

we seem to go back and forth with taxes and health care,

yeah, that's what we do.

Good news is we can walk and chew gum at the same time,

but there's a lot of things being

handled in Washington at once.

You should think about doing stand-up comedy, after all.

Let me ask you about what Politico

says regarding tax cuts.

Here's what they said this morning.

Removing some benefits for the rich

and backing off of a proposed 15% corporate tax rate

would help Republicans in two ways

by broadening the political appeal of tax reform

and reducing its costs.

So I guess the question is, where is the wiggle room here?

Is that 15% corporate tax rate, I'm

assuming it's not set in stone at all here.

Well, that is a centerpiece of nothing's

set in stone in Washington.

But if you ask the president what his priorities are

on the tax reform bill specifically,

that 15% rate is absolutely critical to us.


Because we want to go back to that 3% economic growth.

You have to have more investment in the country.

The way you drive GDP growth is a function

of the number of people working, multiplied

by how productive they are.

When you have an aging population and a shrinking job

base, those folks who are working

need to be more productive.

The key to your and my personal productivity

is oftentimes the capital investment we make.

How much technology do we make available to our workers?

How much training do we make available to them

to try and get their output up, their production up?

Driving that 15% corporate is a critical part of that.

Not only will it bring back American companies

from overseas, we'll get foreign companies

to invest in America for the first time

and make those capital investments we

need to try and make people more productive.

That's how you get back to a sustained, healthy American

economy so that 15% really is sort of a centerpiece of what

the president's been pushing.

And when it comes to the wall, clear up the situation

for our viewers at home.

Will there be funding to pay for this wall in the new budget?

And if so, director, what will this wall look like?

The second question for us, what will it look like?

It will look like different things in different areas.

We're going through a process right now,

sort of a competition between I think

it's either four or eight different sort of examples

of the wall to see what might be the most effective

in what places, what parts of the country.

Keep in mind there's places where this steel fence, the 18'

high steel fence is actually the preferred type of wall,

even though technically it's called a fence.

The border patrol is actually very concerned in some places

about not being able to see through to the other side.

So if we built a huge concrete wall

and could not see to the other side,

it actually makes enforcement more difficult.

So the answer to your question is,

it will look like different things in different areas.

As to what it would cost, we've asked for $1.6 billion

this year.

You can't build all of this thing at one time.

So we try to be fiscally responsible

and spread the payments out over when we actually

would need the money.

And that $1.6 billion has been approved by the House,

is in the process of being approved by the Senate,

at least in the preliminary bills they've been working on.

So we're working very closely with the House and the Senate

to try and fund the president's priority.

This absolutely is a priority of the president.

I know we've talked over the past couple of weeks

about other things that are happening, immigration.

But I want to make it very clear that the wall absolutely

continues to be a priority for the president as well.

All right.

Well, Director Mulvaney, let me ask

you a little bit about conservatives

and their reaction to the whole Chuck and Nancy

show, if you will.

Sounds like a soap opera or maybe it

should be on primetime.

Chuck and Nancy, what's the sense,

how concerned should conservatives

be about what we're hearing so much about,

this new bipartisan Chuck and Nancy wheeling and dealing?

I actually had a front row seat to that event.

I was sitting right next to Mrs. Pelosi during the dinner.

Fascinating, fascinating times, tell stories about that one

to my grandchildren sometime.

But the answer to your question is not concerned at all.

What you see now is the president more

interested in getting results.

I think he's looking at Washington

through the prism of, how do I actually get some things done?

Massive border security beyond a wall

is part of what he's been pushing for since he

was on the campaign.

He wants more folks working on the border.

He wants more folks working on a Customs Enforcement

in the interior of the country.

He wants more technology down there.

He wants more drones and more cameras.

We need more roads to get to the wall that's there.

We need bridges for those roads to go across.

All of those things are part of the president's priorities,

part of his agenda.

And if he sees an opportunity to get those types of things

by working with the Democrats, he'll do it.

Look, he ran as a Republican, there's no question.

And he won as a Republican, no question.

But he's also interested in getting things done.

And I think that's how he's looking at Washington now.

He's looking around going, hey, who wants to work with me?

And I do think if we come back to health care for a second,

his attitudes about that have been colored by the fact

that it's been so hard for the Republicans,

especially in the Senate, to deliver on their campaign

promises of getting rid of, repealing and replacing


And you can't blame them for being frustrated with that.

I'm frustrated with that.

I'm a Republican, I live in South Carolina.

I have a senator, and I'm concerned that the Senate has

been able to deliver us.

The president just reflects, I think, what a lot of us

are feeling about that.

But when you are the president, and you're

interested in passing an agenda, maybe it's not that unusual

for you to step back and say, OK,

who can help me get this stuff done?

And director, final question.

Senators Cruz and Lankford, they are

trying to get funding for churches

that are helping out with all of this storm recovery

FEMA funding.

How committed is the White House to making this happen?

Very much so.

If there's a way for us to do it legally, we're going to do it.

The faith groups are going to play a critical role

in rebuilding Texas and rebuilding Florida,

rebuilding Puerto Rico.

We're just looking again, to come back

to the same discussion we had about the president.

He's looking for people who can help him get things done.

And if churches and other religious groups

can help us get that done, can help us help people,

we'll look at every opportunity we can to do that.

Real quick, just to follow up on this.

You say, if there is a way to do so legally.

Can you expand on that just a little bit?

Again, I'm not familiar enough with the FEMA details

and how the programs actually work on the ground.

So I don't want to sit here and say

we're going to do something and then get back to my office

and say, well actually, there's a law against that.

So it should be assumed that every time I

say we're going to do something, we follow the law,

because it's what we do in this administration.

And that's the reason I just gave a limitation.


Director Mulvaney, thank you so much.

Really appreciate your time here on Faith Nation.

By the way, I believe your ride is right behind you.

That truck should take you right back.

This is your tax dollars at work.

We've got a lot of things going on here at the White House

and at Washington, DC, sort of our little mini versions

of infrastructure.

They did rip out all of the thorn bushes that

used to sit right here, which is really nice because I

used to fall on them all the time after my interviews.

Always a way to tie it back into the budget.

That's our uber present to you.

This project will be under budget, I can assure you.

[LAUGHS] Thanks again.

Thank you.

Thanks, you all.

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