Sean Hannity interviews House Speaker Paul Ryan about the Trump-Republican tax reform proposal on Wednesday's broadcast of Hannity on the FOX News Channel.
Full transcript, via FNC:
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Mr. Speaker, how are you?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm doing great.
Good to have you.
Welcome to the Capitol.
HANNITY: It's great to be here, I think.
And, well, this is the swamp.
RYAN: Yes, we're on the House side, though.
HANNITY: That's true. There's a -- that's true. We're not on K Street or in the Senate.
Let me start with today's plan. This is going to impact a lot of people.
The first question everyone is asking me, are they going to get it done?
Is this going to happen?
Is the Senate going to get it done?
RYAN: We'd better get it done. And the answer is yes.
This is one of the most important things we could do to help all Americans in this country. We ran on this. This is the kind of plan that Donald Trump ran on, that House Republicans ran on. And yes, we're going to get this done.
This is about economic growth. It's about bigger paychecks. It's about more jobs. It's about a fairness system in our tax code.
So we're really excited about this. That's why we spent all this time working with the president and yes, working with the Senate and the House to make sure we were on the same page so we worked off this common outline, this common framework, to go from here to get this done.
HANNITY: We'll get to the process in a second.
Let's go over the plan.
Seven brackets to three. Middle class tax cuts.
HANNITY: Standard deductions, the childcare tax credit is expanded. You eliminate the alternative minimum tax. The corporate rate, 20 percent. The president said he wanted 15 when he was running. Twenty-two point five is the industrial...
HANNITY: -- average, OK?
HANNITY: So we're below the national -- the worldwide average.
HANNITY: And then repatriation of trillions overseas...
HANNITY: -- to incentivize them to bring money home.
RYAN: That's right. That's right.
HANNITY: And you can put it in a postcard or do it online.
HANNITY: Explain -- is -- give more detail.
RYAN: So you just said a lot right there.
RYAN: So here's what this is about. This is about delivering middle class taxpayers tax relief. There are a lot of people in this country working paycheck to paycheck, a lot of people in this country, because of the slow growth economy we had in the Obama years, never got a raise. A lot of economic anxiety.
So this is really about them. This is about letting those hardworking taxpayers keep more of their own money and giving them a tax break, but, also simplifying the system so much that nine out of 10 taxpayers can fill out their taxes on a postcard.
We're cleaning it up, simplifying it. And by the way, by getting rid of loopholes, you are making the system more fair so people who make the same kind of money pay the same taxes.
It's fairness. It's unrigging the economy. It's getting all the connected crap out of the tax code. Excuse me for saying that, but this tax cut is 31 years...
HANNITY: This is cable, Congressman. We say a lot worse.
RYAN: Yes. Yes.
HANNITY: That's fine.
RYAN: It's 31 years of special interest carve-outs putting this tax code. And as a result of that, people have to pay higher tax rates.
Get the junk out of the code, lower the tax rates.
HANNITY: Let me go to some criticisms right off the top.
HANNITY: Some people will say why not across the board, states like, for example, when you remove the state and local income deduction, I live in New York. I pay 10 percent in federal tax. California, 13.5 percent. No longer deductible. So while their rate may be lower, they're going to end up paying more.
RYAN: Well, when you...
HANNITY: People that have the state income tax.
RYAN: -- when you double the standard deduction, when you give more benefits like reducing and eliminating the marriage penalty and larger child tax credits, everybody in the middle class, even in blue states like that, are going to see a big break.
So the other question is, should we be having some states subsidize other states, who have big governments and high taxes?
We want to discuss -- we want to get rid of that so that it's just fair across the board for everybody.
HANNITY: In other words, you acknowledge...
HANNITY: -- there's people in states that are taxing...
RYAN: Well, if you're on the state level...
HANNITY: -- on bigger government...
RYAN: -- in your state, you have a bigger write-off, because your government is bigger than if you're in a state with a smaller government.
Why should we incentivize big government?
That's point one.
Point two, by getting rid of these loopholes and deductions, we can give everybody in the middle class a tax break.
So what we want to do is reduce these deductions, get rid of these loopholes, so that everybody can just keep more of their own money in the first place. And you decide what to do with your money, because it will lower your tax rates. And if you have kids, we'll help you with that. We want to them to have an extended child tax credit.
And by raising the standard deduction, it just simplifies things so much, so that people just don't pay taxes on those first $24,000 of money they earn.
HANNITY: I love the corporate tax, because corporations can then invest...
HANNITY: -- in manufacturing centers and factories and great jobs. I love the repatriation, because, again, that's trillions of dollars parked overseas. Hopefully, they will invest in Wisconsin, Michigan...
HANNITY: -- Ohio, Pennsylvania and states that have been depressed.
But the one thing that I thought was a little different from the Reagan tax cut, he went from 70 percent to 28 percent the top marginal rate.
RYAN: He did 70 percent...
HANNITY: -- over the course of his presidency.
RYAN: -- down in '81. And then he went from 50 down to 28 in '86.
RYAN: But, yes.
HANNITY: Over the course of his presidency.
RYAN: Right. Right.
RYAN: Right. Right.
HANNITY: -- and it seems that -- wouldn't that be another part of the equation?
In other words, it's all about growth.
HANNITY: And I have a "Washington Post" article today. And it's like, "GOP proposes deep tax cuts, provides few details on how to pay for them."
I can answer that question. It's about growth.
So wouldn't cutting everybody's taxes when the top 10 percent already pay 70 percent of the bill, the bottom 50 percent...
HANNITY: -- basically pays none?
RYAN: So I'd...
RYAN: -- I'd say this. First of all, for high income taxpayers, they've done really well. It's the middle class that has really gotten squeezed in this country.
So on the income tax rates for people's personal taxes, what the president feels very strongly about, and Congress agrees, is it's -- the middle class are the people who need the tax break. People who are low and middle income, they're the ones who are literally living paycheck to paycheck, who are worried about losing their job or not -- they haven't gotten a raise in years.
This is about them and not able people who are really high income earners getting a break.
HANNITY: When I was here in February, I asked you very specifically, you gave me a 200 day agenda. And then in that, you said that we're going to repeal and replace. You said vet refugees, build the wall. You said not education right away. And you'd get it done in 200 days.
Now the House, to its credit, has accomplished a lot more than the Senate.
I understand that you can claim success. But if Mitch McConnell can't even appoint two thirds of the president's appointees and it's nine months in, and Mitch McConnell, you have passed 200 and what, 70 some odd bills...
HANNITY: -- that he has not taken up.
RYAN: Yes. So the point is, we're on schedule in the House. We passed the health care bill back in May. We passed the repeal and replace of Dodd-Frank. We did Kates law. We did sanctuary cities. We did the military. We did veterans. We did career and technical education reforms.
We did school choice for DC. We did pro-life legislation. We've done all these things. We passed 337 bills in the House as of this week.
HANNITY: And you have the different administrations?
RYAN: Yes, this is more than Obama in the same time, more than Bush, more than Clinton, more than H.W. Bush.
So more bills have passed the House this year under Donald Trump at this time than Obama and both Bushes and Clinton.
The challenge we have is, is this chart, 274 of them are still being -- are still in the Senate.
RYAN: So we haven't gotten them over the finish line in the Senate.
Now, is that frustrating for the House?
You bet it's frustrating for the House.
HANNITY: Do you talk to Mitch McConnell?
RYAN: I do.
HANNITY: Do you say...
RYAN: I do all the time. They've got a couple of problems.
Number one, you mentioned it. They've got to do people. They have to do personnel. We don't do that in the House. We don't have to confirm judges and cabinet secretaries and assistant cabinet secretaries and ambassadors...
HANNITY: With all due respect, they're not doing a lot of that either.
RYAN: Yes, and Chuck Schumer can take up to 30 hours per person. So he can completely gum up the works. And then they have these rules, which we don't like these rules in the House. But they have these filibuster rules.
The reason we're using reconciliation for tax reform is so that they can't filibuster that.
HANNITY: What about -- shouldn't they get rid of -- just go to a simple majority in the Senate?
RYAN: Look, you ask any House member, and they'll say yes to that.
HANNITY: Is your answer yes?
RYAN: I -- of course I'd like to see them do majority votes on these things.
HANNITY: Have you ever asked McConnell that?
RYAN: We've talked about it a lot. I don't think they -- they don't have the votes there for it. That's just the flat, simple answer.
HANNITY: You don't think...
RYAN: -- what do I do as a House leader?
HANNITY: -- he can even get the votes to get that done (INAUDIBLE)?
RYAN: That's right.
HANNITY: But isn't he in charge of the rules?
He's the majority leader.
RYAN: No, they -- I don't think there's enough Republicans to vote for that, because they worry that when liberals take over government, liberals will ram through (INAUDIBLE)...
HANNITY: So that's -- but there is a -- there is...
HANNITY: The House is tainted, though, by the Senate.
HANNITY: But you know what Congress' approval rating is?
RYAN: I know that. (INAUDIBLE).
HANNITY: By the way, yours is double what the approval rating of this Congress is.
Congress is 15 percent. I think -- and in fairness to you, you will talk to me. Mitch McConnell won't even take my call. And I think the audience that I hear from every day, and they write, and they write me on social media and they email and they -- they're voicing their frustration.
HANNITY: Congress' approval rating, 15 percent. They want to know that this is going to get done.
RYAN: Yes. So I actually wasn't looking for this job. As a person who wasn't looking for leadership jobs, I've got to tell you...
HANNITY: You don't want it.
RYAN: No, no. No, I'm fine. It -- I'm just saying, these jobs are a lot harder on the inside than they seem on the outside, because you have to rally support and get things done and get consensus and deal with the rules and the situations as they exist, not the world that you wish you had, the world you have in front of you.
Now, in the House, we've been extraordinarily productive. We passed our agenda. We passed all of our appropriations bills ahead of schedule this year for the first time a Republican majority has done it since 2004.
RYAN: -- here in the House.
HANNITY: You believe the House is tainted by the...
HANNITY: -- inaction in the Senate?
RYAN: Health care is a perfect example. We passed our repeal and replace health care bill in May...
HANNITY: How frustrating was it for you to watch...
HANNITY: John McCain...
RYAN: -- that's...
HANNITY: -- who promised 100 times to repeal and replace?
Because I'm frustrated.
RYAN: We're the ones who passed it. We're the ones who said we would do this and then to see it not pass in the Senate...
HANNITY: You did get it done. And it was, by the way, it wasn't easy.
RYAN: No, it wasn't easy, but it's extremely frustrating to us.
But here's the point I'm trying to get at, Sean.
RYAN: There are still things we can get done even with the rules they have over there.
You know what The Congressional Review Act is?
You can go back and rescind an old regulation like these Obama era regulations. That was done once in 20 years. We've done 14 of them in law this year alone, because they can't filibuster that.
This tax reform bill, we're going to do it in such a way that they can't filibuster that. And we can limit the debate on it so we can get it done.
HANNITY: So that...
RYAN: Well, the point is, we're...
RYAN: -- we're working with the world we have in front of us...
RYAN: -- and that is to get around this crazy filibuster rule and get these things done, and that is the plan we have. And I believe if Americans see their Congress giving a postcard tax form, giving a middle class tax break, getting rid of the special interest loopholes to make it fairer, and lowering taxes on businesses to bring jobs back from overseas and make it easier for businesses to create more jobs here, that is going to be something that's going to be good for all Americans.
RYAN: Bigger paychecks, more jobs...
HANNITY: I'd add one thing.
RYAN: -- faster growth. If we get that done, I think people are going to be pretty happy with Congress and with the president, because we will have kept our word.
HANNITY: Let's talk about Congress and the president.
I know people that sit in Senate, private, closed door meetings and they write me what's said. I'll give you names. Ben Sass, John McCain, at least 10 or 12 senators that don't want the president to succeed, Republican senators that openly trash the president.
What's your relationship with him?
RYAN: It's very good.
HANNITY: What's -- it's very good?
RYAN: It's the opposite of this. We have a great relationship. By the way...
HANNITY: Are you happy with his presidency?
RYAN: I'm very happy. But you don't have that in the House of Representatives. We have caucuses every week. But you don't hear that kind of talk from the House of Representatives.
HANNITY: I have not heard it from House members.
RYAN: So you don't hear that from the House members. Look, I think the president is giving us the kind of leadership we need to get this country back on the right track.
HANNITY: Is there anything about his agenda...
HANNITY: -- that you think is not conservative?
RYAN: Not that I can think of.
HANNITY: Any big disagreement...
HANNITY: -- you have with him?
HANNITY: And you're really -- so it really comes down to the Senate.
The Senate is where people need to focus their attention?
RYAN: Look, I love to bash the other guys. I can control what we can control, but we're doing our job here in the House. And we're rooting for the Senate -- our friends in the Senate to get this stuff done.
We're really disappointed in health care.
RYAN: But we've still got a chance of getting a lot of these big things done.
HANNITY: Will it be done by December, my last question?
RYAN: That's my plan.
HANNITY: Is that a yes?
RYAN: The Senate has something to say about that.
HANNITY: All right.
RYAN: If Donald Trump and Paul Ryan have anything to say about it, the answer is yes. We've just got to get this stuff through the Senate.
HANNITY: And the Freedom Caucus...
RYAN: And by the way...
HANNITY: -- the Tuesday Group...
RYAN: -- those guys are great.
HANNITY: -- the Saturday drinking group.
RYAN: The conservative movement, the Freedom Caucus, the whoever group are on board with this.
HANNITY: Everyone is on board.
RYAN: So we're here. We're on board. We're going to get this done.
But like I said, we've got to get this stuff through the Senate but the great thing about this particular issue, they can't filibuster it. And that's why I think we're going to get this done.
HANNITY: So the last question -- and last last question.
RYAN: -- the last last question.
HANNITY: Yes, yes, yes.
So when you show the chart that you guys have passed a record number of bills and you show that the House has passed these laws, do you feel you're treated -- do you think your grouped in because of the Senate's failure, the last question.
RYAN: Look, nothing is fair. Nothing is fair in this world and nothing is fair in politics. And we're just kind of used to that.
I think really what matters to people is did we help their lives?
And it really doesn't matter whether...
RYAN: -- the House -- I mean it does matter that the House passed these bills and we feel, you know, very, very satisfied for having done that.
But we've got to get them into law. We've got to get these done...
RYAN: -- so that it actually improves and affects people's lives. That's how we're going to be judged.