Rep. Tim Ryan, D-OH, speaks to Maria Bartiromo on 'Sunday Morning Futures' regarding the future of the Democratic Party. He makes the case that the shift to the left described by Republican opponents is exaggerated.
REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: Good to see you.
BARTIROMO: Same start for you.
How are you feeling two days out? Will you be able to take the majority from Republicans?
RYAN: Yes, let me first just say quickly how good it is to see Steve Scalise. I play on the baseball team and in the baseball game with him.
And to see him up and at 'em at election time is great, although I didn't agree with much of what he said.
I do feel good about things. This is going to be directly related to turnout. I think, in the next two days, the team, the side that gets the most turnout and handles the ground game appropriately and aggressively is going to be the one that wins.
And I feel good about our turnout across the country, and I think we're going to take the House back.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, you and I have spoken about this before. I want to get your reaction to how far left your party has lurched.
You're seeing proposals out there like Medicare for all. You're seeing abolish ICE, raise taxes. Do you agree with these proposals? And what is your platform?
RYAN: Well, I think these are principles.
You know, first of all, I don't know a whole lot of Democrats that are talking about abolishing ICE. I come from Ohio. We have a heroin epidemic here. We need law enforcement on the ground taking drug dealers out of the country, if they're selling heroin and killing our kids and killing our citizens.
We need that to be in place. We need a strong border. There's no question about it.
But the question really is, are you for everybody in the United States having health care? I think these kind of Medicare-for-all proposals are something that communicates to everybody, we want you to have affordable health care, we want it to be run in an efficient way.
And, quite frankly, Maria, I think it's good for business. One of the biggest complaints I hear from businesspeople and from union leaders is health care. How do we get that out, so that they can focus on job creation, reinvesting back into their companies, helping start-ups and entrepreneurship?
That's what Democrats are for. We have got wealth being created in the United States. The problem is, it's concentrated in just a few states and in the hands of a few people.
And so venture capital, for example, three states -- 80 percent of it goes to three states, California, New York and Massachusetts. How do we get that private investment in places like Youngstown, Ohio? That's what Democrats are pushing for.
BARTIROMO: Yes, but you -- what also is not explained with the Medicare program is that, as James Freeman writes in The Wall Street Journal, Medicare for all is obviously at the end of the day Medicare for no one.
A Medicare program is in favor of a new government-run program, and the cost of it is, as the White House Economic Council describes, gargantuan. The Council notes that, in order to pay for Bernie-care, with the same spending cuts across all existing federal programs, the cuts would need to be 53 percent across the board in 2022.
So without additional taxes, all other programs of the federal government would need to be cut in half. How do you pay for Medicare for all?
RYAN: Well, if people aren't paying their insurance premiums every month, that is no longer an expense for them, and they would have money to help with a Medicare-type proposal.
But, look, I'm not saying this has to happen overnight. What I'm saying is, we have people who are being denied health care in America because they have a preexisting condition. We have people who can't get the kind of care they want.
We have a disease management system where we're running our health care through the emergency rooms. And we need preventative care, which means we need to get people that have doctors, if -- because who pays for that, Maria? Everybody does.
If somebody gets really sick and shows up in the emergency room, the people who have health care pay more because that other person couldn't get a $20 prescription and they end up staying in the hospital for a week. That gets really expensive.
But, again, what do we want to do this for? We want to do this because it's good for business. We need to free up business' money for investments in the technology, investments in the capital, investments into wages.
RYAN: I mean, we're seeing wage growth, but it's not outpacing inflation.
I'm telling you, there is a squeeze out here.
RYAN: We're on a sugar high right now with this economy. And people are still getting squeezed. I see it every day back in Ohio.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Well, they did cut taxes on every income level. Are you going to propose raising taxes?
RYAN: I would propose -- this is my own opinion -- I would think 83 percent of the tax cut went to the top 1 percent.
BARTIROMO: That's not true, though, Congressman. That's not true.
RYAN: I think you keep the tax cut for every -- no, that's what all of the analysts are saying, all the data that I have read.
So, keep the middle-class tax cuts. Keep tax cuts for small business. Keep tax cuts for entrepreneurs. Keep tax cuts that incentivize research and development into new sectors of the economy, like wind and solar and everything else.
But there's no way, at a time of maximum profits...
RYAN: ... maximum corporate profits, maximum income inequality, that we should be giving tax cuts to the top 1 percent.
I will tell you why, because, next year, we're going to have a $1 trillion deficit.
RYAN: And we're borrowing this money from China. We're putting them in a position of strength.
We're in a position of weakness, because we gave it to the wealthy, not because we hate wealthy people, but because we can't afford it.
But the thing is, they cut every -- they cut every income -- they cut every level, and they doubled the standard deduction. So the majority of the tax cuts do not go to the top 1 percent.
I think what you're referring to, the corporate tax rate having been cut from 35 percent to 21 percent. But the corporate tax rate was cut -- obviously, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle said so -- because that will encourage businesses to create jobs.
And let me ask you this, because after the 2016 election, you wanted to unseat Nancy Pelosi to become speaker of the House. Are you running for speaker of the House this time?
RYAN: We got a couple more days. There are a number of candidates that are having conversations that are talking about running.
I will say, it's not going to be a coronation. Somebody is going to run for leadership. I think it's important that we have this discussion and have this conversation. I think the American people want a change. I think a lot of Democrats want a change.
RYAN: And so we're going to have that discussion starting on Wednesday.
And let's hope we're having a conversation about speaker of the House and not leader of the minority party in Congress. But there's a lot of conversations happening right now, people from across the country, different candidates...
RYAN: ... different demographics who are talking about running for that leadership position.
BARTIROMO: So, it's not a shoo-in for Nancy Pelosi, then.
Well, let me ask you this, because you have also suggested in the past that you could be there in 2020. Are you going to run against President Trump in 2020?
RYAN: Again, we got a couple days left.
I think the first position we need to fill is the leadership positions in the House of Representatives. I want to be a part of that discussion. I think having someone from the Midwest, from Ohio...
RYAN: ... from a blue-collar area who talks about growth and the economy and opportunity and pensions and health care, bread-and-butter stuff...
BARTIROMO: That's right. You're very moderate.
I mean, you're hanging out in the middle, like most of us are out there. My question is, are you even going to get your party's nomination because you're so moderate? Or is it you don't have a shot because they have lurched so far to the left?
RYAN: I think working-class issues are the issues of the Democratic Party.
RYAN: I think, in these polarized times, of course people are picking this issue or that issue to try to blow up.
But the reality of it is, most Democrats, just like most Americans, care about economic security, health care security, and retirement security, bread-and-butter issues. That's what I talk about. How do we grow the economy to make sure everybody has an opportunity?
We got to get off this just talking about $15 an hour. We got to talk about how we get $30-, $40-, $50-an-hour jobs, that people who work hard and are playing by the rules can be comfortable.
RYAN: I think people are tired of the anxiety...
RYAN: ... tired of not being comfortable. And the Democratic Party is pushing an agenda that will help those people.