This is a transcript of an interview Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., gave The Daily Signal on Tuesday.
Rachel Del Guidice: Hello, everyone, and welcome to The Daily Signal’s Facebook Live. I’m Rachel del Guidice and I am joined today by Sen. David Perdue from the great state of Georgia. Senator, thank you for joining us today.
Sen. David Perdue: Thank you for having me.
Del Guidice: You just wrapped up an event here at The Heritage Foundation on tax reform and there is big news on that on Friday. Speaker [Paul] Ryan announced that there might be a fourth bracket added to the three that are already in the framework. What are your thoughts on the addition of that bracket?
Perdue: That would give us four in the vernacular of Washington, but it’s really five because we also have a zero bracket as well. What he’s trying to do is make sure at the top end we don’t give the highest bracket players a tax cut and I welcome and support that. But when you start moving around the brackets, that’s not necessarily simplification. You have to look at all the deductions and everything else that goes into the individual tax code. Let’s remember what we are trying to do in this tax deal. It has three parts. One, there is a corporate side. The corporate tax rate is not competitive with the rest of the world. We are the only country left in the 39 [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries that has a repatriation tax. We want to eliminate side. On the individual side, we want to give the middle class a tax break.
Del Guidice: Something else that is really big in the news is that there has been a back and forth over the state and local deduction and whether we are going to have that. It sounds like the Democrats don’t want that to happen. What do you see going forward?
Perdue: It’s a big part of the simplification of the tax code, frankly. It’s a big number in terms of the calculations of the “pay fors” for the tax cut. It’s over a trillion dollars. My view is pretty simple. Why should a couple with two children, the same house, the same cars, the same jobs, the same income, the same deductions … why would one in Peoria, Iowa, pay more to the federal government than one in California? That’s my view. I think it’s a well transfer from some states to other states because of their financial intransitives. I don’t agree with that.
Del Guidice: President Donald Trump said that he wants tax reform to happen by Christmas or he wants lawmakers to forgo their Christmas break. Do you think, given the struggle that we’ve had passing health care that didn’t go through, that this will happen by Christmas? Can conservatives be confident that it will going into the new year?
Perdue: I think the premise is right. If this were a business, we would be in here 24/7 making sure that we would get our priorities done. That’s what everybody else in the real world does. Somehow in Washington, there are quite complacent and quite happy to see it kicked down the road. This is one that we can’t kick down the road. Back in June and July we actually encouraged the leadership in the Senate to stay here 24/7.
During the August break, we stayed here for one week and ended up negotiating a deal where the Democrats gave a 66 nomination confirmation in order to go home so they could politic. Here we are in the same situation. We’ve talked about keeping the Senate here and running it weekends and nights in order to get this done. We’ve got the debt ceiling to deal with. You’ve got to fund the government. You’ve got this tax deal you’ve got to get passed by Christmas. The House believes they will get it done in the House by Thanksgiving. We are paralleling them. We are meeting actively with them now, talking behind the scenes. I believe there’s a chance to get it done by Christmas. If we do, then you will see an economic bump start in the second half of next year. Consumer confidence is at a 16-year high right now in anticipation that we are going to get this done.
Del Guidice: They’re excited. They’re ready. Pivoting back to Obamacare really quickly, last week there was a vote that Senator [Mike] Lee sponsored. I believe there were 33 senators who voted to repeal Obamacare regulations. You’re one those senators.That shows that there is still interest but we wish that there were more senators that had voted against it. What do you see going forward? Do you see Graham-Cassidy or other Obamacare repeal legislation may go through?
Perdue: It’s shocking that we don’t have 100 senators voting to do that. This was in a vote-o-rama so it is a show vote more than anything else. Even in that, we don’t have all 52 Republicans voting to remove and reverse some of these onerous regulations and Obamacare. We know that Obamacare is failing. It’s collapsing under its own weight and it’s having a drag on the economy. Do you realize in 2014, the IRS, under instructions from Obamacare, fined 8 million people $2 billion and half of those 8 million people make less than $25,000 per year. This is a system that is collapsing under its own weight. We’ve got to pull back those regulations.
I am hoping that either later this year under what we are working on right now in the committee or what we will do next spring will somehow bring relief in health care. We’re not giving up on it, we’ve got to repeal Obamacare. We’ve got to fix the problems that it has created and get some relief out there. Premiums have more than doubled in my state over the last two years. Worse than that, over the next six months they’re going to go up another 50 percent. There’s going to be a time in my state when 99 counties out of 159 only have one carrier left. When they decide to back out, what are those people going to do?
Del Guidice: No action is not an option. You have alluded to that in a letter that you wrote last week signed by 11 senators, asking the majority leader to keep Senate in session 24/7 until the end of the year. What has the response been to that letter? Do you think that could possibly happen going down the road to the end of the year?
Perdue: I give the leader of the Republican Party and the caucus all the credit here. He has said that we will work nights and weekends to be sure that we pass this tax bill. But also, we’ve got a lot of judges pending right now confirmation. This is the slowest confirmation process in the history of the United States.
For the first time in history the minority party is not waiving the 30-hour requirement of debate for every nomination. If we don’t change that by running the Senate 24 hours a day or having the Democrats waive the rule, we will not get this president’s full nomination slate confirmed by the end of his first term. That is ridiculous. What we can do right now is keep the pressure on, stay here 24/7, get tax done, fund the government, and confirm these judges.
Del Guidice: Thank you for staying on this. We appreciate it so much. Thank you all for following us. Be sure to “like” us on Facebook. That way you’ll always know when we are going live. We’ll catch you next time.