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CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript

Interview

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AVLON: Congressman, we'll get the right sound in a little bit. But the basic point is all throughout the Sunday shows, I heard the same thing -- President Obama has blood on his hands for cutting $700 billion from Medicaid. Now, how is that Medi-scare tactic any different than what Democrats have done to Republicans in the past? How does this begin to add up?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Well, look, when people try to suggest that Paul Ryan wants to end Medicare: (a), that's not true, and, (b), you have to ask yourself, if we do nothing, what's going to happen? It's going to fall off a financial cliff.

And I think we're just pointing to what the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan group, has looked at and said that President Obama, under his plan, what he has passed and proposed would cut $700 billion from Medicare. That's obviously going to have an effect on the program. And so --

AVLON: But, Congressman --

CHAFFETZ: -- what Republicans are saying --

AVLON: That's obviously hypocrisy, because your whole point is we need to address entitlement reform in order to reduce the long-term deficit and debt. So, why turn around and all of a sudden play the Medi-scare card against President Obama?

CHAFFETZ: Because that's the reality of the number. What we're trying to say is in order to save Medicare, we have to make some adjustments now. And for anybody who is 55 years old and older, there will be a no adjustment.

For younger generations, we can save the program if we act now. That's what we're trying to say.

So, to suggest that President Obama wants to do nothing about this is inaccurate. We're trying to point that out. He pulled $700 billion out of Medicare. It's fair to talk about that.

AVLON: But isn't it also fair to point out that the Ryan plan would also keep the $700 billion in cuts?

CHAFFETZ: There's a different approach to this plan. What we're trying to say is we have to save it. What I hear routinely from the Democrats time after time and in that ad is that they're going to throw grandma over the cliff.

That's not fair. That's not accurate. That's not what the plan says. Every time they say, we're going to voucherize it as I've heard you say several times on the program, that is factually incorrect. It is a premium support plan. It is not a voucher program.

So, when I routinely hear vouchers, vouchers, vouchers, I have to say to myself, that's not right. They're trying to scare people that we're moving to a voucher program. That is not what Paul Ryan has suggested.

AVLON: Let's be honest, your side is trying to scare people on the other side with $700 billion. Let me ask a practical question -- CHAFFETZ: No, we're not. We're trying to make a point that we're trying to save the program.

AVLON: Well, one criticism of the Ryan plan is that it would move the healthiest, lowest cost seniors out of Medicare and the plan would be left to cover the sickest individuals. How does this just not mathematically drive up the overall cost of the program?

CHAFFETZ: What you have to understand is if you're 55 years old and older, there's going to be no change. What Paul Ryan can point to and the Republicans when we passed out this budget is it was scored by the Congressional Budget Office and that is the independent group which we all look to, to give us a fair and accurate scoring.

So we have it there in black and white. It has been scored. And the reality is the Ryan plan, as we put forward in our budget, does balance over the course of time and pays off the national debt.

President Obama's plan under his budget, it never balances. In fact, it's fair to point out that in four years, that President Obama has introduce add budget, never has he gotten even a single Democrat to support his plan.

He has no plan to save Medicare. He has no plan to actually save this country from the financial cliff that we're going off. That's just the reality. That's just a fact.

AVLON: Final question for you. On "60 Minutes" last night, I notice that Paul Ryan said something very interesting. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we're saying is take away the tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by people in the top tax brackets so they can't shelter as much money from taxations to lower tax rates for everybody to make America more competitive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: Is closing overseas tax shelters a position that Mitt Romney agrees with?

CHAFFETZ: Look, what Republicans have said, what Paul Ryan said, what I've said, what I've heard Mitt Romney say is they want to broaden the base and lower the rate. Now is not the time to raise taxes.

That's what President Obama wants to do. He wants to raise taxes. To hear Democrats say it, they just want to -- we're one good tax increase away from prosperity.

Want to get rid of those loopholes and broaden the base. But we want to lower the rate. Democrats want to broaden the base but raise the rate so they can spend more and expand government. That is the fundamental difference between the two parties and the two candidates.

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