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Joining me tonight is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of
Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight. Congratulations.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), CHAIRWOMAN, DNC: Thanks for
having me. Thank you very much.
SCHULTZ: Well, I want to put for our viewers tonight in perspective
just how big 39.6 percent is, a little history to this. This was passed in
1993. And the deciding vote was done by a congressional member from the
Pennsylvania 13th district. Mezvinsky, Marjorie Margolis-Mezvinsky. She
served one term from `93-`95. It costs her her seat.
Now, it passed in the House by one vote. It was Al Gore who passed
the deciding vote in the Senate.
Well, last night, you got 257 votes to raise taxes and get it back to
39.6 percent. That`s how big a lift this was and what a big accomplishment
Now, Congresswoman, what`s the next step?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It really can`t be understated how significant
this was. What this is, though, and it certainly a significant
accomplishment that we were able to make sure that the wealthiest Americans
pay a little bit more, pay their fair share. That`s what -- that`s what we
argued throughout the whole campaign was that everybody needs a fair shot,
a fair shake, and everybody has to pay their fair share.
What this bill does is it makes sure that we give a big gift-wrapped
package of certainty to the middle class. Not just because we made sure
that middle class taxes didn`t go up, but that we also made sure we
extended the American opportunity tax credit, which will allow more young
people the opportunity to go to college.
We extended the child tax credit, which makes sure that people can
have more money in their pocket when they have children and pay those
We made sure that we permanently fixed the alternative minimum tax,
which was getting ready each year to nail a huge number of middle class
SCHULTZ: All good stuff.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The tax was never intended to pay for.
And we extended unemployment benefits for 2 million people for another
year. That was a really, really big deal.
SCHULTZ: That`s without offsets.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes.
SCHULTZ: That`s without offsets.
Now, you got to get more revenue.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We do.
SCHULTZ: Where are you going to get it? Where are you going to go to
get more revenue?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, we`ve got it as President Obama said last
night, we`ve got to go to the tax code. We`ve got to sit down. And any --
the next step of reform is in focusing on deficit reduction is going to
have to be balanced.
I mean, I`ve heard a lot of Republicans say all day today in
interviews that, OK, you know, now, we`re done with taxes. We`re done with
revenue, and we can focus on spending cuts.
The American people have made it very clear that they want a balanced
SCHULTZ: But are you saying that you`re not done with taxes?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We are absolutely not done with making sure that
any deficit reduction has revenue and spending cuts. And we`ll also need
to look at entitlement reform. President Obama knows that and has proposed
in his grand bargain $4 trillion deal. Remember, he proposed another $360
billion in savings for entitlement programs, which we`ll have an
opportunity to look at as well.
SCHULTZ: But, Congresswoman, can you tell us tonight where you can go
to get revenue? I mean, I`m talking about -- are we talking about a
transaction tax on Wall Street, something like that?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. We have to take a look -- we`ve talked for a
long time about finally reforming the tax code. There are so many
loopholes in the tax code that really also skew towards the wealthiest
Americans that ultimately if we`re able the close those, we can make sure
that when we do enact important spending cuts, that all that pain is not
balanced on the backs of the middle class.
SCHULTZ: That`s not the tax reform the Republicans were looking for,
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, the Republicans have said -- look, Mitt
Romney himself campaigned on reforming the tax code. And a lot of my
Republican colleagues have said that we need to take a look at that on the
Senate and the House side.
But it just needs to be clear that just because we had, you know, an
increase in the tax rate for the top earners to 39.6 percent, that does not
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- that revenue is off the table for the future.
SCHULTZ: All right. Here is what the president said last night about
Medicare. It caught a lot of people`s attention. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I agree with Democrats and Republicans that the aging
population and the rising cost of health care makes Medicare the biggest
contributor to our deficit. I believe we`ve got to find ways to reform
that program without hurting seniors who depend on it to survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That scares a lot of liberals in this country right now.
What do you mean by draw the line? Where do you draw the line on cuts to
the big three?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think the president is absolutely right.
We do need to add savings to Medicare so that we can make sure we preserve
it for the long-term. We were able to do that with $760 billion in savings
in the Affordable Care Act. And that added eight years of solvency. And
the president, as I said, proposed $360 billion in savings in the $4
trillion grand bargain that he put on the table.
So we know there is more savings that can be, you know, wrung out of
Medicare, and we`re going to back and make sure we take a look at that.
And Democrats I think will support a lot of those savings. But we`re going
to do it so we make sure it we don`t do it at the expense of our seniors
and enact harmful cuts that would hurt them.
SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with us tonight here
on THE ED SHOW -- thanks so much. It is a big victory for the Democrats
and the country.
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