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CNBC "CNBC Reports" Interview - Transcript


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MS. CARUSO-CABRERA: All right. We get a budget vote tomorrow. Today, members of the House began the debate. We're going to continue now with Representative Anthony Weiner, he's a Democrat from New York, and Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican from Tennessee. She's also the deputy whip.

Representative Blackburn, let me start with you. The Republicans offered this alternative budget today that relied much more on tax cuts, on controlling spending. But we just had Representative Paul Ryan on with Larry Kudlow, and he already said he's got no hope of getting this through, this is just a marker to kind of set it in stone that this is how the Republicans feel, and they really want to reestablish their conservative credentials.

REP. BLACKBURN: Well, I think that it's a little bit more than that. Representative Ryan has done a fantastic job. The American people want solutions. They want to know what kind of action we're going to take and how we're going to solve this problem. And one of the things that our Republican alternative clearly shows them is that when you have a budget like the Obama budget that spends too much, taxes too much, borrows too much, there is a different way to go about it. And you can freeze that spending. You can reduce the tax burden. You can even get creative a little bit and let people choose, if they want to do a flat-rate tax or if they want to go with the original 1040 form, give them some alternatives. But the point is we have to make certain that we have a pro-growth strategy. We have to make certain that we basically stabilize the situation that is in front of us.

MS. CARUSO-CABRERA: Representative Weiner, the new budget that the Republicans put out, any good ideas in there or no?

REP. WEINER: Well, it depends. If you don't think we should do anything to improve our education system, the Republican budget is for you.

MS. CARUSO-CABRERA: Well, money always does that. We've thrown money at education for years, and that helps.

REP. WEINER: If you think that health care should be put off for another 10 or 15 years and we shouldn't fix that, yeah, the Republican budget is for you. And here's a good one for you. If you think we need a second tax system, like taxes aren't complicated enough, they've got a budget for you that creates a whole new tax system. They also privatize Medicare. There are things in it, but they don't solve any of the problems that we're faced with, that's why they don't control the House, the Senate or the presidency anymore.

MR. DEUTSCH: Representative Blackburn, it was interesting that you said, you know, we want to do something, yet you want to kill all the stimulus, basically go back to the program of the Bush years. Once again, let's get rid of cap gains for two years, let's lower the tax on rich people, same mess that got us here with no solutions, more of the same.

REP. BLACKBURN: I would disagree with that. If you were to give small businesses the opportunity to have forgiveness of cap gains for two years, look at the number of jobs that you would create, look at what would happen with that. And I would take issue with you on saying this is what got us here. Look at the amount of pro-growth jobs that you have had, a 54-month expansion of the economy. Those are things that should happen, that can happen. And with my colleague talking about health care, I'm all for reforming the system so that we have consumer-driven health care, so that individuals make those choices themselves so that it is their doctor and the individual and not a bureaucrat between them. I am for that kind of reform.

MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Representative Weiner, let me ask you a quick question. You know, President Obama, he talked a lot about transparency, and he has a lot of big goals -- health care, you know, climate change -- that's going to require a lot of taxes. This budget kind of sidesteps that issues, doesn't it? It doesn't say how we're going to pay for health care. You know, it puts off the whole issue of how much it's really going to cost the American public in energy taxes for this climate-change plan. I mean, where is the transparency? Where is this money coming from?

REP. WEINER: Well, actually, the health care is paid for in the budget. The details of how we're going to get there are being worked out, and hopefully we'll do it in a bipartisan way.

MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Those details will be higher taxes, right? I mean, that's where those details are?

REP. BLACKBURN: That is correct.

REP. WEINER: That is the --

MR. PETHOKOUKIS: That's like 1 trillion bucks in higher taxes.

REP. WEINER: No, the health care is in there. The health care is paid for in the budget. And frankly, one of the concerns that my Republicans colleagues have --

MR. PETHOKOUKIS: It's not. It's not paid for in there.

REP. WEINER: That's actually not true.

MR. PETHOKOUKIS: The full trillion dollars.

REP. WEINER: That's what the whole fight is about is whether or not the reconciliation -- it's a little bit more detailed --

REP. BLACKBURN: They pay for it by borrowing, increasing taxes and borrowing.

(Cross talk.)

MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Congressman, are you saying that a trillion- dollar health care plan is going to be fully paid for and very clearly in that budget?

REP. WEINER: Well, I haven't said anything yet because I was interrupted, but now let me try. What I'm saying is that the money is put aside there. Health care is a net saving for our country. Right now, the inefficiency of the way that it's put into our automobiles, the way it's passed along to citizens, there's not shortage of money to pay for it. It's just being done by taxpayers on their back. What we're trying to do is make it more of a --

(Cross talk.)

MR. DEUTSCH: Let's let Representative Blackburn get in there.

REP. BLACKBURN: Yes. Let me first say the cap-and-tax scheme that is in this budget, $646 billion, they have a 600-page bill, $1 billion a bill they're spending. Your part of that is $3,128 per household. That is your national energy tax. That's what their plan is going to cost you per year. Six hundred thirty-six billion dollars for health care -- our grandchildren are going to be paying for this. I think it is such an incredibly selfish move on the part of the Democrat leadership to go in and saddle my grandchildren with this. It is incredible. Let's reform health care with a more consumer- driven health care system and allow individuals to make their choices. Let's let individuals keep the money that they earn, for goodness sakes.

REP. WEINER: Who do you think is paying for our health care bill now? You're privatizing Medicare.

REP. BLACKBURN: When you have new taxes --

REP. WEINER: Well, there you have it.

MR. DEUTSCH: Representative Blackburn, let Representative Weiner get the final word.


REP. WEINER: I think there you have it. If you want more of the same, if you want the last eight years for the next eight years, you have Congresswoman Blackburn articulating. And that's what we're rejecting. The American people rejected it, the new president's rejected it, and this Congress is rejecting it as well.

MR. DEUTSCH: Okay. Before we got, Representative Weiner, I'm a Queens guy, so yes or now, running for mayor, sir?

REP. WEINER: You're going to have to wait for the rest of your neighbors to find out in May. But if I win by one vote, can I thank you?

MR. DEUTSCH: You can. I actually think Bloomberg, he might be a little -- as a former marketing guy who helped Clinton get elected, I think at some point voters start to get tired of just looking at somebody in New York. He may be a little vulnerable, my friend.

REP. WEINER: Well, I think it's time for the middle class to have a fighter. And I hope to be that person.

MR. DEUTSCH: That's a yes then, isn't it?

(Cross talk.)

Thank you very much, Representatives.

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