CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript


By:  Kevin Yoder
Date: Nov. 29, 2012
Location: Unknown


BURNETT: Congressman Kevin Yoder is a Republican of Kansas. He's OUTFRONT, and a member of the Appropriations Committee.

What do you say to Secretary Geithner's bid?

REP. KEVIN YODER (R), KANSAS: Well, I don't think it's a serious proposal. It', Erin. First of all, thanks for having me on the show.

I don't think it's a serious proposal. It's not the type of balanced approach the president's spoken about over the past couple of years and I don't think it's the type of thing that's going to get our economy going again. It's certainly not going to affect the deficit very much. And it's just the type of balance that the American people are looking for, way too high on taxes. Not nearly enough on spending reductions.

BURNETT: And I'm wondering. You know, the president has said -- he said all the way along, he said in debates with Mitt Romney, if I give you a dollar of revenue, if you guys give me a dollar of revenue, I'll give you $2.50 of spending cuts. With this $1.6 in revenue, that's $3 trillion in spending cuts. He's coming in with $400 billion.

So, would you try to get him to $3 trillion here or would you try to bring down the revenue number?

YODER: Well, I think you absolutely have to bring down the revenue number. We are not going to tax and spend our way back into economic prosperity in this country. We are going to have to work together.

I think most Americans are tired of seeing the partisanship and the debates. I'm frankly very pleased the speaker's up at the White House working to find a solution. Most people want certainty. They want long-term predictability in the economy. And raising taxes for this amount I think would put us back into a recession and ultimately be counterproductive to getting our economy going on.

BURNETT: Now, John Boehner clearly, he's the key negotiator for your side. There's no question about that. Are you going to agree to whatever deal he brings you? If he come and says, hey, Representative Yoder, it's $1.4 trillion in revenue. I know you don't want $1.6 trillion, I know you want -- it's $1.4 trillion. Do you say all right, I trust John Boehner, I'm going with it? YODER: No, the speaker still has to sell it to Congress. He's still going to have to sell it to both Republicans and Democrats. I'm expecting whatever bill comes through is going to be partisan. That means you're going to have to have a lot of input and a lot of effort to put together a bill that brings in a lot of party's ideas.

So certainly, whatever they come up with at the White House is going to have some public discussions. I'm going to talk to my constituents about it at home. We're going to have an opportunity to do that. And so, the speaker's going to have to sell it still.

But I think we're confident that the speaker has an attitude of finding a solution. He knows that a long-term solution is critical to getting this economy back on track and waiting until the end, the very last minute is not our goal. We're trying to get this done soon.

BURNETT: All right. Let me ask you something about revenue, because, you know, everyone's talked about this pledge, right, to not raise taxes -- championed by Grover Norquist. He has become a household name in this country. Love by some and loathe by some.

You though are one of six House Republicans plus seven in the Senate who didn't sign the pledge to never vote for a tax increase. So, you're willing to vote for a tax increase. What made you, when you were given that opportunity and so many of your fellow elected officials signed it, what made you say no?

YODER: Well, it's not because I think we should raise taxes. It's because I believe my obligation to the Constitution, to the constituents of my district, and they want an informed congressman that's trying to find a solution. And if you forego every option before you even get into negotiation, you're not really trying to work with the other side.

So, I'm not sitting here telling you I think raising taxes is the answer. I do know the president has said he'll veto, you know, any legislation that doesn't find additional revenue. So we've got to find a solution. Going off the cliff at the end of the month is not an option. It would put us back into recession.

And so, I just think a lot of these pledges and all these things, that ultimately it restricts our ability to work together and find solutions that will save the country. You can't foresee every solution. So, I didn't think signing the pledge made sense. And yet, I still don't think raising taxes is the answer. But it may ultimately some type of revenue may be the ultimate end of the bargain.


YODER: And I think the Republicans and the speaker are being very reasonable in saying, OK, you said three to one, four to one, I heard in the debate, the presidential debate, 10-1. OK, here's our one, where's your three, where's your four?

So, the conversation is really now in the Capitol moving back from the revenue and back towards where the spending reductions, where are the entitlement reforms that the president promised he would do. So, in the sense, the speaker's trying to call the president's bluff. And we're going to see if he comes through with something.

BURNETT: I think the Republicans, they said they wouldn't even accept 10-1. But, all right, thank you very much, Representative Yoder. Good to see you.

You know, as we said, Kevin Yoder there explaining why he's against the anti-tax pledge. And it wasn't that he was for raising taxes. It was more complicated than that. But he's one of the few and this issue of Grover Norquist tax pledge is pitting Republican versus Republican.

Just this week, CNN contributor Erick Erickson, founder of the conservative blog, threatened a run against Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, because Chambliss denounced the Norquist tax pledge.

Erick Erickson is OUTFRONT, along with John Avlon.

Now, you just heard Kevin Yoder, Erick, make this case for -- look, I'm a Republican, I don't want to raise taxes, but my duty is to the Constitution. I want to do what's right, so I'm not going to sign that pledge.


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