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FOX "Hannity" Transcript: Congress and the Fiscal Cliff


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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity" and Happy New Year to each and every one of you.

Now 2013 started off with a bang in our nation's capital as lawmakers rammed through legislation designed to prevent us from falling off the so-called "fiscal cliff." Now unfortunately, the end result means that nearly each and every American -- that means you -- will immediately see your taxes go up.

Now make no mistake. America is in a very deep financial hole, and this deal does nothing to solve our real problems. Now in a minute I'm going to lay-out the details of the plan. But first, I want to take a look at the big picture. Now, maybe the first thing to say about this deal, is it illustrates perhaps as much as any deal in a long time. just how dysfunctional the federal government is.

Now, think about this. What passed last night was a terrible deal that was the result of a manufactured crisis and it did nothing to deal with the fiscal problems that we now face as a nation. Now, it's been clear for months what we faced, yet the people's representatives -- your elected leaders -- put off all the key decisions until literally the last hour.

Now the result was a deal that in short-term, it was incoherent, it was frantically put together. And the deal was, as one media report put it, the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gun wound.

Now, here's the thing. Barack Obama, his liberal allies, they want to continue to enlarge the role and the scope and scope and the size of government, it gives them more power, gives them more control over your daily life. So, why does Obama want this? What is his motive? He's the got to know this is bad for America. Our government has now become singular, it's become cold and it is become as never before. Your government is greedy, selfish, irresponsible and they're acting in ways that are reckless as they're now robbing from future generations.

Now, let's take a look at this deal and how many Americans it will hurt, because thanks to the President and congressional leaders, households that make between 40 and $50,000, they're going to be hit with an average tax increase of more than $500. That's this year. Now, if you're making between 50 and 75,000, prepare to hand over nearly 900 additional dollars over to Uncle Sam. And all of this because the payroll tax holiday was allowed to expire. Meaning, you're going to see it two percent decrease in your paychecks and that starts right now.

But without question, the penalties facing high income families and America's job creators, they are even more drastic. If you're an individual making more than 400,000 or a household that makes more than 450,000, or if you're a small business, you're going to see your income tax rates rise from 35 to nearly 40 percent. Now, investment taxes, that's going up from 15 to 20 percent. They'll also be hit with a brand new 3.8 percent ObamaCare tax.

Now, to put it into context what kind of epic failure this so-called deal really is, consider this -- all told it rakes in only $620 billion in new revenue but will add according to the CBO, look at this, $4 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.

Now, why? Once again, many of the men and women that we sent to Washington to cut spending and rein in the size of government, well they have now once again kicked the can down the road. Thanks to this new deal, the automatic spending cuts that were set to take hold yesterday, they've been delayed for a period of two months. That means less than 60 days from now, another huge battle is going to be waged on Capitol Hill about how to reduce our deficit. Oh, and by the way, our dedicated commander-in-chief has since returned to his wonderful vacation in Hawaii, once again showing us all that he simply does not have your best interest and mine.

Now, it's important to note -- this is very important -- not all of these lawmakers backed this plan. Some of them stood up. Some of them opposed the measure because that is what they were elected to do. And that is balance our budget like you have to balance your household budget. Now, in the Senate, five Republicans voted no. Senator Shelby, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Grassley, Senator Lee, and Senator Rand Paul. And in the House, 151 GOP members bumped their party's leadership and voted against what amounts to at tax hike on 77 percent of American households.

Now among those who voted no, on the House side, are my next guests, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert. Gentlemen, welcome back to "Hannity."


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, R-TEXAS: Always good to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. My first question, Congressman Gohmert,is very simple. How is it possible that we got to this point, final hour, all the drama? How is it possible and no spending cuts, none, zero, CBO estimate $4 trillion price tag?

GOHMERT: Well, it's because the promise that was made by Minority Leader John Boehner two and a half years ago that we would follow regular order if we were given the majority, that we would not bring a bill to the floor that had not gone through committee, been amended, been debated, gone to the floor and been amended and been debated and then sent to the Senate. And then, if it didn't match ours, go to conference. We didn't do that process and as a result, we got a deal that ended up not cutting any money. We're still going to spend over a trillion dollars and when we spend a trillion dollars over what we're bringing in, that's being lumped on for our children.

I've got two days to see all three of my daughters this year. And I look in their faces and I just think, until we get this right, we're failing the future generations. This is abysmal. We should be making the cuts instead of engorging this generation with money we don't have.

HANNITY: You know, Congressman Chaffetz, I look at this and I'm thinking to myself, the president is really good at politics. He was able to really shift the narrative away from government, selfishly, recklessly spending too much, and turned it into a debate on, well, the small amount of income -- and it's relatively small -- by raising tax rates and now he says, he wants another bite of the apple so this doesn't stop. The question is, how do Republicans, why won't Republicans just stand up, look at the American people in the eye, and say, we're not going to rob from your kids anymore? We're the party of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. That seems like a strong argument to me, that you'll save America from bankruptcy.

CHAFFETZ: You would think it would be simple. Physical discipline, limited government, accountability, a strong national defense, that's what we should be fighting for and that's what we should be standing up for. What this president says and what he does are two different things. He said he wanted a balanced approach, there's nothing balanced about this. He said, he wanted deficit reduction, it didn't reduce the deficit at all. He keeps saying these things but nobody holds him accountable.

And I'm proud of my colleagues who voted no. I understand why some of them voted yes. But at the end of the day, we have to cut spending. If you spend a million dollars a day every day, it would take you 3,000 years to get to one trillion. We're spending more than $10 billion a day. We have to borrow $600 million a day just to pay for the interest on our national debt. We can't do it. You have to look, Sean, at the first year cut number. I don't want to hear about ten year projections, I want to hear about first year cut numbers, that's what we should be held accountable for.

HANNITY: But if you want to look at those numbers, Congressman Chaffetz, you have Moody's now saying that this deal will cost 600,000 American jobs. The CBO says, 4 trillion, price tag over a decade. So, there are no spending cuts in here, I guess the question is over the debt ceiling, we're going to have now another big argument over spending, whether there will be entitlement cuts. It seems that there's got to be a shift in strategy, that we need a party that is going to stand on this platform to save America. Do you think, Congressman, do you think that that can happen, will happen that the messaging will change?

GOHMERT: Well, I know it can happen. Yes.

HANNITY: Go ahead, Louie.

GOHMERT: I know it will happen. We took a pledge two years ago that if you will give us the majority, we will cut at least 100 billion in the first year and we will return to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels which was the 2008 fiscal year. So we made that pledge, we ran on that. We have been -- by the grace of God and the people of America, we got the majority again in the House and we haven't done it for the last two years, but I'm hoping and praying that we will finally be true to our word.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman Chaffetz, there's been a lot of rumors about perhaps tomorrow when there will be a vote for speaker, is there any question in your mind as to whether or not John Boehner remains the speaker of the House?

CHAFFETZ: No, there's no doubt in my mind, really, the choice is between John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. So, that's a nonstarter, I mean, that's an obvious question for me.

HANNITY: But it would only take 17 votes to stop. Whoever becomes speaker needs a full majority. So, Nancy Pelosi has 200. There are 233 Republicans, so if 17 of them say no, then you keep voting until that person gets a majority. You don't believe that will happen at all.

CHAFFETZ: No, look, our fight is against the Democrats. I want to make sure that we understand and we stay focused on the fact that since the fiscal year started for the federal government, we are already $300 billion in the red, since October 1st. And so, I realize that there are some infighting and some -- we have got to be focused on cutting spending and cutting first year spending. I was the primary sponsor of cut, cap and balance. We got to cut $100 billion in the first year, drive spending to less than 20 percent of GDP and then pass a balanced budget amendment. Until we get a balanced budget amendment out there, Sean, I don't think the Congress has the discipline to do this.

HANNITY: But the president, interestingly, Congressman Gohmert. President Obama says, look out, I'm not done raising taxes. Now, I'm going after the loopholes for the rich. So, we see the direction he's going in but he's not again dealing with spending.

GOHMERT: That's right. He's never done anything, but spend more money and want to raise people's taxes and, boy, people are going to find out now, because this deal has been done, there were some good things in it, but people are going to find out now when their taxes go up, wow, I didn't know that was in ObamaCare, I thought it was going to help me. There are some things that are going to happen this year that are going to shock people because they're going to find out that President Obama has not been truthful in his representations. They're getting to get hammered this year.

HANNITY: All right. It's going to be interesting. I will say this though, gentlemen, and you two are not the problem. But it seems to me that America, when interest rates go up, when inflation kicks in, which I think is inevitable, that there's got to be a better messaging, and I think the message is simple. We're the party that's not going to rob from your children. And I think if you hold to that message, that is a winning message. The American people, the latest Rasmussen poll says they want to cut spending. Be the party that cuts spending and I think you'll be successful politically and it will be good for the country.

CHAFFETZ: Absolutely. Totally agree.

GOHMERT: Sean, I would ask anybody that believes in the power of prayer be praying, we have a fresh start tomorrow and I hope and pray that's what we will have.

HANNITY: Through prayer and fasting we're going to get politicians to stop their addiction to spending money to accumulate power. That's a big -- that's a big prayer, Louie.

CHAFFETZ: A balanced budget amendment. We've got to have a balanced budget amendment.

HANNITY: All right, guys. We are going to stay on the case because we owe it to our kids, not to bankrupt them.

GOHMERT: We do. Absolutely.

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