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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript - Budget and Tax Policy


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BLITZER: Dana, thanks very much.

Dana Bash up on Capitol Hill.

Let's stay on Capitol Hill and get some Republican perspective. Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah is joining us right now.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Oh, thanks, Wolf.

I appreciate it.

BLITZER: I -- I assume you agree that getting rid of ObamaCare any time soon is a fantasy, right?

CHAFFETZ: No. Look, we have a duty and an obligation in this country to leave it better than how we found it. We, as Republicans, believe that at some point, you actually have to balance the budget so you can start to pay off this 6 point trillion dollar debt that we've incurred.

So I -- I'm in favor of repealing this. Democrats may not. They need to put forward a budget. The president needs to put forward a budget, which, by the way, he has not yet done.

And then we have this dialogue in this country. That's what the process is about.

BLITZER: But in order to repeal ObamaCare, Congressman -- and you know this as well as anyone, you're a legislator -- you have to pass the legislation in the House of Representatives. You might be able to do that, since you have a Republican majority.

But then you have to pass it in the Senate, as well. And that's almost certainly not going to happen, even if you only need, let's say, 60 votes. And you probably will, if there's a filibuster. Even if you were to pass it in both houses, the president would veto it. Then you'd need a two-thirds majority to override it.

That's not going to happen, right?

CHAFFETZ: Well, look, what we have to do is have the Senate Democrats put forward and pass a budget. We need the president to submit a budget. It was due February 4th. He said he'd do it in March. Now he's punted again until April.

And until you get the two sides to actually put forward their budget and say, this is what we believe in, here are the numbers, here's how we're going to balance the budget, then you can get to the point of reconciliation, where you can negotiate things out and come to a compromise.

I -- look, no one person gets everything they want. The president doesn't. I don't. We understand that.

But we're -- we have a duty and obligation to say this is what we believe in, here it is in black and white, and Paul Ryan is leading the charge on the Budget Committee to put that forward this week.

BLITZER: But you're a straight shooter. You always tell us what -- what you think. Just be honest, tell us the truth. There's no chance in the foreseeable future, as -- while Barack Obama is president of the United States, to repeal ObamaCare, right?

CHAFFETZ: Look, I'm going to keep fighting for what I believe in. I, too, won an election. And I really do believe that would be best for the country.

Can we get every single aspect of it?

I hope for it. I'm going to fight for it.

But will I be a reasonable mind and come to the table and recognize that I'm not going to get everything?

Of course, Wolf. Of course we're going to. BLITZER: I...

CHAFFETZ: But at least we're putting forward a budget and showing this is what we believe in. And -- and I -- that's what we believe in.

BLITZER: Are you going to vote for the Paul Ryan budget in the House of Representatives?

CHAFFETZ: Probably. I have not read the full thing. You know, Paul is going to unveil that with the Budget Committee. There will be some vigorous debate. And by the time we get to next week, I'll have a final decision. But in all likelihood, I probably will.

BLITZER: Because he said yesterday that budget is based on the $600 billion in tax increases which the Congress approved in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff at the end of last year, early January. So even if it includes the $600 billion in tax increases for the wealthy, you will still vote for that Ryan budget?

CHAFFETZ: Again, we are looking at a budget that includes how we would spend money over the next 10 years and sets appropriate levels. We have to deal with what is existing law.

So we were actually able through, you know, to curb back some expenses. You're going to see us want to curtail a lot more expenses. We just don't believe that this country is one good tax increase away from prosperity. You have to have a thriving economy. And we believe that we can do that without raising taxes.

They've been raised, but I just don't believe that the president should get what he wants, which is raise taxes again and again and again. There's got to be a point at which that stops and you get the spending under control.

Right now, it's time to get the spending under control.

BLITZER: And I just want to be precise, because Paul Ryan voted in favor of raising those taxes to avoid the fiscal cliff. You voted against it. But now you're saying you're ready to vote in favor of a Ryan budget, potentially, which includes the $600 billion in tax increases.

CHAFFETZ: Well, potentially. I mean you've got to look at the whole package. You know, it's hard, because you're talking about, you know, $3.6 trillion in how the revenue comes in. I do think there's common ground to find -- to broaden the base, lower the rates in certain areas and bring some of those back down at the same time as you're cutting spending.

Where we ran into trouble back in the so-called Bush years is when they decreased the taxes, but then they increased the spending. We can't do it the other way around. We can't increase the taxes and increase the spending. We'll have the same problem.

So we've got to decrease the taxes and decrease the spending and at some point, get to balance in this country.

BLITZER: Jason Chaffetz is the Republican congressman from Utah.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Wolf.

Appreciate it


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