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Does Tax Bill Benefit the Rich?; President Trump Pushes Tax Bill. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired December 13, 2017 - 3:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:03]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Although I shouldn't say that until they -- we sign.

Let's--

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: We have been there too many times. Let's get the vote first, right?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go. We have Jeff Zeleny live at the White House and Phil Mattingly live on Capitol Hill.

First just to you, as we wait for the president, as he's going to talk about this deal. What's in the deal?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so there's a couple things we know.

Obviously, the president is about to speak.

Right now, Brooke, House and Senate conferees, Republican and Democrat, are having their first public meeting, which doesn't matter, because the deal has already been set. And Republicans are moving forward on this process right now.

Where they really start right now on the top line, the corporate rate, obviously, they have been talking about striking that from 35 percent down to 20 percent. That will now be set at 21 percent. A primary reason? One percentage point equals about $100 billion in revenue.

That will help them pay for a lot of the changes they need to make to reconcile these bills. The top rate, if you remember, Brooke, the House left that at 39.6 percent. The Senate was at 38.5 percent. That will drop to 37 percent.

I'm told this was a specific ask by the president, wanted that top rate to come down, despite Democratic attacks that this plan was skewed too much toward the wealthy already.

Want to talk about the mortgage interest deduction. Obviously, the House capped that at $500,000. The Senate left it as is at $1 million. They are going to meet in the middle on that, about $750,000 for the mortgage interest deduction.

Also, for those who have been paying attention to health care, obviously, this became a very issue in the Senate debate. The Obamacare individual mandate repeal will stand. That will end up in the final bill.

If the bill is signed into law, that will go away, based on the negotiations that they have. Brooke, as we have been talking about, they're still trying to finalize a lot of the details here.

This is the deal. Those are the top lines. They need to sell it to the members of their conference right now. That's happening as we speak. I guess the big question is, how fast can they move? Well, they have been moving at a pretty quick clip over the course of the last couple weeks, no question about it.

BALDWIN: You said the deadline is coming up. As for you, Jeff Zeleny, we heard the president earlier again saying, I would have liked to have had that seat, right? They would have liked to have had that go to a Republican in Alabama. Especially in the wake of that, he wants a win.

ZELENY: Brooke, he does want a win, and not simply because of the Alabama Senate race, but certainly the urgency has certainly increased because of that.

BALDWIN: Oh, here he is, Jeff.

(CROSSTALK)

ZELENY: We see the president walking in there to the East Room to the Grand Foyer there to talk about taxes.

BALDWIN: Let's listen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are joined today by college students, young entrepreneurs, families, workers, mothers, and fathers from all over our nation. You make this country run. It's an honor to be with you. And it's an honor to have you at the White House. And thank you all for being here. Really fantastic. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Great people. As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country. Now, we're just days away -- I hope. I hope. You know what that means, right? -- from keeping that promise and delivering a truly amazing victory for American families.

We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas. And when I say giant, I mean giant. (APPLAUSE)

As we speak, Congress has reached an agreement on tax legislation that will deliver more jobs, higher wages and massive tax relief for American families and for American companies.

The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000, slashing their tax bill in half. It's going to be a lot of money. You're going to have an extra $2,000. But there are many more things than that.

Our plan expands the Child Tax Credit for working families. You'll hear the numbers very soon, but they're even larger than anticipated.

It nearly doubles the amount of income taxed at the rate of zero. I don't know if any of you are paying zero. I hope you're not; I hope you're paying above that. But a lot of people who are having it a little bit tough are going to be paying zero.

It closes special interest loopholes. It lowers tax rates for families.

And our plan also cuts taxes on businesses, which is expected to raise income by an average of more than $4,000. So your income goes up. It's like having a $4,000 increase, which isn't bad. Which isn't bad.

It's a lot of money to spend. A lot of jobs are going to be created with the money that you spend. Very special.

And it makes America competitive again so we can bring back that simple but beautiful phrase -- you're heard it before -- "Made in the USA," right?

I don't know if they've heard it, but you've heard it.

(APPLAUSE)

Our current tax code is burdensome, complex and profoundly unfair. It has exported our jobs, closed our factories and left millions of parents worried that their children might be the first generation to have less opportunity than the last.

Our factories have left, so many of them. Gone. But they're all coming back and you see it even before we do this, they're starting to come back. Our country's starting to do really well again.

And as a country, we're being respected again. We're being respected again.

I'm here today to tell you that we will never let bad things happen with respect to the economy of our country. We're not going to lose our businesses again like has happened over the last number of decades.

America is coming back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, OK? They'll see it and they're going to see the result. America isn't content just by getting by. America is about getting ahead, about finding the best in ourselves and in each other.

We're reclaiming our destiny as Americans, a nation that thinks big, dreams bigger and always reaches for the stars.

We didn't become great through massive taxation and Washington regulation.

And by the way, we are cutting regulation at a rate never seen before in the history of our country.

We became great because our (ph) people, our families, and because of our freedom. We became great because of our drive to find the next horizon, to unlock the next mystery and to begin the next adventure. You know what I'm talking about.

And that's who we are, a nation of strivers and builders and dreamers and doers, people who treasure their independence and don't know how to quit. Never quit. Never ever give up. Never ever.

I say that, also, to our great Cabinet. And they have done a great job. A lot of things have happened. Nobody's done the job that we have done. When government loosens its grip, there is no summit we cannot reach.

Our tax cuts will break down and they'll break it down fast, all forms of government, and all forms of government barriers, and breathe new life into the American economy. They will unleash the American worker. They will tear down the restraints on discovery, innovation and creation. And they will restore the hopes and dreams of the American family.

Millions of middle-class families will win under our plan. And today we are honored to hear from a few of those wonderful and truly great families.

Bryant (ph) and Ashley (ph) Glick -- right? -- are from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I know it well. They have two beautiful children with a third on the way. Bryant (ph) manages a farm equipment store. Ashley (ph) works in health care.

This year, they were in the 15 percent tax bracket. Under our plan they will drop to the 12 percent bracket. It's a big drop.

Instead of itemizing their deductions, they will be able to file their taxes on a single little beautiful sheet of paper. That's good.

(APPLAUSE)

That's good.

And instead of paying $2,600 in income taxes, they will get it down to $2,000. They'll save at least $600 and probably more than that.

Bryant (ph), Ashley (ph), how about saying a few words? You want to? Come on.

BRYANT (ph) GLICK: Thank you, Mr. President. It's an honor to be here.

On behalf of the good people of Lancaster County, my family, and specifically my grandmother, Linda Martin (ph), well done.

We -- many of your predecessors promised this reform was coming, but you did it. That -- we are greatly excited about this. With the tax savings that we are going to see, we are going to put that money into home renovations.

And I am excited that you were the one that got it over the finish line.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The Kovacs family also joins us today from Ohio. That's a great state. A lot of success in Ohio.

Adam is a veteran who works in telecommunications. Lindsay (ph) works in administration, admissions at a university. And they have two beautiful children.

This year, they are currently in the 25 percent bracket and pay nearly $14,000 in taxes. Our plan gives them their time back because they won't have to itemize, and it gives them nearly one-third of their money back, more than $3,500 for one year.

I would like to invite the Kovacs to explain what our tax cuts will mean for them. They've studied it very closely. These are very smart, sharp people. They know exactly what we're doing here. And they like it.

Come on up. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

ADAM KOVACS: Thank you, Mr. President. It is truly an honor that you invited the Kovacs family to the White House today.

This is going to be great for our family. We have home renovations that we want to take care of, and hopefully save for our two children to go to college.

Thank you so much, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The Giampolo family is from Polk County, Iowa. Anthony is a police officer, and Auburn (ph) is a 911 emergency dispatcher. When they're not at work protecting and serving their fellow citizens, their hands are full with four wonderful children.

This year, they were in the 25 percent bracket. They're -- itemized deductions, and they've done everything they can. They paid more than $19,000 in taxes.

Thank you very much, by the way. That's a lot of money.

(LAUGHTER)

(inaudible).

Under our plan, they will file on a single page and save $2,700.

Anthony, Auburn (ph), maybe you'd like to say a few words. Come on in.

ANTHONY GIAMPOLO: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Just want to thank President Trump.

Education's very important to our family. Under -- under this bill, our family will be able to save a lot of money. We have a lot of people going to school. My wife and I are both in graduate school, finishing up. And we still got three other -- four other kids to get through college. So it will help out a lot. (LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Leon and Maria Benjamin are pastors of New Life Harvest Church -- and it's a beautiful church -- in Richmond, Virginia. And they have three wonderful children.

Under our plan, they will get a larger tax refund to help them pay their bills. They'll receive a tax refund this year of $3,000.

Leon and Maria, I would love you to discuss your middle-class tax cut a little bit with the millions of people watching right now on television.

(LAUGHTER)

You do very well. We're very proud of you.

And it is indeed a beautiful church. I got to see a very, very nice picture. We'll have to get there some day soon.

Thank you. Come on in.

(APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

LEON BENJAMIN: To God be the glory!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, President Trump, you know, for inviting us here on behalf of the Benjamin family and, of course, Richmond, Virginia. We represent a cadre of many families across the nation. African-American families, urban communities and families all across need this now. And it's time for change, and it's time that we recognize that our president is making good on his promises.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Mr. President. God bless you. And we'll continue to keep praying for you and your team as you move forward and forge ahead with this new future in America. God bless you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: He can be my minister any time.

(LAUGHTER)

The Howard family lives in Tenino, Washington. Isaac (ph) owns an espresso machine service company, and Emily takes care of their four beautiful children. They're currently in the 15 percent bracket and pay $2,500 in taxes. Our plan will totally wipe out their tax bill, and they might even get a refund of substantially more than $700.

I'd like to introduce them. Come on up.

(APPLAUSE)

EMILY HOWARD: I'm going to speak for us today.

(LAUGHTER)

We are absolutely blessed to be here. So thank you, Mr. President. It's our joy to stand before you guys.

And what this means to us as a family is that we will be able to pour out into our community, whatever that looks like, giving away to families in need or setting them up for success in any way that -- whatever God has planned for our family.

I think that that is our goal.

And we are blessed to have such an amazing president. And what a good steward he is of our country.

So thank you, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Well, thank you all.

It's critically important for Congress to quickly pass these historic tax cuts. And that's going to take place, I think, even before the media -- I used the word "media," do you notice, as opposed to "fake news media." I don't say it...

(LAUGHTER)

... because today is a very important day and we want everybody to be covered very accurately.

So I'm excited to announce that, if Congress sends me a bill before Christmas, the IRS -- this is just out; this is breaking news -- has just confirmed that Americans will see lower taxes and bigger paychecks beginning in February, just two short months from now.

(APPLAUSE)

Just got that.

(APPLAUSE)

We just got that.

Fifty-five years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, launched a historic effort to pass sweeping top-to-bottom tax cuts. A half a century later, we're reminded that lowering taxes is neither a Republican or Democrat idea, but an American principle and an American idea.

The goal of my administration is for every American to know the dignity of work, the pride of a paycheck and the satisfaction of a job well-done. We want people to love waking up in the morning and going to work just with that incredible enthusiasm that we have in this country. And that's what we're going to be doing, and that's what's going to be happening.

Today, we stand on the verge of a new economic miracle. Our economy has already surged to 3 percent growth -- far ahead of schedule, by the way; far, far ahead -- in each of the last two quarters. And, if we didn't have the hurricanes, we could have hit 4 last quarter; 4, a number that was unthinkable two years ago, when I started the campaign, and even my first month in office. That was an unthinkable number.

And I'll tell you what: It's going to go higher than that.

We've created 2.2 million jobs since the election. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. The unemployment rate in the manufacturing business is the lowest in recorded history. Consumer confidence is a 17-point high (sic). Pensions and retirement accounts are soaring as the stock market hits 85 new record highs since the election.

How are we doing? Are we doing OK? Not bad, right?

(APPLAUSE)

And if Congress sends me a tax reform, this is only a small beginning to the incredible things that our people will achieve over a very short period of time, and the tremendous heights that we will reach economically and so many other ways in our country.

Every day, as this victory draws closer -- I mean, we are so close right now, so close. In fact, almost -- I don't want to talk about it. Maybe we shouldn't talk about it. (LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: The cynical voices that opposed tax cuts grow smaller and weaker. And the American people grow stronger.

I heard one of our opponents stand up the other day and say, "This is for the rich." They had no idea. They didn't even see the final bill. I didn't see the final bill.

This is for the people of middle income. This is for companies that are going to create jobs. This is for very, very special people, the great people of America.

Everyday hardworking Americans know that the future of this nation will never belong to those who say, "You can't." It will always belong to the American people who will say, "We will."

It belongs to people like the Glicks, the Kovacs, the Giampolos, the Benjamins, the Howards and the millions of Americans just like them across our nation who pour out their hearts and souls every single day to take care of their families and the country they love and that we love.

We are going to have a country that celebrates you again. Hardworking great people: You're being celebrated again. Remember that, because you were a little bit forgotten. You were called (ph) the forgotten people.

Somebody else called me and everybody else the deplorables. Have you ever heard that term? Right? We're proud to be the deplorables. And we're doing well.

We're going to make our tax system work for you again. We're going to make our economy work for you again.

And we are going to make the American Dream -- and that's the real dream, that will be the dream that you want for your children and your grandchildren -- once again.

But we need your help to get Congress across that finish line. We'll have very little Democrat support; probably none. That's purely for political reasons. They like it a lot and they can't say it. They don't like what's happening, but they can't say it.

Some day we have to come together and do bipartisan. And hopefully it can happen soon. (APPLAUSE)

Right?

If you make your voices heard, this moment will be forever remembered as a great new beginning, the dawn of a brilliant American future, shining with patriotism, prosperity and pride.

With your help, we will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our wealth as a country, and for every citizen across this beautiful land, we will bring back our great American dreams. Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BALDWIN: So, let's -- Gloria Borger, as we stay on these pictures, I just want to begin with you, our chief political analyst here.

And we will get into the substance of the tax deal and the politics of this.

But I think it's important just to note how powerful it was to have, you know, the moments when the president would step away and allow ordinary Americans to speak personally about how this new tax deal would help them.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

And this is something that presidents have always done. And I think it's a good idea, because what it does is, it says to the American public, here are real people with real families, and here's how much they are going to save on a tax bill.

It's a very good way to sell it. You are not bringing corporate titans up there to say their corporate taxes are going to be reduced substantially.

What you are doing is, you're bringing families up there who are telling you what they are going to do with the extra money. And, of course, it's very touching when one of those families says, look, we are going to take this money and we're going to give it away to help other people, particularly at this season.

So this is not a new technique, but it's an effective one.

BALDWIN: Stephen Moore, how do you do?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Hi.

I thought -- I agree with Gloria. I thought that was a powerful moment bringing up those families.

It's been two years I have been working with Donald Trump on this, and we are so close to the finish line. It is true that a lot of families are going to save money on their taxes.

But, look, the bigger picture here is, this is about growing the economy, making America more prosperous. As Trump was speaking, I was looking at the bottom of the CNN screen and looking at what's happening at the stock market. It's an amazing story. The market just keeps going up and up and up.

It really wants this tax cut. Gloria was right. Businesses want this, their employers. And I think it will be a powerful stimulus to the bill.

One other quick thing, Brooke, is that he mentioned the growth rate of the economy. We are growing at now 3 to 3.5 percent. And I do think if we get this tax cut passed, we could potentially get 4 percent growth next year, which we haven't had that in a long, long time.

BALDWIN: So, here's the but, that being -- sorry.

BORGER: There is a but.

BALDWIN: There is a but.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Rana, you get this part of the conversation.

Listen, Gloria said it. He could have brought corporate titan up there to have some warm and fuzzy story about they are going to save all kinds of money with the corporate tax rate down to 21 percent. So, there's that.

[15:25:03]

Also, though, with this new deal between the House and Senate, they're talking about this individual top rate going down to 37 percent, so the rich getting richer?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN ANALYST: Yes, absolutely.

And look, I will -- just to be contrarian here, I will agree for a minute with Gloria and Stephen that it was a great moment in P.R.

BORGER: Yes, right.

FOROOHAR: But it doesn't change the fact this is really about corporate tax rates.

And I was struck by the president likening himself once again to JFK and making a point that tax cuts are a bipartisan thing. They have done by Democrats and Republicans.

That's very true. What's also true is that, in the last 20 years, each time they have been done, either by a Democratic administration or a Republican one, they have not crated Main Street growth. They will not do that this time.

And so I have to say, I think this is one of the more cynical political speeches I have ever heard.

BORGER: Well, and, by the way, the American public doesn't like this tax bill.

It's got, what, a 35 percent approval rating. And the question still remains -- and you guys are able to answer this better than I am -- which is, why do you need a tax cut if the economy is so booming? Why does it need -- why does the economy need to be stimulated?

(CROSSTALK)

FOROOHAR: And, Gloria, you have hit the nail on the head. It doesn't.

And a lot of people -- in fact, I was just talking to a major Wall Streeter today at lunch. A lot of people are very worried this is going to create more of an asset bubble than we already have. We already know Wall Street and Main Street are totally disconnected.

Folks are worried that we're going to see a market correction in the coming year. Now, whether it comes before or after the midterms will be very interesting. But this is all about giving corporations just a little more juice, helping them get a little more money to give back to the top shareholders, and hopefully push the president and the Republican Party past the spring midterm elections with this sort of mythology that, hey, what's good for Wall Street is good for Main Street.

It's all going to end in tears, believe me.

MOORE: I hope not.

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Stephen.

MOORE: And, look, so far, you have got to give Trump credit. The economy has boomed. Stock market has boomed since he's come in.

FOROOHAR: Not because of him.

MOORE: A lot of Rana's friends used to say, oh, gee, there's no way -- and I confronted this so many times, Brooke, on the campaign trail, on this station, debating a lot of liberal economists said, it's impossible. We can't get 3 percent growth. It's not conceivable we could do that.

Well, we have 3 to 3.5 percent growth now. And, Gloria, in answer to your question about why do this, it's because we want the economy to grow even faster.

And I would make one of the points I made. I was on Capitol Hill all day talking to a lot of Republican lawmakers. I said, look, if you don't pass this tax cut, a lot of this anticipatory effect of this tax cut will go away, and we will see the economy shrink.

But, in my opinion, look, we could get a lot faster growth, Rana. And that's going to -- there are a lot of areas in this country that haven't seen the growth, places like -- I was in West Virginia last week, and places like Kentucky and Michigan, Ohio. They don't think the economy is growing too fast.

FOROOHAR: It is the most disingenuous thing in the world to say that boosting stock prices -- and, by the way, 80 percent of stocks are owned by the top 20 percent of the population -- that boosting stock prices is the same as creating jobs in Kentucky. Not going to happen.

The two things are different.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: But you keep making that point. This is really important.

There are 55 million Americans, Rana, 55 million Americans who have 401(k) plans. There are 35 million Americans who have corporate pension plans. There are another 25 million people who have IRAs.

The idea that is not -- since when is the Democratic Party--

FOROOHAR: Most Americans--

MOORE: When has the Democratic Party become so anti-business?

This is a pro-business tax cut. There's no question about it. But what's wrong with that? What is wrong with being pro-American business?

(CROSSTALK)

FOROOHAR: Stephen, I'm a business columnist. A lot of businesspeople I talk to are very worried that we are approaching this the wrong way.

They say, look, corporations don't need any money.

BORGER: Right.

FOROOHAR: They have $2 trillion worth of cash sitting on their balance sheets.

We need a social safety net. We are the end of a recovery cycle. You're an economist. You know this as well as I do. Recovery cycles tend to last 10 years. We are at the end of one. We're due for another recession.

The president and Republicans are trying to get a little more juice out to carry them over the line, past the midterms, at which point, oh, well.

(LAUGHTER)

FOROOHAR: But I think real Americans are going to be suffering then with no safety net, higher taxes for a lot of people, and a market that will probably see a correction. We can talk about it in six months.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: And it's going to take effect very quickly, by the way.

So people are going to be stunned. They are going to be surprised. Particularly ones who end up paying more in taxes are going to be surprised. So you are going to get the feedback of it pretty quickly.

MOORE: Well, see, this is actually the point.

You raise a really good point, Gloria. One of the important headlines of Donald Trump's speech is that they are going to change, Brooke, the withholding tables. That means that people are going to start getting this tax cut right away.

And when you asked the question, Gloria, why are a lot of Americans against this? I have seen a lot of these same polls. Because the media and liberals have been saying, you are not going to get a tax cut here.

And what is going to happen is, when people actually see the reality of this and see how much middle-class families that $60,000, $80,000, $100,000, and see how much money they're getting back, I think their attitude is going to be, wait a minute, people are lying to me.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Let's what happens with their state and local taxes and their home deductions.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: But those are only -- but those are only--

BALDWIN: But when you have -- but, guys, when you have the president -- the last time he was really talking on taxes is when he was saying, oh, oh, my rich friends, my rich friends, you know, that they are really not going to like me.