The Daily Rundown | February 16, 2012
>>> all right. looks like a done deal. congressional negotiators have agreed on a $150 billion plan that extends the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits , two lawmakers leading the talks delivered the news just after midnight last night.
>> we're confident this can be concluded. and so we're here together to announce that we have an agreement and we're moving forward.
>> i'm totally convinced and assured there'll be majority conferees that sign.
>> with me now is kay bailey-hutchinson. let me ask you straightforward, senator, are you going to support this deal?
>> i don't know. i do not like it. i think we're up against a wall, but to take $100 billion hit on social security , on the trust fund and weaken social security , it's a tough call.
>> would you have been comfortable with any of the proposed closing of a few of these corporate tax loopholes? apparently that was the sticking point here on paying for it, which was this issue of democrats wanted to go on the tax front. republicans wanted to go in a different direction just simply cutting other programs and not dealing with taxes. where were you on this?
>> chuck, that argument we've been having for years. democrats always want to add taxes, we do not think that is the right thing to do in this kind of economy. we believe that spending cuts should have paid for any kind of an unemployment insurance extension or doctor pay fors. all of these things should have been paid for. and we should cut spending, we should not have new taxes right now on anyone on the social security recipients and the people paying in, nor on the people who are going to create jobs. that's what we ought to be doing in this country is creating jobs, not taxing the people who can provide those jobs.
>> now, this is your last year in the united states senate . and there is plenty of headlines that after this deal gets done, this -- on the payroll tax extension, there's a lot of us smart alecs in the media saying, that's it, congress is not going to get anything else done. how do you feel about that? that that's going to be the legacy of this year 2012 in congress that because of the election year, that's it?
>> well, we need to -- what we need is corporate tax reform. you know you were talking about the tax increases or tax breaks . we need corporate tax reform and we need social security reform . that is something that is, i believe, relatively easy if we do it on a bipartisan basis. we could do that in an election year. and i think congress needs to hunker down and do it. and the president needs to provide some leadership. we did pass a very good faa reauthorization. we're working on a highway bill that i think we ought to provide for the -- all of the infrastructure in the state. there are important issues. we can't take a break for a year. and yet it looks like we're not able to come to terms because there's no bipartisan agreement going forward.
>> but it does seem as if -- we could sit here and beat up both sides on here that everybody's looking for that election leverage, right? that what happens, how the voters decide who they decide to send to pennsylvania avenue , to send to both sides of pennsylvania avenue . who controls the senate come 2013 ? who controls the white house ? and until we know that, neither side wants to give in on anything. is that a fair read?
>> it is a fair read, chuck, but i think it is the wrong approach. and it's the wrong approach from our side, not yours. what we should be doing is saying, there are things that we can do to take the politics out of it. and that is come to terms where republicans and democrats stand up together and say this is how we're going to save social security . that's the easiest one that we're not addressing. if the president had mentioned in his budget or in his state of the union message that entitlements are now over 50% of our budget and in ten years it's going to be 80% of our budget, if he had said that and brought republicans into the equation to address entitlements, that would be leadership, and it would be taking those issues off the table.
>> let me ask you about the republican primary , you worked with senator santorum , my guess is you probably know him a little bit better than you do mitt romney , do you have a choice between -- do you have a preference between those two? are you comfortable with either one of them? are you more comfortable with one over the other as the potential nominee of the party?
>> well, i think they're both good people. i do. and i do know both of them. i do think that mitt romney has stood up to test after test after test. and he's had the experience that i would hope a president would have. i think rick santorum is a very good person, and i enjoyed working with him. but i think the breadth of experience, of someone who has met a payroll is also very much needed by our country right now.
>> are you basically endorsing? it sounds like you're almost endorsing governor romney. pretty close.
>> well, i haven't made a decision about endorsing. but i do think republicans need to get on with it. i think it is hurting our party to have the constant fighting in the presidential primary , which has absorbed the air in the room. and i don't want to see our candidate sinking with president obama in the polls because we're beating up on each other. i think it is time for us to have a clear way forward and start coalescing to try to stop what we believe are the policies of the obama administration that are going to hurt the future of this country. obama care, the overregulation, and the spending binge that is causing these deficits as far as the eye can see.
>> are you one of those --
>> are you one of those republicans that would be pushing the panic button if mitt romney lost his home state of michigan ?
>> no, not at all. i think everything has been so volatile and almost a whim in the last six months that you see somebody catching the wind and then the wind goes out of their sails and i don't see any one state or any one day as being disaster for anyone. i do think that republicans need to start focusing on a winner, someone that can govern can be a good candidate. but mostly a good president. someone who can stop the overspending and the big government growth that we have seen in the last three years with just enormous consequences in such a short time.
>> all right. republican senator kay bailey hutchison , thanks for coming on this morning.
>> thank you, chuck.