Fox News "Sunday Morning Futures" - Transcript: Interview with Rep. Dan Kildee


Date: Feb. 3, 2019


BARTIROMO: That was President Trump making another border wall pitch, as he says there's a good chance he will have to declare a national emergency at the southern border to fund the wall.

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi calls the wall immoral, but is getting a lot of attention for the one in her own state, which we have been speaking about now for the last month-and-a-half.

Joining me right now in an exclusive interview is Chief Deputy Whip Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. He sits on both the House Ways and Means and Budget committees.

And, Congressman, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. DAN KILDEE, D-MICH.: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Is there any progress that you can report, Congressman?

Because let's kick it off right here with what the president just said about wall in Tijuana. We have got a picture of the wall. And we have talked about this with many of your colleagues on this program in the past several weeks, that there is a wall in Tijuana -- now separating Tijuana from San Diego.

On the other side of the wall in Tijuana, there are three million residents. On the other side of the wall in San Diego, there are another three million residents. This is one area that's very dense. If you take that wall down, most people agree that the people in Tijuana will assimilate themselves into San Diego.

Do you disagree with that?


And I don't really know anybody that does. I think we have to remind ourselves that border security is comprised of a lot of elements. Democrats and Republicans have agreed on that for decades.

We all have supported physical barriers where they make sense. What I think the debate really should focus on is what the professionals say about where technology is best utilized, where border fencing should be utilized, where concrete barriers may make the most sense, and I think where most of us wish there was more conversation, around those areas that have to do with immigration and border security that relate to other elements.

For example, I believe the best path for us to take would be to have a comprehensive approach to this that deals with the border security issues around which we may have some disagreement, but also deals with larger immigration issues that we know sooner or later in this country we're going to have to get around to solving.

That would be my hope, that we could look at this in a more comprehensive way, the way, for example, the Senate did in 2013.

BARTIROMO: So are you saying that you would be poised to agree to a deal with your colleagues on the right to put money forth that goes toward technology, toward more border agents, toward drone technology, whatever that might be, as well as a physical barrier in certain areas where it makes sense?

Is that what you're saying?


And I think -- I don't want to get ahead of the conference committee members. I think this is really an important process, where you have Democrats and Republicans, the House and the Senate, sitting across the table, hopefully, with good will.

I know that any compromise that comes out of that process, if there is one, will contain elements that I wouldn't like, but that in the big picture, that's what our government really is all about, coming to some kind of compromise, knowing that what seems like really hard and fast positions taken by people going into those negotiations have to be compromised, have to somehow arrive at -- we have to arrive at some common ground.

And I wish that people on this whole issue would stop hyperventilating...


KILDEE: ... and just get down to the business of trying to find some middle ground.

I do think it's particularly unhelpful for the president to make a declaration that, regardless of what the conference committee does, he's going to get his way one way or the other.

I don't believe the president absolutely has the authority to declare an emergency in any instance that he disagrees with what the Congress comes -- comes to agreement on.

I think the president -- and I will say this. Many of my Republican colleagues, particularly senior members in the Senate side, share that view...


KILDEE: ... that this is not a case where the president can use his emergency powers to do something that won't have a result for another five or 10 years.

BARTIROMO: But isn't it true that what you just said can apply to Nancy Pelosi as well?

She has said umpteen times there will be no money for any wall anywhere. There will be nothing -- there will be $1, not more than that, because a wall is immoral.

But, in fact, isn't there a growing group of colleagues on the left, your colleagues, that say exactly what you just said, which is practical, that there should be money for everything, including, in areas where it makes sense, a physical barrier?

But the -- but the speaker has said otherwise. She said, no wall under any circumstances, even though there's a wall in her state.

KILDEE: Well, but she did -- she did indicate a willingness to support infrastructure.

And I know in the past she has said, where it makes sense to have physical barriers, we support physical barriers. So I think it's -- it's OK for folks to have very strong views going into the negotiation. And I think it's really good that they articulate those.

But I think we have to commit to accepting the outcome of that negotiation. One other point that I think is really important. Under no circumstances should this disagreement, whether it's resolved or not, result in a government shutdown.

In fact, I have legislation that I will be introducing in the next week that essentially outlaws shutdowns. I think this is a tool that damages the American people. And we ought not be able to default to a shutdown because we can't get our work done and come to some agreement over an issue that has legitimate different points of view.


Isn't it true, though, that the area we're talking about, the southern border, is in fact very dense, just like the area between Tijuana and San Diego, a lot of people very close to each other where perhaps that's one area where a physical barrier would work, like the Tijuana wall?

KILDEE: Well, the southern border is over 1,000 miles. I think we have to look at it in each particular instance.


But aren't there areas of that -- that there are areas in part of that, part of that region where a wall would make sense because of the density?

KILDEE: Well, where the professionals, where law enforcement and security professionals have said we ought to have secure areas with border walls or fencing, we have supported that in the past.

Let's remind ourselves that the position that the president carved out initially was the result of a chant at a rally, a wall from sea to shining sea paid for by Mexico.

So even he doesn't believe what he once believed on this. So I don't think anyone can paint themselves of having pure positions on this that are unchangeable.


KILDEE: And I just think we ought to try to figure out a way to get to the middle.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, I want to take a short break.

When we come back -- you're on House Ways and Means Committee. I have got to get your take on some of these new ideas on taxes.

And, also, I want to ask you the question, what is the bigger threat for the workers in Michigan, your constituents? Is it technology, A.I.? Is it China, or is it illegal immigration taking their jobs?

Because, as far as I can see, your constituents are under attack.

We will be right back, Congressman, with that.

KILDEE: Thank you.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

We are back with Chief Deputy Whip Congressman Dan Kildee.

Congressman, let me ask you about these ideas on taxes.

You're on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, your colleague, wants to raise the tippy-top rate for earners up to 70 percent. Right now, that rate is at 37 percent.

Michael Moore, the director, said that she is the leadership of your party. Your reaction to this. You're on House Ways and Means. You were basically the architect, you and your colleagues, of the tax cut plan which moved the needle on economic growth, even though you didn't vote for it.

KILDEE: Right.

And I disagreed with the tax plan that was adopted by Congress in the last Congress. I think it was a step in the wrong direction, in the sense that it gave far too much of the benefits to the people at the very top.

I don't believe, however, that we should simply throw things in reverse and go back to where we were. I think there's some benefits that came from that tax proposal. I just think far too much of the benefit went to the people at the top.

But I don't start with the idea that we ought to have a particular rate. I do think we need a fairer tax system, for sure, in order to properly share the responsibility for the elements of a civil society and provide the support that it takes for everyone to have a chance.

Personally, I would say, let's start with Social Security, because there's the tax element of Social Security. If we're going to get this right, if we're going to make sure that we have the underpinnings of a civil society, let's start with the most successful social insurance program in the history of the world, and make sure that we look at whatever tax policy changes need to be made to strengthen Social Security.


Well, we know -- we know that the tax cut plan lowered taxes for all income levels, and that the corporate rate cut was really the centerpiece of the plan.

Are you saying the corporate rate should not have been cut?

KILDEE: Well, I'm saying, if the corporate rate was going to...

BARTIROMO: Should the corporate rate still be at 35 percent?

KILDEE: Well, here's the problem.

The corporate rate is one element of it. But what we expected that would happen is that the -- if the corporate rate were to be cut...


KILDEE: ... that all the other benefits in what we would call loopholes would be offset, so that the corporate rate might come down, but the net effect is broader base, lower rates.

What the tax change did...

BARTIROMO: Well, they did take away all of those -- all of those benefits as well. There are no more deductions.


BARTIROMO: But let me ask you this, because...

I'm sorry. Go ahead.

KILDEE: No, no, they did -- they didn't take away -- they didn't take away all those benefits for the -- for corporations, not at all.

BARTIROMO: What benefit?

KILDEE: That's the unfortunate part of it.

BARTIROMO: What benefit are you referring to?

KILDEE: Well, for example, the ability -- what did they do on carried interest? What did they do, for example, on the ability to write off the cost of moving manufacturing operations overseas?

Those are all deductible expenses still under the tax code. I think that was a mistake.

BARTIROMO: There's a lot of conversation now that the Democratic Party has been hijacked by the extreme radical left.

And that is a path that Howard Schultz has found for himself, to be a centrist in this race. Do you feel your party has been -- has been hijacked all the way to the radical left?

KILDEE: No. And I don't really know where that idea comes from.

I know a lot of folks on the progressive end of our...

BARTIROMO: Well, it comes from 70 percent tax rates, abolish ICE, Medicare for all. Those are three items that people will point to.

KILDEE: Well, those might be positions that some members hold.

BARTIROMO: And, of course, the abortion issue as well.

KILDEE: Right.

Those might be positions that some members hold, but I don't see any evidence that that's the broad view of every member of Congress.

BARTIROMO: No, it's not. You're right.

KILDEE: If you look at the new members of Congress, for example...


BARTIROMO: You have said some very practical things this morning.

KILDEE: Right. Well, I hope so anyway. Thank you.


BARTIROMO: Let me ask you this, Congressman.

KILDEE: But if you look at the new members of Congress that have just come in...

BARTIROMO: Yes, go ahead.

KILDEE: I was just going to say, the new members that have come in are comprised of a whole spectrum of new members.

A lot of them don't get the attention that I think maybe they should. There are a lot of members, for example, that have really strong national security backgrounds.


KILDEE: I point to my colleague, just my neighbor, Elissa Slotkin, who I don't think anyone would say is out of the mainstream in terms of American political thought.

BARTIROMO: OK. So, you don't..

KILDEE: There are a lot of folks I think that represent the broad spectrum in our party.

BARTIROMO: Real quick, Congressman, let me ask you you question that I did before we went to break.

Who is a bigger threat in terms of your constituents in Michigan? Is it China, technology, A.I., or illegals taking their jobs? Because I think it's a combination of all three. What do you think?

KILDEE: Well, I think it is -- for the most part, it is -- well, technology obviously hadn't -- has had an impact on manufacturing. That's clearly a threat.

But China, for sure. When China can produce cheap steel and dump it into global markets, that undermines the ability of our manufacturers to compete.

And I think, until we get trade right, in a way that ensures that our workers can compete on an even playing field, those other factors are important, but they're not going to be as important as getting trade right.

BARTIROMO: So, you think we will get a deal by the deadline? I assume you're happy, then, the president pushed back on China, then?

KILDEE: I was glad that he pushed back on China.

I wished that it would it -- it would have been done in a multilateral fashion, because what we ended up doing was essentially penalizing Canada for China's misdeeds. I think that was a mistake.

But the president wasn't wrong to take on China when it comes to its dumping of steel. I'm glad that he did that. I just wish that we had a more strategic approach. And I wish we had a sense of what the endgame looked like.


KILDEE: We will see.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, it's good to have you on the program this morning. Thanks so much.

KILDEE: Thank you, Maria.