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House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions On The Medical Device Tax And The Border Fence

Thursday, April 11, 2013

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HH: Joined by one of my favorite congressmen now, Pete Sessions of the great state of Texas is chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. Chairman Pete, welcome back, good to have you on the program.

PS: Thank you very much. Boy, an exciting day in town. In Washington, we were talking on the floor about jobs, and so we began talking about, you know, we’re doing in Washington what they do in Illinois. We tax and spend, and people leave. And I said you know, we’ve got a tale of two cities and two states, Chicago and Dallas, and Texas and Illinois. And in Texas, we’ve created more jobs in the last five years than the 49 other states combined.

HH: Oh, you’re going to bring that up again, are you?

PS: Yeah, because the facts of the case, they’re stingy, aren’t they? They’re stubborn.

HH: Well, I’m telling you, that just rubs it in a Californian’s nose, though, Mr. Chairman. That’s a horrible thing to do.

PS: Well, let me tell you what, and we’ve got jobs and they don’t.

HH: Now listen, Congressman Sessions, I want to cover two things with you.

PS: Yeah.

HH: Number one, you’ve been back four days. And right before you folks left, the Senate voted 79-20 to repeal the medical device tax. Why haven’t the Republicans called their bluff, passed a bill repealing the medical device tax, and send it back to them and say I dare you not to pass it?

PS: Well, as a matter of fact, we are in discussions right now on the issue. And we’re trying to be able to properly take things and see what they are. But the hard part about this is that this Obamacare taxation policy, the Democrats that were all for this, are now for doing away with all the taxes.

HH: Well, I’m all in favor of doing away with the medical device tax. As a Texan, you know, because you’ve got…

PS: I am, too.

HH: You’ve got a lot of companies down there building a lot of medical devices, as does Minnesota, as does California, as does the great state of Ohio. But we’ve got to get rid of that tax. And I mean, if they said 79-20 in the Senate, they’ll vote to repeal it. You’ve got to volley that back at ‘em.

PS: Absolutely.

HH: So will it, will it happen soon?

PS: I’ll have an answer for you soon.

HH: All right.

PS: We’re looking at it. We are, it’s not a matter of whether we’re going to do it or not. It’s a matter of when. And as you know, we’re trying to work on an agenda here. This is, we’re close to tax time, we want to talk about taxes and spending, and so it’s a perfect way to talk about jobs and job loss.

HH: Permission to speak freely, sir?

PS: Yes, sir.

HH: You, the House Republicans would miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity every time. I mean, this is the easiest fly ball to hit, to his the medical device tax right back at them. And the elaborate communications strategy, you’re very good at this, Pete. You always show up. You always talk.

PS: Yeah.

HH: But I mean, this is the easiest pumpkin to smash. This is the easiest thing to hit. They voted 79-20 to repeal it. I just don’t…

PS: Yeah, but what if we put something else in there also that’s equally attractive…

HH: No, no. Don’t do that. I mean, this is where communication 101 comes through.

PS: Just take what you get?

HH: Take, you know, send it right back to them, and see if they pass it, because honest to goodness, my people, the people that listen to this show…

PS: Yeah.

HH: …are wondering where are the Republicans? And you know, they don’t really care about the budget, Congressman.

PS: No, you’re right. You’re right. They care about the actual taxation on companies that are getting killed, and that you and I both know that extends all the way to, by the way, you probably know this, a veterinarian.

HH: Yup. Well, good. Second thing I want to cover with you is this immigration bill, which is…

PS: Yeah.

HH: …It’s been leaked, and I’ve got friends in the Senate, you’ve got friends in the Senate.

PS: Yeah.

HH: There’s no border fencing in this. You’re a Texan. How hard is it to build a border fence?

PS: It is essential that we put into place border security. And without fencing and without these things in place, you simply allow yourself to have an open border. And I was with a congressman, I won’t say who, but a congressman, one of our new, young members who was on guard duty, and they were down flying essentially what might be a P-3 aircraft over the last two weeks. And they were in South Texas, and they were up in the air, about 10,500 feet, and they were, the front line through heat sensors looking at all of the people coming across the border, and we’ve been led to believe by this administration that’s not a problem anymore, more leave than come. Well, let me tell you what, they saw hundreds of people down moving across the desert every night.

HH: Sure.

PS: The problem was we didn’t have enough people on the ground to catch it.

HH: And we don’t have fences.

PS: And we don’t have fences. It’s easy. Just walk across.

HH: And so when it comes, whatever they come out with, it may not get out of the Senate, because I think it looks so bad in draft that it’s going to be a nightmare. But if they fix it in draft and they get it through the Senate, is the House going to insist on actual honest to God double fencing with access roads for at least half the border?

PS: The House is going to, I believe, insist on reasonable things that protect our border, or as we debate this, we’re going to be inundated by millions more people.

HH: And you’re going to be inundated by millions of more phone calls if it’s not actually a fence.

PS: Well, that, too. But you know, people know where I am.

HH: Congressman, let me ask you about the elections. You ran the NRCC for two successful cycles. You’ve turned it over to this guy who roots for the Oregon Ducks, so I’m not too sure about him. He doesn’t know anything about football. Let’s hope he knows about campaigning. But Greg thinks things look good. But you’re the guy with the experience. Does the President get the House back like he wants to put Nancy Pelosi in John Boehner’s chair?

PS: If we fail to have the will to win, if we let the heat that’s coming at us melt us, if we do not understand that this is a two year operation, and that we don’t have a day to lose, then no, they cannot beat us. If we understand what this is about, that the president of the United States is personally involved in this, and that he’s going to put his prestige and his ideas behind this, we should take it seriously. The president of the United States wants the last two years where he taxes and spends and routs business, where he raises taxes at least $600 billion dollars more. That’s in his budget. And a trillion dollars more of taxes means a trillion dollars more of spending. This is a real issue. House Republicans are going to have to be prepared. Greg Walden is awesome, and you’re going to like him.

HH: Pete Sessions, always a pleasure to talk to you, Congressman. Back to the Rules Committee and thanks for taking your time with us.

End of interview.

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