South Carolina’s Senator Tim Scott joined me this morning:
HH: Joined now by United States Senator Tim Scott of the great state of South Carolina. Good morning, Senator Scott, how are you?
TS: I’m doing fantastic, Hugh, good morning, how are you?
HH: I’m great, if you tell me we’re going to get a tax bill by Christmas.
TS: I think we’re going to get a tax bill by Christmas. We are looking, it’s looking good from our perspective. We have some of the more challenging decisions coming up in the next few weeks, but the good news, the House, the White House and the Senate have been talking for months about how to be on the same page, make sure that the everyday American, the hard-working person, gets to keep more of their cash.
HH: Now it appears that yesterday, Speaker Ryan gave up on the SALT, the state and local tax deduction. Do you agree with that assessment of his Reuters interview?
TS: Well, look, I think he’s going to have to struggle to get the votes if he doesn’t have some type of alteration to the SALT. My perspective is we should keep at much of that as possible. There’s no reason for a South Carolina taxpayer to subsidize a high tax state’s local tax, income tax or property tax. So the closer we can get to parity on that issue, the better off we will all be.
HH: But the reality is that if it is in there, you’ll still support the bill, right?
TS: Well, yeah, I think at the end of the day, there are, I’ve not seen anything that would stop me from supporting the bill, if we’re taking people’s taxes down. There’s going to be a price to pay for that. The price will be worth it, because we’ll have more economic activity, and the take home pay of the average American that has not gone up in the last ten years finally will go up.
HH: Now what about the subchapter S corporations getting the same treatment as corporations? I’m a subchapter S, Senator, and you know, I get paid by the Post, by NBC, by Salem. I am my own corporation, and I have been for 25 year. Do I need a corporate tax cut?
TS: Well, I’m not sure that you would argue for a corporate tax cut, because you’re a generous person and like giving your money to the government. But for the average small business owner, I would suggest that yes, in order for us to have economic activity increase, to have a dynamic economy that booms, you have to make sure that those job creators have a chance to invest more of their money in employees, and more of their money in capital. So bringing the pass through rates down to be not on parity with the corporate tax rate, but within a 5% delta is important for us not to A) have a perverse incentive for everyone to become a corporation, and B) for us to continue the engine that grows jobs in this country, and that is disproportionately small business who are disproportionately pass through entities.
HH: All right, now if I can switch over to some politics with you, there’s been a lot of shouting going on between Jeff Flake and Bob Corker and the President.
TS: I heard that.
HH: Is that over? Are we done with that?
TS: Well, listen, my goal is to keep focused, our focus on tax reform and doing the good things for the American people. The reality of it is that the snippets between members of the Senate and the President are not helpful. But at the end of the day, those are not things I can control, so I spend my time making sure that we’re moving forward on the priorities of the American people, which I think is also good for the party.
HH: Now it’s a small group of Republicans up there. And do you believe that any of them will put personal animus towards the President ahead of tax reform. In other words, that they would vote against tax reform just to stick it to the President?
TS: Definitely not, because you’re not sticking it to the President. You’re sticking it to the American people. I think there’s one thing that’s true from Corker to Flake to President Trump, and that is one consistent theme runs through the conversation, and that happens to be how do we best support growing the economy and increasing take home pay.
HH: Now Tim Scott, have you talked with Chuck Grassley about blue slips, yet, because Mitch McConnell doesn’t like them. I hate them. They’re frustrating the will of the people. And I hate holds. I hate blue slips. I hate all this stuff where one senator gets to decide stuff. Have you talked to Grassley about blue slips?
TS: I have not, and I don’t necessarily hate them. I think they certainly can be, can slow down the process, but it can’t stop the process. But it can force the nominee to come forth with more information when they typically have no reason to do so.
HH: But that’s, it’s not in the Constitution, though. And right now, David Stras, who’s a Minnesota Supreme Court justice, is being held up by Al Franken, because Al Franken doesn’t want a great Scalia clerk going on the, Thomas clerk going on the court. I mean, that’s not about more information. That’s just petty.
TS: No question. I mean, there’s always going to be a case like that where I vehemently oppose what the senator from Minnesota is doing without any question. I would not use the process, I would not stop the process or eliminate the process because if we are ever in the minority with a Democrat president, I will assure you slowing down the process as we were able to do in 2015 so that the, President Trump would have an opportunity to appoint more circuit judges to rebalance the courts from the Obama administration’s acceleration on the courts, is in my opinion the best interests of the American people.
HH: But Senator, that is, and we’ve got one minute left, the growing frustration with the Senate is that nothing is happening on nominees, and that you guys play nice, and then Democrats like Harry Reid comes along and he breaks all the, he pulls the lever and breaks the glass, he changes the rules, but the Republicans just get rolled.
TS: Yeah, well, good news is I’m not one of those Republicans. Better news is wait and see if do not appoint 100-plus judges between now and the time of the election. We are going to have the most aggressive approach to appointing judges than we’ve had in the last decade.
HH: I hope you are right. You’re going to start going 24/7, because these bankers hours, that’s another issue, Senator Scott, you’re a hard-working guy. But these bankers hours…
TS: I will tell you that I get to work 7 days a week for the good people of South Carolina. I will continue to work 7 days a week for the good people of South Carolina. I’m happy to do more of that in Washington, and as we move through these nominees and get more things done, including tax reform, hopefully by Thanksgiving.
HH: Thank you, my friend.
End of interview.