sen. Pat Toomey on “Face the Nation”

The following is a transcript of an interview with Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, broadcast Sunday, July 31, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”

JOHN DICKERSON: We now turn to Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. He’s in Zionsville this morning. Good morning, Senator.

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY: Good morning, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let’s start with what the Democrats call the Inflation Reduction Act. You, you and other Republicans are not fans. What is your main criticism?

SEN. TOOMEY: Well, it will actually exacerbate inflation. So they have a big corporate tax hike that will probably make this recession that we’re in right now even worse. All these expenses are unnecessary. It will exacerbate inflation. It will not reduce the deficit. And what did Senator Manchin get for us? Look, I’m a big fan of Joe Manchin. We’re friends, like he said, and I really like Joe, but I think he’s been taken to the cleaners. He agrees to all these bad policies in return for being promised there will be some sort of pro-energy infrastructure bills sometime in the future. But at first I thought we had done that in the infrastructure law. Second, what is the text? But above all: why is that not in this bill? And the answer is because the Democrats don’t support it. And so this will do a lot of damage and there will be no corresponding benefit.

JOHN DICKERSON: There’s a lottery line in it. Let me focus on inflation, which everyone is focused on. The Committee on a Responsible Budget, which has been a fan of yours in the past and even the present, said the following: ‘While reconciliation was intended to reduce the deficit, this will be the first time in many years that it has been done before. is actually used. goal. With inflation at its 40-year high and debt approaching record levels. This would be a welcome improvement to the status quo.’ They and others who have looked at this say it will affect it, it will affect the deficit, lower the deficit in this legislation.

SEN. TOOMEY: Yeah, so that’s why we don’t, because they use the same trick that Senator Manchin was against in the past. They claim the revenue over a 10-year period from their big tax hike and their price controls. And then the expenses they acknowledge, they pretend they’re only going to be for three years. Those are the Obamacare subsidies for wealthy Americans. That is a clear political reward. The last time they had to do this they said it would only be for two years. It’s about to end. And they can’t… they can’t let it expire before an election. So they’re extending it, but only for three — they have no intention of ever ending Obamacare subsidies over a 10-year period that wipes out the purported deficit reduction.

JOHN DICKERSON: But… so you’re assuming bad faith going forward. But in this case, they extended it and found compensations so that it would become a deficit, so that the deficit would decrease at this point. So it’s plausible, given what’s ahead of us today, that that could happen again in the future. I get what you’re saying. Politically, maybe not. But based on what’s ahead of us, which is an expansion of the ACA and deficit reduction, it’s possible to happen.

SEN. TOOMEY: They’re also counting huge amounts of extra tax revenue by giving more taxes, money to the IRS, which the CBO doesn’t agree with. They also fail to take into account how much our economy will slow down from this large corporate tax hike, which will mainly hurt manufacturing and domestic investment. These numbers are very, very dubious.

JOHN DICKERSON: Just on the production issue. I told Senator Manchin that if you tax these companies, the idea of ​​sourcing disappears. He said it’s a matter of fairness, that these fractions that they have represent a previous tax cut, and that this is a matter of fairness in America.

SEN. TOOMEY: So, look, what’s the source of this tax increase? It’s very simple. When we implemented our tax reform in 2017, we said that if a company takes its profits and invests it back into its business in the form of capital investment, new equipment, new factories, expanding their capacity. Then we said, you can deduct the costs in the year in which you incur the costs. The Democrats say we need to end that, despite the massive surge in capital spending it’s brought us. And instead they will say that you can only recognize a small part of that. We’re going to- they’re going to increase the cost of investing in a company.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the legislation this week, the PACT Act, that I know you want to talk about. It provides health care to millions of veterans who have been exposed to toxins. 123 Republicans in the House voted for this. 34 Senate Republicans voted for it. Same account. The bill didn’t change this week, but the Republican vote did. Why?

SEN. TOOMEY: No, the Republican vote didn’t change the substance of the bill. Republicans have said we want an amendment to change a provision that has nothing to do with veteran health care. The Republicans support this. The Democrats added a provision that has nothing to do with veteran health care, and it’s designed to change the government’s accounting rules so they can have a $400 billion spending wave.

JOHN DICKERSON: –But–

SEN. TOOMEY: – My amendment, if I may offer it, will remove that provision and cut veterans’ spending by not a cent.

JOHN DICKERSON: You said this is that the Democrats put this in, but they did get 134 Republican votes and there are still plenty of Republicans voting for it. It seems that this seems like a Democratic gimmick, obscuring what your real point and your lifelong interest is, which is that this is about budgeting and whether the rules should be tight, or whether those who are defending this bill are, say, the Allow Congress to work in the future to be fiscally responsible. Isn’t that a more accurate way to think about what you’re offering?

SEN. TOOMEY: Well, let’s be careful because, JOHN, you mischaracterized this when you spoke to Senator Manchin. We fully accept that the new spending under the PACT Act for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals will increase the deficit. And we accept that as a price to pay for people serving the country. What I object to is a budget gimmick, a gimmick in accounting rules, that would allow total unrelated spending of $400 billion over the next 10 years. We don’t think that should be in this bill. Should never have been.

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, there’s a discussion about that. And as you know, some Republicans don’t think it’s a gimmick. They still support this and think it can be fixed later. But let me ask you this. I have read your amendment language, your language is not just about this other. It actually limits annual spending on the toxic fund. And after 10 years it goes away-

SEN. TOOMEY: -No, so John, that’s totally wrong. What the limit is is how the government accounts for these transfers, but there is no limit on the amount of money that transfers, there is no limit on the total program. Look, if an honest Democrat evaluating this will tell you that if my amendment is passed, not a cent has changed in veterans’ program spending. What does change is how the government deals with it.

JOHN DICKERSON: I understand. But the accounting change, as you know, is a result – the reason they put it in that other bucket is that it’s not subject to the normal triage of budgeting. And the argument is that the values ​​at stake here are more important than leaving it to normal austerity and the thrust of budgeting. And so I’d like to ask you this-

SEN. TOOMEY: – Yes, but that is –

JOHN DICKERSON: – But it’s worth protecting, is their argument. Let me know, it’s about priorities. As you know, budgets are one way people talk about priorities in a government. This week, many of the Republicans who changed their vote voted for semiconductors. In 2017, Republicans lifted limits on discretionary spending. We have also had a situation where a lot of money is spent on defense. You have been consistent in reducing the deficit. But a lot of other Republicans, if they think it’s in their best interest, say let’s lift the limits, let’s not be so picky about the budget. So why is it important to be picky when it comes to veterans, but less so when it comes to supporting chip manufacturers?

SEN. TOOMEY: Because John, again, you’re completely mischaracterizing this. We all accept that there are no changes to the expected spending path for all veteran programs, the existing veteran programs, and the new ones under the PACT Act. What we’re objecting to is an accounting gimmick that will allow total unrelated spending of $400 billion over the next 10 years. And most Republicans don’t think we should relax fiscal rules so that Democrats can spend money on things that have nothing to do with veterans’ health care.

JOHN DICKERSON: Of course the Democrats should be in charge in the future when those expenses happen, and they may not be, but thank you, Senator, for being with us. We appreciate your time.

SEN. TOOMEY: I would also restrict the Republicans.

JOHN DICKERSON: And you have the last word, Senator Toomey, thank you. We’ll be back with more Face the Nation staying with us.

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