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Marco Rubio Demanding Concessions on Child Tax Credit before Voting for Tax Legislation; Rumors Surface of Paul Ryan Contemplating Leaving Congress; Interview with Representative Matt Gaetz. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired December 15, 2017 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Dana and Sanjay, thank you both very much. We are following a lot of news this morning, so let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has strong support or we wouldn't be moving forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The GOP tax plan is daylight robbery.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that Senator Rubio will be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to pass it as quickly as they can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This debate is far from over.

TRUMP: I like Omarosa. Omarosa is a good person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the only African-American woman in this White House, I have seen things that made me uncomfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a very diverse team at the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The press secretary said we believe in diversity. If that's the case, where in the hell are the black people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump initiated this phone call to thank President Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This relationship he has with Putin I find baffling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we actually look at the policies they've been not what President Putin would want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president has got to be able to take this seriously enough. This is a serious national security threat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Friday, December 15th, 8:00 in the east. And Republican leaders are set to unveil their compromised tax bill today, but there are some headwinds. Senator Marco Rubio for one surprising some in the party by saying he is not going to vote for this if they don't increase the child tax credit. You may see some of this in the 11th hour. Senators have so much leverage because the vote is so close that they may be coming up and saying, whoa, whoa, I won't vote until you give me, fill in the blank.

CAMEROTA: And House Speaker Paul Ryan is said to be doing a lot of soul searching lately about his political career. Friends claim that he is considering leaving Congress after the midterm election if this tax bill passes.

And coming up we are going to speak to a panel of Trump voters about how they feel today about their votes, about the direction of the country and what they predict for 2018. So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Joe Johns. He is live at the White House. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. The White House hoping the tweaking is done. Members of Congress, the Republicans, hoping they have the final language for this big tax bill. The White House also hoping they will get a bill on the president's desk before Christmas. But there are still concerns, a possibility for holdouts, including Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio, including some other members of the Senate who have been harshly critical of the president in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's really been a great guy and very supportive. I think that Senator Rubio will be there for sure.

JOHNS: President Trump confident that Senator Marco Rubio will get onboard with the Republican tax plan despite Rubio's declaration that he will vote against the bill unless negotiators expand the child tax credit, a measure he's been pushing alongside Senator Mike Lee.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: I remain surprised that there is not more consensus to support the reality that we need to do more to help working people in the country.

JOHNS: Rubio poking his Republican colleagues Thursday, tweeting "Tax negotiators didn't have much trouble finding a way to lower the top tax bracket and start the corporate tax cut a year early."

REP. KEVIN BRADY, (R) TEXAS: We're at 11:59 on the clock and really the pins out to be down.

JOHNS: Rubio's demand raising additional questions about how Republicans will pay for the bill which cannot add more than $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years if Republicans want to pass the measure without support from Democrats. With a narrow 52 to 48 majority in the Senate, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes and still pass the bill along party lines.

The impact on the deficit prompting Republican Senator Bob Corker to vote against the original bill, Corker telling CNN Thursday he has the same concerns he has had in the past but declined to say how he will vote on the updated legislation. Two other wild cards, Senator John McCain and Thad Cochran, who have been away from the capital all week while grappling with health issues. McCain's office announcing Tuesday that the senator is being treated at Walter Reed hospital for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy, but sources inside the Senate describe the 81-year-old war hero as increasingly frail.

A spokesman for Senator Cochran who has had a number of health problems this year telling CNN Cochran had an outpatient procedure to address a non-melanoma legion on his nose, but that he is doing well and available now for votes if needed.

Vice President Mike Pence delaying a trip to Israel in case he needs to cast another tie-breaking vote. The tax push unfolding as one of the bill's biggest proponents, House Speaker Paul Ryan, dismisses rumors that he is considering leaving Congress after the 2018 midterm elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not quitting anytime soon?

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I'm not.

[08:05:00] JOHNS: Some of Ryan's close friends telling CNN the speaker has been doing some soul searching about his political future.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president did speak to the speaker not too long ago and made sure that the speaker knew very clearly and in no uncertain terms that if that news was true he was very unhappy with it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: In just a little while the president heads out to the FBI National Academy. He is expected to be giving a speech there to the graduating class. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say given the fact that the president recently questioned the FBI's reputation. The president also goes over to Camp David for the weekend. Chris and Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much for all of that background.

Joining us now to discuss, we have CNN political analysts Josh Green and Jonathan Martin. Great to see you guys.

Jonathan, let me put up -- Joe just outlined some of it, but all in one graphic, the senators to watch right now. We have Marco Rubio, he doesn't like the child tax credit, Mike Lee, doesn't like the child tax credit. Bob Corker has been on record, he doesn't like that it increases the deficit, and then of course the health issues of Senator John McCain and Thad Cochran. So is this thing going to pass by Christmas?

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they've got more of a challenge now than they had at the start of the week, there's no question about it. Keep in mind this is a Senate where one person has a lot of leverage when the majority is this close.

What I don't understand, guys, is politically why the president wouldn't see how this bill is being framed as a tax cut for the rich and corporations and not try to work with Rubio to help him get some more help on the refunding side. It just seems to be the politics of that would be a no-brainer, and for a president who is worried about his image and the perception of the bill to say Marco is going to be there for us instead of actually talking about ways to get to where Rubio is for just political purposes is a little bit confusing.

CUOMO: But he's doing both, right? By all indications the president is working the phones. He's much more savvy about this stuff. He's calling governors, he's calling different congressional guys to talk to them about this, so he's probably playing it on two fronts, right, Josh? And let's be honest, who wants to be the vote that keeps the tax cut from passing? How much of this do you think is posturing by Rubio? He and Lee got their vote on the floor and they lost.

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think Trump's phone calls are going to make a big difference in this affair. He's tried to lobby senators in the past on other issues and frankly been ineffective. For Rubio, though, I do think this is smart. I can't imagine that we get to the end of the day and he decides to vote against the tax bill.

I think part of the calculation for Rubio is, look, this is a very unpopular bill and Republicans have convinced themselves they have to pass it. But Rubio is a young guy who probably still harbors presidential ambitions. This could be problematic in the years ahead. So if you carve out an issue like refundable tax credits for low income and working families and make a stand on that, then in years when people say you voted for this terrible tax bill for the rich or whatever, you can say, no, my role in that bill was carving out a more generous by billions of dollars tax credit for working family, and if Rubio can extract some concessions, which I imagine that he can, then he will have that argument to inoculate him politically going forward.

CAMEROTA: Jonathan, here's what Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, has just put out an op-ed. "Republicans in Congress will have to take responsibility for the bill's harmful effects, but blame also falls on its cheerleader in chief Donald Trump. Trump is making the same mistake that Barack Obama made in his first two years in office, believing that his party's congressional majority gives him license to govern without the other side. The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future."

MARTIN: The comparison to Obama is not new, but it certainly does have the air of an echo to it. You just look at what happened in 2009 and 2010 when Democrats lost governors' races in Jersey and Virginia, lost a special election in a place they should have won. In this case it was Massachusetts. And then they rammed through legislation on a party line basis. We have seen this movie before.

What is different and why the Republicans should be even more concerned than Democrats were in 2010 is that President Trump is even more unpopular than President Obama was then. Indeed a good chunk of this country is eager to vote against anybody they see as supporting this president, and so if I am a Republican going into next year's midterm election, I would be very concerned about this landscape.

CUOMO: Let's play it. I will give it to you as a choice here, Josh. Who do you think stays longer -- I will make it even easier -- I'll make a little harder. What do you think there's a better chance that happens, Paul Ryan stepping down from the speakership or Rex Tillerson leaving as secretary of state?

GREEN: I think they're both going to happen. I would bet an awful lot of money that Rex Tillerson leaves before Ryan does for the obvious reasons that the president doesn't seem to harbor much respect for him. He's very unpopular as secretary of state and not particularly effective.

[08:10:11] For Ryan, on the other hand, assuming that Republicans can get this tax bill over the finish line, which I think they can, that will be a real substantive career-making achievement. But if you look forward, the role of Republican leaders, it's not an easy path to walk. John Boehner got pushed out, Mitch McConnell is historically popular. So if you are Paul Ryan why not leave on a high note after the tax bill passes instead of sticking around and eventually getting pushed out the way that your predecessor did?

CAMEROTA: What do you think, Jonathan?

MARTIN: I think there's no question that Rex Tillerson's number is coming up sooner than Paul Ryan's is. But I'm with Josh. I would be surprised if Paul Ryan sticks around that much longer. Is he going to quit after the tax bill passes? Perhaps not. But it's hard to see him still being speaker in 2019. I just don't think he wants to stick around. He's a Jack Kemp accolade. He's a sunny, optimistic, market- oriented conservative. He is not happy with the tilt of this party and he's not happy herding cats in a very fractious House GOP caucus. So I would be surprised if he is still in the House in 2019. I think he wants to get back home.

CUOMO: There's a suggestion that he may want to get out because he may want to come back in and run for president. How injured do you think he is, Josh, by being so quiet in the face of things that the pre-Trump Ryan would have found so appalling?

GREEN: Everybody in the party, with a few notable exceptions, has been implicated by now in the Trump presidency. Remember, Ryan was one of the guys who held out, who did not endorse Trump when it was clear he would become the nominee for a period of weeks afterwards. He tried to make his stand. He failed. I think at that point he just decided it's best to try and cooperate and get along, maybe we as a party can get something out of this. And I think if the tax bill passes in the next couple of weeks, that bargain will essentially have been worth it. Now, whether or not that's a black mark on his record as president, I

don't think we are going to know for a long time.

CAMEROTA: All right, Jonathan Martin, Josh Green, thank you very much for the analysis.

Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the crosshairs of Republican lawmakers. They say the Russia investigation is biased. They want him fired. We test their case next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[08:16:12] REP. STEVE CHABOT (R), OHIO: My question to you is how, with a straight face, can you say that this group of Democrat partisans are unbiased and will give President Trump a fair shake?

ROD ROSENSTEIN, UNITED STATES GENERAL ATTORNEY: We recognize we have employees with political opinions and it's our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions. Pardon me. And so I believe that Director Mueller understands that and that he is running that office appropriately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So partisanship is certainly at play in that hearing. It was clear that the Republicans are trying to make the case against Mueller and his investigation, but that man, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, appointed by the president of the United States named Trump did not share their concerns about the Mueller or the integrity of the Russia investigation.

And again this comes amid these growing calls, almost exclusively from Republican lawmakers, who say that this probe is biased and that he should be fired.

Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida joins me now. He is among this number.

First the best to you and your family for Christmas. Thanks for being on NEW DAY.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R), FLORIDA: You as well, Chris. I will say it's not just Republicans making these calls. Harvard University just released a poll where more than half of the American people believe that there is a conflict of interest that has infected the Mueller investigation. And we just need the Justice Department to step up and seize control. I don't know where the attorney general and Rod Rosenstein are in this, but I think they need to fire Mueller and cure us of these conflicts.

CUOMO: First, all polls are not equal. I did say not exclusively Republican but it is --

GAETZ: It's Harvard, Chris. CUOMO: It is primarily --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Harvard University. I get it. I know the school, it's the second best in the country. Yale being the first. But let me ask you this. What do you know that Rod Rosenstein does not? He's in charge of the situation. He knows the people better than you. He knows what's going on better than you and you heard him there saying that's not my concern, we can handle it.

GAETZ: Well, Chris, all the American people can see the text messages that were forced to be released because Devin Nunes was about to subpoena them, but time and again you don't always see the reflection of people's political beliefs. You see Peter Strzok, an essential FBI agent, that worked not only on the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal, but also he was drafted on to the Mueller probe, saying that he thinks that Hillary Clinton should have won the election 100 million to zero.

He didn't think there was a single person that could reasonably vote for Donald Trump. And then you see that he calls himself the insurance policy for the country. That he has multiple ways he can save the American people. He praises his girlfriend's role in laying out a plan to disrupt the president's election back in August, and so these aren't just expression of beliefs. This is an action plan to disrupt the presidency of Donald Trump.

CUOMO: That's one --

GAETZ: That's reflective of a conflict.

CUOMO: That's your interpretation. There's an inspector general who's looking into exactly this.

GAETZ: That's what the text said.

CUOMO: And an inspector general is a heck of a lot more independent than you or any of the partisan, but more importantly, you went from saying there's a Kabal --

GAETZ: The texts clearly say --

CUOMO: There's a group, you know, there's an infection to one person. So why are you so concerned beyond the politics of a probe that you don't like.

GAETZ: One person? That's not true, Chris. Not at all.

CUOMO: No, you went to one person. When you went to your example of where this infection is you named one guy.

GAETZ: Well, yes. OK.

CUOMO: And maybe one other person he's talking to.

GAETZ: Sure, go to the whole family. All right. Let's name another. Bruce Ohr, one of the top officials of the Department of Justice. His wife, Natalie Ohr, was an employee at Fusion GPS, a country -- a company getting paid by the FBI and the DNC potentially to go and collude with Russians to pay Russians to dig up dirt on the president. How about the fact that more than half of the people on the Mueller probe donated to either Obama or Clinton and none of them donated to Trump.

This is not just a case of one person. This is pervasive conflict of interests. It is if when Bob Mueller picked his team he was fishing in the never Trump aquarium, Chris.

CUOMO: Bob Mueller interviewed with the president, considering a position with the administration.

GAETZ: Yes.

CUOMO: He has been a Republican longer than you had even considered being a Republican.

[08:20:05] He is a decorated war veteran who ran the FBI and who everybody in your party said was an excellent choice. What has changed since then --

GAETZ: And then he went --

CUOMO: -- other than your disenchantment with the direction of this probe?

GAETZ: Well, look, for over 4 1/2 months we've had over 20 hours of the Judiciary Committee calling for a special counsel to review these things. So it's not as if these are new revelations --

CUOMO: But why would you have a special counsel? They only investigate crimes.

GAETZ: Yes, Republicans can have conflicts of interest --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Why would you do that? Why -- you have the inspector general, you can have a committee I guess. But why a special counsel?

GAETZ: You may have prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Bob --

CUOMO: It's not a crime.

GAETZ: Why? Because here you have prosecutorial misconduct.

CUOMO: It's not a crime.

GAETZ: The things that Hillary Clinton did were absolutely crimes and they were never truly investigated because you had people designating her investigation as special and that it didn't go through the normal procedures. That's Andy McCabe --

CUOMO: You had Jim Comey -- GAETZ: -- the current deputy director of the FBI.

CUOMO: -- who arguably did the worst thing that happened in the election for Hillary Clinton, and by the way, you know, you're forgetting that it's one of the reasons I want to talk to you today is, do you remember that during the probe Hillary Clinton and her supporters were making this same argument you are making right now?

These people in the FBI hate me, they're all coming up to Comey and they're saying you've got to investigate? She's dirty, she's a liar. These Clintons always lie. I don't remember you being concerned about their obvious political animus.

GAETZ: But, Chris, the difference is -- Chris, Chris, there is actual evidence that Hillary Clinton got special treatment. This is not some acceptation on my part. It's literally a reading of the e-mails from Andy McCabe saying Hillary Clinton is going to get special treatment. So again, these are not opinions on my part, they're the actual messages that people in the FBI were sending to one another.

You made the point that Mueller was interviewed for his old job back, the FBI director position, I think that's a key fact on the 16th of May the president interviews Mueller and tells him he's essentially not going to be the next director of the FBI on the same --

CUOMO: That is not our read on what happened. How do you know that that's what happened in that conversation?

GAETZ: Well, look, I mean, you've got a situation where Rosenstein walks Mueller out of that meeting --

CUOMO: It's Rosenstein. And how do you know that the president said you're not getting the job, that's the point of this meeting? How do you know that?

GAETZ: Because within 24 hours -- because within 24 hours Rosenstein appoints him to be the head of this probe. If he was seriously being considered for his old job back, the job he wanted, he would have gotten it. I don't think there's a single American --

CUOMO: If Trump didn't like --

GAETZ: -- who want to pass something --

CUOMO: Hold on, hold on a second. Hold on a second. Hold on a second. Don't over power me with your -- you know, your wisdom of the loquacious attacks. What I'm saying is this. If Trump didn't like Mueller, OK, you are saying that he had this meeting and you're not getting the job, you don't make the grade, and then right after it the guy who he appoints to head up what's happening in the DOJ picks him? The same guy that he leaned on for this memo about why Comey had to go?

GAETZ: Yes.

CUOMO: That same guy he put in place just decide to stab in the back? GAETZ: Rosenstein wrote that memo. You're making a -- look, you're

making a lot of assumptions there. There's no --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I am making none. I am asking questions based on your assumptions.

GAETZ: Rosenstein stood behind every word of that including at the committee this week. Look, the timeline is what it is, right? And the fact that Mueller after getting rejected for getting his own job back, goes and picks Andrew Weissman to be his number two? Look, you're telling me Bob Mueller couldn't pick somebody to be his number two that didn't attend the Hillary Clinton election night party? The same Andrew Weissman who wrote Sally Yates an e-mail praising her for directly defying an order from the president of the United States?

CUOMO: You will find --

GAETZ: The conflicts of interesting abound.

CUOMO: -- political opinions in everybody in government.

GAETZ: This isn't an opinion, it's action, Chris. You've got Weissman sending an e-mail on his DOJ account praising someone for defying the president. That's not an opinion, that is an action. On government time. On government e-mail. When Strzok says I'm going to be the insurance policy, when he talks about his girlfriend, Lisa Page, throwing out a plan in Andy McCabe's office to undermine Donald Trump, these are actions that people are taking to undermine the duly elected president and to undermine the democracy in our country, and the elected representatives of the people that Congress have an obligation to expose this bias, to expose what I believe is a corrupt investigation and I call on my Republican colleagues to join me in calling for the firing of Bob Mueller.

And look, it's time for Mueller to put up or shut up. If there's evidence of collusion with Russia, let's see it. But we're almost a year into this thing. Millions of dollars have been spent.

CUOMO: Have you ever been involved with federal investigations in the past?

GAETZ: Look, look, I have not been the subject. I've never been --

CUOMO: No, no, no. I'm not indicting your character. I'm saying, if you've been around them, if you've monitored them, the idea that this investigation is taking too long is absurd.

GAETZ: Sure.

CUOMO: They always take a long time. You talk to career prosecutors, they'll say they're surprised that he moved as quickly as he has.

GAETZ: We are not investigating some drug dealer on some corner. CUOMO: This is very intricate stuff that they're looking at. And

they're not doing it with a lot of help from you, guys, because you're all caught up in the political (INAUDIBLE) of it.

GAETZ: They have an unlimited budget and they have -- they have more people investigating Trump than investigating the Oklahoma City bombing.

CUOMO: Look, you're worried about a government waste and money, you should have felt strong about this tax bill then, Congressman, because you just blew up our deficit with it.

GAETZ: That's why I voted against the budget.

[08:25:03] No, I don't know. You got the wrong guy on that, Chris. I voted against the budget that blow up the deficit.

CUOMO: No, I'm talking about this tax bill.

GAETZ: The House budget that would have required mandatory spending cuts.

CUOMO: The tax bill.

GAETZ: Well, look, yes, well, that tax bill should have been accompanied by spending cuts. I take a criticism for the --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Did you vote for the tax bill or no?

GAETZ: Well, I voted for the tax bill but I did not vote for the budget that allowed it to occur at the same time --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But you voted for the tax bill -- I'm saying if you want to be a penny pincher --

GAETZ: Well, sure. I'm not going to hold --

CUOMO: You will just sound foolish in that regard is what I'm saying.

GAETZ: I'm not going to hold taxpayers hostage. Well, absolutely false, Chris. We should be doing spending cuts that actually the president has promised that welfare reform is next and we're going to try to get this deficit under control because the criticism that we are blowing up the deficit is a fair one. We actually need to get in cut spending. I agree with that.

CUOMO: This was actually a natural transition. I'm happy we're making it. So we went from Mueller, now we're going with taxes. This matters as well.

I'm not feeling you on this. So help me -- help me understand your position on this. You can't look at this objectively or subjectively, this tax bill, and see that it's good for the deficit and even if you look at the magic of growth that you guys are all hoping happens.

GAETZ: I agree.

CUOMO: By rewarding businesses, but you voted for it, you see. And that's the problem.

GAETZ: No. What I voted for was a budget that would have demanded simultaneous spending cuts. I don't --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You voted for this tax bill.

GAETZ: But, Chris, at the same time, like, we have a Congress unfortunately that acts far too linearly. They do one thing at a time. I don't really get it. I'm kind of new to the institution.

CUOMO: Why did you vote on the tax bill if you care about the deficit?

GAETZ: Well, because I don't -- Chris, because I think we shouldn't hold taxpayers hostage because people in Washington don't know how to cut spending. We do need growth in this economy. We do need to be able to deliver on the promises of a rising tide for all Americans. We have to cut taxes to get there. But you're --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Why do you have to cut taxes to get there? You have growth right now. Alan Greenspan said you don't need a tax cut.

GAETZ: Well, but a lot of that growth is expecting of a tax cut. It's anticipated to stop --

CUOMO: No. The stock market is anticipatory.

GAETZ: We don't actually cut taxes --

CUOMO: It is a casino effect there. That's not affecting wages for the middle class. The people you say you care about.

GAETZ: Well, stock market gains enhance investor confidence. Well, look, the wages will rise when we bring trillions of dollars from overseas back in the American economy.

CUOMO: Says who?

GAETZ: When you have investor confidence, consumer -- well, just about every economist that we have said --

CUOMO: You have investor confidence. You have the Wall Street at an all time high. Who says that giving corporations more money will make them raise wages?

GAETZ: We do. But that's -- that's anticipatory. Chris, that will be a sugar high if we actually deliver on tax cuts. The stock market is at an all-time high, by the way something that your network never gives the president credit for.

CUOMO: We talk about it all the time. Matt, stick to the facts. Stick to the facts. The idea that we don't talk about it and talk about his share of the responsibility as well as the fact that Trump always said before he ran, and even a little during it, stop looking at Wall Street as an indicator of main Street, that's deceptive. It doesn't have anything to do with the reality.

GAETZ: Well, we shouldn't just look at Wall Street.

CUOMO: So anyway stick to the facts.

GAETZ: We have been very clear. We'll be judged on wages for the American people.

CUOMO: I don't see how you can look at this and say I'm taking care of the deficit, I voted for this tax bill. They just don't go together.

GAETZ: We -- you're right. That's why we've got to cut spending. That's why I keep --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You voted for it and now you guys are saying you'll take that out of entitlement which the president said he wouldn't do.

GAETZ: Do you think we need work requirements? Do you think we need to block Medicaid? Those are the things that save money. I'm for all of those things. I keep fighting for those things. But, you know, people on the political left including your network don't be supportive --

CUOMO: What do you mean network? It has -- if you can't make strong arguments. You ever hear the expression, if you have the facts -- if you don't have the facts argue the law. If you don't have the law, argue the facts. If you don't have either, bang on the table and start yelling, that's what you're doing. CNN is not your problem, my friend. Your position is.

(CROSSTALK)

GAETZ: We have a growing economy --

CUOMO: You're the one who voted for this tax bill. It blows up the deficit, you've got to own it.

GAETZ: We have a (INAUDIBLE) tax bill and then -- I do believe that we ought to deal with the deficit through spending cuts. It'd be nice if we had some bipartisanship on that. I don't see a single Democrat --

CUOMO: But you need to do those cuts now on the backs of people who need entitlements because of what you're doing with your tax cut. You're creating your own problem, my brother. GAETZ: But that (INAUDIBLE) that able bodied child and adults need

entitlements. Look, people who can go to work and choose not to don't need entitlements, they just get entitlements. And if we had real work requirements like the House brought forth in our budget, then you could reduce spending by hundreds of billions of dollars that help pay for this tax cut.

CUOMO: There are all requirements in place.

GAETZ: President Obama waived a lot of those requirements.

CUOMO: The idea that malingering is the problem with our entitlement structure is insulting to the reality of people in this country. And you look at your own state and the people who are on entitlements --

GAETZ: $400 billion you save with the work requirements.

CUOMO: -- you're not going to find a lot of lazy people. You're going to find the elderly.

GAETZ: My state wants to do work requirements.

CUOMO: You're going to find the sick.

GAETZ: I was in my state legislature when we tried to do work requirements that the federal government wouldn't let us. I think we could unlock the potential of our great federal system, have 50 states trying 50 things in the state of Maine where work requirements were installed. You saw the food stamp rolls go down and I think that if we had Washington exercising less control you'd have more of a vibrant system where people would be able to get folks to work.

That would lead more economic growth. I think these things could ultimately compound and lead to levels of growth that we haven't seen this country for generations. The first step is the tax cut, the next step is spending cuts.

CUOMO: Well, the reality is this. You say you don't want to be linear, then you should look at it in less than just the linear way. You can do your spending cuts and you didn't have to blow up the deficit with the tax bill.

GAETZ: Yes.

CUOMO: That's why that vote seems inconsistent.

GAETZ: We should. I agree with that.