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Republican Kevin McCarthy On The Party's 'Pledge'

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Republican Kevin McCarthy On The Party's 'Pledge'

Republican Kevin McCarthy On The Party's 'Pledge'

Republican Kevin McCarthy On The Party's 'Pledge'

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NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California about the GOP's new "Pledge to America."

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Joining us now from Capitol Hill is Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California. He is the chief deputy Republican whip in the House, and he's the author of the "Pledge to America." Welcome to the program.

Representative KEVIN McCARTHY (Republican, California): Thanks for having me.

SIEGEL: And first, this point, you proposed keeping all of the Bush tax cuts but also spending more money on missile defense. How can you afford to do something like that while adding to the deficit?

Rep. McCARTHY: Well, the one thing we say here is that you do not raise taxes in a recession. The other things we go through is to help small business because that's where 80 percent of all the jobs are created, those businesses that have less than 500 employees. We go through and say we will fully fund missile defense. There's other places to find the money, but more importantly, we go through and roll back the funding of government, whereas we roll it back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout - that's a hundred billion dollars in the first year, a trillion over 10.

SIEGEL: Oh...

Rep. McCARTHY: We put a discretionary cap on money. The discretionary money in Congress has gone up 88 percent in the last three years. There has been no household or small business that has done that.

SIEGEL: But if you actually were to freeze non-defense discretionary spending, assuming that that would cause some federal projects simply to end, what is something that's being done now by Washington that you would say - Republicans say - stop it and eliminate that agency, stop that function?

Rep. McCARTHY: Well, I wouldn't go into agencies, but I can give you play-by-play. I can show you a study they went through to see if people voted in Congress on the health care bill just based upon race.

SIEGEL: But...

Rep. McCARTHY: I'll show you a study where they do malt liquor.

SIEGEL: But when you're saying you wouldn't talk about agencies, you're saying...

Rep. McCARTHY: Well, no...

SIEGEL: ...you wouldn't...

Rep. McCARTHY: ...you asked me whether I would...

SIEGEL: ...everything would...

Rep. McCARTHY: ...eliminate the entire agency.

SIEGEL: Well, yes, would any agency...

Rep. McCARTHY: But what I would tell you, you could go through - if discretionary spending went up 88 percent and no new agencies were created, in just the last three years, that's a trillion-dollar savings. I would show you where you could go back in, cut Congress's budget we say at the very beginning. We can take the stimulus money that has not been used and roll it back.

SIEGEL: But just to clarify...

Rep. McCARTHY: Yeah.

SIEGEL: ...just to clarify that. You're saying that the Republicans do not intend to end, to discontinue any agency of the federal government...

Rep. McCARTHY: We don't have - look, the "Pledge to America" are items we can do right now before we leave Congress. It is a jobs plan. It says it would go give a 20-percent cut to small businesses so jobs could be higher. We then go and eliminate the 1099 Forms for every small business that does $600 worth of business with anybody. They have to now go do a 1099 because of health care. How much more does that cost them in regulation?

SIEGEL: Congressman McCarthy, I want to ask you about health care.

Rep. McCARTHY: Sure.

SIEGEL: Several new insurance reforms went into effect today. Young adults can now stay on their parents' policy till they're 26, no lifetime caps, no barring insurance for children with preexisting conditions, rescission of policies only for fraud. When you say a repeal the health care takeover, are you saying repeal those provisions?

Rep. McCARTHY: Well, we say we repeal the health care and then we will replace it. You just brought up ideas that were championed by Republicans.

SIEGEL: But...

Rep. McCARTHY: It's amazing that the Democrats, when they talk about their health care bill, they only talk about certain things that - on the positive end that Republicans have done. We say why don't we do tort reform? That is the number one factor when it comes to rising cost of health care. That was a study by Price Waterhouse.

SIEGEL: But the insurance industry has said that it can pay for the sorts of rules that took effect today because with mandates coming there will be a new larger market of consumers paying in. If there are no mandates requiring healthy people to have insurance and their employers to help them get it, how will the insurance company be able to pay for those things without raising everyone's premiums a great deal?

Rep. McCARTHY: Well, the insurance companies are raising everybody's premiums right now. We're going to lower the cost by allowing people to sell insurance across state lines. Instead of creating these large insurance companies, what the Democrats have gone to, and making them utility companies where you don't even have competition.

SIEGEL: I just want to ask you a question about this campaign season. We're now starting to see a lot of political advertising by groups that no longer have to disclose their supporters. Republicans have long said: don't control how much people can give, just force them to disclose. Would you urge groups who aren't required to do so under Supreme Court - but would you urge them if they're putting out messages about the 2010 midterms to identify their big contributors?

Rep. McCARTHY: Well, the one thing I would say, I would urge legislation - like I've done before. And, you know, I've watched a lot of unions go out. I know they are still paying off in the last presidential race of what they borrowed to spend.

SIEGEL: Well, unions and their rich contributors, all of a piece, I mean do you think that the groups that are out there advertising should simply disclose among our main contributors are the following?

Rep. McCARTHY: I think people should disclose. I have no problem with disclosing information. And it should be that way.

SIEGEL: Okay. Well, Congressman McCarthy, thank you very much for talking with us today.

Rep. McCARTHY: Hey, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

SIEGEL: Kevin McCarthy, a Republican of California, chief deputy whip for the Republicans in the House and author of the "Pledge to America."

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