Rep. Will Hurd On Trump And Congress
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
President Trump threw a dinner party at the White House last night. On the guest list were Republicans and Democrats. And on the menu, overhauling the tax code. The president is hoping to win support for his yet to be revealed plan to rewrite tax legislation. This, of course, comes a week after Trump cut a deal with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government into December. And that is the starting point for our conversation with Texas Republican Will Hurd. He's on the line.
Good morning, Congressman.
WILL HURD: Good morning. Thanks for having me on.
KELLY: Glad to have you with us. Do you think there is a real shot at overhauling the tax code?
HURD: Absolutely. I think there is. And I think being able to ensure that Americans have - keep more money in their pocket and not send it to Washington, D.C., is something that we can accomplish. And there's broad support for these principles and concept of, you know, of closing some loopholes, lowering the tax rates for individuals and corporation. There is - there's broad support across the Republican conference, and there's also bipartisan support on many pieces of tax reform. You know, there's legislation that has passed the House before on this topic.
KELLY: Well, when you say it's - when you say there's broad support, is it a safer bet at this point that the president will find supporters for his tax plan within Democratic ranks or within his own party, within your party?
HURD: Well, the tax plan we're actually working - you know, the difference between this issue on tax reform versus health care is that the Senate, the House and the White House has gotten on the same page about the broad principles. But, you know, the president, I think, is right in trying to reach out and ensure that you have Democratic support, especially on the Senate side, to ensure we have the votes needed to get this to his desk.
KELLY: You think this is a good idea. A lot of your fellow Republicans were aghast at that deal I mentioned about raising the debt ceiling.
HURD: Well, look - you know, when it comes to the way our government is set up, in the Senate you can't do anything - if you don't have 60 votes, you have to work with both parties. And I think, right now, the American people are - want to see political leaders transcend, you know, D or R and actually get things done. And, you know, I think working together on the issues of the day is a better path than trying to go it alone.
KELLY: You have expressed differences with the president on a number of issues, on DACA, the program that protected young people who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children. I wonder if you would give us - you know, step back and just give us a sense of, what is the state of President Trump's relationship with Republicans these days?
HURD: Well, that's a pretty, pretty broad question. I think it's difficult to answer. And the way I look at it on any individual topic, I agree when I agree, and I disagree when I disagree.
I look at my individual relationship with various parts of the administration and, you know, I'm working with the Office of American Innovation when it comes to IT procurement changes to our law. You know, this is going to help with cybersecurity within the government. It's going to help with efficiency within the government. This is something that the Office of American Innovation has been great to work with, and we're going to probably have a pretty big victory on this topic this week. I work closely with the national security staff on the - whatever issue of the day that we're dealing with and have great working relationships there. And I think everybody would have to say the Department of Homeland Security is doing a fantastic job, specifically FEMA in their response...
KELLY: With hurricane relief.
HURD: ...To Harvey and Irma. So...
KELLY: But say - stay just briefly with this issue of DACA, for example, where the White House has thrown it to Congress to craft a solution. Do you have a reliable partner in the president in doing that?
HURD: Look, I - one thing I've learned in my two-and-a-half years in Congress is that Congress, you know, generally works better when there's a deadline. Now we have a deadline to get this done to make sure that these kids - that the only country they've ever known is America, that they get to stay here. And I think we can get this done.
KELLY: That's Congressman Will Hurd of Texas, optimistic there, a pleasure talking with you.
HURD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.