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Scalise Discusses Trump, House GOP Economic Agenda on Squawk Box

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Today, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss President Trump’s meeting with House Republicans yesterday. Leader Scalise outlined how with President Trump back in the White House and a Republican Senate, Congress can use the reconciliation process to achieve our pro-growth agenda to get the economy back on track. 
Click here or the image above to view Leader Scalise's full remarks. 

Excerpts from Leader Scalise's interview:

On the House Republicans’ meeting with President Trump:

“It was a really upbeat message by President Trump. We talked a lot about the election, what's at stake in November. You know, the President has talked about some of the same things he's been talking about on the campaign trail – the need to secure our border, how we can lower inflation, keep tax rates low, and get the economy back moving again for families who are struggling. You know, he talked about some of the things that he's been seeing on the campaign trail. He's been out to a lot of the swing states and for those of us that go out to swing districts, we see those same things. The enthusiasm is really high. 

“But there's a lot of concern. I mean, just yesterday morning – and President Trump touched on this – you had a Russian ship right off the coast of Florida. You know, the world is an incredibly dangerous place, and President Biden has not met the challenge. A lot of our friends around the world are in worse positions today, Israel clearly, Ukraine, you're looking at Taiwan. So you know, we talked about all of those things, foreign policy, domestic policy, what we need to do to win in November so we can turn it around starting next January.”

On House Republicans’ support for lower taxes:

“Yes, and we've been having some early talks already about, you know, these big cliffs that are coming next year because of budget reconciliation. A lot of the tax cuts that we were able to put in place under President Trump in 2017 are on the table again. President Biden has made it clear he wants to raise those tax rates, which means you know, if you raise the corporate rate, for example, to 35-40%, which President Biden has talked about, that hits families, that hits small businesses. 

“What President Trump wants to do – you know, and he wanted to go down to around 15% when we were lowering rates last time. There are limits in what budget reconciliation allows you to do and we ultimately ended up at 21%, which made America incredibly competitive. We were at 35[%], the world average was 23[%], we went down to 21[%] and we got our economy moving again. You saw the President, as you touched on when he was in Nevada recently talk about getting rid of the taxes on tips. I think a lot of people recognize you know, do all tip wages really get reported anyway, can we address that? That's something we're looking at. And I think that would be something that would also help the economy, would surely help a lot of people who work in the service industry to have more cash in their pockets and that's going to help them. It’s going to help the economy as a whole."

On cutting waste and regulations in the federal government:

“Yeah, when we did that last time in budget reconciliation, again that process requires you to actually pay for it. You know, a lot of people up here in Washington don't like remembering the facts of history. When we cut those tax rates from 35 down to 21%, the federal government the next year took in more money than it's ever taken in in its history. We cut taxes, the federal government took in more money. We still have other problems within our budget.

"One of the things we can do to help pay for it is to get rid of some of the radical regulations that are adding cost to families. It also adds cost to government when you have all these rules and regulations coming out of every federal agency.
 That's being looked at. Reducing the size of the federal workforce, that's something we've looked at in the House. When you look at the massive explosion, especially since COVID, in some of these agencies, they jacked a lot of these agencies up. Many of these workers aren't even showing up for work anymore. There's been a report that over 70% of the federal workforce are still working remotely, and that work isn't even getting done. Passports, for example, the biggest calls Members of Congress get right now are things like passports not getting processed, IRS checks, not getting returned to people after two years because people aren't showing up to work in those agencies. And so if you reduce the size of those workforces, that saves billions and billions of dollars that you can use to put more money in the pockets of families and get the economy moving again.”

On trade policy:

“Well, if you look, you know, this is something that we discussed eight years ago when President Trump was in office. You saw back and forth and ultimately, tariffs were put in place in very specific areas. The steel industry is one where we were losing our steel industry. China would undercut a lot of other countries, including the United States, and they wouldn't play by the fair rules of the game that all countries around the world agreed to. And so what President Trump did is use tariffs to in essence enforce fair trade agreements. And so, when you look at where he ultimately came down, it was to allow American companies to be competitive and not allow foreign countries to take advantage of us.

"Where we really need to keep the focus is what are the gaps, especially in the tax policy? The tax code got fixed in a lot of those places, we still have some more work we can do on international tax policy so that all of our companies in America that do business internationally can be on an even footing. That was not always the case. We also need to go and look at more trade deals. One thing President Biden's Administration has failed to do is get any new trade deals. Our friends in Europe want better trade deals, our friend in Asia wants better trade deals. President Trump negotiated a new NAFTA, USMCA was something that got us better relationships and trade deals with Mexico and Canada. There are deals to be made in Europe and Asia that will help American companies compete. That again, that reduces the need for tariffs in some of those areas because you address those gaps in trade deals. We have had none under President Biden.”

On President Trump's plan to reverse President Biden's disastrous economic agenda:

“Well again a lot of these are items that are being put on the table and then let's go through and see what makes the most sense to get our economy moving again. The one thing President Trump has been consistent about is how can we get our economy moving again and reduce costs for families. If you look at prices right now, inflation is the number two issue next to an open southern border that President Biden has created. But President Trump has talked about how you can lower food costs for families, how you can lower energy costs. We can control those things. You know, we can get smarter energy policy, surely than we have today. We had it under President Trump. Joe Biden shut off a lot of our ability to produce oil, natural gas, other things that now make us reliant on OPEC nations, on Russia, on Venezuela. No reason for that. It will help our friends around the world too. So a lot of these ideas were put on the table in 2017. And we ultimately came up with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that I think many people today will tell you was probably one of the most significant and important pieces of legislation that Congress has passed in decades. I think you're going to see a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2.0 come out next year in 2025 that's going to work incredibly well for families, especially those lower-income families who are struggling under this Biden economy.”