By Ramsey Cox - 07/18/11 01:50 AM EDT
Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) decision to walk away from the debt-ceiling negotiations was one of the best things he’d seen in a long time.
Scott said Cantor did what most of Scott’s fellow freshmen wanted to do — “stand up and say, ‘Enough already.’ ”
Scott was picked to be on the Elected Leadership Committee, where he and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) communicate the views and concerns of the large GOP freshman class to leadership.
Scott described the class as an “everyday group of Americans” and admitted that they can frustrate leadership. “I think the legacy that you will have out of this freshman class is that we were hard to whip, easy to understand, sometimes bitter to digest — and that’s OK,” Scott said.
Scott said the majority of freshmen do not want a debt-ceiling deal that includes revenue increases.
“I think that a debt-ceiling increase that includes tax increases will not get the majority of freshmen to vote for it,” Scott said. “I’ve said on a number of occasions in the leadership meetings that the freshman class is not interested in a debt-ceiling increase that does not include a reduction in spending that’s consistent with the amount that it increases. They’re not interested in something that doesn’t include a balanced budget amendment. Discretionary caps are not considered a bad thing.”
Scott has taken a personal interest in tax policy, sponsoring the “Rising Tides Act,” which would reduce the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 23 percent and repeal limits on deductions for cash dividends.
Scott said he started with corporate tax reform because it is something he thinks both parties could agree on. He was less hopeful of wholesale reform, even as he advocated strongly for it.
“We want to go to the capital gains tax, the death tax and finally to the personal income tax — rewrite the whole code, frankly,” Scott said. “Any tax system is better than the current one we have. And so my hope is that over the course of a couple of years, we’ll be able to address all of the ills in our tax code, which is completely unrealistic, but it’s something I’m hoping to accomplish.”
Scott said reducing taxes for businesses would increase private sector production and create jobs.
“We can fight about the debt ceiling, we can fight about spending cuts, but in the end the fastest way to make the fight more palatable on both sides is to have more people working,” Scott said.
He announced an initiative at the beginning of this month called “July is Jobs” in which he solicits suggestions from constituents about their job creation ideas.
“I figured it’s going to be hot anyway, I might as well be hot for jobs,” Scott said. “I want the jobs market to sizzle — we want to hear the sounds of bacon, that’s what I’m looking for.”
Scott’s district has experienced an influx of jobs recently due to the opening of a Boeing plant in his hometown, North Charleston. The plant opened six months ahead of schedule and under budget. Production of Boeing 787s ramped up in North Charleston earlier this month when the Dreamlifter delivered various parts.
The National Labor Relations Board filed a lawsuit against the company for opening the plant in a right-to-work state as retaliation against union workers in Washington, where most production took place in the past.
But Scott doesn’t think the NLRB will succeed.
“Ultimately I believe that Boeing wins against NLRB,” he said. “The question is: Are we more interested in running jobs out of America than we are in creating a business environment that is conducive for attracting jobs to America? … I’m more interested in creating jobs in America.”
Scott said the NLRB’s whole case is based on hypotheticals.
“It’s a hypothetical loss of jobs and a hypothetical transfer of assets that never actually existed in Washington state and jobs that were never lost in Washington state,” he said.
He introduced a bill called the “Job Protection Act,” which would amend the National Labor Rights Act so the board has less power to force companies to remain in union-friendly states or to bring suits against companies that express anti-union views.
Scott said his hope is to stop government from interfering with private sector companies and that NLRB’s right to sue “should be taken away.”
The NLRB case against Boeing is expected to progress through August but could take years to resolve.
Scott said one way to end the suit would be for President Obama to withdraw the appointment of NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, who has not been confirmed by Congress.
“In the end [Obama] has the right, he could just withdraw[Solomon],” Scott said. “I would consider that to be something to celebrate.”