Congressman Ralph Norman (R-SC) spoke with Brian Kilmeade about President Trump meeting with Democrats today led by Senator Chuck Schumer & Speaker Nancy Pelosi to work on a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure. Norman says we cannot let anyone load up an infrastructure bill with pet projects and run up the national debt to pay for it. When asked if he feels democrats would be willing to come to a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure because they need a legislative win, Norman said he believes they do need a legislative victory but feels "They hate this President so much they don't want him to have a win."
KILMEADE: True, he hasn't gotten it done, but maybe today is the beginning of getting it done. Joining us now is Congressman Ralph Norman of South Carolina. Congressman, welcome back.
REP. RALPH NORMAN (R), NC: Well glad to be here, Brian.
KILMEADE: Congressman, you're pumped up about this infrastructure thing, you want to see it get done, what - what are - how do you think we pay for it?
NORMAN: Well that's a $64 question, we've got to figure out how to pay for it and I think, you know, this should be non-partisan, Brian, because infrastructure is basic to growth.
I'm a builder, President Trump is a builder and this should be something that stands on its own. I think two things have got to happen, the devil is in the details. Whenever the package comes out, we can't load - let anybody load a lot of projects on this bill.
And secondly we've got to make it competitive, it can't reward cronies like Solyndra did in 2011 where we lost $500 million, we've got to have it so each community bids on the dollars, they have equity they put in the deal and then make it transparent to the public.
And I think if it comes out of the - if the president comes out of the meeting today, hopefully they will say we've got a bill that stands on it's own and something that's going to help this country on a bipartisan basis so that we get a return on our investment.
We don't want another Solyndra.
KILMEADE: So here is what Pelosi and Schumer want, they want $2 trillion, that's the price but it's not a plan. They want to raise money by rolling back 2017 tax cuts, great, and raise new taxes, that's a non-starter.
And Democrats are split on the gas tax, the liberals want it but moderates don't. You guys want a rural broadband, water and energy product, roads and bridges, private investment not just governments.
You want a mix.
NORMAN: Yes but here's - that's - and just what you said is a non-starter. If what they're saying -- $2 trillion, raise taxes, raise the gas tax, roll back - roll back the tax cuts that have spurred this economy, no we don't support it. And the Freedom Caucus last night we met, we said we're not going to go for that.
Where - why can we not have cuts in government? Why can we not say we're going to pay for it but we're going to do this to help this country get out of a $22 trillion debt? That's what we've got to deal with and, you know, it's like finding a cure for cancer.
You can't say that we'll give you the cure if each patient gets six houses and get's a restaurant to go along with it. It's got to stand on it's own. And I hope that doesn't happen, but the good news is I think this president is - will show transparency.
I think he will tell it like it is and will tell the American people this is why we're not going to release a - the dollars as it's been in the past to political cronies and pay for it with more debt.
You don't run up a credit card that's already overshot the budget - overshot the amount and think you're going forward, you're going backward.
KILMEADE: Maggie Haberman writes today that her sources say that the Democrats are relative desperate to do something. All they do is investigate and the investigations are even going nowhere. And I always look at why people go into a negotiation, who has to get a deal done. And I think they have to get this done.
NORMAN: Well Brian, I've been up here 100 days, we have done absolutely nothing. The public deserves better than this, we don't deserve a paycheck to be honest with you. What have we done?
I mean, and people know the Democrats control what comes up the floor and other than talk about a Green New Deal with -- that doesn't make any sense other than talk about not building a wall and letting everybody flood into the country, what have we done? We haven't done anything.
We've named some post offices, but I'm very frustrated along with a lot of other people that it's just -- it's a merry-go-round and the public deserves better. And infrastructure should be at the top of the list, but again, it's putting priorities in place and making sure that it's transparent.
And hopefully, on this one issue, and the Democrats do need to have some kind of a win to say they've done something, the problem they've got is, Brian, you know this, they hate this president so much that they just don't want him to have a win.
And he doesn't play that game, he understands what's good for the country and I think he'll publicize the results of the meeting and I'm going to hope for the best, but it's going to be interesting to see.
KILMEADE: So, I just see this, I mean I doesn't have to be a win for either side. They could have a joint press conference, announce that we're coming together to rebuild some of the nation's infrastructure. It's a co-partnership, not only private/public, but Democrat/Republican and let's -- I mean, one of things, communications is key.
Those communications people are in the room and it's easy, let us analyze who won or lost, but one thing I hope we -- the president should have learned and of certainly lawmakers, is after the $800 billion stimulus that really did not go to shovel ready projects because there were now shovel ready projects, that we don't just throw money at it, they have to prove the sanctity of the product and of course the need.
NORMAN: It's no different than we do our household budgets Brian. We analyze year-by-year and really month-by-month, what's a priority and where we can spend money. The -- what makes this so important is, we can't -- we've got to figure out cuts to pay for something that will pay for itself if it's done on a non-cronyism, non-park (ph) and however you want to say it way and it's got to have the sunlight to let people buy into it and know that it's done on a commonsense, not-giveaway projects that, as you say, the shove ready, there were no shovels ever involved. It wasn't ready at all.
KILMEADE: Sober me up if I need it Congressman, but do you think there's a way to bring us the USMCA, the new NAFTA, is there a way to bring in immigration and make it part of this deal? Hey Democrats, you want this, well, this is what I need. Is there a way to bring that in or would that just make it harder to achieve anything?
NORMAN: That -- I mean, you've seen what they've done on immigration. I mean, and you've seen on the U.S. -- on the trade agreements with replacing NAFTA, again, the devils in the details, I would like for this to stand on it's own, because at least we can agree and most Americans can agree that this is a need.
I mean, go around anywhere in this country and you can the crumbling roads, the bridges, the infrastructure that's needed. So, I hope we keep it separate and then the other we can debate that, but the Democrats, the onus on them.
KILMEADE: Got you. Congress Ralph Norman, thanks so much.