Rouzer on tax reform bills, Congressional misconduct allegations

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC 7) on Monday said if sexual misconduct allegations leveled against members of Congress are true, those members should step down from their seats. The second-term congressman also said if similar allegations are true against Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, he believes Moore should remove himself from next month's special election.

"If those allegations are true, then I think he should step aside and let somebody else run as a write-in candidate," Rouzer said during an interview with WECT-TV. "Obviously, it doesn't appear that he (Moore) believes they are true, and he's going to move forward. But he knows whether or not they are. We're going to have a process, or the Senate will, where they will look at it. Their Ethics Committee, there are several members over there that have said 'if he gets elected, we're going to move for expulsion'. If he's even 75 percent guilty in their minds, I have no doubt he'll be expelled and then there will be a new election in Alabama."

Recently Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Rep. John Conyers have recently been accused of improprieties. Sen. Franken says he's "embarrassed and ashamed" of sexual misconduct allegations made by several women against him, but says he plans to continue his work in Congress. Rep. Conyers (D-Michigan) has stepped down from his seat on the House Judiciary Committee, while an ethics investigation begins over allegations of sexual harassment against him.

"My personal feeling on it is, if they know that they have done such, out of respect for the institution they should resign," Rouzer said. "That's my personal feeling on it. Now, there is a process in place to determine, where basically their colleagues will have the opportunity to be judge and jury through the ethics process. So, whatever the truth is, I'm sure it will be readily apparent that the institutions, the House and Senate respectively, will make the right decisions."

As Congress returns to work on Tuesday, Rouzer anticipates work on tax reform to be a priority. The House passed it's reform plan prior to the Thanksgiving break. Senate republicans must now work to pass a version that can garner at least 50 votes, then relying on Vice-President Mike Pence to cast a deciding vote.

"If they can't get 50 votes, then we're back to the drawing board," Rouzer said. "Assuming they can get that done, and get it done this week, or at least have their first vote on it, we'll move to conference. At that point in time you have the conferees of the Senate and the conferees of the House get together to iron out their differences. They've got to come up with a  final package that can pass both chambers, not only pass the Senate but also pass the House."

Rouzer calls the House plan pro-growth, but knows there may be some aspects of the plan that may not make it in a final compromise proposal.

"I think the most important thing, what we're trying to do with this tax reform plan and tax cut plan is grow the economy," he said. "We tried to make it as pro-growth as possible in the House version, where we're taking that corporate rate from 35 percent down to 20 percent. Some people have a knee-jerk reaction and say, 'oh no, you're just helping the wealthy with that and big corporations!'. But actually no, you're really helping the workers and employees and you're helping grow the economy with that. That's why jobs are going overseas, because so much of our tax code is very burdensome to business."

When pressed on critics saying the House plan would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit in the next ten years, Rouzer disagreed, and claims the estimate is based on faulty numbers.

"Again, that's a Congressional Budget Office estimation, and that's a worse-case scenario, put it that way," he said. "The other thing is, what's not reported is, every year after ten, under CBO's analysis, it's deficit neutral basically. It's only in the first ten years that you have that. But now, I would argue that's a faulty number. In fact, the CBO is often about as right as a GPS unit that gets you to its destination about 25 percent of the time. They are assuming you have a $1.5 trillion deficit over that period of time because the economy does not grow any. They are using a static score. I take real issue with that number, but that's the number that we have to live with because we go by what CBO says. In fact, I'd be in favor of scrapping it (CBO) and sending it out to three or four accounting firms to see what they come up with."

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