JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS: Today on FACE THE NATION: The federal response to the disaster in Puerto Rico the disaster in Puerto Rico falls short.
A top Cabinet secretary resigns over misuse of taxpayer-funded aircraft.
And Republicans give up on health care and turn to tax reform.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price handed in his resignation, after the president fumed over Price's misuse of taxpayer-funded planes.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was disappointed because I didn't like it, cosmetically or otherwise.
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DICKERSON: But the drama surrounding the ninth high-level staff departure was drowned but by desperate pleas from Puerto Rico for help from the federal government following Hurricane Maria, a response the president says has been great.
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TRUMP: Everybody has said it's amazing the job that we have done in Puerto Rico. We're very proud of it. As far as Puerto Rico is concerned, that's been going, as you know, really well.
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DICKERSON: Not so, says the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz.
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CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: It has been too slow. It's been so slow, that it's put lives in danger. There's a disconnect between what has been said and the reality.
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DICKERSON: We will get the real story from Puerto Rico and hear from Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Then, it's on to tax reform, as House Speaker Paul Ryan tells us what we can expect from the Republican tax plan.
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DICKERSON: Can you guarantee that every middle-class person will get a tax cut once this becomes a bill and then that passes?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: That's the purpose of doing this. The purpose of this is to get a middle-class tax cut.
DICKERSON: So, is that a guarantee?
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DICKERSON: What will the plan do for you? And what do Democrats want? Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will be here.
Plus, CBS News man Bob Schieffer will join us. His new book, "Overload" takes a look at the news deluge in the Trump era.
Plus, we will have plenty of political analysis.
It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.
We have got a lot of news to get to today, but we want to begin with the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
CBS News correspondent David Begnaud is in San Juan.
David, right now what is the most urgent need?
DAVID BEGNAUD, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: John, physically getting food and water to the people who so desperately are still begging for it 11 days after this hurricane made landfall.
Look, we went to the western tip of the island in Aguadilla. It's a place that is surrounded by water, yet people are still desperately finding a drop that they can actually drink.
The military is there. FEMA is there. We saw the good work that they are doing. But we also talked to the mayor, who said: It's not enough. I have got 60,000 people in town, but I have only got 2,000 meals that I can hand out.
John, there were people who got in line to get food and were given four bottles of water and four snacks, adults and kids. And when some people came back for seconds, they were turned away, because, as the sheriff said, there's not enough to give seconds to people.
DICKERSON: David, where is the bottleneck? We heard about those thousands of shipping containers that had supplies, but there no were truckers to get them to the people. Is that where the problem is?
BEGNAUD: Look, John, the problem appears to be actually doing it.
There's a lot of talking. There's a lot of meetings, but the actual doing is what seems to be lacking in many areas. When we went to the port earlier this week, there were 30,000 shipping containers that we were told were just sitting there waiting on truckers.
The governor said to us, "I need truckers."
I said, Governor, "Why do you need truckers?"
And he said, "Because we can't get in touch with some of these people."
There's no communication. Their homes may have been destroyed. The roads are impassable.
Well, good news. Yesterday, we saw truckers leaving the port. But of those 3,000 shipping containers, only 300 or 400 hundred had been processed.
So, here's what FEMA is doing. They're going in. They're buying some of the supplies in those trucks -- in those containers, and they're sending them out themselves.
John, there is a larger military presence here today than there was a week ago. But even a general on the ground has said, "We don't have enough yet."
DICKERSON: David Begnaud for us, thanks so much, David.
CBS News chief medical correspondent Jon LaPook caught up with the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, yesterday, and asked her what she would say to President Trump if she had the opportunity to do so.
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YULIN CRUZ: He is a businessman, so I will talk to you in business terms.
Right now, we're in the business of saving lives. And if the supply chain of aid is not constant, is not properly administered, is not properly replenished, then the business of saving lives will go bankrupt.
DR. JON LAPOOK, CBS NEWS CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And, bottom line, right now, do you think you're headed in the right direction? Do you think everything is being done now that could be done?
YULIN CRUZ: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: We turn now to Republican Senator Marco Rubio. He joins us from Miami.
Senator, you wrote a letter to the president this week about the situation in Puerto Rico. You said there is no clear command and control.
Has that been worked out? And is enough being done at the federal level?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, I think it really hopefully began to turn the corner on Thursday evening, when General Buchanan arrived and the sort of command began to take over of the daily tactical and logistical operation on the ground.
My concern was not that FEMA wasn't responding. There's a tremendous amount of aid that's gone into Puerto Rico. The problem is, as I said to someone yesterday, there is aid getting to Puerto Rico, but it wasn't getting to Puerto Ricans, because it had to be distributed from San Juan to the different municipalities and then, within those municipalities, distributed to people.
They had established this sort of spoke -- the sort of hub and spoke system where all the aid came in and then had to be distributed out. Those distribution systems were victims of the storm themselves. They were broken.
And so I felt and continue to feel that the Department of Defense are the only people that could have gone out reestablished that. And I hope that that's what's begun to happen. There are some small inkling signs of progress in that regard.
And, obviously, from the time they make a move to the time you start to see its effects will take a number of days. There are some other issues now emerging that I think are problematic. And I'm very concerned about the situation with the hospitals in Puerto Rico.
And I have had some -- I have heard some concerning things about that. And, hopefully, we will keep an eye on that as well.
DICKERSON: What concerns you the most about the hospitals?
RUBIO: I'm concerned about the capacity of these hospitals. I'm concern about how many medical personnel might still be around, and do they have sufficient quantities of that?
And, obviously, the fuel systems in these hospitals require the operation of generators. And so do they get enough of the fuel to those hospitals in time to continue to operate? We have had reports of hospitals calling in the middle of the night to say, we're down to two hours of operating fuel.
RUBIO: So, I know that FEMA and I know that emergency responders are aware of this, and are trying to address it at the front end. But that's something to keep an eye on.
DICKERSON: You mentioned that General Buchanan got there on Thursday.
That is almost a week after this started. Was there just not fast enough recognition from the administration or from the Department of Defense to get in there?
RUBIO: You know, I think what it -- they responded to the storm the way we respond to storms. They responded to it in a way no different than Texas or Florida in terms of the assets.
And what that is, is, the federal government says, we are here to the local government or to the state government, in the case of Puerto Rico, the territorial government there, we're here to help, tell us what you need.
That model generally works. It's worked in Florida a couple of weeks ago. It's helped in Texas. It didn't work in Puerto Rico. And the reason why it didn't work is because the government of Puerto Rico itself is a victim of the storm.
There are 78 municipalities. Some of those mayors themselves couldn't communicate with San Juan. And even if they could, and even if you could get to them and deliver aid to those mayors, they didn't have enough municipal employees to be able to deliver the aid, or they didn't have resource, like fuel or vehicles or even drivers in many cases.
So, that -- they recognized that a few days later, but, again, by the -- from the time you make a decision to make a change to the time you start to see its impact takes a number of days.
And, hopefully, we are now at that point where we're going to begin to see some measurable progress.
DICKERSON: Speaking of the government, the president has been quite critical of the mayor of San Juan. What do you make of that?
RUBIO: I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, to be honest with you, because right now, having lived through four hurricanes, nothing like what Puerto Rico is facing, our desire is to be a voice and a force for positive results, helping people.
I truly believe that if we don't get ahead of the curve there, bad things are going to happen. Some have already happened, unfortunately, because storms are terrible things, especially in an area like Puerto Rico, where people have been without electricity now for over a week, a food issue, et cetera.
But I do think every minute we spend in the political realm bickering with one another over who is doing what or who is wrong or didn't do right is a minute of energy and time that we're not spending trying to get the response right.
And so I think, when this is all said and done, we're going to have time to stop and look back and say, should things have -- done differently? I think everyone involved in the response has things they could have done better, but right now I hope we will stay 100 percent focused on what needs to be done to get the people of Puerto Rico help.
And then we will have plenty of time in the future to have these debates about who didn't do the right thing or what could have been done better.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about Cuba, an issue you have spent a lot of time working on.
You have been critical of the State Department's response to the attacks on diplomats in Cuba. You have said it's weak, unacceptable and outrageous.
But is there any evidence that the Cuban government has been behind these attacks?
RUBIO: Well, obviously, I'm limited in what I can discuss in a media program like this.
Let me just say this. Cuba is one of the most tightly controlled and monitored societies in the world. Anyone who has interacted Cuba, been to Cuba or has anything to do with Cuba understands that very little happens in Havana that the Cuban government doesn't know about, especially Americans working for the State Department.
So, the idea that over 20 Americans working for the State Department, working for the U.S. Embassy could be severely injured in Cuba, and the Cuban government not know anything about it is ridiculous.
DICKERSON: What should be done now?
RUBIO: Well, I think they have done half of it, which is drawing down our embassy presence, again, for purposes of protecting our personnel.
Set the -- everybody knows how I feel about Cuba policy, but set that aside for a moment. If something like this had happened anywhere in the world with a government that tries to argue that they know nothing about it, this was the same response we would advocate.
So, I agree with the drawing down of our personnel. I just think it is fair and reciprocal for us to require a proportional drawdown of the Cuban Embassy and the Cuban diplomatic presence in the United States.
DICKERSON: Let me...
RUBIO: And that's what I expect they will do.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you another question.
Secretary Price had to resign this week because of the private plane travel. The White House has new procedures here.
Is that it? Is this an executive branch thing, or does Congress need to look into this and oversee this, since Congress controls the purse strings?
RUBIO: Well, I mean, obviously, Congress controls the purse string.
And you can always look in the internal budget of agency and put prohibitions on -- in place. But, first, I think we should -- it's an executive office management issue, and if they can get ahead of it and manage it appropriately and prevent that from happening in the future, that's what we would expect them to do, and there may not be a problem to solve.
You know, Congress should be focused on tax reform. Congress should have its hands full in the weeks to come in trying to get tax reform done, hopefully before Thanksgiving. That won't be easy. And you will have some guests on later today that will describe the path to get there and how difficult that could be.
And so -- but, again, look, I think this was an issue that unfortunately kind of got in the way of Secretary Price being able to continue to do his job. I think he's a good person. Obviously, this didn't work out in a positive way and he had to step aside.
But the important work has to continue.
DICKERSON: All right, Secretary -- excuse me -- Senator Rubio, thanks so much for being with us.
RUBIO: Thank you.
DICKERSON: President Trump traveled to Indiana this week to unveil a new Republican tax reform plan.
But, at this point, the plan is only a framework.
So, we traveled to Aston, Pennsylvania, with Speaker Paul Ryan to tour a manufacturing plant and get more details.
DICKERSON: Mr. Speaker, we are at Pennsylvania Machine Works.
I'm going to ask you a question a work here asked you. How are these tax cuts going to help the blue-collar worker? What are they going to take home in their pocket?
RYAN: Well, first of all, the whole purpose of this to get a middle-class tax cut, to help the people who are working paycheck to paycheck keep more of their own hard-earned dollars.
They haven't had a break in a long time. Our economy has been growing between 1 and 2 percent for a long time. We haven't had 3 percent growth in about a decade. And that means workers are struggling. So, number one, a middle-class tax cut to help those families keep more of what they earn.
But, number two, this business is a perfect example of how we need to help get tax reform to get the tax rates down on these businesses, so they can stay competitive and keep hiring people.
DICKERSON: But I'm a blue-collar worker, what is my paycheck going to look like? What am I taking home? What are you promising? Are you promising anything? Can I -- do I know some money is coming to me?
RYAN: You know some money is coming to you. We're going to double that standard deduction.
We're going to make it so he can fill out his taxes on a postcard. We're going to lower his taxes. That's really important, so he has more take-home pay.
But there's another component to this is, look at this -- look at this machine shop. This -- this business pays about a 40 percent tax rate, but it competes with companies all around the world who pay on average 22.5 percent on their taxes.
So, we're going to lower the taxes on this business, so it's globally competitive, so it can compete with this foreign competition. Then we're going to give this business an ability to write off the investments that they make in this business to buy more machines, to hire more workers, to raise wages.
That to us is really important.
DICKERSON: I want to get back to the businesses in a second, because there's obviously some debate about the effective rate they pay.
But let's just stick to the worker for a minute. Can you guarantee that every middle-class person will get a tax cut once this becomes a bill and then that passes?
RYAN: That's the purpose of doing this. The purpose of this is to get a middle-class tax cut, to lower people's...
DICKERSON: So, is that a guarantee?
RYAN: Well, I don't know every single person's little small problem or their issue.
DICKERSON: But it will be minimal, if nobody gets -- if I'm a middle-class...
RYAN: The entire purpose of this is to lower middle-class taxes.
So, yes, people are going to get tax cuts. How big are those tax cuts? That depends on the individual. Do you have kids? Because there's going to be a bigger child tax credit. Are you married? You're going to have zero marriage penalty.
DICKERSON: Well, that's the worry, because...
RYAN: Those are the kinds of things that will determine, based on how low people's taxes go, because we want a pro-family tax code to make it easier for people to get married, to raise kids, to work.
DICKERSON: You mentioned you're doubling the standard deduction, but you're also getting rid of some exemptions. And also the child tax credit is still up in the air. Those numbers haven't been figured out yet.
RYAN: That's right.
DICKERSON: So, when the math gets worked out...
RYAN: It's going to go up, but we don't know how much it's going to go up.
DICKERSON: But when the math gets worked out, there may be some families who do see their taxes increase.
And I'm saying that, as an objective for the bill, as it goes through the process, will you work to squeeze that number to as low as possible?
RYAN: That's exactly right. That's exactly right.
So, the objective is to lower taxes for middle-class taxpayers.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about something you have wanted to do in the past you're not doing here, which is expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless filers. It's a way to help people who are at the real bottom end, the people who have seen this inequality really face to face.
Why is this not in -- why is that not in there?
RYAN: Yes, Well, we're still working at -- we're keeping the EITC, of course, because we think it's actually pretty effective.
RYAN: But we're -- that's one of the things the committee is still looking at.
RYAN: But within the framework of this bill are many other decisions that have to be made, because the framework of this, and the reason we did it this way, is, unlike health care, we wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page with respect to the House and the Senate and the White House.
Now, working within that framework, we're going to be targeting these things, so that we can make sure that middle-class taxpayers get a break. And one of the things that we think helps move people into work is the EITC.
So, we want more work incentives. And EITC reform is clearly something we're going to be looking at.
DICKERSON: So, you could expand it.
Let me ask you this, then. Another thing that maybe will be in it coming in the process, the president had wanted to get rid of carried interest, the so-called carried interest loophole.
That's something that the committee is going to make a decision on. What I made a decision...
DICKERSON: Why? Shouldn't it be a kind of cinch?
RYAN: No, it should be something that the tax-writing committees who are in charge of writing tax legislation will be deciding and working on.
That is one of the issues they're clearly looking into. The point I'm trying to make here is, I like going through what we call the regular order process.
DICKERSON: But you're pitching this as a middle-class tax cut. And you say every child in America should have an opportunity in this country, and that's been part of the American dream.
But there are specifics in this. You're getting rid of the estate tax. The Earned Income Tax Credit is not being expanded. It might be in the future. The carried interest loophole is still in there.
If I'm looking at this, and I'm a middle-class person, I'm thinking, the estate tax people are taken care of, the Alternative Minimum Tax, which will help the wealthy, that's getting taken of, but the things that will help me, those are until later.
RYAN: Can I go through that? Can I get through that?
We're going to double your standard deduction, so you can file your taxes on a postcard. We're going to take people who are in the 10 percent bracket and put a lot of that money in a zero percent tax bracket.
We're taking the 15 percent bracket down to 12 percent. We're going to get rid of the marriage penalty. We're going to increase the child tax credit. We're going to maintain critical things like incentives for home buying, charitable giving, education savings, retirement savings.
DICKERSON: But when people...
RYAN: Those are all -- just give me...
RYAN: Those are all middle-class tax things.
The purpose of this is to help people who are living by a paycheck get to keep more of their own hard-earned money, but also get more jobs, a faster growing economy.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the theory behind the lowering of the corporate tax rate.
If the corporate tax rate goes down, how do you know a company is going to put it back into wages? A lot of money from companies has gone to shareholders. Most sat on the sidelines.
RYAN: Most studies show that, when you lower -- that the tax on businesses is taken out of wages. So, the point is...
DICKERSON: But, actually, isn't there quite a lot of debate about that?
RYAN: Let me say it this way.
Should we be taxing American businesses at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors are taxing theirs? This business is taxed as high as 40-plus percent, and their competitors are taxed on average 22.5 percent.
How does that help this business in global competition?
DICKERSON: I guess isn't the debate that, A, effectively the rate is actually quite lower than 40. And, also, I guess the question is...
RYAN: But that's not actually always the case.
RYAN: The point is, we know we're taxing our businesses at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors are taxing theirs.
And here is the point, John. Businesses are leaving America. The current tax code discourages making things in America. The current tax code says, if you are good enough to be big enough to make money overseas, you can't even bring it back because of our tax laws.
DICKERSON: You have spent your life thinking about tax reform. The other thing you have thought about is fiscal issues.
DICKERSON: Will this tax plan increase the debt?
RYAN: It's going to be deficit-neutral. That's the budget rules we use, which is called the Byrd rule.
RYAN: So, this will have to be a deficit-neutral tax bill.
But we do fundamentally believe that this tax code and this tax reform will give us faster economic growth. Faster economic growth helps raise the economy, which raises revenues. And that helps us tackle the deficit.
There's two things we got to do to get rid of this debt, deal with entitlements. That's -- that's -- that's why we're frustrated health care reform hasn't passed the Senate yet. Deal with runaway spending, but also grow the economy.
This helps grow the economy. So, if you are asking me whether it's going to be deficit-neutral tax reform, that's what it has to be for us to be able to pass the bill.
DICKERSON: After 10 years? So, it will -- so, what about the debt in terms of the additional money to the debt from this, from this, not deficit year to year, but overall?
RYAN: If this results in giving us a faster economic growth, that will help us reduce our debt.
DICKERSON: What a lot of people who have known you for a long time and have worked on these issues, when they hear you say, if this gives us growth, they say, he's gone to the dark side. He's...
RYAN: I think it's the bright side, which is economic growth.
DICKERSON: Sure, but they say the growth of the kind that you will need to fund this is just beyond the real reality.
RYAN: Two things. Two things.
You have got to have tax reform to get faster economic growth. Faster economic growth is necessary for us to get our debt under control. But you also have to reform entitlement programs.
DICKERSON: But could you tie entitlement reform to this, as some in the Freedom Caucus want?
RYAN: You could. You could, but I don't -- I think we'd kill tax reform if we did, because let me just show you one piece of evidence.
The Senate can't get health care out of the Senate. So, if we put something that has been proven to fail in the Senate to tax reform, we would kill tax reform. So, why would we do that?
DICKERSON: Well, that leads us to politics. And the Affordable Care Act, it didn't make it through in the Senate. Why is it going to make it through in the Senate this time?
RYAN: You talking about tax reform?
RYAN: I think it will make it through for a few reasons.
Number one, we did this on the front end. We negotiated a framework, so that we all agree what this needs to look like at the front end.
In health care, what we did was, we passed a bill in the House, and then Senate looked at our bill and decided to go a different direction. And here we are.
We have more consensus on tax reform as Republicans, and we have less consensus on health care reform as Republicans.
DICKERSON: I don't hear you talking about working with Democrats on this.
RYAN: We talk to Democrats actually all the time, actually.
DICKERSON: But do you work with them on this in a real way?
RYAN: We do work with Democrats.
But we're not going to give chuck Schumer the ability to filibuster this bill, because we think that would derail tax reform. Do we want Democrat involvement? Absolutely. Did the president have Democrats in the Ways and Means Committee in the White House two days ago? Yes.
DICKERSON: Do you worry the Democrats -- the president will go off and work with the Democrats?
RYAN: I think he should work with Democrats.
DICKERSON: On tax reform?
RYAN: Well, I don't think you're going to -- not on a filibuster.
I think it would be a big mistake if we didn't use reconciliation, because we're basically dooming tax reform.
But do we want Democrats to work with us on this? Of course we do. He had Joe Donnelly on the plane yesterday going to Indiana, which, by the way, I really fundamentally believe some of these Democrats from some of these states are going to vote for this.
Look, Indiana, number one state for manufacturing. This tax reform so much helps these kind of manufacturers. So, I think, when people look at their constituents, tax breaks for middle-class families, making manufacturing more competitive, helping businesses stay in America, creating more jobs and faster economic growth, I got to think that some Democrats are going to listen not to the party leaders, but to their constituents.
And I think some of them are going to vote for this.
DICKERSON: And we will be back in one minute with more from House Speaker Paul Ryan.
DICKERSON: We also spoke to Speaker Ryan about the topic of race in America.
DICKERSON: A year ago, we talked about race relations in the country.
And you said you hoped candidate -- then candidate Trump would be inclusive. You said, he's new at this.
It's been a year now. How would you rate his ability to bring this country together, which hasn't clearly...
RYAN: Well, like I said on the Charlottesville thing, it was -- there were like three comments. One of them was great. Two of them -- no, four comments, I think, two good, two bad.
I think, like you say -- like I said before, he's learning. I know his heart is in the right place.
DICKERSON: How do you know that?
RYAN: Just I have had some candid conversations with him about this, especially during that time. I have had some very candid conversations.
And so I do really believe his heart is in the right place. I think what matters is that we have to show people that we are an inclusive society, that we want everyone to succeed.
And I think there's more that all of us as leaders have got to do to be inclusive with people and make people feel like they're included in society. And I don't -- I think we have got a long ways to go, just as a society and a country for that.
DICKERSON: Here is the criticism -- you know it -- with respect to the NFL.
The president makes the case for those who see the kneeling at football games as an act of disrespect, and he argues about patriotism. He never mentions the reason that the players, some, have chosen to kneel and what that's about.
DICKERSON: Should that be addressed by a national leader? Isn't that part of the conversation?
RYAN: Well, that has -- we -- there has been conversations.
We have had these police shootings, Ferguson. That has been a national conversation, no two ways about it.
We have -- we do hearings on this. We have -- we -- I set up a task force last year after the police shootings, bipartisan task force.
DICKERSON: But, I mean, is the president? He's spending time on one side of the argument, but suggesting -- in fact, holding the opposite view and being concerned, as an African-American, it's an act of...
RYAN: But I do think he's got a point, which is, what I think a lot of people who are protesting on that don't necessarily see is that other people see it as disrespecting the country, what it stands for, the flag, and the people who died to protect it.
So, I think, clearly, people have a right to express themselves in the First Amendment however they want to. But what so many Americans -- I see this at home -- see is, you're disrespecting the idea of America that we want to make this free country a more perfect union and that people have died and fought and survived to protect it.
So, they don't see the point that they're trying to make.
DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Speaker, thanks so much for being with us.
RYAN: Hey, you bet. Thanks, John.
DICKERSON: Next up, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is standing by in our New York studio.
DICKERSON: And we will be right back with Senator Schumer, Bob Schieffer, and a lot more FACE THE NATION.
Stay with us.
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS ANCHOR: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.
We're here with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Senator, I want to start on Puerto Rico. There's been a lot of criticism of the federal response. But the administration and Marco Rubio have said Puerto Rico is a special case. It's not like Texas and Florida. They were existing challenges in Puerto Rico, a weak electrical grid, those kind of things that are really a part of evaluating what's happening there.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: Well, first of all, the president, instead of tweeting against the mayor of San Juan, who's watching her people die and just made a plea for help, ought to roll up his sleeves and get to work here.
The bottom line is, at least for the first week and a half, the effort has been slow-footed, disorganized and not adequate. And that's not just me saying it. General Buchanan said he doesn't have enough troops or materials. The secretary -- acting secretary of HHS, Duke, when she visited, said that things are not good.
And so the bottom line is that we need more help. We need -- Marco Rubio is right, we need control and command. That means many more military troops.
Let me give you an example. In Haiti, there were 22,000 troops after two weeks here. Right now there are 10,000. There haven't been 10,000 -- and those are very, very recent. So this has not been a good response. It needs the president to stop calling names, stop downgrading the motives of people who are calling for help, but roll up his sleeves and get to work.
And, by the way, he should have gone to Puerto Rico earlier than two weeks. He'll go Tuesday, that's good, but two weeks after it hit. He was in Texas twice after that. Obama was up at Sandy two days afterwards. They say, oh, there are logistics that get in the way. But the president going makes a huge difference and logistics didn't get in the way in the past.
DICKERSON: Well, I guess they would argue that -- that Puerto Rico is just a different -- much different case than Florida or Texas.
But let's move on here to tax reform quickly. You've been -- you've been talking to the president about making deals with the presidents. Is this something you can do a deal with the president on?
SCHUMER: Well, look, we Democrats sent a letter to the Republican leadership and the president, said that here were three things that we thought tax reform ought to have. One, it -- tax breaks ought not to go to the top 1 percent, but ought to be focused on the middle class. Two, it ought not blow a hole in the deficit. And, three, it ought to be done in bipartisan way, not through reconciliation.
Unfortunately, the Republican plan doesn't agree with any of those. First, it's completely focused on the wealthy and the powerful, not on the middle class. Second, it blows a huge hole in the deficit. And, third, they said they're going to do it through reconciliation. That's a partisan process. It excludes Democrats. It's the same process that led to the demise on health care.
And let me just address one thing, John. Speaker Ryan kept -- keeps saying it helps the middle class. That's not true. What he's saying and what the plan is are totally different.
Let me go over three quick points. One, they get rid of the estate tax. The only people who benefit are the very wealthy, estates over $11 million. Five million -- five thousand estates will get over $3 million each. Second, they lower the top rate from 39 to 35. That affects the wealthy. They raise the lowest rate from 10 to 12. That affects working people. And, finally --
DICKERSON: But that also knocks a lot of people off the rolls, senator.
SCHUMER: Well --
DICKERSON: People no longer have to pay taxes, which means that's good for them.
SCHUMER: Well, no, they already don't have to pay taxes. But to lower the top rate and raise the bottom rate does not make any sense at all.
And third, here's what the tax policy center, 80 percent -- 80 percent of the tax breaks in their plan are aimed at the top 1 percent and the top 0.1 percent, the people who make over $5 million, who are one in a thousand, get a tax break of over a million dollars.
DICKERSON: So is your --
SCHUMER: The middle class, at the same time, is hurt. Just one more point here. The Achilles heel of this, the first one, there are many state and local deductibility. In suburban, fairly well off districts, Republicans, throughout these states like New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, those people, even with the standard deduction, will pay a lot more.
DICKERSON: But why should -- why shouldn't people in Alabama --
SCHUMER: It will be a real test of their Congress people -- it should be a real test of their Congress people, whether they vote with their constituents or they vote with the hard right ideology against state and local deductibility.
DICKERSON: Well, the argument on state and local is, why should Alabama subsidize New York.
But it sounds like you're basically out now to stop this bill, not to shape it?
SCHUMER: Well, we'd like them to change. We would like them to really say it will be deficit neutral instead of using these fake numbers that say, oh, there will be huge growth. You know, they tried that in Kansas. That's Charles Koch's state. And this was the great experiment. They dramatically cut taxes and said there's going to be growth and an increase in the -- in the surplus.
Well, after they did it, not -- they predicted the surplus would go up 300 million. It went down. The deficit went down 700 million. They had to cut money for schools and infrastructure and then they had to put in a tax increase.
DICKERSON: Let me --
SCHUMER: And did -- did Kansas grow? No. Last year its growth was 0.2 percent verse U.S. growth at 1.6.
DICKERSON: Let --
SCHUMER: So this idea that cutting taxes on the wealthy, this trickle-down economics, which the Republican Party loves, does not create growth. It never has. Does not reduce the deficit it never has.
George Bush, his tax cuts, 2001, 2003 --
DICKERSON: All right --
SCHUMER: They said after ten years the deficit will go down. It went up by CBO's point 1.6 trillion. So this is fake numbers, helping the very, very wealthy, ignoring the middle class. And what Ryan said and what his proposal are, are totally different.
DICKERSON: All right, well, we're out of time, senator, thanks for being here.
DICKERSON: We'll be back with our --
SCHUMER: I feel strongly about this.
SCHUMER: But we want to work with them if they will change. We do. They have to -- they have to consult us.
DICKERSON: They might not -- they --
SCHUMER: They, you know, they have to consult us. They can't just put down a plan and say bipartisanship is you guys come over and do what we want when it's against our principles.
DICKERSON: All right. Well, you've been talking to the president. I bet you'll give him that message.
SCHUMER: I will.
DICKERSON: Thanks, senator.
We'll be back with our panel. Don't go away.
DICKERSON: All right, and now we're going to try an analyze all of this. Amy Walter is the national editor at "The Cook Political Report." Ben Domenech is the founder and publisher of "The Federalist." And Ezra Klein is the editor in chief at vox.com.
Ben, I want to start with you.
In Puerto Rico, what is -- just assess the blame here. Obviously there's blame to go around. Where does it lie?
BEN DOMENECH, "THE FEDERALIST": Well, I think that there's a significant blame to be placed in a lot of different places. But just, first off, my family is Puerto Rican. We have many friend and relatives who are there right now. They are going through an incredibly challenging time.
Puerto Rico is different in a lot of key ways from Florida and Texas. You can't just get the debris out of a place in the same way when it is an island.
And I think that one of the biggest problems that Puerto Rico has is that their infrastructure was not in a good position even before this storm arrived. Part of the problem in Puerto Rico is that the politics of the island has been entirely driven by the question of status, what your position is on statehood versus commonwealth verse independence, and that's led to lot of different people getting elected politically who can take a position on that and argue for it in a fluent way but aren't necessarily the kind of infrastructure minded, diligent workers that you want to be in place when a crisis like this comes to bear.
Clearly the aid got to the island in a lot of different place, but did not get to the people who needed it. It hasn't been delivered that last mile. And that is going to require, I think, a lot more effort than what you might see for a domestic storm in a similar situation, in part because the people who are there in leadership on that island have not had the experience of having to deliver and with such a heavy lift in the past.
DICKERSON: So, Ezra, that is the local view.
On the federal issue, Marco Rubio said basically that the problem with the response was they were planning for a certain kind of disaster and it turned out to be more tricky in Puerto Rico. So isn't that the job in a disaster to adapt at the federal level and know that Puerto Rico is different than Florida and Texas and therefore be able to basically adapt. That was kind of the promise of having a businessman in the -- in the Oval Office. What's your sense of that?
EZRA KLEIN, VOX.COM: Adapt and predict and focus, right? I mean there are things they have said about Puerto Rico about how it's different, and it is different. But when Donald Trump comes in and says the thing about Puerto Rico is it's an island in the middle of the ocean, that was preexisting knowledge. We knew that before Hurricane Maria hit. There was a real lack of focus in the White House. I mean every bit of reporting we have seen so far, and also what we saw publicly from Donald Trump during the critical first days after the hurricane, have shown this. This was a hurricane that was predicted. It hit Puerto Rico in much the way we thought it was going to hit Puerto Rico. They didn't have a high level White House meeting on this, including Trump, with the right people in the room for six days.
And during that period, it's not like Donald Trump is out there talking incessantly about Puerto Rico or at the White House focusing on Puerto Rico. He was playing golf. He was picking fights with the NFL.
Focus in any White House, giving the number of things they need to do, is one of the truly scarce key qualities. You need to be -- you need to have people running herd on these kinds of projects if you're going to be able to adapt, if you're going to be able to bring to bear the amount of resource you need to. And this was, at the very least, a failure of management and a failure of focus.
DICKERSON: Amy, the focus, at least in part from the president, recently has been on the mayor of San Juan. What in -- how is that a help?
AMY WALTER, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": It doesn't is the short answer and I -- I -- look, I think that has been the challenge for the president all along, which is when there's criticism that comes at him, his response is to lash back. And even those who are supporters of the president say, you know, I wish you would just stop tweeting and start -- to Ezra's point -- keep focused.
But, fundamentally, I think, unfortunately, what this does is it brings us back to this place where if you are on a certain side of the aisle, you're going to side -- you know, you put on your jersey you side with the mayor. If you're on the other side of the aisle, you put on your jersey and you side with the president. And, once again, we're back to taking something that is a really serious humanitarian crisis and it's become now a political -- a test of your political fealty (ph). Are you in this tribe or this tribe?
And this, I think, is both where we are at this place in time and it's also what so many voters hate about where we are at this place in time and that the unifying theme that should be, we're in a cries, let's all get together, has now become a test of, who are you, you know, more in alliance with.
DICKERSON: Ben, let's switch to taxes here.
Chuck Schumer has just given the opposition view. And I don't think he took a breath.
What's your sense of both -- let's start first with policy in this. There are -- what do you make of the unified Republican framework?
DOMENECH: Well, I think that Republicans are obviously far more comfortable talking about taxes than they are talking about health care. They are happy --
DICKERSON: And the president for sure.
DOMENECH: They are happy to run into the teeth of any kind of oppositional argument on the tax policy issue because they're so used to making these arguments and they're so -- they come so naturally to them.
I think, though, that one of the things that Chuck Schumer brought up that is going to be a critical question here is this issue of state and local tax deductibility. There are a number of different Republicans who come from blue or purple states that are in these suburbanite sort of areas that have benefited from this state and local tax deduction in the past. That's a lot of different House members who are in states like California who are going to have a tough time going to their constituents and basically saying, yes, I'm going to -- I'm going to remove this as -- out of an act of fairness, as you said, to the taxpayers of Alabama. But they aren't elected by the taxpayers of Alabama. And I think that that's -- this could turn out to be one of the stickier subjects that they have to deal with in terms of the debate within their conference on this.
DICKERSON: The state and local tax issue.
Ezra, where do you take ahold of this plan?
KLEIN: So, right now I think it's important to say, the plan lacks a lot of details.
DICKERSON: A framework, yes.
KLEIN: For instance, we don't know if there will be three or four tax brackets.
But given what we have, the Tax Policy Center, which does the best tax modeling work in Washington, looked at it and I think there are three numbers that are worth thinking about here. So far Republicans have said, this is going to be defect neutral and it's going to retain the current codes progressivity.
So the Tax Policy Center looked at the plan, made what assumptions they could make and said if you -- if you sort of do the best model you can, this code -- this plan is going to give the top 1 percent a tax cut of 130,000 on average each. People in the middle class a tax cut of about 660. It's very hard to look at those numbers and say that's a progressive plan. And then it's going to cost about $2.5 trillion.
So somehow if you're going to have it deficit neutral you've got to pay for all that $2.5 trillion. And if you're going to have -- be as progressive as the current code is, you're going to have to somehow change deductions and put in a bracket and do a lot of things. They're going to really shift that.
I am very skeptical they're going to make those changes.
DICKERSON: And also you're doing -- you're fixing the deficit impacts of the plan, which means you don't have any money from growth to pay for the underlying deficit and debt issues, which they have talked about in the past.
DICKERSON: Amy, let me -- giving the numbers that Ezra just talked about, this -- the president campaigned for the -- for the forgotten man, the little guy.
DICKERSON: How do you think that plays out when the numbers are disparate and when the political -- obviously the Democrats are making this case about -- that it's basically just going to the top.
WALTER: I think there are a couple of challenges Republicans have. The first is, as we've seen with health care, being the opposition party, it was very easy to craft a message on health care. When you're the party in charge and actually have to pass something, where there's give and takes, where you're going to have to put this coalition together, it's much more difficult. I think tax reform is going to fit in that same boat. It is something that is much more unifying for Republicans, but they still run up against -- and I think Ben's exactly right on the issue of the state and local tax issue, as well as other issues that are going to come up as they're putting this framework together.
The second is that this tax debate, much like health care, is being driven by the clock and the calendar more so than by deeper policy arguments. You talk to Republicans who are very upset they didn't get health care through. They say, we have to get tax reform done. It's almost a non-issue about what it look like, as much as, we've got to get this done because if we go into 2018 without a tax cut, without anything to tell our constituents we're going to get killed in the mid-term elections, and I think that's a great way to make policy is being worried about running out of time for budget reconciliation, running out of time before a mid-term election.
DICKERSON: Ben, in 1986, tax reform took two years, so --
DOMENECH: Yes, they are definitely rushing, I think, to get this done with the mind on what's going to happen in 2018. One of the things that's not going to happen in 2018 obviously is that Bob Corker is not going to be running for re-election. I think that -- that --
DICKERSON: The senator from (INAUDIBLE) from Tennessee.
DOMENECH: I think that story is actually one of the most significant stories to happen this past week, which had a lot of different significant stories because it's step one, I think, of a wave of retirements, people deciding not to run for re-election within the '18 and '20 cycle. There's a number of Republican senators who have had enormous influence over that conference for a long time, but they're now all in their 80s and they're approaching that point where they that have to decide whether they want to stick around in Washington or not. I think the fractiousness of debates like these on health care and on taxes increases the likelihood that they exit.
WALTER: Yes, and if they don't pass a tax cut, this is what a lot of Republicans are worried about on the House side, that you are going to see a wave of retirements come January, February. Folks said, we were here for a year, we had total control, we didn't get stuff done, I don't know if I want to be here for longer. That is a very, very big concern.
DICKERSON: And then you had an Alabama primary this week, Ezra, where some of these issues were already playing out, the Republican primary.
KLEIN: Right. And -- and the primary looks like it's only going to become more fractious. If Roy Moore does win that, that's a real problem for Mitch McConnell.
I do just want to say one thing about the tax effort, which is, there was a deal here. There was a -- I was talking to a top Democratic staffer for the kind of Democrat they need to get in the Senate, and could get. And he said, look, we could have done corporate inpatriation (ph) for infrastructure, middle class tax cuts and corporate tax reform and Democrats would have helped on that. They would have been involved in that.
Think about the Trump administration and this Republican Party. They don't try. They could try to get bipartisan support and then go for the partisan bill if that fails, but they don't try at the front end. And so this is going to be a much more fractious plan. And by the end it, if it doesn't go well, Democrats are not going to need to come on board. And that's a political mistake they're making.
DOMENECH: But consider why Roy Moore is even the nominee. Moore is the nominee because Mitch McConnell decides that Mo Brooks, a conservative, you know, congressman in the Ted Cruz (INAUDIBLE), was also a critic of McConnell, was someone who needed -- who needed to be destroyed in the primary. He parachuted in millions of dollars getting rid of this conservative candidate thinking that Moore would be an easy candidate for Luther Strange to beat. As it turned out, Strange was too, you know, conflicted given his relationship to the governor of Alabama and the appointment that happened. That ended up dragging him down. And that's why you end up with someone like Moore instead of potentially a more traditional but problematic conservative from McConnell's perspective.
DICKERSON: All right, we're going to have to end it there because Bob Schieffer is here and he'll take the chair away from you (ph). He's coming up right next. So, stay with us.
DICKERSON: And we're back with the one and only Bob Schieffer. He is a CBS News political contributor and the author of a new book "Overload: Finding the Truth in Today's Deluge of News."
Welcome back, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
DICKERSON: So you set out with this book to figure out whether we are better informed or just overloaded. You talked to reporters and news editors. And so where did you come out at the end of this?
SCHIEFFER: We're overwhelmed. We've never been through anything quite like this, probably since the invention of the printing press.
You know, we talk about the invention of the printing press, how it improved literacy, it caused the reformation, the counter reformation. But there was also 30 years of religious wars that followed the printing press. And it took about three decades for the world to finally reach equilibrium.
We're at the very beginning of what's going on right now in -- in this digital age that has taken the place of print. It's affected nothing more than the way we get the news and our politics.
Let me just give you one little stat here, John. In 2004, one reporter in eight lived in New York, Washington or Los Angeles. That number is now down to one in five live in those three places.
In a lot of parts of the country right now, it's not a question of bias news or too much news, it's a question of no news. Sixty-two percent of people are now getting their news from social media, from FaceBook. And while those are great vehicles, they don't exactly follow the same standards that we did in the mainstream media and still do.
SCHIEFFER: And that is, we don't print or broadcast something unless we check it out and find out if it's true.
So there's all this news out there right now. You don't know who to believe. Is it true. Is it not true. And that's what we're sorting our way through right now.
DICKERSON: And so the new medium is shakier in terms of standard and also fewer reporters out in the real part of the country. In other words, everybody's in their bubble now.
SCHIEFFER: Yes. And we're no longer basing our opinions on the same data. If you listen to one channel, you get one set of facts. If you listen to another channel or read another publication, you get another set of facts. So what's different now is we're basing our opinion on different data. It's not the common data that in the old, more orderly days of what I call the gatekeeper era, where you had three television stations and one newspaper in every town. Maybe you didn't agree with the editorial policy, but you took pretty much for granted that what was on the front page or what Walter Cronkite said was true, that he had gone to the trouble of checking it out. Now there's 700 channels out there. We're bombarded with so much information, we simply cannot process.
DICKERSON: And so it's -- the facts are more in question. And also you -- you have a great quote at the start of the book about attention span. I mean that's another huge challenge of our current moment.
SCHIEFFER: Well, it certainly is. I mean when we've gone to 30- second commercials on television, that -- that has reduced our attention span. It's also reduced our patience. It's also made us less patient with things. It's made us, I think, ruder and a different kind of society.
You know, we talked -- you and I have talked about this, about the dialogue in the 2016 campaign and how crude and rude it was. I think a lot of that has to do with social media because the dialogue in politics this year was much like the thread on a blog post. Somebody posts a blog and then somebody else says, no, that's stupid. And then somebody else says, no, you're stupid. And then it's blankety-blank stupid. We go from the inane to the profane. But I'm not sure that we have improved our knowledge.
DICKERSON: What can we do in the press -- if you're giving advice to a young journalists, what's your advice right now about how to navigate all of this?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think you have to remember what the role of journalists is, and that is basically, we are not the politician. The politician's job is to deliver a message. Our job is simply to check it out and find out if it's true or if it's false and then report the results of that. We're not here to run the government. We're not here to run politics. We're here to report on the people who are involved in politics and government.
And if we do that right, we have performed a service that is crucial to democracy as the right to vote. We can't have a democracy like we have unless citizens have access to independently gathered information that they can compare with the government's version of events. And when they do that, we've done our job.
DICKERSON: So we have about 30 second left. What then is the consumer's job here in looking at this whole swarms? Is there something they can do better?
SCHIEFFER: Buyer beware. Trust the sources. Depend not on one source, but as many source as you can to come to your own conclusions about what's going on here.
DICKERSON: All right, our trusted source, Bob Schieffer. Thanks very much, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you, John.
DICKERSON: Congratulations on the book.
And we'll be right back.
DICKERSON: With the news of the week by subscribing to the FACE THE NATION diary podcast. Find us on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast platform.
That's it for us today. Thanks for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.