RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Congressman Bobby Scott is hoping to be elected to his 10th term in Congress. The Democrat from Newport News represents a significant portion of the city of Richmond. This year-- he's facing a challenge from Republican Chuck Smith and two other independent candidates.
Ryan Nobles: Congressman Scott, thank you for being here.
Bobby Scott: Good to be here. Thank you.
Ryan Nobles: I want to talk about the angst in the country right now. There's obviously a lot of people unhappy with government and your party in particular. Do you think that's the result of things that you guys have done wrong in Washington or maybe a misperception of the work that you've done.
Bobby Scott: One of the things that's frustrating is we've had a lot of complaints. We've inherited a big deficit in a recession. And there have been attacks on the fact there's still an unemployment rate. What's absent from the discussion is what any Republican would have supported Barack Obama doing about it. Do you have the deficit? Should he have raised taxes or cut spending? They would have attacked either one. With the job, every time we've promoted a jobs bill, every jobs bill, the Republicans virtually unanimously have opposed it. So they have a great strategy where they complain, just like in '93 in the healthcare, Democrats pick up the ball, fix it, cast the tough votes that are needed without any Republican help and then the Republicans come in and complain. I'd like them to come forth with some specific suggestions as to what we need to do. That's conspicuously absent in all of the complaints.
Ryan Nobles: One of the things Democrats are going to make a decision about probably before the end of the year is the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Where do you stand on that? Do you think the Bush tax cuts should be extended in any way, shape, or form?
Bobby Scott: If we don't extend any of the tax cuts, the budget will be close to balanced in four years. If we extend them, you're talking about trillions, in any of them. You're talking about trillions of dollars in additional deficits. Trillions. You'll never get anywhere close. We have pressing needs, we have healthcare, crime, I noticed in your earlier piece, you had a lot of crime and promoting crime prevention rather than waiting for children to mess up, get caught and lock up a higher proportion of our population than any country on earth. Some of that money in prevention and early intervention and you won't have as many of those stories to report.
Ryan Nobles: You do think raising taxes essentially which is what would happen if the --
Bobby Scott: The tax cuts put us in the ditch. If we did not -- these are tough choices. There are no easy answers. If you're going to criticize the deficit, come forth with a plan don't just criticize. I believe if we don't extend the tax cuts, we can come very close to balance in four years. Now, we've had a balanced budget. In 2001, Chairman Greenspan was answering questions, what's going to happen when we pay off the national debt. We were scheduled to pay it off held by the public by two years ago. No borrowing from Japan or Saudi Arabia or China, pay off the national debt after the reckless tax cuts that we couldn't afford, prescription drug bill that wasn't paid for, two wars, we're in the ditch. We have tough choices to make. When we did that in 1993, with that budget; no Republican votes, a lot of complaints and a lot of politicking and Democrats lost control of the House because we cast those vote. Let's come forward. Have a plan. It's tough vote. If you're going to deal with the deficit, this is no easy answer. My position is let's do nothing. Let the tax cuts expire. While we're in a recession, use the money to create jobs. You can be in balance and close to balance in four years. Now, that's unpopular. What's the alternative? What we have is the Republicans say we have a big deficit, let's cut taxes. That is not a solution to the deficit. As long as people think you can deal with the deficit by cutting taxes, that's just absurd. We have to deal with it, it's very serious and we have to make the tough choices. I'm willing to do it.
Ryan Nobles: Congressman Scott thanks for being here. We appreciate it. We'll hear from Congressman Scott's opponent on Monday. Chuck Smith will be here.
See the video at right for the full interview.