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WHEN: Today, Friday, September 15th, 2017
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9-11am ET) today, Friday, September 15th, 2017. Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/09/15/watch-the-full-interview-with-sen-orrin-hatch.html.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
CARL QUINTANILLA: MIKE MENTIONS TAXES AND WE DO WANT TO GET TO YLAN MUI WITH OUR SPECIAL GUEST IN WASHINGTON, D.C. HI YLAN.
YLAN MUI: THANKS CARL. I'M HERE IN THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE HEARING ROOM WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE, AND A MEMBER OF THE BIG SIX ON TAX REFORM, SENATOR ORRIN HATCH. SENATOR, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH: WELL IT'S NICE TO BE WITH YOU.
MUI: SO YOU HELD A HEARING IN THIS ROOM YESTERDAY, YOU SAT UP THERE ON THE DAIS AND YOU SAID THAT YOUR COMMITTEE WILL NOT BE A RUBBER STAMP FOR ANY TAX PROPOSALS FROM THE HOUSE OR THE WHITE HOUSE. AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE HERE?
HATCH: WELL, WE'RE ALL TRYING TO GET ON THE SAME PAGE, BUT OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, THE SENATE, THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE IS GOING TO DO THIS BILL THE WAY IT WANTS TO DO IT AND I THINK THE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE IN THE HOUSE WILL DO THE BILL THE WAY THEY WANT TO DO IT. AND THEN WE'LL GET TOGETHER AND CONFERENCE AND RECONCILE THE DIFFERENCES. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO PREDICT EXACTLY HOW THESE MATTERS WILL TURN OUT IN ADVANCE. WE HAVE GOT A LOT OF REALLY HEAVYWEIGHT SENATORS ON THE FINANCE COMMITTEE. JUST TO TALK ABOUT OUR COMMITTEE.
MUI: ARE THERE ANY ISSUES WHERE YOU SEE YOUR COMMITTEE GOING ITS OWN WAY?
HATCH: THESE ARE ALL COMPLEX ISSUES. THERE'S NO SIMPLE FORMULA WITH REGARD TO AMERICAN TAX REFORM. IT IS COMPLEX.
MUI: YOU SAID IT IS HARDER THAN HEALTH CARE ACTUALLY.
HATCH: IT'S MUCH HARDER THAN HEALTH CARE.
HATCH: FIRST OF ALL, REQUIRES A LOT OF INTELLECTUAL ACUMEN TO HANDLE THESE MATTERS. PLUS, THERE IS A LOT OF DIFFERENCES, A LOT OF DIFFERENCE OF OPINION AT VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THE CODE. DEMOCRATS WANT MORE REVENUE, SO THEY CAN SPEND MORE MONEY. REPUBLICANS WANT LESS REVENUE SO WE CAN BOLSTER AND INCREASE THE ECONOMY AND GET MORE JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE. YOU KNOW, THOSE TWO PHILOSOPHIES SEEM TO COLLIDE ALL THE TIME AND THESE TYPE OF -- IN THIS PARTICULAR AREA. BUT I'M HOPEFUL WE CAN BRING BOTH SIDES TOGETHER. I'VE BEEN ABLE TO DO SO IN THE PAST.
MUI: YOU'VE BEEN AT IT FOR A LONG TIME NOW. YOUR COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE HAVE LAID OUT A TIMELINE FOR WHEN THEY WANT TO GET TO A BILL, AND HOPEFULLY POTENTIALLY GET IT PAST AS WELL THEY'RE ADAMANT THIS GETS DONE IN 2017. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT TIMELINE?
HATCH: WELL I HOPE WE CAN DO THAT THAT WOULD BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO IF WE CAN I THINK THE HOUSE HAS THE RIGHT ATTITUDE AND THE RIGHT IDEAS WE WORKED EXTENSIVELY WITH THEM. I'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME WITH SECRETARY MNUCHIN, GARY COHN, THE FINANCIAL ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT AND MNUCHIN WHO'S THE SECURITY OF THE TREASURY. AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME WITH THE PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE, INCLUDING THE LEADERSHIP OF THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE, SO THAT WE CAN AT LEAST GET THIS MATTER GOING THE WAY IT SHOULD BE GOING.
MUI: LETTING THIS SLIP INTO 2018 WOULD BE A MISTAKE, YOU THINK.
HATCH: I'M SORRY I DIDN'T—
MUI: LETTING THIS SLIP INTO 2018 WOULD BE A MISTAKE, IF TAX REFORM TAKES LONGER THAN 2017?
HATCH: WELL IF IT DOES, IT DOES BUT I ACTUALLY BELIEVE WE KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT IT THAT WE CAN DO IT IN 2017. BUT IT WILL TAKE A LOT OF COOPERATION OF DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. BUT KEEP IN MIND, THAT'S ON THE COMMITTEE. YOU GO TO THE FLOOR, IT IS ANOTHER MATTER YOU HAVE PEOPLE -- YOU HAVE DOUBLING AND TRIPLING OF THE IDEAS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR A LONG TIME FOR A TRUE TAX BILL, SO THAT THEY CAN PUT THEIR OWN IDEAS AND IMPRINT ON IT.
MUI: YOU'VE BEEN WORKING ON THESE ISSUES FOR A VERY LONG TIME NOW. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE THIS BILL DOES?
HATCH: WELL, I REALLY WANT TO MAKE SURE THIS BILL INCREASES THE ECONOMIC WHEREWITHAL OF THIS ECONOMY. WE'RE NOT JUST GOING TO DO TAX MATTERS FOR TAX MATTERS PURPOSES. THERE HAS TO BE A REASON FOR DOING IT. AND THE REASON IN MY OPINION WOULD BE TO UPLIFT THE ECONOMY, TO GET RID OF A LOT OF THINGS THAT ARE STULTIFYTO PROVIDE MORE OPPORTUNITIES AND INCOME TO THE MIDDLE CLASS ESPECIALLY, TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS FAIR, AND ALSO THERE IS SOME OTHER ASPECTS OF THAT TOO.
MUI: WELL YOU SAID YOU WANT TO GET RID OF THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX. THAT YOU WANT TO REPEAL THE ESTATE TAX. ARE THERE OTHER THINGS THAT YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU SEE JETSONED AS PART OF THIS?
HATCH: I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE TAX RATES, INDIVIDUAL TAX RATES COME DOWN. YOU KNOW, THEY'RE WAY TOO HIGH WE HAVE THE HIGHEST TAX RATES IN THE CORPORATE TAX RATES, THE HIGHEST CORPORATE TAX RATES IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD.
MUI: IS 15% CORPORATE TAX RATES REALISTIC?
HATCH: WELL I HAVE TO SAY, OUR PERSON COVERED TAX RATES OVER 35%, IF YOU COUNT THE STATE SHARE, WELL OVER 40%. SO YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT VERY UNCOMPETITIVE TAX SYSTEM COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. AND IT IS AFFECTING US AND DEBILITATING OUR ABILITY TO REALLY COMPETE IN THE WORLD. SO WE NEED TO BRING DOWN THOSE CORPORATE RATES AND INDIVIDUAL RATES AS WELL.
MUI: AND HOW MUCH LOWER DOES THE CORPORATE TAX RATE NEED TO GO TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE FOR BUSINESSS?
HATCH: WELL THE PRESIDENT WANTS IT DOWN TO 15%. THAT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF WE COULD GET IT DOWN THERE. WE'LL BE WORKING TO TRY TO DO THAT. I SINCERELY DOUBT WE'LL BE ABLE TO GET THAT LEVEL ON THE CORPORATE TAX RATES. BUT, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO BRING THEM DOWN FROM THE CURRENT HIGHEST RATES IN THE WORLD.
MUI: LAST QUESTION FOR YOU. YOU HAVE – I BELIEVE - SERVED SEVEN TERMS. YOU ARE 83 YEARS YOUNG. ARE YOU READY FOR RETIREMENT YET SENATOR?
HATCH: NOT YET. I'M A TOUGH OLD BIRD. I WORK VERY HARD. NOBODY OUTWORKS ME. I REALLY ENJOY WHAT I'M DOING. IT IS -- I KNOW IT IS IMPORTANT. AND MY GOAL IS TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR AMERICA, NOT FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BUT TO DO WHAT'S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR COUNTRY. AND OUR PEOPLE. AND TAX REFORM IS AN AREA WHERE WE CAN REALLY DO AN AWFUL LOT OF GOOD FOR YOU KPOW, THE MIDDLE CLASS IN PARTICULAR, WHICH IS THE – THAT'S THE AREA THAT WE REALLY WANT TO HELP FOR THE MOST PART AND THE POOR ARE HELPED. BUT THEY DON'T PAY TAXES TO BE HONEST WITH YOU. THE MIDDLE CLASS REALLY SHARES THE BURDEN, THE BIGGEST BURDEN OF THIS ECONOMY AND WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE TRADED FAIRLY.
MUI: ALL RIGHT, SENATOR, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY. I'LL SEND IT BACK OVER TO CARL.
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