tv Washington Journal James Thurber and Molly Reynolds CSPAN December 22, 2017 3:30am-4:26am EST
crossed. "washington journal" continues. host: at our table we are joined y james thurber who is professor of government at american university and also ounder and former director of their center for congressional and presidential studies and from brookings institution. thank you both for being here. rate this current session of congress. we are coming to the close, the year of the irst 115th congress. how would you rate them? has it been a success? rate to the good to compared it other congresses. let's take the first year of the administration. in the first actually two years, few ills passed within a weeks a stimulus bill passed. dodd dodd-frank, the affordable care act pass the. this one will problems.
a tax bill. there are a lot of things in the tax bill that are important but bill.x it failed in repealing the affordable care act. they have approved 12 district judges. that is good. the f course that is supreme court justice but they have not done very well. oversight ad some hearings but we have not seen anything from them on russia and election. so i would say i would give them, if they were in my class, give them a d. host: a d? guest: a d. they did use whatever not accomplish? . guest: right. budget.e not passed the not appropriations bills. they have done nothing with chip. children's health insurance program. these poor kid that live below that can't get insurance. and there is bipartisan support passed ut they have not it. they have not dealt with the debt
debt. i don't think they have done very well at all. host: moly reynolds? this i would say for me idea of what didn't they do, undone is ey leave really important. we can point to the tax bill which is a major achievement and talk about judges very important on the supremece court, a major achievement that as the potential to shape that institution for years to come. so they that in doing changed the precedent for confirming supreme court nominees, that will have major consequences going forward. ut we can celebrate those accomplishments with things they can't ignore we are looking to heading into january with this year's work unfinished chip,o permanent action on
temporary reauthorization of some government surveillance. work.f unfinished host: when you both say undone business are you giving them -- i don't know if you agree with the d. of an i'm a little bit easier grader. guest: grid inflation. host: exactly. but are you giving them this assessment because of things supposed to do, not what they promised that they would do when they ran? guest: i like to think of the idea what are the compulsories, basic that are the functions of government that congress is supposed to do every year. is just leaving a lot of those things unfinished. they had a lot of expirations of major programs like chip, flood nsurance program, f.a.a. which has a temporary authorization until next year. keepingsic functions of the government doing what it is supposed to go doing.
spent quite a lot f time in the health care unsuccessfully and tax bill successfully turning to things deadlinest have major that were supposed to force them to take action. guest: the most important thing passed the budget on time and appropriations on time. we are still on a continuing resolution. we are still facing the possibility of shutting down government. if you are running a will be out or a company and you have a contract with the government, disruptive. but i should say congress is not only republicans, it is and this is a highly a very d congress with narrow margin with the democrats over and g to cross vote on things with the republicans. on infrastructure, which is coming up. the president wants investment infrastructure. a lot of people do. some people thought they should had a d with that and
succe success, a bipartisan success. ow i think that the water is muddied, bloodied and it will be very hard to get bipartisan infrastructure, even for bridges and roads in the future. so that is a problem. way, the president has had a lot of success in reregulation, not enforcing existing regulation nd the congress has successfully appointed people that have redirected e.p.a. and places. and other but there are hundreds of ppointments that haven't been reviewed on the hill and made and there are 60 ambassadorships open.are it is a serious problem. host: when it comes to spending e are learning that congress has decided to pass another continuing resolution that will this government open until january 19 if they can get the know letter we will on the house floor when they avel p. if you want to read
what is part of the continuing resolution go to c-span.org and it there. this is not the first congress o pass continuing resolution after continuing resolution. you are giving this one thus far grades will you give the previous congresses moves when it r came to keep being the government running? pass the have only budget on time four times since 1976. we could not pass it on time when we had a surplus under clinton. so, that is a problem. on appropriations usually they the armed services bills and homeland security. done that this time. this is a serious problem in my opinion. ost: let's hear what our viewers have to say. burt is up first in columbus, a republican. go ahead. caller: good morning. how are you doing? host: doing well.
i think when you grade the congress you have to divide it into the democrats and republicans. give the democrats an f because of their resistance and republicans the guy said a d because they have not anything. what kills me is when you say hat you need to cut the entitlity, quit spending so much o when the government takes money out of your check and they are supposed to put it in a lock or whatever box and they spend it on something hey are not supposed to spend it on what are you supposed to do. they are entitled to them ecause when the government takes your money they are you thed to come back to u way the money is supposed to be used. government is very good overall. i also think that people who the government are losing out because if you don't depend on yourself to do things,
the constitution doesn't tell you that you are entitled education or entitled to medicaid or medicare or insuran insurance. tells you stitution is that you are entitled life, pursuit of happiness. host: what about giving democrats an f? one thing that is important to think about in what happened with democrats in ongress this year is the republicans made several key choices that meant they didn't really have to work with democrats. so they decided they were going o make the two big legislative priorities health care bill and tax bill they chose to do both them through the budget reconciliation process which rotects certain bills from a filibuster in the senate which basically said to democrats, you your votes.'t need we will do it on a party line d s, which really sort of disincentivizes democrats from
working across the aisle. say if you want to play that game, you can take the ball it out for yourself. that is sort of absolving them of responsibility of trying to with the democrats. guest: i want to say that in ryan took over as speaker, he reached across the significant bills and they all had democratic support. possible -- he reached out. e had a honeymoon from the far right to the extent after bane are left -- boehner left. they were tough like trade promotion authority. on medicare. on and on. they are there. nd the senate will similar phenomena in that alexander an education bill that only will one vote against it in committee and went through the quickly.ry so it is possible to have
bipartisanship but right now in i will call it, 2018, it is going to be very ha the democrats are not going to play that game. infrastructure. that is bad for america in my opinion. reaction to the "washington post" piece and how differently this would have if a deal were struck in the days on the g.o.p. tax plan republican rob portman met with joe highway nd in the office of the capitol hill. he said he would consider the tax effort if only a few changes were made chief corporate cutting the rate to 20% reduce it to 25% and use the proceeds for bigger class tax cuts. other democrats he suggest the might follow. portman took it to republican leaders who rejected it.
manchin may be able to get where ted in a state trump had 36%, a majority of 36% against clinton. he may get re-elected because of that theme. reach across. to that was only one person. dozens of people almost unanimous on some bills i would like to see that come back. but it is very hard because the highly partisan and it difficult and it is becoming more like that after the trump election. for me what is one of the most interesting things about degree to ess is the which republicans didn't do more the post said trying arly the senate it divide the democrats. there are a number of democratic for ors who are up
re-election next year in states that were won by trump in some by very large margins. so the degree to which republicans decided they were try and do very arty line things as opposed to trying to do some of these things that would bring some is an ts on board interesting policy trait and has all kind of for policies. it is also an interesting political choice. it is part of the permanent campaign and both this s are going to use tax bill as a wedge issue and it will be hard going for the this icans when some of comes out. to the democrats are going use this for the next election. they already are. chumer has made statements about that and so has pelosi. has a ember, the house he 24 that are needed for t
democrats and in 23 districts majority.ad a o, some are saying that it is be extremely competitive. i hate to predict more after the 2016 election. host: what you are hearing from the minority leaders in the house and senate is the voters up are suburban voters guest: absolutely, the suburban are moderate republicans and they are really is coming out of the white house, what happened in alabama and even in alabama suburban voters switched and which made wrote in, a big difference or voted democratic. host: we will hear from christine in new hampshire, an independent. is funny because you hear these bad marks about poor president trump and everything. totally a supporter.
he has done uch when the reality of the situation is that we have had a -- i'm sorry -- we have had a monetary problem with and overnment for years years especially since obama. and it seems that everything is now the new president's fault. nobody looks at what was going on. he is doing the best he can againsting how many are him. he's got a huge population. not anti-american. upset about somebody saying that, mr. thurber. we are antigovernment. sick and tired you are taking our money and your kids you are rich, he we back but i r money would love my husband to be retired and get that same paycheck. benefit. get that only you do. host: let's take that point.
are and rber is found former director of the american university senator of studies. nal he is not a member of congress and never was. so just to clarify that. reynolds, what about her sentiment, president trump is way o washington and the washington operates this year is the way it has operated for many years. guest: i think that is a fair point. one thing he talks about on the is the idea of coming n apnd drain the swamp was the rhetoric. for me one of the most important in the o think about context of trump and congress since that is largely what we about this morning, is how has trump worked with congress. able to do been versus not do. o one of the challenges republicans face it is a pretty divided republican party particularly the house republican conference and lots of differences of opinion.
expect that a president do a same party would good job or try to help the ouse and senate republican parties bridge those internal differences. for me that is one thing we have this year as we might have expected under a president.republican i think that there is maybe some health care debate and tax debate and we saw fewer in the tax debate where trump inserted himself into the work congress was doing a counterproductive way. he came out and called the healthcare bill mean and we saw less of that. important t will be to watch going forward how does trump learn the ways of washington. guest: presidents need to have a clear strategy and message about they want and repeat it, repeat it, repeat it. they need to define what a
trying is that they are to solve on the hill. never was there a definition of passed lem before they the tax bill at all. there was with the affordable care act. has been somewhat random in with the listen on the hill and the tweets that quite have been disruptive. i have moles on the hill, people is going on, i have like 140 former students who are staff members and some in the listen and i won't quote them directly but he's a lot of problems with the majority leadership because thenget momentum going and he tweets on something charlottesville or something that gets in the way of what doing on the hill. finally, finally, they have a tax bill passed. finally he's on quecue from the other way the around, in my opinion. host: what do you make of him at the abinet meeting before
celebration yesterday saying we essentially repealed obama care? guest: i think the question of repeal is a little overstated. fact that the e individual mandate now is part gone tax bill and certainly hurts it but most of it is there. remember the affordable care act deals with cost, quality, access and finance. if you limit the number of people who have insurance it will hurt significantly in terms of whether it works. but there are lots of other in the bill that helped people's althcare and lives that are not touched by that in my opinion. what we sawnk given over the summer in terms of how republicans thought repealing the affordable care and that as a rhetorical goal was a driving action over
part of why they couldn't get anything done is because they could not write a that 218 house republicans nd 50 senate republicans would vote for that accomplished that goal, it is not surprising that they have managed to undo a small piece that they are it as an accomplishment and they are telling voters this done.ething we got host: we go to john in tampa, florida. conversation. caller: the poor grades the unis and congress is being unfetterred advocates is and spend 75% of their time drumming up large campaign contributions from donors who for the most part profit at the expense and majority of ast u.s. citizens leaving only 25% a poor job e doing at legislation. this stems from three supreme
rulings that droughted a produce tock si. the graft that big money and freedom of speech and 2010 united and then the dark money. very much. guest: you should put this guy on c-span. was perfect. he has it nailed. tuesday-thursday club. the members are here tuesday, ednesday, thursday, they go back home to campbelifornia, fla have town meetings but to bring money. the invisible primary is how much money you have to scare off may challenge you and back hustling money. donors.t always big terms is dysfunctional in of returning congress. the leadership every two years says we have to stop this and we going to have rules where you have to be here. but they don't have to be here.
that.s no law for they are driven to get re-elected and they think going home is the way to do it. there are 34 members that don't even live here. and eat in n cots the cafeteria and it is not that great. they brag about the fact they are not in washington. why did they get elected? they were here to shrink overnment or solve problems or have oversight, not going home all the time. it is a serious problem that had for many years under democrats and republicans alike. molly in call for cleveland from ted. hello.: callers e previous that. ed to give the democrats a pass. for have long been noted tax and spend. seem.s the only way they sadly to many of the republicans
have seemed to side that way and not a lot of conservative republics left. throughout the years when i started my own business and and struggled, well, t is a lot different than [inaudible]. s far as people continuing to see how they are going to raise money, james thurber is old know david brinkley some of the maybe washington leaders should go out so let me hear them on that. molly first. guest: i think we have seen unfold in congress over the year is some evelation of how much of what we saw under the obama administration from on ressional republicans feewas and the deficit
principle stand on opposition to and how muchending was seeing those arguments as a convenient and useful way to particularly to oppose a democratic president in the white house. cases have seen in some some of this rhetoric on fiscal republicans y from get walked back significantly. cases like in some the disaster relief bill the congress is currently considering some republicans to push for adjust sets in spending. important that is an thing. guest: there are probably 50 of the tae tea principled.hey are they went with the tax bill even hough it is generating a
trillion plus debt because of other things in the tax bill they wanted. o, when you consider things on the hill, compromise has to occur. ompromise was behind the constitution and it has to occur here. unfortunately there's not been a between the mise two parties. there's been compromise within party.mocratic i would say there are many hard core are conservatives and concerned bout the debt and deficit and want to deal with the social ent programs, security, medicare, medicaid and hey will probably be on the underaccording to ryan in the future. we will see what happens. according to the director of the president's economic council aying infrastructure and he referred to those as welfare programs is where they want to the priorityhat is for the president. carol it rochester, new york,
independent. good morning. mr. thurber mentioned the number unfilled a.m. balances doorships -- ambassadorships. have been w many unfilled because of no nominees sitting on the nominees especially south korea. guest: i don't have those off the top of my head but i think that my sense of the a lot of it is that the administration isn't putting nominees. i don't know specifically about ust ambassadors but if we look at the government more broadly that is concern is they are not fill g forward names to positions. in some cases it is because they re having trouble finding people who are interested in filling them in this particular administration and in some cases because including at the state department more broadly ecause they have a vision of what they want the department to a k like which involves
smaller department and fewer people working there. we talk this morning about the rating this session of as thes, we are learning morning goes on what the plan is or the lawmakers to get out of town. one thing they have on their agenda is avoiding a government with a deadline of midnight friday they have to resolution.inuing it looks like that will go until january 19 for all government other s but they have things that they have to deal with. reauthorization of a as well nce provision s chip, the children's health insurance program. not sure if it will be in this disaster relief to $81 billion. swinging out meadows the chairman of the freedom caucus a commitment from leadership there will be a stand lone vote on a long-term 702
reauthorization and they would be allowed to offer requested colleagues er her reporting on that so a lot unfolding as we talk on this james thurber.g, guest: i would add daca or the act and there is some t.partisan concern about tha flake, for example, got as part of the deal for voting for the he would be part of the negotiations on daca. so that is there. there is reauthorization of the igher education act and the senate has some serious that ents to dodd-frank will help community banks and other banks. hat is going to be a hot issue this next year. i don't see bipartisanship coming on that but we will see. >> and so-called dreamers "washington times" dreamers feel betrayed by democrats. of dreamers some risking arrest took to the march s in congress to
and conduct lie downs to complain they have been government these spending negotiations. dan in chicago, democrat. caller: good morning. i have some quick questions. i'm focused exclusively on the tax bill that passed both houses. -- is the skepbls consensus on debt to g.d.b. the experts and relationship of the potential hutdown if that is not address addressed? there was a close vote in both in relationship to passing this bill so there were plenty of democrats and that were divided. what would be the long-term based on he economy debt, based on an empirical of developed economies? can we service the interest and
on this debt? and my final address is does create systemic risk? host: we have government economists but molly go ahead. consensus ink the from most economists on the debt how -- is s of this that it will increase the debt significantly. the republicans in setting out the plan for passing there bill embrace that goal and set themselves up a box that increase the d debt by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. they are kind of motivating the by that they think that lowering corporate taxes and doing other things it will grow the economy and address that. haven't seen a credible estimate that sucks it will do that. one thing that we will have to sort of deal with down
the line is what are the of structuring a tax bill particularly one that the debt but also has expiring provisions. we talked about this. the individual tax cuts are set to entire. relief is te tax permanent. we are set up for a giant cliff years. that sort of thing. g.d.p., you had a chart up and i teach a class where we get into the budget and didn't memorize it but i do know this. to the united states debt g. g.d.p. is so large we would not e.u. owed to join the because they have certain tandards, which is of course another problem but we would not be allowed to join the e.u. that is what you should measure and i'm sorry, sir, i don't have is exact percentage but it going up as a result of that. host: the committee for a responsible federal bucket said
when they looked at this, would nference agreement cost 1.46 trillion leading debt between 98% and 95% compared to 91%. but they said it could go as high as 100% with some of the rovisions in the tax credit bill. tom in alabama, independent. welcome it the conversation. to the conversation. caller: i'm a simple man and i -- i'm a understand trump voter. worked hard 28 years out of my the man got and elected. but before he got elected, not democrats wanted this man in office. he's a billionaire and didn't need the job. but he's looking out for the are workingple that their ass off every day.
i see congress people there 30 years and 40 years. and come ur years home. host: what are your thoughts on that? or not, ll, believe it the tenure of members on the shorter period than you think. yearssomething like 6 1/2 in the house, were longer in the senate. have ople you hear about been here a long time. i'm not for term limits personally. i think that we need to improve the way we elect people and have ore competition in the general election. that means dealing with redistricting for the house. we have term limits. they are called popular elections. they are somewhat fixed because of redistricting. here are only 30 to 40 seats that are usually competitive. i would like to see more seats competitive and dealing with the people come upng herein and -- up here and have life on the heir
mill. we have term limits on chairs which is very good. because they are young people sometimes on the committee that about the issues. they are not the most senior and hey get elected in secret ballots to be chairs. i think that is good. host: we are talking about this congress. it?would you rate our guests james thurber professor of government at founder university and of american university center for congressional and presidential studies. right-hand side with us fellow of government studies with brook, institution. your questions, comments, about this congress. continue to dial in this morning. it to the top of the hour when the house gavels in for the morning legislative session. let's hear from todd in michigan, a democrat. caller: hi. we are next it flint, michigan and i'm a democrat and i voted
for president trump. americans are getting a little when red of washington everybody in washington seems to a millionaire and how they got to be a millionaire i have idea. i would only assume it lobbyists. but the regular american people in ot have lobbyist washington. our lobbyist is president trump. it is nonstop negative about pru president trump and makes everybody in america that voted for president trump. media looks stream at always as we are scum bags. host: how has president trump changed washington, molly? uest: i think that if we are talking about congress, he's actually changed washington were think he certainly promised to during the presidential contain. -- campaign. were less than some folks were
expecting. we were talking before about the infrastructure bill. there was about this time last a lot of talk about trump would get inaugurated and the do is make he would this big bipartisan infrastructure proposal that party lines on the hill and we didn't see that happen. biggest legislative for plishment of the year republicans is the tax bill that as passed yesterday and that overwhelmingly is focused on benefiting very wealthy corporations. it didn't embrace any real lymulispopulism. so i don't see him as changed much.gton that guest: president trump said he would change the way washington the swamp.ould drain a lot of people felt that was lobbyists e swamp of that had very narrow specialized
interests. to that in a k second. obama said he would change the too.ashington works, his concept is i want to bring people together and work together in the middle. he didn't change washington. trump has not changed washington that way. changed washington in -- in terms of having this gentleman's representation et's say on the tax bill, you really have to look at organized interests. you might have been part of the eligible it he is join the largest interest group in the history of the united represent him and that is the way washington works. easily change very because we are representative groups are very important. in this tax became the
corporations were there, the there and the farmers were there in large rganizations and people like this gentleman were not there represented themselves through the united uto works or other tkpwraouplgs. guest: one thing of the tax bill moving as questioningly as it did there was less opportunity group based engagement than we have traditionally ssociated certainly with tax policy where say the 1986 tax eform which was a long time coming and out there in development a long period of time. bill republicans made a conscious choice to try to move less of uickly to have an opportunity for various nterests groups to have organize around particular person's and say one special interest loophole is anoth
break.'s valuable tax guest: it was close. it was not very open. interests were there. billions of dollars are spent groups ar by interest and lobbyists and hundreds of millions were spent during the to get f trying provisions in this act and there re lots of examples of how industry was there, banks were here, but the aarp was not there which is more of a mass organization and that is a and em with our democracy could be a problem in 2018. host: one constituency is those from carried interest and gary cohen we organization with the co-found are talked about it wanted to sident ncrease their tax rate and he got push back from both parties, from both sides of aisle and cohen saying we tried at least 25 times to get that
they have a strong lobby on capitol hill. let's go to montgomery, alabama. independent. caller: good morning. i want to say that i think both republicans and democrats are liars, thaoefrieves and cowards. about tax nt talked reform but he doesn't show his taxes so that shows what a man else. you are trump haters. he is a liar, too. e is a coward and he is a politician now and as far as congress, i -- they are all phony. i think that what michelle obama said was not necessarily racism. it was pretty much correct. you need to remove all the old this of and replace them with women. something better because men are all hraoeurls. get them out of there. let's go to this sentiment of not trusting washington and
the president as art of what has become a politici politician. you look at the approval ratings for it congress, 2007 job is low, 19%. eight yes, that is consecutive years the average is 20%. i think that congress's approval is like the president's pproval rating now, very partis partisan. so over the course of the year republicans ments were feeling better about ongress right after trump was inaugurated 50% of republicans were feeling good about 30% at the beginning of december when they were tax bill. the lower ook ahead to 2018, poll ratings of congress and president trump's lower ratings
likely to have consequences for what happens in the midterm. guest: 19% seems very high. as john mccain said they must a lot of people on the hill to be part of the sample. 10%.as been as low as on women this could be the year of women. women in the senate. i wouldn't express my preference like he did but i think women up here, the women's caucus, they in a ow to work together bipartisan way and they know how to multitask. not going to bly have any sexual harassment issues with women. the women inear of terms of recruitment and all kinds of data on that and i hope we go that direction. host: from florida. an independent. good morning and merry christmas. s. reynolds you said
republicans used the nuclear option to get the supreme court judge. harry reid to did it in 2013. allow our federal congress people to live in districts where they represent live in? in florida you have to live in the district that you representative. just run for office else in the here state. he wuone i'm thinking about is maxine waters. and why do you always talk about, everybody talks about the caucus or spending caucus but when you mention the freedom like you are ds using disparaging words about them. the nk the black caucus, hispanic caucus and freedom equallyhould be treated but don't take this wrong but the e of your ilk think average american is kind of dumb and we are not. we figured this out with donald
trump. so you better wake up a. dummies any more and you have a great day. on the nuclear option specifically the call are is the senate n 2013 was in control by deposition and how to change the nomination and reduced the votes needed to end the e on nominations to executive branch and to federal court judges below the supreme court. this year in the spring republicans extended that in the supreme court judges. there is consistent with the way rules and n senate precedents change over time. a little bit of tit for tat. is frustrated enough with the other side to make a dramatic change and the next switch in party control and the other side has a reason to do the same. in kind.hem respond
that wasn't terribly surprising to me in terms of what happened the spring. guest: i would add to that that filibuster. that is an ancient concept because we are using now where you only need 50 srots to get -- votes to get something done. democrats did it with the affordable care act and that of but now it done seems the normal approach to omnibus bills, continuing resolutions, there's chief in there ike authorizations in an appropriations bill which are against the rules of the house and senate unless they go back committee of jurisdiction. so that seems to be fairly normal. the nature changing of the senate as a result of not having the votes to get things you have a super majority. that is a problem in my opinion.
ost: let's go to peter calling from canada, independent. good morning. remember on september 10, 001, donald rumsfeld will a press conference where he said hat there are 2.1 million dollars missing from the pentagon budget. recently come into the news that the actual number department of defense h.u.d., housing and urban development. we are up to about $21 trillion taxpayer money. ould either of you comment on that? you just have to google it and that even forbes magazine mentioned it. lot of ms like an awful money.
to t: i can't speak of icular dollar figures what we often refer to as waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. i think say one of congress's fundamental responsibilities is to oversee the conduct of the branch.e and one thing we see over time oversight is that responsibility atrophy. not across the board. good e examples of congressional oversight but it s definitely the case congress does less oversight. is the appropriations process. that is historically a place for oversight can happen at the appropriations committees as that proposals and rocess has gotten less robust and relies more on continuing esolutions and omnibus bills that is where we have seen congress fall down on the job. phame-and-saphaome add we have
rigorous overseating with divided. between them we are having oversight hearings on oversight the other hearings are oversight like and divided they go after there. >> they are there to pursue proud, waste and abuse but they the g.a.o. that about equirement and law are to have oversight of these programs and they report to the committees of jurisdiction and those have hearings related to those reports. that is very important. outside groups in the united states -- because we have first amendment rights, they organize and to petition government -- they do oversight also which is helpful the media does also. so we have all of these institutions. it. we still need more of the joke, of course, in washington is why don't you go
budget the line in the that says fraud, waste and abuse and zero it out then you would in terms of balancing the budget. you can't do that. ost: let's talk about 2018, specificallily on investigations. what do you think the impact ?ould be if the president were to fire robert mueller? guest: well, i don't think he will. with you if he does there would firestorm of push back on democrats and republicans alike. i don't think he will go that far. what is 's talk about next on the legislative agenda. cohen talked yesterday and here is what he had to say is on list.resident's to-do >> the infrastructure is a phenomenally interesting topic. it is. i could talk about to the next day. of ave been spending a lot time on infrastructure and we will start spending more.
of the you think infrastructure world it is a federal government level and the regulates ernment basically all of the infrastructure in the united states. own basically none of it. those are oversimplifications it shows you. thing we can ngle do for infrastructure in this en the is we can short en approval process. the resident talked about nine or 10-year approval process for a highway. by the way, the approval process anything in the infrastructure world is enormously long. i was literally landed a list of everything that is sitting in the army corps of engineers for approval and there are things been there longer than your and my age combined. is a long time. there are things in there from are waiting for approval. so, the number one thing we can
we can do -- and there is to ngressional group going australia. australia has figured this out. approval eamline the process from years to weeks and months. years treamline it from to weeks and months, there is mon a lot of states and cities and a lot of counties budget e money in their and have passed taxes to spend monday on infrastructure. just need to get them approved. we could be their partners. available in g pockets sitting there to help phaoupbmunicipalities and governments to build infrastructure. they are tied up in approval processes. host: molly reynolds, infrastructure. i think that would be a fascinating thing to watch in 2018. has the earlier, it potential to scramble some partz alliances on capitol hill.
at the same time we spent were 2017 hearing the white house ay the infrastructure plan is coming and nothing has materialized. until we know what they mean by nfrastructure it is hard to judge what its prospects might be on capitol hill. articularly in an election year. guest: infrastructure is complex ecause it means fixed rails, highways, maintaining and building bridges. t means the airports that have different jurisdictions control them they want to raise taxes on they can improve that. that is not taking from our budget here. tell you, one reason we can not get infrastructure hrough quickly once the money has been allocated is private property rights. a situation like in beijing there last week where thread bulldozeers that came and wiped out people's houses? migrants t they were
there illegally. no. t takes a long time to get eminent domain through to get a highway through. city in america knows that. that slows it down. it is not the actual construction. is private property rights. majority is sitting down and apparently said i would on the ct to see that agenda on entitlements saying support they won't be able to do the. thing that is important is as we listen to peak are ryan talk about entitlement and welfare reform in 2018 is that is likely to using the budget second significance process from the the year of republicans will be down one more vote in the senate, down to seats and the approximate of getting a party line bill on of of those issues through
51 seat senate in an election year seems like an awfully big me. to guest: i agree. when you start doing entitlement mean entitlement because people have given money certain nd they meet a standard and they are older you have to hit social security and is where you here have older voters that voted ery high rates and very strong interest groups like aarp and others that will push back. don't see major entitlement reform coming through. host: james thurber distinguished proffer of at american used and former director and founder of he american university senator for congressional presidential studies, thank you very much. fellow with s