tv House Speaker Ryan Briefing CSPAN October 26, 2017 11:32am-11:57am EDT
an overexcited tom shine was there to cover it from the south lawn. chastised later for cueing his reporter out loud and on air. >> let's see if virginia can tell us some things. go. ♪ >> because it's helms, i think we automatically would go -- >> a desk editor and assignment manager for the last 39 years there behind sam donaldson and frank reynolds in 1981 as they announce the assassination attempt on president reagan. tom has covered history from abc's news desk for more than four decades through nine presidents and dozens of congressional leadership teams. >> now congress is not held in such high regard. but tom, your respect for the institution has always been manifest. >> and tom always believes in the importance of good
government. going to leave our coverage of the congressional radio and tv correspondents dinner. >> today we fpassed a budget tht is fiscally responsible, strengthens our nation's defense and is really good for citizens. more jobs, fairer taxes, bigger paychecks for americans. too long the american people have been living under a broken system where they see too little of their own hard earned dollars. they spend hours and hours and dollars just doing their taxes. so much time and money is wasted just complying with this incredibly complicated tax code only to be rewarded by having a big chunk of their income taken and claimed by the government. it's unsustainable. people really are struggling in this country. so many people are just living paycheck to paycheck. families deserve a break. single moms deserve a break.
parents working to send their kids to college, deserve a break. the guy who just got a job a couple months ago and was unemployed for many months, he serves a break. our tax reform plan invests in these people n real peopl, in r. we believe that families need a break. tax reform will help reignite the american dream. it will help bring us back to a place of confidence, freedom, happiness, a stronger, healthier economy. and this budget that the house just passed 20 minutes ago brings us closer to making that dream a reality. >> mr. speaker, appreciated the slide last night by the way. >> good luck with the other
career. >> what the conference did earlier this week starting with multiple informations into elements of the 2016 campaign. there's been allegations this is a partisan effort. what's your sense of the end game here and you had some strong words for the fbi earlier in the week about subpoenas related to the dossier issue. what are you willing to do with the fbi doesn't comply? >> the point of the investigations is to find the truth and make sure mistakes are not made again. transparency gets you that. it is our job to conduct full and thorough oversight over the executive branch. that is a really important responsibility for congress. this is why we're so frustrated to have learned through the media aspects about this investigation that we've been asking for documents from the fbi for months. and so since yesterday morning the fbi got in touch with us yesterday afternoon and they
have informed us that they will comply with our document requests and that they will provide the documents congress has been asking for by next week and we expect the fbi to honor that commitment. >> on tax reform, you guys did pass the final version of the budget. but more of your members voted against this version than voted against the original version that passed the house. many of them from new york, new jersey, those high tax states. what are you doing to ensure that you can get tax reform passed and to address their concerns? >> this was an enormous step to getting comprehensive tax reform and tax cuts for families over if li the line, in the law, done. this budget that we just passed, that is really important for getting tax reform done. the ways and means committee will be putting out the specific plan very shortly and they're
going to work with all of our members to look at and consider and address their concerns. i believe that the ways and means committee will be working with these members in particular to find a solution. >> earlier this week in an interview you wouldn't guarantee this tax bill won't raise the deficit. can you guarantee it will cut middle class taxes? >> the entire purpose of this bill is to cut middle class taxes. if you have any specific design or detail questions i'd have to refer you to the committee. i used to run the committee. i don't want leadership doing my job, so i'd have to defer you to them. >> do you agree with the president these retirement accounts should not be touched? >> i agree with tax reform and giving the committee the room to write their legislation. we're trying to achieve giving people a break on their taxes,
making it easier for people to plan and save for the future. that's the whole purpose of this. the committee is working on that. >> on immigration, can you clarify what you -- >> i notice i was leaked incorrectly. so no decision has been made about the timing and nature of daca, how it will be structured and when it will occur. >> when a vote would occur -- >> correct or how a vote would be structured. there are ongoing conversations occurring among all of our members about the various possibilities. you know we're working on a daca solution, right? there's no secret there. we're working on a daca solution. we want to work on a solution in such a way that we don't have a daca problem five, ten years down the road. we had to address border security and enforcement as a part of that.
some selective incorrect leaks are not really a way to convey that message. we're talking about all different kinds of solutions. >> earlier this morning your office described the tax foundation as nonpartisan. among its board is bill archer, bill english and american action network president -- >> great economist. >> you have taken shots at the tax policy center which most people see as bipartisan because it includes staff from both sides including two gop exceo chiefs. compare and contrast these two think tanks and why you think one is nonpartisan and the other -- >> without going deep into the modeling, i think having a closed economy model that disrespects mobile capital flows doesn't make a whole lot of sense. i think there are not model flaws. i thi
the i think they did a lot to poke holes in the tpc model. that's more wonky than you want to get into. they put a bunch of assumptions in their model to come up with conclusion that seems overly partisan. that is my fault with the tpc model. >> over on the other side of the capital there are some strong words coming from a couple of retiring senators this week about the president and about his behavior. do you share any of these concerns, in particular the concern raised by senator flake that he does not want to be complicit? >> here's what i think. jeff flake is a good friend of mine. i think the world of jeff flake. i wish him the best of luck into the future. i think he's a very good man. he helped us with earmark -- he was a voice of fiscal restraint
here in the house. but i don't think the american people care about that. you know what the american people want to see us do? solve their problems. i don't think the american people want to see us up here yelling at each other. they want to see us fighting for them. the american people want results. so that's what we're focused on. i honestly believe the more unified we are in pursuing solutions that solve the american people's problems, that's what the people who sent us here to do, that's what they expect. we work for the people who elect us. those are our employers. and so if we're calling each other names or calling each other out or say things against each other, what does that do to help a working mom get ahead? what does that do to help a veteran get the health care he deserves? what does that do to help us rebuild our military? what does that do to advance tax reform? nothing. that is why we need to stay focused on solving people's
problems and being concerned about their issues and moving this agenda forward. >> last question. >> mr. speaker -- >> i don't do the blurt out thing. somebody tell him about the rules later. >> you often talk about tax reform being basically a series of hard choices. the president has twice now -- pretty big for chairman brady and the 401(k) issue. are you at all concerned that this rollout next week when you actually detail these tough choices, that he's not going to maybe like some of them and tweet something about it. >> he's going to be in asia, number one. that was kind of a joke. no, i'm not, because we're working very very closely with the white house on this. as you know with the big six, we worked very hard on the parameters and design decisions on what goes into this.
the tax writers are working on the actual granular details an how to make this work and we're working very closely with the white house so there will be no surprises from our partners in the white house or the senate when we do this. thanks a lot, everybody. appreciate it. in just a moment or so we'll here from house minority leader sn nancy pelosi. we expect her to address the republican budget and tax reform. we'll have her remarks live when she gets under way here live on c-span 3.
while we wait from leader pelosi, a conversation with the washington journal about puerto rico's recovery efforts and immigration policy. the congressman is a democrat from new york. he's been to puerto rico twice now in the wake of hurricane maria and took the house floor yesterday to declare puerto rico our caribbean katrina. what did you mean by that? >> for four weeks, for a month, puerto ricans have not had any energy, puerto rico is in the dark. many of them do not have potable
water. there's still towns that are wrestling with the hurricane and the damage, the physical damage that it did, particularly those smaller towns in the hills of puerto rico. i was able to visit one of those towns and take water and food to them. i see the plight of the puerto rico people. they're very resilient. but still months later there's still no electricity, no running water in many places. you can see the photo on the screen of somebody -- this is untreated sewage water. >> did you take this photo? >> i took that photo myself. so this is a great challenge. of course, these natural disasters have cycles. the next cycle could be an
outbreak of epidemics. the next cycle could also be a lack of medical services for the people. so we must be steadfast in bringing help to puerto rico, ensuring that they get their electrical grid back and running and ensuring that fema and the department of defense are there to help. i find that more help got there to puerto rican people from the american people that sent assistance down there and folks that went down there to ensure that those in need got the help themselves. >> this week congress approved $36.5 billion in emergency spending that includes about $18.7 billion for fema, both in puerto rico and california. $1.2 billion for nutrition assistance in puerto rico. is that enough? what more do you want to see if it's not? >> the reconstruction of puerto
rico may take well over $60 billion. the island was decimated by a terrible storm that many experts feel should have created a new category of wind and destruction, way beyond the category 5 hurricanes that we usually see devastate many countries. so this is unforeseen for the region, unprecedented. it will take over $60 billion to rebuild puerto rico. and it should be built in a resilient way, in a reliable and a way that will be able to withstand any future storms. unfortunately, the caribbean stands in the pathway of many hurricanes. we had four of them hit the area, many countries and the u.s. territories in the area. it's going to take some money. the money that was allocated
will really go towards for puerto rico loan a $5 billion loan will go just to keep government running. we must go back and get at least a $20 billion allocation to really begin to address some of the critical needs of the puerto rican people. >> $20 billion just for puerto rico, is that in the hopper somewhere? is that moving along? >> it's moving along. we should be able to address that in the next two to three weeks. if we don't do that, puerto rico will then spin out of control. i think that we are looking at a situation that may spin out of control. what do you tell a father that has his children for four weeks with no electricity, with no running water, with spotty food that comes in and out of a town that still may be somewhat disconnected from the main cities of the island? what do you tell a parent that is in that situation, that dire
situation? >> did you meet that parent when you were there? >> i met parents like that. we met parents that were, you know, really crying for help for their children and their families. and so we don't want a public safety problem to emerge. and we don't want a major epidemic. we've already seen how this could turn out to be with potential cholera or an expansion of dengue or communicable diseases that emerge after a natural disaster of this nature. >> how close are we to something like that happening? >> there's already some incidents of some communicable diseases. we still don't have an accurate count of the people that perish or died during the storm. we still don't have a real accurate count. many people feel 49 is a number that we have. but folks were in hospitals on respirators and life saving equipment, hospitals that lost their generators. so we really don't know how many
people subsequent to the storm because of a lack of health care, an important health care or medication that they needed also passed away. so we don't have an accurate count. count. we're asking for that to happen. >> we're talking with congressman adriano espaillat of new york talking about his recent trips toips puerto rico, his ten-point plan for puerto rico recovery. here with us till about 8:30 this morning. independences 202-748-8,000. we'll start on the line for independents. david springfield, vermont, go ahead. >> hello, c-span. thank you for your service and hello. >> you're talking to the congressman. >> hello, sir. appreciate your service. just wanted to leave the suggestion for the rebuilding of puerto rico.
number one, the grid needs to be made underground and number two, the biggest problems we've had with these twos hurricanes was is the fact of electricity and water. and i would suggest building into puerto rico around the country desalination plants that could run on high pressure or forced water. turbines for hydroelectric power that could run through the water system. could you have an open underground cistern in puerto rico in certain areas where you could have electricity that could be run off the desalination plants with turbines and hydroelectric power and you could also desalnate water to provide for fresh water for the island. so you wouldn't have to worry about electricity and fresh water the next time a hurricane hits. >> that's a great suggestion. and you're accurate and you're right that the main problem continues to be a lack of electricity and a lack of water. you must remember that unlike other islands in the region or
other countries in the regions, puerto rico had a u.s.-made electrical grid. and they really didn't have a parallel independent grid that many countries in the region have because of spotty energy supplies. so they were really caught off guard. i do agree that it must be a state of the start modern system that puerto rico could also use their place in the caribbean for potential renewable energy and that it must be rebuilt sustainably. and i think that your suggestions were good one. >> in terms of rebuilding the grid, the contract that's gotten a lot of attention, $300 million for a small montana energy firm to work on puerto rico's electrical grid. that's whitefish energy. "the washington post" reporting on monday that whitefish had only two full-time employee on the day that hurricane maria hit the island, had never taken on
repairs of the destruction suffered in puerto rico and now some questions being brought up by some of your colleagues on how that contract was awarded. are you joining. >> i'm joining the call. we're concerned that whitefish smells fishy. if you may. and that we want the department of justice to look into how this contract came to be. and the company that got the contract and whether the proper and the appropriate process was utilized to insure that it was transparent and that they are prepared and qualified to provide the services that they were contracted to do. >> what's your understanding at this point? do you think they're qualified? >> well, there's some big question marks with regards to their capacity, their ability to provide the services. they only had two people employed before the hurricane. so we're questioning whether or not they're capable and qualified to provide the
services that they were contracted to do. beyond that, we're also questioning the transparency of this whole exchange. >> we're joined by congressman adrian know espaillat of the 13th district of new york taking your calls and questions. he's serving in his first term in congress, had two recent trips to puerto rico in the wake of hurricane maria. talking about his experiences down there. jim, leesburg, virginia, line for independents. go ahead. >> sorry, i'm not mother teresa and i get up every woman and bust my butt. my father is from vieques. we were down in puerto rico in 2011. it's a corrupt country. they're a socialist nation. 60% of the people employed are employed by the government. i get up every morning and my son is a combat veteran from afghanistan, he's getting the run around from the va and here i got to send billions of dollars to a corrupt country like puerto rico.
i'm not mother teresa. >> can i ask you, do you not consider puerto rico part of the united states? >> it's a territory, yes, sir. but they were corrupt and they were bankrupt. and they didn't keep up their infrastructure for the last 25 years. and then i got to spend billions of dollars to some nation. >> got your point. >> congressman? >> jim, i must remind you that puerto ricans are u.s. citizens, that it is a u.s. territory. there are many of them like your son have served in the armed forces and many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and that have died for us in times of war and conflict. so puerto rico is a territory. we must treat them as full-fledged u.s. citizens. they deserve to have the rights and privileges that any state in the united states or any territory of the united states is offered by our government. and we saw how this terrible storm and previous storms
devastated even u.s. cities like houston, texas, or the state of florida were the really hit hard by irma. we sou how the u.s. virgin islands were also decimated by hurricane maria. so this is not in an exclues kib calamity and exclusive humanitarian crisis of puerto rico. the virgin islands are also reeling back from the storm and they're all uz citizens. they must be offered all the rights and privileges antsds help that we would offer any american citizen across the world. >> your district the 13th district of new york has a particular connection to puerto rico. can you talk about it. >> yes, i represent el beario, east harlem which is really the cradle of the puerto rican migration to the mainland, to the united states. and so they settled their many, many -- >> morning. good morning. good morning, everyone. what an ev