tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 5, 2015 7:01am-10:01am EST
host: you can also catch up with us on social media -- twitter, facebook, or e-mail us. a very good monday morning to you. several headlines in today's papers about the upcoming opening day of congress. here is the front page of "usa today." "powershift tests gop." another headline from that paper -- "obama, new gop congress brace for battle." over to the "those angeles times." "gop takes the helm, to where?" front page of the "telegram and
does it" out of worchester massachusetts. "58 new law makers for the house, 13 in senate, will remake landscape." we will start with "the wall street journal." talking about some of the new issues for the new congress. "republicans in charge of the chambers have a challenging path pushing through bills on some of the most contentious issues -- health, energy, and spending -- without inflaming tensions on the left and the right." the senate notes that senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, like many new leaders before them, is planning to restore regular order, and members get to shape and debate rather than having a dictated by leadership or negotiated behind closed doors. that -- senator mitch mcconnell
was on state of the "state of the union" yesterday. [video clip] we need to do everything we can to rein in the regulatory onslaught, which is the principal reason we have not had the kind of bounce back after the 2008 recession that you would expect. >> what you think the first thing that will reach is just that he won't like will be? >> i don't know. he has doubled down on defending obamacare. we think it is a terrible piece of legislation. we will be voting on that and we can put either repeal or take out pieces of it like destroying the 40-hour workweek, the medical device tax, the individual mandate. all of these are highly unpopular with the american people. i hope we can put them on his desk. >> let's talk about your relationship with the president. >> the first two years he had
huge majorities in the house and senate. he never got anything he didn't like. now he needs to talk to us, and that's good because when the american people elect divided government, they're not saying "i don't want anything done." they say we want things done in the political center where both sides can agree. host: we want to know what your top issues are for the incoming 114th congress. will convene in just over 24 hours from now, noon tomorrow. phone lines are open to hear your top issues. host: we will hear from you for the first 45 minutes of your show today and we will talk about issues as well in our next segment of the "washington journal" when we bring on want to suck, editor-in-chief of "the hill" newspaper -- we bring in bob cusack, editor-in-chief of
"the hill" newspaper. "the top issue of this incoming congress is correcting the president's policies. we might make taxes simpler with less loopholes first, and then the workmates -- lower rates." "increasing benefits to those on social security, medicare, medicaid and unemployment" or william's top priorities. fort worth texas. toby, good morning. caller: good morning to you. happy new year's. first time i get to talk this year. i would like to see the american job act. i would like to see congress ringback the american job act. it was a beautiful piece of legislation that got rejected.
i believe that the president boehner, and mcconnell can work together could they need leadership in all three chambers to get anything done. host: tony in fort worth on our line for democrats. you mentioned john boehner. might be the subject of some drama tomorrow on the opening day of the new congress. it was the front page story from "the new york times." "republicans will have to fast to push agenda." "as john boehner seeks his third term as house leader, some disgruntled republicans say they will not back mr. boehner. a coup, while unlikely, would represent a disastrous beginning for the 114th and gas -- 114th congress. some activists say that congressional republicans are starting out too timidly."
in terms of those who have stepped forward to challenge john boehner for the speaker's gavel, they include louie gohmert of texas and ted yoho of florida. there is a story from "the washington times" on them, quoting ted yoho i say "our vote for a new speaker is not a personal vote against representative boehner. it is a vote against the status quo. our vote is a signal to the mountain people that we've had enough of washington politics and that we will stand with the american people." on twitter chad pegram of fox news, capitol hill correspondent, has been following those who may vote against a new speaker boehner speakership. they include, according to his latest six hours ago gohmert h yoho brat, stutzman, jones and
massie. they need 28 to force a second ballot. that is a very high bar. the house hasn't gone to a second ballot when deciding speaker since 1923. we want to hear from our viewers about your top issue for the 114th congress. michael is up next in alabama line for independents. caller: good morning. thanks big-time. it's a darn good thing that tavis smiley has a website of his own because how i badly wanted to ask him two questions and wasn't able to yesterday because of technical glitches. here is my concern about all of these republican cries against illegal immigration which i am not defending illegal immigration myself.
however, they are not solving the problem at the source. they want to use draconian, and the case of the republicans unfortunately come one of them here congressman from alabama -- draconian enforcement. the usa has been heavily involved in not only foreign policy but truth justice, the chiquita banana and rubber plantations and tea plantations in central america in the past, but also sending the military to these countries in the past, and of course, reagan's support of the contras in nicaragua and our involvement in el salvador. why can't we reinvest financially in those countries? they have sent more immigrants in 2014 is an mexico did an reinvest by way of the child sponsorship religious and
secular charities. they know how to solve the problems of unemployment and illiteracy at the source -- on the rural, village, and inner-city slum level, building health clinics and schools and so forth. of course, congress won't do this sort of thing, but it is just an idea i had. thanks big-time. host: michael in alabama talking about the issue of immigration as a priority in congress. here is a tweet from tom marino republican from pennsylvania. "we must maintain our efforts to help obama's executive amnesty." we want to hear about your top priorities. linda is in san francisco, california, on our line for democrats. caller: yes hello. it is my opinion that in this last election, first of all, there was a lot of gerrymandered
districts, and second, a lot of big money coming from a few people in the election. and that the american people are not as much for the republican agenda as they might seem. they are for raising the minimum wage. they certainly didn't want to roll back the regulations on banks that the republicans put through the last minute. our whole financial crisis -- i don't think they are for that. and i don't think they are for cutting food stamps for people who don't have any food, especially if they really knew how little people actually get. and so i know the republicans want a lot of seats but i don't think their agenda is as popular as, you know, that might make it seem. host: before you go, we read a
story earlier about the injury possibly surrounding speaker boehner's leadership, maintaining the gavel. you are on our line for democrats. how do you feel about democratic leadership in the house and senate? are you happy with it? caller: i'm not unhappy with the senate. i think they had a real hard row to hoe the last few years because the republicans would just filibuster everything they wanted to put through, even stuff like confirming pretty routine appointees so the administration wouldn't even have people -- and the republicans in the house, i don't know if they had much of a chance but they might've tried to use their numbers to swing things one way or another. i am not unhappy with them.
i think they got something start -- i think they got some things done. host: we are talking about your top issues from the 114th congress. "i would like to see the 114th congress bring all u.s. troops home from afghanistan and have them patrol and secure the southern border." "congress should actually work for their pay instead of their usual shirking. good luck with that." retreating a tweet from hollywood republican chuck woo lery -- he wants "to get americans to understand we are a constitutional republic, not a democracy, and what that means." winston-salem, north carolina, outline for independents. caller: good morning, sir. what i would like from our congress is the truth host:. host:and the truth on what,
jamie? caller: everything. if you don't have the truth, you don't resolve the problems our country faces. then he give you an example. for the most part, the vast majority of americans think that the federal reserve is part of the federal government. it is a private inking cartel -- banking cartel. why can't we have the truth on who is truly behind pushing immigration policies and's country? -- policies in this country? host: how does congress go about regaining your trust? who are the people telling the truth on capitol hill? caller: none of them. host: crystal beach, florida, our line for republicans. good morning. caller: good morning. this is ruth out of crystal beach, florida.
my main concern is the health care issue. the truth is really not out there. i spent a lot of time in canada and i do know what the problems are. number one, it is not a free health care system. you pay for your medicine unless you are in the hospital. you pay for your nursing home. you pay for your chiropractor. and better have insurance. and yes, they do kill people. it is done very, very easily and done right in the hospital. you see the signs on the doors. no liquids, no food. what does that mean? they are usually get within three days. it has nothing to do with age. it has to do with how much money you are costing the government to keep you in the hospital. and give you the cracks are that is free, -- the doctor that is free if you can get one in your town.
it is going to get like that in the u.s. yes, killing people is not good. host: on the issue of health care, mitch mcconnell in his statement to cnn yesterday talked about the possible vote on repealing the tax on medical devices, that is the topic of the lead editorial in today's "usa today," the editorial board saying that repealing the tax on medical devices would "be a serious mistake," the editorial board noting that it has been in effect since january 1, 2013. it was written in as part of the funding that helps uninsured americans get health coverage. they are getting billions in new profits and it only seems fair that they should offset the costs of the law. device members -- device makers are well-funded and well-placed
to fight back. over the past five years the industry is spent nearly $150 million to lobby against the tax." you can hear more of the editorial board's thoughts in "usa today." "the wall street journal" at the early to do list specifically for the house "allowing companies hiring veterans who have government health insurance to exclude them from the cow that triggers requirements to provide health coverage, change the requirement that businesses provide health insurance to employees who work as few as three hours a week, and authorize construction of another proposed link in the keystone xl pipeline project." baton rouge, louisiana, our line for independents. good morning. caller: good morning, c-span.
how you doing? host: good, sir. caller: i think the first thing congress should do is pass a law about immigration. they could solve this problem very quickly. past a law that no immigrant that gets amnesty can vote for anyone in particular a democrat 420, 40, maybe even 50 years. i guarantee you the democrats will be up in arms. the 101st airborne would be on the border tomorrow if that was the case. host: all right, and george is up next, line for republicans. what are your top issues for the 114th congress? caller: well, i just think that mr. weiner cannot control -- mr. boehner cannot control, cannot get his coalitions together.
he needs to get somebody a little smarter in their. he really needs to go and we need to get control of the congress so all of us can have a better relationship. host: you are talking about speaker weiner. who would be your pick for a new speaker? caller: you know, i don't have one. i know that is not the right thing to say. i think there is a number of good people there. i just don't know -- i'm so incensed about people trying to change everything up there they can't get it done. no one seems to have -- every time we talk about medical care within the community, we get these large hospitals in cleveland or elsewhere in new york, and they don't speak for the community hospitals, the ones with 125 beds were less.
summary set a minute ago or the article you read that hospitals getting to be fat cats, that is absolutely not true. hospitals are hurting. they are losing doctors, they can't recruit them. we are doing a pretty good job at it until they kept cutting and cutting and cutting. anyway, i'll get off the phone and listened to you. thanks very much. host: on the issue of congressman boehner's possible speakership, another tweet from a republican in oklahoma writing yesterday that "i congratulate congressman gohmert and congressman ted yoho for courageously running for house speaker." the picture noting "it's time for a new speaker," asking people to retweet if they agree. we will speak to bob cusack from
"the hill" newspaper on a topic. from nancy pelosi and the other leadership in the house and senate from a yougov poll that came out last week, 57 percent of american 7% of americans have in unfavorable opinion of house speaker john boehner 48% of republicans, 59% of independents 61% of democrats agree. 55% overall have an unfavorable opinion of house minority leader nancy pelosi, 83 percent of republicans, 67% of independents, 26% of democrats. we want to hear from you on your top issues for the next 25 minutes or so on the "washington journal." sheila in bakersfield, california, on our line for independents. caller: hi, how are you? host: good, sheila, go ahead. caller: i was just wondering why it was in 2011, i found out i
had a tumor almost as long as my arm in my stomach, and i can't get state disability, i can't get anything. they tell me i have funds somewhere else and nobody wants to tell me i had -- i had an attorney. the attorney won't help me. can you tell me why that would be? host: i can't, but as your medical situation changed at all with the affordable care act? has that changed any of the treatment or it sounds like a pre-existing condition that you are having trouble getting coverage for? caller: i had meningitis when i was 16 months old and ucla medical center found be permanently disabled at six years old. so i don't understand why i can't get help. host: sheila in bakersfield california. health care is the top issue for her. our phone lines are open.
host: on our twitter page -- "infrastructure, tax reform, immigration reform would be concrete accomplishments. build, not to down." fred barnes writes in today's "wall street journal" -- "mr. obama is less kindly disposed to divided government. dealing with republicans is not his strength. nonetheless, his aides have said he plans to spend more time with numbers of cornice. in 2011, mr. obama botched a $4 trillion agreement on raising taxes and cutting spending by demanding more taxes at the last minute." if you want to read more of fred
barnes' thoughts as the new congress gets ready to convene tomorrow, that is "the luster journal -- "the wall street journal." be sure to tune in for a special edition of the "washington journal," a five-our show tomorrow from 7:00 a.m. till noon when the new congress convenes. we will talk to veteran congressional reporters and take your thoughts and tweets and comments from facebook as well. some :00 a.m. until noon. and then our coverage of the swearing-in ceremonies and the new congress begins at noon, live on c-span as well that you can spend your morning in most of your day here with us on c-span. we are talking about your top issues for the 114th congress. johnny from woodbridge virginia. our line for democrats. caller: hello.
i would like for the american people to experience what the republicans want to do with this country, to let everything be -- they want to pass through, let it pass through. that will take care of republicans for the next 200 years. the democrats are unable to explain what the republicans want to do to this country. and the people seem like they don't want to know, whatever. just take the medical service away. the roads, let it crumble. let everything fall down. let them give all the rich people more money and cut food stamps up. there is only one thing i agree with that republicans do, and that is immigration. i don't see how people can break in somebody's house and say they belonged there. it just don't make sense to me. host: johnny in woodbridge,
virginia. on the issue of republican leadership, it was a topic that senator john thune talked about yesterday on "fox news sunday," talking about how the republicans will lead and answering questions about whether the republicans will shut down the government again in battles with president obama. [video clip] >> we are not going to shut the government down, chris-- >> >> including the department of homeland security? >> including that. we recognize it is important that we fund of the government. now that we are the majority we have the responsibility to do that. but we will also use the power of the purse, which is what the constitution gives congress as a mechanism by which to challenge the president on issues where he has overstepped his authority. what he has done on immigration is clearly an example of that could he said on 22 different occasions that he did not have the authority to do this and he
did it anyway. we will look for every opportunity to do that but it will also be important for us to recognize that there is a majority in the house and senate and we have a responsibility to get things done for the country and make sure that our government is funded, but funded in a way that is consistent with what i think the american people said in the november election, that they want the congress more involved with these issues and a half the overreaching consistently as he has in the past with executive powers. host: that was south dakota republican john thune yesterday on "fox news sunday." courtesy of "the orange county register" this morning, "the congress will will come 58 freshmen, of which 43 are republicans, giving the gop the most members since the great depression. more minorities and women than ever before, with close to 100
black, hispanic, and asian lawmakers, including the youngest woman elected to congress, a 30-year-old from new york, and the first black republican woman mia love of utah." some stats on the new congress and we will be going over those more in depth with the five-hour "washington journal we will be having from here on capitol hill. raymond on our line for democrats. good morning. caller: good morning, c-span. mrs. raymond. as far as the v.a., didn't they give the v.a. 16 billion dollars for health care for veterans? you can tell me if i am wrong. host: you talking about the funding bills recently passed? i don't know the exact figure, but go ahead. caller: why is it they don't have anything for anyone in the v.a. that is 100% disability?
everyone served, whether it is for two days or 20 years -- as long as you get an honorable discharge you are eligible for anything the army has for you, right? host: and raymond, are you a veteran yourself? caller: yes i am, sir. host: go ahead. caller: go ahead. host: i just wanted to know your experiences. caller: yes, i'm talking about mine and a few other veterans who live around the world. host: talk about the va hospital in newcastle. is there one in newcastle or nearby? caller: we have to go to butler. and there is a van that picks us up from the lawrence county courthouse and drives us down there. but if you don't have 100% disability, they won't treat you for any dental. you can't get any dental from the military from that va hospital, unless you are 100% disabled. host: is this some thing you
have raised with your member of congress or is there a member of congress you know who is pushing this issue? caller: well, i wrote him and i haven't heard anything back. host: who is your member -- caller: this isn't just me i'm calling for today i'm calling for the other vets walking around who can't get help dental-wise. you know what i mean? it's not just for me, is for all my fellow veterans. host: who is your member of congress in newcastle, pennsylvania? caller: the last one i talked to -- i got his letter around here somewhere. i can't recall his name. i even went to my state representative and he can't do nothing either. host: raymond talking about veterans issues, veterans health issues, especially dental health, as his top issue for the 114th congress. the phone lines are open for the
next 14 minutes or so. jacksonville, florida, our line for independents. good morning. caller: good morning, how are you this morning? host: good, bruce. caller: my first things about the republicans and the affordable care act. they're going to cut this and cut that and whatever but they never come up with an alternative to the affordable care act. here is a little figure for you -- they spent close to $1 billion setting up the website to sign up for affordable care act. well, that is $999 million. there is only $334 million -- people in this country, so you do the math. the only thing i don't like about the republicans is they always want to not do something but they don't ever offer an alternative as to what they are going to do.
host: all right, that is bruce in jacksonville, florida. one republican member of leadership is bob goodlatte chairman of the house judiciary committee, republican from virginia. he wrote a recent piece about looking ahead to the 114th congress. "as the house of representatives and the senate kick off the 114 there are opportunities to work together for the american people. in recent years, many house passed jobs bills have run into the washington version of quicksand known as the united states senate. fortunately, in november the american people delivered a clear message to washington. they are more interested in results than the latest filibuster. i look forward to working with my colleagues in the house as well as incoming majority leader mcconnell in the senate to see important legislation moved through congress this year. while we have made small strikes and having federal spending, much more must be done to get
the united states' fiscal house in order. the $18 trillion national debt threatens to bankrupt future generations and further stalled the already sluggish economy." looking ahead to the opening of the 114th congress. idaho falls, idaho, on our line for democrats. caller: hey, good morning. thanks for having me on. our government has regulations on taxes. there is a lot of corporations pay -- who are not paying taxes in our country. almost $4 trillion of the money out there that hasn't been patriot it, so my biggest issue is we should repatriate those funds and start actually doing some nationbuilding here in our country and certain other countries -- instead of in other
countries. host: all right nebraska. sean is calling in on the line for independents. caller: yeah, i served 24 years. the entire v.a. system needs to be overhauled. a lot of what they rate on is world war ii ratings and not abated since then. a lot of people in the v.a. health care system have hampered the system for all these years. they need to be fired and replaced. what happened last year brought out -- the news media made it seem like all of a sudden this just happened. this has been going on for years. host: sean, has anything changed for you, your experience, after those stories from last year and the change in leadership? is there anything ufc moakley --
is there anything you have seen locally? caller: here in omaha nebraska we have always had here in omaha a good health care system. at the state level -- i run the line veterans association and i am in touch with surrounding states and i hear the travesties that come out of that point i travel from state to state to speak. the veterans interservice network -- some get adequate money to run, others don't. it is based on your veterans population, within your state or your district. we may have it good here, but i have were stories coming out of colorado and other parts of the country -- i have horror stories coming out of colorado and other parts of the country. they will turn around and move to another state and take a record their from 86 months and
reapply for the veterans disability claim and get it improved -- approved in another state and then they move back to their original state. host: is there anybody in congress right now you think has a handle on these issues that you would trust to lead on these issues? caller: no. this congress that's going to take over right now -- when i say congress, i mean the house of representatives and the senate -- it has the lowest amount of veterans serving than any other congress. the veterans from active duty guard reserves, we do not have the representation representing us in congress that we had years ago. it is just not there. you associate that of which you come from. and these politicians have never served their country. their kids don't serve, their
grandchildren don't serve. they have no idea what the veteran goes through. and i believe the v.a. health care system was the first national healthcare system. and now we have a national healthcare system for all of the united states. how can we sit there and have a national healthcare system for the united states that is going to be better supposedly than what we give our veterans? host: sean in bellevue, nebraska. another caller saying that this congress can work on v.a. issues, their top priority in the new congress. according to the "washington post" story on the new congress the first test for incoming senate majority leader mitch mcconnell may be on energy issues, their story noting that "senator mcconnell is keenly aware of the challenges raining in some of the impulses that
fellow republican lawmakers have developed over eight straight years in the minority. the first test will come on the energy debate, which could begin by the end of this week. mcconnell is trying to keep this site from offering amendments not related to energy issues. in recent years, when some rank-and-file republicans wanted to stop the senate in its tracks, they were threatened -- they were threatened amendments related to health care." that story in "the washington post" if you want to read on that. we want to get in as many of your calls as possible. michael is in new york, new york, our line for republicans. caller: hi, good morning. my top issue for the incoming congress is how they're are going to tackle inflation, and in particular, now that it's a republican-dominated congress
what are their plans to work the executive branch when it comes to financial matters, whether it be spending, whether it be the issues of energy prices down, and what happens to the value of the american dollar in the next year, the next two years? host: all right, on twitter "i want congress to show their ideas of social security and medicare reform." south haven, michigan, our line for democrats. caller: good morning. i heard you ask a question about do we approve or disapprove of speaker boehner. i think they should get rid of him. not only that, the congress ain't doing their job. they're talking about what they're going to do and the bills they are going to send it to the president and they're
going to have a lot of to overturn the health care thing. i don't get it. but those that do, i'm sure they appreciate getting something because they didn't have it before that they couldn't stop because they had a pre-existing condition. congress needs to do their job and stop worrying about poking in the president assad. host: you were talking about getting rid of speaker boehner. you are calling on our life for democrats. are you happy with democratic leadership -- nancy pelosi in the house and harry reid in the senate? caller: i am. it's better than boehner. host: just a couple other headlines to point you to today. here is the front page of "the boston globe," talking about the jury selection getting ready to
begin in the boston marathon bomber case. "intense scrutiny of jurors starts today." "testimony may begin next month." "the washington times" story on it noting that the "chosen jurors will come from april pool of 100 possible jurors to decide whether dzhokhar tsarnaev carried out the twin bombings that killed and injured more than 260 at the finish line the april 13, 2013 marathon race. if they find him guilty, they will decide whether he should be put to death in the case." a couple other stories on the political front 2.2. here is the"the fix" column in today's "washington post,"
talking about mike huckabee, former republican governor on saturday joining the ranks of potential republican primary candidates by announcing he is ending his fox news channel show to seriously consider running for president. "the continued chatter has put fox news in a position that is not fair to them, nor is it possible for me to openly determined political and financial support to justify a race. the honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at fox." story on the democratic primary is on the front page of "the lost original -- "the wall street journal." "iowans slow to embrace clinton." you can read that today in "the wall street journal." want to get to bernie, who is waiting in huntington, new york, on our line for independents. what is your top issue for the new congress that will convene
tomorrow? caller: good morning. i have two. one is that we are in a stalemate as far as congress is concerned and that is a pretty good thing because the republicans are blocking some pretty dumb democratic initiatives. however, i think that the public should try to rise up and built a centrist party which can force compromise. some people call it the radical middle, or the centrist point of view, or a centrist party. i think that would be a very valuable thing, since these guys are working three days a week. they are taking a lot of money to help special interests, and we are not getting the reforms we need, and we are in deep debt. host: bernie, who would be a good leader of a centrist party? caller: i would say -- i think christie could do it. i would like to see christie carter as the next republican
approach to governing. host: bernie, if you looked at the group no labels, the elected members who have pledged to be centrist? have you looked at that group and what you think of it? caller: yes, but i don't think they as a group have enough money behind them and enough power in the current senate to become the deciding vote in the senate. i think that is where the heart of the matter lies. host: bernie, thanks for the call from huntington, new york. trisha, libertyville, illinois on our line for independents. caller: good morning. i would like to see the united states reform its policy regarding israel. i think this would go a long way towards making peace in the middle east and would even go a long way towards eliminating isi
s and the radical groups that pop up in response to the favoritism the u.s. repeatedly shows towards israel. further, i'm a professional veteran advocate and i would like to see the pa reform to the degree that doctors and physicians are held in the same standards as civilians are held to. i would also like to see veterans have the same legal rights in bringing litigation and lawsuits against the v.a. right now, should a veteran choose to sue the v.a., they are subject to the onerous conditions of the claim act, which denies them a trial by jury. i would like to see that reformed, and i would like to see congress undertake that as soon as possible. host: all right, tricia in libertyville, illinois.
on the issue of foreign policy we will be talking later in today's show to juan zarate, a former deputy national security adviser. we will be talking about areas of the world that might prove to be threats to the safety of the united states in the new 2015 year. , we will talk to bob cusack editor-in-chief of "the hill" newspaper, about the opening day of the 114th congress. we will be right back. >> the 114th congress gavels in this tuesday at noon eastern. watch live coverage of the house on c-span and send it on c-span2,, and track the gop-led
congress, and have your say on how events unfold on the c-span networks, c-span radio and cspan.org. new congress, best access on c-span. tonight on "the communicators," three technology reporters review the big issues of 2014 and the key communications and technology issues in the new year. >> i mean, the chairman is not expected to unveil his proposal until february or march at the earliest, which gives republicans an opening to introduce a bill on net neutrality of their own. it would force him to move more quickly or is it going to put him in a position where he would have to do some negotiation with congressional republicans? that is not clear yet. that is something we will be watching early in the year. >> i expect the fcc will come
out with final rules on net neutrality. president obama, of course, came out in support of reclassifying broadband service under title ii of the communications act, which would make it treated like utility. the broadband industry groups are fiercely opposed to this. there is a lot of pressure on chairman wheeler to go that route. we will see in the first few months what happens there it even -- there and even if the rules are the books it is not necessarily over. there are lawsuits from industry groups like verizon and comcast especially if chairman wheeler does what the president wants. >> we are talking about net neutrality against the backdrop of the communications act update. now that republicans control the senate, they have that as well. republicans want to get into paper starting in january. we will look for congressional
republicans to push on any net neutrality rules they think are in overreach. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on "the communicators" on c-span2. >> "washington journal" continues. host: bob cusack is editor-in-chief of "the hill" newspaper in washington and we always appreciate him joining us on "washington journal." a day before the start of the 114th congress, how concerned should speaker boehner be about holding onto the speaker's gavel? a story from "the hill's" website this morning -- "republicans voting against boehner." guest: i don't think boehner has too much to be concerned about what he has got to contain it. in the last congress there was this last attempt -- within 24 hours -- to overthrow him. it was really not managed a very well. there were 12 republicans at that time that did not vote for
boehner either, voting for somebody else or abstaining from the vote. out with 12, 10 are returning. out of those 10, looks like six to seven to eight will not vote for boehner. and then you of incoming freshmen. they have to get into the high 20's to make trouble for boehner . john boehner needs a majority of the house to vote for him. democrats will vote for nancy pelosi in there might be some who don't vote for her but vote for another democrat. john boehner needs to keep that number under 28 or so, and it looks like he has got that. what remains to be seen -- overall, it is a safe bet that john boehner is going to be speaker. host: in terms of what happened to use goat versus this time around, there are a couple of different candidates that have put their names forward. is it unusual that they haven't coalesced around one financial t -- one potential pick.
guest: it is a shift in strategy, and the dynamics are different. they had lost seats in the senate, lost the presidential race lost seats in the house. here john boehner and his team have picked up 13 house seats. he has got momentum. the shift in strategy you mentioned is because last time around they did not coalesce behind one. vote for whoever you want and maybe we can get it to a second ballot and basically create chaos, and it was chaotic because it got awfully close and john boehner was sweating it out the last time. here they have not been able to coalesced behind one candidate. some have suggested trey gowdy republican from south carolina who is heading the benghazi committee. but he has told us that he is not interested in becoming speaker. he is loyal to boehner, he is going to vote for boehner. the rebels, louie gohmert and
ted yoho, republicans from texas and florida respectively, have said they will not vote for boehner and have offered themselves up. host: what is the bigger picture here? you talked about the rebels in this congress. how are the rebels going to shape this new 114th or congress? guest: if you look at the makeup of the house, there are more republicans and that gives boehner more votes to play with. anytime he has tried to pass a very controversy ability is needed to rely on democrats such as raising the debt ceiling last year, where only 28 republicans announced voted for a clean ceiling increase. some say that he has a stronger hand he does he has more to play with some of the republicans -- some of these republicans are more conservative. getting the votes to pass controversial bills just
republicans only, it is still going to be difficult even though they have a historic majority host:. host: how difficult a task this incoming senate majority leader mitch mcconnell have trying to round up the votes? guest: it is a dream job for mitch mcconnell and he has got a stronger hand than most people thought because most handicappers were thinking he would win the senate they be with 51, 52. he has got 54. he has vowed to pass a budget and that is going to be challenging even with 54, because most, if not -- i would bet all democrats come whatever i do they propose they are going to vote no. he is going to have to get ted cruz and susan collins. he can afford only a few defections. host: lead story on thehill.com -- "republicans take the reins." what are the key changes on the committee level?
who are the key chairman you are going to be watching in the house and senate? guest: in that house you have to look at john mccain at armed services -- host: in the senate. guest: i.t. critic of president obama. you also have to look at senator jim in half, climate change skeptic -- jim inhofe, climate change skeptic. he will be in charge of the energy committee. in the house, darrell issa was term limited. jason chaffetz is taking over for him and he will be a little bit different than darrell issa. basically, the other one is the house -- is the chairman of the house ways and means committee he has not said he won't run for president, but it is very doubtful that he will. he wants to move tax and trade bills and he will play a role in crafting the budget.
he could be one of the most powerful ways and means chairmen we have seen since bill thomas ran the committee. host: just because of the profile that he has? guest: yes, because the profile -- conservatives like him. he could have mounted a leadership bid. not interested could he says he is not going to be in congress forever. he has had a testy relationship at times with president obama. but maybe they could agree on some issues, and not many of them, certainly on obamacare they will differ, but on trade issues there is some common ground. host: we are talking to bob to sack of "the hill" newspaper on the 114th congress, getting set to meet 28 hours from now. bob cusack here to take your questions and comments on today's segment in "washington journal."
host: want to talk to you for a second about steve scalise, the house majority whip and we talk about the controversy that has surrounded him in the past week and how that might overshadow things. host: this is something that john boehner will have to address on camera. yes -- he has put out the statements of warning steve scalise, who spoke to a racist group -- he has acknowledged this -- in 2002. he says he progressed talking to that group back then that he wasn't sure he was talking to that group and at one point blame staff on it. scalise i think has been able to weather the storm because while there have been democrats who have called for him to step aside as leader, republicans have not, and anytime you get
into this type of controversy, as long as members of your team don't call for you to step aside, you are probably going to survive. at the same time, it is something reporters will be asking about this week. host: "hill" story on this topic -- the headline, "mia love defense scalise." the importance of mia love defending phillies. guest: she is a black republican who defended scalise. and a democrat from louisiana has also defended scalise. that is why i think this story is fading but it is certainly going to be talking about -- talked about. host: a story in "the new york times" this morning -- "allies say willingness to talk to anyone, nearly his undoing defines scalise." we want to get your thoughts and
questions for bob cusack as we get said to kick off the 114th congress. pennsylvania on our line for republicans. caller: how you doing? good morning. i'm really tired of everybody slamming the republicans for gridlock in congress, always being accused of not working with the president on getting things done. you can't work with someone who everything he wants to do is detrimental to the country whether it be the affordable care act or climate change or his foreign policies. everything he wants to do is always harmful to the country. as far as boehner goes, i would like to see him replaced with a more hard right republican such as crtuuz or gephardt for any of those guys --
host: you mean gohmert, louie gohmert? caller: yeah, some of who is going to stand up more. we can't let immigration -- i'm tired of everything -- the republicans want to stand up to him and they always get blamed because they hate him or it is a racist thing and it is just not true. everything obama wanted to do is bad for the country. this affordable care act is horrible. yeah, there was a lot of people getting insurance that didn't have insurance, but when you look at the people who are losing their jobs, the insurance rates are also directly, people that are losing their jobs -- insurance rates are all skyrocketing, people that are losing their jobs or getting part-time hours, it is just terrible. host: bob cusack, what are you talk about how president obama is going to interact with the 114th congress, and as you do that come here is a quotation
from his news conference he had before leaving -- "i am absolutely sincere when i say i want to work with this new congress to get things done. we are going >> guest: they are going to have to agree on some issues. how they strike the deal, it remains to be seen. the president does want to get some stuff done. he is going to do a lot administratively, whether on climate change or other health care issues. he has said, we can disagree on these issues, but we can agree on possibly these issues. whether it is striking a major deal on a fiscal arrangement. passing trade authority. i do think that this congress
will be better than the last one. republicans have control. they have got to show they can send bills to the president. their goal is to make obama the party of no. the first thing they're going to center him is keystone. -- send it to him is keystone. i think they will do that pretty quickly. host: less gridlock is your prediction? guest: i would not expect major entitlement or tax reform. it is very hard to get a tax bill through. host: robert is in milwaukee line for democrats. caller: with a guy like ted cruz and mike lee of utah and all the rest of those people in the republican party who are so anti-obama, you know there is not going to be anything done.
just like the first republican caller who just called. he is taking a cue right from rush limbaugh and fox news. i think if anything gets done, it won't be from the republicans. it will have to come from the president and the democrats. these republicans only want to do one thing and that is to kill obamacare or the aca. host: talk about the issue of executive action and how those actions have been received by congress. guest: you had the immigration executive order. that was very controversial. that is something the president said he was going to do, but democratic senators in tough reelection races did not want
him to move forward on it before the election. he held off and has done it postelection and that is one of the things republicans will have to deal with by the end of february because funding for the department of homeland security expires at the end of february. this is a real pressure that the republican leaders are under. they have to appease their base. one of the things we wrote about last year is that even if they do defund these immigration agencies that would be implementing the executive order on immigration president obama still has the authority to deem these people essential government employees. republicans, some of them are saying that we don't have a strong hand. the president can do what he wants on deeming certain officials essential. host:if you look a year back when
we had the government shutdown those exact agency officials were deemed essential. at the same time, that is why louie gohmert is running. he feels that john boehner has not applied enough pressure on the president on immigration. there is concern that republicans are going to move forward on some time of immigration reform, but not on anything close to the senate passed bill in congress. they will move on smaller bills and that will attract controversy. host: a tweet coming in. can you talk about the impact of the jonathan gruber story on the
health care debate? guest: i think it is significant. a fair amount of coverage came up to capitol hill. he apologized for what he said in calling voters stupid. the other aspect of the effective gruber's, is that there is another challenge of obamacare dealing with federal subsidies. his comment will be used against this administration. he says he was not an architect of obamacare. he was in the room, he was in white house meetings. he was described as an obamacare architect in many articles and did not till the producers not to call them that. -- him that. he was in the room when they were making the decisions and that could come back in the supreme court decision which
should be decided in june. without those subsidies, a lot of people say that obamacare crumbles. host: we are talking to bob to sack. -- cusack. anthony is in tennessee. are you with us? caller: i have two things i would like to say. i was a veteran of the vietnam war. my father was a veteran also. i want to start off with congress. i don't really follow too much politics. congress stood up and said we are not going to do anything for this president and then he is
called a liar when he stood up. my father died in the 1980's. he went 21 days out of 28 days at fort dix. the veterans hospital told him to go home. we took him to john f. kennedy in new jersey and they did what they needed to do, operated on his lower spine. then they did a test and found he had a blockage and operated on him. they found a tumor the size of a football.
we have letters from congressman howard. we have them. there are copies which you can barely read. host: thanks for sharing your story. not the only caller today to talk about v.a. issues and veterans care. prospects for further efforts on that in the 114th congress? guest: i think there will be some. we did see a bill passed on v.a. reforms. those investigations are ongoing. there are some bills i was looking at -- when you think about what republicans are going to do in the congress, you have to look back at what the house passed in the last congress.
a lot of the republican bills were not voted in the senate. there are a fair amount of bills that are bipartisan that i think will get bipartisan support in the house and will be voted on in the senate. they are not controversial bills. that is what republicans have to show. congress is very unpopular. they have to change the dynamic of that. they have to show a flurry of activity. one issue that should come up is whether congress will vote on an isis authorization. speaker banner said he is open to it. he put the ball in obama's court. he said -- john boehner said he should crafted and send it to congress. -- craft it and send it to congress.
i don't know if that is actually going to happen. president obama said, we could vote on it, but i also have the authority to do what i am doing. isis is not on the front pages anymore. there are certain members who say that this important of a member -- vote should not be voted in a lame-duck session. host: you talked about comparing the last congress to this congress. jamie is up next in summerville, south carolina. republican line. caller: good morning. i have been listening to you and i have a follow-up question to what he just spoke about. congress being unpopular. i thought the shutdown of the government helped them because they stood up to obama and they picked up all those more seats
this time from two years ago. they took the senate. that shows me that people are tired. they might have reelected him on the platform that he ran and then he changed his mind and decided, i am going to go my way and ignore congress altogether. that has made more people mad and that is where they picked up more seats in congress and now they have taken the senate. they need to piecemeal this. i think through the affordable care act, i think it is great that people got insurance and the subsidies. but i think one of the things that they need to go back and look at when they take these things through the courts they need to take it out because i think it is unconstitutional that it is not considered a tax if we don't have insurance. i think that is an individual right for a person to either have it or not to have it.
when they send these things through and that is going to get us a republican president. if they send these things through and he keeps saying veto veto, it is going to make it hard when 2016 comes up. guest: i certainly agree that the republicans are setting up their 2016 nominee. if they do a good job of managing the congress, sending a lot of bills to president obama, winning the showdowns, that is going to bode well for whoever the 2016 nominee is. i think republicans and polls show -- john boehner thinks it was a misstep and republicans were blamed for the shutdown. you had all of the attention go from the shutdown to the nonfunctional government website of obamacare and that took all
of the momentum that democrats had and took it away. others say, republicans needed to take a stand. that is why republicans say, we are not going to shut down the government again and that is where mitch mcconnell -- it is going to be fascinating to see how he runs the senate. he is a deal maker. he wants to get stuff done. he has said repeatedly that people want to get things done. he has struck deals on a number of issues, specifically fiscal shutdowns -- showdowns. host: big guns rights in on her twitter page. can you talk about w --rites -- writes in on our twitter page.
can you talk about dodd frank? guest: elizabeth warren has been so outspoken on the crom the bus -- cromnibus. elizabeth warren said, we need to stop giving away to the wall street guys, the k street lobbyists who are looking for changes on this. a lot of controversy on that. i think you will see more division on the left than we have seen before. we have seen a lot of the tea party versus republican establishment. we are now seeing this elizabeth warren wing of the party going up against a treasury nominee. al franken came up against the treasury nominee.
that is why everyone is reading and parsing every word that elizabeth warren says. at the same time, you have to look at hillary clinton's panel numbers. but we are still a long way out. host: we have 15 minutes left with bob cusack. what is on the table in the coming months for the upcoming congress. we will go tumor real -- to mur iel. caller: happy new year to you both. i just want to say this. i think the president, president
obama, i will use his title president, he will be in command in spite of the majorities of the republicans, ok? because i think the republicans are on the same train to nowhere. if they bring up the repeal of the health care law and also if they don't deal with immigration. when we talk about immigration we should think about people because it involves millions of latinos, asians, from everywhere in the world. it is as though the republicans are saying we don't have to deal with that at the moment in the same manner that they are saying, we are going to repeal
the health care act. if you have ever been sick, if you have ever had a chronic illness, cancer diabetes something that the doctors cannot and do not know about you need health care. i think this country needs to look to people like angela merkel in germany, who provides a decent minimum wage for the employees and also health care for everyone in the country. host: you talked a little bit about the politics and policy of the affordable care act. can we go to immigration? guest: republicans have to be a lot more active on what they are going to do than what they were in the 2014 cycle.
republicans knew that the president was unpopular in 2014. they could basically run against him. now it is different. they have been promising a republican obamacare replacement bill for years. doing of the republican that is anti-immigrant is not going to play out in 2016 if they're going to win. rick perry was more of the immigration reform side of it and his record was attacked. romney did not have a strategy in the general election on immigration and was hounded by the hispanic vote in 2012.
the republican leaders know that. it will be interesting to see whether the republicans want to do comprehensive immigration reform or not. they will have to come up with solutions. i think they will take bits and pieces of what is popular in the president will be forced to say i want the whole thing, not just pieces of it and he will either veto it or sign it. host: jeb bush is exploring a presidential bid. mike huckabee is exploring one as well. guest: i certainly think it could be a problem for republican leaders on capitol hill. whether you are running on the left or the right, if you see a deal in congress -- that is
basically going to be a deal in the middle. it could be an uneasy alliance. you can say that jeb bush is one of the front runners, but there is no clear favorite and he is bring attacked by the tea party already. he knows he is in for a tough ride. can he survive it? host: let's go to mcminnville, tennessee. dolores is waiting. caller: good morning. i wanted to say that there is not going to be any change at all with the republicans now. they call obama king, but they act like kings themselves. the republicans are oppressing
the poor. i'm 72 years old. i retired for a little while at 62. i went back to work because i cannot live on $13,000 per year. now that i have been working, it has taken me five-year years to make it up to eight dollars per hour because our employers give us and $.11 per hour raise every year. i work part of my job. -- hard at my job. now that i am making $18,000 per year, i manage. they need to raise the minimum wage so that people can live decently. we have a republican governor, a republican congressman. they don't do anything to help by raising the minimum wage in
our state. they don't care about us. all of these people are making big money and living like kings and they don't live in our shoes and know how hard we work to make a living. groceries are going up. i'm so grateful gas has gone down. every time i go to the grocery store, i go, oh my god, how are people supposed to live? host: potential movement on the issues of wages and the minimum wage. guest: income inequality is something you hear a lot from the left. bernie sanders has called that the issue of our lifetime. it is going to be interesting to see if this white house continues to push for a minimum wage. with the republicans controlling
both chambers, there is little chance for the minimum wage to go up unless it was part of a fiscal compromise. elizabeth warren is saying, we'd to expand social security benefits. host: let's head down to texas. caller: good morning. i've been listening to my fellow americans and it seems like you have two democrat lines. it is a great morning to know that you are responsible for
about every single evil in the world if you are a republican. i called because of not here to complain about obama. i'm here to complain about the republican leadership. speaker boehner. that man has had ample opportunity. four years in leadership to oppose the president and he has been a failure. the same can be said for mcconnell. ted cruz and marco rubio and you have been talking about presidential ambitions. ted cruz and marco rubio do not have a record in the senate. host: we were talking about
changing leadership for house republicans. who would you back? ted yoho and louie gohmert have put their names forward as possible replacements for speaker boehner. would you support either one? caller: i'm glad you asked. i do support mr. gomer -- gohmer t. i'm in a rezoning exile in the state of texas, chasing the oil boom, which i think has been busted. i have been following louie gohmert for the past couple of years, listening to him speak. quite frankly, i have been listening to him and his ideas are more in accord with mine.
that is my mind on it. i don't know the other two gentlemen that you spoke of, but i am about fed up with these folks in d.c. when you elect a democrat, you know what you are going to get. higher prices, you are going to get screwed. when you get the same from people of your own party, that is unacceptable, in my opinion. guest: a lot of the dissatisfaction with washington -- and that includes republican and democratic leaders and the president -- that is something that republicans have to be concerned about. they have to appease their base. they have to be concerned about sean hannity, fox news host who has called for john boehner's ouster. whether it is on talk shows or conservative shows, there is a
dissatisfaction. republicans have to strike deals and get stuff done with the president and sometimes challenge him. part of that is going to be what they do with obamacare. they are going to have a vote on obama care repeal, but do they use a budget maneuver called reconciliation where they would only need a majority of votes to pass and obamacare repeal vote? that would get vetoed. it would make it to obama's desk and that would be the first time it has got there. host: scott is calling in on the independent line. caller: how are you doing? host: good. go ahead. caller: is not the affordable care act a republican idea?
you basically can go on c-span or listen to newt gingrich from 1992 through 1995 and all he talks about his individuals -- is individuals taking the responsibility of buying health care. this is a republican idea. i have no idea why we're talking about democrats wanting the affordable care act. they want single care health care. this is a republican idea. host: certainly an argument we have heard before. guest: and republicans did embrace it back then, the individual mandate. now, the obamacare politics has changed a lot and republicans -- remember, the individual mandate has been delayed until this year , as well as the employer mandate. those are things that the administration is going to bleed implementing.
republicans are targeting both of those. i would look for first the individual mandate. republicans will look to torpedo that. that has not proven to be popular. the reason why the individual mandate is in their is because you want to get healthy people into the pool. that is the impetus for the individual mandate and that is why it is put in the republic -- affordable care act. host: mary from woodland hills, california. caller: you have to have auto insurance. it is not too much of a stretch for people to carry health insurance. the similarities between obamacare and romney care. i believe romney care -- is he
getting federal subsidies in massachusetts for romney care? that's it. guest: i am not sure. i'm not sure if massachusetts is among the state. -- states getting subsidies. romney care versus obamacare was a huge problem for romney. the base felt like he was not conservative enough. host: how do you usually spend your opening day of a new congress? guest: we will talk to our reporters and come up with ideas of what to look for for the next day and what to work for today. i think it is exciting because there is always the promise of a lot of activity senators are sworn in. it is like the opening day of a baseball season. host: you can read all about it at tehuhehill.com.
host: up next, we will be talking to juan zarate about the potential threats to the u.s. homeland. then we will take a look at the money being used to rebuild afghanistan and if it is being spent wisely. we will be right back. >> tonight, three technology reporters review the big issues of 2014 and the key issues in the new year.
>> the chairman is not expected to unveil his proposal until february or march, which gives an opening for republicans to introduce a bill of net neutrality on their own. is that going to force him to work quickly him in a position where he will have to do some horsetrading and negotiation? that is not clear yet. that is something we will be watching. >> i'm expecting the fcc will come out with final rules on net neutrality. president obama came out and support every reclassifying broadband service under title 2 which would make it treated like a utility. the industry groups are fiercely opposed to this. there is a lot of pressure on chairman wheeler. we will see what happens there in the first few months.
then there are going to be lawsuits from the industry groups, like verizon and comcast , especially of chairman wheeler does what the president wants. >> we are talking about net neutrality against the backdrop of the communications effort. it is similar to your effort that the republicans have undertaken. they have that working as well. the republicans in the house have said they want to get pen to paper in january. that is a tool for republicans to use to push back on net neutrality rules that they feel are in overreach. host: we welcome juan zarate back to our desk.
as we begin the new year and you look at the global conflicts around the world, what represents the highest priority threat to the united states right now? guest: thank you for having me. the problem is that a lot of the threats that emerged in 2014 bleed over to 2015. there is no magical curtain that blocks those threats. you have the threat of terrorism in all of its forms. you have the islamic state still challenging in iraq, syria, and the middle east. you have places like libya and southeast asia beginning to fly the banner of that group. you have the al qaeda affiliates that still exist. the administration has talked about the course on -- korsan group. you have affiliates in yemen, somalia. you have groups like boko haram in nigeria. that you have the problem of
lone wolf terrorists. that is the worst nightmare of counterterrorist officials. people working on the run. -- on their own. citizens who saw attacks in 2014 or saw the attack in sydney to close out the year. you have terrorism on the minds of security officials. that is not it. there are cyberattacks. there are threats from meddling around the world. russian adventurism. there are a whole bunch of things that the national security committee has to focus on. host: we will spend the next 45 minutes talking about the threats from around the globe.
on the issue of radical islam it is a topic that is the subject of the "wall street journal." they said that radical islam had its best year since 2001 and 2015 should be the year that the u.s. leads a global counterattack. was it the best year for radical islam? guest: i hate to give them credit, but there certainly was momentum. they have become a caliphate the islamic state. it really has given strength and wind in the sales of the notion
of radical islam possibility -- islam's ability to drive a wider political movement. they have attempted to demonstrate that they can govern, police, run an economy. that is a dangerous development in 2014. there is a battle of arms and ideas. host: you served as a deputy assistant to president bush. are you comfortable with the strategy that this white house is implementing when it comes to isis? guest: yes and no. the idea of needing to go after isis and use physical force is incredibly important. one of the challenges is that
this is a group that controls the second-largest city in iraq. it controls towns like falluja. it has to be physically disrupted. the u.s. has started that. the problem is that you have a lag of time and time is critical as a variable. the longer that this group is able to govern and entrench itself, the longer it will take to deal with the animating principle of the group. this group is beginning to motivate others beyond the middle east. we have not grappled with the
ideological dimensions of the problem. isis is the new manifestation of the radical islamic movement. there is going to be a next chapter. we have to continue to deal with the ideological dimensions. not just dealing with it in hard ways, but soft ways, by using networks of those willing to oppose the ideology itself where this group manifests. host: you wrote a book talking about the funding behind some of the global terror movements. is the u.s. doing enough to shut on the funding streams? guest: yes and no. the u.s. treasury is continuing to be innovative. you are seeing this particularly in iran. and the sanctions on russia. the challenge with al qaeda and isis is that these groups have adapted around the pressure that we put on them. they have developed local
economies. isis runs a local war economy. they control oil resources, the antiquities trade. groups like al-shabaab have controlled trade. they run trade of charcoal and sugar. they adapt on the ground. kidnap for ransom has raised millions of dollars. this remains a huge challenge for the international community. host: if you want to talk to juan zarate as we talk about global hotspots, phone lines are open. stephen is calling in from laurel, maryland. caller: you laid out an interesting map of global hotspots, but you left out the
mexican drug cartels. what do you feel it president obama's strategy should be over the next few years in dealing with a group that has killed more americans than isis or any of the islamic groups you seem so afraid of? guest: it is a good point. i did not mean to leave it out. you are right. mexican drug cartels continue to pose a threat to the mexican state. the mexican president has tried to deal with this in creative ways. the rates of murder are down. these are groups that continue to battle for control of the drug trade. they have tentacles into the
u.s., well into the midwest and the eastern seaboard. you have to do with the cartels. one of the main strategies is to support the mexican government as well as possible. the bush administration and obama administration have tried to do that. working closely with the military -- that is something that has been innovative. that has to be an issue we will focus on clearly. host: i should point viewers to csis.org. juan zarate is a senior advisor for the transnational threats program. he is here to take your questions for about the next half hour. grant is up next in washington
dc on the independent line. caller: good morning. you know that the washington policies were instrumental in creating the treasury terrorism and finance unit and maybe that is why it never cracked down on illegal settlement funding. we know that this is a primary motivation to terrorist attacks on the u.s.. yet you and your phony organization never did anything to cut off the funding. i would like to know why? guest: i completely disagree with you. i was there at the foundation of the office this was the office
built in the treasury department after 9/11 to serve as the financial war room for the u.s. government to deal with rogue capital flows and develop strategies to deal with north korean regime, for example. we lost to the iranian restriction campaign. i describe all of this in my book. what you described is outside interests developing the office -- it is not true. i helped formulate the strategy. i helped build the office with treasury secretary snow at the time. in terms of settlement funding we focus on terrorist funding and rogue capital. settlers are not terrorists,
according to u.s. law. if they are aggravants, that is another issue. i take issue with the treasury ignoring terrorism. we got quite a bit of terrorism that we were overly aggressive. host: the book is "treasury of war." richard is up next. washington dc, republican line. caller: good morning. i would like to ask you why this white house is always dealing with the last war or the politically correct issue? for example, president clinton had a plan on his desk to take
out al qaeda and he was so preoccupied with getting your house or arafat to the peace talks that he never really signed off on the plan, which could have taken out osama bin laden and al qaeda before 9/11. bush was going to places to make peace and he did not deal effectively with the iran threat . and although i applaud your sanctions on iran and other miscreants, is it not time for a return to the cold war tactics such as a full-fledged helsinki inspection and reporting process? to get the attention of the likes of vladimir putin and the ayatollahs?
host: a lot to talk about in there. guest: i think you are right. i think one of the challenges is how to be preventative and how to be predictive -- predictive with analysis. that is the holy grail of national security. not constantly dealing with the past, as you said. but trying to forecast what is coming next. who are the real actors and what are the threats to the u.s.? what really are the risks of an iranian nuclear program? does that spohn and spark an arms race in the middle east?
what happens with the adventurism of russia and the expansion of power? there is a question as to what is next in terms of the west's relationship with russia. finally, the question of cyber threats. think 2014 was a year or the u.s. and the populace became aware of this. you had the retail sector hit hard, the banks hit hard. then to close out the year, the sony attacks out of north korea.
the national security community constantly struggles with the crisis of the day, but they fail to anticipate. host: what concerns you more right now? a cyber attack on critical infrastructure or a traditional large-scale terror attack on u.s. soil? guest: i worry about all of that. you have to worry about the convergence of threats. the ability of state and nonstate actors to collaborate to engage in proxy attacks. they perhaps more easily can be cyber attacks. i think the american public became aware of that in 2014. this is an all national security
issue. congress will have to take up the question of cyber legislation to empower the private sector and public sector to do more to secure our systems. host: up next, a tweet on that topic. what of the key priorities of the new congress has to be helping to defend the u.s. homeland against cyber attacks. we go to john from north carolina. good morning. caller: good morning. i had a question and an idea. what is the purpose -- what purpose does israel fulfill in the middle east, as far as terrorism for the rest of the
world and the u.s.? what is president obama beat israel over the head and blame them for the problems in the middle east, instead of the opposition? such as the hamas attack a few months ago, when they lobbed hundreds of rockets into innocent civilian dwellings in israel? six of the 10 comments bashed israel instead of the attackers, hamas. guest: israel is a major and important ally in the u.s. and are aligned because the same terrorists see israel as a
strategic enemy. the march to jerusalem as part of the lore and animation of the ideology for a lot of the islamic groups. when you have groups like hamas and hezbollah that have nationalist and ideological tendencies that presents a real threat to israel. any administration a strike to find a balance. the u.s. is seen not as a superpower in the world only but also in trying to be the mediator to be able to balance the peace process and the next step. the colors very astute in that
when you do that, you tend to create moral equivalency and there is a real challenge there, especially when you are talking about an ally in a democracy. the israeli government is not an equivalent to a hamas or hezbollah or a terrorist group. i think john has identified that . host: we are talking about hotspots for 2015. talking about top concerns and the map for 2015. here is a bit of what you to say. [video clip] >> we are extremely worried
about al qaeda affiliates. al qaeda in the greater peninsula. they are the most determined persistent, and skillful actors when it comes to aviation plotting. that is something we have not taken our eye off of for one minute, even as we are extremely focused on the rise of isil and the unprecedented flow of foreign fighters into iraq and syria. host: lisa monaco bringing up al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. your concerns about them in 2015? guest: i'm friends with lisa and a great admirer of her work. she is absolutely right. the u.s. government and counterterrorism officials are worried about the constellation
of terrorist threats out there. the threat in the arabian peninsula has not abated. they have master bomb makers working around protocols for package security and airline security. the printer cartridge bomb was designed out of their. counterterrorism officials are worried about innovations coming out of that group. you also have the threat of foreign fighters. the challenge is that you have thousands of individuals flowing from around the world everywhere from the middle east to europe, north america australia, flowing and, fighting with groups, and then potentially flowing back. counterterrorism officials don't have a catalog of who all those
are. you have seen counterterrorism programs try to address this around the world. rehabilitation, heightened security programs. host: lisa monaco, is that the same position you held in the bush administration? guest: slightly different. she is a homeland security adviser. i was not a homeland security adviser. in some ways, the obama administration merged a couple of rolls. she has a lot of my same responsibility. host: what are the global hotspots? juan zarate is here to take your comments and questions. it's good to forest hills, new york. caller: good morning. host: think we lost you. we will try to get you back and
go to michael in tucson, arizona. caller: good morning. how are you doing? guest: good morning, michael. caller: you talk about global hotspots but right here in the united states, there is a serious hotspot and it is called the black community. the black community is tired of hearing about all of these other issues concerning worldwide events when you will deal with the issue of slavery. i'm going to tell you something. this issue is becoming a serious national security issue because we are always talking about israel and palestinians and iran and hezbollah and russia. at the end of the day, there is one race of people in the united states that could cripple this economy and cripple it in a real way. you need to start addressing homeland security. quit worrying about foreign international issues because the biggest issue here is that you
have to start dealing with this issue to bring this nation completely back together and we can get an understanding that caucasians, blacks, and other people of color can live together. host: michael in tucson arizona. we will focus on foreign issues. guest: but he raises a valid point. if you look at any security issue, including radical islamic terrorism, you have to have trust in communities. you have to have the ability of law enforcement to work closely with the communities that are at risk. to the extent that there is a breakdown of trust within any community of whatever race or ethnic background, that is a real challenge. the caller is right. there are those that say we have focused too much in counterterrorism post 9/11, too much focus through the counterterrorism lens and we have to do more to build our
infrastructure, our trust in communities at home. there may be something to that. that is not my area of expertise , but it is clear that we have to have trusted home among a variety of communities. without that sense of integration, that is one of our great strengths in the united states -- it is has shielded us from the most extreme dimensions of radicalization we have seen in other parts of the world and europe. host: what happens if the russian economy goes down? will they become more or less dangerous? guest: i think you have to worry about the cornered badger. does putin become more dangerous and more erratic if he feels more threatened and realizes that the economy is imploding? that is something that national security officials have to worry about.
worrying about the economic pressures of going too far. you don't want to tip the balance of the russians, causing notches problems in russia, but also with trading partners, in particular in europe. at a time when europe assad economic growth is not robust. there are questions about the banking system and the reforms in you have elections coming up in greece. host: let's go to the republican line. caller: good morning. when jordan and egypt occupied
the palestinian territory, i think in 1956, why weren't those countries cold occupiers of palestinian territory? i think that is a brew of all problems in the middle east. host: of history question. guest: it is a good question. in some ways, the battle lines have shifted over the various wars. that has reshaped the boundaries. much of the peace discussion has been aroundthose boundaries. that is in part why jordan and egypt are important. those boundaries affect them. what is interesting about this question too, martin raises the question of state boundaries. in some ways, they are shifting. i think 2015 will be interesting as far as how
nationalism plays itself out. especially as palestinians are being more aggressive. more countries beginning to recognize them. other borders and boundaries shifting in the middle east as well. what happens given the changing boundaries in syria and iraq. things are shifting in some ways. we do not have the israeli_palestinian context. host: diane is waiting. caller: hi. this all started __ in my mind __ with a visit to venezuela. i said, uh_oh.
he was not just visiting for oil. this thing with cuba now. i think president obama did a smart thing. i've not heard any of the pundits say anything. since venezuela subsidizes cuba, in their economy is going down the drain, everybody has been led astray. i believe president obama, and whoever else, fear that there's also a possibility of home threats coming from cuba. i would like your opinion on this. guest: let me take a step back on your question of iran and venezuela __ it is a very astute one. they have tried to deepen their reach into south america.
keep in mind, the regime in iran is a rebel regime. they see themselves as being exporters of this revolution. there's also kinship between these revolutionary regimes around the world. so, that hugo chavez regime. there was a kinship and tie. the iranians have this relationship to their advantage. there are serious security questions as to what iranians are doing in venezuela __ not just that commercial interests, but perhaps hezbollah. whether or not that becomes a staging ground for activity. to cuba __ i do not think security officials worry about threat. in fact, one of the motivations for present them obama`s policy
is saying that cuba no longer represents a threat that it did. the challenge here is how do we mikula off of its revolutionary ideology. how do you allow freedom to flow into cuba. how do you make this positive for u. s. security. part of that is weaning cuba off of venezuela. host: you bring up iranians __ yesterday senator talked about what lawmakers could do to increase pressure on iran amid the nuclear negotiations. >> what you know, the banking
committee deals with sanctions. the r f __ foreign relations committee may take up a bill. this will be one of the biggest issues that we will be dealing with. for congress to not have a lot is unacceptable. through regular order, we will see what will happen. i do not think there is any question about those in iran __ that of this falls apart, there will be additional sanctions. the question is, when you do that? we are paying a lot of attention on the negotiations. we're talking to people around the world. host: ones are out __ one __ juan zarate, your thoughts.
guest: i think he is a stew in talking about this. you cannot continue to release pressure and allow iranians to delay a decision on to talks. at the same time, you do not want to upset the apple cart. iit is a delicate balance as to how you signal to the iranians, and the marketplace. if iranians and the tea on the deal __ i think there are multiple stages in this. he will have a very clear hand in setting forth what the sanctions protocol. i think demonstration will have to work with the senator and congress on the choreography here.
host: we have a couple of minutes left with one __ juan zarate. we will go to alicia and ohio. caller: good morning. happy new year. i'm 86 years old. i remember way back when clinton was in. he did not like war. there is . there is some presidents that. there were some presidents that love to have war. they would do anything for power and four were. clinton almost had saddam hussein. i remember when he was going after him and he missed him.
then, he went to the mountains, he said, congress, i can get him. give me another chance. they said no, we're not funny anymore money for your. that stop that right there. bush claims that he found saddam hussein. iraq got him out of the whole. i wasn't interested in him __ host: alicia, do you agree with how this present is fighting the hotspots around the world? do you think this president has the resources that he needs to do it? caller: bush used military to
show his military strength, and he lost. what obama is doing is trying to clean up all the messes that they pass government did, and all the republicans messed up. he's trying hard. if you were a white president, he would probably win. guest: i take some issue with the caricature of president bush being a warmonger. he didn't come into power to be a war president. war came upon us. i think you have to keep in mind the history here. al qaeda declared war on the u. s. during the clinton administration.
clinton took shots at al qaeda in afghanistan. he tried hitting the site and sudan. president clinton use force in bosnia. airpower in the balkans. he also use force in iraq. to respond to attacks on the first president bush. i think every present has had to resort to the use of force. knowledge to exhort u. s. influence and power, but you with the realities and threats. i don't think anyone would suggest that going into afghanistan to dislodge the taliban was a problematic decision. i think the debate comes with what happened next.
what happens after dislodge a regime like the taliban. the reality is, every present has had to deal with the use of force. and how to use of force in a constructive way. i think in some ways, that is somewhat defined by the president. host: from the "washington post" __ has the afghanistan war been worth fighting. according to the poll, a majority supports the plan to keep soldiers in the country. after record lows, support for the afghanistan war has risen after 2013. those who say it is worth fighting creeping up.
i want to get to a couple more calls. sam is in michigan. caller: good morning. we hear a lot about people going to iraq and syria to fight with isis. can you tell me about people who go over there to fight against isis? guest: it is a good question. there have been pockets of individuals out of europe and north america who have gone to fight on behalf of the three syrian army, or to fight with the kurdish peshmerga. you see very small pockets of those types of individuals. much less problematic from a security perspective. these individuals tend to be aligned with state interest.
there is less concern that they will come back and blow up a mall. host: is an active recruiting effort on that front? guest: know it, it is much more organic. you see some biker gangs who decide to get involved in syria. there is not a mass scale response. certainly does not match the thousands that we see and foreign fighters that have flown into that region. host: what are the numbers of u. s. citizens going to fight for isis? guest: the numbers are vague. they shift over time. it is not a huge amount. probably around 100 to 300 individuals. you have had individuals go over to serve as suicide
attackers, and come back as well. there are problematic individuals. host: juan zarate is the former deputy national security adviser. we appreciate you coming by. up next, we will talk about the reconstruction efforts in afghanistan. the money that has been spent their. we will be told by john sopko. ♪ >> tonight on the "the communicators" __ the big issues of 2014.
>> the chairman isn't expected to unveil his proposal until march. thank you for an opening for republicans in congress to introduce the bill of their neutrality. will that force them to move more quickly? or will put him in a position where he needs to do some negotiating? that is not clear yet. >> i'm suspecting the fcc will come out on neutrality. president obama has come out on reclassifying the broadband industry. the broadband industry as opposed to this. there's a lot of pressure on chairman wheeler to go that route. we will see during the first few months.
once the rules on the books, the fight is not necessarily over. there will be lawsuits. especially if the chairman does what the president wants. >> we are tight on neutrality in the context of this baked multiyear effort. republicans have said that they want to get pen to paper starting in january. we could see movement on that very soon. but as a tool for congressional republicans to push back on neutrality. >> tonight on c_span 2. the 114 congress gallows in this tuesday at noon eastern. watch live coverage on c_span. track the gop led congress.
have your say when the events unfold on the c_span networks. new congress, best access on c_span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we take a look at how your money is at work. this week, we're looking at the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts in afghanistan. for this conversation we're joined by john sopko. he is a special inspector general in afghanistan. present them obama hopes that all troops will be out of afghanistan by the end of 2016. how long is a financial commitment that the united states has made to the reconstruction efforts? guest: the financial commitment continues. we're talking about a decade of transition.
we are promised 10 more years. we have about $14 billion in the pipeline __ authorized, but not yet spent. we are promising anywhere from $5 billion to $8 billion. host: as far as what has been spent so far? guest: at the end of this year, $104 billion. more than what we spend on the whole marshall plan in europe. this is the largest amount of money that we are spent in any one country on reconstruction. what we give to iraq, pakistan, israel, and egypt combined __ we're spending more in afghanistan. host: recent reports __ your
high risk list that you put out last month __ just reading one sentence from that report. a very long report. the evidence is clear that the american taxpayer dollars are being placed at unnecessarily high levels of risk. what are the main causes of that risk? guest: many. part of it is poor planning in the past. i just started to it a half to three years ago. we could've had better planning. we could've consider the problem of corruption. there are a number of things. our procurement system has been bad there. even our hr system is not built for that country. that is what the report is highlighting.
host: we're showing our viewers the high risk areas that you talk about. i want to talk about the issue of sustainability. there is some concern in your report that afghanistan cannot keep up the projects that you are starting. can you give us some examples? guest: we will have an audit coming out this month. an inspection, i should say. looking at the camp that we prepared __ camp commando. basically it has fallen apart. six months after we leave __ i do nothing of camp commando, i apologize __ on that one, we gave them generators, they cannot use generators. it is sustainability, not just for technical issues, but also for finance.
right now, afghanistan raises about $2 billion per year in legal taxes. just to pay for the afghan national security force __ army and police __ is $5 billion per year. the rest of the infrastructure we have built for them, another $4 billion_$5 billion. somebody has to pay for this. that somebody has been the u. s. taxpayer, as well as international donors. our concern is when we went in there, we should of been thinking about that. raise the revenue raised by afghans. or build to a smaller scale that they can afford. host: are we thinking about those issues now? your position created in 2008.
guest: we are hoping. we are issuing reports like this, and getting positive reactions about the points we are making. the problem is like you say, we came into existence in 2008. a lot of money had been spent up to their. i just came in three years ago. still, a lot of money has been spent. and we're not getting people, particularly usaid __ we do not think they are considering the sustainability issue. host: if you want to talk to john sopko about the reconstruction effort in afghanistan, money spent by americans to reconstruct that country. so __ phone lines are open. if you're outside the u. s., you can also call in.
i want to talk about one other issue the raised in the report. corruption in afghan government. is it getting better? guest: we have a new government. we're still waiting for the ministers to be appointed. the president has made the right statements about fighting corruption. i think corruption was mentioned in the first public speech that the present them made. so, we are hopeful. the corruption issue is still there. it can really brought the afghan people of the benefit of all the programs. host: this $100 billion that has been spent. how much has been lost to corruption? guest: i am asked that a lot. we cannot come up with a number.
we can save billions, but we do not really know. we would have to spend a lot of time to figure out what that number is, rather than trying to prevent corruption. it has been billions. host: some of the examples that we go through from your report. guest: unfortunately, there's nothing positive about that. if the use any metrics that we use for drugs __ the amount of crops being produced __ we fail. i think there is a 30% increase in the amount of field underproduction. the mail of opium produced __ we failed. that has increased.
the amount of people using drugs in afghanistan has increased. using every indication, it has been a failure. we have wasted basically $7 billion. host: are there any successes that you point out in your report? guest: oh yeah. we highlight a law __ lot of successes when we can. there have been a lot of successes. the question is, could we have done more? host: is the money changing? guest: no. that is a serious concern. we just issued an audit on women's problems. the problem is, it usaid in
particular is unable to show how the money they spend leads to success is that they claim. if you cannot document that there is a direct causal link between a program, how do you decide which program to spend the money on? that is our serious concern. we sent a letter about a year ago to aid saying give us the 10 best programs and tell us why. they answered we got was that they couldn't tell us. we sent them a second letter. we thought, maybe that is too difficult, just give us some successes. what they said was trust us, women are getting better, there is more education, life expectancy has improved. but, they cannot link it to a specific program. they cannot link it to any of our programs.
so if you're racking and stacking programs, and trying to determine where to spend money, they were unable to do that. they cannot tell which program is getting the biggest bang for the buck. host: we're talking with john sopko. phone lines are open for the next half hour. stephen is up first. caller: good morning. i'm so right on with you about afghanistan. my call is about educating these kids __ the best way to wind up caliban is is to educate those girls. we're back in iraq again. why are we back? tell me, none of the investments are working in afghanistan. what about the kids?
will they get educated? guest: that is a good point. i think education is important. it has some successes. we really need to know which programs, which educational programs are actually giving us the biggest thing for the book. particularly with education, we have found the success stories that aid sites are based on databases that they make cannot be trusted. billy take into consideration less than 7% of the schools. our concern is __ are we actually educating? we are building the schools, but are they actually educating the kids? are women and girls getting educated along with the boys? host: are the schools that have
the funding within the funding streams from the afghan government? guest: that is exactly the problem we have. the afghan government had asked for money at the end of this year. part of the complaints were that civil servants were being paid. the question is are those teachers really being paid? host: paula makes a comment __ talking about sustainability. this is a mistake the west always makes. can you compare the effort in afghanistan to other previous efforts? guest: this is the largest. similar problems in iraq, although probably not as bad. iraq was far more developed country. you have to realize, we just
celebrate christmas here. that is the anniversary __ 35 years ago __ when the soviets invaded afghanistan. it has been war_torn for 35 years. what little infrastructure they had, 35 years of civil war completely destroyed it. you cannot compared to iraq. host: terry is up next. good morning. caller: this fellow was talking about $104 billion as though it is raining down. how about using that money in the united states? you want to take care of the problem, it drop a nuclear bomb in the area, burn it up.
you have people in this country starving. and you have the circus is getting ready to start with the republicans. they will come after everything the american people know __ and we're worried about afghanistan? host: this questioning its product, could the money better be spent in the united states? guest: i'm not dodging terry's question __ i do not do policy. the policymakers, you ask a good policy question. that should be asked to congress and of the administration. a policy has been made to spend the money in afghanistan. again, i hope the caller realizes that do not administer the money, i oversee the process. host: a process question then __
you talk about waste and fraud, documenting it. guest: i do not have the numbers. we have settlements all the time. i think we had a settlement with a large contractor __ $50 million just last month. we had some indictments last year. the difficult part is that many of the cases that we are making our afghan sub stealing from afghan primes __ wwe do not have jurisdiction over them. the afghan judiciary and the prosecutors __ that judicial system is the best system that money can buy. unfortunately, we as government do not buy it. we've a hard time prosecuting. we have no jurisdiction over the afghans.
host: do have jurisdiction over u. s. government there? guest: absolutely. and u. s. citizens, and dual citizens. and we will indict. that is the difficulty, and another lesson to learn. if we do this again in some other country, and we are starting to think of doing something like this in reconstruction in other areas __ how do we do criminal prosecutions? how do we stop people from stealing from us? host: we're giving examples from the high risk list report from last month. warren is up next. caller: good morning. thanks for c_span.
all three branches of government must watch this every morning. the u. s. geological survey said some geologists over to afghanistan __ there has been some mining issue since then. there is mineral wealth over there. the chinese are mining this mineral wealth. why don't we get the benefits from the mineral wealth in afghanistan? we should add, the oil from iraq __ i'm a taxpayer. thanks again for c_span. host: can you talk about u. s. investments in mining? guest: that comes to sustainability. we're been raising this issue.
again __ the intent was to develop a new economy, a prosperous economy in afghanistan, so that we would not have to pay that $10 billion per year. well, there was an entity __ we just announced a couple weeks ago __ that we're looking at this, created over in the department of defense. it spent $700 million_$800 million doing exactly what the caller proposed. developing mineral wealth, as far as we can tell they never did it. i raise this concern, who is in charge of trying to develop the economy in afghanistan. there really isn't anyone in charge. we are looking at this issue. if there's one thing to say __
yyou have minerals in the ground. it is another thing to see if the middle to get out of the ground and transported. you do not have the infrastructure, the security, the laws on the books. no open competition. that is the concern, in reason why a lot of legitimate investors have not gone into afghanistan __ because of the corruption problem. host: is china involved? guest: not fully involved. i do not know how much mineral wealth they are getting out of it. there has been some concerns about chinese companies and whether they legitimately got involved. host: another example from the
report __ $500 million on an unusual aircraft. guest: that is my favorite. the aircraft that could not fly. we have an ongoing investigation on that. we purpose this __ 20 airplanes, over $500 million. they were meant to be cargo planes. for some reason we did not buy it from our inventory. we bought them from the italians. the italian air force was in a boneyard in italy. we spent millions of dollars to rehab these airplanes. for a long time, you would see them jumbled up in the airport. we took a look. it turned out that they cannot fly. we talked to pilot to call them
deathtraps. they basically were never used. we're trying to find out why we spent over $700 million on planes that can fly. host: is is the money going towards that specific purchase? guest: no. viewer should be happy to hear that we scrapped all those planes __ resulting in $30,000 of scrap. that was our investment. the afghans did not get a plane. i do not know what the italians got out of this. the taxpayers ended up with $33,000 on a $700 million investment. host: we're talking to john sopko and the recent high risk report that came out last month. john from new jersey. caller: good morning.
thank you for c_span. happy new year. i know the guy from pennsylvania kind of still my thunder. i am a korean war veteran. i 80 years old. i was in seoul, korea. everyone had a swimming pool. the money that we spent on creat and building it up, that money could've been spent in the united states. i'm not saying the money that goes to afghanistan or korea, the patient get some of the money, but at least half of the money should come to cities in the united states where infrastructure is falling apart. not just bridges and roads are falling apart, but infrastructure as far as
piping, gas pipes, water pipes. all these things are involved. it appears to me that the united states __ our country, our tax money can be spent on trenton, newark, washington, d.c. these city should be the shining light on the top of the mountain, not seoul, korea, or any other country that we have a war with. host: bess is up next. caller: since we'd helped destroy afghanistan, we are legally responsible for putting back together. if we allow for countries to go in and take minerals, it is the democratic republic of congo. that is what will happen.
i think politicians will always play keepaway with average person's money so they can stay in power. if you're going to take money over there, you have to once again give it to the farmers. or, given to individuals to start businesses. we are obligated __ even if you just say we bombed iraq, that is not far away. i will not get into all the fallout of the bombs. we are legally obligated because of what we did to afghanistan. host_ is there any legal obligation that we have here? guest: i do not know. i have not investigate international law on this. is our policy to do reconstruction there.
why we were in afghanistan was to kick the terrorist out and build a self_sustaining government that would keep the tears out. let's remember why we went in there __ the terrorists who attacked on 9/11 kept mainly came from afghanistan. that is why we went in. the important thing about reconstruction __ you can question, like we do all the time, whether it is being done correctly. but it is to develop this self_sustaining government. all the programs and reconstruction goes towards that goal. keep that in mind. host: debbie has a comment on her twitter page __ very sad that we cannot combat the corruption to decrease opium in afghanistan. william is up next. caller: good morning.
mr. sopko, let me correct you something. the terrorist did not mainly come to afghanistan. my question is __ all said and done, will we have spent close to $1 trillion over there? it is kind of oxymoronic that we are fighting a war __ say opm. if 90% of opium is made over there, isn't it ironic __ who is supposed to bring up over here? host: if you want to talk about overseas military spending versus reconstruction. guest: reconstructionist small in comparison to the cost for boots on the ground. just say no, i look at reconstruction __ $104 billion.
we did spend $600 billion to $800 billion in fighting the war. fighting the war is expensive. reconstruction is actually cheaper. and you get the bang for the buck if it is done well. there is the distinction. host: the other question on that subject __ the nato combat mission ended last week. u. s. boots leaving at the end of 2016 according to the present them. how much harder will that make your job? guest: it will be very hard. it is not only hard for us, it will be harder for those aid workers, the state department workers to oversee the programs. the counter narcotics program. aid just announced a $400
million program to help women. it will be very difficult for the eighth contracting offices to get outside of embassy to oversee how that money is being spent. it will be more difficult. the difference is __ this is our one mission. our only job is afghanistan and reconstruction. we have a large of law enforcement presence there. we are the largest oversight presence there. we are not diverted to any other issues. it is not like we're having what is going on in syria or iraq. this is our one reason for being there. host: how big is your staff? guest: about 200. we have about 50 in afghanistan. i'm a firm believer in small government. at some point, we will go out of existence.
right now, when the amount of reconstruction assistance falls below $200 million, we go out of existence. that is great. i think we should be a temporary agency. maybe we need more temporary agencies. they're not bad idea. that said __ we appropriate about $6 billion this year. we also a $14 billion in the pipeline. we may be around for a while. somebody needs to be looking at that money. host: is go to kenny. caller: high, it is jenny. i just have a question about why they don't tell the public more about the money they spend on a regular basis. is there a website or something where people can find out more information?
to hear this kind of money after the fact it is spent __ it is a little surprising to the public. guest: i can give you my website. we will put it up on the screen. we try to publicize whatever we do. we're maybe unique among inspector general's or other agencies. our view is __ unless it is classified, it could somehow hurt our troops overseas. we publicize it. i am a firm believer in transparency. all the materials up on the web. we publicize the allied. we believe in transparency. we believe the american
taxpayer needs to know what is going on with their money. host: let's talk about another example. $34 million for a soybean program. guest: that was a great idea. we wanted to bring sword to __ story to the afghan people. this was a reconstruction program done by the u. s. department of agriculture. host: does the u. s. department of agriculture normally do reconstruction programs in other countries? guest: in some. we did not talk to the afghans, they do not grow soy, there is no market for it. basically the $34 million was wasted. it goes back to the simple questions that we asked __
before we spend money over there, does it meet our mission of why we are there? have we talked to the afghans? do they want it? we're finding simple things like that. do take into consideration the security issue? these simple questions are not being asked, and have not been asked by a lot of the people in our community. host: carlos is up next. caller: good morning. first of all, mr. sopko is doing an excellent job. i'm glad he is informing us. unfortunately, we have no accountability in our government. we are in trouble. we are supposed to be a democracy.
all the spending is a burden of farther taxes. thank you. host: do you think you can get an answer? guest: we can. it has improved. look at it this way __ a lot of these agencies, the problem is they have not had aggressive and independent inspector generala. i cannot remember for how many years __ if you do not have a confirmed full_time ig, it is hard to do this independent work. i think you have developed cultures __ particularly with aid in state __ of not being
used to having an independent, public oversight. as a result, some bad practices, and lack of good management skills. i keep going back to __ if you cannot tell me what is the result of spending the money. if you cannot document that. that is simple economics. that needs to be __ i used to be in private practice. they knew how many pickles were getting eaten every morning. your type of government agencies __ all they know is what their budget is. we still do not have a list of all the programs that we have done in afghanistan. if you called the defense department and say, what have you done in afghanistan, they still have not compiled a list.
for years, they have said that you need to compile a list. congress said that you need one central database. that is why i cannot answer your question on how much money has been wasted. we do not even know how many programs we've had in afghanistan. all the bridges, schools, clinics, everything we both their __ you would think anycorporation would know. i think mcdonald's no tommy franchises there are. host: a caller from texas is next. caller: good morning. mr. sopko, i have been in the meyer four years. i want to thank you for what
you're doing in afghanistan. i've been involved in the tragedy since it's inception. one of the problems in my opinion is the afghan diaspora. afghans who could not find jobs. they are making millions __ of course, government corruption is beyond description in foreign countries like turkey. it is subcontracted on many levels. is there any way __ my
suggestion is that one of the waste action helped afghanistan is to create jobs that. and bypass the government. basically, start projects in big cities, important provinces. create jobs. the reason people are fighting is because that is the only way they think they can feed their families. guest: that is exactly what we're saying. i mentioned before __ again, i look at the process. part of the process is to develop a vibrant economy with jobs. that should've been the focus of our reconstruction. we tend to ignore why we are there.
somebody should be in charge. there should be a plan and a program. of course, you need a willing partner in afghanistan. we've not seen that. yes, we thessaly need to create jobs. one of the ironies early on __ eight officials, officials in washington. one of our goals is to look at the telecom industry. the telecom industry is a success. i was looking for successes __ i went and talk to the owners of the major telecom companies. what they told me was that they did not help at all __ dod did not help, state department did not help. we did it on her own.
it was private enterprise. the free market. so, sometimes you do not need to spend money, people can do on their own. we allowed private enterprise __ there was some assistance __ but is a great success story. a story with limited, if any, u. s. involvement. sometimes you have to rethink how you approach this. host: time for one or two more calls. tony from california. caller: good morning. i was going to say __ this entire conversation shows how ridiculous our government has become.
this guy is really cavalier about what is going on over there. i do not think he has a complete handle on what is going on. when you talk about education, my question is __ what kind of education are they trying to implement? a western education? you cannot just implement a western education on a country that does not even educate its women. that is my question. guest: sure. i hope i do not come across as cavalier. this is serious business. i hope you understand, i do the oversight, i do not run the programs. i think the people who run the programs are a little more cavalier. the education is rather primitive. we are trying to teach the basics. that is what you need to do. we are also trying __ bye week,
i mean the u. s. government and allies __ are trying to develop higher education. the difficult thing with education is that we do not know if our money is being spent wisely. it is not cavalier. i think the facts are that we have seen a lot of waste, fraud, and abuse. there's not much more than i can do that expose that problem, and hope someone will do something about it. host: what are your next couple of reports coming out? guest: we will be looking at _ paying the salaries of the afghan police.
we will be coming out with an audit ddealing with that. that will be coming out. we will come out with the final report of what we call the 60 4k __ the 64,000 square_foot headquarters that was built, and never used. it will probably have to be destroyed. we will identify who was responsible for that. even though the local marine commander totally opposed it. he said it shouldn't be built. his superiors supported him. somehow, it was overruled here in washington. we have a number of reports coming out. stay tuned. host: john sopko. we appreciate it.