tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 5, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
so let me answer by first going there. because the formal care act now more than 10 million people have insureds who did not have it right? we have the lowest rate of increase in health care costs and over 50 years, not sibley because of the aca, but it is playing a role. since the law was passed, 10 million jobs have been created in the country. it has not impeded and has helped create some of those jobs. we have more innovation in health care than we have had in decades largely because of the affordable care act. senior citizens have saved over $12 billion and the cbo says if you repeal the law it will add $1.7 trillion to the deficit. if those are my facts and
notwithstanding the fact that i have a point of view, those are the facts, and nobody can dispute that, i take that and i do not just do a defense of the law, but i argue why it is making difference politically for people, and if reconciliation is used to repeal parts of the law than what i would do is try to have made my case on all these points so that when reconciliation is vetoed, people will understand why it is important. >> what role do you think in the final two years of vice president biden in dealing with congress and how would that role differ from the role he has played in the first six years? >> i'm happy to answer that question but make has a perspective -- but nick had
has a perspective. >> i think he has a significant role to play, from an outsiders''s position. he is liked and trusted. so if there is an average tried to get things done, if there is never to try to -- right now we are in a who struck john stage where they did not retract to become all that is meaningless now. it is meaningless in terms that there's a lot of this trust. in terms of trying to establish a framework for getting things done and the stage were putting the framework up, the vice president could probably play a significant role. >> i will make an observation. in my last two years in the white house vice president gore and first lady hillary clinton
who had in previous times in the white house had been very visible actors, gore in his office in past times, almost all the time, and the first lady haveing an office in the second floor were never there. hillary running for senate, but even before that, she was not visible, and the vice president -- so roles change over time, which i thought was interesting to see. i was surprised to learn that they had been very visible early on in the administration. i do not know what that means for the current vice president. >> i would add real quickly make the case when i talk to folks, if ever you did it ever
idence that it is government by the people and of the people, it is to look at the role personalities plays whether the speaker and the relationships to the speaker and the president and other folks. and president biden is well-liked -- vice president biden -- [laughter] getting ahead of myself. vice president biden is really well liked and could be utilized if the attitude, going back to the whole cooperation, conciliation, cooperation model, if that is read people want to go, he can play a really significant role, in my view. >> the first two years especially, when we did things like the stimulus, vice president at great relationships with senator collins, senator snowe, senator specter as we try to make sure that the provision
at things they were interested in. he did lots. he understands the legislative process, the president. if there is an opportunity to get things done, i think he will play an important role. >> [indiscernible] >> the president's use the vice president's judgment on a range of things. >> in political science we measure things like success of the president through the presidential support scores from c.q. not totally reliable, but you had the highest score 97% for the first two years. clinton had 86% for the first two years. that was the highest since eisenhower. but you also had some problems along the way with chairs.
my question is very intimate to your situation with waxman. mr. waxman had a cap and trade will and a health care bill that looked like it was not going anywhere in the senate. what were the negotiations like with the chairs on that issue and other issues for all of you when they seemed to get ahead of maybe what is possible in getting things done? did you go through the leadership or did you directly work with the chair, and since you worked with henry for so many years, it must have been an interesting situation. >> when you have the job any of us have, you spend your day in meetings were on the phone, so you are talking to everybody all day. for me -- take a step back -- president obama could not have done anything we did in the first two years and we had a very successive legislative agenda without speaker pelosi
and leader reid. we could not have gotten the affordable care act on without the president, but certainly not without the speaker and without leader reid. for me, gary myrick, he was the chief of staff of john lawrence, nancy pelosi's chief of staff, i cannot imagine getting anything done without them because i was communicating with them day in and day out. the president's approach to congress -- are mentioned before about reporting -- reporting when it comes to our jobs and the president's relationship with congress, either there is a winner or a loser. so even the president is dictating to congress or congress is the table to the president. that is the frame that is out there. president obama had a different view which is he wanted to have a collaborative approach, and he understood there is a price for a real communication in doing that, but we would work through issues with them. it is something like climate
change there was enormous interest in the senate. senator boxer, senator kerry on moving a bill. we had a process moving in the senate. we had a process moving in the house, and our goal was to get both climate change and health care. done there was a way to do both. it would not have been the same bill that passed the senate the past the house, but we would have been able to harmonize the differences in conference. what ended up happening was the only path to getting that done was to get health care run in 2009, and it took us until march 2010 to get health care and that closed the space on climate. but congressman waxman, like almost every member of the house and senate i dealt with, i think yelled at me at one time or
another being in the white house, and the beauty of our jobs in the white house is that your mornings are spent with people in the white house who think they're co-opted by congress, and your afternoons are spent in congress and they think they are co-opted by the white house. they called me up and yelled when he was unhappy. i was at dinner the other night with 35 members and i speech them, i looked at the room, and i was thinking everybody here has yelled at me one time or another. take these jobs because you're afraid of getting yelled at. but you take the jobs if you want to see if you can get past the yelling and find common space. >> [indiscernible] what is your best memory of working in the white house and of doing something where you brought to congress and the president together? >> sometimes we cannot talk about these things in great detail but my best memory --
phil has raised the issue of target couple times -- i was there at the end and things were going along swimmingly until the world economy was about to collapse. the secretary of the treasury and the head of the federal reserve bank were explaining to the president that the world economy was going to collapse if we did not take action quickly. i will zero in on the most to the event memory. on a bipartisan basis i often tell folks in all of that dysfunction, people forget we passed tarp in 15 days, and it was a $700 billion bill. everybody who is involved in it, you do not ever get -- you cannot ever prove the negative that without it the world
markets would have collapsed but i think people involved, even though the politics of it has soured, they think it is a worthwhile endeavor. so we were in the middle of this. we started on a thursday with meetings in the white house and up on the hill. the following weekend, about halfway through it, i get a call up on the hill saying we are going to have a bipartisan, i can rural meeting tomorrow -- bicameral meeting tomorrow. those meetings to not happen unless i initiated them because that was my job. was going on? what was happening, that was the meeting where mccain had suspended his campaign, it was not doing well, and he called senator obama and said they were have rigged problems getting an agreement -- having big problems getting an agreement, and we should help. senator obama said he should not have much choice other than
saying ok. then mccain call the president. when i got the call and explain why, i am aligned to try to get this passed, so now we are going to introduce presidential politics into this. this is a great development. he said sarcastically. the meeting itself was a bipartisan meeting which those of us who participated in it afterwards all felt it had been probably one of the most extreme very -- the most extraordinary meetings we had been in. leaders speak their piece. it was high tension. cuts for paper trying to be helpful to what the president -- democrats were trying to be hopeful to what the president was trying to get done. boehner was trying to be helpful. they agreed to was a huge problem. he had problems in his caucus, again, and speaker pelosi had
said if we are going to do this we are going to do it together hold hands. i will produce 50% of my caucus, you produce 50% of your caucus. boehner was turned to live within that constraint. he was saying if we can do this, can we do this? i do not want to go into a huge detail about this. there was a lot of acrimony in the room. at one point the president looked back, and he turned away, i have lost control, which he reasserted, but there was a moment where it was -- all i will not say comical -- but it was pretty interesting. that is the one i will share. >> i have a lot.
the first two years were so intense, there was so much going on. i do not know if i can pick one. the one that jumps to my mind right now is getting health care passed was so difficult every step of the way. when i left the white house in 2012 i left with the idea of not coming back. we haved moved to new mexico. we started a new life. when i came back earlier this year, part of my job involves looking at some of the letters the president was getting on the affordable care act, which at that point was -- and these were letters from people all around the country talking about how the law had made an enormous difference in their lives, either save their lives all different ways, allowing them to take care of an elderly parent because they were not tied to a job with health insurance --
without health insurance anymore. that is not one moment but when so much time is invested in getting a law passed our hope for all of us, generally hope the law would make a difference in people's lives. in a part of that process and then seeing it making a difference in peoples lives was great. every day you were can white house is a great day because you just cannott believe you're there, working in the oval office. >> i'm not going into an anecdote. i will to say truly it is an honor and privilege to work there. it is fun every day. people would think i was crazy because in 2002 or sometimes in seemed -- or 1992, when we started with a 90% approval rate in february, and it occurred to me that we working really hard to lose the election, it was
still fine fascinating, because you were right in the center of everything. whether it is things coming together like trade promotion authority, which was a huge partisan victory in 1991 the people said cannot happen. the same with the passage of the iraq war resolution that same year, where the leadership of the house was against it and a whole bunch of democrats voted for it because we had built this coalition and wanted to do it to the tax cuts in 2001 and the whole string of bills post 9/11. every day there was a lot of good memories. i think most of us were all of us would not tell a lot of the stories that we would love to tell because they were private and contained inside the white house. in the things you hear and getting yelled at, and you just sit there and you just take it and walk away. it is like the alligator crocodile coming down. we will get to that, too. >> to answer a question like this you really have to
decide if you want to focus on little trivial things, like the fact for two years i never took my keys out of the ignition. why would you? if summit is going to steal your car from the white house grounds, it is going to be on tape. they are going to get this guy. or something very significant and historic. and i was involved in the impeachment, and being over with the president on a trip to ireland. he was in a city square addressing probably 10,000 crazy irishman. and i was behind stage on a call to my office, getting a list of members of congress that he had to talk to on air force one on the way back. i was nearly in tears with the contrast.
called democratic members of the house of representatives to see if he could keep his job and there he was a hero to 10,000 irishman. the best were at the time is during that same period, a former member of congress, it was a person i used to work on the hill, both in the same part of the country, we vacationed at the same beach a typical small beach street, one lane, early on during impeachment, marty is not adverse to getting his face in front of a camera. so he had every sound truck from every tv station in boston on this one little street two houses down from where i was. you cannot go by -- and i was there two houses up on
a phone with members of congress making sure they were ok because the president had just testify before the grand jury. so i said to myself, if those tv stations new while they were interviewing marty and i was a peer making calls around the country, what would they do with that story? fortunately, they never figured that out. >> thank you. i would like to make a couple quick comments. i was involved in the predicate to impeachment, which was a whole nother thing. >> thank you. >> some high entertainment value. one thing that really struck me in what you guys are alluded to was how much technology has changed the game of governing and politics. it has been made a point that tweaking was not the same. some people do not even know what the hell it is now.
but it has changed dramatically since 2008. i put it in further context when i was in the white house, a couple of us would meet up with leon panetta every night and we would look at the three tv's, abc, cbs, and whatever the other was come and see which stories had risen or the bad stories had gone down, and you could see wolf standing out in the yard there without an umbrella sometimes. that was a goods day if the stories were up, and that was all we dealt with. now the on slight of information, moving information, all sorts of sinister reasons, has fundamentally changed government and strategies. just three things that pop out to me, and in phrases. what i hear you guys saying is
that your fundamental belief is people are coming to washington to get something done. you have looked at the underbelly of this system, and i have been under there with you, and it is not pretty, but your fundamental belief is eating something done is a compelling objective. if the space is provided to make it happen. two, substance matters, that policy, turn to make good as he does matter. and, three nick's point sometimes you have to ignore some members of your own party to make it happen. as a framework for going forward, i hope that prevails. i want to thank you guys for a much -- thank you guys very much -- [applause] thank you, all. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015]
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, >> ahead of the new congress, we will take a look now to january 8 of last year when senate minority leader mitch mcconnell came to the floor to deliver what he called his state of the senate speech, talking about a range of issues, including bipartisan issues and filibuster rules. >> america's strength and
resilience has depended on our abilities to adapt to the challenges of our day. think it's warranted. and when the majority leader decided a few weeks back to defy bipartisan position -- there was bipartisan opposition to what happened in november by changing the rules that govern this place with a simple majority, he broke something. he broke something. but our response can't be to sit back and accept the demise of the senate. this body has survived mistakes and excesses before, and even after some of its worst period, it's found a way to spring back and to be the place where even the starkest differences and the fiercest ideological disputes are hashed out by consensus and mutual respect. indeed it's during periods of
its great >> mitch mcconnell from last january when the 114th congress. he will be the new senate majority leader. but the health and senate gaveling in at noon. we will see the swearing-in of members and the election of the house speaker. with the new congress you will have the best access, most extensive coverage anywhere. track the gop as it leads on capitol hill and have your say as events unfold on tv, radio and the web. we have been getting comments every day on the facebook page. carol says rebuilding our country, our infrastructure is following down around us. we are starting to look like a third world country. dave says attack that $18 trillion debt even if it means a
government shutdown. there isn't an election for nearly two years. for more, a conversation from today's "washington journal." 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 on to 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 but 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 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 of those 12, 10 are returning. out of those 10, it 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 just needs a majority of the house to vote for him. democrats will vote for nancy pelosi and 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 two years ago 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 potential pick? guest: it is a shift in
strategy, and the dynamics are different. in 2012, republicans were doming off a difficult election. 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. they figured 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 coalesce behind one candidate. some have suggested trey gowdy a 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. two of 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 talk about the rebels in this congress. how are the rebels going to shape this new 114th congress? guest: if you look at the makeup of the house, there are more republicans, so that gives boehner more votes to play with. anytime he has tried to pass a very controversial bill, he has needed to rely on democrats, such as raising the debt ceiling last year, where only 28 republicans in the house voted for a clean ceiling increase. some say that he has a stronger hand he does he has more to play but 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: how difficult of 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 maybe 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, whatever budget they propose -- 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 chairmen 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. you also have to look at senator jim inhofe, climate change skeptic. he will be in charge of the energy committee. in the house, darrell issa was term limited. 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
>> tomorrow's opening day for the 114th congress. all morning, interviews with reporters and incoming freshman in the house and senate. we will take your phone calls and comments. "washington journal" runs all the red to the opening of the house at about noon eastern on c-span. the 114th congress starts this tuesday. track of the gop led congress and have your say as events unfold on the c-span networks. new congress, best access on c-span. >> with congress returning tomorrow, we will take a look back at the 2006 documentary. it is an in-depth look at the famous building and its history. we also took a tour of the
senate chamber and learn about the current chamber and the old senate chamber. collects the rotunda bridges the house and senate side of the capital. it is through here were you enter into the oldest part of the capital and into the senate wing of the building. as you make your way from the oldest part of the capital into the extension built in the 1850's, you see a stark contrast in the decorative nature of the old and new as the senate of the 1850's desired to showcase their part of the capital to visit his around the world -- to visitors around the world. it is in this artistic and architectural design where you find the current senate chamber. opened in the winter of 1859. >> i am always enthralled by the senate chamber itself. the walls themselves.
if they can speak, what could they tell us? what would they tell us? i think of the great men and women who have served there. there is something special about being here when it is empty. it is an empty theater in a sense. you stop and look around and look at the busts of the vice presidents, you look at the desks. you imagine the people that stood there. the barry goldwaters. the people who have had a huge impact on this constitution and american political history. this is the chamber in which they fought their battles. there is a certain tribute that is paid to these people. >> the senate is almost a living creature. as a whole. breathing. it has a tempo to it. you can watch it, you can feed it.
it is almost like a person and if you treat it like you would treat another person, i think it responds well. even when you are trying to do something it doesn't want to do. >> of the real role of the senate is to be a form of the state. each state is equal. there are two senators from each state. every senator is equal to a degree from any other center. each senator can speak as long as he or she wishes. there is freedom of speech. freedom of speech runs deep in english history, roman history even and cologne colonial history since the constitution came along. freedom of speech. >> the senate chamber opened on january 4, 1859.
on that day, members of the senate as a body left their old chamber which is now the old senate chamber. they walked down the corridor into their new chamber. up there was excitement, enthusiasm about this new stage. when you go today, it is hard to evoke the way the chamber would've looked in the 19 century. it has changed so dramatically. in the 19th century when the chamber first opened, the room was very victorian. highly ornate, floral pattern carpets. gilding on the walls and a wonderful stained-glass ceiling. the chamber was expanded during the 1850's and it opened because as new states joined the union more space was needed. in the 1850's, congress appropriated $100,000 to build of the new ways to this house and the senate and later the capitol dome.
when you look out from the galleries into the senate chamber, there is a variety of things that are going on. really, the layout you see today is very similar to the layout in the old senate chamber. wall decorations change, the same formality, the same layout has continued. what you have in the center of the room is the dais. there are the presiding officers desk. in the 19th century, it would've been the vice president at that desk. nowadays, the presiding officer is more frequently a member of the majority party. they sit there overseeing what is going on on the chamber. he also have in the galleries, the press gallery above the presiding officers of desk on the third floor. the press can look down and see what is happening. around you as you look into the chamber are other galleries -- visitor galleries, diplomat galleries so that specific areas
for people to go view what is going on. of course, the room is divided for republicans and democrats. if you are at the presiding officers desk looking at the senate on the left-hand side would be the republicans and the right would be the democrats. the majority leader and the minority leader are front and center at the front of the room in the center aisle. >> when i walk into the current senate chamber and i see 100 beautifully polished desks i have a lot of different thoughts. one is those desks are occupied by the latest in a long, unbroken chain of senators going back to 1789. the have been over 1880 members of the senate. they really have reflected all different kinds of shapes and walks of american life. >> the senate chamber desk that
the members used today are probably the most unique and most important pieces in our collection as far as decorative art furniture. the reason being is that 48 of those desks were purchased in 1819 at a cost of $34 by a new york cabinetmaker. there have been desks prior to that time but the british march on washington, part of the war of 1812, in 1814 and set fire to the capital. all the furniture was destroyed. these desks happened after that time. in 1819, the senate acquired these desks. they are beautifully made of. . mahogany. there is even grills on the side of the feet of the desk. these were used for air-conditioning. the earliest air-conditioning system was in the capital.
it was cold ice brought in underground to call the chamber and this was ventilated. it would put grates on the bottom of the feet of the chamber. today, we try to preserve that history. we also recognize that every senator who sits at that desk, every event that happens in this chamber adds another layer to the history of the desk. members in about 1900 side -- started signing their desks. not every member but we have the signature either in pen or they carved it with a penknife inside the desk drawer. >> i used my father's desk. to carve your name is like the schoolboy tradition that has gone on for years here. senator cold was the first senator to use my desk. my father used at my desk. i carved my name into it.
two dodd names in that desk. i suppose the desk, knowing the history of the desk, i love the history of the daniel webster desk. her was such a tightwad when it came to public spending, he would not have the top on the desk. 's desk is the only one that does not have a lift up top. for those of us who have been here, the history of those desks and what occurred is significant. >> people walk around the senate chamber and they see a lot of marble busts. they recognize these as president of the united states -- lyndon johnson, richard nixon, gerald ford, george bush senior. but they are not presidents, they are there because they are presidents of the senate. they were vice presidents.
the constitution provides the vice president be the presiding officer of the senate and break the tied votes. for most of the history, that is all vice presidents did from the very first. that was a prominent and primary role. in the beginning of the 1890's, the senate had a real resolution commissioning busts be made of vice president's. s. the first was in the chamber. some of the vice presidents were left up into a cloud. henry wilson, schuyler colfax were both implicated in a s candal. in the 20th century, he was accused of accepting bribes by the governor. there are a number of people's careers whose was less than stellar. they represent, the artwork
represents the vice presidents. all of them are here. they are quite fascinating. some of them are quite spectacular. this is theodore roosevelt. >> above the doors in the senate chamber are latin phrases as well as symbolic imagery. the marble was done in the early 1950's as was the latin motif. it is part of the renovation of the chamber in the late 1940's and early 1950's. the imagery you see his patriotism courage and wisdom. we don't know exactly why the artists selected those three images that he was given a lot of latitude to design what he thought would be appropriate to go in the senate chamber.
these are really quite lovely pieces. the latin phrases the first one is god favored are undertaking which is over the east entrance. over the west entrance is a new order of the ages. you have in god we trust. finally, over the presiding officers of desk, one out of many. >> misuse has become a fundamental problem. i don't think anybody can support the concept of speaker holds. >> why did you play an active role in opening up both chambers? >> other really get to sanctimonious about this but i do believe in openness in government. i generally don't like secrets of any kind. i think life is a lot easier if you live in open book.
i thought it was part of the modern era. we weren't covered by media. it was the electronic age. audio, radio, and television. i thought the people who could not come from washington -- to washington from small-town usa can see and observe what we do. in some respects, i think it has adversely affected us. i think we do have more performing for the eye of the camera. i also think that people indication can see us at our best when the debate doesn't sort to a degree. they see that we work at it and have legitimate disagreements without being disagreeable sometimes. it was really kind of simple for me.
>> as a firsthand witness to history for the public, to understand exactly what is occurring not just by reading the record but actually hearing the voices, watching the faces of those that are the authors and architects of policy. the downside is it is almost theodore -- theater. we don't have real debates because people are aware they are performing on a very public stage. not that they were not before but there was a limited audience and i think that truncates the debate. it has a way of finalizing the debate in a way that deprives people of the real negotiations and conversations that are a part of any legislative production. >> the political call to roll. >> mr. allen -- >> the roles of the senate really perplexed me when i came over from the house. i like water and rules.
-- i like order and rules. having been a member of the rules committee in the house and now in the senate, i kept looking and watching the institution and saying this does not make any sense. this is not the house rules of order. what are these roles? i went to the parliamentarian and said to explain to me how this place works. he said there are only two rules that matter -- exhaustion and unanimous consent. you get the senators is often enough, they will agree unanimously to anything. >> that is the forum where the people speak and senators can speak for as long as their feet will hold them. they can sitdown also. that is the protection of the people's liberties. so long is there is a place where one can speak as loudly as he wishes and as long as his
lungs last, week and be sure -- we can be sure that people's liberties will endure. >> a republican leader of the senate in the 1960's said thinking about the members of the senate what a diverse lot they are. what a chore it is to try to harmonize their discordant voices. the senate's great days of success in my view has not been that the rules were better or worse but the quality of the people served during that time and understanding the role of the united states senate, not as a partner with executive branch or a partner with the house, but as a unique place that has a coequal obligation to make sure the people's horses -- voicces aes are heard. >> the 114th congress gavels in at noon eastern tomorrow.
we will show you the swearing in of new members and the election of house speaker. next up, discussion of the priorities the white house and congress need to make on asia-pacific policy in the next two years. you will hear about u.s. relations with japan and china in the upcoming elections in burma and taiwan. from earlier today, the center for strategic and international studies, this is one hour. >> good morning. happy new year. happy year of the sheep. i am mike green. thank you for coming.
this is probably the first they of work for a lot of people. tomorrow, congress comes into session. we face a new world in washington. a republican congress. democratic president. so far, on issues from immigration to cuba policy there are signs that the new congress and the white house will be colliding -- politically and on policy. what we want to do today is spotlight one area where bipartisan cooperation -- forming an agenda to move forward -- is not only possible but necessary. that is on policy towards the asia-pacific region. in washington, it is probably one of the areas of most
bipartisan collaboration. we want to spotlight issues, and actions that members of congress can do to move forward. a majority of americans consider asia to be the most important region in the world to u.s. interests. we have done polls -- support for the rebalancing of asia has over 90% favorable ratings. that means a lot of republicans are behind the idea of focusing more on the asia-pacific. it also shows that within the region, while there is robust support outside of china there's questions as to whether it can be sustained.
that showed up in our survey last spring. we hear increasingly -- because of the divided government in this town -- the president is constrained. we think it is critical and practical that the white house and the leadership in the congress, chart a common course on asia. we've had a series of dinners and roundtables as we thought about this agenda. it seems clear to us that there is a lot of room to move forward. the report outlines specific actions on china -- defense policy in asia. this was internally funded and generated. we did it on our own research budgets. we do on asia expertise that we have here at csis. it runs the gamut as far as policy background.
on my far left is our chair, chris johnson, scott miller, victor cha, matt goodman, bonnie glaser, rick rosso, ernie bower. we also want to introduce one new member of the team -- scott kennedy. he will be joining us starting this week to work on the chinese economy. a terrific addition for us. i will summarize the points from the report for you. then, in the questions, i will
let my colleagues elaborate on the different portions that they wrote. let me begin with trade. i think most of us would agree that in the coming two years perhaps the most important thing the united states can do to cement our long-term engagement in the pacific region, is complete negotiations on the transpacific partnership. our report recommends that the president follow up on statements that he made in december at the business roundtable. he stated that he was ready to move forward with tpp, in spite of opposition from some of his own political base. that has to continue. all of the history of trade negotiations in washington suggest that unless you have a high level argument for the public, it cannot be made.
the window is narrow. most people think an agreement can't be reached -- especially with japan. in japan, we are talking about economically insignificant areas of liberalization. politically charged. with japan, we can break through and move forward with other participants in the negotiations. in japan, 95% of the tpp chapters we have a common view. this is critical. to do that, some movement on trade authorities is critical to move this through. tpp started in the bush
administration, expanded to more countries, and will really be the defining element of the obama administration. senator mcconnell has said this is one area where potentially the white house and congress can work together well because republicans are strong proponents for free trade. the prospects for a major redefinition of u. s. china relations are small, i would argue dangerous, but there are some stabilizing elements that we think the administration needs to follow through on. in particular, the confidence building measures. we're disagreeing with china on
new institutions in asia. at the end of the day, china will be in the game of development, and the recommendation of our report is to find a way to align to find a way to align ourselves to make sure the institution is aligned with pre-existing banks, like the world bank. the other aspect is the importance of maintaining clear red lines with beijing. we do have problems, and they must be managed skillfully. one highlight is the growing problem in the domestic economy. china, in the last few years has seen the investors in the chinese economy as the -- and china holds the cards.
that is not necessarily the case. there needs to be some disciplining. the report recommends putting more energy in the negotiations. on the policy that i took the lead on, we have three basic recommendations. first, we have argued for some time it is important for the administration to produce a strategic report. this was done by secretary cheney in 1990 and 1992. it was also done in 1995 and 1998. the idea at a time of shifting u.s. resources, it is critical to lay out for congress, the
public, and the region, the objective of u.s. security strategy. the president has given speeches. we have done a piece in the "washington quarterly" that analyzes those speeches. in every speeche, the priority is listed for rebalancing changed. congress is a bit confused. so it will be important, we think, that there be a strategic report clarifying the priorities. in exchange, congress has its work to do. in particular, a critical part is realigning u.s. forces, dispersing forces so they are better able to engage, not just in northwest asia, but in south
asia. much of the cost of this realignment is being borne by our friends and allies. the u.s. have to pay for the new facilities as well, particularly in guam. we think it is time to move forward to demonstrate our intent. finally, this is the hardest one on defense -- we're coming down to crunch time over the next few years. at the current rate of defense cuts, we will start facing choices. do we invest in new capabilities to counter missile threats cyber threats, especially in the western pacific, or do we sustain our traditional platforms like aircraft carriers to demonstrate american commitment and presence?
the answer is we do both. but we will have to choose. sequestration is a large part of the problem. one way out of sequestration would be for congress to pass a nonbinding budget resolution that sets defense spending above sequestration caps. it would lay the groundwork for increased defense spending in the reconciliation process. this could be defined based on revenue or the demand on u.s. forces in the pacific. on korea, you will all want to know about "the interview" and hacking against sony.
the korea piece of this argues that we will continue have to enhance cyber capabilities, as well as missile defense capabilities, which is a sensitive subject in korea, but one we have to move forward on. we argue that given the movement on condemning north korean human rights violations, finally, in the u.n., human rights should be a more central part of u. s. policy towards north korea. this is an area where congress is likely to be very supportive. this one is hard, but is imperative for the united states to work on improving japan korean relations, which are strained for reasons that are complex, and have more to do with identity and politics. but it actually competent are foreign-policy. the administration has signaled that there will be a trilateral information sharing agreement.
korea has information sharing agreements with 25 countries but not japan. on india, india's part of the overall fabric of the strategic equilibrium in the asia-pacific region. under prime minister modi, there is potential for change. but it is unclear how much change. defense is one of the most promising areas of cooperation with the modi government. it is recommended that carter be confirmed quickly. congress can do its part. more broadly, congress hould be engaging in india. on the economy, more economic
reforms are probably coming. we have had coordination on india with afghanistan and east asia. we need to energize that. finally, southeast asia, an area where our administration has been very active some challenges are ahead. 2015 elections coming up in burma. more needs to be done with the leader in jakarta. it is time for president obama to go to vietnam. it is not easy because of human rights concerns. but absolutely critical. it is possible to engage
strategically and address concerns congress will have. we need to support countries like the philippines, who are pursuing legal means through the tribunal to address china's claim that the nine-dash line defines chinese territorial rights in the south china sea. my colleagues can elaborate. we think it is practical
consistent with white leaders have said they want to do, and what the american public wants. let me open it up to questions. we started the new year hopeful. we think this agenda is realistic. we hope you will help us, and keep both sides of this town interested. thank you. please raise your hand. we have microphones. we can get you quickly, if you have a question or a recommendation. please. >> i am formerly of osd. would you suggest stretching sequestration for defense? i hope you also support keeping 50-50 relations in the bca. do you have a position on that? >> i will speak only for myself.
that is to say -- ultimately how that 50-50 split is resolved is beyond my pay grade. what we are trying to say is that the resource problem is going to become acute. one of the big challenges is the tough tradeoff, and that is critical. it is critical enough that congress ought to table it. if the answer is a 50-50 split i don't think anyone on this panel will object to that. >> i have two questions at first.
there are more preparation on the chinese side if there is a collapse in north korea. they would be more willing to accommodate possible unification in the future for the korean people. the second question, with the election just completed last november in taiwan, do you feel like cross-strait issues will be a new concern for the u.s.? what do you think about the role of the president? will there be an implication for domestic politics? thanks. >> thank you for the question.
i think there is a potential cross-strait relations will exists. not yet. i do think that this is a potential that these relations will reemerge on the agenda for a number of countries, including the united states. it will mostly be a year of stagnation. the potential of reignited tensions comes potentially after the elections in january of 2016. the united states will be in close consultation and should be with both of the parties in taiwan, particularly with the dpp. there is still a lot more that can be done in this time to bolster u.s.-taiwan relations. it is especially important as we deal with this coming uncertainty. taiwan, as you know, recently announced it will be building its own submarines. i think that the united states
should be bolstering taiwan's participation in the international community. in the run-up to the selection in taiwan, it is important for the united states, as i said, to maintain consultation and talk to beijing so that china does not overreact to the potential election of the dpp president. at the same time i would say that the united states should remain neutral. >> i want to say something as well. my sense is that the chinese have a lot of indigestion when it comes to north korea. it is not an ulcer yet certainly sour stomach, and i
don't think that has changed. and it won't over the next quarter. the south koreans have been quite aggressive in trying to develop a strategic understanding with beijing and their government on north korea. it is one of the reasons i think -- has been so enthusiastic about holding as many meetings and creating as many ties and defense exchanges as they can to try to deepen that understanding. apec, we saw that they announced the plans for a free trade agreement , another sign that korea is trying to step into a space that they see opening up.
[indiscernible] in the sense that they are angry with japan, they are trying to draw closer to china. that does not mean that the chinese don't see it that way. they see it as an opportunity to pull the south koreans out of the three-way alliance. in that sense they feel that they are winning and again that they are playing, whereas the reality is probably that neither of them are winning, but they are inching closer to their desired objective. >> i would agree with that. as we have talked about collectively, my own view is that a lot of ink has been spilled about the issue of how they change their policy. we would all agree that at a fundamental level they have not. are still the lifeline that keeps the north koreans going in there is substantial indigestion
and it is headed more towards an ulcer at this stage. the chinese approach will be to deny kim jong-un a visit to beijing, which is significant. i don't see any chinese leader going to north korea either. the issue for me is not really about change, it is about the normalization of their relationship. xi jinping has clearly sent a signal that the relations will not be a special relationship, like they have been from before the korean war, but rather a state to state relationship in which the chinese take a senior role, and the senior partner in this relationship. that north korea should in a perfect world a line with our interest or at least don't make trouble for us. we are going to continue to see this slow boil. on taiwan, i agree with everything that bonnie said. it is a problem that the u.s. government in particular had better start focusing on because my sense is that this issue will be back on the agenda.
i agree that we should be doing everything we can to calm concerns about a possible victory, but at some level i don't think the chinese will be able to help them selves in that regard. what will be interesting is to look historically, fair to say that the chinese made a deliberate decision to forgo their interests in the south china seas and focus on the back burner. when the president came in they were able to put their head up again and look and see what they were doing down there. should we have another turn in cross-strait relations it will be interesting to see the impact that it has on south china and east china sea issues as well. >> in my personal view, i spent many hours with president chen. he and his family suffered a lot in the process of democratization. i think he suffered enough for what he did wrong during his time in the presidency.
in the interests of democracy in taiwan, i think it is important for a new era, where changes in government through the democratic process are not followed by vindictive actions. you know, the president was found guilty under due process. i am not saying that there was not due process. but i think that there is something useful in a magnanimous or forgiving view after a certain period of paying the debt back to society for the long-term democracy. on the election, i think it will be important for the administration to be very disciplined. i was personally disappointed to read the story from the "financial times" from the last presidential election, which
appeared to be an administration hit against a penguin. it may not have been, but i think it will be important going forward to put as a first and foremost priority for u.s. policy, respect for taiwan's democratic process. there are ways to signal expectations with respect to those relations between washington and taipei. some private, maybe some public. but i think the administration needs to be more careful than it was last time, which is not easy. the taiwanese democratic politics are not for the faint of heart. there is lots of stuff flying in the air. literally, there is a lot of stuff flying around in the air in the o.i. and in the congress. i think that the administration has got to be very disciplined this time. it is important for our overall stance in the region. where are our microphone experts? andrew? there we go.
>> hi. first of all, thank you very much for the attempt at maintaining a bipartisan approach. my question is on japan. detailing the previous relationship we obviously have a three-year mandate that raises risks and opportunities. basing issues in okinawa become more complicated with the politics there. on this anniversary of the second world war it raises history issues, which is a problematic thing. what are your thoughts on managing japanese u.s. much for the attempt at -- relations in the next few years? >> matt has graciously asked me to do the history lesson and will address things that involve numbers. although history doesn't involve
numbers, as you said it is the 70th anniversary and it is the anniversary of many other things. i took some encouragement from abe's new year's address on this issue, where he said what i believe was the case all along that he will keep the previous apologies from the former prime minister, adding in his own statement of remorse. the model that i hear about the most as well is the canberra speech, that everyone should read if you are interested in japan, it was an emotional and forthcoming disposition by prime minister abe before the australian parliament on what japan did to australia. very emotional. very important for u.s. -- excuse me, japanese strategic ties. i think that the lesson that people around the prime minister take away around the 70th anniversary, okinawa will be harder after the gubernatorial
election. i am personally not convinced the new government wants this to be the defining issue for the prefecture that has some economic challenges, but it is going to be harder. that is one of the reasons why i think it is important for the u.s. congress to begin funding some of the military construction and guam. aligning our forces more geographically and politically in a sustainable way. >> this is obviously a report with recommendations for the u.s. side of the story. as the economic sky, it is hard not to say from a japanese respected that the most important and they could do, the thing that abe could do that would have the greatest return on investment would be to get the transpacific partnership done, meaning agreeing to, as mike said, we are very close on the substance. the u.s. and japan need to reach an agreement on the final details. more than any other thing that
abe is trying to do in the economic sphere, would have a very powerful impact on japanese economic prospects, their strategic position, and u.s.-japan relations. this is the thing they should be most focused on in the near term because it is the iron is hottest in the fire right now, so if we could strike a deal quickly later this month, i very much hope and don't see why they should not be able to reach an agreement, and if abe is serious about economics being at the center of his agenda, if president obama is serious about tpp being a critical part of his legacy, i would hope and expect that they would reach agreement in the first part of this year. >> briefly, the magic bullet, so to speak, will be when -- until
now every free trade agreement we have done, as scott has explained, has been preceded by the trade promotion authority and with one small exception, jordan right after 9/11, which is really not -- you know, unique case. they decided this time to move ppa and ppt in parallel. it is asking a lot of our trade partners to trust us on tpa and give us their best deals. there are not many big issues left, but the ones that are there are stuck on this issue politically in japan. my sense of the magic bullet would be that the president's initial volley in early december with the business roundtable is followed up with more
engagement. in tokyo that is not just from the administration. it is when they start hearing from the republican congress that we can get this done, then i think that the bilateral negotiations will be much, much more easy. that is why scott and matt emphasize in this report how important is to sustain a high emphasis on campaign with the american public, with key interest troops, especially the congress. >> way in the back with the red dress. >> thank you. i have two questions concerning china. i have been reading an article saying that china is having a big diplomatic shift. china is also giving priorities to neighboring countries.
the question is -- how will that affect the european situation? china is now also pivoting to asia. the second question about the chinese vice premier's recent comments -- i cannot not remember the exact words, but it was to the effect that they are still the leaders of the world. what is your interpretation here? thank you. >> thank you for the question. chinese policy was evident in the recent speech to the so-called central foreign affairs work congress. in that speech and the subsequent things we have seen it is a reaffirmation of this notion that under his leadership china has decided to take a much more forward leaning approach to its foreign policy, a more multidirectional foreign policy. it was interesting in the speech that in terms of the batting
order of prioritization he did choose to put what they called a referral or neighboring diplomacy ahead of major country relations, like u.s.-china relations. we have spoken to a lot of chinese interlocutors who say that these things get done deliberately, generally, inside their system. we mentioned this in the report, for our own administration and congress, this is a dedicated effort. they talk a lot about the economic leverage in the region. the administration has been slow to acknowledge this shift and see that it is a major change in the way that they approach things. we, collectively, would like to see them respond more strongly.
it does not mean we have to respond in a kit for cap manner. pursuing things like the bilateral investment treaty. inside the system as well now like a foreign ministry, not playing the roles that they did under that administration. taking the full scope of how to take this into account is going to be critical. those governments, i didn't see anything particularly new -- on those comments, i didn't see anything particularly new there. it is interesting that someone at his level chose to do so, but i did not find it surprising. >> let me just add a couple of things to chris' remarks. the recent conference on