tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 9, 2015 7:00am-9:01am EST
host: good morning. it is friday, january 9, 2015. there are developments in france in the wake of the shooting at the satirical magazine in paris. we will try to keep you abreast of developments there as well. the u.s. house comes in at 9:00 eastern so a shorter program this morning. they will begin their day reading the u.s. constitution, as they have done for several years now. we thought we would pick up this morning asking a little bit but we asked yesterday late in the
program about the freedom of expression, tying that in to the shootings of the journalists and paris. what does freedom of expression mean to you today? host: we will get to your calls momentarily. as we come on the air, we will let you know about what is going on north of paris. this is the associated press and their latest report. this is just north of paris near apparently the charles de gaulle airport. the suspects are holed up with a hostage. phone contact has been established with the two men
cherif and said kouachi. the men want to die as martyrs and they are suspected in the attack the other day at "charlie hebdo" magazine in paris that left 12 dead. looking at the front pages this morning of the newspapers which printed in advance what is going on north of paris, the headline in "the new york times" this morning, "al qaeda trained paris suspect." this is reported in several newspapers. "one of the 2 brothers suspected of killing 12 people at a newspaper in paris traveled to yemen and received terrorist training from the al qaeda affiliate before returning to france, senior american official said on thursday. the suspect, said kouachi spent
a few months training in small arms conduct marksmanship and other skills that appeared to be on display in the military style attack. both french and american officials were aware that mr. kouachi had trained in yemen and went there at a time when many other muslim men went to yemen inspired by anwar al-awlaki, who had been a senior figure for the terrorist group there, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. before he was killed in an american drone strike in september 2011, he repeatedly called for the killing of cartoonists who insulted the prophet mohammed." that is from "the new york times." the freedom of press, freedom of expression. headline here this morning in the "usa today," this is what the front page looks like.
"france on edge." "terror alert expended as manhunt spreads." that hunt has spread north of paris. a look here at "the new york times" and their picture as journalists at afp are standing outside of their offices. "je suis charlie" is the small sign you see and that is a huge picture of journalists gathered in support in the city of paris as they support their colleagues who were murdered at "charlie hebdo" magazine. we are asking about freedom of expression, what does it mean to you today. texas, charles on our republican line. caller: thank you. host: go ahead, make sure you meet your television. caller: oh, you bet. i know that.
thank you. host: you are on the air, sir. go ahead with your comment. charles in texas, go ahead. caller: ok, yes, i want to talk about the terrorists over there that our president said that is just a random deal, we don't have to worry about them, but i think we have a lot of them over here and we will have more because he is turning loose all them there in guantánamo and that is what they have on their minds, killing all the christians. we have got a real problem. we don't get after it now, i don't know what's going to happen. host: all right, charles, thank you for your call this morning. host: the u.s. house comes in
this morning at 9:00 eastern. they start their day beginning with a reading of the u.s. constitution. and they also take up legislatively the keystone xl pipeline. we are joined by susan f ferrechio, chief congressional correspondent for the washington examiner." guest: good morning. host: what is different about it this time? guest: oh, what is different this time is that the senate, once a democratic majority but this year republicans are in the majority and the house is able to pass the bill today from which everybody expects it will, and it will likely pass the senate because they only needed to pick up a handful of democrats and it looks like they may be able to round up those votes. what is different this time around is the keystone pipeline project legislation stands a much better chance of clearing congress and what that means is
a good end up on the president's guest and you will be facing a situation where congress sends a belt of the president and he will veto it. he has indicated that he will veto this legislation. it is basically -- the way you would look at it is the first if you will, showdown between a republican-led congress and the democratic white house over a very important piece of legislation that has a lot of bipartisan support. host: and the president issuing a veto threat on the keystone will and the measure that passed the house the other day, the one that changes the definition of full-time worker under the affordable care act from 30 hours to 40 hours. this is a new position for the president to be in. guest: that's right. the health care bill is interesting, too because it change the definition and it also has democratic support from folks in the senate, too.
this is a bill that just passed the house. nothing has happened in the senate. but republicans believe -- and some democrats -- having the definition of a full-time work at 30 hours has caused employers to cut back on hours worked out back on jobs. they feel that if we restore the 40-hour workweek under the definition in the affordable care that would be better for the country. but it would change who is eligible for health care coverage. the president is not likely to sign that bill either because it would undermine, essentially, a key element in his important health care law. i would expect that that would be a cap one for him to sign as well -- tough one for him to sign as well. you begin to wonder, is this congress sending bills and the president vetoing one after the other? it could be that way. republicans want to show that they can pass bills with bipartisan support and then
pressure the president -- hey look, we're not just sending you a republican bill. some democrats had to vote for it, and you are rejecting it. that is the stance that republicans are taking right now. the president, though, is not likely to go along by signing these bills. host: couple quick things -- it is friday so it is an early start for the house today, 9:00 eastern. we are hearing about a republican conference meeting mid morning to talk about what they will do with the funding of the department of homeland security, tying it to immigration. what are you hearing about their plans? guest: right, so, the legislation will probably come to the floor sometime next week. last december congress past legislation that funded the government fully but for the homeland security. there is going to be another measure to clear congress to keep the department funded. republicans in the house are talking about legislation that
would fund the department of homeland security. however, it would limit the president in how he carries out these executive actions related to deportations and providing work permits to more than 5 million people who are now living here illegally. republicans want to have legislation that curbs the president from taking that action. he announced it in november and it is kind of a rollout action so it is not fully implemented and they would like to put a stop to it in this legislation. you are likely to get cooperation from republicans in the senate. ift is unclear if you get enough democrats to come along. that would set up the biggest showdown yet with the president because the language blocking t the president from th executive action, it will be a real showdown because if he doesn't sign it, then the department of home and security
could arguably go unfunded and that is a very important department. it is a real sticky situation and i think republicans know however, that for their conservative base they need to move a bill that takes some action against this immigration directive that the president announced in november. and that is what they are going to be talking about today. there will be a lot more on this next week, too. host: lastly, the u.s. house begins their day reading the u.s. constitution. tell us about how this got started and what viewers can look forward to today on c-span. guest: correct, that began in 2011, the reading of the constitution, by republicans who sometimes cited the democrats or the white house as not adhering to the constitution as much as they thought they should come and that the constitution is a really important document that doesn't get enough -- doesn't play enough of a relevant role in decision-making on capitol
hill. bunch of members got together and said let's go to the floor and read the constitution, and they did so with great fanfare in 2011 and then they did it again in 2013, and now here we go again with this third round. sometimes democrats show up. when year minority leader pelosi was there reading along, sitting in the chamber. sometimes people watch to see who shows up for the reading, if only 10 republicans show up for this does that mean no one really cares anymore? there will be a lot of focus on how filled the chamber is when this happens and who gets up to read different sections of the constitution. but it is fairly -- you know, it will move right along. it has become less controversial now that it is in this third time going. it has become really a tradition for republicans. host: susan ferrechio chief congressional correspondent for the "washington examiner," and
you can read more of her reporting on washingtonexaminer.com. thank you for joining us this money. guest: you bet, thank you. host: the first amendment asking you about the freedom of the press and assembly and speech. here is the language of the first amendment to the constitution. host: that is the first amendment to the u.s. constitution. the lead editorial today in "the washington post," tom toles looking at the bill of rights. "well, at least i got one job right."
what does freedom of expression mean to you today? here is steve in indianapolis. thanks for waiting. go ahead with your comment. caller: well, the obvious answer to the question is it is very important. but more troubling is politicizing of tragedy, when terrorist acts, like this, that lindsey graham and then your first caller, they want to blame obama and make coalitions between benghazi and guantanamo bay. random acts like this can happen. nothing gets worse then the guy who goes into a school and kills 20-some children. in the name of what? does it matter in the name of what? people are going to do crazy things and we react in the media reacts the bottom line is we can't let these people scare us. that is it. host: ok, rod in lakeland
florida, also on our democrats' line. what does this mean for freedom of especially in the u.s. and particularly around the world? caller: i think freedom of expression around the world is inhibited considerably by media and government. as far as the united states, we have a slanted view of a law that takes place in congress and a lot that the president says based on the way that the media expresses that to the people. i think that the media has a responsibility that they are not controlling. i believe the correct answers are being given to questions that people have. i don't believe stories are being presented with an unbiased point of view, such as your last caller just mentioned. the first caller mentioned that the guantanamo bay situation --
that the president was going to be releasing prisoners from guantanamo bay to run throughout the united states and commit crimes terrorism. there has never been any information that i have heard of -- and i've tried to keep up with politics and at least what is happening since i live in florida, at least what is happening within 100 miles of me and i have not heard anything from the government saying that guantanamo bay, the doors are going to be open and all the inmate's are going to be released to just run free wherever they wanted. as far as freedom of expression i think that is definitely extremely important, but truth in expression is even more important. host: ok, appreciate your call. here is a tweet from robert. "when free expression becomes political, the irs steps in and third parties are squeezed out -- ross perot."
apparently quoting ross perot. i want to read what a former editor of "the onion," the satirical newspaper in the states "freedom of speech cannot be killed." this is from joe randozzo and it was posted on and send you see -- on msnbc.com. "we have received hate mail on a semiregular basis could i have spoken to individuals who have threatened to rape me and tell my family. at one point we had a to call the police, but i never could have imagined anything like this . i admit, it scares me. this is radical ideology taken to an important new low. the footage and photographs that it so far emerged depicted several armed men, dressed in tactical black. it looks like a highly organized attack, but an attack come ultimately come on what? an idea?
you cannot kill an idea by murdering innocent people -- though you can budget toward suicide. that is the real threat -- that will allow our fear or anger to kill ourselves." north carolina, go ahead. caller: yeah, freedom of expression -- it is kind of hypocritical to just a couple use ago john kerry told joe scarborough that the tea party voice in this country should be silenced and you and the media should not recognize us. if you are part of occupied wall street, cop killers, you are allowed to do whatever you want. so, you know, are you still there? host: i'm still here. you are still on the air. go ahead. caller: well, i mean, it is such a double standard here. take -- one instance. just a second ago, you put up the republicans should be
careful with homeland security. well, what about obama suing arizona and texas for trying to protect their own borders and own citizens? you are a bunch of hypocrites -- host: back to your earlier comments, do you think there are enough outlets for all points of view in the united states? do you think that all points of view get a fair airing on various media outlets -- cable online newspaper? caller: no, i don't. no, i don't. conservatives have one voice in this country, fox news. what is the rest? what is the rest of the paid for media say every day -- abc, nbc cbs, c-span? look at the people that call into your show the last few days. threatening anarchy in the streets! shouldn't you call home and security when people threatened to bring harm against other
americans? what is the revolution, huh? can you explain that to me? tell me! host: michigan, john. what do you think? caller: good morning. when you deal with freedom of speech that we have in the u.s. and other democratic countries you need to use common sense and religion is one thing you need to leave alone because knocking somebody's religious figures and their beliefs is only going to upset thaem. they have had their mind made up of what they want to believe and you are not going to change their minds. because they fear condemnation by their god and not receiving their rewards in the afterlife if they don't hold true to their
beliefs. especially when you're dealing with a religion that believes martyrdom is the best thing they can do, then they have no fear of dying for their cause. that's my comment at the moment. host: just on -- thank you, john -- this is a release from the group the catholic league for religious and civil rights, and the headline of the press release is "muslims are right to be angry." just want to read a few of these comments from bill donahoe from the catholic league. "killing must be unequivocally condemned. that is why what happened in paris must not be tolerated. but neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.
those who work at this newspaper have a long and discussing record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of the depictions of religious figures. for example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. they have also shown mohammed in pornographic poses. moreover, visual representations of them are not prescribed by the koran. what unites muslims in their anger against 'charlie hebdo' is the vulgar manner in which mohammed has been portrayed. what they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. on this aspect i am in total agreement with them." we are asking for your comments on the meaning of this on freedom of expression. the u.s. congress comes in to read the first amendment and the rest of the u.s. constitution. here is don in greenwich, michigan. .com hello, god -- don? hello, go ahead.
caller: good morning. i think our freedom of speech should not be changed in any manner. we should stand up for freedom of speech. what happened in paris is terrible, but we still have to keep getting our message out and keep going forward. freedom of speech is what our country is built on. as far as our country going forth with these new bills as far as 40-hour work week turning to 30 to cut the obama health plan, i really think the country ought to stop and look at republican-controlled house and senate and see if they are really going to work for the people because right now they are working against us. republicans, watch your
representatives because they are not looking out for us. have a good new year and take care. host: republican line. caller: good morning. i have two points this morning. earlier in lady was talking about the reading of the constitution this morning before the congress. and i just want to make the point that if democrats don't want to show up for the reading of the constitution, that just says all you need to know. they shouldn't even be representing the american people if they don't believe in our constitution. i have a point about immigration. the fact that president obama did an executive order on immigration opening the borders of further, where terrorists can comment any day, and they are coming in, shows that he doesn't care anything about america. those are my 2 points. and also, i would like to say that the media has been trying to shut up conservatives for years, calling us the tea party and all kinds of names.
but all it is is that we care about the constitution of america and we want what stands for the american people. host: the house comes in this morning to read the u.s. constitution and start their day doing that at 9:00 eastern, later taking up the keystone bill, all of that live here on c-span to the senate coming in at 9:30 eastern. they too, will likely discuss their keystone bill, which is similar to what the house is going to work on. it passed through the senate energy committee yesterday by a vote of 13-9. the news was about the intended retirement of barbara boxer. here's the headline inside "usa today." "boxer will leave senate setting up california battle." they write that her announcement is "the equivalent of a democratic earthquake in tell funny.
gavin newso kamala harri could becomes candidates in what would be one of the nation's most expensive and closely watched senate races." she made her announcement with her grandson in a youtube video. [video clip] >> i will not run for the senate in 2016. i will continue working on issues i love and i will work on my pac for change community could i will make sure that the senate seat remains progressive, that is critical. and i want to help the democratic candidate for president make history. you know what, i want to come home, i want to come home to the state i love so much,, 40. host: -- california. host: california senator barbara boxer. we are asking you about freedom of expression in the wake of the killings in paris, and the standoff with the two brothers holding a hostage north of
paris. "'charlie hebdo' plans a million copies." "they plan a shorter version of the next issue on wednesday with eight pages instead of the usual 16. however, it would publish one million copies. 'charlie hebdo' normally sells about 30,000 co[ppies a week. roughly $300,000 will come from a funny google incorporated set up to use go to settle a copyright fight with french newspapers." that is from "the wall street journal." another story in "the wall street journal," this one about relations with saudi arabia. "u.s. rebukes saudis for lashing sentence." "it highlights strategic disagreements with a key ally."
"in administration called on saudi arabia to rescind its sentencing of a political activist that includes the punishment of 1000 lashes. the unusual diplomatic rebuke is expected to strained diplomatic relations with the arab party at a time of serious disagreement over the strategic and economic policies. yesterday the state department criticized riyadh for meeting out such a brutal punishment for exercising his rights to freedom of extortion and called on the saudi government to cancel the sentence and review the case." back to your calls about freedom of expression. we go to sanford, maine. this is david on our independent line. caller: yes, i want to talk about freedom of speech. i believe it is paramount in our democracy and throughout the world. if anybody in this world doesn't have freedom of speech, it is a sin.
this is a right given to us by god. the other thing i want to say is that yesterday you read from the pages of ending this newspaper of this hater, this cleric that the left goes running to every time and he denigrates the west and saying that we are the problem. no, they are the problem. as soon as the clerics, the hierarchy in the muslim religion stands up and takes out these people out of their mosque because they know who the people are, who the terrorists are, it is on the muslim community to get this done with. we cannot stop it in the west. the muslim people have to take care of their own, the people who do these kinds of things. and the second thing i would like to ask is the other day when you had the congressional black caucus inauguration series on c-span2, to the american taxpayers pay for that?
i would like somebody to find out and let us know. thank you, have a good day. host: that was part of our regular opening of congress coverage and the congressional back caucus is one of the many caucuses on capitol hill. we cover a lot of those caucuses , committee meetings, and the floor proceedings of the house and senate. let's go to dee in florida, on our republican line. caller: yes, good morning. i just have a couple of comments to make if that is all right. host: sure. caller: i would like to know when in this country that our freedom of speech or freedom of expression pulls into where you are making fun of another person's religion. when has it become ok for the american people to think it is ok to make movies about killing a country -- another country's leaders and we call that "satirical or comedy? that is not very funny. we wonder why people get so
upset with us. freedom of the conversion is our right and yet in this country there are so many words we can't say anymore without getting arrested could you can't put a flag up there that people don't like because it tells -- gives bad memories or whatever it is. there is a lot of expression of freedom we don't have in this country but it is ok to make fun of other people killing other people's leaders. i don't understand this and i wish summit he would explain to me why we think it is ok and then have all these protests going on say oh, freedom of speech, we have rights in this country. our rights don't necessarily mean another country has the rights. they don't have freedom of speech in their countries. we are going to go and make fun of these other people. i don't understand any of this i wish someone would explain this to me, why it is ok for us to do what we are doing to other people and yet it is not ok for us to say certain words without being arrested. host: dee is echoing some of the
things that are in an op-ed today in "the new york times" from columnist david brooks. the headline on his op-ed is "i am not charlie hebdo." "a lot of people were quick to line eyes those who offend the views of islamist terrorists in france but are less tolerant towards those who offend their own views at home. look at all the people who overreacted to campus micro aggressions, the university of illinois fired a professor who taught the roman catholic view of homosexuality. vanderbilt university de recognized a christian group that insisted it be led by christians. americans may laud 'charlie hebdo'for being brave enough to publish cartoons ridiculing the prophet mohammed but if ayaan hirsi ali is invited to campus, there are often calls to deny her a podium. we want to maintain standards of
civility and respect while at the same time allowing room for those creative and challenging folks who are uninhibited by good manners and taste. if you try to pull off this delicate balance with speech codes and band's speakers, you end up with crude censorship and a strangled conversation. it is almost always like to try to suppress speech, direct speech codes, and is invite speakers." david brooks in "the new york times." michigan, democrats line. caller: good morning. i would like to start off by thanking you and all the fine people behind the scenes that we don't see that bring us this great program. freedom of expression is one that we are different but you have to be careful with. we can't start riots we can't defame people. you have to be wise about it. it makes it rough when we all have the exact same rights in this nation.
it does make it tough at times because one person sees his rights and another sees his. well, they both have the exact same rights so you can to step on one and they can't step on the other. we have to be smart with freedom of speech. that is what we have an educated nation for. i have to make a comment on this big push about reading the constitution. that is why i vote democrat. they are big on education. they can read on their own. thank you very much. host: thank you randy. tweet from senator mark kirk, who says "terrorism should never silence free speech here. retweet to join me." the two brothers have apparently taken hostage. this is sky news -- "paris killers are in a standoff."
"afp reporting that the army men take a hostage in a kosher grocery store in paris. gunman who killed a policewoman yesterday suspected." report from sky news. no resolution there, i was the come yet. john on the republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. first of all, the democratic caller who just called a minute ago, i'm sorry i passed orange juice through my nose when he talked about democrats supporting free speech. they have done more to suppress information that people need than any group in history. then we just say -- let me just say in the absence of information, and that is what free speech is about -- it is not so you can walk naked down the middle of the street. it is to give people information so they can make decisions. in the absence of information
you end up with conspiracy theories and you also -- one of the best examples i've seen of a lack of information was a fellow the other day saying -- talking about how jerry falwell sued what's his name, the guy from "hustler" magazine, larry flynt. host: right. caller: what a lot of people don't know is that towards the end of jerry falwell's life, he and and larry flynt became friends because jerry falwell actually reached out to the man. but you never hear about that. all you hear about is the controversy over the lawsuit because of the terrible things that larry flynt printed. but larry flynt himself admitted that he became jerry falwell's friend. free speech is a way to make people friends with each other by listening to each other. when you choose to suppress points of view, you end up with
conspiracy theories and you end up with a divided nation and ultimately you end up with violence like what we saw with "charlie hebdo." that is all i've got to say. host: appreciate that. i tweet from jack who said in terms of the covers of "charlie hebdo," "may not be funny but it's protected speech." we get a report on jobs in the united states for the month of december. the labor department will have an appointment numbers in just about an hour or so. coca-cola announcing a plan to cut up to 1800 jobs. "sales of sugary drinks continue to decline as more health-conscious consumers adjust their eating and drinking." also from "usa today," "jcpenney, macy's to shut 53 stores in total after posting
holiday shopping sales on the high-end of muted expectations. jcpenney and macy's head into 2015 with a focus on smaller operations. jcpenney is shattering 39 stores and laying off 250 -- 3250 workers. they will shutter 14 macy's stores which could cut up to 2200 employees." no word on how many seasonal jobs, if any more included in that. and the final tally on the holiday season, also in "usa today" this morning "good holiday season for retailers." for those of you on radio, this is mostly all in green different shades of green with increased sales across the country. couple more calls on freedom of expression, what it means to you today, as today the house reads the entire u.s. constitution. joplin missouri, mary on our independent line. caller: yes i am not catholic
but i do agree with the catholic diocese on this. "charlie hebdo," if you look them up on the internet, they are extremely blatant -- they show absurd images of religious figures. you can have freedom of speech but you can never reciprocal response as well. you can't just say anything you want. michael brown's stepfather was yelling for the city to be burned down. there is a fine line between freedom of speech and the laws in place and you have to a civility in respect. it goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech. host: could that kind of magazine publishers pictures in the united states -- what do you think the reaction would be for regular magazine to publish like that? caller: i mean, my jaw dropped when i saw this images on the internet because i cannot imagine seeing something like that here. i know it is a different culture and things over there, but it was beyond the pale to me and what i saw.
host: bruce from campus, wisconsin. caller: good morning, everybody. je suis charlie. forget that i am calling on the democratic line and go through an experiment with me. walk-through in our gallery. there is an image of a man screaming for individuals elsewhere in the world to give him a suggestion as to the means by which he will kill his next victim. that is a reality in the world we live in today. on our right is an image of these assassins in paris, and everything that connects with that. in the next step of our gallery we have a cartoon, whenever the subject. a cartoon drawing, however bad however bad the subject matter. where is the moral offense in the world?
is it in that cartoon? is it in that cartoon's place in a newspaper specializing in such cartoons, that has an audience for such cartoons? where is the of sanity in the message on the internet? -- or is the obscene 80 in the message on the internet, in the message of the assassins in paris? i asked everybody to please calm down. this isn't about barack obama it is not about jerry falwell it is not even about the first amendment. it is about the contrast iman images. and let us bring our moral ballot -- moral judgment with a clear balance on the things that stimulate us and bring us to the fore. what -- but above all, let us come to the fore for the sensible, for the rational. that is the extent of my commentary this morning. i love you all. have a great day. host: appreciate your input.
"words matter enough consequences. there are good judgment limits like shouting fire in a crowded theater." vincent in cincinnati. caller: good morning, how you doing? host: fine, thank you for caller: caller:. caller:caller: free speech needs to be used with discretion and common sense. as far as the shooting in paris i agree with the gentleman you just talk to. people just need to -- host: are you still there? caller: yes. i will turn on the tv full -- i will turn down my tv. the government has got to use common sense, the press got to use common sense. you can't be biased on one side. everybody is that these commonsense. like the lady said before, why would you make a movie about
killing a country's leader and think that his school, and think that is all right? that is not using common sense you know you. host: appreciate your input this morning. this is from "the washington post." "china jails brother of a u.s. journalist." "the chinese government has imprisoned the three brothers of a washington-based reporter for radio free asia, apparently intensifying its suppression of free speech in xinjiang. the ethnic uighur journalist left china in 1994 after he ran into trouble with the authorities. he has since become a u.s. citizen." john on our republican line. freedom of expression -- what does all this mean in reaction to the parachuting? -- paris shooting? caller: first off, as i told the
gentleman screening the calls come we don't have freedom of speech in america. anybody who gone to a political protest of the last years, they put you in offense and say that this is your free-speech zone. you have a sign saying that you don't agree with the financial system or the people that were at wall street, protesting, that got maced. or google censoring people's reposting, if you put up some the controversial or political on some things on the internet, they will pull down your videos. we have a long way to go to actually grant the powers and the freedoms that people think we actually have. people don't hardly protest anymore. they don't go out and experience the government retaliation whenever you go and protest.
thank you very much. host: thank you, and the u.s. constitution including the first amendment will be read this morning by the u.s. house. they gavel in this morning and i neglect eastern. we continue "washington journal" momentarily could we will hear about the agenda for the 114th congress. we will hear from tom cole of oklahoma on that. we will also hear from keith ellison, cochair of the progressive caucus, on the role of democrats. the defense department announced it is scaling down some of the u.s. commitment to military infrastructure in europe. we want to show you just a bit of that event. [video clip] >> with these eic decisions, we are consolidating and reducing some existing support infrastructure in order to be more efficient, but we are not affecting our operational capability. the eic adjustments do not
diminish our ability to meet commitments to allies and partners. in fact, these decisions will produce savings that will enable us to maintain a robust force presence in europe. we are also investing in a new infrastructure and expanding and enhancing our partnerships and combined training opportunities across europe. this includes investments in infrastructure, greater rotational presence, air, land and see, and enhanced exercises. such efforts will be supported by the nearly one billion in additional funds that congress provided at the end of last year. through the reic, we ensure that the united states will maintain the researcher in europe to station forces, additional rotational forces, and contingency requirements. we are announcing that the united states air force will permanently base the f-35 joint strike fighter in europe and that the secretary of defense has selected the united kingdom as the first location to host
two squadrons of f-35's. this is an example of the special relationship between the united states and the united kingdom. the presence of the f-35's will lead to new possibilities for collaboration with the united kingdom, such as greater training and wider support opportunities. taken together these decisions on our force presence in europe will enhance operational readiness. all towards the objective of maintaining a strong transatlantic alliance and meeting our common security interest. >> "washington journal" continues. host: congressman tom cole of oklahoma is our guest for the next segment of "washington journal." congressman cole, we are hearing of amid the -- i'm eating midmorning of the republican conference, probably talking about how to move forward on the spending on homeland security.
can you clueless in on possible -- clue us in on possible -- guest: i know very little. the only part of the spending budget that hasn't been approved through september of this year is the department of homeland security section and that is a continuing resolution -- basically, status quo funding. i think what will happen is we will present a bill to extend the funding through september 30, and there will probably be an amendment made or placed inside the bill. there was a procedural discussion pressed there. that amendment, which i suspect will be by representative mulvaney in south carolina, will basically say that no money in this bill will be expended to execute the president's executive order issued in november of last year. that will set up a showdown. it will set up a spending showdown.
there is no question that we have the votes to get that to the senate. that may actually become the main theater of battle, if you will, because democrats will have the ability to control the filibuster in the senate. they may block it, they may not. it gets to the president's desk, we will see what he does. host: this language you are talking about, likely by nick mulvaney of south carolina, is that going to pass -- can you finally slice this and say we cannot use this money for implement -- guest: it is going to be more difficult than people might think because what actually funds the part of the immigration system that the president is dealing with is largely run by fees. so it is not money that we normally appropriate. the appropriations committee does not have jurisdiction over all government spending. host: so those are continuing --
guest: they come right in and they continue to operate. the second thing that people sometimes forget about that makes this very tricky is denying funding for inaction. inaction is not an expensive thing. the president tells people don't enforce this part of the law. doesn't cost a lot of money. we will have to wait and see. other ideas have been put on the table and i think this is to acquaint the broader conference about what those might be. there is still a chance that this could change a little bit. what i'm telling you is what i think is going to happen but there will be other things considered. host: you anticipate some action on this next week? guest: i do. we said we would act once there was a republican majority in the senate. and we basically teed it up to work as it is. it is important for us to keep the commitment we made and move ahead. host: let's move to the setup of leadership in the house, particularly the speaker election that watchers of the
house have not seen in a while, a number of votes, 25 or so votes against the speaker from republicans. how did all of this develop? guest: i think largely because the people who wanted to oppose the speaker did not do it at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. we hold conference elections in november to decide who our nominee for speakers are going to be. the speakers vote ought to be largely ceremonial. the three people who opposed it decided to literally in the last 72 hours or so to do this so they never had a chance to succeed. frankly, they would have done much better in terms of votes and in terms of the appreciation of their colleagues had they simply operated by normal procedure. there's nothing wrong with opposing the speaker for election. we have a very robust leadership elections. but there is a time and a place to do it would you don't do it on opening day and you don't do it by running against a person that the republican conference has already nominated.
that is like tackling your own quarterback in the first play of the new game. host: you were quoted this week on that election as the saying "if you go against your own colleagues by opposing the speaker on the floor, you will embarrass house republicans and disrupt our team. it would be unforgivable political behavior." guest: oh, absolutely, i certainly stand by that. again, people know how this works and they have every opportunity to run. i encourage people to run. there is nothing wrong with that. but doing it this way on this day is just, i think symbolic it puts your own colleagues in a difficult spot, and you are not really attacking the speaker. you are attacking the decision of the republican conference. you are attacking your colleagues, not the person they selected. again, i just think it is not the way to operate. host: some of the obvious casualties, at least, early on were congressman webster of florida -- rich nugent and webster of florida, the rules committee assignments. what is the latest?
guest: well, the speaker has not made final decisions on that. he said he would talk to the members in question. again, you have us a very sophisticated viewing audience but just to make a point, this is the speakers committee. other committees are normally chosen by the conference. this is specifically the speaker's committee. and it is used to advance the republican agenda in the house. by the way it is used that way by democrats as well when they are in the majority. it is just the way the institution works. to run against the speaker when you have been personally appointed by him to his most important committee and not in foreign -- and not inform him that you are going to do it or vote against him, that is just again, not done. host: the speaker is said several times to reporters afterwards that we will have a family conversation. guest: [laughter] host: what does that mean? guest: well, john boehner is a much more tolerant person -- he
and i have disagreed on multiple occasions and i was in his leadership team at one point. we had serious disagreements. but there is a way to handle that. there is certainly nothing wrong with people having different points of view. but you are on the rules committee you vote for the republican rule, just as the democrats vote for the democratic role, the democratic alternative. certainly when they are in the majority you can dissent and disagree, but when it comes time for the vote you accept the will of the majority to advance legislation to the floor. on the floor, you are free to do what ever you want to do. on the issue you vote however you want to vote. but to surrender control of the rule in a legislative sense is to surrender control of the floor. it is just not done. host: we saw a side of the speaker yesterday in his briefing with reporters of how he felt on some of the things are never too opposed him. i want to show you that and get your reaction. [video clip] >> during my years here i had the eight most conservative voting record in the congress. it does pain me to be described
as spineless or a squish -- [laughter] i will tell you what pains me the most, when they described me as the establishment. i am the most antiestablishment speaker we have ever had. who is the guy who believes in regular order? me. who believes in allowing more members to participate in the process from both sides of the aisle? me. i am pretty comfortable in my own skin, and i am going to do my best to show all of our members, democrats and republicans, and those members who voted against me, that i am up to the job that i was given. host: what did you think when you heard the speaker's comments? guest: that is the john boehner i know and friendly, respect and admire and love. i met him when he was a freshman and my job was to help elect these guys. most people won't know this, but he is also the guy as a freshman
-- there was a notorious group of antiestablishment rebels called the gang of seven that resulted in shutting down the bank and the post office. that was john boehner. i suppose he looks at some of these people -- you know, i was pretty difficult in my own leadership back then. and he was. but he played within the rules and he got things done. he has the eighth most conservative voting record in congress over a 20-plus year career. the idea that he is somehow not conservative enough -- most of these debates are debates over tactics. they are not debates over differences of issues. and they are debates over calculations. john boehner is smart enough to know that shutting down the government is not a smart way of doing business because it doesn't work in the end, he doesn't achieve its objective. and he recognizes that there is a division of power in this town. we have a democratic president through january 2017.
we have the senate now but it is not as if the democratic minority over there is powerless. it has control of the filibuster process. and democrats have the ability to sustain a presidential veto in both houses of congress. this is a game where, to use a football analogy from oklahoma -- you always do that -- you have to think in terms of first downs. you move the ball in increments. you don't throw the ball into the end zone every play. you have people who want to go for best every time and it won't work. the american people did not send you up here to make life worse for them. i believe that when you shut down the government, don't pay federal workers who are performing important services, make it hard for people to get a visa or passport to travel, you are making life more difficult for the average american. we should be here trying to make them freer more secure, and eliza little bit better when we can. -- make their lives a little bit
better where we can. host: congressman tom cole our guest on "washington journal." host: let's go to pat in south carolina. thanks for waiting. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. representative cole i would like to start seeing people we elect to start using common sense in washington. i understand that you are on the budget committee. every department of our federal government should be cementing a budget and when you all look at it, the first thing you do is cut it 10%, but they should submit you a line item budget so we stop paying for rattlesnakes and all this other average with our money -- also the garbage we are paying for
with our money. the oversight committee is like opening the barn door and letting the horse out. your committee should be the one holding these departments -- the money line. the other thing i would like to discuss with you is our money that we are sending overseas to build schools and all this stuff. these people don't even like us, and don't tell me it is 1% of gdp. spend it in america. thank you. guest: thanks very much for the call. couple things -- first of our, i agree with you in terms of how you are to operate and be tough on spending. you would be suffice to know that when republicans took over that some of the deficit ever you -- every year was $1.5 trillion. it will be under $1.4 billion -- 1.4 chile dollars next year. it is the most rapid decline of the deficit -- still too high but it has moved down dramatically.
you would be surprised to know that what is in the discretionary budget, what most people think of as the government -- the military, the national institutes of health, those sorts of things -- we are spending $165 billion a year less than when george bush was -- would drive suspending there is mostly things that people like, social security, -- what drives spending now is mostly things that people like, social security medicaid. spending reductions have indeed occurred and will continue to occur. this is one where we haven't done a very good job of putting ourselves on the back. all the groups getting less money are aware they are getting less. none of the groups concerned about spending are aware. foreign aid is not 1% of the gdp. it is probably not 1/10 of 1% of
the gdp. it is less than 1% of government spending. that spending has been reduced. it is pretty important for the united states to be dealing with some of these things. you can deal with ebola in the united states -- in africa, or in the united states. these are tools that build relationships. we don't just give money to " people who don't like us. we mostly give money to people who like us." the largest recipient of american aid is israel, largely for security purposes. they don't need it. they are a very advanced country . a lot of what is called foreign aid is also the operation of any american embassy within the world. your passports are funded there. i don't think taking a small measure and using it strategically in our own
interests is a bad thing. egypt has been another historically large recipient. that has kept peace in the middle east since 1970. we have not had a war between israel and egypt. that gives us preferred access to the suez. egyptian intelligence has been cooperative in foiling attacks. they have allowed us to fly thousands of flights over their airspace to support american troops in iraq and afghanistan. there is a sense that we will he know he give money -- we will he, nill he give money away. that just is not the case. host: go ahead with your comment. caller: my television is needed. mr. cole, i don't understand. you all are holding up the defense department, but yet you say the borders are not secure.
tell me why you are holding it up. guest: we are not holding it up. congress passed both the defense authorization, the plan by which you spend, in november, and passed the normal budget as well as part of the overall spending omnibus bill. we have never stopped funding the military. neither party has done that. i'm not sure exactly where you are getting your information but the defense apartment is indeed operating -- the defense department is indeed operating. host: she may have meant homeland security. guest: defense department is a much larger part of the budget. homeland security is also being funded. it is funded through the end of february. we will have a discussion about the president's executive order which we think is beyond the scope, beyond normal executive direction -- discretion. he is taking whole sections of the law and saying this simply isn't going to apply anymore.
i'm going to refuse to enforce the law. we may end up in court over this longer-term. this may be another one -- presidential overreach in so-called recess appointments. i can appoint even when the senate is not in recess, made that argument, made those appointments. the senate took him to the court. he lost in the supreme court 9-0. he has been pulled back by judicial ruling and by congress. host: the funding -- suspended funding or whatever you want to call it, how likely do you think it is for fiscal year 2016, the next upcoming budget that the house at least will be able to pass its appropriation bill on time and the senate as well? guest: i think there is a much better chance than there has been. last year the house was passing the appropriations bill mostly bipartisan.
it approved 11 in full committee. the senate did not pass a single bill. at some point, your leadership says why should we keep passing bills? the senate is not going to take up any appropriation bills. now you have a republican senate and a mitch mcconnell person committed to regular order, a member of the appropriations committee in the senate, i believe we have a much better chance of moving these bills. congress hasn't done normal up rate -- appropriate since 2006, the last time under republican control. democrats never moved 12 appropriation bills across the floor when they were under control -- they were in control. host: good morning on the independent line. caller: good morning. congressman cole, i have a couple different comments. i respectfully disagree that --
you make the analogy of a football game. i don't believe it is a football game. all congress and senators are elected to office, so is the president. i believe you have to look at what is in the best interest of our country. regarding the immigration bill, we have to win, we don't want to lose. no it's not a football game. you have to negotiate, send it back to committee. negotiate with democrats and independents vote on it, then send it to the president. what's good for our country? that's what we need to have. this is not a football game. guest: i appreciate that. forgive me for my regional lapse into using an analogy. i agree with the basic point you are making. i've tried to always do that in my time in congress. i don't believe in shutdowns.
i do believe in compromise. if you look at my colleagues on either side of the aisle, you will see i try to do exactly as you suggest. even when there are disagreements, i don't doubt anybody who cares -- don't doubt that anybody, democrat and republican, cares about the country. even someone i disagree with strongly are patriots. they want what's best for america. they disagree with what that is. we are a pretty amazing country 315 million pretty independent folks, spread across a vast continent, living in different circumstances. i'm not surprised we have disagreement. a lot of these disagreements are what the founders intended, that there would be debate discussion, that we would have disagreement, that it would be difficult to get things done in government. madison thought that would be the debt -- the best defense of freedom, checking in and
allowing one another to go about their business. if he could come back and watch us, he would say this is working exactly the way i planned it. the american people are going about their business and running the country pretty well. i take your point well. if i inadvertently sounded like i trivialize what we do, i didn't mean to do that. i was using an analogy that to me is pretty comfortable and pretty traditional. host: reading the u.s. constitution today, will you be part of that effort? guest: if my schedule permits. this will be the only -- be only the third time in the history of the united states that the constitution is read during the house. it is something the republicans started. i hope democrats, when they take over, will continue, that we reflect on what unites us. when we take our oath, we don't take a note to the country.
we take an oath to the constitution. it is based on ideas and values. that's what our constitution and declaration of independence both represent. i'm proud we are doing it. i hope our democratic for -- friends do it. maybe our friends in the senate will think about doing it there. host: let's go to tampa, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. mr. cole, you seem to me to be a pretty reasonable guy from what i've seen on tv when i seen you interviewed on these various stations. that said, what are your plans for fixing this system we have specifically the income tax? guest: i don't sit on the
committee that actually deals with the tax system, the ways and means committee but i will give you my thoughts of where that committee is going to go. you are 100% right when you imply our tax system is complex irrational, and extraordinarily difficult for the average american to understand. generally speaking, i would like to eliminate deductions and lower rates, make it flatter and fairer, and let investment flow where it is most productive in terms of producing growth and jobs, as opposed to tax havens that simply protect wealth but don't necessarily put it to work. i know that's exactly what paul ryan wants to do. it is pretty easy to describe in general principles. it is pretty hard to do. any time you touch the tax code, there are winners and losers. somebody is going to end up paying more. others will say then goodness they have gotten rid of that and
i am not having to pay a greater burden -- say bank goodness -- say thank goodness they have gotten rid of that and i am not having to pay a greater burden. dave camp was chairman of ways and means last year. that bill will be where paul ryan starts. it will have to go through the senate. anything would require a presidential signature. there will be pretty fertile ground for disagreement in this area. host: would changing the texas to be high on the priority list? -- would changing the tax system be high on the priority list? guest: definitely. faster economic growth generates more tax revenue, even though individuals are paying less. it lets you fix the roads and do infrastructure. you may see this as a way of dealing with some bigger problems.
again, we saw this in the 1990's. the difference between the parties got a lot less when the economy was growing faster and there was enough government income to both lower the deficit and do a lot of important things for the country. host: you mentioned the roads. a lot of people talk about the drop in gas prices and adding a gas tax. guest: most of my constituents would say don't take away the benefit of lower prices. i think you are going to have to find a way to get some more revenue into the transportation system. i think a gas tax is probably not the way to go. what is happening right now, as people reflect on their own experience, that change -- that tax hasn't changed in 20 years. transportation has changed dramatically. your cars are more efficient. still the same amount of tonnage over the roads, but you are
probably getting double the gas mileage. we have a new fleet of vehicles coming on, electric cars progress -- compressed natural gas. we will have to read it -- redesign the revenue system. you may have to eliminate the gas tax, which now only covers part of the was, it and a shrinking number, and go to a more baseline tax. my colleague from oklahoma has done some interesting work on this -- part of the vehicles and a shrinking number, and go to a more baseline tax. my colleague from oklahoma has done some interesting work on this. we are devising new ways to make the vehicle ever more efficient. host: here is new york, linda on our republican line. caller: good morning, mr. cole.
i'm wondering about some of this obamacare stuff. now, what are americans going to do when they can't get a job or if they lose a job because of this illegal immigration? now, these people we are told are not going to be covered under obamacare, so our companies going to be hiring them so they don't have to pay fines? guest: a couple of things. first of all, in terms of obamacare, you saw the house yesterday trying to restore the 40-our standard as the normal work week -- 40-hour standard as the normal work week. part-time workers want covered by obamacare, which has a 30-hour week. a lot of people have been cut to working part-time. i think the senate will pass it. in all the discussion over obamacare and all the votes we
have had, people forget eight things have become law where the two sides agreed. it has lowered the cost by $60 billion. businesses were going to have to file a 1099 for every transaction, costing them billions. democrats looked at that with republicans and got rid of it. there was an extended living clause that wasn't appropriately funded. we moved legislation to get rid of it. the republicans urged the president to sign and he did. i think this is an area you will continue to see us work. people who are opposed to it which i am certainly one of -- the president of the united states is still the president of the united states. you are not likely to get a full repeal of obamacare well a guy -- obamacare while a guy named obama is this -- the president of the united states.
if employers are knowingly hiring people that are here illegally, they are subject and should be subject to prosecution . a lot of people look the other way. that's one of the things we are concerned about with the president's executive action. what he did was legalized people that heretofore have been here illegally. he can only do that if he can do it at all. -- he can only do that, if he can do it at all, and we don't think you can, to the end of his presidency. i think you will see some other areas of immigration law move. i suspect before the year is out, he will have on his desk very strong enforcement bill. he will probably get some things he likes, that we agree with him on. high-tech visas for very skilled workers coming in. probably seasonal labor. we have some cases where farmers
end up leaving up to 40% of their crops in the field because they don't have the labor to get it picked. i think there is an appropriate balance here. if we move piece by piece, we could find some consistent -- consensus on the issue between republicans and democrats and obviously things that the president would be comfortable signing. host: this headline says premiums in new jersey spike after passage of obamacare. what has been the effect in oklahoma? guest: the same. the spiking in cost. when you bring a huge portion of the population into the health care system that was getting health care, but not getting full insurance coverage, then the people who are paying usually end up paying more. it is a transference. chuck schumer made this point indirectly recently. 80% or 85% of the american people were satisfied with their health care. maybe we walked down the wrong
road. we should have been focused on jobs, economy, and growth, then we could deal with this a little bit easier. i think that is a fairly astute critique from a person who voted for obamacare. i think you are going to see the inevitable results of this are going to be higher rates for people that pay it and for businesses that have been traditionally ensuring their population anyway. -- traditionally insuring their population anyway. caller: how are you doing, c-span? guest: good to hear you. caller: i am an independent now. paul ryan has been working on taxes since 2011. i want to oppose the tax.
he ran with the 100% tax by the numbers i gave him. wall street pays 0% to 12% tax. if everybody paid that, it could make the country run. if not, it is just a game. guest: philosophically, we are close together. i would prefer a lower number and equal tax across the board. you are correct when you say we provide different tax rates for different things. income is income. in the past, we have argued to encourage investment. we have lowered capital gains tax for when you sell a stock when you get a salary, for
example. the idea of trying to equalize the tax system and lower it is i think an extremely important one. we will wait and see what mr. ryan actually proposes. he is a very good friend of mine. i sat on the budget committee that he chaired for four years. i think extremely highly of him. i suspect that when he has a tax proposal he is willing to unveil , i will probably be pretty enthusiastic about it. host: one more call for you. kansas city is next. welcome. caller: my question is this. president obama is giving away all these freebies to everyone. john kennedy said, "don't ask what your country can give you but ask what you can give to your country." my question is, why aren't we looking at older people as resources of this country, good resources to get jobs? we tend to look at the young people and middle aged people,
but we never look at people who are in their 60's or even in their 50's. i was just wondering why don't we look at them as resources and if they have degrees, use those degrees. guest: i think you are right. since i am in my 60's, i obviously agree with you very much. i think the work life has been expanding in this country. the reality is people live longer and more people want to work for a variety of reasons. many people have to work for a variety of reasons. i think your point is well made. we have a variety of programs to both retrain people, help people , there are senior executive course -- corps where people can make their expertise available. society is pushing us in the direction you are saying. i will say this as somebody who has a 30-year-old son. that generation is actually contributing more to older
people than any previous generation, because their social security tax is higher, their medicare taxes higher than any previous -- their medicare tax is higher than any previous generation. they have accumulated more wealth -- people over 60-year-olds have acumen and more wealth. they have worked over a lifetime, and that is absolutely true, although people that are considerably younger are paying more today because folks are living a lot longer. there is a generational imbalance in wealth. poverty is lower among people 65 and older than it is among children under 18. 10% versus about 22% or 23%. this discussion of how we distribute resources is one that is going to stay with us for a long time. host: congress than of oklahoma beginning your seventh term on capitol hill -- congressman tom
cole of oklahoma, beginning your seventh term on capitol hill. what's ahead for democrats, in particular the progressive caucus? we will hear from democratic congressman keith ellison. we will be right back. >> here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. on c-span2 saturday night at 10:00, cass sunstein on the pitfalls of group decision-making and what to do to avoid them. we talk with recently published
professors at johns hopkins university on the influence of hip-hop on politics and the u.s. government efforts to cure malaria during world war ii. and lectures in history anderson university professor briand dirck uses abraham lincoln's life to understand the views of white americans on slavery both before and after the civil war. sunday, a discussion on earth control with margaret sanger -- on birth control with margaret sanger. find our complete schedule at www.c-span.org. let us know what you think of the programs you are watching. call us. e-mail us. send us a tweet with comments. join the conversation. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. >> friends, colleagues countrymen especially the people of ohio's 8th
congressional district, thank you for sending me here. let's today welcome all of the new members and all of their families to what we all know to be a truly historic day. [applause] today is an important day for our country. many senators took the oath this afternoon. >> 13 for the first time and a new republican majority accepted its new responsibility. we recognize the enormity of the task before us. we know a lot of hard work awaits. we know many important opportunities await as well. >> follow the gop-let congress and see the new members -- gop-led congress and see the new members. new congress, best access on c-span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: congressman keith ellison
represents minnesota in the u.s. house and cochairs the congressional progressive caucus for the 114th. welcome to "washington journal." guest: glad to be here again. host: democrats are in a smaller position in the 114th in the house. what do progressives in particular hope to get done? guest: we hope to achieve progress in the area of wages and economic justice. we want to make sure that the recovery begins to include more americans. we do know there has been a lot of progress in terms of reducing the unemployment rate. there has been progress in terms of job growth. we know that the dow jones has been going to new heights. still, many americans are -- have the same kind of money they had in 2006, or maybe a lot less. a lot of people lost their jobs and got reemployed at lower wages.
we are very concerned about this. we would like to see the minimum wage go up. i think there is a bipartisan bill to be had there. i think we need to work on overtime. not everybody who is struggling economically is a low-wage worker. they are middle-class, but they haven't seen a raise in years. they are working more and more overtime every year. these are things that concern us. host: how do you feel about the progressive' position -- progressives' [pposition? are there larger numbers in the caucus this time around? guest: yes, i think there are. it is an ascending infection. there are a lot of people who hold progressive views on economics, but may also be very strong advocates of gun rights too or might have some views that are different from the mainstream of progressives. we take them.
we believe that unity is strength. we expect and hope for diversity of views even with the progressive caucus. host: president obama has been out touting the -- or previewing the themes for the state of the union coming up in 10 days or so . speaking today, he will be in tennessee, speaking about community colleges and college education. by the way, we will cover that on our companion network c-span3. how much do you think that your view as the progressive caucus are beginning to diversion from the president's view of the economy? guest: based on the president's recent announcement that he would like to see nearly free or very much cheaper community college expenses, that is the very heart and soul of what we believe in. we think that college affordability is a key piece of
how to help people escape poverty and improve their skills and upgrades so they can go from a decent wage to a very decent wage. the president's announcement about community colleges just last night was incredibly exciting. very happy to hear that. we have asked the president to stay within his procurement power. people who want to do business with the federal government have to pay a livable wage. we are on the same page with the president yet again. we think that immigration reform is something that will help our economy. the things he has taken within his legal authority, we agree with those things. his defense of the affordable care act, we are in agreement with that. we are glad to see more and more people insured. of course, we don't agree on everything. i don't overemphasize the differences. we have a lot of views we share
and some we don't. we are going to work on all of them. host: democrats 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001. you held a conference about opposing the president on these fast-track laws. they argued that president obama is asking for carte blanche to secretly negotiate a trade deal that will cost american jobs. what is the president asking for? guest: there is a trade bill called the transpacific partnership. it involves about 11 countries maybe more, and we have trade deficits with six of them already.
it is called a trade agreement. it has more to do with intellectual property and things like that. that deal is looming in the background. fast-track is the legislative authority, which we would confer upon the president to negotiate the trade deal, and then when the trade deal comes to congress, we would either vote it up or down without any amendments. the trade deal has been negotiated for quite a while now. members of congress can see pieces of it, but not the whole bill. if my constituents wanted to see a copy of the transpacific partnership vote -- proposal, i couldn't do that. i don't get to see the whole thing. i don't get to have staff in there, i don't get to take notes. there are about 500 to 600 experts who do get to be in these negotiations and know what is in there, but members of
congress do not have free reign on that bill. if the fast-track passes, which confers authority on the president and we get up or down votes, there will be a timeline set where we can review the whole bill. but at the end of the time it is either up or down, and no amendments. host: the trade issues has seemed to press some conservative republican buttons as well. is this the sort of issue you would get republican support? guest: we certainly hope so. part of what we are concerned about with the transpacific partnership is it would confer national sovereignty outside of the united states. this is something a lot of conservatives are concerned about. there was a situation in canada, in québec, where there was a company, there was a big, -- big industrial accident. québec wanted to put a moratorium on that activity.
the trade bill was invoked as a reason why they could not take local authority to try to protect their citizens. conservatives have every reason to be concerned about this, as all legislators do. they told us we would gain jobs with nafta. we have a bigger trade deficit with mexico now that we've seen in such a long time. it seems to get bigger all the time. in my state of minnesota, we've lost 13,000 jobs due to nafta. some people have gained jobs and some people have lost, but the net is lost for my state. host: that you can pin on nafta. guest: yes. this is a brookings institute study. i would be happy to support a trade deal that actually enhanced both sides of the equation, but the ones we've been negotiating do not we have poor enforcement mechanisms with regard -- the ones we've been
negotiating do not. we have poor enforcement mechanisms with regard to these. i am no protectionist. we live in a globalized world. we are going to have to trade stuff here and there. i think the terms of the agreement have to be beneficial to the united states, too. and i don't mean just to rich business owners, i mean to the average worker. host: jackson michigan. this is eugene. welcome. caller: yes, sir. good morning, mr. ellison. i've got three things that i want to make comments on. one is -- treating social security as an entitlement. i paid into social security since 1950. our national debt is $18 trillion. 49$9 trillion is taken from social security. and this keystone pipeline, the canadians want a warm water port
. it is not going to lower our prices at all. when that oil gets to louisiana, it will go on the world market. anyone that wants to pay the price can buy it. i think you democrats -- republicans have the house and the senate now. the people that voted them in, just let them do whatever they want to. they voted them in, now let them live under what they asked for. host: will get a reaction. -- we will get a reaction. guest: i am very concerned about social security. it is one of the most important things when it comes to making sure americans can have a good decent lifestyle, particularly when they reach the age of retirement or they have a disability. eugene has earned the right. to curtail, cut, or diminish it in any way i am against it we
should be trying to increase social security. i think we need to have something called the consumer price index -- it would be a measure of the -- of inflation to enhance payout. i think he is right on that. he can trust me to stand up for social security. the progressive caucus has been at the head of the fight fighting against cuts. keystone -- i agree again. why should we do favors for canada? i'm an american congressman. i'm going to stand up for my own country. i do believe that friends in the labor movement are right to say we need more infrastructure investment. i'm going to fight for that, too. i agree with that 100%. but i'm not sure the transcanada idea of building a route through the united states is the right thing. what about the spills? is transcanada going to pay for the spills?
these are all very serious questions, and i'm going to keep asking. host: employment numbers are up for december. the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6%. the economy added 252,000 jobs in december. what does the president have to do to keep that number growing or shrinking in the case of unemployment? guest: i want to apply the numbers. it is good news. i think we need to make sure we seek increases in wages. people are working more, but what are they making? in many cases, they are not making more. we did see some slight upticks in wages late last year, but this remains a concern of mine. i think this labor market has tightened. we will see wages go up. this is not going to be inflationary, because american workers are more productive than ever. if we have higher productivity
we can increase wages and not have inflation. i think we need to do infrastructure investment, roads, bridges broadband. we need this anyway. we saw the i-35 plunged into the mississippi river. it is not just a national safety problem, it is a productivity problem. it slows our whole country down. i would like to see us invest their. -- there. i would like to see us strengthen the right to organize, increase the minimum wage, raise the overtime threshold, so that it is more consistent with the reality of today's work. i think all these things will help our economy. i would like to see comprehensive migration reform. -- comprehensive immigration reform. host: sharon on the democrats line, good morning. caller: good morning. representative ellison, i like your ideas. guest: thank you ma'am. caller: pardon me? guest: i said thank you, ma'am.
caller: thank you. i like the progressive ideas the previous color touched on -- i like the progressive ideas. the previous caller touched on social security, which sets off great alarm. how can you mount a defense against that republican group to fight back these cuts? i know personally people with mental disabilities to simply cannot hold a job. they cannot do it. so please muster a good defense and stop this insanity. that goes for retirees, too, many of whom depend on social security to survive. and keystone also, big no. it is hideous.
it is horrible. let's put an end to this. thank you. guest: thank you. i want to add that i think social security is perhaps one of the best programs the federal government has ever done. it has lifted seniors out of poverty. it has lifted people with disabilities out of poverty. it is a great program. it is not insolvent. it is not about to be. people threatening this and making these claims are wrong. i will pledge my efforts and those of the progressive caucus to fight for social security because i believe it is key. when you think about how 401k's have shrunk and so many people are not ready for retirement, we need social security met -- more than ever. we are not about to backtrack on social security. it's a nonstarter for us. host: the republican congress came in looking to roll back obamacare and also the. frank regulations -- the. frank -- the
dodd-frank regulations. this was a bill that failed to roll back some of the dodd-frank and the volcker rule. what did that will save you? -- what did that vote say to you? guest: there are at least 147 members of congress who believe the massive concentration of wealth at the very tip top of our economy and the flattening and stagnation of pay at the bottom of our economy is on acceptable. what it said to me -- is on acceptable -- is unacceptable. what is said to me, the second day back, we are already giving them gifts. i don't think it is the right thing to do. folks out there might not know what the volcker rule is. it is an idea proposed that the former head of the federal reserve. he is a very well accomplished
economist, who said, look, if a bank that takes deposits that are insured by the fdic wants to buy risky bonds and other sorts of assets, then they should use their own money to do it. and they should not use taxpayer-guaranteed money, fdic money, depositor money. host: this was the view of jeb hensarling, the finance chair. he said, "it is disappointing that so many democrats voted for these provisions just four months ago suddenly switched their votes in a transparent ploy to appease their far left wing base." what is he talking about? guest: the bill was 11 bills compiled into one bill. some of them were not particularly offensive. some of them have passed. what he does not tell you is what he really did is put a bowl
of sugar with a little bit of arsenic in it. that's the problem with the bill. that's the problem when we conglomerate all of these bills into one bill. they did not vote for this delay of the implementation of the volcker rule. that had not been before anyone ever before. there are at least 50 two members of congress who absolutely have never voted for these bills because they are new to caucus -- at least 52 members of congress who absolutely have never voted for these bills because they are new to conquer -- congress. we get a chance to amend them. they come to the floor and we debate them again. we have a new congress. we just finished one and started another. every one of these 11 bills ought to go back to committee. chairman penciling -- chairman hensarling did not want to do it that way.
the ones that are inoffensive, you could probably put those on suspension. but if he wants to put a controversial bill on suspension, we are going to fight it. i personally like him, but i disagree with his philosophy of legislation and economics. host: let's get to the republican line, south carolina. good morning. you are on with congressman ellison. caller: i have to do quick points. i hope you're having a good day. anything to do with the vocal and bank regulation, -- the volcker rule and bank regulation, if you don't do glass-steagall, it is a band-aid. replacing glass-steagall would solve a lot of problems. i have heard you talk about income and wealth redistribution but i haven't heard you say one concrete idea on it, other than the minimum wage increase. can you give us an idea of how you would redistribute income or
make with earning more fair? can you be specific? guest: i think i've named a lot of ideas, infrastructure redevelopment. i've named overtime adjustment. i've named a lot of things, but if you want to go into more things i would do, i would take away the subsidies that the federal government confers upon companies that do fossil fuel exploration and production. bernie sanders and i have had a bill called -- we have identified over $110 billion worth of subsidies over the course of 10 years that go to the fossil fuel industry. i think that exxon mobil, chevron, vp -- bp, the most successful companies from profit standpoint, i don't know why the american government needs to subsidize them. i think that would do a lot of
good. i think we should change the rules on appreciation from a tax standpoint. i think we should change the earned income tax credit. i have a lot of ideas on what we need to do to make sure our economy fits a broader cross-section of americans. i guess that's my answer to the caller. host: back to new hampshire, on the independent line. hello. caller: i have followed your career. i have followed you quite well. i appreciate you. i just read a report i only found one news report, which makes me skeptical. i read a report that, on the first day of congress, there was a vote or rule change that now prohibits the federal government from rezoning social security, disability from the social security trust act. as a disabled american who worked my entire life as a historical restoration is, which means -- historical restorationist which means i'm
qualified to work on buildings like the white house, i paid into this. to sit down and read a news article that i'm going to take a 25% haircut next january has me concerned. because of my concern -- i don't know your background. i know a lot of congresspeople are lawyers. host: he talked about the rules. is he correct on that? guest: the is right. i'm not sure his conclusions are right, but his analysis that there was a rule change that significantly will affect social security is right. that does not affect the senate. i can assure you this is something we are very concerned about, argued against, and will continue to push back. at the end of the day, we have to get the majority back that respects social security and thinks it is essential to continue to fund it in the proper way. he is right that this issue came up in the rules package and it was on the first day.
here's my question to everyone listening. if on the first day republicans are back they take action on the way we fund social security. on the second day, they want to give back to big companies who benefit from the volcker rule. on the third day they want to push through and do favors for transcanada. doesn't that tell you all you need to know? my point is, we had an election where 36% of the electorate not out to vote. this is -- 36% of the electorate got out to vote. this is unacceptable. as the electorate numbers go down, the chances that the special interests can manipulate things goes up. please folks, we need a renaissance in citizenship in the united states. i really strongly believe that.
host: the headline in "national journal." house democrats hope to make life tougher for the gop. butler, new jersey, republican line. welcome to the conversation. caller: good morning. i would like to commend the "wall street journal" forgiving us a voice -- for giving us a voice in politics. the next thing i would like to say, my concern these days in politics is illegal immigration and how the economics and the politics of it and how it is playing out from reagan to obama, making the political analogy of football. first, it is the republicans with it. they take advantage of it. they twist the rules to benefit
a certain sector of our economic society. then it goes over to the democrats to do the same. all the time it is helping the latino faction to bring in more illegal immigrants, which of course is impinging on the rights of young americans and older americans when they are going out there looking for work. for those looking for a job, for those who want to work, and those who are out there looking for a job. to go to a restaurant, you can apply for a restaurant. they won't hire you unless you are an illegal immigrant. in the state of new jersey, you need not apply at a restaurant to wash dishes, to pump gas, on and on. i could say all of these. mow lawns, work for a landscaping company. host: we appreciate your comments. we will hear from the congressman. guest: music stressing a frustration and number of people
expressed. -- he is expressing a frustration a number of people expressed. if we pass comprehensive immigration reform, we would make a floor so that people would be able to complain to the department of labor or whoever else that they are not paid properly. it would have to be recorded. an unauthorized worker is hired because they can be paid less, because they have fewer rights on the job, because they are less likely to complain. if everybody has a status and has the right therefore to exert their rights, then it should stop the wage decline that he is concerned about. let me also say to him, under president obama, there have been a record number of deportations for people who are unauthorized to be in the country. i have my own complaints about how that has been done, but it has been done. and the other thing is that the people who are in the united
states without proper authorization has declined over the last several years. he also tied in unauthorized, undocumented folks who are here to the latino community. this is a mistake to do that. the truth is people from all over the globe, poland, ireland, everywhere, are here and are out of status. i don't want us to slide into what could be conceived of as sort of like racial bias, because it is not really accurate, and i know he doesn't mean it that way. i just want us to be cautious to say that there are people from all over the globe who might be out of status in the united states. host: tom cole was here the last hour. he mentioned there might be something in terms of a border security bill that they could write that could agree with the president. could you see yourself supporting a bill that republicans draft on border security?
guest: let me tell you this, i have no problem with who drafts it. i have a problem if he doesn't say the right thing in it. i will not object to anything based on whether it is a republican or democratic idea. i will read it. if i like it, i will vote for it. if i don't, i won't. if it recognizes the rights of asylum, if it does not cause more harm than it does help then i would be certainly open to it. i think at the end of the day what really drives immigration south of the border is -- i think it is nafta, personally. if you hollow out small-plus farmers in mexico and guatemala they are going to look for jobs to feed their families. and if they think they can do that north, that's what they are going to do -- do that coming north, that's what they
are going to do. host: a couple of more calls -- a couple more calls for you. the house is coming in at 9:00 eastern. caller: good morning, mr. ellison. i'm glad you put sean hannity in his place when you were on his show. the unemployment rate has gone down to 5.6%. we need your colleagues to stop degrading the president and start getting something done. the young guns haven't done anything. they tried to take credit for the jobs. if the american people knew how much it cost for the republicans to try to repeal the health care law all those times -- i would like to see you and the democrats stand your ground and don't give in to republicans on nothing that does not help all of the american people, and the same in the senate. they filibuster all the time in the senate. mitch mcconnell got up there and
lied yesterday, trying to take credit for the job growth. please stay in the government. god bless you. take care. host: we have a treat for you from a comment you made earlier. "what is the constitutional authority for the federal government to set the minimum wages for citizens?" guest: the constitutional authority has to do with making a more perfect union. the federal government should provide to promote the general welfare. i think a minimum wage promotes the general welfare. the minimum wage is important. what i mean by the government setting it -- it's a clear situation where the worker lacks the bargaining authority with the employer. if there were a proper union in place, if there was collective bargaining, if unions weren't down to 7% if low-wage workers had more leverage on the job, then there might not need to be one, but that is not the
reality. i think the minimum wage is important. we had a minimum wage since the 1930's. never been a problem. republicans have supported minimum wage. there are several states across the union, republican-led states where the minimum wage passed in the last election, arkansas and alaska being two examples. the democratic and win, but the minimum wage did win. -- the democrat did not win, but the minimum wage did win. there is ample constitutional authority. it has withstood constitutional challenges. both democrats and republicans have supported it. we need to do much more than increase the minimum wage. host: the house starts his day by reading the constitution. will you be part of that? guest: i'm going to try. host: do you have to get in line to read a portion of it? guest: that's right.
you have to get in line and hope for the best. host: we don't want to keep you too late. a quick question on the ongoing situation north of paris. the terrorists holding a hostage there. this is from "the new york times" about the shooting at charlie hebdo. they write "the majority of scholars say that islam is no more inherently violent than other religions. but some muslims, most notably the president of egypt, argue that the contemporary understanding of their religion is infected with justifications of violence requiring the government and its official clerics to correct this view of islam." you were the first muslim member of congress. when you see reports like this on pari -- like this on paris, what is your reaction to all this? guest: my reaction is it is
covertly contemptible. we have to band together as people who believe -- it is completely contemptible. we have to band together as people who believe. resorting to murder to push your own point of view is completely unacceptable. we should band together to step it out -- to stamp it out. anyone who thinks they are honoring god by murdering anyone is absolutely wrong. i urge all faith leaders muslim christian jewish, ba'h ai, to talk to their people about the evil of murdering people just to push a point of view. there are people who will exploit any religion, any religion. remember, the ku klux klan call themselves christian. i agree for the families -- i am
grieved for the family spirit we need to band together to say that freedom of speech must always be respected even if we don't like it, even if it offends us. satirists have to be able to do what they do. they shouldn't be afraid that someone will kill them. host: go ahead. caller: good morning. i just wanted to let the nation know that this guy is the most progressive person probably in the congress. he doesn't represent our state. when he says that social security is solvent and it is a myth that it is not? they've been borrowing from social security ever since they could pretty much, at least in the 1960's and forward. host: we have to let you go. the house is coming in momentarily. a quick response? guest: we will debate these things. social security is a critically
important program. we will fight to expand it. we're not going to stand by while anybody tries to replace -- to decrease it. host: the house is coming in next. they will begin the day with a reading of the u.s. constitution and take up the keystone xl pipeline later on today. . a quick reminder, book tv starts tomorrow. 48 hours starting at it :00 a.m. saturday on c-span3. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] our guest chaplain reverend patrick rifle, st. peters catholic church washington, d.c. the chaplain: let us pray. god, our father, you guide everything in wisdom and love. you are good and forgiving, full of love for all who call upon you. we now praise you for that love and rejoice in your abundant