tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 23, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EST
s been the inspiration for most of the self radicalized americans who have either radicalized because of these sermons of the dead american born cleric who became head of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, but also because of the constant threats and exporting of terrorism against the united states. that is important for us to do in order to protect the american people right now. host: you referred to the al qaeda branches as franchise. guest: indeed. you have after the assassination of osama bin laden, the residual command-and-control center of al qaeda in pakistan. that is more or less left in the hands of his number two -- the evil doctor, who is still alive, we presume somewhere in pakistan. and al qaeda has metastasized
into a series of franchises are more or less influenced by the inspirational ideology of al qaeda. but in the control of their local commanders. for example, you have one franchise in north africa, one in mali, one in the northern arabian peninsula. you have al qaeda in iraq. you have al qaeda in syria. then of course, you have al qaeda sleeper cells that we have seen pop up in europe, australia, and god forgive in n -- god for bid in canada and united states. the residual legacy of bin laden still seems to be able to
attract these young arabs who want to be a member of al qaeda, aattracted to what is essentially this death cult of al qaeda. we have not a great deal of success to turn that off. host: we have this map of the middle east that we want to put back up. ambassador ginsberg, what kind of military presence does the united states have in this area? guest: if you go to iraq after the islamic state was able to take the city of mosul, the second largest city of iraq and seize territory on the turkish syrian border -- if you draw the line all the way to the outskirts of iraq, to baghdad, you have territory where at least 2000 to 3000 american
advisers, who are not in combat roles -- but in advisory roles. you have that force. you also have american counterterrorism forces in yemen. their safety and security is now very much at issue. for all intents and purposes, that is in about in so far as the american military presence in the region. we do have small military attachments to our embassies throughout the region. we have counterterrorism and military personnel supporting the government of jordan. as well as in saudi arabia. and we have a military presence on our basis -- bases in qatar. we have a military base in the united arab emirates.
there are military bases in saudi arabia where there are americans supporting local forces and where there are several hundreds american forces. they are after all american military bases. host: luiz from virginia, please go ahead. caller: hello. i wanted to talk about religious extremism and how do we combat religious extremism when we have these zionists. that is religious extremism. we have the christian right here in the united states. in the state of west virginia, when you get basic cable, you get about 20 christian television shows. it is all outrageous stuff that you hear. it is not about jesus and love. it is about hatred and zionism.
and what israel needs to extend to wherever it was. how are we going to combat extremism and terrorism when we have terrorists amongst us that are not muslim. guest: that is a domestic issue and i may take exception to your interpretation of christians and zionism as extremist. i think the best way for me to answer this question is to focus on my area of expertise. that is the problem of radical islamic ideology and its attractiveness to young americans who have been self-actualized on the internet. and why they believe for some reason that being a soldier of terror against innocent people somehow will bring them redemption under the banner of
islam -- it is a malfeasant malignant interpretation of islam. it is a radical interpretation of islam. it is frankly, in a way of combating it -- i think i said in an article that i just posted in the huffington post -- how people ultimately learn that killing and maiming in the name of islam is not going to send you to paradise and provide you 72 virgins is the greatest challenge of islamic leaders right now. it is up to them to convince these people that murder is not correct, rightful under the name of islam. and they are certainly not going to go to paradise as a result of engaging in terror. they will likely go to hell.
there has been a consistent rolling drumbeat by not only by local clerical leaders, but also political and business leaders throughout the middle east. they have occasionally expressed horror -- for example with the attacks it recently happened in paris. the fact of the matter is that since 9/11, it has been a tremendous challenge for local governments in the middle east and for their leaders, and for people who are respected as icons in the arab world to speak , truth to youth in the region being called to the banner of jihad. that is something that we cannot do -- it is up to them to do. host: this tweet says -- we may understand the shiite-sunni conflict on an intellectual level, by do not believe we understand on their level.
guest: i cannot agree more. i was in saudia arabia a few years ago and i was meeting with a good friend of mine. we were talking about this issue. i was shocked at how this -- and -- hateful sector of islam feels towards their fellow muslims -- the shiites. they called them curses that i was surprised at. it is this visceral hatred that has driven so much of this anger and resentment and what i call a post 9/11 world in the middle east. where did it start at? it started -- if you asked me where the lid got blown off after 9/11 -- it happened in iraq.
when saddam hussein, who had been a shiite ruler over a majority population. when he was overthrown, the shiites have been subjugated and tortured, and had prejudice inflicted on them by their sunni, saddam hussein government. this has been where this began. it is a hatred that has gone on forever. since i said a while ago -- since the assassination of ali by sunni forces. it is pitted -- again, an iranian shiite government that wants to restore some shiite hegemony in the middle east. against the sunni forces. host: marc ginsberg is our just. james is on a democrat line. caller: i have two points -- i will be brief.
one, should we not clean our embassy out in yemen now that we have lost our allies there before we have another disaster there like we did in libya. secondly, why we ignoring the elephant in the living room. that is the fact that iran is going to build a nuclear weapon, and they are going to deliver it somewhere in the world. what are we going to do about that? thank you. guest: as a former ambassador i can tell you that the number one job for any ambassador is the safety and this security of the americans in the country for which he is ambassador. the united states has dispatched several warships to help in the -- proceed in the evacuation of american personnel and the capital. i'm keeping my fingers crossed that if they get out safely -- i
feel strong kinship to all my fellow diplomats in the region who every day they put their lives at risk on the behalf of the american people. their security and safety are foremost in my mind. now with respect to iran, and its nuclear ambitions. there has been a rolling series of negotiations that have taken place. each time that there has been a deadline set for the iranians to reach an agreement with the p5 plus one members of the security council plus germany. iran and the united states have extended the deadline. secretary of state kerry just met with his counterpart in geneva -- with foreign minister of iran. what is emerging here is more or less an effort to close the
differences between the west and iran with respect to the right to enrichment. for all intents and purposes, its refusal to abide by the demands of the west to shut down its nuclear program. as you may have heard, the israeli prime minister netanyahu was invited by speaker boehner to come to speak on march 3 to the congress to talk about this issue of iran's nuclear ambitions. it is not only a threat to israel, but also a threat to saudi arabia and our allies in the region. there is a great deal of concern and consternation as to whether putting more sanctions on iran is essential at this time. for example, the democratic congress -- let me rephrase that. bipartisan members of congress -- both democrat and republican
-- want to sponsor an additional legislative package of sanctions that would only be imposed on iran if these discussions fail. yet, they are opposing mr. -- the former chairman of the senate relations committee, mr. mendez, who is pushing this legislation. there is a great deal of debate as to whether passing of a sanctions bill -- even though it would not impose more sanctions unless these talks collapse -- is the right thing to do. they say that this could cause the talks to collapse. frankly, great deal people will -- good deal of people will disagree with the administration's perception of that. host: time for a couple more calls. brian is going from washington -- is calling from washington d.c. caller: good morning. i want to take issue with the
ambassador and how he believes that we do not really understand. i am old enough to remember that iran had a democratically elected president. this man was overthrown by the united states government. the shaw of iran was installed. he was very harsh on his people until they threw him out. then the united states kept a war going on with iraq for the next 10 to 15 years. i believe i do hear him say that if it was not for us overthrowing saddam hussein we would not have these problems. so, the united states has caused these problems. they're the greatest purveyors of violence over there. they have killed millions of people in iraq. no one seems to think that there's anything wrong with that. you have created these jihadists. by your policies. they have not asked to come over here. saddam was not an enemy of the united states. the so-called lie about weapons
of mass destruction -- wwe -- you have opened up pandora's box. again, we are not the police of the world. we cannot even pay our bills over here. i guess people over here should suffer, and soldiers should live underneath highways. host: we got the point. thank you. ambassador ginsberg. guest: that is an oversimplification of history. full of some factual errors. the fact is that everyone acknowledges that the cia overthrew the leader. everyone knowledge is that. -- acknowledged is that. the shaw was overthrown because there was an uprising by his own people against the dictatorial rule of the shah. i leave that gentleman has a much more distorted view of the
situation involving saddam hussein. i disagree totally with the idea that the american people are instrumental in the killing of millions of people in the middle east. it is factually fallacious. host: our last call from new hampshire. high, michael. -- hi, michael. caller: hi. good morning. i want to thank c-span. this is a great topic, especially with the ongoing negotiations -- or alleged negotiations with iran and the nuclear program. i agree partially to your assessment on iraq. iraq was the countermeasure against iran. but iran was working with his -- this nuclear program before we even invade iraq. i do not think that would've made much of a difference. i guess what i am looking for is
-- what do you see in the future as far as the best approach? not just from the united states viewpoint but from the world viewpoint, and how we can address the issue without creating an all-out war on the -- in the middle east. i think these wars -- what has create a lot of these hostile al qaeda groups -- that is my question. guest: let me see if i can take -- tick off some things that i think we should try and focus our foreign-policy energies on that are consistent with the goals and objectives of the american people. first and foremost, we need to have a far more effective counterterrorism strategy to prevent these franchises of al qaeda from attacking the homeland. that is .1.
- poin one. point two, we need to do more to help resolve the error -- arab-israeli conflict. it would be a useful exercise to put to bed an issue that should have been put to bed a long time ago. number three, we need to in effect support more arab moderate states that are facing the threat of extremism in the region, and promote more democratic institutions, and the durability of democratic institutions. overthrowing gadhafi in libya, and then abandoning libya has essentially created one more mass because we did not have the power to follow up on the democratic transition that was necessary. in so far as american troops on the ground -- there is a great deal of debate within the administration about the threat the isis poses to the american homeland.
the fact of the matter is -- most senior military officials will agree that without more boots on the ground in northern iraq and syria, defeating isis is just not going to happen. finally, i think we need to have a much more strategic policy of containment around the periphery of the middle east to protect us from these threats and to do what we can to empower more allies and be more strategic about these threats. i think we have watched the last -- in the last eight years -- we have sort of fallen backwards into crises that had we been more farsighted about, we could have avoided. i think our policy and syria has been a disaster. the failure of the obama administration to step in and try to empower more moderate in the region in syria has led to probably the greatest humanitarian catastrophe. now, is it the americans fault that this happened?
no. could we have done more? absolutely. should we have done more? yes. is it probably too late? probably. that is why we need better policy containment to protect our interests from these un-american allies. host: finally, ambassador ginsberg, what will happen in yemen in your view? what would you like see happen? guest: it is anyone's guess now. these rebels are proxies for iran. they are shiite in a country in which they only represent 30% of the population. since they are not moderate shiites, but extremists, they will inevitably create an enormous amount of tribal mistrust on the part of the two thirds of sunnis.
i hope not. i hope i do not see another outbreak of civil war between shiite and sunni. as far as i'm concerned, our only job is to protect the country from the ascendancy of al qaeda into the arabian peninsula. host: thank you for being on the "washington journal." coming up, we will turn our attention to -- this book -- "we are better -- >> they will discuss the tax policy proposed by the president in his state of the union a just -- address. the possible 2016 republican president of candidates. we will take your phone calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
>> jeb bush spoke at the national automobile dealers association convention in san francisco. he offered a critique of the obama administration an outline some of his policy ideas for the economy. energy exploration, health care, immigration, and the nation's infrastructure. he says that he is considering a run for president in 2016. this is about one hour. >> thank you. thank you so much for that great introduction. it is a joy to be here. since i've been here, a lot of the members have asked me about how my family is doing. i thought i would give you a quick update. my mom and dad are doing well.
my dad is 90. mom is 89. they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. [applause] i told my mom that they will be the longest lasting first couple in history. the problem is that the carter's look quaint healthy and they are two years behind him. i want to encourage my mom and dad to continue to live well and healthy. you may have seen that might out on his 90th birthday jumped out of a helicopter, once again proving that if you have a joy for life and you live life to the fullest, you can live a life of purpose and meaning that with all due respect to all the people here who have wonderful dads, i have the greatest father in the world. i have to admit it.
[applause] a lot of people ask about my brother. he has been out of the limelight. since you asked, marvin is doing spectacularly well. [laughter] george and laura are doing well. he has become a painter, who would have thunk it. he is good at it. he is a person of the termination. when he sets a goal, he works hard to achieve it. i like the fact -- i'm are the fact that he has self-restraint. something for me to would be hard to do. i think he has been respectful of his successor. he has not been out on the television sniping away, making challenging president obama. it might be tough for him to do that. i don't know. i respect the fact that he has allow the president to serve. it is a noble tradition that i
hope continues in this country. i love my brother and his service for our country. [applause] my sun george just got elected to a statewide office in texas. that is a big job. he got the highest percentage of anybody running for statewide office. i'm very proud of him. the other thing that i have disabled the bush family is that my dream came true. i have three grandchildren and one on the way. they are the joys of my life. every sunday, we get to have sunday fun day with two of our granddaughters. one of them is georgia elena walker bush, named after a great granddad. i simply call her 41. [laughter] i have a blessed life. i am not the first bush to speak to this group. action i'm not the second
reeve in the third. i am really glad you did not skip over me. thank you for that. other than grandkids, there is another thing i'm actively involved in. i've set up a leadership pact. i did this to play an active role in promoting ideas and supporting individuals who i believe restore -- are focused on restoring the promise of fair and free opportunity in america. you did not come here for a political ad and you will not get one. your checkbook is safer today as well. i do want to speak about the urgency of this cause and why i am willing -- willing to lend my voice and efforts. i have since that americans are frustrated. all the polling shows it as well. we are in the fifth year of a recovery, 60% of americans believe we are still in a recession. they are not dumb. it is because they are in a
recession. they are frustrated to see a small portion of the population on the economies escalator. portfolios are strong, but paychecks a week. maines of americans want to move forward in their lives. they want to rise. they are losing hope. they are withdrawing from the task of building families family formation rate is at an all-time low, building careers and building communities. far from spreading opportunity our government now gets in the way each and every day. another law, another tax another fee, or know the. it all stands in the way of a new business, new invention, a new job, and most importantly, rising income for american families. the great stories that were told here today of successful dealerships, it's harder today to do exactly what you have done to achieve success. you have created a complicated society on top of people's aspirations. today, fewer and fewer people are rising up.
i know you know what i mean because your industry has to do with this. your research shows that regulations at dealers at 3.2 billion dollars in costs. those are passed on the buyers. this is an average of $2400 per dealership employee per year. those costs to comply, the regulations could have gone higher pay to allow people more disposable income. it could've gone to create more jobs. another great example sadly is the rules on dealer financing. they went forward with a rule without notice, without a public hearing, not knowing whether it would work. the worst part of this is that unelected bureaucrats have more power than congress in this particular case. they are trying to repeal the rules. i hope that you continue to stay involved. [applause] every day americans don't see leadership or a dull conversations about the nation's problem.
they are growing frustrated. we should be promoting policies which help america move up the income ladder based on merit hard work, and kurt success. those policies should tear down the ceilings that block people's aspirations. it is time to challenge every aspect of how government works how taxes, how it regulates, how it spends. to achieve our success americans also have to have the skills to do so. this means fixing our tired education system and bringing job-training into the 21st century. in spite of the fact that we are in the figure of a recovery and during the deepest downturn since the great depression throughout this entire time there have been around 3 million jobs unfilled because of the skills gap that exists in this country. we need to restore america's leadership in the world by restoring what an effective president must have, the trust of our friends and the fear of our enemies.
most of all -- [applause] collect most of all who ever leads must do so with faith in america's future. our best days are ahead. i truly believe that this great country is on the precipice of the greatest time to be alive. we need to begin to fix complicated things to allow all people to rise up. our nation's economy used to grow at three and a half -- 3.5-4%. that growth made it possible for incomes to grow every year. we had a stable, growing middle class. standards of living were rising. opportunities for industry to rise up was the norm. the last few months have been
good the new normal -- you talk to the smart people that decide these things, the new normal is 1.5-2% growth. we are not going to be able to build the capacity for people to pursue their dreams. dreams will be limited and the demands on government will continue to grow. to put it into perspective if he were to grow 2% each year, compounded at 10 years, we would create a germany of additional economic activity. no forms of taxation proposed by the president or progresses comes close to the kind of revenue we would get if we were to grow at a higher percent each year. how do we create an additional germany?
we need to reform our health care system. obamacare is clearly a job killer. we need to invest in long-term things. [applause] we need to invest in long-term things like infrastructure and research and development to spur of the next generation of development to allow the united states to continue to grow at a faster rate. that requires reforming our entitlement system and having the courage to do so rather than to kick the can down the road making it harder for the next generation to do anything because these costs will overwhelm our country. these are all important to do -- it will require a climate of consensus that is nonexistent in washington dc right now. i have three suggestions. i'm trying to find a venue -- to
figure out things i can talk about things that aren't in this is a really political that could help us sustain economic growth. we need american ingenuity and renovation. [applause] we need to fix our broken immigration system and convert it to an economically driven one that will create opportunities for all americans. [applause] finally, we need a transformation of our education system because as i look over the horizon, i see great social strains if we do not get education rights. we are the most energy abundant country in the world. we have more call -- cold and saudi has energy. we have billions of barrels of reserves of oil.
we are the source of innovation for conservation and renewables. yet last year, $300 billion left our country to country's -- countries that do hate us. we need to empower countries that make foreign policy more difficult to attain. the united states is fast becoming the largest producer of oil and gas in the world. [applause] and, we can be energy secure with north american resources and innovation. the most transformative innovation and the last generation beyond the commercialization of the internet has been the combination of two assisting technologies. -- existing technologies,
hydraulic fracking has created a revolution. it serves communities where the oil revolution is taking place. billions and billions of dollars invested in our own country. jobs being created each day. the problem is that, it is not cool in san francisco to talk about this. if you walk outside, you might get a protester. its cool in places like north dakota and west texas. its cool because it creates significant economic activity and notwithstanding the lack of coolness, as revolution allows us to agree industrial life our country to create jobs again to lead to the world. it is saving consumers billions
of dollars on utility bills and billions of dollars of additional dollars at the gas pump and probably stimulating car sales a little bit too. this lessens our deficit and diminishes the need to have a heavy footprint around the world where foreign policy can be a force for good. our foreign policy should be about the strategic interests of our country, not the fact that we are not secure with energy. what should we do? the first thing we should do is approve the xl pipeline, that is a no-brainer. [applause] washington shouldn't try to regulate hydraulic racking, it should be done reasonably and thoughtfully to protect the environment.
we should open a federal lands and waters to accelerate energy security. we should help mexico with the modernization of their oil sector. our objective should be energy security with canada, the u.s., and mexico. we should accelerate the building of the interstate infrastructure that will allow the use of natural gas for trucking. we should continue to consume less in our homes and cars. the energy we get is the energy we don't use. finally, we should let market forces the side where to invest. we shouldn't resort to government-sponsored venture capital. that is an oxymoron. [applause] a real energy strategy would give us 1% of additional growth over the long haul, creating higher income for middle-class families. the second a got is to recognize
our immigrations than is broken and we need to fix it to an economic driver. the aging population with fewer workers means lower growth. the slow-growing developing countries to the last you decades have struggled with lower fertility rates. japan has a declining population, europe, and now china is starting to feel the impact of its one child policy. our fertility rate has dropped and family formation rates are at a all-time low. we have a big demographic challenge of people my age getting older each and every day , so our pyramid is like this, and we are not fixing entitlement problems. this will choke off growth. unlike other parts of the country -- the world, where immigration is a problem, we
have a history of allowing people to come in legally to embrace our values in a way that creates prosperity for all of us . no country can do this like america. our identity is not based on race or exclusionary believe. -- police -- beliefs. you can be as american as anyone else. [applause] immigrants are an engine of economic vitality. immigrants starts to times as many businesses as nativeborn americans. they have higher family formation rates. they have higher first time home owner rates. in communities with large immigrant -- large immigrant
populations, they also by a lot of cars. there are many jobs unfilled which could be filled by illegal immigrants, creating growth for all of us. we need to control our border. a great nation needs to control its border, not just at the border, and also the 40% of people who come here legal -- legally and overstated their bounds. we need to find out where they are and politely ask them to leave. [applause] law enforcement should be a partner with the federal government to make this effective and compassionate. we need to verify the means by which businesses do not hire illegal immigrants. when you move from a family reunification model to an economic growth driven system, it would mean we moved back to
what every country in the world has. spouse and children as the part of family, and not have adult siblings and adult parents. we have had this for 40 years. we have created chain migration which crowds out economic immigrants in ways that people do not realize. if we never this -- narrow this across the spectrum of our economy, we could create significant economic activity or this country. it would be like we were the tennessee titans. it would be like us owning the titans and we would get the first 400,001st round draft picks. we would get the dreamers and investors. we would get a hard-working people that sign this unwritten contract to be able to pursue dreams in this country. it would be a catalytic
converter of high sustained economic growth. finally, we need to find a way to gain status for those who have lingered in the shadows. nobody is suggesting an organized effort to deport -- the cost of be too extraordinary. we need to find a way where they pay fines, learn english work, they get in the back of the line, but the, out of the shadows with full productivity. the final thing i would say, if we are going to be successful, and i truly believe this, we need to embrace and the shared values that have made is unique and exceptional. i have doubt that americans all believe in a set of shared now use. if we are to be successful immigrating immigrants, we have to believe in those shared values as well and ask them to do the same. that means that in places like
arizona, we need to restore a sense of heritage and history why it is special to be american believe it ourselves, and asking the newly arrived to do the same thing. nothing would stop america if we did that. [applause] i am not an economist, but if we got those right, the pessimism that exists would begin to subside immediately. people would begin to take more risks on behalf of themselves and families. this is rates would grow. there is one thing we need to do to sustain this. when a child is born in this country, that they have the god-given ability to learn and have the chance to do so. too many young people today are functionally illiterate or have no sense of how to calculate math, no sense of our history,
and they are left behind areas with innovations exploding into our lives, and automation exploding into our lives, we are seeing increasing numbers of people who don't have the skills to get their first job. it seems to me with an 80% graduation rate for high school, and you have 0.25% -- 1/4 children passing certain tests universities now struggle with young students that don't have the skills to be able to start taking college-level work. this is a huge challenge. yet there is nobody marching in the streets for those left behind. this needs to be not a federal program, but a national calling.
a great country like america needs to make sure people have the skills, drive, and determination to rise up. when that does not happen, they believe the system does not work for them. what should we do? we need to transform the system that is organized in a strange way for 2014. monopolies, highly politicized focus on economic interests of adults, but it is not customized to the needs of every child. we need to change that. in florida, we started on this journey. i challenge the status quo in this regard. we did some crazy things. we graded schools. that result was that every kid mattered in the schools because there were rewards for
improvements. there was a different consequence between abject failure and mediocrity. we started seeing achievement because kids that were languishing behind became important in this grading system. we eliminated social promotion in third grade -- this insidious idea that the seam is more important than reading. that is what we have in america today. [applause] the tragedy of that is heartbreaking. think of it. if you can't read, you are not going to be able to acquire knowledge, yet we have done this generation after generation. too many young people -- the gas grow and a job out. in florida, we eliminated that and replaced it with a policy of strategic imperatives to make sure that children learn. we cut in half the functional
illiteracy rate. fourth grade readers on our tests went from 29/31 to 6/50. don't tell me that kids in poverty cannot learn or that kids of color cannot learn. if you hear someone tell you that, challenge them. say that god has given them the ability to learn but it is up to us at to organize ourselves to make sure that they do. if we get that right, nothing would stop the united states of america. [applause] we are starving for leadership in the public realm. each and every one of you are leaders, and your families, your
businesses, your community. without leadership, you would not be as successful as you have been. but there is a dearth of leadership in the public today. it is important to have leaders because people believe that this function is permanent in washington dc. we have been republic for 239 years. we have had a few years of dysfunction, but most of the time, it has worked well. in times of far worse than this the civil war, the world wars, this is not the worst time to be alive as an american. but this dysfunction seems to be permanent. i reject it. effective leaders come in many forms from both political parties. president kennedy let through vision and inspiration when he challenged americans to land a man on the moon. lyndon johnson used hands on a leadership that produced the most historic civil rights
legislation in our country's history. and a 25% income tax cut in just six weeks after the assassination of president kennedy. he did whatever it took to get the job done. johnson, in that moment, led. what about ronald reagan? ted kennedy called him a good friend. he wanted to defeat his opponents, but not destroy them. reagan came into the office with a focus on two evil empires. one was the soviet union, and the other was the federal government intruding evermore on the lives of its it is. he brought down the former it rained in the latter by doing something that would be today considered unthinkable. he embraced his adversaries. imagine that. he had a relationship with the speaker of the house.
that relationship created the possibility of saving social security, meaningful tax reductions, because democrats and republicans forged consensus and focused on the broader long-term interest. that lesson is hugely important. two people can disagree vehemently, but if they see in each other honesty, they can find accommodations. president reagan led. how about my dad managing the fall of the iron curtain? as the soviet empire collapse, there were significant dangers that it would become violent. the united states could have justifiably done a victory dance as the berlin wall fell. many people critics of my dad were critical of him not going to berlin to dance on the wall with young or letters.
instantly, he knew that it would be -- instinctively, he knew that it would be the wrong thing to do. there was no bloodshed. that was because my dad did not do a victory dance. he steadfastly supported cole when nobody else in europe show the same kind of commitment. the reunification of germany took place because my dad left. we need that leadership in washington dc today. leaders have the humility to share and accept the when things don't work out. too many people in washington blame the dog eating their homework over and over. it is time for people to accept responsibility because, guess what? we make mistakes. to create a culture of
leadership, you have to accept responsibility for the errors that you do make. we have to show determination. leaders force others to learn skills, as well. leaders build on their success. when they succeed, they don't rub it on the faces of their critics, they look for the next way to build consensus for the next challenge. my believe is that we are on the verge of the greatest time to be alive in this country. the amount of science exploding into our lives will allow us to live far longer than what anybody could have imagined. the advancement of technology allows us to live lives that people could not have imagined. we have the capability, we are a big country. we have the capability of solving these problems. with leadership, we will solve these things. when we do, this will be the greatest time to be alive as an american. i hope you join in that effort
to transform our country so that our children and grandchildren will have the same opportunities that we had. god bless you all and thank you for allowing me to come. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you for being here. >> this is not the crowd i used to. >> there are a lot of people. you formed an exploratory committee. there is over 4000 people out there. let's get the toughest question right out of the way right now.
[laughter] what is your favorite car? [laughter] >> i just bought a ford fusion. [applause] for the record, this is what you call a no-win situation. but i'm excited, i love the car. is working really well. i do drive. just let everybody knows. haven't had any tickets or anything. but i don't get to use it so much. what i will do, i'm going to the dealership so that i can get my two our course on the technology. [laughter] it should be easier. >> i recommend you do not get a speeding ticket. governor there are 17,000 franchised dealers in this country and they have one million employees.
they would love to hear you make a big announcement on where you are going to be on january 17, 2017. >> i hope to be buying another car for my wife. [laughter] any suggestions, my e-mail address is email@example.com. [laughter] i have not set up an exploratory committee, i am seriously can entered the possibility -- considering the possibility of running. [applause] january 17 is just another day for me. >> governor, i understand that you and mitt had a secret meeting last week? >> not so secret. [laughter]
>> what you talk about? >> it was yesterday. i went to visit governor romney. i have the warmest respect for him. the meeting was set up three months ago under different instances. -- different circumstances. we talked about the patriots. we talked a little bit about politics, not as much as you would imagine. we talked about the future of the country. we talked about the need for more engaged foreign policy where the united states except -- accepts world powder status -- world power status. it creates real problems for us and the rest of the world. we talked a lot about foreign policy. we share a similar view about that. [laughter]
[applause] he shared his views. it was a good conversation. the awkward side of this about running, we put it aside. that is a decision he will make, and i will have mine. can i tell the rest of the story? >> do think i would stop you? >> i was going to salt lake city and it was leaked to the new york times. one reporter was going to the detroit auto show. another was there for another reason. quintessentially, i ran into a reporter -- coincidentally, i ran into reporters. when i got there, there were lots of cameras.
we were having a weird conversation, when i was trying to find the right car. all of a sudden, i get overwhelmed by people asking for people -- from people asking me to sign baseballs and paper. it was the first day of the sundance film festival. people were waiting for movie stars to show up. so it became kind of like a fellini movie. i got through it and had a nice conversation. >> what is your vision for our country? >> i believe that we are on the verge of restoring american greatness. it will require not just talking about it, not reacting to the overreach of this administration, but trying to force consensus on how we can create a more optimistic country by creating higher sustained economic growth. and focusing on the fact that
you can have growth, right now we are going good, but there are people being left behind. if you are born poor in america, you are more likely to stay poor than in any other time in modern history. the middle is getting squeezed. bigger policies to deal with this issue of the lack of people moving up, and the fact that people in the middle does to the system working for them, is what we need to fix. you can do that by tax reforms and regulatory reforms. taking advantage of the strengths of the country -- those are problems we need to fix. taking advantage of the nature of our country in terms of scale, geography immigrant heritage, fast resources -- vast resources. all of those things, executed properly, would allow us to grow at a steady rate.
plus, having a president that recognizes that there has been i partisan consensus about the role of america in the world. right now, we do not have that consensus. this president, with all respect, does not see the u.s. being a superpower as a good thing. i am very respectful because i did have a dad and brother in that office and i saw how they got torn apart, that he is wrong on that. [applause] >> lamy turned to foreign policy. what are the implications of the paris attack and isis? >> the immediate implication was that the president missed a huge opportunity to show solidarity with our oldest ally. not having him or vice president biden or even mrs. obama going -- i'm not
sure why they didn't. it would have shown solidarity to encourage europe to change some of their policies and to continue to work with us to protect our homeland and there is as well. this has to be a cooperative effort. the idea that people -- an example of leadership is when it is not popular to do something. you read a poll and the polling information is underwater. in the case of foreign policy, americans are fatigued. we have had two wars. the president has reflected that sentiment to a certain extent or acted on his policies of believing that it wouldn't create any political problems. when you start beheading americans in a far-off lands
because a void was created people's attitudes change pretty quick. you can't run of foreign policy by following the polls. you have to persuade the american people even if it is tough because of the economic situation, that we have to be engaged in the world. it doesn't mean we have to have boots on the ground in every instance, our presence in the world is hugely important. our enemies need to know that if they cross a certain line, the united states will engage in a partnership with their friends. that is not happening right now. [applause] isis is the creation of that pulling back. isis was called six months ago a junior varsity team. which is just ridiculous. they have solidified their position in vast swaths of land
in syria and iraq. our efforts to create a coalition are nonexistent. we called the president -- we called syria to engage with them, he had a chance to do it two years ago. the likelihood of isis forming as fast as it did had we engage them. each and every time he had a chance to engage and protect american interests, he pulled back. now, we have a huge problem. the implication should be that it could happen here. and we should -- and we have to keep our guard up. we have to explain to people how important it is to protect the homeland. [applause]
>> so much of our economy is intertwined with the taxes. what would you change about our tax system? >> first, if you could lower taxes as low as they could go, and eliminate as many deductions as you could, similar to the 1986 law, it would unleash capital investment in this country that would create jobs. there are two reasons why that is the case. one, it limits of the power of the government. if you have to higher compliance officers and lawyers and accountants to be able to comply with the law, or you get in line to get your tax credit, instead of saying, here is my dream -- it is a far better system.
i was told by the cfo of cbs the drugstore company, pays 1% of all corporate taxes. the rent their places and they are all us-based. they are big corporations in this country that pay no taxes and do it consistently. bringing equity into the equation would be hugely important. then there is most of the heartbeat of our country's growth, it is not in the corporate world, it is in the llc world. jeb bush and associates is a conglomerate of four people. we went from three to four last year before i left, we had a 25% increase, there are other companies where, if they did that, that would be so many jobs.
the personal income tax rate has gone extraordinarily high. and not just focus on the high-end end, but focus on the middle class. it has to be brought and less -- broad and less power to government by eliminating loopholes. [applause] in alabama, you don't have the live in tax. that's in california. [laughter] this is not just a federal issue. states it better be careful thinking that there is -- that you will constantly get income from higher and higher taxes. there is a point where people move. there is a point where people say, i just got a ride it out. -- going to write it out.
-- going to ride it out. it forces us to check the states. because people will move. >> i have another really tough question. what you like to do for fun? >> fun. i love sundays. that's my fun day. i do not work on sundays. i play golf. i have breakfast really fast so i can go to mass. you can't ask the priest to accelerate that. [laughter] please don't tell father davis that i said that. [laughter] that our grandkids come, and we cook on the grill, we watch football, and we talk about fun
things. sunday is my fun day. and i also like to read. >> how has the affected your life? >> we were brought up in the visible church. -- if hisepiscopal church. i converted to my wife's faith. it has an important effect on my life. bush's arts at spilling our regards on things that are right it. it is not easy to do. but it gives me serenity in a world of turbulence. it is really important. it creates a moral architecture that simplifies things. there are views i have that are grounded in faith that are not negotiable. it just simplifies things particularly in public life.
i think people expect you to have thought it through, and if faith drives it, you express your views and a loving way, not a harsh or judgment away. but you stick to your guns. as governor, during tough times my faith was hugely important. today, it continues to be important. [applause] >> nobody can deny that washington imposes restrictions on three enterprise. what can we do now that is not being done? >> roll it back. a lot of the president's efforts are done by executive order to cut the government shutdown about six years ago. after stimulus, the first budget the affordable care act
it has been -- they are basically maytag repairman. nothing gets done. the president is happy with that, the house last session past something like 350 bills out of the house, most with bipartisan support. the strategy was, don't let any democrat vote, or god for bid they would actually have to vote has been they would be held accountable,. there are scores of things that the next president has a duty to
roll back the things. [applause] in some cases, roll back the things where he does have the authority to do things. the law allows him to do things and he does it. the next president has every right to undo that. appointing men and women who have practical business experience is kind of important. having political hacks run all this stuff is not the right kind of ideology. [applause] many of the rules that are implemented have -- there is a process of impact statements for economic costs. you have to do a cost-benefit analysis. we need to take that seriously. there are a lot of well attended rules that have minor benefits but massive costs. rule after rule falling into that category.
going through a thoughtful honest process grounded in principle to be able to deal with that. we need to reform the administrative procedures act, or whatever it is called in washington. to speed up the process, to be able to permit things and grant permission to do things. do you honestly think we could build an interstate highway system in america? i don't think so. but we could if we were serious about it. there is no reason by our great country cannot do big things. right now, it is hard to build a bridge, it is hard to repair the lining of the panama canal, it is hard to build infrastructure with the standing that people have. the costs are way too high, the uncertainty is to clear. it stifles the investment that
creates income increases for the middle class. >> how about this? what is a do over you would like to have in life? >> i said some really stupid things in my life. [laughter] i said something when i ran for governor in 1994 that was taken out of context but i should have been's martin enough to say it differently. somebody asked, what are you going to do for me? i was young and rambunctious. i said, probably nothing. [laughter] i said, -- that was the wrong answer. what i said was probably nothing, but what i think we need to do is create a society where everybody gets the same
starting line and we should strive for equal opportunity. but there is a better way of saying that. it so easy to open up wounds. you can have a provocative -- provocative thought but you don't have to say it in a way that hurts people or turns them off. that is the problem today. we don't work hard to use language. the bigger the idea, the more you have to use language that doesn't scare people. or insult them. i've gotten better at that. that's what happens when you get older and your life experience through trial and air, this is called wisdom. when you're 41, is great, but there are some things that we said 20 years ago that we all
regret. >> i have two sons. and i want to ask you about family. do you ever get in fights with your brother? >> yeah. i mean, look, if his podium was here, it would be that big blue one. he would have 1000 people from the press traveling with him. but say this was in orlando, not san francisco. i would introduce in and make some wisecrack, and he always got the last word. he always used it. i've gotten my revenge post-presidency, but during his time as president, i learned quickly, do not diss him. because he has the bigger microphone. [laughter] >> what is the most important message republicans can bring? >> hope. it optimistic message.
grounded in the potential greatness of our country in the long haul, it has to be grounded in an optimistic message, not a reactionary message. there are a lot of things to be grumpy about. things aren't going well washington is not working. the affordable care act is a monstrosity. there are a lot of reasons to be angry or grumpyd?
>> introverts are good to have around. i would rather read a book and then go out and get in the conga line. but i learned that in order to make your case, or in order to serve, you have to connect with people. you can't connect with people if you are back in the corner reading a book. you have to engage with people, connect with them on a human level before you lay out your plan. >> from what i can tell, you connected with this crowd. >> well, i'm glad to be with you. [applause] >> let's go back to the presidency. >> armie doma this? >> no. -- ours we done with this?
>> no. i know you are on the fence. >> no i am not. i am seriously considering the possibility of running. [applause] >> i got you something that will make your decision. its right here. can you see it? there it is. [laughter] [applause] >> the problem with this is that the vice president is a better speaker. >> and has been an honor. i really appreciate you coming
let's get a round of applause for governor jeb bush. [applause] ♪ ♪ >> here are our featured programs in this weekend. on c-span2, former governor mike huckabee on the current cultural landscape. on sunday night, princeton university historian examines the initiatives started by lyndon johnson. on american history on c-span3 saturday at 8:00 eastern, the university of california davis professor on the role -- on the role of the british air force strategy during world war ii.
on sunday evening, american artifacts. she towards the school's amelia ehrhardt collections, which collects the largest amount of papers relating to her career. find our schedule at c-span.org. e-mail us at c-span.org. during the c-span conversation. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. >> four members of the obama administration spoke at a meeting of the u.s. conference of mayors. julian castro, tom vilsek, and jeremy abrahmson. they describe
how their experience of mayors apply to their current roles. >> are we ready? is our dream team ready? all right. yesterday, you heard from dr. barbara who wrote a book called "it there is ruled the world. ." i'm starting to think that obama read that book. we have to give a round of applause for that. three former mayors are in his cabinet. he just appointed the director of government affairs to the white house as well. we had an incredible presentation, a great relationship with this
administration, and i thought it would be interesting to bring these mayors back to our meeting. we, as mayors, talk about what i call a new federalist compact. an opportunityan opportunity for us to redefine our relationship with the federal government, and for the government to redefine its relationship with mayors. i know we like to hear from these particular mayors. i want to hear what their perspective is. in terms of what they used to think about federal government, which could be interesting. i want to introduce them one at a time. are you ready? play my music real quick. ♪ giving up.
-- here we go. first, he was a mayor from 1987 and became a state senator in 1992. let's welcome tom vilsack. next up, came on the national scene a couple years ago react he has done a great job in his city. i am proud to say that he is a part of this organization. he is the secretary of san antonio. he has assumed his new office and is doing great things. round of applause for juan
castro. batting third, the power hitter slot. you guys know this gentleman. he has been with us since the conference started a couple days ago. he has been here every day. he was mayor in louisville from 1986 to 1999. then he stepped out and they combined the city and county and he came back to serve as mayor for 2003 2 2011. round of applause for jerry abramson. the last one, he is not here yet. [laughter]
this is a new group of mayors, we are not late. i will introduce and now, that he can hop on the stage when he is here. but i will put into perspective why he is not here. he was designated during the state of the union as a designated survivor. do know what that means? he is the first member of the u.s. cabinet who was part of the administration appointed to be at a undisclosed location when the president gives his state of the union. we are getting him out of the bunker. he will be here in short order. brandon of applause -- round of applause for anthony foxx.
little bit of background. going back when you were in the hall -- city hall, what do you think they most need to know about the federal government. >> i think it is important for folks to know the broad array of programs available through the federal government. agriculture, you ought to know all about our programs. we welcome the mayors here today. for larger cities, it is all about nutrition. i talked to mayor deblasio about the art and role mayors play in graffiti programs and school nutrition. there is an opportunity here for partnership. >> another you are at the highest level of local government, how do you grade the administration's performance in terms of meeting the needs of the cities. what could they be doing better? >> is a great question.
i believe one of the lasting make us of the obama admin his nation needs to be urban communities. strong cities, strong communities, what the administration has done better than any before it is to organize itself across the silos. and to encourage local communities to mirror that at the local level. so that the community college district is talking to the transit and is talking to the city government and is talking to the housing ready. the sum of all of that is very powerful benefits to the overall quality of life in urban communities. to the extent that at the local that at the local levels, that way of doing business takes hold because of the work that has been done in
the obama administration. not only are we serving cities today, the long haul, we are serving cities well. >> that is interesting. breaking down the silos. having their own plane. i think it is important. thanks for that. >> how is your perspective and hopeful or different from people who currently work in the federal government? >> i had the opportunity to be mayor are therefore i had the opportunity to work with the person in my position, starting with the reagan administration all the way to where we are today. what is really interesting that i see in the little over two months i have been in my position is that there is a great deal of interest at all levels inside the white house as
developing ideas and developing initiatives are occurring. a great deal of interest in what is happening at the local level. say the president's initiative on free community college. you know, you have to understand, as the white house does, from listening to mayors and others, that the community colleges and work force training is really important. and it should rise to a point on the agenda that is well ingrained in the administration's schedule and agenda for the next two years. and i could go through so many of those issues. issues that they reach out to me and then i reach out to you to find out what's going on in your communities, around the country, regarding these initiatives, these domestic agenda initiatives, and if the white house did this, what would it mean to your community? if the white house did that, you've got an administration
with more of a focus on communities, local governments than i've certainly seen in my two decades plus. and it's because a gentleman like the two next to me, and secretary foxx who will be here, and others who have had that local government experience, even the vice president was a county official. i mean the reality is, there's a lot of focus in terms of what is local government think and how realistic is what we're going to propose, how realistic is it at the local level? >> it's awesome. very helpful for us. i do want you to know, you and joe riley are the only ones who have the distinction who said you've been mayor since ronald reagan. affiliated with the organization. >> he started with hubert humphrey. >> secretary vilsack, here's my question for you, kind of a light one. you served as mayor, state senator, governor, secretary of obviously in this administration, of all those distinguished offices which do
you prefer and why, and remember your audience. >> i think it would be easier for me to answer which one i liked the least. which is as a state senator. you know i think the people in this room all have something in common and we have executive personalities. we want to get things done. we want to make decisions. we want to see results. and as a mayor and governor and secretary you have that opportunity to make things happen. i love this job that i have now. with all due respect to people in this room because i serve at the pleasure of one guy and if he hears me telling folks that i don't like my job i might find out i don't have it anymore. in a sense being secretary of agriculture is like being the mayor of cities and towns all across rural america, it's like being governor of 50 states for rural america because all that you all do as mayors and governors do as secretary of agriculture is able to do.
it's a job that i love and it's a job that i'm well prepared for because of my experiences as a mayor and a governor. >> secretary, let me ask you one follow-up. during your time as secretary of agriculture you've shown an incredible openness and sensitivity to our concerns, you know, as we work to improve our local food infrastructure. what do you -- transportation has arrived. >> undisclosed location. >> run into the country. >> what do you see as the natural next step for cities in this growing movement to expand urban farming efforts and increase healthy food access in our cities. >> this is a great question, and it's a terrific opportunity for mayors. i think first it does inquire and require your staffs to fully understand all the tools that are available through the united states department of agriculture in cities. we have microloans for folks who want to get started in a city, loans up to $50,000.
we have the ability to extend the growing season by financing houses. we can provide resources to cities to establish farmers markets or food hubs to aggregate locally produced food within a city. we have a directory that basically gives you information about where this opportunity exists. and all of this is designed to build an urban agricultural opportunity that many, many people enjoy. i was in des moines just the other day at a homeless shelter. where they are basically training some of the returning vets who have fallen on hard times through this urban agricultural experience. and it was a wonderful thing to see people begin to learn a skill, begin to learn a trade and understand the nurturing aspect of growing something. it really is a very powerful tool to help some of these returning veterans who are struggling a bit. so, we are open for business. we have our know your farmer compass on our website. would encourage you to take a look at usda.gov and encourage
your folks to reach out to me. we'd be happy to partner with you. mayor emanuel in chicago, we've got mobile units moving around his city with fresh produce. we're expanding our food stamp and snap programs so that they can be used in farmers markets. talked again to several mayors about the summer feeding program where we reimburse for summer meals if we could partner with you in your parks and recreation department, and find locations for summer meals. and to the extent that you're running your school districts we really want to encourage you to participate in our school lunch program, our school breakfast program, and there are simple ways to reduce the administrative expense involved in that. so lots of opportunities for partnership. >> so awesome. we're going to be at the white house today but we'd love to just get more information. because that's just such an important topic for all of news our communities. secretary castro at hud you made a commitment to an initiative, community development and local vision. could you talk a little bit about these efforts and what you
think this partnership looks like for local leaders going forward? >> yeah, so, you know, one of the things that i've been talking about lately is that if you think about this 21st century, we're really living in a century of cities across the world places like china and india, those nations are urbanizing at a faster rate than ever. here in the united states, cities are hot again, people are moving back to cities. and particularly the younger generation, millennials. and so it -- the challenge out there for cities also competing in a 21st century global economy where capital is more mobile than ever and brain power is more mobile, is to make your city as livable as possible. that's really the underpinning of our place based initiatives like choice neighborhoods, like promise zones, strong cities strong communities, and a host of others throughout the
administration. how can we work with you from soup to nuts, from plan to execution, to create a livable environment in your community. again, it cuts across the silos. you know, you want neighborhoods that are safe, that are vibrant, in terms of the cultural amenities, that have access to good transit, strong educational opportunities, that are accessible and hospitable for different age groups. and we'd love to share more information with folks who are interested, and, you know, about upline for choice or for promise or a whole host of other programs that we do. and just to go back very briefly, to wrap this up to the first question that was asked, i agree with secretary vilsack that knowing the programs makes a difference. the other thing i would say is that as someone who's been here about 5 1/2 months i can say
that there is some truth to the squeaky wheel getting the grease. so don't be shy about that. so secretary let me ask you one quick follow-up. you met with mayors that suggest that cities start use inging bonds to finance political housing. do you believe this can have a meaningful impact in terms of using these bonds? >> i do. i cited the example of austin. that a few years ago set aside bond funds specifically for affordable housing. if you look at the federal level we've seen dollars that have been essential to create more affordable housing in local communities. cdgb has fallen by 25% since 2010 and home has been cut in half. so federal resources like the general budget environment have been constrained and i think that local communities, you
know, have to find more way ss to invest in affordable housing. some communities use affordable trust funds but looking at preserving part of your bond issue for affordable housing where the constituents can vote specifically on that as a ballot measure so it's their choice and you can sell it that way, i think that that makes a lot of sense and i hope that folks out there will consider that. >> awesome. so jerry we as mayors spend a lot of time complaining about our state governments, you are mayor, lieutenant governor, and now in the position that you're in. how is your perspective different now that you're working with mayors and governors. any advice for us? >> well the first thing i thought was interesting that you didn't, when you introduced secretary vilsack you forgot he had been governor. and i didn't know whether that -- >> i came back to it. i was saving it. because of that rub sometimes between the city and the state. you know in my new role i love them all. and it creates an opportunity
for me to bring to the attention of mayors the importance of engaging with their states and the same thing with the governors for engaging with their cities. in this day and age, with the type dollars that are available for services, be they state, be they city or county, collaboration is the name of the game, these cabinet secretaries working with you in the projects that you're involved with ultimately create that kind of a base upon which you can grow your communities, and support and deliver the services. so it is different up here in terms of the interaction with governors and lieutenant governors, and state legislators, and even some of your city council people from time to time stop in to talk about issues that they think are important. but the bottom line is, as we said earlier, you're the chief executive so you're the guys and gals 40 are the centers of innovation. if there's anything going on exciting in this country, it's happening through you.
and through your communities. those that are working hand in glove with their counties. those that are working hand in glove with their states. so that is the way i see it. i want to know what the former mayor of charlotte's been doing to be able to understand the real significance of him being on the panel. >> wait, wait, hold on. don't try -- >> he's trying to help you out. >> i'm trying to help. i'm saving him. i've got it. i've got it. >> so secretary here's the first question. i kind of asked the former mayors before, you know, when you were at city hall, what did you want most, you know, from the federal government when you were a mayor? so touch on that then i'll ask you kind of some substantive questions. >> that one is easy. i wanted money. i wanted money, money, money. i wanted money for transportation. i wanted money for housing. i wanted money for everything i could think of. >> you kind of understand what we're going to ask you for a little later? >> well, you know -- >> i'm going to defer those questions to these other gentlemen. but no, you know, i think we had a vision for our community.
and it was built on top of conversation with our business community, with neighborhood leaders, with community activists, and the challenge that i ran into coming in to office in 2009, was we were running in to a headwind with the economy. and my job was to keep my community forging ahead on that vision. and i think what you heard the president say this week about how the long winter has passed and we are moving in to a new station where we need to be confident and focused and determined and moving forward, free of the constraints of the great recession, i think that's absolutely right. and i would just encourage folks, dust those plans off now. let's get some good transportation projects done. let's lift up the country. let's get people connected to the 21st century economy, and let's grow america into the future.
>> so secretary you talked about, you know, investing obviously in charlotte's transit system was a big priority for you when you were mayor. and now in the administration you have the proposal of renewing the map 21, you made higher transit, spending a key priority. how can mayors help you in securing a stronger commitment to hire transit funding? >> it ties back to what i was just saying. our country has gotten used to underinvesting in infrastructure. it's almost like it's what we're supposed do. and yet when we look back two generations ago, three generations ago, those folks were not thinking small. they weren't playing small ball when it came to infrastructure. think about the fact that we have more manufacturing activity in this country than we've had over the last 15 years. and we have opportunities to get more of it. part of it with the president's trade agenda is bringing those jobs back here. but also part of even getting the real leverage effect of this
new economy is having the ability to move goods from one place to another. so my feeling is, is first of all, you have to be really clear with your leaders here in washington. your house members, your senators, about what your vision is. you also need to be clear about why that vision isn't happening right now. together the in helping congress realize that the highway trust fund, getting topped off, is really not going to take us very far. but putting more investment in infrastructure so that you can realize your vision will help this country create jobs and move us in to the 21st century. we need to grow the investment. we can't just top it off. >> let me add just a couple things. first, this cabinet secretary has a very difficult issue which is that congress refuses to give him a five-year horizon. you got funding until may, right? >> yeah, right. >> so, they've had 18 consecutive continuations of
funding for the department of transportation short-term. so one thing that we ought to be combined on is trying to encourage our friends in congress to give anthony a five-year and give all of you a five-year horizon so that you are confident that you're going to have funds. the second issue is i think we need to figure out creative ways to unlock the capital and investment opportunities that the private sector has. we had a difference here last year in july with investment bankers, commercial bankers, pension plans, asking them what it would take for us to be able to leverage our federal dollars more effectively. and what we're learning is the need for our projects to be bundled in a way that could potentially create interest in the investment community. we do -- we've done nearly 5,000 waste water and sewer projects since i've been secretary. one-off projects are not of much interest even though they're $2
million or $3 million projects. if you could combine five or six or ten or 50 or 100 of those projects you could actually unlock a lot of private sector resources. so one thing mayors ought to be thinking about doing is reaching out within their community into their investment community to find out how could -- how could we at the city level do the same thing that's being done at the federal level. >> secretary foxx last question and then you'll be caught up with everyone else. you know how important airport investments are in terms of driving local economies, and some mayors obviously have control, and some don't. you know, to expand our airports, we are increasingly relying on passenger facility charges for the capital we need. how can we support the administration's proposal to raise that cap and how can we support your efforts and vice versa on that? >> well, this is a vitally important issue. right now, there's a -- it's a $4.50 cap on the pfc charges.
we proposed lifting that cap to $8. which would provide these are moneys that airports can use flexibly to improve their facilities. it takes a little bit of the structure of the airport improvement program away and puts that money at the local level so that you can use that money more flexibly. we are big supporters of this. and again this is a place where i think conveying directly to members of congress how this impacts you, what plans do you have for your airport that could be enhanced if you had more nimble dollars at the local level that could be used to enhance that vision? that's the area of disconnect that i think we have up here. and by the way, there's a very vocal lobby against increasing those passenger facilities charges, and i think the more counterstory there is, that's based on real tangible
improvements at your air ports and you convey that to your members of congress, that's the most important thing you can do. >> so jerry, i ask this question to you and then everybody can kind of address it going down. what does the administration need from us mayors? you know we're going to come in, we always have our needs and what we want, but we really prided ourselves on how can we be helpful? so i'll ask that last question to each of you. what does the administration need from mayors? >> the bottom line is we need your energy. we need your commitment. and we don't need you to sit back at city hall and complain. we need you to get engaged with your congress person and your senators to ensure that they understand the programs, the projects, the initiatives that the president has put forward. what it would mean for the middle class citizens within your community. i just -- i sit with folks for many years lately, who have constantly sat around the table and complained, and complained. and then you would say, well did you vote? no, i didn't vote. then you would say, if they
voted, did you ever contact your congressman? did you ever talk with your senator? this is a -- the only way a democracy works is in an educated constituents, the citizens of this country respond and connect with their congress congresspersons and senators. or those individuals are left as independent contractors doing their own thing. so where we need you, because you're there where the rubber hits the road, is putting in to reality for your federal electeds what it means if community colleges were free. what it would mean if child care was tax credit was passed. what it means if investment in infrastructure would occur and the continuation and expansion of the legislation that secretary foxx was talking about. you got to make it real. and that's -- that's where we look to you to check with us if you don't follow or understand the initiatives that are being put forward or the legislation that's being proposed. so that you have all the facts and then engage with your
congresspersons and your senators. >> i think jerry said it very well. advocacy. we need good partners for the interests of urban communities in the united states. in some ways i think that america is falling in love again with cities. folks are choosing cities again. but that's not always reflected in the priorities in state legislatures, and in the congress. and you have a powerful voice to help make that happen for the benefit of the folks who serve. so i would say that that really hit the nail on the head in terms of advocacy and being a good partner in that sense. >> i'd say a companion to advocating, which is extraordinarily important, is also educating. and that is, that educating people about the fact that there are many aspects of government that are working well. far too often we have a tendency to focus on things that aren't working in government. and we ignore the reality is that many services that you all are providing are, indeed, providing valuable services to
people, and i think you need to connect the dots for folks from time to time that this is government working. and certainly we at federal government need to do this, as well. i mentioned some of the things we were doing at usda. for the 905,000 families who got a home loan from us who might not otherwise have gotten a home loan, that's government working. and i think there are probably a multitude of examples in this room from cities of projects and programs that are working really well. so educating the public about the important role that government is playing, i think will help also provide some emphasis, and some energy behind the advocacy that you all have to do. >> i had some time to ponder this this week at the undisclosed location. so, i'm going to offer a perhaps counterintuitive idea which is i think that mayors are uniquely positioned to do something that i think is almost impossible for washington to do.
that is to help us bring down the walls between this urban rural divide that's happened in this country. the reality is that there is urban poverty and rural poverty. there are access issues in urban america, and rural america. and if you look at how metropolitan areas are organizing, increasingly there core, a suburban ring and a rural ring around it. and i think that if there's more visioning done that brings those elements together at the local level, and policy at the federal level that supports those visions, i think there's an enormous opportunity for us to solve problems, instead of having them created by washington. d.o.t.
is trying to unearth the thinking that can happen at the local level to bring those elements together, because i think one of the most essential things we can do to fix washington is to really vision well at home and bring those visions to washington, and have folks working arm in arm together. >> so mayor -- >> awesome. [ applause ] >> so mayor we all want to just thank you because we know you guys are busy and you've never said no to an invite. and for us to have the real dream team here with us today is awesome. so i'm going to ask you guys one lightning round question. real light. have fun with it. and then we'll let you guys go. you up for it? >> i'm ready. >> all right. secretary castro, chris rock kevin hart, choose? >> cross rock. >> secretary vilsack, best all-time movie? >> the graduate. >> whoa! all right. secretary foxx, what would you eat as your last meal on earth? >> oh, geez. oh, man.
what i had at the undisclosed location. braised steak with french fries. absolutely. >> best retail politician you know? >> joe reilly. >> round of applause for all of our mayors. [ applause ] all right. thank you. >> bill de blasio address the issues of income inequality, transportation reform. this is about 20 minutes. >> i please to bring our next speaker out. since he was elected mayor to
the great city of new york one year ago, he has not missed a winter annual meeting. he is fully engaged in the conference. this past summer the mayor was kind enough to host us at gracie mansion or what we are calling a task force named the new cities of opportunity. transportation, income inequality broadband, income inequality -- broadband, he doesn't all. we want to offer our sip the for -- sympathy for officers ramos an liu. give a round of applause for mayor deblasio. [applause] >> it is such a pleasure to be here with colleagues. every time i come here, to hear the extraordinary things each and every one of you are doing.
i hope you feel what i feel when you come here. you get a sense of inspiration and inferring from your fellow mayors who in so many cases are making things happen against all the odds. i just want to thank everyone for being part of this meeting. now as to our leader, i always try my best with the president of this great conference, mayor kevin johnson, not to refer to his previous career. because if you would to refer to it you might say he is our point guard and he dishes the ball generously to his fellow mayors. but i won't do that. i won't do that. but mayor johnson has been a great friend and a great partner in the work we're doing talking about the issues that really matter in this country today under his leadership the conference of mayors is more crucial to that debate than ever. i also want to thank you, mayor, together the leaders of the federal government who actually
understand our lives and our work. i hope you've had the experience i have had when i call secretary castro, or secretary foxx, or secretary vilsack or director abramson, you don't need to translate to them the issues you're dealing with. you don't need to explain to them the challenges and the pressures of what's going on in your city. it is so refreshing to talk to federal government leaders who instantly understand what we are facing, and actually want to creatively help us get to a solution. and i have to say the president did us all a great service by choosing these leaders for the cabinet. it's made a huge difference. and speaking of the president, i think the state of the union speech was one of the clearest road maps we have heard in this country in recent years. as to how we address the underlying challenges we face, particularly when it comes to the crucial issue of income inequality. which i believe is the issue of our times and which we as mayors experience and understand so
directly, so personally, every time i have gathered with you, my colleagues, i have heard such powerful stories of what you see in your cities in terms of an economy that unfortunately is still not serving so many of our people. and what the decline of the middle class has meant, what it has meant for so many families that they don't have the assurance that the next generation will do better than the current one. what income inequality has meant in terms of our ability to move our cities forward. we understand from the grass roots that if we don't address income inequality head on we can't progress as cities, we can't progress as a nation. president obama laid out, i thought, extraordinarily comprehensive vision of the things that would turn this crisis around. that would re-energize our economy, that would create opportunity and fairness again that would really underline a positive future for this
country. and it's up to us now, i believe, to take the momentum created by the president's vision, and deepen it in the dialogue all over this country. deepen it, of course, by action which is what we do by nature. to the credit of mayors, we are first and foremost interested in action that has tangible results at the local level. but we also have voices that matter deeply in the national discussion. and certainly the discussions in our states and in our metropolitan areas, and i think we have to use those voices even more incessantly, and intensely, in the years 2015 and 2016. because this time, there will be a fundamental debate on the question of income inequality. you can see the tea leaves all over now. the president's speech i think will be the frame that will constantly be referenced, not only in the presidential election to come, but in the elections for senate and congress and at all levels.