tv Newsmakers CSPAN October 4, 2015 10:00am-10:31am EDT
conversation tomorrow morning talking about politics in congress this week and of course the new term of the u.s. supreme court also tomorrow launching this series on our landmark series program that airs every monday at 9:00 eastern. we will be previewing the supreme court term and then we'll take a look at those main cases that will be undertaken. that's tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. eastern time. for clock for those of you on the west coast. thank you for joining us on this sunday. "newsmakers" is next. have a great weekend. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] "newsmakers"span, is next with democratic
congressman eliot engel of new york. that is followed by a house plannedt hearing with parenthood president richards. and later remarks around vice president biden at yesterday's human rights campaign dinner in washington dc. newsmakers this week is congressman eliot engel of new york. he is the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee in the house of representatives. congressman, thank you so much for being with us. rep. engel: thank you. my pleasure. >> let me introduce the two reporters who will be introducing you. is a foreign policy and eight -- a foreign affairs reporter. >> we were interested to know what your initial take is on the developments in syria with the russian airstrikes, if you can
give us your first impression of that? rep. engel: it is obviously very serious. it is another instance, in my opinion, of fusion -- putin being blustery and irrational and irresponsible. we should've expected it. i think it is also ironic that as soon as the iran talks with russia supposedly was on our this, andent and did who knows what else he is doing. he has been reckless and crimea, he has been reckless in ukraine. he has said that he was going into syria to go after isis. if that were true, then that is our goal as well, to destroy isis. that is the goal of many of the states. isis is obviously the worst element in that part of the world.
but initially, it is pretty clear that he is not going after them at least not yet. decade --g after the decade -- vetted free syrian army or the people fighting assad. it is well-known that they have been his ally, they have a base through assad in syria. iran, been propped up by he has been propped up by hezbollah. and now he is propped up by russian airstrikes. it is clear that the russian objection -- objective is to keep a sod in power, not necessarily to destroy isis. you talk about vladimir putin being blustery and reckless. is there any active role they could play in the situation? could they publicly facilitate some kind of future in syria? can they be anything other than a negative force? >> if they wanted to they could.
isis is the common thread that all the countries feel a need to be destroyed. we are now participating in bombings in syria to destroy isis. the arab countries are. the western nations are. if for a show wanted to join in that effort they could be an ally, certainly. but let's look at how this all started in syria. up in syria as part of the arab spring, like they did in many countries and he responded with a brutal crackdown. this was three or four years ago . at that point of the free syrian army was asking us for .ssistance the administration made the decision, the wrong decision, not to help them for fear that we would get bogged down. we could've help them and made a real positive change.
we did not help them. so they withered on the vine. vacuum andin in a decided to murder them. russia has clearly told -- chosen to protect a sod -- as sad. we have taken the position that both isis and assad have to go in there is no room for him. they have obviously taken a different town and now it is going to be tough because we are banging heads with them. he were to suddenly do what he says he is going to do then there could be cooperation. >> what kind of a political resolution do you really think could happen there? what do you envision? be. engel: it is going to tough. it is going to be very hard, and particularly it is harder now with russia.
been that wes would sit down and ultimately approach, but if russia is in there to strengthen him and propped him up as iran has done, it is going to be very very hard and i think it is very interesting. it is worth stating again that iran has cropped up a sod -- assad. but even that is not enough. he is clearly losing and has some other difficulties. so now russia is entering the fray with bombings to prop him up and keep him in power. as long as we have bad actors in the area whose main objective is to keep them in power, it is really going to be hard to see him go, but we should still pursue the dual goals of defeating isis and getting rid of assad. u.s.at is the role for the
here? a lot of europe up again colleagues have criticism for what the u.s. is doing. they think we should be more muscular. is the obama administration taking the right course? rep. engel: i think the right course was not taken four years ago. we could have helped the free syria army. it was a mistake but we have to live with it. i believe if we had helped them then the forces of democracy in .yria would have prevailed you can't prove it because you didn't do it and therefore did not happen. it is really a major problem. we don't want u.s. ground troops on the ground. kind of want that involvement. and so we are sort of treading water because we don't quite know what to do. putin's entry into the field makes it all that much harder. i think, frankly, it is time to get tough with mr. putin. we have been too lenient with him in terms of ukraine, we have
been too lenient with him in terms of all the other mischief he is making and now he is doing and in syria, but again, we can't do it alone. we have have partners and we have to use a lot of diplomacy. but our options are really not good with the russians in their. perhaps russia will be there for a while and they will get bogged down and they will find as we found in iraq that it is not so easy when you enter the middle east, you sometimes get bogged down in the way things turned out are not exactly the way you expected them to turn out. we learned that lesson and i suspect they will learn it too. >> syria leaves us right to the refugee crisis and i was wondering if you have concerns about the european union overall with the positions that we are seeing and the individual country's responses. rep. engel: of course. the european union has done a lot of things i consensus, that
is how they operate. this time you had for countries fourwere opposed -- countries that were opposed to the immigration. they were sort of overruled and it does portend a split. it is a balancing act. four -- four people, these refugees who need compassion, a place to go. everybody wants to give them compassion. on the other hand, you have laws, you can't open borders and let everybody go in. it is a very delicate balance. but here we have a situation in syria but just spirals out of control and has affects all over the world. we are taking more and -- more in. these are people you can't turn away. on the other hand you have to try to defuse it so it doesn't just keep coming because it will be never ending and we can't
empty syria of people and have everybody who lives in syria go to other countries. that is certainly not a solution, but it is a problem. it is problematic for the eu. they are suffering. the refugees are suffering, but the eu also has financial troubles. we had problems with greece. i think the eu is pretty much at a crossroads and i think the way they act is going to determine the be successful or the unsuccessful future of the european union. >> do you think that the president has struck the right balance on the number of refugees he has let to come? rep. engel: i think he is trying. i think he is striking the right balance. it is hard to know. we have upped it, as well we should. but again, you just can't open those floodgates and let everybody come in. but as a recipe for chaos and so
we have to be careful, we have to mix our compassion. the main thing is trying to end the turmoil in syria. if we ended that than they could stay and stay in syria. just such a sod is brutal murder that it is difficult to see any kind of future for syria as long as he is involved. that is why i think our policy is right to be both against isis assad.inst a sod -- russiado you think that brought airplanes with air to air capacity when isis does not have an air force? because i think that
that is clear that russia's real motive is not to go after isis, it is to prop up assad. in everything that is happening that is clear. he has always been a client of the soviet union. he was, his father was before him. he always had close ties with russia. it is russia's only military base in that region. i think they want to prop them up because they knew whoever comes after him is not going to have the same cozy relationship with russia a sod has. it is clear that prudent -- putin is a liar and he is not there to defeat isis, he is there to keep a sod in power -- assad in power. >> how concerned are you that that nuclear agreement empowered iran to play a larger role on the world stage? there has been some speculation that the white house is more ,elcoming of an iranian role
and kind of secondarily on the nuclear deal, is congress's role and oversight done? you failed to pass legislation earlier to blend it. first of all, i am opposed to working with iran on anything. i don't trust the iranian government. lead sponsorsr -- of terrorism. i was critical of the negotiation and of the agreement the cause it is going to put $150 billion of cash into iran's lap at a time when they had no terrible,s economy is it's currency was worthless. they had no money. they could not help their people. they still send money to support international terrorism.
they still were the leading state sponsor of international terrorism. so if they did that with no money imagine what they can do now when the sanctions are lifted and they have all this money. iran is a problem, not a solution and i think that there were all kinds of conspiracies between iran and russia sitting there at the negotiating table, now we kind of see it with corrosion -- putin in syria. i know that the president sincerely believed that this will keep iran from having a nuclear weapon. i hope he is right, i hope i am wrong. the money is what bothered me the most, and also the fact that is a nuclears iran threshold state and has weapons, the ability to enrich high-grade
weapons and therefore, as i see it, we did not prevent him from getting a nuclear weapon. we just postponed it 15 years. i think releasing all the sanctions money was not enough. i don't really trust anything the iranian government does. four days after they signed the agreement the ayatollah it was yelling at a rally, death to america. just signed an agreement with the united states, four days later he was yelling death to america. it does not make me feel very comfortable with their sincerity. >> we have 10 minutes left. >> oh and on congressional oversight, i think what we need to do is lead to make sure -- look, the agreement passed. it is the law. i think that we now have to make complies with every aspect of it, and i think
that is important. we need to also make sure that our friends in the region, israel, jordan, get what they threatscounter possible . i think there is a lot of work still to do on a collaborative basis to make sure that this play and that we make sure that iran -- we demand that iran live up to its assigns the bargain and we make sure our friends are taken care of. i'm going to go in with developing legislation to make sure that happens. i look forward to congressional oversight. i think it is very important that we have congressional oversight. >> can we change the subject to the latest federal leadership in the house?
what do you foresee will actually change when there is a new leader? the vote counts are going to be the same. what could really change? what could be different? i think the american people are tired of the fighting in washington. we have big problems and we need to get together. what happened in the vote a few forward about going with a small bill to keep the government open, 151 republicans voted to shut the government down. that is just irresponsible. people don't want us to go to the brink of shutting down. we look like fools when that .appens people want us to meet in the middle, compromise, everybody gets a little something. have stark positions on one side or the other if you're talking about a budget,
talking about keeping the government open. you need to encompass all kinds of thoughts. you can't have a fight over planned parenthood and use that to shut down the government or attempts to shut down the government. so i am hoping that in the month that speaker boehner has before he leaves, that he will continue to sit down with leader pelosi and the two of them can hammer out some compromises. we saw the bill to keep the government open, 151 republicans voted no. 100% of democrats put yes. you did have a coalition of democrats and republicans getting together to keep the government open. i think that is what the american people want to see. i think we need to have more of that. it means that maybe i can't get whatever i want or the next person cannot, but if i can get to 50 with 60% of what i like and other people can get 50 460
or 40 or 50, or vice a versa been government moves on and we stop getting bogged down for ideological reasons that have no place in whether or not the government should be shut down or not. so i hope that good people on both sides, and there are good people on both sides, will see see that the american people want us to come to some compromise. and pelosi boehner could come to these compromises and we can have a bipartisan majority just like we had a few days ago when we voted to keep the government open, despite the fact that 151 republicans voted to shut it. is some speculation. i am curious what you think it actually get done? there is some speculation about reauthorizing the export import bank, raising the debt limit.
we are set to hit that in just a couple of days after he retires. do you think those are realistic? can they be them by the end of the month? rep. engel: i do and i hope they can be done and i think those are the type of things that should be done, and i think those are the type of things that the american people want us to do. be export import bank should a no-brainer. i don't understand why people are opposed to it. traditionally it was the republicans who pushed the export import inc.. the party of be business. this is certainly something that benefits our companies. i don't think it is right that they are pulling support for it, and it is kind of ironic that the democrats are pushing for the export import bank. irony of ironies. that is something that should not be partisan. it benefits american companies, the economy, those two issues i think are the types of issues that hopefully they will talk about and come to a compromise
on. you, houseo ask majority leader kevin mccarthy said today that he did not mean to say that the gaza committee had a political agenda. do you think that he is going to be able to come back from what he said, which was that since the beginning of the committee, since it was created, hillary clinton pause for members have dropped? of course the benghazi -- rep. engel: of course the benghazi committee is political. we knew that it was aimed at hillary clinton committee -- we knew that it was aimed at hillary clinton. it was to get her and now they're talking about the e-mails. whatever they can try to use to get at her that is what they do it should be shut down. it's from a party which says
they are fiscally responsible and fiscally prudent and conservative. they sure spend and waste taxpayers money on frivolous political things when it comes to trying to get to hillary clinton, who they perceive to be the democratic nominee for president. that committee is ridiculous. it is absolutely ridiculous. iat happened in benghazi, and have followed it, it was an absolute tragedy. we should not exploit a tragedy to use it to get at somebody politically. it is just wrong. we should shut it down, save the taxpayers money, and stop the nonsense. is a taxpayer-funded political hit job. why should the democrats just walk away, why should they just abandon a? rep. engel: as you know, that was an option. that was one of the options which was not really discussed at the time was that the
democrats would not participate at all in the other side, which that prevailed, was that if we did not because of it than you would just have to republicans and you would not have the democratic point of view. so that prevailed. i think that is an option at some point that may have to be revisited. there is more money stacked on the benghazi committee than was any of thetergate or other investigatory committees. it is ludicrous. >> we have about two minutes left. final questions? >> i want to try one more time on the leadership question? ont do you think will change the house once they get a new leader, regardless of who the leader is? rep. engel: it is hard to say. me to bearthy seems to ideologically in tune with
boehner. he is not an ultra-right wing or. it might be a matter of time, a short matter of time between the same people who found themselves dissatisfied with boehner and find themselves dissatisfied with mccarthy. perhaps mccarthy will work hard to try to consolidate his party. i think a lot of it boils down to personality. sometimes you feel more comfortable with someone who may have the same ideological hertion as his or predecessor but maybe the tone is a will a bit different. maybe the chemistry is better. it is really kind of hard to say. so, the 40 people or tea party wing of the republican party, is going to be dissatisfied with mccarthy, the way they were with boehner, then i think the same thing as likely to happen. we will just have to see. there are lots of things that go on. there is personality, friendship
behind the scenes. it is really hard to say. when you are a leader so much of what you do is not only ideological it is personal. i will be voting for speaker pelosi for speaker, and we will see what the other party does. not that your endorsement might necessarily mean too much, but there will be a big leadership in the next couple of days. does it matter to you who the speaker is, over the majority leader is? does it make a difference to democrats? no. engel: i don't get involved in the other party leadership. that is really up to them. i am known as a member who reaches out to the other side of the aisle. i have a lot of friends on the other side of the aisle i have friends on my side of the aisle and i think that the american people want us to get to know each other better. one does not to demonize the others. i may have differences of
opinion ideologically with some of the republicans, does not mean they are my enemy. they are there just as i am, elected just the way i am. i think we have to start getting to know each other a little better. when i first came to congress 27 years ago i think people socialize more, got to know each other i think we need to get back to that. just because somebody disagrees with me ideologically does not mean they are a bad person or an enemy. we have to start respecting each other. we can't play these games where we bring the government to the brink of shut down. that is really responsible and that is why i think the american attitude towards members of congress, because they think that what we do is go there and argue and posture. . want to see us meet we met in the middle when my aid. superstorm sandy,
we are trying to re-authorize the act with first responders who were injured and got their zero. hurt ground we need to refund that. that expired a few days ago. people want to see is doing the kind of things that congress is known to do. we infrastructure, we need to do these kinds of things, and then the american people will see that we are putting differences aside to work for the betterment of the people. it does not mean we will not have differences, but congress needs to start looking like it is dysfunctional, and that is why i think -- you know, i am a democrat and i think my party has a lot to offer, but we both have to sit down and work for the american people and stop trying to shut down the , or getting all these
other issues involved. we need to work for the people who said that the congress and we need to get to know one another better and stop lurching from crisis to crisis and do some things that are long-term that will put the government on solid footing. i voted against the sequester. i think the american people empower us to make decisions, not to kick the can down the road. we need to get over the sequester. host: congressman eliot engel joining us from new york city. thank you very much for your time. rep. engel: my pleasure. let me turn to both of you for a bit of a wrap up. i want to start with the events in syria. critics of the administration on capitol hill suggest that the administration has no coherent syrian policy.
now with the entry of russia into this whole mix, what are those critics -- power the responding and where do they think the united states should go? >> yeah. i think they think that this is the consequence of long-running lack of attention from the administration and from not doing enough. people like john mccain think the administration has been asleep at the wheel for years now. i think they see this as another sign of long-running weakness by the white house. >> i think the critics are happy to see that there is even more chance to make some changes because i think they have been frustrated by a lack of action on the administration's part. i am not sure the administration has the answer to this very complex problem.
introduction of airstrikes is sure to upset the apple cart. i think dianne feinstein, however, said that she thought there could be a positive side to this. you know, the entry of russia, because she feels as if russia has to be a part of the solution. i don't know. everything has kind of come to a -- i think the u.s. is actually do about thehat to airstrikes that are going against the rebels, and whether or not we are going to protect them. i think they are considering saison spirit and think we may ew policy.ew host: i'nd