tv Newsmakers CSPAN December 20, 2015 6:00pm-6:31pm EST
the force be with you. [applause] david: thank you to the candidates tonight. thank you to the audience here in new hampshire here at st. anselm. and thank you to the audience at home. we wish all of you at home a happy and safe holiday week ahead and we wish all the candidates a happy and safe holiday with your families. c-span takes you on the road to the white house and into the classrooms. this year our students can documentary ask students to tell us what issues they want to hear from the presidential candidates. follow c-span's road to the hite house coverage and presidential candidate jeb
bush campaigns this weekend in new hampshire, and at 8:00 on craig shirley former out his book on president ronald reagan. > our guests this week are tennessee republican senator lamar alexander. he was elected to his third term n the senate and took over the gavel of the so-called health committee, which is health, education, labor and pension. in your first deal with the devil, oversaw the rewrite of which child left behind, it had been 13 years since it was attended to. i want to tell our audience that perspective anis serving particular ly as the secretary of education, serving as the former president of the university of tennessee, so lots of experience in the field you brought to there. thank you for being with us. let me introduce our two
>> you're right about senator murray. she's very result oriented and i trust her. it's because of that relationship that we were able to get something done. number 1, we want to turn our attention to the innovation bill. how do we get treatments and devices through the fda and national institutes of health, regulatory investment discovery process faster and cheaper and in the medicine cabin cabinet. the house has already passed what it calls 21st century cures, obama's interest in precision medicine. we've been working for a year offf-wise on a whole variety bipartisan ideas. i talked to senator murray this
week. our next one and the other big priority is higher education. jungle to simplify the red tape that governed our education, and we need to make simpler for students to go to college. i brought with me a little prop. this is maybe not what you're supposed to do, but this is the families 20 million fill out every year in order to get a grant or loan to go to college from the federal government. you only need two questions. what's your family size, what's bennettome, and senator and i and others have introduced legislation to do that. of people rages lots from going to community college to get the kind of education they need. ask one follow-up on that and hand it over to you, al ala follow-up on the first piece of that is related to the nih and fda approval process. what the t century,
house has proposed is a lot of -- without getting too wovrnky, there's a lot of d for ory spending propose the national institutes of health. you and senator murray are both enior members of the appropriations committee and appropriators tend to not be particularly fond of using mandatory -- of turning appropriated money into mandatory funding. i'm curious where you stand on you've gotten any answers yet from nih on what the is there.d >> well, you're exactly right. ppropriators like to have annual review of how the taxpayers' money is spent. and senator blunt and senator murray and others, senator dur bin, made sure that the $2 billion of extra spending this year for the national institutes of health. that's a 7% increase and a big step forward. i'm willing to consider what i call an nih innovation fund,
that would help with the president's precision medicine initiative that would help young researchers and the other collins has at dr. come up with, and pay for it with mandatory funding. replaces other mandatory funding so i'm willing that, under some circumstances. i don't know if my republican willing s are but i'm to do it. i'm willing to do it because this is such an exciting time in science. we're coming up with so many things to help people and we have a person like francis collins who's a genius, for the national institutes of health, we ought to take advantage of that. it affects every american. i'm willing to do something i that's wouldn't do and going to be one of the toughest parts of the innovation bill that we have to decide. awesome. thank you. in his law, the act brings what you've called the national school board in a really big ay, and i'm wondering, how do you expect the department of education to function, how do you expect the federal role to
play out going forward? >> i think it would be very different. >> yeah. >> i mean, the national schoolboard is really the right -- it begins with "no 2001 with behind" in federal requirements for tests and a orting the tests few other things. but when president obama came in, that accelerated with what we called race to the top. you had to do a few things for that. and when congress give ourselves the blame, we failed in 2007 to reauthorize no child left behind. suddenly, governors had to come to washington to play mother may i and say, may we evaluate our teachers this way. standards this way. may we fix performing schools that way. suddenly, you had washington 42 ing 80,000 schools in states. of that, kept the tests, so we'll know how people are doing.
those are state designed tests, but what to do about the tests now moves to the governs, the officers, thechool classroom teachers. that's why it had such support. withbody was really fed up washington telling 100,000 do,ic schools about what to it was really creating a back lash on efforts to set higher standards, mainly common core, and teacher evaluation. >> the one follow-up on that, this law includes a lot of prohibitions on the secretary's role. it restricts the secretary from doing anything on turnarounds, teacher evaluation standards. i'm wondering how you think that's going to influence the regulatory process. i know you're very careful in crafting those prohibitions that still artment can till enforce this law. some advocates i've spoken to this ally worried that department will try to continue to wield a big hammer. >> they shouldn't do that, because they need to read the
y.w carefull we expect them to follow the law and there are specific said.bitions as you we have an oversight responsibility and senator murray and i talked and we're going to have at least three major hearings in our education committee in the senate to oversee the implementation of the law during 2016. to not only have it in the but thent of education, chief state school officers, the teachers, the school board members, and we'll say what's going on? what's the department doing? how are you taking on responsibility? when we lieve is that take the handcuffs off, it will nleash a whole flood of innovation and ingenuity classroom by classroom, state by state, that will benefit children and i want to put the spotlight on it. >> thank you. and senator, you were at one point in your political career a candidate for president of the
united states. it was 20 years ago you were out .n the trail yourself i was wondering where you stand now, particularly with someone leading in the polls as they stand right now, a very different character from the kind of elected officials who are often the people who end up getting nominated. and also what you think the way this public nominating contest is going this year versus the previous cycle. enator alexander: on the last question, it's gone better in the sense that the national committee has set some rules debates, the number of and more candidates have the money they need to run with. if when you were raising money of $1,000 per eliminated got simply because you couldn't raise money. that's not the right way to pick
a president. so the fact we have more money, which some people don't like, ctually allows more choices, more candidates to run. when i think about it and when i look at this field, is exactly years ago, i remember going through new hampshire and bob leader, had big signs up saying lamar, 1%. i was at 1% eight weeks before the new hampshire primary. then things changed in iowa, i ame in third, and the saturday before the new hampshire primary, i was first, and and i ran e's polls, very close. pat buchannan won. dole was 1% behind and i was 2% further behind. the point is the day -- i believe about 80% of the voters in new hampshire and probably yet made their minds up. they hadn't 20 years ago, and in media and vast amount of media, it would be easier to change your mind. so i think people are changing their mind day by day, and i think they're going to go from
looking at a reality show, which is what this has been this year, to saying who's going to deal putin? who's going to help me get a better job? who really can make a sensible decision about isis and the fear we have from the attacks we have in our own country. of 's a different set questions and i think people will be making their mild up from here on. and i think any of several win. dates could >> do you think if i may, in going to the education piece of this, with your law having now been signed into law by president obama, that that should change the tenor in any way when it comes to republican criticizing rt of common core because that's sort of now off the table in some regard? >> that's over. i mean, anybody who bothers to say that has certainly got their head in the sand. i mean, common core created a back lash and became an issue in almost every republican primary, nd in general elections too,
because people perceive that president obama was making them do it. now the law prohibits that any resident, any secretary, from telling tennessee what its academic standards should be. an issue in a, as federal race. if you don't like your academic standards, go talk to your governor. go talk to your classroom teacher. go talk to your school board. senator or your congressman, because they don't have anything to do with it. >> so following on that, obviously, we're about to have an election, which will mean a new administration, which will eventually mean a new education secretary, a position you held yourself. who do you think is the right person or maybe the right kind of person to lead the education person department under a gop president. senator alexander: well, someone who cares about children, is one thing i like about artie duncan. he has a big heart and cares about children. the second thing i'd like to see who education secretary
understands that the past is etter teaching, our standards, real accountability, is through classrooms, community by ommunity, state by state, and not through the u.s. department of education. ou can't do it from here, and you can be a leader. you can have a national influence. it can be a national issue, but you have to do it community by community and state by state. that's what both the right and he left got fed up with, and that's why we had such huge support for our bill. secretary oftioned education artie duncan and what you see is the fact he cares about kids. i know you've also been concerned about what you've seen as federal overreach through the waivers. what would be your overall grade and performance? senator alexander: i'm not going to give him a grade. >> you don't see him as obama's best cabinet pick? senator alexander: i think he cabinet pick and i have a difference of opinion about how much washington should have. ut i think he was well intentioned.
i think he was trying to push standards, e, higher better teaching, all that, but far, and i too think not only the governs, but the teachers' unions agreed with got i think we have -- we a result that's pretty remarkable. is an, a lot of legislation like ghoulash. t's kind of slopped together and it passes. this is good policy, it's well written. president obama signed it. a note from him thanking him that he had written w. bush nday, george called me and thanked me for the work on the bill. i t's pretty remarkable, so think what we have here, unlike the healthcare law, where everybody started to try to day, we've e next got a law that will govern the ederal role in elementary and secondary education for 10 or 20 ears, and so teachers and governors can have some stability in what's coming from here towards them. >> senator, you mentioned
healthcare law, so let's spend a little bit of time because it's under your purview. the supreme court has taken up another view on it. what do you think the supreme court will say over the next five years. senator alexander: i think over the next four or five years, it will be changed step by step towards a healthcare system with more freedom of people buying policies, more choices, and hopefully lower prices. >> what are we to understand rom the number of state expansions in the polls? senator alexander: that the design -- that this was an mistake, the design of this healthcare law was a bad idea. it expanded a healthcare system that already cost too much. it told me that washington knows what policy you ought to buy. you might want a lower cost your budget and your healthcare needs. washington says, no, you can't do it. so we're going to have to change this and we're going to have to do it carefully so we don't hurt people more than they've been hurt. find where will you partners to do that?
senator alexander: well, we partisan way. a i like the "no child left example.ix as an i mentioned earlier, we passed the healthcare law, we fixed the "no child left behind" murray signed it. the next day, governors and school board teachers are making it.ns to implement they're not worrying about it being repealed. we need to approach it eventually in a bipartisan way going to do anyway. >> do you think we're going to find the democratic -- senator alexander: we have to do that. there's some indications. senator scott and senator shaheen passed a bill that exempted some small businesses that reduced the premium. here's been bipartisan support for the medical device pack. there's bipartisan support in hanging the definition from a
full-time job from 30 hours to 40 hours. if we take it step-by-step, i think, yes, we can. >> on the affordable care act, one of the -- in the budget -- excuse me, in the sort f omnibus spending agreement, in the tax extenders agreement that we are seeing debated in week, there is a umber of obamacare related taxes that are being force stalled or delayed in some way, shape or form. which means if you look at it rom a budgeting exercise, you're going to have a large deficit hole that is going to be created as a result of this, are taxes that no one ever expected that we're ever going to pay. of rectify that situation going forward? pursuethat's more in the of the finance committee, but how do you think that that sort be. ituation can senator alexander: you put your finger on a pretty big problem. tax xample, medical device
is one of those that was delayed for two years. that costs money. delaying it.for i mean, a lot of senators, and that's why it's in there. it costs money. it has to be offset. so as we fix the healthcare system, step-by-step, we'll have to find ways to pay for it, and to talk good week about that because everybody talks about the debt. legislation we're considering doesn't add to the debt, really, or the omnibus debt.oesn't add to the that's just the part of the debt about the g up and inflation rate. it's the two-thirds of the on, t that we don't work which is mandatory spending that is the big problem. so we need to keep in mind healthcare costs as we try to fix obamacare. >> for our audience, that's social security and medicare. senator alexander: yes, social security, medicare. hese are programs that neither
republicans and democrats are very brave about fixing. >> you mentioned earlier that working ony to start the higher education act, so i'm going to ask you first what your big priorities are there. and, in particular, you've been one of the leading voices calling for higher education nstitutions to perhaps have some skin in the game when it comes to student debt. i'm wondering how you think that might play out, what that might looks like. senator alexander: i'm overborrowing.t students might have two or three loans. they might know i've got them pay hink, oh, i've got to those back. so one way to deal with that might be to have nstitutions -- and i'm talking about all institutions now, not just this one or that one, to role in a default of a student loan, and then have are to counsel a ty student about what the loan ought to be. and then we ought to change the if you're just going part time, you shouldn't be able to borrow as much as if you're going full time. o risk sharing or skin in the
game is an interesting concept. it has bipartisan support. you have to be careful with it, because it affects 6,000 nstitutions, and we don't want to have that be discouraging to the very people we want to go to ollege because we've tightened the screws on their student aid. >> you talked about the need to loans and federal grants. i'm wondering what you think the look like. em might senator alexander: i held up that 108-question form a minute ago. we were sitting in a hearing, all the witnesses said, you only s, and bennett on and i said, why don't we try that? we may not get that form down to two questions, but we'll get it closer to that. the president endorses the idea, taken some nt has steps. we ought to be able to fill it out your junior year in high school, not your senior year. you ought to be able to use your
prior year tax returns instead of having a whole variety of oans, there ought to be one undergraduate loan, one graduate loan, one parent loan. instead of nine ways to pay your there ought to be two. one like a mortgage and one like the existing loan, which many students don't even know about, where all you have to pay is a percent of your disposable income and if you haven't paid it off after 20 years, it's forgiven. >> senator, a little bit of time left here, i wanted to turn efore we close to the question of the rules of the senate, omething that you and i have discussed somewhat previously. you are involved in an effort others, lves, among schumer, the senator from new york, the anticipated next democratic leader, whether it's majority leader or minority lead let the viewers know what it is you guys are
to do next year in 2016 to set up the senate to efficiently more . me 2017 senator alexander: my goal and that of many republicans is to make it work more efficiently without destroying minority rights. is minority points where you get protected. you don't think so much about hat when you're in the majority. you think about whether things are running over you. we'd like to do it early next year, to take effect the following year, and we'd like to do it in the regular order, rules committee, where senator schumer is ranking blount is chairman. we don't want to make the senate more complicated. we want it less complicated. in the words of some senators, less standing around and waiting time. if you watch c-span, you see a lot of standing around and waiting. we don't like that either. rid of some of that, maybe on the front or back end still gislative bill and
protect minority rights. i think we have a chaps to t to -- chance to do it. enator schumer and i have argued about it. change in need a rules and i said a change in behavior. i think it needs a change in rules but also behavior. this has been a very productive year in the senate. the people don't know that, cyber security bill, trade bill, every one of those have strong democratic leaders working on them but the one thing we didn't do was bring the appropriations bills up in june or july. we can't change that by rule. it's a change in behavior. the leader needs to bring it up. >> i want to close with a ifferent topic, school and school safety. there was a republican debate related to the mass shootings, and the feeling of insecurity that the american public has. of thesetely, a number have been on campuses over the past year. i'm wondering is there a
danger that he americans are feeling right now, what it might be. senator alexander: there are probably many solutions to it. we live in a different world. one solution has to do with mental health and early next year, our committee will begin to take all the bills we've got in the senate on mental health and we'll do our best to change a system that really turns out on the street and out of nstitutions to people who have a hard time dealing with life and who might be then a person some other rm person. that's one area. a very tough problem. another is in our foreign policy, you know, we never hould leave countries like syria and libya as the u.n. coordinator told us a few weeks ago, empty vessels, homes, eople flee their flee their country, have huge migration to other countries, terrorists whoor then might come to the united states. so part of it is foreign policy.
part of it is mental health. part of it is just learning to internet world of the and mass information that's hard to deal with. > would you support any restrictions on the internet, as has been discussed this week? enator alexander: that's hard to do. give a flip to answer to that, but i'm for knowing as much as we can about terrorist in afghanistan who calls national with intent of blowing up a mosque or a synagogue or a church. i want to do it through some due process. so if there is a due process way to look at social media of suspected terrorists, we should look at that, but we need to be it. ful with >> well, we could have spent an easily, so i'd like to invite to you come back after the new year and tackle some of us again. s with senator alexander: thank you, susan. >> thanks for being here. "newsmakers" guest this week
was senator lamar alexander of ofnessee who is the chairman labor and health pensions committee in the senate, giving purview.ad alison klein. you, since t with senator shepard went through a education law of in this country with regards to a big push, and worked with senator murray and the democrats to get it done. you talked to him about the essentiallypartment being reformatted under this new law. what do you see as the roll-out? >> we're waiting for details from the department of education about what this roll-out will look like. obviously, the obama administration will only be in office for another year and i think they are eager to put as much of an imprint as they can on the law before they leave office. obviously, senator alexander and senator patty murray will be watching that process very closely. it was news to me today that they're going to be holding oversight.ngs on
it's something that congress doesn't always follow up when this, ass a big law like but it sounds like senator alexander certainly will be atching to make sure that the department of education, you know, follows the law and doesn't overreach. > can you anticipate that the education department will have to be restructured as a result, because its functions are changing? >> i think that's still becoming clear. i don't think it will be a massive restructuring of the education department. certainly, the bill combines a number of smaller programs into a larger block grant and that the administrative processes. we're trying to see ow that impacts the department and the secretary. >> stay with the senator's other initiative in the committee, which is the necessary revisiting of the higher education law. about the e say polls? >> sounds like he's getting ready to move on that. has a good working
relationship with senator patty murray and sounds like that's heir next big education priority. >> haven't they already begun to restructuring, with congressman perkins? those will be s resurrected for a short time. obviously, it sounds like priorities ander's are streamlining the financial aid process, making that easier thistudents, talking about idea of risk sharing, bringing ome skin to the game for colleges when it comes to student debt. that's been a huge issue in the hillary and even clinton has a proposal in this going forward. you have a conversation with the senate about restructuring. ow attainable is that goal since every senator has a stake in the outcome? >> it's a difficult goal, certainly, but if there were ever a time where it could get
one, and i'm not saying it will, but if there were ever a time it could be done, that would probably be next year, because the senate electoral map 2016 election is so tight, that they really don't ve any idea whether mitch mcconnell, the republican majority leader or chuck schumer of new york will be the majority leader in 2016. when you make changes, even if incremental changes, if senator on the r could cut down standing around time, the amount of time that the c-span viewers are listening to classical music while the senators are in quorum happen, that were to the time to do it would be when you didn't know who would benefit from it. indeed, whatever happens with the majority, the fact that the democratic leader will be congress, gives the institution an opportunity. we're