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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 25, 2015 12:00am-12:46am EST

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202-748-8001 for republicans. 202-748-8000 for democrats. all others, 202-748-8002. this is joe in carrollton, virginia. independent line. caller: yes. weretened to what you saying this morning. i went to a form of a while back where robert gates spoke. he made a comment that until to make votingd patriotically what was good for , nothing will change in congress. i find that to be very true and i still see it today. your comments on that, please. guest: the concluding chapter of the book is where i get on my
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soapbox a bit and talk about what this means for american democracy from my perspective. one of the arguments i make in the book is that we do need legislators to find ways to represent their party and their districts but at the same time, they need to do things that are good for the country and make congress work well. part of that means simply treating the minority party with some degree of respect. and giving them opportunities to do thanks. that has not been the case the last several decades. it was a more open process in the 1970's. it is much harder for the minority party to do that. they do a lot of messaging, a lot of position taking, not necessarily helpful in terms of enacting good policy. host: are relationships between the two parties more partisan on the floor or in the committee? guest: definitely the floor has
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become a much more partisan place. committees, it varies tremendously from one chairman to another. where evennstances in today's congress, you have committees where there is bipartisanship. members are working together. you have committees that are not that way. it depends on who is the committee and to the chairman is -- who the chairman is. you see more variation in committees than you do on the floor of the house. host: joel in california. independent line. caller: good morning. i background is like a rainbow color. need seniors who know life.
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senior citizens should be running government. they should come from , that the community voted for them to represent their community. it goes by the chain of command thistep up through that government to be a politician, so we have to change all that, the underdog, that climate, mother nature, she is very underdog right now. appreciate all the religions to come together and respect and have responsibility. host: thank you for your call, joel. ann in portland, oregon. caller: good morning. i have a question.
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in the recent republican debate, it was mentioned that a lot of the politicians in washington are there because they are rs leopard that you think we would get some needed change and will decisions made for the benefit of the country if we had a limit to the house of representatives in congress? say, six years? they would come from your life, go to washington, do their patriotic job, but for things that benefit the country and go back to real life after that? host: you are talking about term limits? caller: yeah. both in congress and the house of representatives. term limits is an issue that periodically comes up. it was particularly popular in
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the early 1990's when it appeared that the house and senate were dominated by democrats. and is still an issue people discussed that as a needed reform. on the other hand, what we've seen is a lot of turnover. a lot of members are therefore 6-8 years and lose. happened isat has that we have seen increased change in who is in congress come in the house and senate and less dominance of certain members. that is still a reform that people discuss host:. next up is arnold host: in tennessee on the democrats line. caller: good morning. how are you this morning? up thed to just bring aspect of doing the right thing
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because it is the right thing to do. loveo we get thou shall thy neighbor as thyself back in politics. how do we get morality back into politics? i've written a book. it is free. it is online. it is called "divine of 9/11 intervention." it is a true story. rg. website is godislove.o the entire book is about how we get back to loving one another instead of using one another. host: a bit of what you talked earlier -- and the other comments? guest: one of the issues the founding fathers were concerned we haveow we ensure statesmen, people who care about the public good at large.
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bullet for silver solving that issue. thes worth looking at things that have been written, memoirs by older members of congress and biographies of our earlier leaders and seeing -- many of them were focused more narrowly than on the nation at large. you see these older leaders have certain statesmanlike qualities. they were willing to say we lose today, but that is ok. i would rather do this because it is good for the country even if it hurts me politically. we get better governance when we have many folks like that in congress as possible. host: the passage of the spending bill a week ago, the headline in the washington post. the test of reince control over
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the caucus may come next year -- ryan's control over the caucus may come next you. [video clip] >> pray for a deeper understanding. when you are up here, you see it so clearly. wherever you come from, whatever you believe, we are all in the same boat. i never thought i would be speaker. early in my life, i wanted to serve this house. i thought this place was exhilarating because here, you can make a difference. if you had a good idea and worked hard, you can make it happen. you could improve people's lives. to me, the house of representatives represents what is best about america. the balance opportunity to do good. -- boundless opportunity to do good. let's be frank. the house is broken. we are not solving problems, we are adding to them.
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i'm not interested in laying blame. we are not settling scores. we are wiping the slate clean. host: in the context of your book, he said the house is broken. this was seen by many as a refreshing opening speech by the new speaker. different people may have read different things into it. those unhappy with john boehner's leadership because he was not conservative enough might say this is someone who understands the house is not working properly. another had come in the minority party, you might say we need a person every one is listening to . power distributed more widely. it was an important and necessary speech to reset the clock on politics. host: what we know of his relationship with the minority party? hest: before he was speaker,
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may have had good relationships with members of both parties. forot a lot of attention his dinner with nancy pelosi. this harkens back to an older time when members of both parties have down and talk to each other. it speaks to the nature of the political environment we're in. people say, how dare you. we are in a very partisan environment and it's hard for members to avoid feeling yousure from folks saying need to stick to the party line and not work with the other party. that makes it harder for minority parties. host: nathaniel in texas on our public life. -- republican line. caller: why are you also stuck up and don't want to help america people? you will do the job for us. host: bobby in urbana, illinois.
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emma crestline. -- democrats line. caller: happy christmas eve. what i would like to say, mr. greene -- dwight eisenhower was the only republican president than ever had a balanced budget for this nation. that is a proven fact. his policy as a republican president bears similarity to that of today. he invested in the highways, construction that literally built this country. i wonder why the republican party could not go ahead and from the strategy for
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tax cuts for the rich and instead used the tax money like dwight eisenhower and invest it in the economy. politics have become very partisan. they have been partisan in congress for decades now. when the two parties are trying to work out a difficult problem relating to the budget, the easiest way to solve it is to give everybody something. you have tax cuts, budget increase, spending increase and so forth. it is much easier to do those things than to cut funding and raise taxes. this is one of the reasons you often have problems with endemic deficits. it's easier to give folks what they want as opposed to balancing the budget. budget politics is very partisan. how you spend taxes, it's about priorities.
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people take this stuff very seriously. which makes it hard to reach agreements. classese your undergraduate and graduate? guest: correct. host: what you find is their knowledge about politics coming to your classes? guest: one thing i really enjoy about teaching here in washington is that you get students who have a very high level of understanding about politics. some have been involved in politics. i have a student who interned at the state legislature. students who read politics websites, newspapers and watches c-span all the time. they come in with a pretty high basic knowledge of how it works. that makes it easier to teach here. now we can talk about history, theory, these things he may not be familiar with. host: a comment on twitter --
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that is more of a comment for our last segment. then there is this -- we don't want to over exaggerate. sometimes we talk about the conflicts within the republican party. there is some significant differences on policy and procedure within the republican party. this is historically speaking not new. completelyre not unified. you have diversely within the parties all the time. the lastappened several years, these differences have exacerbated and become public. host: is the message different vis-a-vis the president from when they were in the minority? guest: one of the things i was
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assuming when i did research for the book, people in the minority would talk about things differently than the majority. one minute speeches at the opening of the session of the house, members can talk about whatever they want for a minute. at samples of these to see their difference in what members are talking about in majority or minority. i assumed there would be a difference. there was not paid the difference was whether or not your party has the white house or not. not, theyrty does talk much more about the president and the white house the democrats. the same before when they were in the minority. what you need to focus on come on what you think you need to focus on when you are a party in the house is the president if it is an opposite party president. host: you brought up one minute speeches. i have to point out a part of our c-span website.
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we actually tally how many have tallieders over the appeared i want to take a quick look at the 1/14 congress. -- 114 congress. i can switch this over to one minute speeches and show the leaders of one minute speeches. there are a number of republicans who are the leading 87ple -- glenn thompson with , joe wilson, the leading democrats are sheila jackson lee and brian higgins. all of that on www.c-span.org. oregono to ron in salem,
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on our public alike. go ahead. -- our republican line. caller: just a question. total wives get paid also for their husbands being senators? did the significant others get paid? guest: if spouses are paid. i don't believe they get a salary from the government. they have their own jobs. host: charles in arthur dale, west virginia. guest: good morning. caller: and what it. -- good morning. my thoughts about this congress and stuff, to try to straighten minority andhe lower party does not have a voice. if you had a speaker for both
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parties, have them bring something up to vote and then we or whichwhich person senator or congressman would not vote for it. whether it is a democrat or republican. there should be no meetings unless it is doors recorded and show to the people. there's quite a few other things that have to be said. all of our presidential candidates speak a family and stuff. let's go with ted cruz. he does not want his kids to be seen on tv. yet, he has his commercial on tv about his kids. he is degrading the president of the united states and our senate and our congress, that is all they do is degrade him.
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they would actually help him come i think the country could work together to come out with a better outcome. important of the most powers the my georgia power has the house is agenda control. -- jordi power in the house is agenda control. in the houseower is agenda control. starting in the mid-1970's when rules.t started using they are now quite restrictive. one thing that was interesting about the crisis in the republican leadership met members of the freedom caucus were saying we want reform. to of those, we would like have more open rules. we want bills to come to the floor and everyone can debate and people can offer amendments and people vote as they do.
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they wanted that opportunity. there was a possibility for some bipartisan coalition there. the minority power wants that power, to bank. -- too. if we at least have that open debate and let members vote as they wish, that makes every member feel they are serving their constituents. it gives the minority a chance to be heard. host: rochester, new york. andrew on the republican line. caller: you were just talking about open rules. up here, we have louise slaughter she was the one that shut down the congress with her closed rules. she was the head of the rules committee. she really shut that thing down. nobody could bring anything to the floor.
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one of our biggest problems in this country is talk radio is trying to divide the republican party. we will become the minority party soon if they don't stop that. i wonder if you could speak to that. we have to get it together because we have a social security crisis coming down the road. comments in the book about messaging and how the minority uses that. guest: messaging has become more important for the minority. at this stage, we've seen both parties in the majority as they have both done some of the things the color talked about. restricting the rights of the minority to offer amendments. lot fromve changed a the 1970's. one of them is talk radio, the internet. members of congress are hearing louder voices from places.
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.hey are more partisan that is the pressure members of congress did not feel 40 years ago. that affects what they do and how they do it. it can make it harder to reach the bipartisan agreement on more open rules and procedures that aller pointed out as an necessary. host: you write about newt there wasaying nationalized messaging by notressional parties -- long after he entered the house, with otherin forces young conservatives to seek out new tactics and communication. -- in communication.
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is there anything parallel or similar today that democrats are trying to use in terms of the new way, a new form of messaging? guest: absolutely. the theme of the book is how , because theyes are looking for something, are often the innovators. floor speeches were used in the early 1990's to get a message out, so to have democrats explored the use of social media, these of blogs. 2009licans before them in were starting to use them as well. are alwaysrties
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looking for something, some way they can get their message out that has not been used before. host: let's hear from new orleans. angela on our democrats line. caller: good morning and thank you for c-span and happy holidays to everyone. mentioningheard you gerrymandering or limiting people's access to vote. it seems the majority now is really convinced the only way -- on the last turn out, there was one million more democrats than republicans. yet, we have a house of representatives that has a republican majority. can you explain this to me? guest: i will preface this by there's sobook is -- many things i could have talked about with respect to minority and party politics.
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i focus explicitly on the house of representatives. things like gerrymandering or district drawing is done by the states -- these things are outside their control or they are things they cannot control as readily as doing one minute for speeches. this is something political scientists have studied quite a bit. the evidence for gerrymandering influencing party control is not as strong as people might think. if you control district's creed, you can only get so much out of that. creatively.istricts democrats are more concentrated. he tends to live in cities. republicans are living in suburbs and rural areas. if you draw a district with a city in it, it will have 90% democrats, that is not efficient use of democratic votes.
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you would have to draw creative districts to get those democrats to be spread out. it's as much where people choose to live than where district lines are drawn. host: "underdog politics: the minority party in the u.s. house of representatives" focusing on the minority in the u.s. house of representatives. 202-748-8001 for republicans. 202-748-8001 for them across. independents, 202-748-8002. matt on our republican line in new york. caller: good morning. if i look back over the presidents of my lifetime, reagan and bush had to deal with a democratic congress. they had good relationships. clinton dealt with gingrich and gingrich -- clinton takes credit for welfare reform. gingrich enforced it. bush allowed kennedy to
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co-author his signature domestic legislation. then, we have obama. obama came into up this -- into office. -- job he did of advisorsa world and czars and we ultimately end -- i don'tudget here understand how it is mathematically possible that the budget can be passed with more democrat votes than republican votes and a republican congress.
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people wonder why donald trump and bernie sanders have such widespread support. guest: a couple of things there. one is this most recent budget agreement. you mentioned the votes cast for it. for the spending portion, 150 republicans voted for it. the is an example of how minority party can have more leverage and influence when the majority party is more divided. there are other things going on here. had a filibuster in the senate. it makes it hard for republicans to get things they would like legislative late. -- legislatively. rhyaning that hampered was the democrats felt they were more unified. rosy at want to have too view of history compared to
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today. one interview i did for the book was with a republican staffer who served in the house and 9065. 1965. they felt completely shut out then, too. congressional politics is a numbers game. if you have the numbers, you are tempted to pursue your agenda and leave the minority behind. not as if reagan and o'neill got along tremendously well. literature andme some writings about how well they did get along. there were a lot of differences between those two. o'neill and reagan often got into significant conflicts over policy. host: matthew green is our guest. comments on twitter.
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a direct question -- thingss been some written about the pledge and members of congress taking these pledges. on the one hand, they are important because constituents need to know that their lawmakers are going to do what they are elected to do. keeping taxes low, cutting taxes and not raising them is a cornerstone of the republican party agenda. members been argued by of congress, those pledges can lock in members and they feel they have to follow the pledge. the danger there is we don't a government where members must do everything their constituents they. sometimes they may feel
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circumstances require them to do something their constituents may not like. they may be wrong and we can vote in the house. the pledge is lock-in members and keep them from inflexible. best from being flex will. -- flexible. host: grant on the republican line. caller: i have a few questions. one was on gerrymandering and you got to that. can you briefly touch on the systems so you can have socially optimum, diverse districts and what kind of role that would play on the minority-majority partisan politics we see? or votingof reform systems, what kind of impact that would have?
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how that would play out in terms --the relationship those two guest: i have not studied voting reforms. this been some literature on that and it's an interesting that's other countries use different means of electing folks. you have local elections that one. always use 50% plus those can lead to different political outcomes. perhaps better, perhaps worse. as far as technology with gerrymandering -- when i first started teaching about the u.s. congress some time ago, new technology was just coming into play. ways to draw districts. we have computer technology now that can do all caps of interesting things. one of my favorite stories, a
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wascrat in california instrumental in drawing creative districts for california. there's a stories of him with this paper all over his floor and he is on his hands and knees individual census data and tracks and trying to figure out how to draw this house and that house. everybody thought this was crazy. everybody can do that in the comfort of their own home now. that can be very problematic. i like to show my students google earth. you can look at individual districts and see individual houses drawn in or out. why that house and not the south. you can conceivably use it to draw districts that might .chieve some other goals fairness, for instance. some students did this for virginia after the 2010 census. if you get this kind of outcome and that kind of outcome.
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it gives more flexibility for state legislators who want to draw districts that might make district more competitive or electrically republicans and democrats. -- elect more republicans and democrats. host: men who landed at gyro opter on white house lawn plans to challenge wasserman schultz. man who landed gyro copter on white house lawn plans to challenge wasserman schultz. we go to hazard, kentucky. michael on the republican line. caller: i think our president is so out of line with what needs to be going on in this united
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states of america. he is wrong in all the policies he has got going right now. they've taken the vote away from the individual people and left it up to just a few majority of votee -- this electoral that takes the vote away from the american public. this is wrong. this divides america. this does not bring america together. wrong, he is so out of line with everything he is doing. what a not understand loaf of bread costs. he ought to live in the coalfields. then he would understand where he gets his power from. host: hampton bay, new york. ann on the independent line. caller: hello? host: go ahead. i am nothe one thing
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hearing and i hope you can hear -- i hope you me can help me, social security has not had an increase from 2011. my husband worked for the federal government. he passed away in 2009. i continue to get his annuity. every time social security does not give an increase, i don't get an increase. i know they are both federal. i don't see what annuity has to do with social security. i don't know if that is in your wheelhouse of expense. guest: social security has been the third rail of politics for some time. it's difficult for either party to do the things they would like to do.
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you couple that with the difficulty congress has had in legislating, it makes difficult to see the kinds of changes that a lot of people would like to see. touches on the residual effects of being in the minority. it strongc and spread identity as a minority party that translated into the assertive and savvy use of maneuvers to trip up majority democrats. 40 years oflicans' strong identity. where do you think the democrats are in terms of their control of their minority status? hand, they arene
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better equipped than the majority was in 1995. of the 1994 election, i was working on capitol hill at the time. the one day you could tell what somebody's party affiliation was. if they were smiling, you knew they were republican. it took time for democrats to be adjusted this. there was no one who had been in the minority. now, we've seen it switch back and forth. they understand what that is like and what they feel they need to do to be a majority. host: vivian is next in tennessee. democrats line. caller: good morning. to say thisg in congress is the most corrupt congress i've seen. i am 65 years old. everythingagainst
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from the president -- the republicans are hurting people. .hey cut out unemployment cut our program for the children, they want to privatize social security. all they want to do is war. they don't want gun control because they are making money off of them. andblicans, independents democrats, get out there and vote. speaker ryan will need to democratic support on the spending bills. guest: he made. may. there will be policy differences. there will be conservatives and his party who won't agree with what the rest of the party wants to do. steps been taking initial that could alleviate those differences. what matters to members of congress is policy.
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but also what matters is do they have a say, an opportunity to participate in the legislative process. many folks in the freedom caucus got shut out and punished when they were defiant. if ryan can successfully bring them into the legislative process, he may be able to have a more unified majority party. carl on our republican line in nebraska. caller: i tend to agree with a callercolors here desk -- a couple callers here. i'm sick of the republicans. they have no backbone. i even see a little bit on the computer now and then about how social security is going to run out and our illustrious and his defense
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,ecretary running the rules social security is going to be in bad shape. they put it in the general fund back in lyndon b. johnson's time. host: what you hope people learn about the role of the minority in the house? guest: i hope they learned that it is more complicated than just hearing about being in the majority again. the party cares about policy. it's not just about running for reelection. learn that it is a place for members of congress to be innovative and to be entrepreneurial. a lot of what congress does are because of the minority party, not just the majority party. host: the book is "underdog politics: the minority party in the u.s. house of representatives," our
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announcer: coming up today, a tour of the white house holiday decorations, and later, obama hosts the national christmas tree lighting. on the next washington journal, a look at the 2016 campaign differing from int presidential campaign's terms of media coverage and rhetoric. week on washington journal continues with craig shirley. washington journal live every morning at 7:00 eastern on c-span. you can join the conversation with your comments on facebook and twitter. friday, bill clinton speaks on bipartisanship in a speech at the dell institute of politics
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in kansas. he received the organization's leadership award. three days of future programming this weekend. friday, congressional republican leaders honor former vice president dick cheney at the capital with the unveiling of a marble bust. when the vice president had critics going off the deep end, he asked his wife, does it bug you when people refer to me as darth vader? and she said, no, it humanizes you. [laughter] [applause] night, a: saturday look at policing in minority communities. speakers include a former st. louis police officer, and washington dc police chief cathy
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lear. defensive when they feel like you are being offenses. versus demand, those things can change the dynamic. announcer: sunday afternoon, race and the criminal justice system. then, portions of this year's washington ideas festival. speakers include mark warner, al gore. >> we have to banish the word helping. helping is not actually taking the burden off of you cared you are still figuring out what piece to be done and you were asking him to help. he is the assistant. if we are going to get to where
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we need to go, men have to be .ead parents or equal coparents in this weekend, book tv brings you three days of nonfiction. on friday, back-to-back airings of afterwards. arthur brooks discusses his latest book. mistake that we make on the conservative side should be the easiest, getting happy. announcer: cornell west examines the life of mlk. >> martin understood that for any human being who wants to reach a level of integrity, , as ay, and decency long-dta

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