tv Newsmakers CSPAN April 17, 2016 10:00am-10:34am EDT
presidential candidate bernie sanders of vermont holds a campaign rally in brooklyn, new york. ms. swain: welcome to c-span's "newsmakers." the house of representatives is once again in budget battles and our guest this week is in the middle of that. congressman jim jordan, republican of ohio representing the fourth district in that state and he is the chairman of freedom caucus fiscal conservatives in the house of representatives. thanks for being with us. rep. jordan: good to be with you all. ms. swain: questioning him this week is erica werner of the associated press, the chief congressional reporter, and susan ferrechio comes back to our set, chief correspondent for the washington examiner. thanks for being here, both of you. >> great to be here. wonderful. mr. jordan, thank you. friday as you know is the budget deadline will be blowing through it. you will be missing the deadline for the first time in six years largely because of opposition from the freedom caucus. how do you justify and explain that, and does it matter?
rep. jordan: the only thing worse than not doing the budget is spending more money. you have to look at this in thereal world context of debt just hit $19 trillion. cbo reported six risk of this weeks ago this year's shortfall, this year's annual deficit will be $105 billion higher than expected. within that context, we said look, maybe we should not spend $30 billion more. maybe we should actually at least hold the line on spending to start to deal with the fiscal mess we are in. after all, every single-family, every single government, every single school district, township, city, state has to do that, but the one entity that does not just happens to be the one that has the $19 trillion debt. we think that would just become -- we would love to have a budget. let's write the upper patient and start the process, but there is trouble getting folks for that as well. we will see.
ms. ferrechio: following up on that, congress does not have to pass a budget, but they are obligated to pass the appropriation bills. there are 12 of them and they are needed to fund the federal government by september 30. how do you foresee the lack of a budget deal playing into the appropriations process? will the house freedom caucus, about 40 members that you guys have, will you be opposing appropriations bills that adhere to the deal set last year which is $1.07 trillion? rep. jordan: depends on what is in the bill. depends on if it is for our nation's military, which we think we're supposed to spend your tax dollars on so it depends on the bill. i supported a number of the appropriation bills in the past. one thing to remember though in we have been in the majority and we had this split government with the senate and the white house being in the other party's hands, these appropriation bills, 60 appropriation bills. you know how many we have passed the house and the senate and actually been signed by the president? one, and that was the a compromise bill we
were supposed to make a stand on. one out of 60. i don't know if the budget process in itself is a whole lot -- has a whole lot of bearing frankly based on history on how many of probation bills get passed.r don't get what we will look at is just like we have been in the past. when the bills come up in the house of representatives, we look at the individual bill, we evaluate it, the policy that is in it, spending levels, and we make a decision, but many of our members supported a number of appropriation bills, particularly the ones dealing with the military. ms. ferrechio: do you foresee omnibus bill where a lot of things are combined into one big measure like we have been seeing the last decade or so? do you think that there will be individual bills signed into law for the first time in many years? do you think that can happen? rep. jordan: we hope so. we think so. as figure has talked about that and i think he is right to talk -- the house speaker has talked
about that and i think he is right to talk about that and said that is the goal but i think we got in your question, history is a good predictor of the future as well. many times, we have had to go to an omnibus or cr or what have you and we may have to do that again. we understand that, but what we think we have to focus on is with the voters sent us here to do, what the freedom caucus is all about, which is standing up and fighting for the countless number of families around this country who feel like washington has forgotten them. we are supposed to do that. they understand they cannot do what washington does. we need to start control spending, and that is what we are advocating our budget in our approach to the entire appropriations process. ms. werner: you mentioned a cr, which would be a continuing resolution, continuing the current budget level into the next fiscal year. and as you know, the argument coming out of speaker ryan's office is that the senate will not support the lower budget numbers that you all advocate so that the inevitable result of your position is that there will be a cr continuing the current budget level which is almost the same as the bipartisan deal struck last year, so what is the point then of the position you are taking? rep. jordan: the point is to do the right thing. that is always the point.
the point is to do what we told the voters we were going to do. the point is to recognize that this country has a serious fiscal problem, that the debt is now $19 trillion. the point is to do exactly what we told the voters we were going to do. the voters who elected to do us to do what we said. just because the senate says if you are way we will take the football and go home does not meet we should abandon doing what we told the voters we were going to do and what they elected us to do. i had breakfast yesterday with pat cadell, and he gave me three i thought interesting numbers in the surveys he has done of the american public. 70, 60, 80. 70% of the american people think our country is in decline. 60% of americans think they are better off than their parents , but therir kids will be worse off than them. 80% of americans this place is fixed. the game is rigged against average middle-class families. one of the reasons they think that is because the very people they elected to come change it
are not willing to fight for what they said they were going to change and what they were elected to do. our position is look, we want to offer positive solutions. we think we are doing that any number of areas. we are working on welfare problem and all , kinds of things we think makes sense, but we also understand that you cannot spend more than you take in. and by the way, we are saying let us hold the line on spending. we are not advocating cutting it. we are just saying and don't forget 170 million republicans voted against the boehner-obama agreement. a majority of the republicans in the senate voted against it. now they are telling us unless you increase the spending and agree to the agreement that they voted against also somehow we will take over football and go home. that makes no sense to me and frankly makes no sense to the american and that is what a y 80% of them think the game is -- why 80% of them think the game is rigged in washington. ms. ferrechio: on that note, it sounds like he will definitely be colliding with the republican leadership on spending in the coming months. i know there is a new speaker,
paul ryan. he took the job in late october last year and he really have to win over conservatives before that he could get a vote to become speaker, and i think he spent a lot of time courting you and numbers of the house freedom caucus. i just wondered if you could at this moment give us what you think would be a good grade for ryan right now. what would his letter grade be at this moment and why? rep. jordan: you used the term colliding. i don't view it as colliding. i view it as we are working with our colleagues to try to reach an agreement that we think is consistent with what we told the voters, consistent with what our party should stand for, and consistent with what reflects the fiscal situation, environment, the context we find ourselves in. we don't view it as colliding at all. we view it as we are having a healthy debate, and that is what legislative bodies do, and that is what conferences, the republican conference should do. i don't give people letter grades. i think speaker ryan is doing a good job in communicating a vision that makes sense for middle-class families, make sense for our country saying we look we need to reform the tax , code.
everyone knows it is broken. that comes to small business owners and people in the fourth congressional district of ohio. when you have a tax code that says half the population on the personal psycho you don't have to participate in the main tax code. you have a tax code that is broken. on the corporate side when you say america is going to have the highest rate in the world, that is stupid. if you have a tax code that is broken and stupid, you might want to throw it out and you might want to start over, and everyone gets the joke. everyone gets it. speaker ryan is saying start over with one that makes sense to you think we need to reform health care to people who need it but also incentivize work and help people get to a better position in life. my guess is he has probably done in what has he been speaker now, six or seven months? i bet he has done more press events and more tv appearances than speaker boehner did in 4.5 years. i might be wrong with that but
, it sure seems that way. that is important for the currently have our party to go out there and articulate a message that is rooted in conservative principles, rooted in the values that i think make our country great in the first place, and talk about the things that going to help middle-class families. i think he is doing it, and that is a positive thing. that is something we wanted from the new speaker to be a more public face for our party. ms. swain: how important was he to you and members of the caucus that he held a press conference this week thing definitively that he was not going to be a presidential candidate? it means his focus remains in the house of representatives. rep. jordan: i think that is good. i take paul at what exactly he said. he said i am not running for president. i want to be speaker of the house. i want to do the job and articulate the principles and visions in some of these key policy areas that we need to do to get our country back on the right path, to address where the 70%, 60%, 80% numbers i just talked about with the american people think we need to go. i think it is great that the speaker is focused on being a good speaker and communicating our vision for the country.
ms. ferrechio: what do you see in terms of parallels between the focus on outsider candidates in the presidential election and your movement in congress? there has been a lot of newcomers in congress in recent years to have come in with support of the tea party with promises to lower government spending, less government, reform the tax code. do you connect what you're doing in congress with the sort of desire amongst the voters for a candidate that is not from insider washington that wants to reform the system, wants to change the status quo? do you see any connection between that? rep. jordan: i will let the voters and the american people decide that. what i think is this place does need to change and we need people to come in here with a different perspective and a perspective that says too often i think this town is about big companies with lobbyists and consultants cozying up to big government and getting special deals at the expense of regular voters, regular families. in that context, i think many
times voters want the outsider. we just had a big race in ohio ,n the district next to ours john boehner's congressional district. 15 people ran. one was a state senator, one was a state rep. one of those guys is going to win. we happened to endorse and many freedom caucus members supported an outsider. never really been in office. west point grad. army ranger, served our country, small business owner. war in davidson. warren davidson. in a 15 way race, he got 33% of the vote and kicked the tails of these and smacked them all around. it was a great race. people said this is the kind of guy we want with that kind of background. here is a guy we think and come to congress and fight for the things we care about. so now, i do know how much we -- so now, i don't know how much we have to do with that, but i supported him. i thought he was like in a -- he was a guy that would come
here and help us change this place and do what the vast majority of the american people want us to get done. we are going to keep doing it. we are in a race, in marlin stutzman's race. we are helping jim banks. first time we did independent expenditure on the house freedom fund for jim banks. we will try to elect people who we think come with that attitude and are willing to change this place. ms. werner: of course, you are from ohio. the governor of your state is one of the remaining candidates for president. you have not endorsed him. senator portman and other officials in your state have. why not? rep. jordan: well, look. i said this many times. we are having a whale of a fight equate it toys the quite it sports, in the semi finals. my attitude is you let them
fight it out in the semi final and see who wins. whoever that is, knowing that it will likely be secretary clinton on the other side, we need to support whoever our nominee is. i do think it is interesting that in so many states some of the ones coming up maybe a little different, but in many of the states that have happened thus far, and we have had a lot of elections. whether it is primaries or caucuses, mr. cruz and mr. trump are sometimes getting as high as 80% of the vote. back to susan's question. that sort of shows this outsider antiestablishment movement is really strong, and i think it is a reflection of why those two are the ones who are in first and second and governor kasich who i think has done a nice job , as governor, is in third. ms. ferrechio: what do you make of the republican national committee's reaction to the outsider vibe of this election with ted cruz and donald trump getting a majority of votes? as you say, they had that. they have a majority of the support, but it sounds like the republican national committee elders want to try to maybe rig
the system so somebody in the establishment might become the nominee. are you wary of that happening? rep. jordan: that would be just a huge mistake. it would be completely wrong. any type of rigging or a perception that the party hierarchy is trying to influence and change things so that the two guys at the top are denied the nomination i think that's within a fair contest commuted to cleveland, and a contestant convention, which it certainly looks like it is going to be, and the way it works and you have several ballots and someone emerges -- as long as it is done in a fair way, that is how the process works. ms. ferrechio: would it be fair if kasich got the nomination? he with only winning one state and the other two? would that be fair? rep. jordan: right now now, the 8 state requirement is in play. you start changing things like
that and technically i understand that the rules committee can do that, but you start doing things like that and it certainly creates a perception that wait a minute they are trying to change. , my background is in the sport of wrestling. i have never been in a single wrestling match where midway through the match the change the scoring system. they change the rules. never happened. i think there is a general concern that people are going to have if you start seeing things like that continue to happen, then it does become, even if it is technically allowed, then it does become potentially rigging the game, and that is my concern because i think in a year or so where in so many states, 70%, 80% of the voters saying we want something antiestablishment, that is a problem. ms. swain: we have 10 minutes left. ms. werner: switching gears, you mentioned secretary clinton. you of course serve on the benghazi committee. are you going to meet your self-declared deadline of
releasing your report this summer? have you seen a smoking gun or anything new in some of the recent documents that you have seen? do you believe that hillary clinton might be indicted? rep. jordan: that is one of the most loaded questions i have ever gotten in my time of politics. i hope we get it released as soon as possible. it would certainly have helped this entire process if we had a much more accommodating, much more helpful partner from the executive branch, particularly the state department. i have never seen -- it is almost in some ways the state department is worse than the irs. i was digging into the irs with when they targeted conservative groups, so it would have been a lot more helpful if they had been helpful and it would have made things move much faster. i do believe the chairman is committed to get this out early summer, as quickly as possible. we are working on that. whether she is indicted or not, who knows? i do think it is interesting that this past weekend the president did the same thing he did with the irs scandal.
he went on tv and basically said there is nothing there, just like he went on tv a few years ago and said relative to the targeting by the internal revenue service that there is no corruption, not even a smidgen. i think that is so sad when the head of the executive branch prejudges a case that is in the middle of an ongoing investigation. you should not have that in america. if that does not send a signal to the attorney general with ever having to talk with her, send an e-mail, or whatever, then i don't know what does of course we know what happened in the irs. we had all kinds of evidence that showed intent from warner and others to systematically target conservative groups. no one was indicted. i think that is likely to happen here, but who knows? the one thing on the other side of the ledger that makes a small step back and think waiting a minute is the fact that you don't give people immunity just because you like them, right? the guy who set it all up, the server guy was given immunity.
you know how this works. you give immunity to someone because you know what they are going to say and what they are and that isify to going to help you get to look at people hire up on the ladder. we will see. what i do know is libya alone should disqualify this lady from being president. this was her baby. she is the one wanted to get rid of qadhafi. she is the one who persuaded i think the white house, the arab league, went to the u.n. to make this happen. when it happens, then there is repeated requests for additional security, and the state department basically says qadhafi is gone, we put our ambassadors in place. we will treat this as a normal situation. this was anything but normal. in fact, the government control in control was called the transitional national government. traditional, key term. you can allow host nation security to buttress your own security and that will be good enough like this was france or great britain or something? and then there is a repeated request for security. those are denied, and actually
what they had was reduced. and then the tragedy happens on september 11, 2012, and then because it is 56 days before an election, this lady tells one thing privately to her family, it was a terrorist attack, and she tells the american people with her statement at 10:08 on the night of the attack -- think about this. 10:08, woods is still on the roof of the annex fighting to save his fellow countrymen, fighting for his life, and this lady tells the american people something that is not true. she says some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. which raises the first question, who the heck talks like that? only people trying to deceive, right? because what did she say to the egyptian president the next day? she said we know it was a terrorist attack. we know the video had nothing to do with it. it was a planned attack, not a protest. not we think. not evidence kind of shows. we know. so one thing privately, the truth.
publicly to the american people, she does not give it to us straight. when you look at all of that and you say this lady wants to be commander in chief, i think that is a problem. ms. werner: in your view, have you seen evidence that suggests that regardless of what the justice department may do for political reasons arguably that she should in fact be indicted on these charges? rep. jordan: i am not saying that. all i'm saying is that what i know from our investigation and what i highlighted in the hearing in october when secretary clinton came in front of the committee was that i think she told one story privately that i think was consistent with the fact i have seen, consistent with the truth. what she told her family, which at she told the egyptian president, and she told an entirely different story to the american people. more importantly, an entirely different story to the families of the people who give their lives for the country. and she did that in my judgment because it was 56 days before an
election and they had this narrative out there that jim was alive, bin laden was dead on al al qaeda was on the run, and , suddenly you have this happen. wait a minute. this cannot be our fault. we cannot be to blame for it. it has to be some else's fault. i know, let us blame it on a video no one has ever seen. i think that is what they did. the american people are at the evidence, just like we did in the meeting, they will reach the same kind of conclusion. ms. swain: we have five minutes left. let me ask you arechio: quick question on another topic. the house is having a tough time moving a bill that would help puerto rico deal with the $72 billion debt crisis. that seems to be momentarily stalled. can you talk about the problems of moving that legislation and what it would mean if it does pass why we need to pass anything at all to do with eal with puerto rico? rep. jordan: there is a host of
concerns. first, there is the problem in puerto rico. one of the things many of us are hoping if there is legislation will be things to encourage economic growth. whether it is the wage policy they have there or a host of other things, we would like some more robust elements of that. ms. ferrechio: with a control the whole board? rep. jordan: i will be totally honest with you. we are looking at the bill. we had a pretty intense debate at our weekly meeting monday night. what we don't want is a bailout. what we don't want is to set some precedent that would put taxpayers on the hook down the road and be a bad precedent. so we are looking at this. there is supposed to be a markup today. we will see if that happens. i think this bill, the intention is to be helpful and to try not to do what i just described, not bail out, not set a bad precedent, but i think there is work still to do. based on the debate we had within the freedom caucus monday
night, i know that is much bigger when you get to the republican conference and the entire congress, there is still plenty of work to do. >> interesting. ms. ferrechio ms. werner: another topic is the opioid legislation that has passed the senate and that speaker ryan want to act on in some form of the house. do you think that will happen? rep. jordan: yeah. one of the things you hear about traveling across central in and north-central ohio which is the fourth district, we hear from so many people. you hear from employers who have job openings and are trying to hire people by the potential applicants in a full use cannot pass the drug screening, and you hear from commonplace judges and prosecutors just how serious this problem is. i think the solution is largely going to be solved with families and communities and churches,
but i applaud senator portman and the work he is doing in the senate and others that are doing in the house. i think bob dole on the house side and others to the extent that we can be helpful is good. it needs to be done anyway that in a way that does not increase spending, but -- the president has asked $2 billion for this. do you think you'll ever get any of that money? rep. jordan: need to offset anything we need to do because you need to keep it all in context of we have a fiscal problem. you also need to keep it in the framework of federal government typically, these problems are typically solved much better at the local level, church level, family level, even the community level a. i think that should be the primary focus for the fact that we are joined focus to it and highlighting it, i think that can be helpful. ms. ferrechio: should the
federal government play a larger role in talking to medical professionals about prescribing opioids, or should they stay out of it? rep. jordan: having hearings, talking about it, that is beneficial as well in sending that message because so much of this started from based on what i have heard from the prescription drugs that get abused and then the next the you know there is this cheap product on the street which is just scary, and what it does to some families also is what your breaks your heart. ms. swain: we have just 30 seconds left. i want to bring you back to national politics. some of the organizations in this town that really crack the numbers for the election cycle have said that it is time to think the house might be in play in the fall if donald trump is the nominee. perhaps even if senator cruz is the nominee. do you see any scenario coming out of the convention when you are concerned about control of the house? rep. jordan: i think this should be a republican year. you look at what we have seen the last seven years, 17 million on food stamps when president obama became president. 48 million today. the standing we have around the country, how we argued
e viewed internationally, what our allies think about us, when our enemies think about us, the economy is on a bumpy rate of growth. this should be a huge republican year. we are having a huge fight and all that i think in the end we come together and we should win. when we win, this is where speaker ryan has been talking about when we win, here is what we need to do. we get about doing it. just go. make the changes that will help middle-class families. that is the kind of year it should be. we will see. but that is the kind of year i hope it is going to be. we live in america. we live in the greatest country in the world. you should be optimistic. we are republicans. we believe in the conservative policy. we know free markets, free enterprise works. i am optimistic. ms. swain: we sure covered a lot of ground. think you for being with us this week. , we are backis th
after our conversation with commitment jim jordan. many members of the house of representatives that are fiscal f troubleives, a bit o over the past three years. what did you learn about the freedom caucus's intentions and possible tactics? what is interesting as they are not willing to go along the higher budget number because it was negotiated last year in a bipartisan deal that was speaker boehner's parting gift and speak of i negotiated with the senate and president obama and site into law. they will not go along with that. speaker ryan supports those numbers, yet they still support speaker ryan. it is a strange dynamic. it is not at all clear to me how it can actually work out once the robert it's the road. at a certain point, they will have to work out something and that will be spending bills at
the higher budget number. mr. jordan did not quite make clear to us whether he would be what to support those spending levels so i think it remains to be seen how that plays out. a track record that was reported, one sign into law by the president says what about the process? ms. ferrechio: that it is impossible to sign spending bills -- to pass spending bills. every presidential election year, it makes everything hyper political in congress so it is tough to get bills to cross the finish line. the difference is the leadership is really gunning for it, passing 12 independent spending bills and you have some cooperation with democrats that might normally be missing. with that and a deal every bit as mentioned, the nomination of those two things gives some people hope that they will be maybe pass all
12 but some individually and then another group would have to go in during a minibus. this is all kind of in the weeds, but the idea is to do some bills individually which is more cost-effective and generally more transparent, and i think that is what everyone is hoping for but jordan represents a group of members will make it difficult unless republicans decide this is something they are going to go all in with the democrats. once they get the democrats on board, they don't have to worry about 40 or 50 or 60 conservatives who don't want to split the bill because they have 188 democrats that might go along with them and they get the number needed to pass the bill. all of this is unknown right now. we will start learning soon what direction they are going in because april is the time that they are going to start moving these individual spending bills. we will get an idea what is in
them, who supports them, and what their prognosis is individually. ms. swain: what are you learning about speaker ryan's focus? that he isthis week taking himself off the list for heresidential election but spent a lifetime talking about party philosophy. is that focus redirecting the republicans or the day-to-day taxes in the house? ms. werner: he is on his agenda project which will apparently result in something short of legislation on a variety of topics from health-care to national security to welfare and poverty. at the same time as we have been discussing, it is very interesting that the divisions that have been in the house for years remain the divisions that
boehner hiser speakership and ryan is bringing everyone along and yet not getting results, not getting a budget passed, not getting perhaps spending bills passed, so we will see how it plays out. i think it is accurate to say that he has in a sense set his sights higher than the nitty-gritty of the legislative process and is instead working on a broadvision that nobody can argue with because it doesn't require voting on something that they don't want about on. -- one to vote on. ms. swain: we have one minute left and we have to comment on too strong positions of the interview, both on what should come out of cleveland this summer in terms of the process and also on the benghazi committee and how it affects only clinton. what did you learn?
i think most of the things about benghazi have been covered over by the e-mail dispute of the servers she had in her home. people are confusing the issue now. the benghazi story is on the back burner. i think republicans were hoping her tenure as head of the department of state and her handling of libya would be used to help show she is not someone who should be elected as president. no one is really talking about benghazi anymore. everyone is talking about the e-mail server. it is not resonating with voters. she is still the front runner. all bernie sanders does continue to win a lot of state, but he is a different political animal that she is and that is part of the reason. i think republicans are frustrated that that is not becoming a bigger part of the discussion. the other part of this is what is going to happen in cleveland. i think jordan made a very good point that if the republican national committee tries to bring someone in who did not win
at least several states, and that there was it down to ted --z and donald trump, narrows it down to ted cruz a donald trump, the people will feel disenfranchised. that is what makes this upcoming convention something akin to a really interesting match. you to what will happen, but it will not be boring. ms. swain: thanks to both of you for your time this week. >> thank you very much. >> today with c-span's road to the white house coverage continues with a campaign rally in brooklyn, new york, for democratic presidential candidate senator bernie sanders of vermont. also scheduled to be there, hawaii representative tulsi gabbard, actors danny devito and justin long, and the rock band grizzly bear. rock band begins at 4:00 p.m.