tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 11, 2016 3:15am-4:45am EST
caucus would end up doing things that would torpedo a trump presidency, particularly in the first year. mr. collender: it may happen. it may happen that they think of themselves above the president , but they're in safe districts and can almost certainly get around it. third, i don't know what they'd want in return. i mean the freedom caucus, a , portion of the republican party that is presumably in position to make life difficult for president trump on the debt ceiling, they're going to want the tax cuts. they're going to want the defense increases. they're going to want obamacare repealed or partially repealed. all three of those things will increase the deficit. so, what is it -- do they want to eliminate the domestic side of the budget? there's not enough there, unless you talk about medicaid and medicare, which the president-elect has said he won't touch, medicare and social security, excuse me because , there's not enough on the discretionary side to make a dent in the trillion deficit. i'm trying to figure out what the deal would be. ms. norman: did either of you
want to... well, paradoxically, it may be the first time that democrats are thinking the debt ceiling is a useful tool here to keep republicans from doing things like really deep tax cuts that benefit upper-income people, or there may be a little bit of joining forces with the freedom caucus to hold the trump administration to its more fiscal, responsible pronouncements. >> well, one of the things i worry about there is, if you get into a disagreement over the debt limit, one of the ideas that came out before that was passed in the house was this idea of prioritization, change the laws so if the government
doesn't default, it can pay some of its bills. mr. collender: -- ms. rivlin: right. mr. bixby: which is really bankruptcy. i mean, it's a form of it. that would be a bad idea also. and so i worry with both houses and a republican president, somehow that kind of bill might get signed. so i think a better approach , would be for trump, ryan and mcconnell, to realize that they have a common agenda. it does require higher borrowing. even if they did not do any -- ryan's budget from last year required a higher debt limit. they didn't acknowledge it. ms. rivlin: they didn't do it. yeah. mr. bixby: so this is a good teaching opportunity for all of the members that think that you can run the government without raising the debt limit. and it could be that the silver lining here is that the three, you know, the leader of the house and senate and the white house, would simply either
easily pass a debt limit increase or find some way to, like was suggested, a permanent -- maybe permanently -- >> could you do that? could you permanently -- mr. bixby: you can extend it without a date, sure. just have it sort of hanging out there as a threat. you know, that would be a good thing. put it in cryogenics. or something. just have it out there. [laughter] >> and stan is right, though. freedom caucus and others, if they decide they actually don't care that much about the deficit, because you said they're getting everything they want anyway, at some point, anybody who remembers the first year of the clinton administration, the bond markets could have a say on this at some point. again, in the last two days since trump has been in there's , already been a rout in the bond market. if we start getting fiscal deficits, back to 4%, 5%, 6% of g.d.p., the way we had back in the 1980's, then the interest rates go up. right now, the interest on these deficits is a little over 1% of g.d.p.
we have got very low-interest rates. the average interest rate on the government debt is less than 2%. if the interest rates keep going up because the bond market pushes them up then it becomes a , lot harder to finance the deficit at that point. there's a lot of pressure on the hill. they may politically have what they want as well, but if the financial markets start to pressure them, somebody has to act more responsibly. mr. bixby: i think you raised the issue of entitlement reform , too, in your question. that's directly relevant in the sense that really, the way to get the budget back on a sustainable track, get the debt back on a sustainable track, has nothing to do with the debt limit. those of us who are saying the debt limit should be put to sleep are not arguing for putting fiscal responsibility to sleep. [laughter] mr. bixby: i mean, i think a better way the only way you can , keep the debt from rising on its unsustainable current course is to change the spending and tax policies of the united states government. capping the debt itself is
a counterproductive thing. it doesn't control the debt. and it has all the problems that leo has outlined. so i speak as a committed fiscal hawk on these issues, but what we need to do is have a change in long-term, entitlement program, tax reform, to bring about a sustainable fiscal policy. that's the way to keep the debt from going on an unsustainable course. >> that may be where the deal goes and what the freedom caucus wants. i would say that, interesting on the trump transition website, it has language now on medicaid reform that's still vague in general, but it talks about -- i can't remember the exact phrase, but it talks about to prepare for future generations, future needs. it was clearly a nod towards the types of medicaid reform that paul ryan has talked about. very vague but at least there's that small opening that maybe they will go there. i will keep the options. the cubs won the world series, so i'm going to be optimistic on everything, as a cubs fan, that
perhaps after president trump cracks down on social security fraud, discover that you still have 98% of the social security insolvency left -- i think, you know, i do think the congressional republicans will want to see some entitlement reform. mr. lorenzen: i've seen at least some signs that maybe president trump would let them take the lead on it and go along with it. >> i have got a quick question for leo. this is a substantive question. you may not know the answer. how much of the u.s. debt rolls over every year? how much is short-term versus long-term? >> a lot. mr. bixby: >> a lot? mr. abruzzese: yeah. i'd say about 40% of it, i think it is. >> sounds right. mr. bixby: so if the interest rates start rising, the government is on essentially the largest adjustable rate mortgage in history?
>> right. >> so that in addition to defense spending going up and infrastructure spending and tax cuts and god knows what else, we are likely to have also higher interest payments that are currently being assumed. >> the interest payment right now -- right now, on everything, from bills right out to the 30-year bonds right now, the government is paying, as you know, relatively little. it's cheap to borrow right now. so across the entire maturity range, it's less than 2%. it has been very cheap. this is why a lot of economists say it's actually good to spend money on infrastructure because the money is basically not quite free but very close to being free so you might as well invest in it. actually, spending money on infrastructure is not a bad thing, because the money is cheap. of course it is not going to be cheap. the fed might also decide to push rates up more. i was discussing this with alice. in another three weeks, you might see a fed rate increase as well. but it's going to make borrowing more expensive, over time. ms. norman: what do you think about that? ms. rivlin: oh, i think they
won't go -- they'll go up in december, as they said they would, but they're certainly not going to go up very fast. one more point. i fully subscribe to bob's eloquent defense of fiscal responsibility in the long run. [laughter] ms. rivlin: and his pointing out that it involves entitlement and tax reform, but the more you cut taxes, the bigger hole you dig, and i see the big danger right now that we'll have a explosive tax cut and then it will be really difficult. now, it's only politically difficult. then, it will be really difficult to find any entitlement reforms that bring the two, spending and tax laws, together. ms. norman: we want it all, don't we? we want it all. if we could move to reconciliation. budget resolutions, of the coming year. last year, the house did not adopt a budget resolution, because there was so much internal division at that point over what the spending level should be.
the senate didn't pass one because of a provision in the two year budget deal, as you all know, that allowed them to just file a spending top line and appropriators went on ahead, although it's kind of in limbo right now. could one of you explain for us what reconciliation means and why a budget resolution is needed and how reconciliation might be used by this new congress, why reconciliation has suddenly become the word of the week here around washington? >> this is a pet issue of mine, that the budget reconciliation is budget legislation. in its original design, i believe it was to actually implement changes in policies, to implement the budget resolution. the budget resolution sets the spending and revenue targets, and reconciliation legislation then provides for changes in the permanent laws and the tax and spending policies to bring spending and revenues. that is at least, from a budget nerd perspective, the way it
should be done. mr. lorenzen: so if you have a , budget that is calling for substantial spending cuts or tax changes to meet certain changes, reconciliation legislation is implementing that. however, reconciliation has a special status. budget resolution and then reconciliation legislation passed pursuant to a budget resolution is not specific to a filibuster. it can pass with 51 votes in the senate. so reconciliation has now become not the way to necessarily implement the entire budget but whatever piece of legislation that the majority wants to push through with 51 votes in the senate, so there's talk about using reconciliation to repeal the affordable care act, to do it for tax reform. i still would like to think, if you have a budget resolution that is calling for deficit reduction, that really should be what reconciliation is used for. but it's not. there's limits on reconciliation. maybe we may see reconciliation for the debt limits.
but legislation, repealing the affordable care act would be both revenue and spending and therefore, you could not do a separate reconciliation bill with tax reform if you did a budget resolution. if you did it on tax reform, you couldn't do the affordable care act. and then also, the borough rule has lots of limits on what can be included in the reconciliation bill. the two most notable limitations are reconciliation cannot have anything with effects. if we use reconciliation to repeal the affordable care act, you could only repeal the parts that have the subsidies, tax increases and spending. all of the regulations regarding pre-existing conditions could not be addressed in reconciliation. you would have a swiss cheese affordable care act. you would have a lot of the structure still in place but without any of the spending or revenues for it. the other important distinction is that you cannot have anything to increase a deficit beyond the 10-year window. and so, with the affordable care act, some of the revenue raisers and savings are growing over
time, you would have to, you may not be able to repeal the tax increases but delay them, and if you did tax reform to reconciliation, likewise, you would have the rate reductions in some sets. like the bush once in 2001. it probably will not come to pass, but there has been speculation in the past that congress would pass during the lame-duck session a budget resolution for fiscal year 2017 with reconciliation instructions that would allow congress to move first thing next year on the reconciliations for the affordable care act repeal. and then, follow-up and has a regular budget resolution in april, with a fresh set of reconciliation instructions. it could then be used for tax reform or deficit reduction or other purposes. it has never been tested whether the parliamentarians would agree with that. that interpretation. ms. norman: my first question.
mr. lorenzen: the senate is an ongoing body. it would still be part of senate rules. it is at least theoretically possible. that would also require making decisions very quickly and you would have to resolve what that means for the discretionary spending level and other problems. it is at least an idea that is out there. ms. rivlin: i checked my e-mails about 6:30 or so. >> i have done a little bit of checking. i have a slightly different rumor. i hear that congress might not take up a budget in the lame duck session but in the beginning of the next session. that it would first be for there 2017, is not one for 2017. mr. collender: you do a budget resolution in january that includes reconciliation instructions. this part is going to be hypothetical. that would repeal part of the aca.
right, and then that is all it , would do. basically. then, six months later, congress would do a budget resolution for budgethe regular resolution for the incoming year that will include a separate set , of reconciliation instructions. the real value of reconciliation is that it prevents a filibuster in the senate. ms. norman: right. mr. collender: that is the real value of it. a 52-48 republican majority could move forward without being worried about the democratic filibuster unless the republicans did not stay unified. it would be, you may know. i have never seen this kind of maneuver done before. two budget resolutions in one year. with reconciliation. can you recall anything like this? >> no i do not think that has , ever happened. there were two budget resolutions originally in the law and it was too complicated
, to get it all done so they changed the law. suggests twohis things i wanted to say. all of these inside the beltway complexities we have been talking about up here have been thought about in the context of divided government for the last few years. and the context may have changed. the 60 votes in the senate has not changed. but the idea that all of this sort of using the rules to get what you want is going to be typical of a congress which has a president of its own making in the white house, i think can be , questioned. and then that comes back to my , other point that the trump administration really has to decide, does it want to continue
the campaign? in which case the first thing to , do would be to repeal the affordable care act and not worry about what happens to the 20 million people who are insured by it. or do they want to govern in a way that is good for the people who elected them, many of whom get subsidies under the affordable care act? i am an optimistic sort. so i think maybe they want to repeal and replace, and replace is a complicated thing to do. repeal is easy. replace is harder. and there are quite a number of republican proposals that have been put on the table which they could work on, and i think they would be smart to bring some democrats in on that as well because one party passing a health care law just leaves it open to attack from the other one.
but most of the proposals we have seen from republicans look a lot like modifications of the affordable care act. now you can call it trump-care. ,[laughter] ms. rivlin: you can do some things republicans always have wanted to do, and you can solve real problems in the act. my hope would be they would want something that works as a legacy for the trump administration, not just "we said we were going to repeal obamacare, and now look at it." ms. norman: we will have time for one or two questions. if folks in the audience do have questions, we have microphones on stands over here and over here. >> i agree with alice, and i want to interject a note of gridlock. [laughter] ms. norman: i think we have had
enough of that. >> well i think we will still , have some problems on appropriations. mr. bixby: i think we will have a budget resolution because that is the best, easiest vehicle to do what they want to do on obamacare. you want to get around the filibuster. on appropriations, these republicans will undoubtedly set a much lower level of discretionary spending that the democrats are going to live with and we still have the , possibility and probability of senate filibuster on appropriations bills in the senate, which means we could be back in the same boat of government shutdowns at the end of the year next year. anyway it would suggest a , potential basis for having some sort of broader negotiations. i think, to pick up on alice's
haveism however, when you the senate, house, and white house all in the same hands, the republican party does have the unified responsibility to govern. they cannot blame it on anybody else. so some of come up may be democrats in the senate, you never know, but there may be -- you know some of the campaign , rhetoric that goes back and forth might get dumped by the side, as you say, "what can we get done here? we are now responsible." that is kind of the optimistic scenario for bigger things getting done. >> real quick on this discretionary spending for 2017 , and going forward, there are vast trump called for a repeal of the -- going forward, trump called for a repeal of the defense sequester.
it would require 60 votes to change that. that could lead to negotiations as well. ms. norman: looks like we have a question over here. please go ahead. >> following up, the most recent two comments. is titled,is session "who gets the money?" you addressed defense. in terms of other agencies, are -- justice, hud, congress, are there particular agencies you think would do well in terms of trump budgets? or ones that you think would get hit particularly hard? ms. norman: good question. ms. rivlin: well, let me start. i think defense will do better. transportation will do better because we will have a big infrastructure bill, although not all the infrastructure would necessarily be transportation.
and i think hhs is going to be big no matter what. they are not going to make significant cuts in the big programs.e the subsidies in obamacare, even if they go away, are tiny compared to medicare-medicaid. >> you got to say immigration and naturalization. >> there is also cuts in programs which are on off raise, but is not necessarily a guide. every other agency will be authorized. everything except for veterans and emigration, naturalization, defense, every other agency will be looking at deep cuts in their discretionary spending. >> one other question i could not help, "who gets the money?"
maybe 40% of the budget is social security-medicare, medicaid. when you're talking about who gets the money? in a trump administration or obama administration the central , dilemma of the budget is that portion is growing faster than the economy, health care and social security are the only parts of the budget growing faster or projected to grow faster than the economy. so who gets the money? , that is where the money is going. ms. norman: that is our sobering reality, isn't it? on that note, we will be closing our session. this has been a great discussion. thank you. [applause] panel from the same conference on president elect trump and how he will work with republicans in congress. after that, we'll hear from tom daschle.
>> thank you for joining us. it has been a long week for a lot of people and this is a great opportunity to debrief and we calculate where everything is. i am joined today by neil bradley, i'm a far left, the founder of policy solutions and former senior staffer for house majority leader eric cantor. he worked for roy blunt, now senator blunt was the majority whip. experience goes all the way back to working for senator -- when he was in a house. -- isleft is it a motive one of the founders of rock solutions, former senior aide for harry reid, the outgoing minority leader in the senate that works for senator tom daschle. you will be listening to him later on. i also worked for mark pryor when he was in the senate. thank you very much, gentlemen,
for being here. i appreciate it. we have a lot of unanswered questions and i think a lot of people, the election to them by surprise, as we have heard, continuously, and people are interested to know who are some of the people who are going to be running things, who are going to be devising policy, making sure things happen in capitol hill? neil, let us start with you. in the house, there were a lot of questions about whether paul ryan was going to face a contested speakers election in january about the friction between him and the a president-elect donald trump. what sort of challenges do you as he headsryan into the new congress, because he struck a very conciliatory tone yesterday at his press conference and seemed very excited about rolling up his sleeves and getting going on policy, but what's, realistically, are some of the challenges the speaker is going to face in the 115 congress?
>> thanks, jason. i think some of the challenges we read about before the election were probably exaggerated a little bit, it was never in doubt to me that speaker ryan was going to continue to be speaker ryan and the 115th congress, you know, there is no one who has more support amongst republicans in the house than pio i am, and -- then paul ryan. the challenges he would have had were frankly the challenges he has had since he took the job a year ago and the challenges his predecessors speaker boehner had, governing a divided government with the application of many of the members of the house republican conference. there was frustration the state to that spilled over questions about leadership. that challenge is gone now. the challenges are quite different. neil: the biggest challenge now
is fulfilling the expectation that i think the members have an frankly probably a lot of people in no unified republican-controlled government, they are going to do with they say they are going to do, and to me, a lot of that, there is going to be vote challenges, managing and working with the minority challenges, and i am sure we will talk more about that, but part of the challenge is getting caught up and putting the pen to paper about what you are going to do in terms of replacing the affordable care act, what you are going to do when you do tax reform, and that kind of challenge is it the perfect challenge for paul ryan. at the end of the day, he is a policy wonk, you love those details. his challenge will be finding the bandwidth for himself, his leadership team, and the conference to figure out how to get all the stuff done that they want to get done and now that
they have the opportunity to get done. jason: you were working in the senate, for senator reed, you were devising a lot of committee decisions energy for the democratic to medications center. at that point also, working along with senator schumer, the incoming minority leader and his team. we do nothumer, expect any sort of huge challenge of us something very interesting happens, he will be the next minority leader. senator mcconnell, the majority leader, spoke about, he had spoken twice with senator schumer at the point where yesterday afternoon, and it seems, just in conversations you have with aids in senator -- aides in senator mcconnell's office, they are looking forward to working with senator schumer. there might be a difference of relationship, but what sort of, what can we expect from senator schumer, knowing he is going to be, you know, having to deal
with a depressed democratic party, i mean, for people raring for a bit of a fight? and saul that with senator mcconnell, obstruction has led to only success. what do you expect from senator schumer and his team? >> i do not think senator schumer and senator reed, when it comes to negotiations are all that far off. as far as style, it is apples and oranges. right now, as democrats, we need to tell a better story. there is probably nobody in our caucus better aligned to do that then senator schumer. it probably will be one of them was on message leaders we have had since tom daschle. it was something senator been truly cared about. he is a blunt object who always got the job done. i think that is the difference we are going to see. you know, i think to the extent there are things that democrats want to do that this new president says he wants to do, there will be some movement.
but you know, there is a whole list of other things that, you know, then candidate trump said he wanted to do that democrats just are not going to go for. rodell: i do not think it is necessarily picking a fight whether you are in a red state or a blue state. there are certain fundamental to the polls about our party is just not going to go along with and i think that will help rally the troops. it is one of the first things we are talking about here. if the structure bill, i see an opportunity for democrats to win on this and for trump to win on this. not sure what the freedom caucus and some of the more conservatives in the house are going to feel about that, but there will be ways to work together. jason: just a quick follow-up on that, the thinking most, if not the vast majority of trump's voters and supporters would find it interesting to say the least about his relationship with senator schumer goes back quite
a long ways. i mean, is that, do you think that, we have the opportunity to be surprised by the way that senator schumer and the president trump would get along and have a relationship? rodell: like i said, i think a lot of this has to do with what we are talking about, you know. is there a path for it on touch reform? is something both senator schumer, many in our caucus, donald trump would like to get done. when we start talking about some have your issues such as repealing the affordable care act and whatever placement might like,, senator schumer's going to be with his caucus and he is going to want to protect the legacy of this outgoing president, president obama, and the same thing with immigration reform. i think that senator schumer will try to take his moments to president.is we want the country to move forward. a lot of these things, it is not a matter of orchestrating a fight.
when it hits the road, there is going to be some fight on these things. jason: for a change election, as this has been characterized as, there really was not a ton of turnover, at least in the house and senate, and what, who do you see, aside from the speaker, 40 you see as some of the most significant power players that maybe summit it would not have heard of? you are seeing special somebody would not have heard of? who are some of the people that may not be familiar with that we can look to to say, this person is going to help move the trains. the: i think, um, committee chairman, particularly , waysbrady and whoever and means, whoever takes over energy and commerce. beyond that, you know, i think patrick mchenry, the chief is, i mean,really
he is already the chief deputy whip, but it still is a rising star. jason: this is the position eric cantor had his first leadership election which helped propel him to the majority leader? neil: sure. at least on the republican side, if you want to kind of see the tradition, the folks serve as chief deputy whip principally, not always the case, but principally, that is true. you know, i think, in terms of younger members who are writing -- rising stars, i am looking at the sophomore class. very difficult election but came back very popular with his colleagues. really has an expertise in a way of talking about issues that i think a lot of his colleagues find compelling. those are folks i would look to. when he think about the
challenges, it really is going to be with the folks who have ther served and with republican president, which is a good majority of the republican conference. the guys who are chairman, they were not chairman when george w. bush was president, but largely around, and they understand the dynamics that take place between at administration of your home party and what that entails. i think someone will help may be some of the newer members understand that dynamic. rodell: can i add onto that? i was looking at the senate and specifically the republican caucus, and messaging is easy, governing is hard. it you would not think so, but governing, when you control the white house, and both houses of congress, it can be even harder. of the members of the upcoming or incoming senate republican caucus, only 17 all of them were in the senate the last time that
republicans controlled the white house and both members of the house. them,se, three or four of they kind of came in the last couple of years, in their freshman or sophomore years. as work, you know, as we are looking at what legislation it will look like, these guys are getting their feet wet, getting on the ground and running, it will take them a little bit to figure this out and figure out the best way to work with their counterparts in the house because of these are no longer message amendments or message bills. of legislations that, you know, should they do it right, it will actually become law. it will take them sometime. jason: on the, for senator schumer again, likely minority leader, there may be just one step down, a possibility of a fight over the with job. there is talk that possibly patty murray would be interested
in the job. who are the other players that senator schumer is going to lean on to make sure that his caucus states together regardless of who the with is? who are those people that he is going to rely on? >> senator schumer knows, when you are in the minority, when you have no control over the white house, or even houses of government, that it is an all hands on deck kind of an approach. rodell: senator schumer, having spent so much time at the dsc c has relationships with the broad spectrum of members of these caucus. you will see him rely on senator warren and sanders. there will be point in time where we have to rally the left part of our base. there were -- there will be times when they had to look at some of the more moderate
things we are trying to do with republicans. a possibleins to with fight, i had the pleasure of working with senator durbin and senator murray as part of that leadership team. connections and friends in both of those offices. i think this is going to work itself out. we do noting that need right now, and i think that the democratic caucus -- of power, andut you are in the wilderness, you tend to have, maybe sometimes circularze yourselves, firing squad. republicans have had to deal about a little bit. schumer and some of these other members that have been there for a while do not want to see that happen again. i actually expect for this to work out very well for all parties involved. jason: if you have wilderness, neil, you were there after
president obama was elected, you lost a seat in 2008 after losing in 2006, and you saw sort of like really, what the democrats are looking at now. it you were looking into the void and wondering, what now? we need to figure out what to rally around. what sort of advice would you have for people who are in the wilderness right now, who are looking into that void and trying to figure out what do we do now? do we go all in on obstruction? in a certain degree, the republicans did find a way to define themselves in opposition to president obama in 2009 and 2010 and they will map the majority of the house in 2010 elections. neil: i mean, generally, i am not in the habit of getting tactical advice to the other --e, but rodell: not sure we would take
it. [laughter] neil: but i am, because i think this is good for government. neil: the republican minority became defined by how we were opposing the president. two mistakes about that. i would not necessarily try a direct line between that and gaining the majority in 2010, and two, and untold story or miss told in some cases, about how we got to that. president elect obama came in, met with the bipartisan congressional leadership. we took him at his word. i believe he was serious. we went back and had this huge internal discussion with our
banking members, all of these folks about, we feel like we have got to give them something. tiff thet s president-elect of the united states when he asks for our input. do we come when with, here is a capital gains tax cut and all the things -- we had a lot of folks in our caucus advocating for that. we said, you know what, if we do that, that is disingenuous. he won the election, they are in the majority, let us offer things we think could be common ground. point planfive that eric took into the office. there is nothing crazy here. we thought that was a pretty good response for the ideas we had put on paper.
what we did not know, was that a that ourwas made votes, our republican votes were not needed and if they were going to get them, the president and speaker pelosi were going to get them by giving us stuff they thought we would like that we did not ask for. they assumed anyway. and you can imagine what our response was to that. that produced zero republican votes for the stimulus and from that, we never got back to what that opportunity was. i have no idea whether president elect trump will offer leader pelosi or leader schumer that opportunity. i do not have any great insight to that. my advice to both of them would be that if he does, he should be serious about it and take it. my advice to them president would be, you should take that, too because that is the way i my friends on the
other side have a chance of coming back. my friends on my side of the aisle have a legitimate chance of getting something done worthwhile for the american people. rodell: it should not be surprising that i remember this a little bit differently. [laughter] rodell: i was not in the house, but i was in the senate. senator mcconnell h talked about this in his book. that for him, it was a strategy from the beginning to deny this president everything. listen, i would like to, and i think right now, this is a conversation that perhaps democrats should be having in two months, not two days after an election. you go through the five stages and you kind of pick yourself back up and think rationally again. there are a lot of people right now that as it turns to anger, we say give this president nothing.
you give the people what they wanted. , you know, control of both houses to the republicans and see what happens and reap the rewards. that ifnecessarily know that is in congressional democrat's dna that they believe in government. i'm not saying that republicans don't. they believe in government and wanting to be a part of the discussion, so i for see them presidentwork with trump, and with vice president pence, which you have not really talked about. it is going to be interesting to see who is really calling some of these shots here with congress, if it is trump or pence or some appeals, so -- somebody else, so i think you are going to hear over the next couple of months a lot of, you know, "do what you want to do, we are going to oppose everything." but i hope that cooler heads
prevail going into the 115th congress and we at least find something, a few things we can do together and move the country forward. some: what would you tell of the people any democratic party who are, may not be able to get past that anger stage right now because they might know, relatively, you simple take on it and say mcconnell kept open a supreme court nomination until he got what he wanted? why don't we go all out on opposition? the is the response from democratic leadership, if they do want to cooperate and get a couple of winds on the board and make things work, how do you deal with people who are so angry right now and shocked that they are saying, "i want them to fail, i want this burned into the consciousness that we do not
cooperate with a trump or mcconnell or ryan." what is that conversation might? rodell: i don't know if you can have that conversation right now. you have the let that anger and frustration -- listen, a lot of people woke up on wednesday stunned. jason: you are assuming people slept. [laughter] and that anger and frustration is going to percolate for it a little b. -- for a little bit. it will come in stages. someone asked me, you seem pretty calm you have not stopped or anything? -- snapped or anything? this is a conceptual thing. when we see what the cabinet looks like and some of these federal judicial candidates, that i think you will see some frustration and anger, but for right now, i am not sure you can have a conversation. as we go to 115th congress, if you care about governing, about helping people, especially on
the senate side, if you believe you are an institutionalized and believe in this might all collapse under its weight. i don't think anyone can say whether or not donald trump is is -- is president donald trump more like campaign trump or is there someone else we haven't seen yet? does a mike pence take a bigger roll? does he surround himself with smart people who have been there before and done this and an kind of keep the trains running? we don't know. we might find ourselves with a strong man president where both your red state democrats and your blue state democrats -- like we can't work with this man, we can't work with this congress, we might see it. but we don't know. so to have that conversation now seems premature. >> i think there are thing that is president elect trump said
that i certainly don't agree and didn't condone. but even the current sitting president said some things that haven't borne out very well now given the outcome of the election. so my sense is that we probably ought to follow secretary clinton's advice and let's all have kind of an open mind about this, and not judge people on either side kind of based on what they said. and what a really bitter contested campaign. >> and long. >> let's do something about that. that should be the first area of bipartisan. let's shorten the cycle. geez. >> so we talked about some of the people who we can look to for who might be able to make things work in washington, who would be occupying the power structure. who are some of the -- not to look too far back but who are some of the people who are leading congress that are going to be the biggest losses? who are the house republicans
going to miss the most on either side of the aisle? >> well, i won't hurt anyone's reputation on the democratic side of the aisle by praising so i'll stick with my side. i like o think of john kline who maybe didn't get all the press attention in the world ut was a really steady hand. >> outgoing chairman. >> education committee. which people think of the a committees, appropriations and ways and means and energy and commerce. there's an incredibly productive committee even in divided government who found ways to get things done. whether that was elementary and secondary education, pension reforms. so i think of someone like that. i look at the losses from tuesday on the other side of the building, kelly ayotte was really a -- a tremendous voice
on military and foreign affairs issues that i think we're going to miss immensely. >> i think -- i won't speak too much for the house. even though he wound up coming in to play for our team i think the house democrats are going o miss chris val van hollen. i'm glad that nancy pelosi will be staying. but she can't be there forever. as democrats we need to start thinking about what that next generation of leadership looks like. i would be biased on the senate side but i think we're going to miss boxer. i think the caucus is going to miss boxer because she was just -- you know, caucus deliberations are private. but having somebody like that in your caucus who is always
optimistic, who is always ready for the good fight is something that you need and someone that you want, especially maybe if you're a democrat in days like this where you've just suffered some big losses. of course i don't want to be biased but i think sometimes you need a blunt instrument in your tool box and my former boss harry reid was that. he got the job done. i think history will bear out as people talk about who were good leaders. he might not have always been the most on message leader but he got things done. he got things done for this president and he protected his caucus. as a member that's all you can ask for is someone who is there who has your back and protect you.
>> in nevada, senate candidate who no one acknowledges is a particularly great campaigner won, two house seats slipped and helped deliver his get out the vote machine. it stands like the election when nevada became like a part of the west coast. >> a lot of people thought that the push was a vanity project. it wasn't. it was about registering democrats, changing the state. because of it he won reelection in a year no one thought he was going to win reelection. save a scandal i think shelly would have won against dean heller and now we have another democratic senator taking his
seat. so i think his legacy both in nevada and also here in washington, d.c. is solidified. >> before we came on stage we were talking a little bit about some of the legislative agenda. and one of the things obviously on everyone's mind is the budget reconciliation for fancy terms, an expedited budget process. that does not -- you can't use senate deliberation tactics, filibuster, to slow it down. this looks like the most likely vehicle for repeal of obamacare. in the budget committee along sort of outpost for years has become more and more important. what are we looking at in terms of timing and who are going to be the people pushing that in the new year? >> i think we're in a kind of cork of a situation. the house and the senate did not adopt a budget resolution for this year.
they should have done that this spring. they didn't. we began the current fiscal year in october. one of the nice little things you can do when you haven't adopted a budget resolution for a year is even in the new congress, even as you're three months in to the actual fiscal year, the congress can adopt a budget resolution for the current fiscal year and that can spin off a reconciliation bill and that will provide them with a vick vehicle similar to what they did earlier this congress on kind of repealing most of the parts of the aca that you can do under the budget rule. i suspect but i don't think they've made any decisions, they're still working through that, but i think -- i would not be surprised at all and in fact would probably expect that they would move pretty quickly to get a budget resolution and be in a position moving forward.
that means when they get to the spring in the normal budget process they have the opportunity to do it again. and do another budget resolution and another reconciliation bill. which is a pretty tremendous tool in terms of getting some of their major priorities accomplished. >> we're in a closely divided senate. it looks like the most likely scenario 52 republicans, 48 democrats depending on the louisiana runoff next month. even in this situation where you can pass legislation without a filibuster what sort of options do the democrats have in opposing this? do they have any chance of derailing it? >> if we're talking specifically about aca -- and i said this before, messaging is easy, governing is hard -- you know, it was -- so the republicans say, repeal and replace. i have yet to see the replace part of this. it took democrats the better part of two years to come up with the ac and granted part
was their fault for stepping over themselves so many times in trying to do it. but the fact is that it would take much longer to find something to replace this with. the reality is, and i think republicans know this which is why they tried over and over again early on to get rid of aca, is that now 20 million people on health care. if you just throw it out then there's 20 million people without health care. unless you come up with some sort of alternative. so as far as legislatively can i think -- or tacticswise can i think of something right now that we could do to derail that? no. that's why the republicans want to use reconciliation. but i think that we have a great story to tell. i would just say that i'm looking forward to republicans trying to explain to their constituents and to the american people, fine, you didn't like obamacare, we're getting rid of it but instead
we are giving you -- fill in the blank. that's going to be harder for them than i think either they're admitting or that they realize. >> i have a slightly different perspective. it won't surprise anyone on that. one of the great -- republicans don't have a replace. one of the things that speaker ryan did under his direction is the better way project, where they outlined what they would do to replace obamacare. he was building off work that was already done by senators bur and then coburn, senator hatch, senator hatch who is going to be quite influential? what happens in health care and who had also worked across the dome with the outgoing chairman of the energy and commerce committee. so there is a lot of work that really has been done on being able to move in and quickly replace the affordable care act. the second thing is i'm not sure the story is all that great.
the coverage numbers are princeably from medicaid. and if what republicans have to argue is that we're going to provide you coverage that's better than medicaid which is pretty substandard in a lot of places, people on both sides seem to admit, i think they're going to have a pretty good story to tell about what they're offering the american people. >> who are the people on both sides who are going to be delivering these messages? because the messaging particularly on something like the affordable care act was very blunt. it's turned -- on one side it's a disaster. on the other side it's phrased as people who could never get health coverage before will have it and will be saving people from preventable deaths. so who are going to be the people who can calmly and rationally deliver the message from each side that it's a little more complicated than that? e're in a ballroom in d.c. half a block from the capitol.
this is a different audience than the campaigns were attracting. who delivers these messages? >> it's not an apples to apples to what republicans have been doing for the last six years. look to the american people, talk to the american people. this is what you have. if you go with what the republicans are going to do you're going to lose all these things. that's an easier message than explaining health care bill, whatever it is that they do. and look, the fact is that i don't think most americans know of ryan's better way plan or what senator burr or senator hatch has done. so there needs to be a large education process here. and it becomes harder i think to explain legislation that's actually going to affect people's lives versus conceptually obamacare is bad, this might be good. so for us i think it's
something that most of the caucus will -- especially those that were there were big proponents of the aca and to tell you the truth who have gotten beaten up over the last six years that i think this is something legacywise that there will be no shortage of folks starting with schumer going to durbin the rest of the leadership including murray, olks like tim kaine, elizabeth warren. so i don't know who in our caucus -- maybe a few of the red state democrats that are up in 2018 -- might want to shy away from this fight. but i think if that's the message, which is 20 million people are going to lose this, this, this and this, there will be a lot of people pushing from our side. >> i think it is going to be a problem for the 25 democrats who are in cycle, many from red stites. i think -- if secretary clinton
had won she was going to have a real problem with what you do with these spiking crises and declining numbers of insurers. republicans, the house majority and she had won, we would have had a difficulty because whatever you do you can't let the current system continue to exist. there seems to be a belief on each side that's not working and something has to change. and in terms of messengers likewise all of our -- every republican is going to be messaged on this. they always do. i think one of the weapons that we have in our arsenal, the large number of physicians that are part of the republican conference, in the house tom price, mike burgess. brasso in the senate. physicians have a particular credibility when it comes to interacting with the health care system and knowing what it means to the patients they treat. they were our most effective spokesman when we were opposing the affordable care act and i think they will be the most
effective now as we replace it. >> we're going to open it up to questions in just a second. i'll start while people are rushing in droves to the two mics we have set up over there. again, sort of put this point that it's -- a lot of these conversations will be good for two months now. but say you're back in the capitol and you're dealing with a traumatized group. what do you tell people? how do you approach the younger people on your staff? what are you saying to them on a -- two days out? >> losing elections sucks. especially when you think you're going to win. but, you know, you owe it to yourself and your principles and the people that you say that you represent to wake up the next day and continue to fight. and that's all that you can say. listen, i thought that secretary clinton gave an
amazing concession speech. you continue to fight. there's nothing more that you can do. if the things that you believe in, whether you win or lose, you should still believe in them the next day. i think that's what i would say to my staff and i'm sure that's what many people are saying to their staffs. you know, today and tomorrow and for some time. because this is going to sting for a little bit. >> i think we have a couple people lined up. >> earlier, talking about voices that are leaving, people that are retiring. one of them very influential is barbara middle class ski. -- mickski. i just want to ask, especially on the appropriation side. she is really a champion for traditional democratic priorities and keeping funding for those. who do you think would be stepping in to her shoes in that particular arena?
the appropriations committee has changed so much in the last even ten years as it per tains to -- it still has outside influence. it's just not the influence that it used to have and in some ways it's become as some of the messaging has gone more towards we shouldn't be spending as much, it's hard for me to -- it's hard for me to say. i actually do have -- i have a thought on this but i don't want to open up a can of worms about situations that might happen with people moving to the propes committee, leaving that would answer that question. now that i know that i just opened it up. >> is there a possibility that patty murray might be the top
democrat on appropriations? >> i wasn't going to say that but there's a -- listen, i think -- i'm just going to leave it there. >> we've got time for one more. >> one of the big promises that trump has made is about the deportation thing. i think a lot of americans, including a lot of republicans, are conflicted about it. it's obvious it's not going to be an all or nothing thing. it has to be some. so one of the biggest voices of course in the senate has been sessions. as an immigration reporter i find he's extremely knowledgeable. what happens if he leaves the senate and joins the administration? will his power be more or less on this issue? and who might replace him in the senate? there's a lot of voices in the house. but i'm not sure about the senate. so what about sessions? >> you know, if he joins the administration in terms of his voice, i can it depends on
where he goes. if he is in the white house, or if he was somehow had some interactions -- you would have a lot of influence if he is -- defense, as i've read. i think that's going to be less so although even the pentagon got embroiled in a little immigration over the past couple of years. in terms of who replaces him on the hill, i'm not sure anyone does. if anyone necessary steps into that role that he has played in the senate. he's very knowledgeable but he has a very set view on how he thinks immigration ought to play out and it's one that is not universally shared on the republican side of the aisle amongst the majority party members in the senate. my sense of how this plays out is, you know, what's happened on immigration the last couple of years has happened through
executive action and probably what's going to happen, other than building the wall and a few other things and resources issues is probably going to start happening through executive action. i think the real question in my mind -- because, by the way, i'm not approving or disapproving. it's just a fact. you push a policy administratively and someone wins who wants to push it the other way administratively -- that's usually what happens. i think what happens when the dust settles. that's where real opportunity exists. i think senator schumer will be a great leader and partner working with a lot of people on the republican side of the aisle on things like high skilled, on issues about children who were brought here and didn't know it. i think there's a lot of opportunity once the dust settles administratively hopefully in a bipartisan manner to tackle those issues. >> it's been a great conversation. thank you so much.
we look forward to your wisdom in the coming months and years. [applause] >> one thing i wanted to note to our guests in that last panel is when you were talking about the important aides and lalkmakers, people to watch, there was a lot of note taking here. now it's transition time and that's the time when you call in the wisemen. so i'm going to have david hawkings introduce two very distinguished guests which we will then close -- this is the last panel of our day-long conference. and then we'll be up to say good-bye. and then we'll have a reception and networking and book sining with these two guests. so over to david. >> thank you very much. obviously the oldest cliche
about people needing no introduction. these two men are the sunshine boys of american politics. >> i like it. >> how do you like that. they spent a combined 20 years as floor leaders in the united states senate, so they know how it works better than anybody and we should just get right to it. incredibly, even though you did this for two decades combined, only senator lot got to be a majority leader for the president of his own party and then only for four years -- four months. excuse me. so give us your advice to president elect trump about how he should manage his first 100 days. >> i wish he would listen to begin with, how he should manage the first 100 days. as we were talking back in the back, i think his inclination is going to be really to go big on tax policy, immigration reform, a lot of issues.
i would urge him to maybe look at doing some singles, trying to do things where there is going to be bipartisan agreement. i think infrastructure is a good thing even though it's not that easy because you're going to have to have some pay-fors, in other words some taxes of some kind so that won't be easy, either. but i was saying before the election the number one thing the new president needs to do is to change the tone. the tone of the campaign on both sides and for a year was not good. i think that's happened so far. i think that president-elect trump's comments election night or the next morning were very good. i thought hillary clinton's remarks were right on target. and the same thing with president obama. i thought everybody's tone was good. the other thing i would urge the president elect to do -- and he's doing it today -- is reach out. communicate. talk to not only paul ryan and
mitch mcconnell. talk to chuck schumer. and i suspect a couple of new yorkers, maybe they can talk. i might not understand what they were saying but they can communicate. and then -- and work on both sides of the aisle with both parties' leaders on both sides of the capitol and listen to them. not just talk at them. i think that would help get the tone set right and would begin to give them an opportunity to move forward. >> and senator daschle, how long until you pull the trigger of opposition? how much time do you give him? if you were chuck schumer how much rope would you give? >> first i agree with trent entirely. tone is what we've got to address. and by tone, it's not just the tone in the our rhetoric. it's the actions involved on both sides. and i would give the same advice to democratic leadership as trent would give to president-elect trump. it would be reciprocate.
do the kinds of things necessary to help change the tone. in that regard, president obama has said we're going to do everything we can to make this presidency successful. the trump presidency successful. that ought to be the altitude of everybody. we've got to figure out how to make this thing work. it's going to be hard. there's been so much polarization and confrontation and rhetoric that it's really going to take some time. it can't just be a week. i can't just be between now and inauguration. this has to carry true. there has to be regular meetings. there has to be more inclusion. there has to be more engagement. if that happens i think you can surprise a lot of people with what can get done. the one thing we know is that low expectations couldn't be much lower than they are. so we're working with that advantage because there are such low expectations. but, boy, there's some real opportunities here. and if we keep setting this
tone i think we're going to be in much better shape than people expect. >> i've been saying, i think you could see a good bit of activity and positive movement the next year partially because of such pent-up demand. the senate -- the congress has been slowly moving more and more into gridlock really going back to 2006. and there's so many things that need to be addressed that have been left mourning. so maybe this is an attitude or -- i know there's an opportunity. i hope they'll take advantage. >> you think the gridlock began when you all left? >> i saw it starting -- actually, it started i think it was going on in 2004, 2005 and by 2006 i had gotten back into the leadership as whip in the senate and i was shocked at how hard it had gotten to be to get anything done. and it had gotten more mean-spirited. and i don't know that i can
blame it on any one person or thing. but i was really -- started worrying about it in 2006. that's been basically getting worse and worse in ten years. >> senator daschle you probably would peg it at a different point. >> personally i agree it has gotten worse. i would go back. keep in mind, we had a very confrofrpbltational experience with speaker wright -- confrontational experience with speaker wright. we had impeachment of president clinton. we had a government shutdown. so we've had some experiences that go back quite a while. but it has gotten progressively worse. there's no question about it. >> one of the things i would point out is it's not good in a way and i don't like it. but the fact of the matter is that the control of the senate in particular has been going back and forth on a pretty regular basis, every two years, every four years. and what happens is that makes it more difficult for you to
begin to find a way to work together because the chairman of the committee gets up and says if i prevail i'll get to be chairman. if i'm ranking member on the other side i don't want to let them get credit for anything. and that makes it awfully difficult for the leaders to be able to get things done, to get their members to cast a tough vote. so i think that has contributed to it. >> just -- just to comment, because i agree with that as well. i think that elections have really become -- they used to be the means. now they're the end. now it's really everything is strategized around the recognition that it's that election that's the most important thing. we've got to go back and we've got to figure out a way where campaign and politics becomes the means to accomplish something. >> without violating any confidences, can itesdz of you shed any light on the relationship between senator mcconnell and schumer? they're two pros.
they know -- the word i cook up is accomplishment tearians like you were. they want to get something done. they're both pretty strong-headed guys. what's your prediction for how that relationship will shape up? >> i think it starts in a positive tone. i think both of them want to sort of start over. they've got a relationship to build. they have -- you've got a new partnership. and so i'm hopeful that -- i know that chuck schumer and mitch mcconnell like to get one thing and that is deal. they really are deal-driven. that's a big factor in creating that conducive environment for moving things. you've got to create that deal motivation. and both are deal oriented. >> i certainly agree with that. i don't think i'm revealing any confidence or going to hurt anybody's feelings but the relationship between senator reid and senator mcconnell has not been real good. >> right. thank you. we'll follow that story right
now. >> some of the things they said to each other were really shocking to me. so i think just the fact that you've got a new person in that leadership team between schumer and mcconnell is an opportunity to change the dynamics. i'm very hopeful. i mean, look, schumer -- senator schumer is very intelligent, he's very partisan, he's philosophically very different from mitch. but also, i've seen him work across the aisle. i worked with him when i was in the senate and he is a guy that does like to get things done. like tom was saying. that's positive. >> one of the first things that the senate will have to do next person onfirm the president trump nominates for the supreme court. the assumption would be that all the republicans would line up for whoever that nominee is and plenty of democrats will not. so i guess at that point i go back to you, senator daschle, what would be your -- where the
rubber is going to meet the road for the first time. it will probably be perceived as highly polarizing on both sides. >> it depends on who the nominee is. >> anyone of the 21 that -- >> i thought it was a pretty good list. >> you like the list. >> i like the list. there were several very impressive of their credentials and experience. if he picks carefully that will make a huge difference. >> and do the democrats just allow that to happen knowing it's trading a conservative for a conservative or do they do something else? what would you advise? >> my first piece of advise is let's not politicize it. i think that people ought to look at the qualifications first of all, first and foremost. you know it's going to be a conservative so that's not even on the table. do they have the personal background and history and integrity? around if they qual if ni that context, i think -- qualify, i think you have to defer to the
president. but obviously there ought to be a vigorous debate, some questions asked, some real -- some opportunities to give the candidate a full hearing. but the bottom line is that if this becomes too contentious, i think it's very possible that we could extend the nuclear option -- we could see the senate extend the nuclear option to other nominations and other contexts as well. right now, as you know, the nuclear option only included the judges that -- >> the nominations -- right. below the supreme court. but not legislation and not the supreme court. so -- but that wouldn't surprise me if we go through a long and very contentious debate. that's always on the table as well. >> by the way, did either of you ever vote against confirming a supreme court justice? >> i think i voted for everyone in my 19 years in the senate but one. i won't mention his name
because he's on the court. but i felt like -- >> but you can go to cq.com and figure it out. >> i felt like he had a conflict of interest. but i voted for -- i usually refer to this, ruth bader ginsburg because i felt she was qualified. i knew that she would vote on the supreme court on ways i almost never agreed with. but my thinking was -- and i think the attitude then was -- that elections do have consequences. presidents do have a right to their nominations. and once you go through the advise and consent process, i would hate to see the nuclear option imposed. i would hope that the senate could work through. but it begins with the president. if president-elect trump comes up with a strong nomination, look, there will be opposition but i would hope that that person would be confirmed.
>> would you ever vote against one? do you believe that the ground rules have changed irreverseably and potentially for the good or the ill? it's not just about personal qualifications but it can be about ideology? >> i did vote against clarence thomas. i voted in favor of justice scalia and justice kennedy and a number of others, of course, from the bill clinton period. i think norms are changing and i'm very troubled by the fact that norms have changed as much as they have. there's almost an assumption now, it takes 60 votes to do anything in the senate. it didn't used to be that way. we don't have to be that way. we don't have to rely on the contentiousness that continues. but we've changed a lot over the last 20 years. and the norms i think that have been lost may be lost for good. so i don't know. i think it has a lot to do -- trent and i talk -- a lot about the importance of leadership.
boy, we sure need a lot of leadership now on both sides of peavel -- pennsylvania avenue. to cloture? -- go >> again, as we've said a couple of times, it really depends on the degree to which there is inclusive feelings and the kind of partnership that you've got to create between the executive and legislative branches. if that partnership exists, if people are working in good faith to find common ground, i think it's probably inappropriate and very ill advised to start going to the floor to stop everything. but there has to be that inclusion. there has to be that degree of cooperation. and right now we're -- we can only hope that that's exactly what the attitude will be. >> and senator lot would you encourage senator mcconnell to foreswear the use or expansion of the nuclear option? >> i would.
i think it would be a mistake. i think for a supreme court nominee, a vote of 51 has been the tradition and i would recommend that he continue that. picking up on something that tom just said. there are two ingredients that really are so critical in washington to get things done, particularly in the senate. number one is communication. tom and i talk a lot about that. he makes the point that one of the most important parts of communication is using your ears. we've lost that. right now you don't hear -- have enough talk across the aisle, across the capitol and certainly between the congress and the president. they've stopped talking. the second part of that is chemistry. how do you -- you know, tom and i had agreement. number one, tom, i will try not to surprise you and i hope you will do the same for me. every now and then i messed up and actually would feel the need to go to tom and say i didn't do you right on that but can we work it out. but also, you need to have a respect for each other.
i mean, the leader of your opposing party needs the respect that goes with the position. but also, in the case of tom, i trusted him. we had a good relationship. i'm hopeful that maybe chuck and mitch would begin to develop that relationship, get an understanding. i used to send -- every time we come back from a recess we would have a -- or have a work period, i would send tom a list over of things we were going to try to do. so he had time to talk to his conference about it and develop their positions. little things like that make a huge difference. i would encourage mitch mcconled and chuck schumer to try to make that happen. i am really hopeful. i think that potential is there. >> ok. we'll adjourn it there. no, we're not going to adjourn it there. the republicans are -- many republicans, even though mr. trump has won, are still if not
crying in the streets, they're crying around their own kitchen tables and they want president trump to do something to punish mrs. clinton. i wonder, as the two of you who save all of us from a long and protracted impeachment trial in 1999, how could that be worked again or should it or should it not, to -- should president obama pardon mrs. clinton during his last eight weeks in office? >> no. >> then what should happen? >> pardon her for what? we don't know that there is a crime there. >> true. >> although presidentford pardoned president nixon. >> well, we knew what had happened there. that question was for tom. wasn't it? no, look, the election is over and i would like for her to be able to go on with her life in a private setting. i don't know what might be
going on in the justice department. obviously none of us know what's going on at the f.b.i. any more. but i would hope that we could move on from the recriminations and begin to find a way to do some things for our country the american people deserve better than what they've been getting. >> i assume you agree. >> totally. this is what happens in a lot of other countries around the world. you imprison your opponent and you never see them again or her again. god forbid our country ever, ever comes even close to anything like that. so it's not even -- it's hardly worth even talking about, frankly. >> by the way, this is a very scholarly and well-informed group. i want to make sure -- i'm shameless about this. but i know you need to read this very timely -- christmas it makes a very nice christmas gift. crisis point. written by tom daschle and trent lott a year ago.
and the purpose of the book is not really about how look at us, look how we made things work. we went through 9/11, the anthrax attacks, impeachment trial. but still we were able to get things done. but the purpose was to say we learned some lessons but there's some things we think would help in america in terms of getting people to participate, understand civic responsibility, how do you get things done in washington. and the title crisis point describes where we are. we are at a crisis point. are we going to be able to turn this around and head it in the right direction or not? and how this president-elect and this congress deals with the issues will decide which way we go from this crisis point. thank you for allowing me to do that, a paid commercial. >> i think we had originally titled this panel beyond the crisis point. >> good. >> so is there anything in the
election results tangible, polling data or a result that gives you a sense of optimism at all? >> well, first of all, i don't know that i'm ever going to trust a poll again. >> i agree with you on that. >> i would say i'm still disappointed and perplexed by modern day polling. if you're looking for optimism, you know what i really find remarkable is that the voter turnout, in spite of the fact that the electorate really didn't see that either candidate lived up to their expectations of what they thought a president ought to be, the voter turnout was phenomenal. one of the thing that is trent and i talk about is how much -- how critical it is to have participation. i didn't see the final numbers, but i have to say i'm encouraged by the fact that people turned out. >> it was down. >> it wounded up being down about maybe 4 million or something like that. >> i do know that mr. trump received 2 million fewer votes
than john mccain and 1 million fewer votes -- >> she received 5 million less than obama. but still, 59 million voted for each one of them. >> who won the popular vote again? >> let's see here. we might want to discuss that, too. >> i did ask these two backstage, sort of whether or not when they were in the senate, whether there was ever any discussion of changing the system so it was just a national plebside not an electoral college. and not really. >> not really. it came up in 2000 when the same thing heaped. i don't think any proposal really got traction. there's always been sort of a concern about just what happens with -- be careful what you wish for kind of a thing when you take care -- eliminate the electoral college. i don't suspect that you're going to see any real constitutional effort to do
that. >> my son who is a big trump supporter and i supported other candidates. he was dogging me the last couple of weeks how we need to get rid of the electoral college and go to the popular vote. amazing how quickly he changed over the last two days. >> the same way the election was rigged and then it wasn't. >> i don't know, i thought a lot about it. i thought maybe it's time we should change it and go to the popular vote but i've found over the years that most of the things our forefathers, founding fathers did turned out to be pretty wise. so i've been very, very hesitent about changing that. i went through a process at one point where i was for term limits. then i really started studying why we don't need that and -- what really was the deciding factor, i was reading about the great debates between henry clay, johnson calhoun and remember ster, and i realized when i was reading this book neither one of the three would have been in the senate if they
had had term limits. >> very interesting. >> what i hope we can say in about a month osh two months, relates to something that i will never forget. i had a conversation with justice scalia as we were leaving the inauguration in 1992, bill clinton, and as we were walking out he said to me, just imagine -- just think of what you've just witnessed. you've seen the transfer of power in this country from one party to the next, from one man to another without a shot being fired. he said that's the miracle of this democracy. and i hope we will always be able to boast and to expect a peaceful transfer of power, in spite of how difficult it may be and the challenges it presents, the extraordinary nature of our country and this democracy rests on that premise that we can switch back and forth as we've don