tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 22, 2016 7:24pm-7:51pm EST
on wednesday, december 28, our topic is energy and environmental policy, how climate issues might be impacted by the new congress and the incoming administration. we talk about how immigration and how president-elect trump and the new congress might change immigration policy. on friday, december 30, we take a look at the future of the affordable care act and how the republican congress and the trump administration will appeal and replace the aca and ka player -- key players to watch. be sure to watch "washington journal" beginning monday, december 26, at 7 a.m. >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell spoke with bill goodman on a pbs affiliate about the 26 election and what to expect from the 115th congress and the trump administration. this is about a half hour. ♪
mr. goodman: welcome to "one-to-one." on this spinal and special addition, i will sit down with a man who has had a pretty good year -- on this final edition. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is in control of the senate. republicans rule the house and the oval office, and the kentucky senate and for the first time in one it one years, flipped the state house of representatives to a republican majority. happy holidays, senator mcconnell. he is next on "one to one." ♪ mr. goodman: senator, welcome to your 14th appearance on "one to one." undoubtedly a ket record. senator mcconnell: you were listing all the wonderful things that happened from a republican point of you in 2016. my wife is going to be in the
cabinet. secretary of transportation. before we get going, i want to thank you for doing a great job for lo these many years. you handled the debate in my last election. did it flawlessly and objectively. wish you well in your new gig. mr. goodman: thank you, sir. take you back just a few weeks -- take us back to november 8 and a telephone call you got on the evening of the election from now speaker elect jeff gruber. can you reenact what that call meant to you and what it meant? senator mcconnell: i was at the national republican senatorial committee building in washington. i thought we had a pretty good chance of taking the statehouse after all of these years. get 64.ought we would i thought that was probably the last celebration i was going to
have that night, because we've found that out around 8:30, 9:00 at night. i honestly thought we would not hold the u.s. senate. i thought we would come up short. and i did not think president trump had a chance when he i thought that was my last celebration, 8:30 at night. an exciting development for republicans who feel like we have a better agenda for the future of the state than the one was -- in the state house of representatives. even though it is not part of my long-standingd a interest in helping those guys when they could, and i played some role in that. it is indeed a new day. in kentucky. and we will see whether a very different kind of agenda can move our state into the future. mr. goodman: is there any way to compare the emotion of holding the u.s. senate of present trump 's victory and this statehouse victory now? on a scaleit would seem like -- senator mcconnell: given my
expectations, doubly exciting because i thought we would come up short on the senate. we had a lot of exposure -- 24 and the democrats only had 10. a lot of them were very difficult states for us in presidential years. that was really something. but it never occurred to me that he might be able to win as well. that gives us an opportunity to, you know, through his appointment to change the court system, to move the country in a more, i think, more competitive direction. try to deal with the excessive regulation, other things that have kept the economy underperforming. so, it was really exciting because i think you get more excited when things you do not expect occur. mr. goodman: you said after the election this was a comeback for rural america. senator mcconnell: yeah. i think there are an awful lot of people in rural america, and white working-class people in
larger states like michigan and wisconsin and pennsylvania who looked at the democrats these days and say they are a party of groups. this group and of that group. i am not in any of those groups. what about me? i think a lot of people felt they were no longer part of the democratic party's view of what was important in america. and so, it was, and then if you look at the rural areas, the stunning margins of victory. i mean, not that republicans would not have carried a state like kentucky anyway, but hillary clinton only got 32% of the vote. only carried lethal in lexington. in west virginia -- he only got 25% of the vote. got 25% of the vote. i think there was a lot of feeling among ordinary people all across the country that the current administration did not care about them.
and trump was able to convey oddly enough a message from a billionaire who lives in manhattan a genuine concern enough, -- all of that came together. i thought the most extraordinary victory, therump's pollsters were correct. hillary clinton won the popular vote. what was amazing about trump's victory, he pierced the blue wall, pennsylvania, wisconsin, michigan. you have to go back to 1988, the last time we carried pennsylvania. 1984 almost does not count because reagan was carrying 49 out of 50 states, a landslide.
republicanme a presidential candidate carried wisconsin. he was able to break through and won a comfortable at twhirl college victory. mr. goodman: it is all most the adage, be careful what you wish for. thehave now learned majority in the kentucky state house area in the president-elect comes in soon. what is the challenge their? -- there? you have learned of his gift, what do you do with it? sen. mcconnell: it is no time of for hubris. all majorities are never permanent. think about how the democrats were feeling, they were already celebrating hillary clinton's victory. you have to perform. i think the country has been underperforming.
way i would characterize it, if you look at the growth rate, 3% growthle year, a rate during all the obama years. we need to average around 4% to have the kind of jobs and opportunity for the next generation. put it iny i speeches, it is like we have had our foot on the brake, when you are foot on the accelerator to get the country going again. how do you do that? the two biggest reason than the market -- the reason the market has been surging lately, the prospect for doing something about massive overregulation and the prospect of genuine tax reform. because now many of our businesses pay us taxes. which is the principal reason jobs go offshore. need to perform. the american people are very demanding and never right to be demanding. they are never satisfied very long, so it is a big job.
to have responsibility and produce results. we intended to do it. i think you would say the same thing about the hover -- hoover told the media and told me there are things they want to do but they will not rush into it. and jobs in the senate and house our priorities. be. mcconnell: yes, it will easier. they have 64 out of 100 votes in the u.s. senate i have 52 out of 100. most of the things we do require 60. there is not much i can do, republicans only in the u.s. senate. these massive majorities and a republican governor, there are a number of things they can do. even though they have not announced their agenda, i think we know the major things they can do that will make kentucky appear to be way more business friendly than it currently is.
changing the prevailing wage eligible fors public charter schools. we are one of seven states that do not allow public charter schools. and reform. eligible for public charter schools. it is a very litigious state. address those things as rapidly as possible with these super majorities. i think the governor and his old team will be able to say this is a different kentucky from the one you look at a few years ago. withe now competitive tennessee and indiana and our neighbors. we moved to before the news of the day, let me ask you this. or to othersats, that do not vote with you in the state and nation, do they have anything to be alarmed about or afraid of or intimidated by about this majority? sen. mcconnell: no, no more so
than we were in 2009 when president obama had 60 democrats and the majority in the house. elections have consequences. the first two years of president obama, there was the stimulus, obamacare, and. frank. six years later, there are more -- elected republicans at all levels of government, local, state, and federal than i have been in america in 100 years. the president himself is a unique political phenomenon. he was able to get himself elected twice. that almost every opportunity the american people have had to react to what he has actually done, they have elected more republicans. i would say toward democratic friends, these things come and go.
the american people decided they were not satisfied with the condition of the country and want to go in a different direction. expect them to support most of what we're trying to do. but there are times to come together. me and joe biden made significant partisan agreements during the first obama term. there will be opportunities for us to do things together. infrastructure, for example, is a possibility. i think they just need to accept the fact that they lost the election. these things do happen. america will be just fine. mr. goodman: on the news of the day come us sort this out for me please, sir. cia, thean hack, the headlines, the call for a special committee; where do you see this today? this is today's news. sen. mcconnell: it does not
require a select committee, we have a senate and house intelligence committee run by knowledgeable, responsible people. no question the russians were messing with our election. it is a matter of genuine concern and it needs to be investigated. in the senate we will investigate that in the regular order. we already have a committee established to do this. we do not need a special committee to do what we already have the ability to do. a serious matter and it will be investigated. mr. goodman: what rises to the level of a special or select committee? sen. mcconnell: we do not do it very often. just once and a while. the most famous select committee was the watergate committee back in the 1970's. i am sure there have been a couple others. mr. goodman: benghazi? sen. mcconnell: we did not.
i think our intelligence committee, fully capable of handling this. hesitation toour ok a special committee on cyber activity, does it lesse n your concern about what russia allegedly or now might have proof of doing? sen. mcconnell: no, it is very concerning, very concerning. i am plenty concerned about it and upset about it and we will get to the bottom of it. mr. goodman: how do you do that? and getting to the bottom of it would result in what? sen. mcconnell: we have in place a committee that is fully staffed and capable of dealing with these things. we want to know exactly what happened. suggest nobody yet to
that they actually changed the outcome of the election. but it needs to be looked at. russians news that the are messing around with a elections, they do it in europe all the time. they want to discredit democracy to the major extent possible. if they were trying to elect donald trump, my guess is they made a bad investment. because look at who he is picking for the. general mattis for defense. intelligence expert, number one in his class at the academy. the head of the cia. if they were trying to elect a particular candidate, they could find out it did not do them any good. part of your good a month and a month and good fall has been the appointment of your
wife, secretary chao, coming from labor during the bush years. secretary of transportation. if confirmed, i cannot imagine. news? she greet that was it a surprise? sen. mcconnell: this is her original field. how she got to government in the first place, she was a recruit. when elizabeth was secretary of transportation, she brought a in for a- elaine federal commission. elected sheh was was the deputy secretary of transportation, the number two job in transportation. eight years later, when bush 43 she made an effort to get appointed secretary of transportation then.
at the time, they decided to give it to the democrat. and she ended up in the labor department, and enjoyed it and spent eight years there. this is her original area of expertise and i think i am safe in saying she's excited to have an opportunity to be secretary of transportation in this new administration. what has she told you, not yet on the job, or is she -- about her challenge or opportunity in transportation? sen. mcconnell: it will be whatever the president decides it to be. to give you one example, he is talking about doing a big infrastructure bill. in thatdecide to go direction she will be in the middle of that. think of all the innovations in transportation. how about driverless cars? drones? bet an interesting time to
secretary of transportation, with all these transportation innovations that technology is bringing us. mr. goodman: you mentioned some of the other cabinet members. i think all but three have been named to this point as up-to-date. allison --rned about tellison as secretary of state? well,cconnell: i know rex it was his job, to be exxon ceo. they searched for gas all over the world. the government is not one we are particularly fond of. i thought he did an excellent job of doing what he was hired by exxon mobil to do. i do not agree with him at all that we should not have posed sanctions after the russians went into crimea. i have no doubt that rex tillerson will be representing
the united states of america. rex will have an opportunity before the senate committee to explain how he sees the new role. my guess is that vladimir putin will be very disappointed with the rex tillerson he gets as secretary of state. a very different job, representing the united states of america, as opposed to one of the country's largest businesses. mr. goodman: another secretary of state, a former secretary of state, henry kissinger said on sunday, in his meeting with president-elect trump, found him to be one who acts by instinct. than we arestyle accustomed to. i think everyone knows that already. what do you think about that statement? governing by instinct?
sen. mcconnell: regardless of how he gets to a decision, i think all of these cabinet selections have been quite good. interestingly enough on rex tillerson, he was supported by condoleezza rice, bob gates, jim baker, former secretary of state. no matter what process he goes through, to get to an outcome, i think the appointments have been quite good. as ioodman: as you -- mentioned earlier, you finish of the year with a few initiatives we know of. we will try to talk about a couple of those, protecting kentucky coal miners, retirees, on health care. tell me how important that is. sen. mcconnell: a big issue, most important kentucky issue at the moment. we were able to get coal miners health care. this was a result of
bankruptcies across coal country. you have a lot of retired coal miners were losing their health care is very month we're in. itade an effort to get extended to the end of april and then we will try to go for a permanent fix. deserve tose folks be protected. their health care deserves to be protected. it is important, it is collateral damage from the industry, the coal much attributable to the policies of barack obama, which i hope it -- the new president will reverse. mr. goodman:coal remains a topic in the news. what will you do for these miners that have lost their jobs? are those coal jobs going to come back? we will findl: out, probably not all of them. everyone i know in the coal
business, many running companies that are now bankrupt, believe that the over regulatory environment contributed mightily. say it is justts competition to natural gas. natural gas is more abundantly available. but we have natural gas prices of various points in the past. the government itself contributed a lot to this. how much we can get back, i do not know. deal insidet least the government with the regulatory part of it. poweroping that the claim directed as existing and new plants will phase out and have a more sane approach at epa. the new head of the epa originally from lexington,
kentucky, has been quite active in suing epa for much of its overreach. i would remind viewers that none of this had anything to do with congress passed. branch,all executive executive orders or regulations by this administration, industry.the coal we have seen the devastation left behind. mr. goodman: on the 21st century en, theed for beau bid vice president was in the chamber the day you spoke. final passage of that, that is a monumental effort to rid this nation of cancer. sen. mcconnell: not just cancer. at thell be remembered single most important piece of legislation of the 114th congress. a jump starts precision medicine, something the president is interested in. the vicer moon shot
president is interested in. i have a particular interest in regenerative medicine. for example, taking stem cells from one part of your body and putting it into another. there was a fellow from tennessee that we met who was legally blind, managed to get trial.clinical they took stem cells from one -- he is nowody emailing and driving. the fda was resistant to this. there are fda reforms in their to give these new treatments and opportunity to move faster rather than get bogged down. it is a very significant piece of legislation. i think in many ways, the proudest accomplishment of the 114th congress. mr. goodman: are you still pleased with the way you have opened up senate order and the way you are conducting business
they are after two years of majority leader? we had in the: first year of the 114, 200 rollcall votes, previous years were 15. massive, five-year highway bill that had not happened in 20 years. we did a complete rewrite of no child left behind. a whole variety of things that were important. not going to make the front page of "the new york times," but important. there was bipartisan agreement and we got a presidential signature. did we have differences? yes, but i try to focus on the things that we could agree on that were worth doing. by any objective standard, we had a very accomplished 114th congress. what third of
conversations have you had with your friend chuck schumer who takes over for harry reid? sen. mcconnell: we will see, democrats are in a feisty mood these days. mr. goodman: will they use the filibuster on a daily basis? sen. mcconnell: they will make it difficult. i objected to changing the rules of the senate with a simple majority. it lowered the threshold for confirmations, to 51. all of these cabinet appointments they are complaining about are going to get confirmed as a direct result of what they did three years ago. i told them at the time that when the shoe was on the other foot it might not be the same thing. mr. goodman: do you plan an a second or third ,"inting of "the long game something that will talk about the statehouse in this republican victory? sen. mcconnell: that is another