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tv   Interview with Representative Steve Russell R-OK  CSPAN  December 23, 2016 2:15am-2:25am EST

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communication and defense system that they could not provide. ditch thewilling to articles of confederation for the constitution. madison andames alexander hamilton and many others, they debated, they looked at past democracies and wondered why they failed to determine we needed a republican -- we needed a republican with checks and balances so that one side cannot usurp the other. even divided further among the branches. when we hear complaints that you cannot do anything done in washington, it was designed that way. it was designed so that there would be competing interests. i think that when you come to overlapping circles of need. that is where you can find the compromise. that is where you can find
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things that most americans can get behind and you can do. with steve russell, when we talked to you in 2015, you talked about the checks and balances and that our system of government coming into the new congress, we have a new likelycan president and a republican president where nominating to the supreme court. how important is the function of checks and balances? >> our republic has seen the pendulum swing to government and the some rare occasions, all the legislative branches being held by the same political party. we saw long stretches of a time in the 1930's and 1940's. i think as we look at it, our republic is pretty resilient. we have a judiciary branch, i think we have to respect it as
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an equal branch of government. we are unhappy with decisions that are made. it plays into the checks and balance system. these appointments will be important that the will of the american people have a chance to influence those checks and balances. >> in your world on the floor, how easy was it for you to work with the other side? fromhad a handwritten note president obama, i take great pride in that. we saw eye to eye on a couple of things. many things we did not. one thing i learned, you can always find common ground when people are in conflict, there is always something they agree to focus on. you try not to highlight the differences if you can. >> you were one of several members from 114th that we interviewed who were in iraq or afghanistan.
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what sort of influence our impact do you think your class had on the body of congress as a whole? >> a great deal. the combat veterans we saw from iraq and afghanistan, we worked very closely in a bipartisan fashion. last year and again this year, there are many things, he tammy duckworth worked very well with myself, ryan zinke he and others. we have seen eye to eye on central issues. we came together in ways that have a big influence. when you look at defense authorizations, there is an awful lot of amendments and legislation that came from us. >> where talking at the end of the 114th congress. looking back, what you think your biggest accomplishment was? >> we have become known for our targeting of waste. continuing oklahoma's legacy
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from the great dr. tom coburn and we have taken that mental and we haveto do it also turned that into true reform speaking of bipartisanship, working with matt cartwright, a democrat in pennsylvania. .e and i worked as cosponsors it will save $4 billion. even in this town, $4 billion is a real money that gets people's attention. you can always find overlapping ground. >> look ahead for the next congress, particularly the first six months, what are your hopes? >> very concerned about the posture of our military. -- wek many on both sides are always concerned about dollars in resources, what if we cannot defend our republic, then all the other things do not matter much.
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we see new partners that are trying to assist us in that effort. we see new threats that have emerged that are powerful. prepared and we have to strengthen our military. that will be a focus. foreign policy, there are some great opportunities. also with the civic and european trade initiatives, there are a lot of good things we can do. one unique thing about bipartisanship, most of the time when we leave the shores, we see i try on an awful lot when it comes to foreign policy. >> in addition to your military experience, what about your first two years of congress? have you had a chance to travel with delegations in such? >> i've been to 22 countries and i am going to three more by the end of the year. i would say yes. i have done extensive travel. i have related the trade is better than tomahawks. diplomacy is better than
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disaster. >> what do you try to do on those trips? >> i've had the pleasure to meet with heads of state, to talk about the things we share, things that are concerns. they range from our potential conflict where we don't want to be in conflict, like we see in asia. or where they deal in europe the refugee crisis that are really shaking the foundations of governance there. we see an ascendant russia that has a doctrine of reacquisition. this frightens our new nato members. i haven't touched on our african and central african and southern african partners that are concerned about their stable countries becoming unstable with what we see in the northern parts of the continent. there are a number of things we need to be engaged in. >> how have the last two years been with travel, being able to
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get back home in here from constituents and be with your family? rep. russell: sure. we have done an awful lot of engagement in our community back home. i have the capital city in my district. being an urban area, they are not always red meat like oklahoma is known for. i think that is reflected in our constituency. we have been able to engage and when we had things that might have been volatile, we have been able to work through it quite well. when i was elected, foreign policy and defense were important and people knew that , so they have allowed me to freedom and privilege to engage in that area. i also find time for personal time. i'm a voracious reader. i have read a lot of different things that are unrelated to my time in congress. i have even learned how the fly and soloed an airplane for the first time in august. >> you learned how the fly while you were -- rep. russell: you bet. why not? you always have to keep yourself moving and stretched. i made a promise to myself that i would try to live a life of
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peace and without conflict and then i ran for congress. imagine that. but it is important that we try to have a moment where we can take a step back and enjoy our great country. we're so very privileged to live here. >> steve russell, thanks for being with us. rep. russell: thank you. it is great to be with you. >> now a conversation with democrat brad ashford of nebraska's second district which took place after the elections. we begin with a clip of congressman ashford from 2015. >> as the campaign begins to unfold do you sense the republicans are moving to the right and your party moving to the left? rep. ashford: i don't know if the republicans are moving to the right particularly.
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i think the democrats need to be careful. in they have already lost a great swath of the middle of the country. by not really appealing to people in nebraska, for example. kerry ran for governor, democrats were a handful. now it is 200,000. my sense is that john boehner is not a far right conservative republican. he is a pragmatist. that's my sense. i think some of the candidates, jeb bush, for example, to me, is an -- i really admired his father. is a very appealing candidate. i think if the democrats need to bring themselves back into the center of the voting population like bill clinton did. i think bill clinton was a master at it. >> with congress brad ashford of the secois


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