tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 23, 2016 6:27am-6:51am EST
who were sort of offended by all the political correctness they see around them, and did not feel like this was the america they were accustomed to. all of that kind of came together. i thought the most extraordinary thing about trump's victory, the pollsters were correct. hillary clinton won the popular vote. what was amazing about trump's victory was he pierced the blue wall, and i have not seen a republican kerry in a very long carry in aublican very long time 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. the last time a republican presidential candidate carried michigan and wisconsin. he carried massachusetts that day so would almost does not count. he was able to break through and that is why he won a comfortable
electoral college victory. goodman: it is almost the adage, be careful what you wish for. you have now learned the majority in the kentucky state house. the president-elect comes in soon. what is the challenge 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. the way i would characterize it, if you look at the growth rate, not a single year of 3% growth rate during all the obama years. we need to average around 4% to have the kind of jobs and opportunity for the next
generation. another way i put it in speeches, it is like we have had we foot on the brake and need our 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 the highest taxes in the world, which is the principal reason jobs go offshore. we need to perform. the american people are very demanding and have a right to be demanding. they are never satisfied very long, so it is a big job to have responsibility and produce results. we intend to do it. mr. goodman: i think you would say the same thing about the state.
jeff 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 economy in both the senate and house our priorities. sen. mcconnell: yes, it will be easier. they have 64 out of 100 votes in the u.s. senate. i have 52 out of 100. many of the things we do, in fact most of the things we do require 60. there is not much i can do, republicans only in the u.s. senate. in the state house and senate with 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. mr. goodman: right to work. senator mcconnell: changing the prevailing wage law, making us eligible for public charter schools. we are one of seven states that do not allow public charter schools.
reforme kind of tort because it is a very litigious state. address those things as rapidly as possible with these super majorities. i think the governor and his whole team will be able to say this is a different kentucky from the one you look at a few years ago. we are now competitive with tennessee and indiana and our neighbors. mr. goodman: before we move to the news of the day, let me ask you this. do the democrats, or to others 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 in the senate and a 40 seat majority in the house. elections have consequences.
the first two years of president obama, there was the stimulus, obamacare, and dodd frank. six years later, there are more elected republicans at all levels of government, local, state, and federal then there have been in america in 100 years. the president himself is a unique political phenomenon. he was able to get himself elected twice. but almost every opportunity the american people have had to react to what he has actually done, they have elected more republicans. i would say to our 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. i do not expect them to support most of what we're trying to do. we did not support most of what they are trying to do. but there are times to come together.
joe biden and i made three very significant bipartisan agreements during the first obama term. there will be opportunities for us to do things together. infrastructure, for example, is a possibility. but i think they just need to accept the fact that they lost the election. these things do happen. and america will be just fine. mr. goodman: on the news of the day, sort this out for me please, sir. the russian hack, the cia, 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. it is no question the russians were messing around 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 to set up a special committee to do what we already have the ability to do. it is 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 in 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. the house did. i think our intelligence , are fully capable of handling this.
mr. goodman: your hesitation to form or ok a special committee on cyber activity, does it lessen 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 and intelligence committee -- in place and intelligence committee that is fully staffed and capable of dealing with these things. we want to know exactly what happened. there is nobody yet to suggest that they actually changed the outcome of the election. but it needs to be looked at. it is not news that the russians are messing around with other people's 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. mike pompeo, intelligence expert, number one in his class at the academy. to head the cia. if they were trying to elect a particular candidate, i think they are going to find out it did not do them any good. mr. goodman: part of your good a -- good 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. but you have to say that.
how does she greet that news? was it a surprise? sen. mcconnell: this is her original field. how she got to government in the first place, she was and elizabeth dole recruit. when elizabeth was secretary of transportation, she brought a and for a federal maritime commission. and when bush was elected she was the deputy secretary of transportation, the number two job in transportation. eight years later, when bush 43 got elected, she made an effort to get appointed secretary of transportation then. at the time, they decided to give it to a democrat. and she ended up in the labor department, and enjoyed it and spent eight years there. but this is her original area of , and it and expertise
think i am safe in saying she's excited to have an opportunity to be secretary of transportation in this new administration. mr. goodman: what has she told you, although 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. if they decide to go in that direction she will be in the middle of that. just think about all the innovations in transportation. how about driverless cars? how about drones? what an interesting time to be 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.
are you concerned about til lerson as secretary of state like some are? sen. mcconnell: i know rex well, i am not. it was his job, to be exxon ceo. they searched for gas all over the world. in many of those places, the government is not ones we are particularly fond of. i thought he did an excellent job of doing what he was hired by exxon mobil to do. i certainly did not agree with him at all that we should not have posed sanctions after the russians went into crimea. i do not have any doubt that rex tillerson will be representing the united states of america. rex will have an opportunity before the senate foreign relations 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 face the nation on sunday, in his meeting with president-elect trump, found him to be one who acts by instinct. a different style than we are accustomed to. i think everybody realizes that, knows that already. what do you think about that statement about sort of governing by instinct? sen. mcconnell: regardless of decision, you a were asking about the cabinet earlier, 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. so no matter what process he goes through, to get to an outcome, i think the appointments have been quite good. mr. goodman as i mentioned : earlier, you finished 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.
but for the effort i made to get extended to the end of april and then we will try to go for a permanent fix because these , folks deserve to be protected. their health care deserves to be protected. it is important, it is collateral damage from the decline of the coal industry, much of it attributable to the policies of barack obama, which i am hoping the new president will reverse. mr. goodman: coal remains a topic in the news. what are you going to do for these miners that have lost their jobs? the question is, are those coal jobs going to come back? sen. mcconnell: we will find out. probably not all of them, but we will find out. everyone i know in the coal business, many running companies that are now bankrupt, believe that the over regulatory environment contributed mightily. all the environmentalists say it
is just competition to natural gas. natural gas is more abundantly available. but we have had low natural gas prices of various points in the past. it is not totally new. the government itself contributed a lot to this. how much we can get back, i do not know. but we can at least deal inside the government with the regulatory part of it. i am hoping that the clean power plan regulation both directed as existing and new plants will be phased 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 anything congress passed. this is all executive branch, executive orders or regulations
by this administration, targeting the coal industry. we have seen the devastation left behind. mr. goodman: on the 21st century cures act named for beau biden, the vice president was in the chamber the day you spoke. i guess final passage of that, that is a monumental effort to rid this nation of cancer. sen. mcconnell: not just cancer. this will be remembered at the single most important piece of legislation of the 114th congress. it jumpstart's precision medicine, something the president is interested in. the cancer moon shot the vice president is interested in. i have a particular interest in regenerative medicine. what is that about? for example, taking stem cells out of 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
into a clinical trial. they took stem cells from one part of his body and put them in his eyes. he is now emailing and driving. the fda was particularly resistant to this, so there are fda reforms in their to give -- in there to give these new treatments and opportunity to move faster rather than get bogged down. it is a very significant piece of legislation, done on a bipartisan basis. 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 as majority leader? sen. mcconnell: we had in the first year of the 114, 200 rollcall votes, previous years
were 15. we passed a massive, five-year highway bill that had not happened in 20 years. we did a complete rewrite of no child left behind, elementary and secondary education. a whole variety of things that were important. not going to make the front page of "the new york times," but important. upon which 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. mr. goodman: what sort of conversations have you had with your friend chuck schumer who takes over for harry reid? senator mcconnell: it will be very interesting to see. democrats are in a feisty mood these days. mr. goodman: will they use the
filibuster on a regular 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 may be sooner than you think. mr. goodman: do you plan an or a second or third printing of "the long game," something that will talk about the statehouse and this republican victory? sen. mcconnell: that is another big thing that happened in 2016, my memoir came out. we are still doing book parties across kentucky. maybe there will be another version at some point. mr. goodman: what are you most thankful for this holiday season?
sen. mcconnell: this great country of ours is extremely resilient. we have just gone through a very nasty campaign. i know a lot of people are upset and bent out of shape about things that happened this year. i just want to remind everybody this is an extraordinarily resilient country we live in. we have had tough times where people were upset in the past. but we have had nothing like the great depression. we have had nothing like the change that came across the country when andrew jackson got elected. it was totally different than anything anyone had seen. we ought to have faith in this great country of ours. its resilience, ability to change and move in different directions. regardless of who people supported for president, they ought to feel good about our country. mr. goodman: you remain hopeful and confident.
i think my question was, are you hopeful? it sounds like you are for what lies ahead. sen. mcconnell: i am. obviously i was not happy the last eight years, but we will go in a different direction and hopefully the american people will like that. mr. goodman: thank you, making it 14, "one-to-one," hope to see you down the road. for "one-to-one," i am bill goodman. ♪ 3 join us on tuesday, january , for live coverage from the opening day of the new congress. watch the official swearing in of the new and reelected members of the house and senate, and the swearing of the speaker of the house.
begins at 7:00 eastern on c-span and c-span.org, or you can listen to it on the free c-span radio app. >> a number of senators are retiring this year. tonight, we will bring you senate tributes and farewell speeches, starting with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell .n his colleague harry reid then senators barbara boxer and kelly ayotte reflect on their careers. later, senator reid reflects on the legacy of president obama. on saturday night, it is a look at christmas at the white house including the tree arrival and the tree lighting ceremony with the obama's. begins at 8:00 eastern. elect jackive bergman spoke with c-span for a house freshmen profile interview . a