tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 23, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
people demand action the old ules need to be modified and that is what we have done today. we haven't ripped them up, we've them in ways that can make things work. who in america doesn't think a democrat or republican, deserves his or her for who should run the agencies? but the american people deserve a functioning government, not gridlock. and if our government continues to be gridlocked, people are going to lose total faith in government, and it will be a different america. it is an imperative to change the rules to help break the gridlock, and that is what we
have done today. -- jennifers line steinhauer, do you think chuck schumer has any regrets over those changes now he is coming in as leader? jenifer: not that he will admit to. obviously with president-elect , trump nominating some of the most conservative cabinets arguably in generations to be , democrats -- fair, it's not as if any party would be inclined to filibuster every single cabinet nominees. that would not be done. however, they've lost every leverage to take even one that they really want to block. >> has chuck schumer shown his hand on any announcement of the incoming trump at ministration? jennifer: he has spoken negatively on almost all of them. but i think democrats will pick their shots, especially in a
rare instance where they may be able to align with the republicans. republicans have been pretty about donald trump's nominations. paul: he has said -- he said recently to another media outlet that, at the time, he kind of wanted to just only make it apply to judges, not cabinet agency nominations. he did not say that at the time. i think you see his focus -- their focus will be on tillerson for secretary of state and sort of exploring both his views, the nominee's views, and the president-elect's views on russia. i think they will focus a lot on jeff sessions. and i think they will end up focusing a lot more on immigration than sessions's own past. where there has been a lot of talk. but i think they will try to
focus it more on policy. lot ine have a look a this program at how senator schumer has worked with his caucus, with the opposition. how about his relations with president obama? jennifer: i think the relationships with the democrats in congress and with obama, especially when they went into the minority, was pretty collocated. -- complicated. i think senator reid, senator schumer, and others really wanted more from the white house than they got sometimes. we all know that president obama ran cool, and they wanted him to run more hot, to have their back, if you will, in some of their fights. they didn't feel he and his staff engaged intensely enough. paul: schumer's relationship with not really the president but the president's staff was always particularly touchy. two years ago, after they lost the 2014 midterms, schumer
delivered a speech, kind of threw it together, almost, and went to the national press club and said outside what he had been saying privately for a long time. that he was not sure pushing for the affordable care act in 2009 and early 2010 was the right time to have done that. and it came across as critical. and, boy, the entire of obama alumni network sprung into action and just attacked schumer for days on end after that. host: as the president's term is winding down, in the last few months, he kind of butted heads with the president on this 9/11 bill. what can you tell us about that before we show a clip of that? paul: i can tell you that the political power of 9/11 is still very much alive and real. it overcame a lot of forces that were try to shut it down. basically, it was a bill that would allow people who lost
loved ones, family members, in the 9/11 attacks to try to sue the saudi government for their alleged role in having people financially supporting the terrorists. it was a bill that the obama administration thought was going to roil their carefully negotiated layers in the middle east and they cannot stop it. and schumer, being the new yorker, this is one time -- and i will defer to jennifer on this -- but that was his -- jennifer: he said that twice, in the iran bill, too. that really enraged the white house. because they thought that he would take other democrats within. that is where we see the chuck schumer who cares a whole lot about his voters and his interest in new york. that may be one of the things we will be watching him balance as
leader of his party, how much he can still be doing things specifically for the state of new york. host: how -- harder to do that as leader of your party and the senate? jennifer: i would anticipate he will reap pretty pro-new york, but probably not so much in the time he can devote. host: would it be easier to oppose the president on the 9/11 bill and the sanctions bill because the president was a lame duck president? paul: probably. the iran bill was a tougher problem, because the democratic base by large across the country , was supportive of it. and he was going against a president who was still popular with liberal voters. jasta was -- it became so politically bad, toxic, to be on the other side of that argument that it passed by unanimous consent in both the house and senate. jennifer: there was basically no
debate. paul: but that became an easier fight for him. host: to be clear the speech we , are going to show you next is senator schumer talking about -riding the -- over president's veto. this is from september this year. [video clip] >> i rise today, to speak on behalf of my bill, the justice against sponsors of terrorism act, jasta. soon, we will vote on whether or not to override the president's veto of this bill. this is a decision i do not take lightly. but, as one of the authors of this legislation and a firm believer in its purpose, i believe the senate should confidently vote to override, and i will lay out the reasons why as clearly as i can. the bill is near and dear to my heart as a new yorker, because it would allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice, finally
giving them the legal avenue to pursue the foreign sponsors of a terrorist attack that took the lives of their loved ones. the courts in new york, unfortunately, have dismissed the claims against foreign entities alleged of having connections in the 9/11 attacks. these courts are filing what i believe is a fundamentally incorrect reading of the foreign sovereign immunities act. do we really want it established in precedent that foreign countries directly responsible for financing terrorist acts on u.s. soil are beyond the reach of justice? i don't think so. i don't think that, in an age where we have state sponsors of terrorism, i don't think that is what the foreign service amenities act ever intended. so for the sake of these families, it should be made clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that every entity, including foreign states, will
be held accountable if they are sponsors of heinous acts like 9/11. host: jennifer steinhauer, you said he has been a proponent of all things new york in his career. how have you seen his style ve in terms ofol his presentation on the floor and elation ship with membership on the four? jennifer: paul earlier made a reference to his famous news conferences. though it's something cliche about chuck schumer that are a thing of the past. schumer is not running at the cameras or, in other cases knocking over other members of , congress to get front of the cameras. one of the greatest, most subtle evolution people have been following these years is that he has made the difficult move to become more for other people, helping people win, helping people raise money, helping people win and maintain power, helping people get legislation passed.
houston one to take the credit for the bills. bill given toet a someone else for credit. host: let's talk about the relationship with the outgoing harry reid and mitch mcconnell. in one of your pieces, you said he was a protege of reid but had a better relationship with mitch mcconnell. jennifer: i think a better relationship than harry reid. harry reid and mitch mcconnell had a relationship that deteriorated significantly in recent years. in some sense, the relationship with mitch mcconnell and senator schumer was the cause of a lot of it. i think that there is a sense that they both want that relationship to be there, and they will try to make it work. host: in the absence of harry reid, how do you see that relationship looking like with mitch mcconnell? paul: first of all the , relationship between reid and
schumer reached an epic level. they really became each other's yin and yang. i don't know how chuck schumer will function in the senate without harry reid. that is just going to be an odd thing. he is so used to having reid there for sort of a more intuitive feel in decision-making. how does he get along with mcconnell? i think it will depend. it will depend on how partisan mcconnell is going to try to go with some of the legislation. it will depend -- a real big early flashpoint will be the supreme court nominee. we've had this vacancy now for nine or 10 months. trump is my to put up a nominee pretty quickly. and they still have the filibuster. are the democrats going to try to filibuster this nominee as sort of payback for the way merrick garland was never even given so much as a hearing? that could deteriorate the
relationship pretty quickly if mcconnell accuses schumer of doing things that mcconnell himself might have done, but that will be a first key test. host: who is senator schumer is go to senator? who replaces chuck schumer? for a lack of a better comparison. paul: i don't know that anybody can replace chuck schumer. but i think patty murray of washington is his most trusted lieutenant. he and durbin still have this sort of leftover friction. patty murray is getting an enhanced title and responsibilities in her job, moving up to the number three spot in leadership. i think that will be a key relationship. and then there are some other people here and there. some of them are in lower-level leaderships, like debbie stabenow. some are out in the committees, where you will see ranking
members like jack reed of rhode island. host: there's quite a range in the new leadership that he has chosen. jennifer: it's true. i also tend to think of senators he helped get elected. there is a core personal relationship. they spent a lot of time together. there's a lot of mutual gratitude. he invested something personal in those men and women. paul: the 2018 class of the democrats coming up, a bunch of them were elected in 2006. sherrod brown, jon tester. and those are the people he got elected. so he is really going to want to see those folks win, because they are his closest friends. host: in terms of close, personal relationships, paul did an interview with senator schumer. let's take a look. [video clip] some people may not know this, but you are a master. i saw you run into brian and katie fallon.
one of your most esteemed couples, former workers who got married because they worked for you. first question -- how many schumer couples are there right now? sen. schumer: mike lynch, my chief of staff, he is a schumer marriage. a schumer marriage is, you did not know each other, you met on schumer staff, and got married. 13. and three cooking. [laughter] paul: that is some pressure. sen. schumer: not saying who they are. to importune, in certain instances, in my characteristically delicate way. but sometimes on the last, no. paul: is it because you are such a demanding boss that they have no life other than the office that they end up getting married together? sen. schumer: a good spin on marriages is, do to my great -- due to my great chief of staff,
the closest knit staff, they celebrate all the holidays together. we are a very -- and they go out drinking a lot. [laughter] but we are the closest knit staff would be the good spin. and the bad stain is yours, that they work so hard they do not have a chance to meet anybody else. host: any change is expected in his staff? paul: he will definitely expand his staff. you do get, essentially, dozens of positions that now come open. some of those will be holdovers and will stick around, people that have certain expertise in parliamentary procedure are really hard to find. so some of those will stick around. others -- one of a fallouts that is beneficial in how bad things went for democrats is the stack of resumes of people applying for these jobs with senator schumer now is a lot different
and a lot higher and a lot more because nobody is going into an administration job nobody's going into the west , wing. that means he will have some higher caliber talents. those announcements are going to be coming in the next couple of weeks. host: changes for senator schumer in terms of staff or approach the job? jennifer: in terms of staff, picking up on what paul said, it is not easy to work with paul -- four chuck schumer. he implies that there. we know he has these monday night murder boards, where they come in, he comes in from new york as late as he possibly can and he votes or does his thing, and then his staff comes in, one by one, to brief him on the important items of the week, some as late as 10:30 at night. so you need to know your stuff, or you will not succeed in chuck schumer land. it will be very challenging. i'm sure he will be very picky. it will be interesting to see if he can continue that monday night tradition, just how
micromanaging he can remain, certainly on local issues and even broader policy issues, if he is busy leading. host: let's talk about new yorker versus new yorker. donald trump and chuck schumer. a tweet you mentioned, paul kane, donald trump tweeted shortly after the election, "i've always had a good relationship with chuck schumer. he is far smarter than harry reid and has the ability to get things done. good news." here you have manhattan versus brooklyn. what are you looking for? paul: i'm looking to see whether these two have this good relationship. schumer has been to mar-a-lago when he was chair of the dnc for a fundraiser, raised $250,000 at trump's venue. he is very stern in saying "i don't have a good relationship with him." "some of his rental places were
in my district" and "i knew him a little bit when i was in the house." again, i am going to go back to that supreme court take. --t will tell us a lot about pick. that will tell us a lot about chuck schumer and if he will try to marginalize him. jennifer: here's the thing about chuck schumer. he is the only person in washington that donald trump actually knows. he has laid eyes on paul ryan a half dozen times in nine months. he has no relationship with miss maccallum, -- mitch mcconnell, and he has no cultural connection to him whatsoever. he knows chuck schumer many years. he donated to his campaign. they are from the same state. they ran somewhere in the same -- somewhat in the same circles in that they were both powerful new yorkers. so they know each other. they have some thing to work with. that does not mean they will see eye to eye on policy nominations. and i'm sure chuck schumer will to all theosition things democrats want to oppose. but when it comes the things getting done, i will bet on
chuck schumer and donald trump more than with mitch mcconnell. paul kane and jennifer steinhauer, talking about the democratic leadership of senator charles schumer. thanks to both of you for joining us. paul: thank you. jennifer: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> join us for the opening day of the new congress. watch the swearing in of the new and returning members of the senate. the all-day live coverage of capitol hill begins 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org . or you can listen to it free on the c-span radio app. russian president vladimir putin held his end today. one of the "l highlights is that heauded -- one of the highlights is that he lauded win.'s
he credited his victory to the ability to read the country. the president-elect released a letter from vladimir putin, dated december 15, of congratulations, saying, "i hope after you soon the position of president of the united states, we can take real steps to affirm the framework of bilateral cooperation." by the way, that news conference with vladimir putin, we will air portions of it later on the c-span networks. read more at the hill -- th ehill.com. in 2015, c-span conducted a series of interviews with the then new members of the 114th members of conflict -- congress. we spoke with some of them again. have they dozen of them, or publicans and democrats, talked about the election and other
issues. i think the: framing of the constitution was a giant compromise. you had the states that wanted autonomy. a road ande need for communication and defense system that they could not provide. ditchy were willing to articles of confederation for the constitution. they labored over it. and jay and james madison alexander hamilton. they debated. study. look at past democracies and wondered why they failed. determined we needed a representative republic with checks and balances, so that one side cannot usurp the other. and even divided it further among the branches. so when you hear anything complains that you cannot get anything done in washington, it was designed that way. literally designed so that there would be competing interests.
i think that when you come to overlapping circles of lead, that is where you can find the compromise. where you can find the things most americans can get behind and can do. we are with congressman steve russell, from that the fifth district of oklahoma. when we talk to you in 2015, you talked about the checks and balances and system of government. coming into the new congress, we have a republican senate now. and likely a republican president nominating someone to the supreme court. how important is the function of checks and balances now and how does that happen with republican control? rep. russell: our republic has seen the pendulum swing. in some rare occasions, the legislative and exited of -- executive branch being held by the same political party. we saw it for long shards of
time in the 1930's and 1940's. as we look at it, our republic is pretty resilient and we have a judiciary branch. i think we have to respect the judiciary branch as an equal branch of government. a lot of times, we are unhappy with the decisions that have been made for one reason or another. it just plays into the checks and balance system. so these apartments will be important that the role of the american people has a chance to influence those checks and balances. >> in your world on the floor and committee, how easy was it for you to work with the other side of the aisle? rep. russell: gosh, i have a handwritten note from president obama. that. great ride in we saw eye to eye on a couple of things. many things we did not. one thing i learned as a leader -- you can always find common ground. there's always something they
agree with. and you try not to highlight the differences. >> you are one of several the 114thembers from who are in iraq or afghanistan veterans. what sort of impact do you think your class of veterans had on the body as a whole and congress as a whole? rep. russell: a great deal. in fact, the combat veterans we saw from iraq and afghanistan, we work closely in a bipartisan faction -- fashion. even this year. we have seen eye to eye on central issues, and we came together in ways that had a big influence. in fact, when you look at the defense authorizations, there is a lot of amendments and legislation that came just from us. >> we are looking back over the
past two years. what do you think your biggest -- was? rep. russell: we are continuing oklahoma's legacy from the great dr. tom colburn. we have taken that mantle. and in order to do it, we have our waste watch series. we also turn that into true reform. speaking of bipartisanship, working with matt cartwright, a democrat from pennsylvania. he and i worked as cosponsors of an act that estimated $4 billion licensure performs. even in this towns, $4 billion is still real money that gets people's attention. you can always find overlapping ground. host: in addition, look at to the next congress. what are your hopes and expectations? rep. russell: very concerned about the posture of our military. i think many are, on both sides
of the aisle. we are always concerned about dollars and resources, but if we cannot defend our republic, then all of the other things really do not matter much. we have seen you partners that are trying to assist us in that effort, but we also see new threats that have emerged there are powerful old threats we did not imagine we would face again. to strengthen our military. that will be a focus. foreign policy, there are great opportunities among our english-speaking partners around the world. also with the position -- pacific and european trade initiatives. there are a lot of good things we can do. t thing-- and one nea about bipartisanship, we often see i to i on foreign policy. host: what about your first two years in congress? have you had a chance to travel with congressional delegations? rep. russell: i have been 222
countries this term and are going to three more by the end of the year. so yes, extensive travel. i have often related that trade is better than tomahawks and diplomacy better than disaster. host: what had he tried to do on those trips? rep. russell: i have met with heads of state to talk about things we share, things that are concerns. they have ranged from our potential conflict, where we do not want to be in conflict, like we see in asia, or like we do with europe. the refugee crises that are shaking the foundations of governance there. we see it in a sunday, which has a doctrine of re-acquisition. on i have not even touched our central and southern african partners that are concerned stable countries becoming unstable with what we
see in the northern parts of the continent. there are a lot of things to be engaged in. host: how that steve russell personally. how are things with travel, meeting with constituents and being with your family? rep. russell: we have done a lot of engagement with 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. but we have also been able to engage. and when we have had think that they have been volatile, we have been able to actually work with quite well. when i was elected, foreign policy and defense were important. 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. host: 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 after my wars that i would try to live a life of 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. constant from the fifth district in oklahoma. -- congressman from the fifth district in obama. thanks for being with us. rep. russell: thank you. it is great to be with you. >> do you think 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. i think the democrats need to be careful. they have already lost a great swath of the middle of the country. by not really appealing to
people in nebraska, for example. when bob kerry ran for senate governor, the number of republicans over 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 who, to me, is appealing -- 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. >> we have congressman brad ashford of the district of second nebraska. we just showed a clip to our viewers of our interview in
2015, where you said that democrats were losing some of their appeal in the middle of the country, and republicans back then had not moved that far to the right. where do you think the parties stand now in 2016? rep. ashford: garlic any younger in the clip? sorry. i think the trump phenomenon could not have been predicted in early 2015. i do think the democratic party does need to get back to the center and they need to talk directly to the needs of working people, and that means specific, clear messaging that talks about what we, as a party, stand for regarding work, your children, college education, all of those -- college tuition, all of those issues -- health care, all of those issues that affect families. so i think that the messaging has to change. certainly be more pragmatic.
when i first came into office, the real issue was destroying isis. that's where everybody was focused, more or less. now, that seems to be pivoting a little bit away from that. host: you lose a close election this year. tell us about the things you feel you got done, that you're proud of, and some of the things left undone. rep. ashford: unquestionably some things for the district. the runway at often air force utt air force base, it is a local issue, certainly, but it is a national security issue. developing a center for infectious disease and research and training at the university of nebraska medical center, working on the hospital for v.a. those are localized kind of things with national implications. really, as i look back at it, it was my time on the armed services committee, three trips to the middle east changing the , direction of the fight against isis by funding the military in
manner, doing it in a nonpartisan way, increasing the air war against isis. those kind of things happened within the last two years. i think those are accomplishments for the entire team. i was part of it, and i was proud to be part of it. >> as you leave congress, what's your best guidance for your successor as he comes in? rep. ashford: well, you really is to be independent. i think, being from a small state, especially early in your career, i felt going in that i wanted to look at the issue in front of me, not necessarily the party's solution to the problem. and i think that served me well. we have been named the fifth most bipartisan member, and i think we have been independent. i think that's what nebraskans want. that is kind of the base level standard for nebraska members. and so my successor is a good guy. had great career in the military. i think he would be wise to continue on that tradition.
but i'll leave it up to him. >> you talked, in our 2015 interview, about fundraising. two years goes by in the blink of an eye, i suppose. tell us a little bit about how difficult the fundraising aspect of it is. rep. ashford: it takes away dramatically from what should be the focus here. and it is not so much of the actual fundraising itself, but the pressure to fund raise. everything sort of morphs into that. everything political morphs into that, whether it is a two-year term. i think what it really is is the citizens united impact of allowing money to flow into elections without any idea where the money is coming from. so my campaign, for example, at the end of the day, it wasn't money raised by my opponent that influenced the election. it was the exorbitant amount of money that came in from outside groups through the leadership
pac on the republican side. millions and millions of dollars. well, i could never raise enough money to compete against that. we had groups that came in and supported us too, but i think the lesson from that is we have got to ratchet that down somehow, and i know that is a constitutional problem and the courts will have to test that again. we have gone way too far on having political money raising as a free speech issue. i don't think it really is the way it has morphed into the way it is now. it takes the candidates out of the game, in many respects, and gives the ball to these outside groups. >> in terms of the day-to-day operations in the house and your job, we'll would be your suggestion on how to change the process here on capitol hill? rep. ashford: well, you know, it is -- i come from a unicameral state. i come from a nonpartisan state. we don't do this. it is so different.
we don't have -- we don't really have a rules committee in the traditional sense of the congress. so bills come out of committee and move to the floor. i know that can be done in the congress. it is not done now. i think a much more free flowing processing of legislation is the best way to go. through the committee structure. any movement we could get back to the committees having more control over how the debate occurs on the floor without the intervention over the rules -- of the rules committee. i know george norris, actually, and going back -- i hate to do this to you -- but going back to 1908, led the effort against speaker canon here to restrict the power of the speaker in deciding what legislation comes to the floor. i think we're kind of at that place again. >> going back to politics for a moment, tell us what it was like to campaign during this very intense presidential campaign. what was it like for you on the local level? rep. ashford: my campaign started the day i got here.
i mean, my opponent announced that he was going to run and that we needed a change, even though i had yet to find my apartment or my office. and i am being somewhat flip -- i don't mean to be. i think the campaigning is way over -- takes way too much time and effort away from the process of governing for everybody in the house. how do we do that? i think -- i have a rule, actually joe manchin has the same rule in the senate. that is that you never work against the people you work with. so i would no more work against a republican in an election then -- than the man in the middle. if i'm working with a republican , or any republican, i simply would not work against them. i think this idea of republican leadership and democratic leadership, people obviously supporting their own candidates
but in a way that the money raising side and activity side, it really takes the actual member out of the process, and it disrupts the relationships that exist between members, just because they are people. so we take the human element out of it, and we interpose this rather -- i don't even know how the describe it. but it is counterintuitive, certainly because your intuition , is to make friends and develop relationships. and this process of campaigning interferes dramatically. i think -- there is no turnover in the house or very little. i'm one of the few turnover people. i come from a significant -- well plus four or five , republican district. so it is always going to be a tough districts for democrats anyway. so i don't see what anybody gains by these kinds of tactics. >> what has been the toughest part, hardest part, about being a member of congress? rep. ashford: i suppose the hardest part mainly is just the
slowness of the process and the not being able to -- i'm used to 16 years in nebraska unicameral, where big issues where dealt with. never perfectly, because perfection is the enemy in legislating but the fact that we , could not do an infrastructure bill and immigration bill. we need infrastructure reform. or infrastructure focus. we need tax reform. we need to think about how we're going to look at the world globally. what kind of trade relations we should have. those are huge issues that affect jobs today. and we don't do anything about it. it is unbelievable to me. i mean, we did not shut the government down, so we are conscious that. >> lastly, what is next for congressman ashford? rep. ashford: i would love to come back some day. i love doing this. i love legislating. that's what i do. so someday, maybe the opportunity will arise when i can continue to serve in a legislative capacity.
i just love serving my state and my people and my constituents. it is gratifying. i love it. i love the issues. so someday. if not, i have always been engaged in public service in omaha, one way or another. so i am sure there is something they need me to do when i get back. >> congressman brad ashford, best of locke and thanks for being with us. rep. ashford: thank you very much. news article that said you have a regular practice of entering the house chamber through the doors on the democratic side of the aisle. why do you do that? rep. macarthur: i started to do know,think, just, you sometimes you go in one side, and sometimes you go in the other side. but i stop and talk to people. and ever since, which has been really most of my time here, i do it most of my time now. because i see my republican colleagues at different event, social events, political events.
we have plenty of opportunity to be with my republican colleagues, but less so with my democratic colleagues. one of the things i observed, even before i took office, during the orientation process is that partisanship is sort of built into the dna of this place. and if you're not intentional about overcoming it, you just slip into being a republican or democrat, with very little interaction. so it may seem like a simple gesture, but for me, it is the opportunity to get to know people. >> have you seen other members trying to make that intentional effort at bipartisanship? rep. macarthur: i think , yes, there are certainly classmates of mine, people that came in at the same time, that believe we were sent here to make the place work. you simply cannot do that if you are only focused on your own party. you can get away with it some of the time on issues where there is broad support of the party,
but on issues where it could go one way or another, if you don't cultivate real genuine relationships with people in the other party, then i think those are lost moments. >> congressman tom macarthur from new jersey, we just showed our viewers part of our conversation where you talked about your efforts on bipartisanship, starting initially with walking in on the democratic side of the house. we head into the 115th congress with republicans in control of the house and senate again, and now a republican president. what does bipartisanship look like and what did you learn from the 114th and what does it look like going into the 115th? rep. macarthur: well, i still do that, actually. two years later. i think bipartisanship means working together with people that don't always see things the same way. i think it is really important that republicans, now that we control congress and the white house, we have -- in my view, we have to really make sure to be careful to do that.
the members here from the other side also represent about 750,000 people apiece. and we can't have half of our country angry with our direction and the other half happy with it. we have to find ways to work together, and i intend to do that in this next congress. >> clearly, something resonated for you. you come off an election winning re-election, a republican winning in a district, i understand, that president obama had won twice in a row, 2008 and 2012. donald trump wins that district. you win in that district. what's going on in your district that -- rep. macarthur: it is a good question. what is going on in my district is what's going on across america. we have people that see things differently. it doesn't need to make them enemies. in half of my district, i have far more republicans than democrats, and in the other half of my district, i have far more democrats than republicans. i won both of those counties.
i did it by making sure that i paid attention to what people on both sides of the aisle insist on, and i -- clearly donald trump, president-elect trump, clearly presented an alternate path that appealed to enough americans that he has been elected, and we have to respect that, but we also need to be careful to work with both sides and make sure the government actually works for all the people. and i'm committed to that in this next congress. >> what were some of the legislative efforts that were your big successes in the 114th and some of those constituents efforts as well? rep. macarthur: i'll start with the second part of that question, because it comes first. i have to serve, as every member of congress does, we have to remember our constituents fir and foremost. they sent us here, and while we represented the whole country
and look at the whole country, we very specifically represent the 750,000 people that are back home. so i've been very accessible in my district, whenever i'm back in new jersey, i'm out and about. i have a lot of town halls, coffees with the congressman, and just make myself accessible. we have recovered now about $4 million for constituents on individual case work. we have opened thousands of cases, and i'll continue to do that. we've had forums on everything from the opioid abuse problem, which is rampant in my area, to sandy relief efforts that haven't gone well. so first and foremost for me is constituent service, and then, on the legislative side, i'm very happy with the heroin bill that we got passed. the comprehensive addiction recovery act. i'm continuing to work with the opioid task force to try to help with that.
and i'm thrilled with the preservation of the kc-10 tanker at the joint base, and i'm going to continue to work on that as well. >> on the sandy efforts, in our original interview, you were fairly critical of fema on their efforts towards helping families in new jersey and in your district in particular. where do things stand now? rep. macarthur: i'm still critical of fema. i don't think there has been enough accountability. i still have thousands of people that haven't gotten a fair shake from the federal government, the very agency that was set up to help victims of disaster relief. and these people are still fighting the fight. i don't think there has been enough accountability. it is one of my legislative priorities from the 115th congress, is to make sure that part of fema is being reauthorized. i want to be at the table during that reauthorization. i want to make sure there is more accountability and make sure we continue to have a federal backstop that helps people in disaster-prone areas.
115thding into the congress, what do you plan to do differently? rep. macarthur: that is a good question. i certainly intend to continue in the things that we talked about, bipartisan efforts, focus on strong national security. maybe i intend to get more focused on some of the national flood relief issues. i think there is more that needs to be done in the heroin abuse. i'm very concerned about that. so i may be taking a deeper dive into some of the things that i started in this first congress. >> what do you think when the congress gavels in in january, what should be the first issue the house takes up anyway? rep. macarthur: i think the american people have made it clear they want to see reform to the healthcare system. i think they made it clear they want to see some comprehensive reform to our immigration system. in my view, in all of those reforms, we have to make sure we do it carefully enough that we don't leave people behind.
i think tax reform is essential if we're going to get our economy growing again. my guess is those are, in fact, the three areas we start with. >> you come to this position after a successful career in the insurance business and running a foundation. what has been the most -- your favorite part of this new job as a congressman? rep. macarthur: just being here. look at the room we're in. we're in a statuary hall, the house of representatives. the people's house. it is an incredible privilege to be here and to represent my neighbors in the u.s. capitol, and that never gets old for me. i live six blocks -- when i'm here, six flags up east capitol. i look at the capitol dome the entire way to the office in the morning. it is just a tremendous privilege to be here. >> new jersey's congressman tom macarthur. thanks for being with us. rep. macarthur: thank you, bill.
>> you mentioned leadership. and we should point out you were elected by your peers as freshman whip and appointed as senior whip. why do you think they gave you those assignments and what does it mean to you? what do you hope to accomplish? rep. lawrence: well, the senior whip was occupied by stenny hoyer. i asked that question. do know i'm a freshman, right?" he said "yes. when i look at your background and the path that you have taken and the skills and voice you bring," he said that is the talent he wants to bring. as a senior whip you are hearing the chances, the legislation and the bills and you are sitting there to bring perspective. how does this impact? what do you think is good about that? what i want to do is continue to bring that skill set that i have
and that i am so proud of to the discussion of the federal government. we were a freshman class of some amazing people. and we have stayed really close. putso to have the class their trust in me, and i sent to a newsletter to them, tell me what we're doing, to different members, to make sure we keep that closeness. >> congresswoman renda lawrence of michigan, we asked you in our interview in 2015, you talking about your leadership role in the freshman class, following this presidential election, what are you telling your freshmen members about the road ahead in the house? rep. lawrence: i tell them to expect a very, very demanding pace. some of them, from state legislatures where they have a time of day that they vote. i asked them to understand that
-- i came in thinking the other side of the aisle, those people , that i have found some of the republicans to be amazing individuals. that was kind of surprising to me. and then also to understand that you need to keep your passion. while we have to work together and legislate, you can't -- you have to have a core sense of what you believe in. what your constituents want. and you have to -- your vote is your vote. >> democrats picked up a few seats in the election, but you're in the minority still, in the house. what's that passion? what is that core interest of your constituents that still carries on into the next congress, for you? rep. lawrence: my constituents constantly use the word, "we need you to fight for us." we need you to understand, have a very diverse population. issues of immigration. issues of criminal justice.
issues, when it comes to education and funding, of those core things we need in our community. they say we need you to fight. we understand you are in the minority, but we never want you to sit there and not stand up and be a voice for us. >> given that the house and senate remain republican, a republican president, what do you think the pace will be like in the 115th congress? rep. lawrence: this is going to be a difference, because we have the checks and balance of a veto. we don't now. i don't know how the trump administration, the republican agenda, how they are going to align. so that's going to be interesting to watch. the democratic party, we are going to really enhance, revamp, and really solidify our message and our platform. we must. this election taught us a lot. >> what is the most important thing you have learned in these first two years in office?
i have learned -- rep. lawrence: i have learned that my vote does matters. i learned that finding out the reason why -- what is the real core of the language of the bill? what are we trying to achieve? is this -- even though it may not be my bill, it may not be my language, will it impede my core values? will it be in contrast? and will its move america forward? >> you have plenty of michigan experience, legislative experience. in terms of learning what is in bills and the language in bills and the amount of work you had contrast compare and your work here in the house and your previous work in other elect did -- elected positions? rep. lawrence: in other elected positions, i had the latitude, the time and the luxury of knowing and owning every piece of legislation. i knew everything, as a mayor,
that moved in my city. here, your staff is so important. and if i can say something to my new members, you have to bring our qualified staff. and they have to be people who strengthen you and keeping you informed, because the pace here is one i have never experienced in of the -- in any other office i have held. >> you said even on a losing vote, every vote counts. tell us about what you feel is your biggest accomplishment, whether that was a piece of legislation or something that you made happen for a constituent. rep. lawrence: one of my bills, my first bills, was about foster care. i have found my voice. foster children do not have a family or a parent to advocate for them. they are wards of the court. and what we do in legislation to support them and protect them. i, in the education bill, passed everyndment that says
school district that takes federal dollars must track and support the advancements and educational outcomes of foster children, so that we can now start investing and ensure our -- are children graduating? are they progressing at the grade level they should? that was powerful for me. now i'm on the caucus here. i'm going to make a difference for those children, and that, to me, is a major sense of accomplishment. >> how difficult or easy was it, working and getting republican support for measures like that? rep. lawrence: it was bipartisan. that is something that was refreshing for me. the affair -- of the other thing was the skill workforce congress. we need a skilled trade workforce. that's been bipartisan. we are building that caucus to say in america, we legislatively have to have an agenda to build a workforce so they can sustain our economy and move it forward
and be competitive. >> you mentioned success, bipartisan success in foster care and now into adoption. give us another area in the 115th you think there might be an avenue for you to work in a bipartisan way with republicans. rep. lawrence: transportation. infrastructure. flint -- i was one of those voices fighting in the flint situation. infrastructure and transportation is one that both candidates talked about in their agenda. that is a place that i have a voice, coming from michigan, coming from the area where i have water, i have international borders, i have automotives, roads and bridges, i was a mayor. these are things that i can bring a voice, and i will be fighting for infrastructure and transportation. we are almost in the third world condition in america, and we need leadership in that area. >> lastly, as we wrap up, you won re-election, obviously. congratulations. rep. lawrence: thank you.
>> your state went for donald trump. tell us briefly about your election experience and what you're taking away from other michiganders on donald trump's win. rep. lawrence: what i took away from that is sweet, as democrats, need to make sure our message is inclusive of all people. , we have beenu the conscious, i feel, in our government, where we are the voice for those who don't have a voice. somewhere, we missed our target, when it comes to rural america and white america. we need to make sure that our message is inclusive of all people, which is what we stand for, and i have learned that from this and i'm going to work with our democratic party to make sure that never again does any segment of our community feel that they are not part of our agenda. >> congresswoman brenda lawrence from detroit, michigan. thanks for being with us. rep. lawrence: thank you so much. thank you. >> i usually go to sleep around
12:00 or 1:00 and our back up early around 5:00 or 6:00. >> when you are in washington, where do you stay? where do you live? in longworth. i stay in my office and my hotel room. it is a big closet. great camaraderie. there are so many of us. >> is it because it is expensive to live in washington, for a congressman? rep. zeldin: for me, i just remember a few years back, when i had visited here. chris gibson was one of my battalion commanders in the second airborne division. i remember in 2010, the class coming in and i remember thinking then, wow, if i was elected as part of that class, i think i would be doing the exact same thing. there are a lot of different factors to it. i enjoy it. it might be the army in me. i have an air mattress put down. and it is all good. >> we're with congressman lee zeldin of new york's first
district. in our interview back in 2015, we asked you about your sleeping accommodations on capitol hill. you said you were sleeping on an air mattress in your office. is that still the case, and if so, are you planning to upgrade in the 115th? rep. zeldin: i have upgraded. i am actually on a roll-away. no longer on an air mattress. but still one of many members who stay in our office here. home, for me, is back on long island. while we're here, from the moment i wake until the moment i go to sleep, non-stop working. >> aside from your personal comfort, what is the biggest lesson you learned in the first two years? rep. zeldin: there is actually a lot that gets done, where republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives work together. but there seems, like, to be no room for a lot of national media to talk about when everything
positive gets done. telling people when their government is working for them. so you go back home and you ask people what their thoughts are and what their perspectives are of their government, their concern, they are pessimistic when things don't get done when they should. that is right. they should be upset. but they do not, into enough intoct -- they do not come enough contact with good news. i noticed first term on education, infrastructure, overhauling the sustainable growth rate, almost 250 times , the republican congress and democratic president worked together to get something across the finish line. unfortunately a lot of american , public is not aware of that. >> what is another issue you talked about in that 2015 interview, you said your district had the second highest population of vets in country. how do you think the past two years have fared for vets, both in terms of what congress has done, and administration efforts? ofthere have been a lot
bills passed by the house to help our veterans on so many different fronts. is, there will always be more that can and should be done for our veterans as a new administration comes in, new secretary is picked, the vision for the future is set. there's a lot more that can be done with the way construction budgets are being run. over-medicating patients, employers, supervisors instructing employees to falsify wait time lists. accountability culture, some laws have to get changed. there is a lot more that can be done with the next congress and new administration. >> the new administration already laying out an aggressive platform for the first one hundred days straight leader mccarthy laying out a very busy schedule for the house. what are your hopes and expectations, at least for the first part of the 150th? >> i expect it to be very busy.
there's a lot to do. on the senate side on top of all the legislation and appropriation work, they have confirmations of cabinet members, a new supreme court justice. on the legislative front and the appropriation side from obamacare to border security to tax reform, infrastructure our v.a.,improving there's a lot of work to get done in the first 100 days. >> have you mapped out for yourself how you're going to balance all of that work and balance the needs of your constituents back home? rep. zeldin: well, the good news is a lot of what i described is not just for our country but more my constituents back home. we have on the first congressional district heard from many constituents who are deeply concerned with the way obamacare has impacted their
families, their employers. they care deeply about these border security issues and the need to improve our tax policy. we do have a lot of local specific priorities that we're going to be very focused on, at the same time a lot of the border national topics that are being debated and are all set up for action in 2017, those are important for my district too. >> you won your first race with nearly 60% of the vote. how difficult was its or was it difficult running for re-election given the tenor of the presidential election? rep. zeldin: my best advice for anyone who becomes a member of congress when they ask what is the secret? it is to do your job. over the course of my entire first term, when we're home in the district, the e-mails, the mail, trying to get certain goals across the finish line. having a good team. responding to constituents. there is so much that goes into a productive first term that a
lot works itself out when you get closer to that time for constituents, voters to be heading to the ballot box. >> what didn't work for you in the first two years? something perhaps the voters don't know about but you're thinking to yourself we're not going to go that routes, you're changing things in your office or the way you approach your day-to-day work or the economy on the floor? rep. zeldin: the experience mend make me and my entire team better prepared for serving in congress. a lot of those freshman lessons that you learn as far as staffing, how to get a bill in committee and communicating with the media and the public and a lot of those freshman lessons we didn't actually experience. i would say if i didn't have those four years in the new york state senate, maybe it would have been a little bit different. i don't look back with any regrets or lessons learned to say i wish i did something a little bit differently.
>> we have seen the new class for the 115th come in. have you had a chance to speak to any of the members of that class from new york delegation or elsewhere? rep. zeldin: i sure have. i know what it feels like for them. they are so excited. they are coming in at a unique time. came in for the last two years of president obama's time in office. they are coming in at the start of the first two years of president-elect trump's time in office. so their two years will be a little bit different from my first two years. just from that dynamic. they are so energized. they are inspired. they know about the opportunities short-term. you get a lot of energy talking to each and every one of them. they are fired up and ready to hit the ground running. >> lee zeldin, thanks for with us. rep. zeldin: thank you. >> where in guatemala is your
family from and have you been back there? rep. torres: i have. i'm from a coastal estate. i have been back twice, once as mayor and three years ago i went as a state assembly member. i was invited by the government the second time around. it is very difficult for me to travel to guatemala. i'm very popular. i had no idea that they had been following my political life. in the central american countries. this is an issue that we have been trying to address. the governments are very, very corrupt and the people saw me as this is an example of someone who, you know works full time, works the graveyard shift, you know, and still serves their community. i think that's what they want to see out of their government. >> in fact, aren't you the highest ranking guatemalan in our government today? rep. torres: i am.
that is a very difficult position to be in. not only do i have my district to represent, but we get calls from all over the u.s. it is quite an honor that the people from the 35th congressional district have given me. >> we're with california congress come norma torres. we showed our audience a clip of our last interview with you in 2015 talking about your almost celebrity stat us in guatemala and abroad. how has that community reacted to the 2016 presidential election? rep. torres: it has been very tough for them adapting to what the reality is. we have a president that was pretty mean-spirited to immigrants in the u.s. and abroad. they are pretty scared.
my job now is to reassure them, for them to understand that there are people like me here in congress and in the senate that have their back and that we will continue to support them and we need them to continue to go to work. we need them to continue to send their children to school who are american citizens. >> that conversation last year, in our previous interview, you expressed some frustration in the pace of getting things done here. did any of that change over the course of the remainder of the 114th? rep. torres: no. i'm still a little bit frustrated about how slow things move here, but i'm very proud that as a first term member i actually got a lot of work accomplished and i'm very proud of that. i'm very proud of the team that i was able to assemble that
helped me deliver not just to my district or my home state, but actually got a lot of work also to american citizens throughout the u.s. >> a couple of the top things you felt you got done for your constituents in california? rep. torres: sure. we have introduced and passed out of the house a few pieces of legislation dealing with cyber security. one of them, training that helps to train police officers across the u.s. creating, putting that kind of program into law. it is in my district, public-private partnership for water projects and infrastructure projects. remember, i could not get a single hearing or a single republican member to co-author that bill with me, but yet we were able to work with our colleagues in the senate. we were able to inserted part of that bill language into the
bigger senate transportation bill. got out of the senate, here in the house, we were able to do the same thing and my bill, even though it doesn't have my name on it, it is law. >> we saw the issue of california's drought come up in a couple of water bill debates. what work would you like to see the congress, the house in particular do to provide further relief for california's drought? rep. torres: absolutely. i think we may have an opportunity with president-elect trump. he is talking about putting more money into infrastructure projects. relief for california's drought? rep. torres: absolutely. i think we may have an i hope that he sees the necessity that we have in california to shore up our recycled water to ensure that we have the ability to deliver and have the infrastructure to deliver that recycled water into areas that would typically not be able to get it.
a lot of money that we need to spend on that and doing that. and i hope we'll have an opportunity to talk to him about that. >> as the 115th starts, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing congress and more broadly, the u.s.? rep. torres: there are challenges that we have facing not just congress but the u.s., is the fact that we have a president that will be taking the oath of office who has been so mean-spirited to many groups across the u.s. and that process of healing, that process of bringing about peace to our communities is going to take a long time. we have already seen many, many cases of racism playing out, not just in our streets but in our schools, from kindergarten to high school to college campuses.
i think that is one of our priorities that we need to address and bring about calm and civility to our community. >> what do you think is the biggest thing that you have learned in your two years so far in congress? rep. torres: the biggest thing that i learned here is that we have to get along with everybody. we have to build bridges. and there is humility that comes with that. and there is humility that comes two of the pieces of legislation that i passed to help my district do not have my name attached to them. that is ok. more than caring about having your name on a bill, i cared about the legislation that was needed in my community. now we have the airport that is back at the hands of local control and i think that to me is a great reward. >> you come to the position as a former mayor. you have been a police
dispatcher in pomona, california. how well do you think the congress has addressed the needs of cities like pomona, not just the big cities but smaller cities like yours? rep. torres: one of the lessons for democrats specifically that we're learn learning. have not heard enough about those needs in the communities. the infrastructure for example that needs to be financed and improved. the homeless crisis that we have in our major metropolitan cities need to be addressed. my own home city of pomona has a huge crisis in dealing with the homeless population. assisting our veterans. there is a lot of things that we have not been able to work on together but we need to ensure we do a better job of.
>> you talked about getting used to things like the weather on the east coast. how well have you adjusted to the bicoastal travel? rep. torres: i travel every week. i go home every weekend. you never get used to eating at the airports and taking naps on an airplane. but it is part of the job. it is part of the challenge of being a member of congress. >> thanks for being are us. rep. torres: thank you. tell us about your experience in washington. you are not new to washington. >> it's been a lot of years straight last time i was here was during the clinton administration and i worked with the fcc for a bit. spent most of my career in the private sector. ist i'm most excited about the chance to work with and sit down with immigrants and
republicans, and during orientation it's one of the opportunities where everybody gets to spend time together. there's a lot in common and a lot in common and a lot of issues. it has been really great. >> what did you do during the clinton administration? >> i was speechwriter for president clinton. most recently i worked with the .hairman of the fcc >> also worked with the ford company. what did you do? rep. gottheimer: i worked at ford motor company, corporate advertising, and most recently at microsoft where i did corporate strategy. >> what does all the background mean for the job you will do out here? how do you think that is impacted what you do? rep. gottheimer: it gives me a great perspective on bringing the public and private perspectives in. one thing that is so important, talking to folks here, how do we solve problems and dig in? i really ran on this idea that we need to get our taxes down and cut unnecessary regulation and standby veterans and first responders.
bringing the perspective of being willing to sit at the table and get things done and worry less about partisanship, you cannot come to the table and scream at each other. you have to solve problems and move forward. that is hopefully one of the greatest assets i am bringing to the table. >> why did you decide to run? rep. gottheimer: i think most of us are incredibly frustrated with what is going on. you see what is going on here and it has been too little in terms of solving problems. people are focused on screaming and being nasty versus getting things fixed for people. i am really eager to hit the road and start working hard from the beginning and really find a way for common ground. whether that is tax reform or infrastructure or doing right by families, i think there's so much opportunity to work together and that is what you're hearing. i will tell you i'm most heartened by -- democrats and republicans in terms of wanting to make progress and deliver for people.
>> you are here because you to -- defeated representative scott garrett, republican. did a lot of work on financial issues. do you plan to do the same? is it important to the area you represent? rep. gottheimer: financials are most critical to where i am from. we'll see what happens with the committee assignments. regardless of what committee i am on, i know what i am focused on. we have a lot of big issues on the financial front to make sure our country continues to lead the world, especially in new york where i am from a new jersey, really the key to the global financial sector. so many other issues. small businesses need to thrive. getting our taxes down and cutting unnecessary regulation is critical. i feel if we do the right thing and do right by our communities and make sure we get, in new jersey, make sure we do everything to help the economy forward, bring jobs in, make sure the companies who are there stay there.
the world is our oyster in the future can be credibly positive, but it will take a lot of work. that is what people want. they want us to work together. that's what i'm very focused on. >> where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? rep. gottheimer: good question. i grew up in north jersey not far from where i live now. i went to public school. my dad owned a small business, my mom was a schoolteacher. i learned like most people the value of hard work, but also the importance of giving back when you can. my dad always taught me, the private sector leads the way. it is important to make sure we do everything to thrive but also standing by people who stand by us. which is why i spent a lot of time focusing on standing by first responders and make sure we do right by veterans, women's issues and families. i have a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old who remain the most important things in the world, and my wife, but i think we both
agree the kids come first. as a parent, what guides me every day is doing right by them. i think that is what drives a lot here, their kids and grandkids. it is why we realize at the end of the day what is most important is building a good future for them. >> what did your kids say when they find out you won? rep. gottheimer: my daughter -- we didn't find out until about midnight. my daughter had fallen asleep. my 7-year-old, we woke her up and it took her a few minutes to come out of the haze. my son had a lot of cookies so he was running in circles. but they were both very excited about it. it is a thrilling time. it was a great chance throughout this process to teach them about democracy and how it works. no matter who wins, the country will move on and that is most important. you get to teach them about the different branches. i am excited for them to come down here and see what we do. this is about their futures. it is exciting to have them be
part of it. they are not wearing the pins around anymore, but they were very into it. >> you went to public school, to go to the university of pennsylvania, to harvard. how will that help you? rep. gottheimer: it gave me a good education, and i met a lot of people out here. i think education is critical. i was afforded so many opportunities. i am grateful for that. i am really hoping to bring these experiences to bear here. that is what you're supposed to be. it all affects your values. i really hope i bring what i learned from president clinton, the time we had surpluses a great economic growth, incredible fiscal responsibility with balanced budget and law enforcement.
there are certain values i learned that will carry through now. it is important to find the middle. i believe there are extremes on either side. everything in moderation my dad always told me. i think that is a good place. can we find this place where we can work together to move things forward. >> thank you for spending some time with c-span. appreciate it. >> appreciate it. join us on tuesdy 3, for life coverage of 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 election of the speaker of the house. our all day live coverage of the day's events from capitol hill begins at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, and c-span.org. or you can listen to it on the free c-span radio app. next, senate majority leader
mitch mcconnell talks about the 2016 election, its dynamics and issues, as well as what to expect from the 115th congress and trust administration. he spoke with bill goodman. ♪ welcome to "one to one." i will sit down with a man who has arguably had a pretty good year. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is in control in the u.s. senate, republicans will the u.s. house and the oval , the kentucky senate and for the first time in 91 years, flipped the state house of representatives to a republican majority. senator mcconnell is next on one."o
♪ one." senator, welcome to your 14th appearance on "onesenator, welch appearance on "one to one." undoubtedly a ket record. my wife is going to be in the cabinets. before we get going, i just want to thank you for doing a great ket for these many years. you handled the debates in my last election and did it objectively, and i wish you well in your new gig. >> thank you. take us back just a few weeks, to november 8, in a telephone call that you got on the evening of the election, from now
speaker elect jeff hoover. can you sort of reenact what that call meant to you, what it meant to jeff hoover? rep. 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 these years. never thought we would get 64. i thought that was probably the last celebration i would have that night because we found that out around 8:30, 9:00 at night. i thought we would come up short, and i did not think president trump had a chance to wi nit. -- win it. i figured that was my last celebration at 8:30 at night. it was an exciting development for republicans who feel we have a better agenda for the future than the one that was constantly killed in the state house of representatives. even though it's not part of my job, i have had a long-standing interest in helping those guys when i could, and i played at least some role in that. it is indeed a new day in
kentucky, and we will see whether a different kind of agenda can move our state into the future. >> is there any way to compare the emotion of holding the u.s. senate of president trump's victory and the statehouse victory now? on a scale, it would seem like -- rep. mcconnell: given my expectations, double he exciting . i thought we would come up short on the senate. we had a lot of exposure, 24 members. the democrats only had 10. a difficult stage 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, through his appointment, to change the court system, to move the country in a more and try to direction
deal with the excessive regulation, other things that have kept the economy underperforming. it was really exciting because i think you get more excited when things you don't expect occur. >> you said shortly after the election that this was a comeback for rural america. rep. mcconnell: there's an awful lot of people in rural america, inte working-class people larger states like michigan and wisconsin and pennsylvania, who look at the democrats these days and said, they are a party of groups. there is this group and that group. i'm not in any of those groups. what about me? i think a lot of people felt they were no longer a part of the democratic party's view of what was important in america. was -- and then you look at the rural areas, stunning margins of victory.
not that republicans wouldn't have carried a state like kentucky anyway. hillary clinton only got 32% of the vote, only carried the global election. in west virginia she only got 27% of the vote. ofhink there was a lot feeling among ordinary people all across the country that the current administration did not care about them. convey, aable to message from a billionaire who lives in manhattan, genuine concern for people who felt kind of left out, who were sort of offended by all the political correctness they see around them. all of that came together. the most extraordinary thing about trump's victory, hillary clinton won the popular vote.
what was amazing about trumps theory was that he pierced the 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 wisconsin. he was able to break through and that is why he won a comfortable at twhirl college victory. mr. goodman: it is all most the adage, be careful what you wish for. you have now earned the majority in the kentucky state house area and the president-elect comes in soon. what is the challenge their? -- there?
you have earned this 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, a 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 our foot on the brake, when you -- we need to put 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 us taxes. 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 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. 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 law, making us eligible for public charter schools. we are one of seven states that do not allow public charter schools. and reform. it is a very litigious state. address those things as rapidly as possible with these super majorities. i think the governor and his old -- 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 moved to
the news of the day, let me ask you this. do the democrats, or do 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 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 -- there have been in america in 100 years.
the president himself is a unique political phenomenon. he was able to get himself elected twice. 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. i do not 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, 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. 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. 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. i think our intelligence committee, 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 a 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 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. -- cabinet. general mattis for defense. mike pompeo, 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. mr. goodman: 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. how do she greet that news? -- 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 a recruit. when elizabeth dole was secretary of transportation, she brought a lane in -- elaine in for a federal commission.
-- the 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 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. mr. goodman: 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. if they decide to go in that direction she will be in the middle of that. think of all the innovations in transportation. how about driverless cars? 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. a you concerned about tillerson as secretary of state? sen. mcconnell: i know rex well, 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. a different style than we are 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. mr. goodman: as you -- as i mentioned earlier, you finish of
-- finished up 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. i made an effort to get it 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 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? sen. mcconnell: we will find 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. environmentalists say it is just competition to natural gas. natural gas is more abundantly available. but we have natural gas prices of various points in the past. -- at various points in the past. 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 claim power 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. 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 act named for beau biden, the 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. this will be remembered at the single most important piece of legislation of the 114th congress. it jump starts 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. 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 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 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? sen. mcconnell: we had in the first year of the 114, 200 rollcall votes, previous years were 15. we passed 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. mr. goodman: what third of -- sort 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 epilogue in a second or third printing of "the long game," something that will talk about the statehouse in this republican victory? sen. mcconnell: that is another big thing that happened in 2016, my memoirs came out. 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 just went 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 were people were upset in the past. but we have had nothing like the great depression. we have had nothing like the change they came across the country when andrew jackson got elected, it was totally different than anything anyone had seen. we all have faith in this great country of ours. -- ought to have faith in this great country of ours. its resilience, ability to change and move in different directions. regardless of people -- regardless of who people supported, i feel good about the country. mr. goodman: you remain hopeful and confident. my question is, are you hopeful? it seems you are for what lies ahead. sen. mcconnell: i am. i was not happy the last eight years, but we will move 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. ♪ >> we will take you there live when the meeting gets underway here on c-span. in the meantime, here's a portion of today's "washington journal." , from the office of the pardons until 2010, a long background in the issue of presidential pardons. let's go to the u.s.
constitution, article two, section two, clause one, "the president shall have power to grant pardons for offenses against the united states, except in cases of impeachment." what does that mean? guest: the president of the united states can relieve somebody of the consequences of the commission of an offense. it does not apply only to conviction, it applies to the commission of the offense. any time after it occurs, the president can grant a full pardon, which would end the criminal process, or he can grant a more limited form of relief, which is a reduction of sense. -- sentence. that assumes the person has been convicted and sentenced. other than that, the other constraints have to be found in the constitution, so you cannot
prevent his administration from being impeached. that is what the impeachment clause refers to. he also can't refund money already in the treasury, because another part of the constitution says congress can only appropriate money by law. short of, he also can't for example part a state offense, because that is against the united states. so there are a few constraints on what the president can do, but apart from those thing is discretionary power. host: you were at the department of justice and this is the website and the office of the pardon attorney. i want to go back to what happened this week, because this is the most ever in a single day, 78 pardons. guest: that is not quite right. not the most in a single day.
that is the white house exaggerating that a little bit. it is a large number. host: harry truman had the most? 1500 in agranted over single day. muted 264ent lincoln cases in a single day. i'm not denying it is a large number, it is up there, but it is not the most in a single day. host: in order to get a pardon, what is the process? guest: ordinarily, under the rules that apply to the pardon office, you must wait five years after you are released from prison, or after you are convicted, if you do not go to prison. whichever is later? formew file a complicated with the office, they do whatever investigation they think is appropriate, then they
write a recommendation to the president, a letter of advice. that is the recommendation about physician not the should be granted. and that is what the president relies on. the real audience in a practical sense is doj.if they give you a recommendation , you have a good chance of a pardon. host: let me follow up on that and highlight some points. in order to receive a presidential pardon, the ,ollowing criteria is looked at the legal forgiveness granted in the acceptance of responsibility of the crime and giving good conduct. it does not signify innocence by the individual, it removes civil disabilities and the person not eligible until a minimum of five years, having a lapse since release of confinement. host: that is correct.
guest: that is correct. those are rules that the office follows. as i said, the constitutional you president must be found in the constitution. none of those are actually lost. -- laws. the president can make exceptions. but those are the rules that the pardons office follows and the basic inquiry they are trying to decide is, is the person rehabilitated and therefore not likely to reoffend. host: correct me if i am wrong, i believe this was the first president to travel inside it present to meet -- inside a prison. and one organization who will be working with is my brothers keepers. strikes and you're out has her african-american men, keeping them in jail longer and not allowing them to return to a sense of normalcy in their
lives, even for crimes like possessing drugs. guest: this president has made that a central focus of his part in policy, that is to relieve primarily african-americans and other minorities who he believes have been punished more harshly under the drug laws then they would be if they were sentenced today. since there is a widespread consensus that those sentences are excessive, but congress did not make them retroactive, the president's power is in the only way to address the issue. host: there is a story this week about whether or not pardons could be used for deportation of those in the country illegally, is that within the president's authority? guest: i do not believe it is directly, that is a complicated question. the answer is -- the president's power is limited to relieving the consequences of a criminal
conviction. if someone is in removal proceedings, because they were convicted of a federal crime, then the pardon of the federal crime will prevent them from being deported. but most people in deportation proceedings are there for other reasons, other than conviction of a federal crime, so the answer is, he can prevent the deportation through the pardon power of a subset of people who are subject to removal, but not the majority. he cannot directly pardon somebody's immigration status, that is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. host: we are talking with samuel morison who specializes in presidential pardons. he was in the office of the pardoning attorney in the department of justice. we will get your questions. he is earning a law degree from north carolina school of law. (202) 748-8001, the line for
republicans. (202) 748-8000, if you are a democrat. we also have a line for independents, you can also reach us on facebook. i want to ask you about a political story in illinois, the former governor who tried to get early release from his prison sentence, a story from the chicago sun-times. he had speculated whether he could grant a pardon to the former governor who was charged with trying to sell barack obama's senate seat in 2008. guest: keycode. the governor was convicted in federal court for that conduct, so it is a federal offense. the president, notwithstanding any rules, has the unfettered authority to either pardon or commute the sentence if he chooses to do it. frankly, i do not have inside information, but i am assuming his lawyers are trying to press
the white house to do that thing. ist: if that assumption true, what do they tell you and what is the case to the president? guest: for mr. blue going to him, it is a plea for mercy. they could argue, and i have not looked at the case, but his sentence was disproportionate perhaps to other political figures convicted of similar crimes. something like that. that would be the approach. host: for other individuals that come to your office looking for a pardon, the family members say my husband or wife has suffered enough, what is that process and what are the keywords? it dependss not, first of all on whether they are seeking a commutation or a pardon.
if somebody is in prison, a family member in prison, and they want to get there sentence reduced, you are looking at the nature of the crime, did it involve violence, was it a drug offense or not, that seems to be a focus of the president's initiative, are there any issues like unrewarded corporation or disproportionate sense, things like that. overall, what is the petitioner's attitude toward the