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tv   Washington Journal Bill Archer Discusses Tax and Health Care Policy  CSPAN  August 1, 2017 2:51am-3:22am EDT

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announcer: looking at the life of a slave who escaped bondage went to congress. he served five terms. there was a bribery charge against him at one time and he never fully recovered from that. in my opinion, that is one of the reasons he is not better known today. meanst, former ways and chair bill archer talks about overhauling the tax code. this is 30 minutes. is the former house ways and means committee chair, republican of texas, served from 1995 to 2001. good morning to you, sir. guest: good to be with you. host: as head of ways and means, you saw changes to the tax code and to the tax system under
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president bill clinton. could you tell us how you got that done, even with a democratic resident? guest: well, bill clinton was a little different than the democrats of the day. he was someone you could work with, and i could call him on the telephone and talk to him about issues. we developed a pretty good relationship. so it took that reports to get the nuts and bolts of tax change done? guest: i think it did. he had a chief of staff at the beginning who was not cooperative, and then he replaced him with erskine bowles , and the first few days that erskine bowles was there, he called me and said, bill, i am here to work with you. i do not think the republicans ever heard that out of an obama white house. host: and there was a change of leadership with republicans in both the house and senate now
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and the white house. what does that mean as far as tax reform and their desire to see that happen? what lessons can they learn them your time in office? a verypedro, you have different environment today than you did when i was there. the republicans are far more divided, and it is very, very difficult to get people together on difficult issues. i think tax reform is going to be very difficult, just as health care reform has been difficult. i felt, when i was chairman there, that we needed to find an answer to health care, and i carefully evaluated it. a study foro to do gao came back after a year and said we cannot handle it. is the most daunting
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issue facing this country for the next 20 years. host: what do you think about the republican approach you saw over the last few weeks and months? guest: i thought that, unfortunately, it was not cohesive. but on the other hand, the interest in various aspect of health care is so dramatic that i am not surprised. up the brought, again, difficulty i faced when i tried to find an answer to health care back in the 1990's. our guest is the former house ways and means committee ,hair, republican hill archer looking at tax reform and at various issues of health care. for questions, democrats can call 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001.
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.ndependents, 202-748-8002 the idea of coming together, what did you think republicans have to do when it comes to tax reform? how do they build consensus within their party? guest: it is very difficult, because the public is very difficult today compared to in the 1990's. you have a much more divided public, and there are factions of it that are very adamant about their views. democracy,ly, in a an organized minority can be very effective politically. and i think that is what the republicans are facing and the democrats are facing it, too, on the other side. host: would you give an example of what we saw play out over health care, the influence of, say, the house freedom caucus and the tuesday group? find that there are groups of people who are affected very dramatically by
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the organized minorities other party, and they try to accommodate them. when they go to their town meetings, they find emotions that are almost running amok today compared to where they were. host: would it have been a different process if you held committee hearings ahead regular order, as it was called, do you think it would have a different result? guest: no, i don't. i think it would be the same week as he still have the organized groups putting political pressure on members of congress. and members of congress are going to accommodate in a democratic way what they think they have to do in order to get reelected. host: this idea of coming together, how do you bring democrats into the fold, especially on the topic of tax reform? guest: well, many people ask me that. they say, well, why is it
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different? well, it is different because you, again, have got these very active organized groups out there that are putting enormous , and i reallysure think that they are going to continue to have difficulty. and the democrats will tie onto a particular issue in a certain way and find that i can get resonance with a large minority in my district if i take of certain position. so they take the position irrespective of everything else. host: bill archer is our guest. our first call is from jim in missouri, democratic line. you are on with bill archer. go ahead. caller: good morning. on tax reform, we have been
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hearing since ronald reagan, trickle-down economics, it has never worked, a consumer-based economy needs consumers to have money in their pockets. as far as health insurance, it is obsolete. insurerera for-profit to pay for my health care, which would cut into the profits, is ridiculous. we need a single-payer system where everybody pays in and everybody benefits. that would be my comment. guest: well, that is a position that a lot of people feel today. i do not think you are by yourself. the problem is is what is on the other side. when we began to get estimates of the cost of a single-payer system, it just goes through the roof.
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they tried to do it in california, and they found that they absolutely cannot afford it. i think they were looking at something like over $1 trillion in one state for the cost. so everything has a cost. and you mentioned the fact that there are in shares in -- there is insurance that might have to bear part of the cost, and even obama administration recognized this, a provision to subsidize the insurance companies in obamacare, that the insurance companies cannot simply take on the costs within their own structure without help. now that is getting to be an issue under the republicans as to whether there will still be checks written out of the federal treasury to the insurance companies to try to keep obamacare a float. health care is so complicated and meansdiffuse
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different things to different people. it gets involved in human emotions to a great extent. i think that if the democrats were in power today, they would be running into the same problem because there are many democrats, and it was true when i was chairman of the ways and means committee, i had democratic members who were strongly interested in a single-payer system, but any looked at it, the costs just drove it through the roof. it is not a viable option. i don't know what is a viable option for health care, to tell you the truth. and when you get to tax reform, you have a similar problem because every facet of the tax code has got some group that is very interested out there in the
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private sector. and when you try to dismantle the tax code and do some thing different, you run into all caps of objections. basically, we are a democracy, and as winston churchill said, democracies are the worst possible form of government until you consider all the other options. so it is not an easy issue. twoe two issues are the most difficult issues for members of congress to deal with. host: republican line. from california, john, you are next. john, hello, go ahead. caller: this is dave. obamacare was always a trojan horse to thrust us into a single-payer system. the the very beginning, affordable care act was
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misrepresented. you like your health plan, you can keep it. you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. man. is a smart he knew what he was saying was false, but he was saying what he had to say in order to get the affordable care act passed because he knew that once an atonement was in place, it is a possible to get rid of it -- once an entitlement was in place, it is impossible to get rid of it. and itamacare failed, did not take a rocket scientist to figure out it would, because there's no incentive for young people to pay premiums to insurance companies and they are paying out-of-pocket for other medical costs regardless, which they are with the deductible. withce obamacare failed the health-care entitlement in
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place, there would be no alternative but to go to a single-payer system. host: thanks. guest: well, i have been out of the system now since 2001. , but iery different identify with everything you said. when obamacare passed, interestingly enough, with one of the california congresspeople, nancy pelosi, saying you will find out what is in it after we pass it and we cannot tell you ahead of time, it became weird to me that it was a way station to -- it became clear to me that it was a way station to single-payer. the egyptians -- the objections could only be papered over by going to a complete government takeover system. unfortunately, we know what happens with them. we have seen it in canada and in the u.k. it is not a panacea. we are seeing one anecdotal
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evidence of it with charlie gard right now over in england, and he just died under the system because they would not let him take any new type of approach to his problem. the government begins to run everything. i must tell you that i am very cynical about the government taking over anything. my life started in the private sector where i was in a manufacturing business, and then i got into the texas legislature and found that if it was not $1 million, nobody paid much attention to it, and austin, texas. when i got elected to congress, i found out if it was not $1 billion, it was not attended to. even $1 billion today is nothing. i found that if you want something to be managed and efficiently, let the federal
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government manage it -- if you want something to be managed in efficiently, let the federal government manage it. host: this is the latest tweet from the president, saying if obamacare is hurting people, and it is, why should it hurt insurance companies? responsibility of the federal government to keep these systems in place? guest: well, i think that obama was very clever in the way he put this system together, because he bought off the insurance companies, bought off the pharmaceutical companies, by telling them we will get you don't worry, and we're going to subsidize you if that is what it takes. so it was going to lead us to this situation no matter what. and here we are today. callerhink that your
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that said we do not ever back out from entitlement programs, that is basically true, although i will say this -- with bill clinton in the white house, i was able to bring about welfare reform, which was one of the great achievements while i was in the congress, and he vetoed it a couple of times. but in the final act, he signed it. so that did change an entitlement program. it, but itabolish reformed it and changed it. in lafayette, louisiana, independent line. caller: good morning. the representatives you have there from texas, he talking about the differences in the problems with the health-care bill. but when we look at tax, i did
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some research on the state of texas. texas hasbamacare, the highest rate of insured babies in the nation. to this representative and other representatives, i guess that is ok. what we have now is we are bidding against the haves and have-nots. jessica the white house cabinet. -- just look at the white house cabinet with millionaires and billionaires, subsidizing any program that you want to subsidize. host: what do you think of that? guest: i think we are mixing a lot of metaphors here. having millionaires are billionaires in the white house is nothing new. that has happened under both democrats and republicans. it does not mean that money is available to the federal government. so you are talking about an
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oxymoron here, something that just does not fit. it is anent, interesting thing to me to seee felt that all we have to do is tax the wealthy more and we can pay for everything, and that has never worked out either. that,is not something basically, you can look at texas, and i cannot double check what you said, it may be true, but you are talking now about a state issue and not a federal issue where the federal government is covering everybody. host: when it came to the topic of tax reform, recently at a hearing with the current treasury secretary, he was asked about tax reform and about the nation's debt. i want to show you a little bit of the exchange. [video clip] >> i would say that the number one threat is not the debt, the number one threat is economic
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growth. if we continue to have lackluster economic growth, that will not fund our economy and opportunities for americans and our leadership and the world. so we are very focused on creating economic growth. having said that, we are also sensitive to increasing the debt. i look forward to working with you and other senators. we are very close to releasing a detailed plan, and i can assure you that we believe that that detailed plan will be responsible as we look at the impact on the economy and the cost to the debt. what chairman archer, about this idea that whatever changes they make to the current system has to deal with the debt of the nation? guest: the major debt of the nation is a major overhanging problem. and when i ran for congress, the major issue that i campaigned on was a talent's budget -- a
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balanced budget. the federal government should have a balanced budget. some things in texas may not be great, but one thing is good is the mandatory balanced-budget. so everything you want to do, you have got to pay for it. that is a very good thing, in my view, but then, i am a creature of the depression. so we all live with a different bias depending on how we grew up. me, it is ultimately going to be a significant problem, and i am sorry to say that i do not totally agree with secretary mnuchin, because the debt ultimately will hurt us as a country. right now, we have to depend saudi's chinese and the
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and others in order to continue to support our debt. at some point, they may decide they do not want to do that. and then all hell breaks loose. host: a columnist talked about the process in the budget, saying neither the house or senate passed a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that the budget act of 1934 stipulates should have been acted on by april 14. the appropriations bill was supposed to be passed by october 1, beginning of the fiscal year. on time has not happened since 1996 it what happened to that process? guest: the process is difficult because you have all these promises out there from the people who are politically driven. spending is generally a very popular thing. cutting back on it is not. not.g for it by taxes is
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so you're continually under this pressure on how you were going to keep the promises to spend but still keep the budget in perspective. veryrsonally, have felt strongly that we needed to move to a balanced budget, and that is one of the accomplishments that i was able to participate in with president clinton, also, and it took a lot of work. he appointed erskine bowles as his chief of staff, it became possible to do that. balance thedid federal budget for the first time in 40 years, and i felt very good about that. unfortunately, it did not last very long. it got enough by a lot of things by a lot often up
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things, one of which was the drug benefit that president bush put into place, which was not paid for and which cost a lot of money. then, of course, wars are expensive. host: virginia, independent line. mark, good morning. caller: i have a quick statement and one question. good morning to you and your guest. what i see now going on with republican senator john mccain is that i am so optimistic that he is going to be such a powerhouse force. the reason being is he is not concerned about another reelection. archer, yout, mr. said something that was kind of empathetic will. you are talking about how the democratic process plays out with these representatives doing what they need to do to get reelected. on the other end, he told a
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previous caller that if you want ,o run something inefficient then get your government involved. now that you are removed from it, if you can tell us, the american people, are these positions literally an addiction, and why is it so important to get reelected? because many of these members from places and spaces, be it entrepreneurs -- they have money, some are doctors, so money is not an issue. they have been supporting their family. so why is it that when they get to washington, d.c., that they have such this fervent tuesday to stay there until they retire? guest: i guess the motivation is different for every one of them. by the way, i am now a virginian. when i left congress, i moved my residency to virginia, and i
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love virginia. i hope to continue their the rest of my life. so you live in a very good state. thei must tell you that situation, as i said, is different for every member of congress. some members want to get hadected because maybe they a little bit better living then they would have had otherwise. most do not. most members of congress can make far more money when they leave the congress then they get paid by the government while they are in the congress. so you say, well, why do they want to get reelected? many of them,ly because it was true for me, want to get reelected so that they can do something for what they believe in. the only reason iran for congress was to be an a position to do something for what i
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believed in -- the only reason i ran for congress was to be in a position to do some thing i believed in. you may have agreed or disagreed with me on some of the things i believed in. but i think that is a tremendous motivation for members of congress. and some probably just like to be called a member of congress and like to be able to get on see their facesd on television. it is different for everyone. but there is a reality that when you run, you take on a tremendous response ability and want to get reelected. host: one more call, republican line. caller:
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health care system to other countries. on and they did single-payer system. cons to both nd sides, it's a very extremely complicated matter. agree with mr. archer on rying to achieve a balanced budget is key to everything that run our country. as health care goes, one to he hardest things to try compare us to another country is inflation in america. we have physicians here that are getting paid hundreds of in sands of dollars a year salaries that in other countries 32,000 a yearg 31, $600,000 per year for a plastic surgeon here. that of issues stem from because prices keep going up to health care because so many
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it, it is a needed thing, people pay because they of how much rdless it costs. the insurance companies are aving to scramble to try to cover everyone and do the best which is why a lot of people's services are denied. pharmaceuticals don't get it is such a se high rate. host: thank you, samantha, thank the call. guest: samantha, you're correct, -- i've know, if you're ot several grandchildren who are married to young men who are in medical school and i can tell to that it is very expensive become a doctor. that u've got to expect they're going to be paid a decent salary. ou don't want somebody operating on you or advising you who is health issues,
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incompetent and not properly trained. need -- we do have the int quality doctors, i think the world. and we have a system that is not be cheap, no matter how it's performed. also, that we mix health care and insurance, the two are very different. we really did not have many people going totally without obamacare wasefore put in place. but they were being taken care in a different way and is is it worse?r apparently now with obamacare, floundering and heading for real problems. theye had problems before, were different problems, and we
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with lways have problems health care. host: this is bill archer, the and man of the house ways means committee and he's a republican from texas, joining republican bout effo george washington posit joshua green and join the discussion.
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theresident trump awarded an army medic to and former teacher who served in vietnam. injuries, he is credited with saving 10 members inhis particular -- platoon a battle that lasted five days. some of the members of the platoon were at this ceremony. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen,


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