tv Newsmakers Rep De Fazio CSPAN November 16, 2018 10:09pm-10:43pm EST
criticism of the government and of the president. " find c-span's "the weekly on the free c-span radio app. >> this week on "newsmakers," congress member peter defazio, ranking member of the the house transportation committee. the studio,s in schnidereider -- tanya caret go ahead with first question. let's start by asking about the infrastructure plan. the plan to start off the session with trying to get the infrastructure plan through. not unlike the one donald trump couldn't get through congress.
the politics of why you think republicans would be willing to go along with a big spending infrastructure bill, why you think democrats would go along with something donald trump could campaign on in 2020? rep. defazio: the president will not be able to claim credit that they control the senate, white house, and house. based onas privatization, polling, etc., which went nowhere with a republican congress. it would be laughable to talk about that in a democratic congress but when i was at the white house, the president didn't seem to be on board with his own advisors. interest andan recognition that we need real federal investment and new partnership with estates in rebuilding america's infrastructure. , beforeore the election he left washington, they had a white house congressional affairs came to visit me.
i didn't even know they had a congressional affairs office, but they had their finger in the wind and we talked about areas where i could agree and potentially work with the president. there were two things, infrastructure and trade. she said there was a recognition on the part of the president -- that we need to rebuild our infrastructure and make real federal investment. it is doable and a few colleagues have said you don't want to help trump. i said this is not about trump. it is about the united date of america and we have been ignoring these needs for a long time. the country is falling apart. americans get it. we have three examples. california, coat -- kevin mccarthy sponsored initiative to
repeal the gas tax increase. they failed miserably. colleagues,e of my campaigned on a gas tax increase and turned that state from red to blue. he got one of the largest margins in history, and the new governor of michigan red to blue. she said fix the roads. americans get it. it is not politically toxic and there is this bridge mitch -- weell is interested in can't do it with existing funds and the federal government can help. >> you are likely to be the next chair of t tehran -- the house transportation committee. i had a package of three bills with republican sponsors. one i am going to put forward. it passed out of my commitment
-- committee unanimously. i think most americans say, i am paying the tax and they are stealing the money? it makes republicans uncomfortable. that should be easy. number two, our airports are dated out, it leads to higher ticket prices, people sitting on the tarmac waiting to get a date. it leads to longer time in the airport because we haven't reconfigured security needs. we need to allow airports to increase the facility charge, a program i was the democratic author of many years. we haven't allowed an increase in over 20 years, so that is part two and part three is the big one. surface transportation. that is outside my jurisdiction in terms of funding. i have been meeting with richie neal, the incoming chair of ways and means. he is supportive of the need of a revenue source. with someoing bonding
kind of dedicated revenue, but a large number. my hope is we will do a short-term within six months infrastructure package out of the house. that is not just my jurisdiction. for my jurisdiction, it would include wastewater buffer energy and commerce, drinking water, broadband for rural areas, schools, things that were in the original house recovery act that got stripped out by that jerk larry summers. we've got a lot to do and i got support from other incoming chairs. >> glad you brought up funding, because i want to drill down a little into the budget debate behind the. -- that. it is not particularly your jurisdiction, but you will have to cut a deal as the infant -- of the tehran --
head of the house transportation committee. how exactly are you going to pay for that? highwayith the last bill that lawmakers opted to not deal with the underlying problem come that we have an outdated gas tax that doesn't bring in enough revenue to improve roads and bridges. can you square between the president and a republican senate that will become law? rep. defazio: well, the president -- i was at the meeting and i didn't rat him out, but the president did say he could sell $.25 the american people. a couple of senators said that publicly. >> a 20% -- $.25 gas tax increase? rep. defazio: i said president -- mr. president, we don't need that much. if we do bonding and dedicate part of a revenue increased bonding, we can generate a lot more money in the short term and
in a way, we are kicking the can down the road, but we will ultimately move to vehicle miles traveled as we have more penetration of electric vehicles. are looking at what we can do short term, what can we do with a six-your bill -- your bill -- six-year bill. someone else will figure out what is the future funding of transportation, but right now, this is the best way to go. >> just a quick follow-up>>. did senate republicans indicated anyway they would be supportive of the fact -- gas tax increase if it is paired with bonding expansion, for example, or anything that matter? it wasn't just the present -- president? rep. defazio: the senator said democrat -- they will just attack you. i said i will stand in front of them. he is not enthusiastic about it
and i don't know about others but we have seen, if the president takes the lead and wants infrastructure investment, that we can get it done. if we put a good bill out of the it to thewe sell american people that this is going to improve their commute time, it is going to -- sell it to business and industry in terms of what it will mean in terms of time delivery and goods. the committee would be hard-pressed to say we are not going to do anything. >> you have mentioned you would like to see return to your box -- earmarks. got a bad name because of the infamous bridge to nowhere. can you say a little more about why you think earmarks would be guardl and what kind of rails or rules you would put around it to make sure they are not abused? rep. defazio: i reformed the so-called earmark process.
it really isn't in your market. in your mark is when appropriators spend money on something that is not authorized. we have congressionally designated spending within the highway trust fund. i reformed that process when i chaired the subcommittee. we are going to have a totally transparent process, you will submit your request online and it will be available for the public and the press and the watchdogs to review. you have to show that your project has local support. you have to show that your project is consistent with the state's long-term investment plan, and you have to sign an affidavit of no interest pecuniary in that project. had over 400 members submit projects, bipartisan obviously. we were -- generally, the
so-called earmarks or congressionally designated high-priority spending constant to did 4% of total spending. the political appointee determine where the money goes, let's let your bureaucrats in your state capital determine where's the money goes? about the senator member of congress from the district that knows that area better says you are touring my day -- ignoring my district. we are pretty far from the state capital and there are problem -- projects that don't come to the attention of state democrats and the secretary of transportation. it is something that can be done and be done in a transparent way and in an accountable way. if anyone submits something that has huge local opposition, it is not going to go anywhere. the other part of the problem has been the senate because it pretends it is holier than now and i'm sure they will again.
we are not going to do earmarks, and we get to conference and the last couple of transportation said where are our projects? you didn't legislate projects. well, we want the money. we want the projects. they don't go to a legislative process. we will in the house and i don't know how they'll handle it in the senate. >> congressman, i will pivot politics. i can talk to you about roads and bridges all day, but i want support that you people will and can you shed light as a longtime democrat in the house, what is this leadership tussle, how do you address that as someone who will be leading one of the committees of the house and the new congress? the democratic-led congress.
leadership fight me more broadly about how democrats need to go about controlling the chamber next year and the caucus. rep. defazio: i don't talk about family discussions. >> do you have anything to say about how democrats can maybe bridge the gap between progressive democrats and more moderate democrats in the house? that seems to be the main contention here currently. rep. defazio: look, i represent a swing district, but i founded the progressive caucus. i don't find an inherent conflict between being progressive and getting elected in eight somewhat moderate or conservative district. that't think the gap is difficult to bridge, personally because i have been bridging it for a long time. >> i wanted to ask about self driving cars. pivoting back to transportation.
generally, self driving cars are under the energy and commerce committee, not your jurisdiction but certainly in the next two years, there will be other kinds of transportation, infrastructure initiatives that can help advance emerging like self driving cars and i wanted to ask what thoughts you have about that as the incoming chair? rep. defazio: technically, energy and commerce has the jurisdiction there, but the self driving vehicles or driver assisted vehicles will be using the infrastructure we build and it has to be compatibility issues. i am friendly with the chair of that committee and we will be working together. we will be doing oversight on those issues, because dot, a few weeks ago, some idiot at dot said we don't care about
spectrum for soft driving cars. wait a minute, everyone hearing says we need a dedicated spectrum because there has to be seamless communication between these vehicles. back nextlks that week. oversight ining that area and i will partner with frank because you can't rebuild our infrastructure in isolation from the impact of self driving vehicles. it has tremendous can -- potential to help with congestion when you are not sitting at the light for two minutes because someone is on their cell phones. there is tremendous potential, a lot is going to require of guidance from congress because dot doesn't seem to be dealing with it very well. nextur chairmanship
congress, can you talk about how -- what will the american people biggest things about how you lead to the panel differently than the retiring chairman? rep. defazio: tni transportation one of theure is less partisan committees in congress. we had historically worked together. we scheduled a date to drink beer and eat food. when we come back after thanksgiving, he'll probably be the republican leader on the committee. we will work together in most things. there are places we will disagree, but we can disagree on facts. it doesn't have to get ugly. kid doesn't have to be unproductive. the biggest disagreement i had with the chairman was his advocacy for privatizing the national airspace. it took me three years, but i killed that idea and we work
together to get the first long-term federal aviation --inistration bill's 1983 built since 1983 and we got consumer protection provisions in there and we are moving ahead. we have a tradition on the committee of working together and not being just a partisan divide it group like so many other committees in congress. >> do you plan to continue focus on a bill or is there something else you want to bring up? rep. defazio: it is every two years. servicesix year authorization coming up. we have the bill every two years, we have worked to do with fema, work to do with tsa. there are a lot of things that are on the agenda that's coming up, and i think we have to reauthorize the pipeline safety act.
there are a lot of things pending that have to be done and will be done in a bipartisan way. you talked a little about self driving cars, but what else is down the road? what innovation, technology do you see that the american people will see your committee working on and you feel the government needs to help in that industry. first off, the federal government has not been an honest partner with the states. had 26 states, many of them red states raise their gas tax or other user fees to fund infrastructure but infrastructure doesn't stop at the state line. we need an efficient national system. the federal government has not been a good partner. i am determined to make the federal government a better partner. wastewater, i was a county commissioner and we build our metropolitan wastewater management system.
we had a strong federal partner. the federal government has walked away from that. we still serve mandates to the states for clean drinking water, or pollution -- air pollution, but we are not helping them meet those goals and i think we can do a much better job there and there will be a lot of can consist and the american public wants these things. it was one of the three or four wasgs democrats ran on rebuilding, restoring america's supportedture and i quite a number of the red to blue candidates and have been meeting with them since they got elected and talking with them. i think my committee is the number one choice for some of this new groups. it is a place where we can get things done and do it in a way that is bipartisan. you mentioned one of the major responsibilities of congressional committees is
oversight over the executive ask about i want to your top priorities for oversight as chairman of the transportation committee. thursday a lot of talk about deregulation and getting government out of the way, but somehow dot has constructed an unbelievably fortress new -- tortureous process of authorizing transit projects and they have clogged up the pipeline. there are rumors that is because of a dispute between schumer and the president because schumer is a big advocate for the gateway project. the president wants his wall and is trying to leverage that. i don't know, but the bottom line is even the republicans are pissed off. they said we appropriated these projects and you are not spending the money.
that will be number one on my agenda, to drag some of those people in here and say why did you create this torturous new process that isn't putting the money out that has been appropriate. >> you mentioned gateway. i'm glad you mentioned that project, one of the biggest problems with public transit on the east coast. do you think that an infrastructure bill is the place to kind of deal with some of the problems related to that is that something that congress is going to have to revisit with, say, the stand alone, legislation? what does congress need to do to help move that project along? >> will, we adopted a freight mobility title in the fast act for the first time. some minor emphasis on freight mobility. not enough funding. you know, so funding is really these root of most of issues. but we need to put a new
projects of national and regional significance. gateway is one of those. create -- chicago is one of them. the bridge over the columbia i-5, between oregon and washington. it's the smaller version of those things. we have projects all around the country that are gonna choke if we take them to failure. under baltimore that was built during the civil can nou know, we simply longer ignore these problems or paralyze -- at some point, we're gonna paralyze the country. emphasizing projects of regional, national significance, putting more money into freight but the bottom line is, we need more federal funds. >> we have about three minutes left. you about thek legacy. bill schuster is leaving
congress at the end of this year, after 16 years, i believe, in the house. he's been chair of the committee for a few years. and his father obviously before him. i just wanted to ask you a he'se bit about the legacy leaving. >> well, it's the first time the committee is going to be since i came here. i served with bill's dad. bud. and, you know, bud was for a minority, then went to the majority. but bud and i always got along. morend i started working than 20 years ago on dedicating the harbor maintenance tax to harbor maintenance. working on that. you know, and as i observed earlier, this is the first long-term federal aviation bill since bud schuster served on the committee. so we have a tremendous legacy with that family. are good friends. we can disagree over things like privatizing air traffic control. but then, you know, go out and
work together on things that people and freight more efficiently. so i think that he has continued tradition that i aspire to continue on that committee. ask aboutd to drinking water. what do you think the infrastructure committee's role is in dealing with drinking water infrastructure issues? think aboutusly contamination in flint, for example, as one place where maybe the federal government could have stepped in and provided the amount of funding small jurisdiction couldn't handle for making, you know, massive repairs to a contaminated system. i also think about other, you burgeoning contamination teflon-like chemicals known as psoa. can you talk a little bit about that? the plastics, stuff like that? i'm wondering if you can talk what the role is in, what
plan tooversight you do. >> we've got the other end of that. we have jurisdiction over wastewater. the energy and commerce committee has jurisdiction over drinking water. and i have already been talking about doing sort of a joint bill, because you can't really isolate those two things. what goes out in the wastewater potential contaminants for the drinking water system. so we're talking about a major initiative, you know, that would probably come from both committees. early stages.e you know, it's easier for me to funding for harbors or for airports or for roads, bridges, highways and transit. we have to get creative on sources for that. >> well, congressman peter defazio, obviously there's much and to talk to you about watch. so we will be doing that when thetake over as transportation infrastructure committee chair. thank you for being this week's
newsmaker. >> thank you. it.eciate >> and we turn to our two reporters. i'll begin with you. agenda that mr. defazio has committee, is it doable? >> the transportation committee it can get a lot done, that it does -- it's increasingly partisan as revenues have become more of a problem. kelly was mentioning, the fund has been teetering on the brink of insolvency for years now and to get theard political will to raise sustainable new revenues to shore it up. but i know that's one of the top priorities of both peter defazio ranking member, sam graves, on the republican side. stickinghe biggest point. other than that, really transportation infrastructure is of the few places in congress where democrats and
republicans really do work well.er pretty >> really fascinating to me that thatessman defazio said president donald trump would support a 25 cent increase in tax.as i'd be really curious to hear what senate republicans' were.ons also, very interesting to me that he said to us that, you pretty much alone in supporting that among republicans. but, you know, it also kind of speaks to the new kind of themic that we have in white house and how the house and senate are kind of -- it's three-corner, a three-way negotiation instead of just let's send something to the president now. president donald trump has been a builder. he likes to call himself that. likes to talk about all the projects he built. know,knows that, you filling potholes is not something that private institutions are going to be money off of. so i'm curious to see whether a
gas tax proposal goes anywhere. some of -- some viewers know,emember that, you george bush i got in a lot of the gas tax.aising some said that was part of why he wasn't re-elected. republicans will be talking to him about that as well. that really speaks to maybe a conflict source of immediately on the house, on the committee. >> it's interesting that mr. defazio said in that meeting president, president cent said i can sell a 25 gas tax increase. so, you know, could there be a deal that's cut between trump?ts and president and senate republicans are forced to go along? think donald trump also thought he could sell a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package and the republicans very quickly disposed of that, when it hit their desks. so i think that it's gonna remain to be seen, i think, in this congress, how much sway
has.d trump actual political capital he puts behind any one thing. as we've seen over the last two years, the focus kind of swings on a lotck and forth of different things. and sometimes donald trump might something butn on not necessarily really spend the kind of with the votes that he needs to. i would counthat on that. and donald trump even with his infrastructure package, which was one of his signature campaign initiatives, he really -- a lot of people do the work to't sell it in congress. >> i think one of the hard and you'vet that, heard senate majority leader look, weonnell say, don't need a big stimulus package right now. he said things to that effect, talk about infrastructure in the past. so that's gonna be, you know, a
big hurdle to get over. and the other thing is that the clearly,tuation has you know, changed. the deficit is going up. the national debt is going up. more deficit spending. that's gonna be a really hard a republican senate. on the other hand, what was one of the first things that mentioned as a potential area of common ground between him and a new democratic house? infrastructure. so, you know, it will be interesting to see. oldhis just the same infrastructure talk and talk that we hear? to know, it's very popular talk about infrastructure. there's even kind of a running joke, right? infrastructure week or people will make this joke that always infrastructure week. but when push comes to shove, we don't see the legislation really anywhere. >> well, if they don't pay for it with an increase in the gas else?hen how what are the other proposals on the table to pay for more
spending? to seeblicans would like a charge, for example, on -- creditrepealing the tax for electric vehicles and making because electric vehicle, the gas tax is how we transit,oads, bridges, electric vehicles that don't use gasoline aren't paying for any of that. see them payke to into that system. down the road, mr. defazio the vehicle miles traveled fee, which, again, sam graves is also a proponent of. most experts think that's about at least a decade away, in terms of the technical machinery to, know, peopleou paying a tax when they buy gas, to have some sort of automatic reading or even g.p.s. kind of reading to figure out where people are going, how far they're traveling and then charge them by the mile. it's complex. impossible. i think that a lot of people think that's eventually where
we're going. but getting there is gonna take some time. >> you also look at a senate isre rural representation much higher proportionately. will often say, look, we think a travel tax is unfair. residents have to drive sometimes 30, 40 miles to go to the grocery store. they be, you know, penalized for the fact that the places they need to go are spaced far out? whereas someone in is the city getwalk down the street and what they need. it speaks, again, to just all when competing interests it comes to transportation. everybody wants their hands on it. wanthen they also don't any of the political blowback that has to do with, what is very expensive. the national highway system is a very expensive asset asset. a federal and i think that the politics of recognizing that is not something either republicans or spend as really care to
lot of time on or a lot of effort on, because it doesn't politically.hem it helps them to take a picture of, you know, shoveling dirt but to increaseelp them prices at the pump when their constituents are trying to make meet. >> our congressional reporter cq roll call and a withportation reporter politico. both.you >> thanks for having us. >> the election of 2018 changed power ince of congress. with democrats taking control of the house and republicans majority in the senate. members now prepare for the new congress in january. new congress, new leaders. watch the process unfold on c-span. on monday, a forum reviewing the
impact of religious voters on midterm elections. georgetownge from university on c-span. on our free radio app. where history unholds daily. 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of house, thehe white supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> we want to introduce you to, noah phillips. three republican commissioners on the federal trade commission. he's our guest this week on the communicators. commissioner phillips, this is the first time