tv National Press Foundation 2019 Policy Politics Preview Part 1 CSPAN December 10, 2018 8:59pm-9:58pm EST
good morning. i wanted to tell you a little bit about the national press foundation programming. you should know all of our programs are free including this one today because we raise money from foundations, nonprofits, corporations around the world to make this training possible. a couple programs coming up that you might want to be aware of, we have a webinar next monday on dementia issues. we have a five program on environment and oceans issues in monterey. in march. that promo is up. you might want to look at our website if you colleagues are interested in that. we have a four-day program in april on aging and dementia. , and theram is in d.c. program will be up shortly. likely programs this summer. a four-day program on vaccines here in d.c. and possibly an international trade program in hong kong. journalism worth coming
up in january that you should put on your radar. we have the mental health reporting award. $10,000 prize. the stokes energy and environmental award, which is a $2500 prize. so thank you. here is catalina. >> thanks. good morning. there is a cosponsorship of the national press foundation and roll call. i am honored to be editor of cq. formerly known as congressional quarterly. to -- the first panel today is to talk about the new priorities. of we have got a trio
veteran journalists here, all of them are very familiar with congress politics on the white house. and i will introduce the panel from my right, your left. it white house correspondent for the washington post. congress editor for politico. ackley, covering the intersection of the influence industry, politics, and congress. as we think about what is likely to happen come january 3, when the new congress steps in, i would like the panel to talk little bit for a few minutes watch for,what to particularly some policy issues and some key players. and more importantly, why these people and these issues are important in this space. we will kick off first with sung min. >> thanks for having us.
the one main issue i'm going to be watching for is not necessarily a policy issue, because i think we can kind of see the previews now that the next two years may not be the most productive in washington with the president already kind of towards his reelection campaign and a democratic -- newly empowered democrats that may not be in the mood to compromise. what i will be watching for is the oversight issue and the investigations and how far democrats in congress want to push that onto the administration. havenk that democrats felt, for the last two years, that the efforts to extradite the oversight of the government has been largely stymied with a lot of unanswered questions, unanswered letters. now they have subpoena power, now that they have -- democrats in the house have subpoena power and have the chairmanships and the power to actually launch
investigations, how democrats approach that issue, how the white house responds, and how much it kind of all gets wrapped up in 2020, is going to be something i am watching very closely. in terms of the players, i have been really interested for the last time particularly in the last couple weeks about the on thenew lawmakers progressive end of the democratic caucus. the one that gets talked about the most because of the high profile is alexandria crossroads teds- alexandria casiano alexandria. after she won her primary, the rest of the political world is focused on the midterms. now that she has officially been elected, we have seen even through her twitter feed and
social media how influential she how not afraid she is of pushing the envelope of leadership. and i think that it fits into a broader dynamic that i will be looking over the next couple of years, how this newly empowered progressive end of the caucus, both in the house and senate, will affect governing. be simplisticght to say, this would be the democrats response to the house freedom caucus amongst house republicans. you have seen how, already, this new breed of lawmakers has pushed the existing -- the current democratic leadership when it comes to environmental policies. we are seeing a fight brewing over immigration and the border wall when the new lawmakers are saying why are we even considering giving trump a sentcent of funding -- a cent of
funding? forwill see that tension the next two years and it will be really interesting to see how schumer deals with, particularly as 37,000 people among his caucus run for president or consider running for president. also, nancy pelosi, if she does become the speaker again, how she deals with that dynamic in her caucus. us a really great overview of some of the things we will be talking about in this space is so i will come back every now and then and touch on what our speakers say. kind of a to paint negative picture here about anything getting done in the next couple of years. what do you think? >> i think she is largely right. you know, i think it will be hard to see a lot of rose garden ceremonies. you know, big legislative a conscience men's -- conference coming from trump and --
legislative a congressman -- ac complishments coming from trump. trump also seems not really -- he does not know how to be a bipartisan dealmaker. inclination is to rev up the base. maybe not moving as much through legislative policy but maybe three executive actions where he can soak his hard-line agenda. i think it will be really interesting to see what legislation house democrats past in part because the agenda that the party out of power creates, when they are out of power, is often what becomes their agenda when they are in power. we are basically going to see hopefully the breadcrumbs of what to my cracks would do if they regained the white house and the senate in 2020. to seehink we are going a lot of ideological fights
within the party. it's going to be interesting to see where they end up. energy is one issue i am looking at in particular as well. we have seen across your cortez -- alexandria cause your cortez -- alexandria pushing a new deal. mostly not over ideological issues but turf and jurisdiction. he is saying that is my turf, i am in charge of energy, we don't need this other committee. it will be very interesting to see how that takes shape. i call ther what unofficial fourth branch of government, which is the lobbying community, and their role in exerting influence here not only at the executive branch but also in congress. what do you see coming up in the next congress? >> you set this up nicely.
they might use it as their policy portfolio. one of my top priorities and tracking already and looking into the next congress is what house democrats are calling their hr one, the top priority, which is supposed to be a reforms, some lobbying reforms in there, campaign finance. it is a big picture overhaul. anticorruption. the government type package. it is another area where you are going to see that dynamic of intraparty conflict among democrats. obviously, people on the more progressive side want something bold and visionary. they would like to go, you know, for lawn. more moderatethan
people in the democratic party want to go. but in any event, that is something that is already on the agenda for the 116th congress. it is something that, you know, it could affect all kinds of policy areas. it is a way for house democrats, in addition to their oversight agenda, to sort of keep the pressure on the white house, and you know, get corruption and ethics matters sort of top of mind. also in that hr one is likely to measures that deal with voting, restoration of parts of the voting rights act, that the apreme court sort of got it few years ago in a big supreme court decision, so it is a real , but very much a messaging bill, something that house democrats say they need to do for us, so that they can turn their attention to things like climate change or other, you know, policy areas. gun control, what have you.
they say this is a way to show the voting public that they are, you know, cleaning up money in politics, cleaning up corruption, and then they can tackle the big policy areas into the next congress, so that is something i am going to be watching. it obviously has a sort of process, implications for people who are in the lobbying and congressional communities, but it also eventually would be much broader. as far as its prospects in the senate, very, very dim at this point. >> thank you, kate. as you heard here, the three panelists now giving you a good overview of what is to come. i want to go back to something said earlier, and that is the wall idea that for the first six months, maybe the first year, or the next two years, for congress, we are going to be doing a lot of investigation. i-wordexpect the other
to come up, which is impeachment? taxes?out trump's do you think the house democrats will be successful in getting those records out into the public? of the impeachment question, democrats have been super careful for the first couple of years of the administration cannot push that because they do see how it could politically backfire on them if they are seen as too eager to investigate and to impeach trump, because they see the lessons of the clinton administration and what happens ann republicans initiate impeachment proceeding against bill clinton. with that said, the legal filings that were unsealed last , you are seeing more of the senior house democrats not push impeachment just yet that start kind of floating that as an option. i think the incoming house judiciary committee chairman was really interesting on the shows
over the weekend when he said -- he met a guy overseeing impeachment proceedings in his role as chairman. why he's not pushing just yet -- he says these look like impeachable offenses. dipping his tail in the water a little in terms of how he views the situation at large. but i think, and again, going back to the tension issue theeen the new left and rest of her caucus, what i found really interesting is that there were 46 incoming house freshmen who signed a letter to nancy pelosi and other leadership last week saying we want to put the priority of our first two years on legislation and not investigation. i will point out that you can walk and chew gum at the same time. you can pass laws and write laws the administration. after two years of democrats, they have this comes up urge to go after the administration, and they will admit that, so they
are trying to be judicious, which is why they have not pushed the impeachment issue also much, but i think that, you know, there's 240 of them. there is always going to be a section of the caucus that will be much more aggressive on this legal but for now, the filings change the dynamic little bit. for the most part, they are being careful. on the issues of the tax returns, democrats want to ask for them. i talked to some folks about the process for actually obtaining the tax returns, and it is pretty complicated. it is not just like the house ways and means committee chairman, who he expects to be richie neal of massachusetts. could just go he to the white house and say i want to see your tax returns and he gets them. so i may not remember all the details of the top of my head, but what happens is that one of the two tax-writing committees , they would make a formal request to the irs,
which is under the treasury person's taxor a return. so democrats are almost sure to make that. and then the irs commissioner, who it is right now escapes my name, the top of my head, but we are assuming they would turn down that request. to do isemocrats have decide whether they want to pursue this in court, and that is kind of -- it fits into the broader issue. do they want to go as far as looking for his tax returns? if they do take that path, we have seen how protracted these legal issues can get in court. it could be one year before we even get any resolution of whether we are going to see those tax returns or not. and even the process of disclosing them to the public is pretty complicated. let's say richie neal does get these tax returns, it is under
his property. and there has to be a vote in the house ways and means committee to release him formally. it is a closed votes are no reporters would be allowed to see this road. the aides would not be allowed. once there is a vote, i cannot remember if it moves to the full house, but it is a multi step process to get these tax return, so i would not expect -- we can finally see his tax returns now because that is almost certainly not going to happen. on thetouched briefly backdrop of 2020 out, particularly in the senate, in thelmost everybody democratic caucus is making a trip to iowa, new hampshire, or at least forming plans ahead. what is the challenge for senator schumer as he tries to navigate that political space be a partner to the
house democrats and try to be back -- beat back the republican leadership? >> it is a tough job that chuck schumer has. i think number one, schumer will trying to on, one, position democrats while for the white house in 2020. and second, to try to take back a majority in the senate. particular,tters in there is a better map this cycle than the previous one. democrats were playing a lot of defense. there are a lot of states where that won by a large margin democrats were defending, and they lost several of those seats. in 2020, the only seat they are really playing defense on is alabama where doug jones is looking to be reelected. seatis going to be a hard for him.
they have a few opportunities, but they are not easy ones. susan collins in maine -- it's a relatively new state. there is cory gardner in colorado, which hillary clinton won. to some extent, schumer will be wedge issuesate and make it hard for these republican senators in some of know,swing states to, you they are being squeezed between maybe trump and their own voters . is veryschumer -- he attuned to wear his caucus is. he likes to say he is always the center of senate democratic confidence. there is bernie on the left and joe manchin on the right. he finds a way to always be in the center. i think he will do a good job probably of trying to make sure whether it is kamala harris, gillibrand, warren, or running, aever is potential opportunities. but he is going to make sure can try tonow, he
govern as much as he can as well. it --rd part for some senate democrats running for president is they do not have the majority to be able to comment say i moved this bill because you took on a, the senate majority leader, is in control of that. they need to find ways to kind of breakthrough if they want to attract attention, and that will make schumer's life difficult for sure. i think he has a pretty good relationship with nancy pelosi. pretty much walked in lockstep. fight overw a trump's border wall, the potential shutdown, and schumer and pelosi have been pretty much in sync, and i think they know they have leverage if they stay united, so it will be interesting to see how that goes as well. a magazine cover story talking about these issues, and one of the surprising things was the fact that your sources, and folks in case treatment were telling you, that you know, that may not be
such a bad thing to not get much done. there is a reason for having all this political noise, and it may serve a purpose. but what about what the business community is looking for and how it sets itself up? >> i think the business community is not expecting this to be a particularly productive otherstive period, as have said, but i think there are a couple of things about how the theness -- that has business community concerned. one of those is the whole investigations agenda, because as mentioned, there is some concern among house democrats about how to pursue that. you know, how big do they go on that? where there is not a lot of division is, you know, sort of taking on big corporations to illustrate problems that they
might see being in the trump administration, so the tax overhaul, looking at tax breaks for big companies. you know, there are a lot of areas where, i think, the business community sees itself potentially being exposed and that risk in some of these investigations. it might be difficult to subpoena the trump administration or to get the president's taxes, as you said. .t might be a lot easier businesses are easier pickings, basically. they will be less likely to sort of say we are not going to, you know, we are not going to to deal with that subpoena. we wanted more house democrats. that is not likely the tack that most corporations would take. they see a lot of risk. you can look at things like prescription drugs, and that is actually something where the
white house and house democrats might even be able to gain up -- gang up on drug companies. know, aee, you potential unknown. there are some other policy areas where i think house democrats could drag in corporate executives to make points. that has to do with corruption and lobbying, and you know, what about the regulatory rollbacks that have happened so far in the trump administration on financial services or energy and the night -- energy and areas?ment looking at the lens of companies as opposed to just the administration or just the president, and also, i think when you look at house democrats legislative agenda, something like hr one is a way for them -- there are democrats who say we want to legislate. we don't want to just investigate. if you look at campaign finance is at the heart of these investigations.
it is a campaign-finance issue. that is something that gives the public -- the public already thinks the political money system is broken and corrupt if you look at public polling. so this is just bringing it to the forefront. , you democrats put forth know, a legislative package that includes a big overhaul as to the campaign-finance system. then that is a way for house democrats, whether they are very liberal or more moderate, to say we are trying to clean up the system. we are not just attacking the white house and the president. we are putting forth legislative proposals that if enacted one they could make the system cleaner and make legislation work more for ordinary americans. to put theng pressure on these as senate democrats who are up for reelection in 2020. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is a big fan of
deregulation of campaign-finance, so this is not something he is going to be on board with, but he is going to have a lot of pressure. you know, there are certain things that people, even in his own party, might start to call for, including their already bipartisan proposals to overhaul the registration act and foreign lobbying again. something involved in the special counsel probe. to keep theys issues in the conversation without directly investigating or attacking the administration. it open to theow audience for questions, i want to have the panel talk about one possible area of common ground in terms of policy, and that is on the issue of infrastructure. that has always seemed to be ripe for bipartisan agreement. everybody wants better roads, bridges, streets, highways. in the new expect
congress in terms of trying to jumpstart that issue, and how in of a problem is it that this past session, we could not really agree on how to finance this? >> it is running. infrastructure is the big one everyone talks about. bipartisan agreement, you know, trump wants it, democrats want it. i have very low expectations they will pass and infrastructure bill. to fund it,know how for one thing. democrats want essentially direct spending. essentially stimulus. let's finance it with private lending and we will leverage here and there and put tolls in. the parties are very far apart on that. just in the last week, last week, chuck schumer sent -- we thinkop-ed saying
addressing climate change should be a key part of this. let's create green jobs. mitch mcconnell does not want that. ok? is going to be really hard for the parties to come together, i think. it -- you certainly have a better shot than the last congress where republicans and the house did not want anything to do with infrastructure, but it will be hard to see the parties come together on policy and then on the politics, it's like does nancy pelosi want to give trump a big win? it is hard to do that. schumer's clever by proposing this infrastructure package because he can say to trump i'm a you know, we are willing to deal with you. when trump's as i do not want to do this stuff on climate change, schumer can say it is the president who is rejecting this deal. i am curious to see what she thinks. i can train it a possible area of bipartisan agreement because partyt, opposition to the
. you also have a lot of pro-trade democrats, and some on the other side for republicans. i wonder if that is one area of common ground? >> on the infrastructure front, skepticism.deep one interesting factor that is worth considering is that the director was house on the staff of the house ways and means committee under bill thomas, which is under his leadership. they did a massive infrastructure bill, so she does have expertise in that area, and we know that she has, even before the election, she had made some rounds with powerful house democrats and talked about potential areas of cooperation. infrastructure being one of them. her message from trump was that he wants to do this and that he does recognize that it will cost money, and he is willing to accept that. but that is one kind of hopeful
sign amid many, many, many skeptical science of potential area of cooperation. another area that i do not think would happen but will get talked as a potential legislative item is criminal justice reform, particularly it is something that the proponents, which includes president trump, are talking about, trying to do this year. is a very powerful bipartisan coalition. i would bet that if you put this bill -- the latest version of the bill on the floor, you would get at least 65 votes. 80 seems optimistic. whip, buthe neither is chuck grassley. so there is a coalition that can get the bill them next year. i think the concern has been
that people like grassley and durbin, who were the main republican and democratic sponsors of this criminal justice legislation, is we are talking about the newly empowered democratic house. they will be emboldened to go much more aggressive and the sentencing reform changes. what we have in front of us is a compromise that democrats did give a lot on. cory booker, we support the bill , and who has worked on this issue for a long time, and one of the potential contenders, has acknowledged that this is not perfect and not the bill he would have written, but a lot of these new house democrats were elected on this generational issue, the issue of racial justice. if they want to pursue this next year, you are not technically starting from scratch because you have a bill you can work with. in a big sense, you are, because you have this new dynamic of lawmakers you will have to contend with. asked a really good
question about the prospects for trade, particularly since the new nafta agreement will have to go before congress. what do you think? you covered these issues in the past. pro-trade democrats out there, even in the incoming congress. so it is definitely an area that is going to get attention. it will remain to be seen how the president works woo his own he republicans who are concerned about changes to this new nafta? the response from the labor community and other sort of key constituencies has been, i guess i would call it lukewarm. they have acknowledged there are things in it that they like, but it is not a big warm embrace of it either.
be very, veryill tricky, particularly in the house. saw in therats, we last debate over trade promotion authority, it is just not where the democratic base is. that is not where the energy is. another trade deal. even if it is viewed as being better than the current nafta. in terms of areas where i see a little bit of potential for bipartisan cooperation, one that a lot of people have mentioned to me is some type of privacy legislation. that is not particularly viewed as super partisan. i would really keep my eye on that. there will be some movement there. every month or so, there is some database breach or what have you. really an expert in privacy and cybersecurity, we sort of put them all together in our minds.
which is not completely accurate. there is something that i could see lawmakers wanting to tout. look, we can get together and work on something that affects .eople's lives data security, privacy legislation, that is an area. prescription drugs is another one. there will be a lot of discussion. you're right.ink there will be a lot of talk about it. but we will see what happens when we get into the details. >> i am going to throw it open to questions from the audience here at the reagan building. if you could please state your name and affiliation, because we do have viewers on c-span, and i am going to open up first with kathryn kelly mcmanis from the rollcall. anytime. >> one of the questions i have is for the house democrats --
establishment, long-term democrats, have they learned the lessons of the freedom caucus have a chance to minority within their caucus being kind of its own party of no, even on what have traditionally been priorities for the party? or do you think that those , incoming members, will take a different rout. alexandria ocasio-cortez plans to sit in fellow democrats offices today on climate change, which is not the rout the thedom caucus -- the route freedom caucus tech. do you think democrats are ready to put the money where their mouth is? >> that is a good question. anybody? >> i think it is interesting that we have not even yet discussed nancy pelosi's
situation here, so thank you for kathryn for bringing that up. pelosi is struggling right now to lockdown 218 votes to become speaker. i think she will get the votes notablend, but it is that when she last became speaker after that 2006 elections, there was no fight there. the samerats have had leadership for 15 years. the same three. there is a lot of pent-up energy not just among freshmen, but among mid-level or a slightly more junior democrat who wants to move up. now, we see nancy pelosi kind of floating maybe we have term limits for committee chairmanship. although that creates a big backlash among other parts of the caucus, including the congressional black caucus. so you can see how pelosi is already struggling, but i think, slowly, managing to tame her
folks. i do not think we are going to see a house freedom caucus on the left. in part, that does not seem how democrats work, for good or ill. i think they are trying -- i think the freedom caucus members were often just willing to vote against everything. you know, we do not the democrats doing that as much. they want to keep the government-funded, for example. but i think we're definitely going to see--and that will be one of the big storylines i am interested in, is how does this fractured caucus move forward, and can they come together on or deadlines and funding the government and whatnot? that will be interesting to see. >> captain pointed out a really good tension between income and progressives who have staked their claim on either taking down nancy pelosi or at least reformto institute real
and change. we have seen the democratic leader able to do a little bit of that in the run-up before the caucus growth. , members ofut, say the democratic caucus you have been here for terms, five terms, who had been eager to see what we have sort of described as either generational change or a change to the seniority system? >> i think the tension between the generational issue is a big one. and the reason that it happens so much among democrats, much more so in the house, but it is an issue in the senate as well, does not as big. republicans have very strict term limits and he can be in the leadership or who conserve as ranking member. democrats generally do not. we have seen -- that is why you have seen chairman on the house republican side cycle through quickly.
you have seen people cycle through pretty quickly, and that is actually why a lot of is whycans -- that several republicans retired, because they were term limited out of their chairman positions, and if you do not have aspirations for leadership or anything higher than that, there is nothing you can do beyond having chairmanship of a powerful committee, which is why he i think you are -- why i think you are having a discussion about term limits bubble up among the house democratic caucus. and i think the reason that nancy pelosiink has to open the entertain that despite the backlash from the congressional black caucus, because she is still struggling to make sure to lockdown the votes she needs to become speaker again. so whether all that comes to fruition, i think we will have to see. obviously, people who have felt
that they have, you know, paid their dues and on the time -- done their time, are waiting to thep in the ranks, whereas incoming members, they are already asking for seats on powerful committees that usually do not go to house freshmen, or asking for big changes. that is another tension that will be interesting to watch and see how that manifests in the coming weeks and months. issuenerational is a problem. it is interesting. house democratic positions, while they were in the minority, let's forget about the speaker part. the top three, which is pelosi, hoyer, and clyburn, none of them have term limits. the fourth ranking position, the chairman, does have a term limit. when i first started covering congress, it was sarah -- the sarah -- becerra. he was expected to be the next
generation of a potential speaker someday, but then he lost his primary to alexandria ocasio-cortez. you see a lot of people who were groomed to be the potential next leader of house them at cracks move onto other things because, again, there was a bottleneck because of the lack of term limits. i am amuch that changes, little skeptical, because they considerable opposition to that. but that is something to watch in the coming weeks and months. >> before i throw it back out to audience questions, there is an interesting thing to look at, and that is what happens to the house freedom caucus and local members of the republican party, particularly in the house. int do you think there be the 116th? do you still see them as trying to force change, or --
>> that is what i was going to say. there is still a long influx. at thehave mark meadows top of the house -- the republican side of the house oversight and government reform committee, he can sort of serve as a key defender of the white house. you know, trump in the white house. if you, you know, if the chief another special election in north carolina. you know, in the house, if you are not in the majority, you have very limited say and sway and influence, and you know, i think that is just -- it is still a diminished -- you know, overall and party the freedom caucus is less
relevant. >> questions from the audience. please state your name and affiliation. anyone? yes, here in the front. >> [indiscernible] i was just wondering who you talking aboutbe the deficit, if anyone? >> that is a good question. who will be watching taxpayer money? >> that is a good question. [laughter] >> the fact that we are kind of scratching our chins here suggests they will not be a main issue in washington. i mean, trump has said, you , the king ofdebt debt. he does not seem to be very interested in budget deficits. congress is still dealing with the sequester, the budget control act, and these stiff caps on spending, which no one
really thinks works. congress are generally agreeing to increase spending in a bipartisan way. it seems to me that, you know, -- i think really lawmakers will still talk about it, but i do not see that as a main issue. i am not sure i see a key leader on that front. >> side. >> i think some house democrats in looking back at the tax will use the deficit as a way to blast the tax overhaul, but it did not really helped ordinary americans. it gave tax breaks to people who are already rich, and it is ballooning the deficit. you will see that talking point continue. of thesek a lot democrats will say instead of law,, you know, the text they will say let's spend this on education or health care or green jobs, sorry think kate is right. they will seize on it.
they do not necessarily want to spend it that way. the core hard-line deficit hawks, which are -- the ranks are declining in d.c. these days. the people who really cry out about the deficit are the people who are not in power, complaining about what the majority is doing, so that his wife house republicans constantly complain about the cost of obamacare, cap and trade legislation. when house democrats are in a minority, they complained about the deficit and what that caps on was doing to the deficit, but now that house democrats are in charge, i do not think they will be talking about the deficit as they pursue their agenda, because they are in charge. i know there is a briefing session on covering the federal budget, and there are some really smart experts on that panel who followed these issues very closely. other questions from the audience? yes, sir. >> how is the white house feeling about senate
republicans? flakeve corporate and gone and someone like graham, who in his current iteration, is pretty agreeable to trump. are they going to kind of take on these house committee investigations that they are losing? we have heard they will take on this investigation. will they focus on judges? what is that relationship going to look like? good question, particularly with lindsey graham is a former house member. >> i think if you listen to what the president says about the midterm elections, he only looks at the senate because he keeps talking about how well republicans did, ignoring the fact that they lost 40 seats in the house and lost the majority. i think, saying that, to underscore the point that the relationship between senate republicans and the white house is going to be really crucial over the next two years, and lindsey graham is a great test case, in line to take over as chairman of the senate judiciary
committee, and you can do those things. do kind of these bills. but we have -- he told reporters on capitol hill, when we asked when he was poised to take over, when grassley decided to move on to finance, it looked at graham was going to get the chairmanship. would you be interested in investigating the fbi, the doj's handling of the hillary clinton email investigation, which is what house republicans had been doing, which is why they are subpoenaing comey and lynch in the last few weeks of congress? >> that is something i would be interested in looking into. i think that will continue a lot in the last year. the judiciary committee is such an important committee for the agenda.t's one of the most productive committees for advancing the president's agenda. we talked about how legislation
does not seem to be -- a lot of legislation does not seem likely in the next few years, but the senate does nominations and a lot of critical nominations go to the senate committee. we have an imminent confirmation process for the next attorney general. inl barr will expect that the next year. one of trump's successors, because he has such a willing partner in mitch mcconnell and a white house counsel ndamukong macgann -- it was 84 as of october 12. that is a lot. and you do not need democrats to help you confirm a lot of lifetime appointments, and if there is another supreme court vacancy in the next two years, that is another major -- that will be another major
accomplishment should trump get another supreme court pick. chairman will be really important, so trump is in a good place with lindsey graham poised to take over that committee. also, graham is up in 2020. he always has primary problems because of his work with democrats on immigration. he is a smart politician. he will do what he needs to do to make sure he avoids any primary issues. >> [indiscernible] the obvious one is mitt romney. has the stature of a former presidential candidate. a former governor, and obviously, he has been a trump critic in the past. he will get bugged by us a lot in the hallways about what he things of the latest trump tweet or whatnot. we tried warming up with him a couple weeks ago. he was just kind of laughing a little awkwardly in that mitt
romney way and talking about i am just here for orientation, guys. his aides just kept yelling at us, no question. that will be interesting. i am told he wants a spot on the senate foreign relations committee. senate republicans have different from the president comes to russia, saudi arabia. that gives him a person to challenge the president should he take that. corkern flake are on -- and flake are on the senate committee. besides what they philosophically believe, they just had that position to do it by being on the committee and being privy to all that information. romney is your biggest bet, but tbd. >> what about other senate
republicans on issues -- specific agenda items? specifically about energy? let's go back and talk a little bit more about the relationship between not only senator murkowski, but senator murkowski and senator collins, and their pushback on the white house? >> at the senate energy committee, it looks like it is going to be lisa murkowski as the chair and joe manchin as the ranking member on the which is interesting in its own right. [laughter] >> and there was some noise in the last couple weeks on the left, not trying to deny the ranking member spot. if you recall, years back, in one of his campaign ads, he took a rifle and shot through the cap and trade bill. so not so green, new deal friendly, it seems. but you know, he recently voted
trump energy commission nominee, was some thought mike and olive branch to the left and the green folks. >> after he had voted for the committee. talked to some senate democrats who are more liberal and they said we think we will be ok with joe. it will be interesting to see. he has just been reelected. maybe he will run again for reelection. maybe he won't. he might you little more free to maneuver, but i think he will he might be a little bit more free to maneuver, but i think -- on the murkowski and collins have seen those two as some of these swing republicans. they took down obamacare's deal with john mccain. we haveseen collins --
seen her radicalized by the kavanaugh experience, and i am not sure she will be is willing to partner with democrats. i think she came away from that fight in less of a move to deal with them, so that will be interesting. murkowski is still i think fairly independent, and we will see, but mitch mcconnell has a bigger majority this year, this next congress. 53 republicans. and so he has a bit more of a cushion, and i think we might roles ashose swing important anymore. >> any thoughts? >> i think that makes sense. i said earlier, i was talking about mark meadows being on the oversight committee. i think it will be jim jordan. i did not want to get them confused in my mind. [laughter] be anhink it will adjusting dynamic. and you could see them making deals and things coming out that coming you know, everybody seems to be talking about, you know,
climate change and global warming, and i had a little inck chat with amy klobuchar the senate before the election, and she was saying that one of the things that she noticed was that it was not an area where democrats were getting hammered, that republicans were not attacking democrats on the campaign trail over climate change issues. you know, i am, sure there were certain races issue,hat was an but it was not a big talking point, so i think it shows a shift in the public, so maybe there will be some room for even minor compromises. >> i think we have got time for one more question. young lady right there in the middle. sabrina rodriguez for politico. my question is to check grassley on the senate finance committee. where do you see things headed?
as time passes with the china trade war and looking at the effect that it will have on farmers in iowa, do you see him moving away from trump on that or continuing to stick with him? expert on the an finance committee jurisdiction issues. i am a grassy expert. from iowa. -- grassley expert from iowa. grassley has been pretty vocal against the president trade policies as it pertains to the agriculture industry in iowa. especially as chairman of the finance committee, i do not expect that to change. in terms of health care policy, in terms of tax policy, he has pretty much been lockstep in line with what the administration has been proposing, but i think it is on that issue of trade where you are going to see the potential of fissures. the president likes
tariffs. while orrin hatch was critical of how the administration pursuant to certain trade policies, he does not have that in state home constituency. all is why we have seen these other farm state republicans having to constantly go to the white house to meet with the president and be the most vocal against the tariffs. so that is another area to watch. i think grassley, if you see, he tried to talk directly to the president through twitter, which is really fascinating to be. he is a senator and presumably can meet with trump in the white house and talk to his aides. he loves twitter, grassley, and he will treat, mr. president, we need, you know, tariffs are bad. i agree with simon. i think he will work closely
with trump. it will be interesting to see if the trade war with china does not calm down. maybe he will get more vocal. are about out of time. this has been a fascinating discussion. we obviously can talk more about and what toers expect in the next congress. i think you have got all about our contact information in your conference materials, but again, i would like to thank our guests for their insights, and i wish you all well this afternoon as the briefing continues, and on the half of rollcall, thank you very much for having us. [applause]