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tv   Washington Journal Leo Shane  CSPAN  December 31, 2018 1:15am-1:47am EST

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the death, by the communities, and, to be honest, by the drug companies. it people are keen to break down stigma. it is one of, perhaps, the largest changes over the last two years is the courage of people to come out and talk about what these drugs have done to their communities. host: the book is "american overdose guest 1 announcer 1: c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. monday morning, we will open the andes and take your calls reactions to the government shutdown and your top news stories of 2018. be sure to watch -- into journal come alive at 7:00 eastern monday morning. join the discussion. the government shutdown is now in its ninth day and congress is out for the weekend. the house and senate return for what are expected to be pro forma sessions with no
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legislative business. the senate meets again wednesday, one day before the congress, butew no votes are scheduled. watch on c-span and c-span 2. we are here with leo shane, the deputy editor of "military times" here in washington, d.c. we will talk about the past year in military and veterans issues. good morning. so let's start with current news. guest: it feels like a year's worth in the last two weeks. host: james mattis will wrap up his tenure monday. guest: yes. the deputy will take over january 1 day of quite the --ople -- up people upheaval. host: so what were his successes and failures? guest: he leaves as a popular
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figure as defense secretary. he was beloved by the military. we had a poll that set up to 85% of military folks respected him. he was someone viewed on capitol hill as being an adult in the room, someone who moderated some of trump's more impulsive habits on military issues. he successfully got a larger military budget he has talked about needing to rebuild the military. we saw the military budget rise in fiscal 2018. but there was a fight between him and the president over his plan to withdraw troops from syria and afghanistan. some of the ways the president has talked about foreign allies. so he leaves with a mixed legacy paid a lot of respect, but in terms of things he has accomplished and how much you moderated the president, we will president decides
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to undo the half steps and cautious steps mattis put in p lace, we will see if that disappears. host: you already mentioned this, but patrick shanahan comes in behind secretary mattis. what is that transition going to be like? guest: it will be interesting to see how long he is in the role. when secretary mattis announced his resignation, initially he said he would -- wanted to stay in place until the end of february 2 ensure a smooth transition. next year, we are going to have a new chairman of the joint chiefs, a fair amount of regular military turnover anyway. thepresident, after reading resignation letter, did not like that plan and told secretary mattis he was getting out within a couple of weeks. now the deputy secretary is stepping in. he is known as someone who is
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high on talking about pentagon efficiency, about ways to cut waste at the pentagon, ways to make it run more like a business. he will be looking to put that stamp on the pentagon. the question is how long will you be there? -- he be there? we are not sure when the president will announce a nominee. we saw from the department of saga, whenfairs randy jackson was nominated and it ended up being two months of scandal -- controversy. so a lot of folks in the military community are hoping it will not be for months until we have a permanent replacement for mattis. assuming that as someone who was not controversial.
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shanahan, heick got confirmation already. he is respected on capitol hill. but whoever comes up, there will be a ton of questions about the syria policy change, about strategy.oader there are a lot of issues to be worked out. we will see how that shapes military policy. host: we will put you on the spot. if not shanahan, who's up? guest: there are a lot of names. jack keene was one of the names thrown out. he has publicly said he is not interested in the job anymore. a lot of buzz around tom cotton. there is a lot of controversy around him as well, at least with some of his colleagues and how he would go through the con permission process. heather wilson, the current air force secretary, could come the first woman to become defense secretary, but she has sparred
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with the trump administration over the creation of a new space force. the one thing we have learned from this administration is expected the unexpected. there are probably a few names out there that none of us in the defense reporting community have even thought about what the president is seriously considering. if you are making bets today, the best bet is patrick shanahan. we have seen the president put acting secretaries in and then eventually rollover that job to the permanent job. host: that's let callers join in. we have some special lines. we are going to have active military, so if you are an active military member, we want you to call (202) 748-8000. veteran, retired military, we want to hear from you at (202) 748-8001. either oneot fit in of those categories, we have a line for you as well.
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we want you to call at (202) 748-8002. and you can always reach us on social media come on twitter, @cspanwj, and at facebook, facebook.com/cspan. the president went to visit the troops in iraq earlier this week. that was his first visit to troops in a combat zone. how are you hearing that night? guest: this was a point of controversy. earlier to pay respect to the troops and get a better understanding of what was going on. as many things do, with president trump, there was a fair amount of controversy. he made comments about military pay that were inaccurate when he was there. there were concerns about units taking pictures with "maga" hats and trump re-election stickers. some of this is just a normal controversy that surrounds trump on just about everything.
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what we heard from a lot of the folks were saying that he needs to get over there was that it was good to get that out of the way, good to get perspective. and it is good to see troops -- for the troops to see that the commander-in-chief would offer that level of support. we will see if that is a one-off trip. we know president obama and president bush did not just make it a one-off thing. they wanted to show they were still connected to the troops and aware of that. but it was powerful symbolism for the folks serving to see someone that high up visit and pay their respects. host: you brought up a couple of the controversies, one, the "maga" hats. two, the military pay raises. let's start with the pay raises. guest: with a military pay raises, the president -- this is an issue we have been tracking -- the president told the troops he has given them their first pay raise in 10 years.
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it is not true. the military gets pay raises every year. there are different ways you can flex it with how it compares to civilian pay raises and how much it can -- how much it keeps up with inflation. the president has been saying he thebeen giving -- given biggest pay raise in 10 years. he also seemed to imply he was pushing for a 10% pay raise this year. it would actually be 2.6%. there is no administration in the -- there is no evidence the administration have been pushing for 10%. so it is hard to parse out he got carried away with exaggeration. but it is a pattern that has developed since last may that we have been watching that now we are starting to see a lot of administration officials repeat and trump supporters repeat. came intoe trump office, the military has not not in a pay raise in 10 years. well, the letter has been
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getting a pay raise since the 1980's. host: let's see exactly what the president said. [video clip] >> and you just saw that. you just got one of the biggest pay raises you have ever received. unless you do not want it. does anybody here -- is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got? raise your hand, please. i do not see too many hands. don't give it up. it's great. nobody deserves it more. you have not gotten more than one in more than 10 years. we got you a big one. i got you a big one. there are plenty of people that came up and said we can make it smaller. we can make it 3%. we can make it 4%. i said no. make it 10%. make it more than 10%. it has been more than 10 years.
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more than 10 years. that is a long time. yourself outy put there. you put your lives out there. so congratulations. host: let's be specific. you are saying that trump's statement that it is the largest pay raise is -- guest: this is the largest pay raise in 10 years but this is not the first pay raise in 10 years and certainly not the first pay raise in more than 10 years. last air, there was a two point oh percent pay raise. raise.ar will be a 2.6% not -- i do not want any of our readers or viewers to get disappointed when they get their check next year. it doesn't seem like something the president seemed -- needs to exaggerate. it is a good accomplishment, something republicans have been touting, that they have been able to provide enough military
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funding to provide a stable pay raise for troops. but they have gotten a pay raise every year for the last 30 some years. host: let's let some of our viewers joined the opposition. joseph is calling from san antonio, texas, a veteran. it morning. -- goo dmorning. caller: how are you doing? i am a vietnam veteran. i've been listening to c-span for a long, long time, when brian was there and everything. i just want to congratulate that to you guys. and i want to say that to be a veteran into the rational and what i am going to say is that i msnbc, and i also listen to fox. two points i want to make. one, with fox, all they do on fox is have how the president
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loves the military. you get all the stories about the military, which i find repugnant. -- we find out a couple days ago that he had a doctor that gave him a deferment because hers just was renting from his dad some building. my point is i do not like the president speaking for all people in the military and all veterans. because that is just a lie. lies and lies. thank you for having this gentleman on tv. thank you. guest: thanks for the call. host: what veterans issues did the president face this year? guest: real quick, for the caller, because he brought up this point of the military and whether they like trump or not, we have done some polling.
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we have seen mixed results. folks when a lot of they think of the military think of a monolithic conservative bloc. what we have seen in our reporting and polling is there are a lot of folks who have out trump and a lot of folks who support him and his issues. one of the rings his supporters left was the appointment of secretary mattis. it will be interesting to see whether or not his popularity goes up and down. on the issue of veterans issues, the biggest utterance issue of 2 waseterans issue of 2018 the firing or quitting of david shulkin. upheaval, the new secretary comes in, robert wilkie over the summer -- he promised to clean up the
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department, put some of the drama behind. we entered this year sort of the same place we were last year, which is a lot of folks feeling good about the future of v.a., feeling like there have been a lot of improvements, but also keeping an eye on the white house, saying when will you inject more political drama? sydney,t's go to calling from louisiana, also a veteran. caller: i am a vietnam veteran. i want to say this privatization of the va hospital is destroying the v.a. hospital. host: in what way? caller: we no longer have the emergency room at the hospital. we no longer have doctors at the hospital. you have to drive more than 40 miles to the v.a. hospital. you can go to the public doctor. notpublic doctor will
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accept us, because once you turn 65, you use that a care plus v.a. they are turning us down. the nearest person we can go see his 120 miles away in lafayette. my neighbor did not want to drive that 100 20 miles. he had to pay to have skin cancer removed off of his ear, because we cannot get any service. the young guys may still be getting service. i do not know. but these doctors are saying we will not take you because of your medicare. the are just destroying v.a. guest: this will be the big issue to watch in 2019. last summer, the president signed into law the v.a. mission act. one of the provisions was a complete overhaul of the v.a. community programs, the programs
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that allow veterans to go to a local, private doctor instead of v.a. care. right now, they are writing the rules on how this will work. the devil is in the detail. veterans groups have said it is important to have more options and access, especially in areas where there may be understaffing at the va hospital. there is a lot of concern this will end up being a funding stream from the v.a. and a lot of the money will go to private doctors. you will get an entire class, generation, veterans who use doctors outside of the v.a. and do not have the same level of care and monitoring. v.a.veteran goes into that doctor, they have familiarity with the wounds of war, agent orange issues, ptsd issues.
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someone in the private sector may not have that. a veteran mako in for something minor and will also complain they have trouble sleeping or work.focused in a v.a. dr. may be able to see signs of ptsd where a civilian doctor would not. this to be really drilled into in the coming months. how do we make sure the v.a. system is will a viable and that veterans have that as a first option before they just go to an outside doctor because of convenience or perceived frustration with the v.a.. host: you jump to my next question, which is how will the house change affect the budget? guest: on the veteran's side, i think it will be less
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controversial. that has been a figure where both democrats and republicans have continued a steady increase in the v.a. budget. on the defense side, it will be more of a fight. the president is interested in a increase.on democrats say if you want to keep dumping money into defense, we need to have commiserate increase in other domestic priorities. either give more money for things like state department, forming security, for all of these other issues, or trim back defense. the incoming house armed services chairman, adam smith, has said he sees a lot of areas where the u.s. could cut back on defense without accepting more risk than we already face. you will see how nasty it will get -- are we facing another
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shutdown problem at the end of the year, at the end of september, when the defense budget runs out? host: ivan is calling from california. good morning. know --i would like to all of these military people talk about the president. -- if all of these democrats do not like the way our country is being done, there are third world countries that will be more than happy to accept them into their arms. check andgive them a free medical and take care of them for the rest of their lives. guest: you are allowed to have opinions in the military. we have not heard anyone speaking out directly against the president. you are allowed to express concerns and support for his policies.
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in the pool we did in the fall, we saw a lot of folks who have military love his policies, the buildup of the resources. a lot of folks right to us and i wish he would just put down his phone and stop tweeting. if you took the role more seriously in terms of staying focused on the job and less focused on public outcry and response. i think a lot of folks think the ,ilitary has this monolithic almost mindless, block that does what they are told. and getting to cover the military and veterans, we see a lot of nuance and concerns. a lot of the same issues seen in the broader public. maybe definitely bent a little more conservatively, just based on our polling and exit polls. host: to bring this back around
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to the president's trip to iraq, where he also talked politics, about the border wall and handed out "maga" hats. what was wrong with that? guest: it remains to be seen if anything is wrong with that? the defense department will leave it to local commanders to decide. there are rules about politicking in uniforms. there are rules about displays that are seen as partisan in one way or another. hats ise signing of the something different than at least one soldier who held a trump reelection flag. that seems to be a politicking push. i do not know if that is necessarily a mortal sin, but certainly the kind of thing where a commander should step in and say there are rules about politicking for one thing. if you hold up an american flag to celebrate the president, that
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is fine. if you hold up a trump flag, that comes across as something different. on the signing of hats, that will be left up to norm -- to local commanders to decide. the defense department has said they will leave it to local commanders, to let them sort out, and remind folks that the military is supposed to be seen as separate from politics. the commander in chief comes to any military facility, there are a lot of selfies and handshaking and autographs. i do not know that that part is unusual. trump has done a better job at branding himself and his campaign, so that brings with it some other interesting twists. host: let's go to richard, calling from montreal, canada. good morning. caller: good morning. i want to know why mr. shane mr.n't want to report that
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obama fired secretary mattis. how come that is not being talked about? isn't that corrupt journalism? guest: i do not think that is corrupt journalism, but we can talk about it now. d outtary mattis was force of the obama administration, and president obama was criticized about some of that. different administrations, different policies. some of the credit that trump has gotten for ringing him back in seems to have gone out of the window with the way he forced m attis out. mattis left a very respectful letter. will be interesting to see
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how president trump handles that in the months to come. if he decides to go after secretary mattis, as he has done against previous cabinet members sendyrical photos, it will shockwaves through the military. this is still a very respectful person in -- respected person in the military. he issident trump decides going to name call and pick apart secretary mattis, i think there will be a lot of folks in the military who will reevaluate where their support stands for the president. callingt's go to king, from baton rouge, a veteran. caller: good morning. i am a volunteer for the veterans and military. i was against the draft. now, i am against the pay in the military. highest paid people
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in the world -- what is the wall without the wall. -- guest: military pay is always a tricky issue. it is hard to say that troops do not deserve it. it is hard to say you do not want to give them more. but there are a lot of issues with how you balance the budget and how you pay for defense. if we give that 10% pay raise to all troops this year, we would be looking at the budget ballooning significantly. i think it would be somewhere on the order of about $12 billion over the next five years in additional pay costs. dance thats at a congress and the pentagon have to do. how to make sure that we are compensating these folks well, how to make sure they have g.i. joe bill benefits, but also how to do that in the environment
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where they have the best equipment and training and readiness. what we saw during the obama for many inersially the military community, was a discussion of pulling back military pay. aybe making military pay go little below where it should be based on the calculations and on the private sector or formula. for three years straight, military pay raises were half a percentage point below what other folks in the private sector would have been expected to get. that created somewhat of a pay gap and infuriated a lot of people in the military, saying you are balancing the budget on the back of military troops. congress and to get more money. we will go ahead if that is something democrats want to do.
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-- we can provide better support programs. those are important and how we compensate troops as well. host: let's get one more question in from donna, calling from virginia. good morning. caller: i just have a question or two. it seems like everyone is again, president trump, for whatever little reasons they can find, like signing his hats, bone spurs orhas whatever. why does nobody ever talk about obama, never served? i am really curious why. lot abouttalked a this. i would encourage you to read more "military times" and more newspapers. president obama is not president now, so he gets a lot less coverage than the current president. but we have written quite a few
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stories about the trend of military service in our presidential candidates, who have served, who have not. there are a lot of folks who have a lot of respect for the military, have a lot of respect for that service, and feels like it brings a little better perspective on foreign policy issues and national security issues. there are a lot of people who push back and say that should not be the only qualification. we have seen the number of presidential candidates, especially this last cycle, who actually served drop to a small percentage. we are seeing the number of veterans decrease in congress, almost every cycle. move to an all volunteer army, there are few people who served. an unblessed -- and unless there is another vietnam that creates a
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widespread draft, we will not see the level of the 1970's, where upwards of 70% of congress served at some point and all presidential candidates had been there. it is an issue. i do not know that president extra is getting criticism. the way he got his deferment at the time is controversial. president obama was not old enough to be eligible for the draft, so that is not an issue that is there. there is quite a lot of talk about both president bush's s ervice. and president clinton, when asked about the don't ask, don't tell law, got tons of criticism for not having experience. thank leoould like to shane, deput c-span's "washington
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journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. will open the, we phones and take your calls and reactions to the government shutdown, and your top news stories of 2018. is sure to watch "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. monday morning. join the discussion. >> the national press club hosted a panel discussion with global corporate leaders who explained the global initiative to provide free basic tools and resources for businesses to improve cyber security raising -- security readiness. this is just over one hour. >> good morning, everyone. good morning and welcome to the national press club, the place where news happens. i am an editor at bloomberg news and the 100 -- 111th president

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