tv Washington Week PBS November 23, 2018 7:30pm-8:00pm PST
:a divided country elect a divided congress. i'm robert costa. welcome to "washington week." the history making class of freshmen lawmakers in the house upends the balance of hour -- power in washington. will there be bipartisanship or political war? >> a democratic congress will work for solutions that bring together because we've all had enough of division. robert: as democrats vow to also be a check on president trump, house republicans prepare to be in the minority for the first time in eigh w years. >>e will work with anybody across that aisle if they are there to work to move america forward. robert: and the president issues a warning to democratic investigators. president trump: they can play that game but we can play it better. robert: wecuss the new era of divided government next.
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robert:good evening and thank you for sharing thanksgiving weekend with us. can a divided congress work together? and with president trump? tonight, osn t special edition, we look ahead to january when democrats will take contl of the house and republicans will continue to hold power in the senate. joining me are four top nch congressional reporters. they roam tls marble h and know the key players. lisa desjardins with pbs newshour, jake sherman of politico, ericwawerner of "the ington post," and manu raju with cnn. let's start with the issues. there are many fronts for possible bipartisanship from infrastructure to trade and healthcare. enging issue cha is likely to be immigration. president trump is threatening a partial government shutdown next month ifes con doesn't agree to his terms for funding for his long-promised wall along the u.s.-mexico border. president trump: when y look
at the caravan, when you look at the mess, when you look at t peopoming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown. robert: before we talk about bipartisanship possibilities, jake, what are the possibilities right nowor ahutdown in december over immigration? jake: i'd say pretty good. the president is facing a tough scenario. he's going to lnke a c of washington next year and he's put off this nice on the border wall for tears. if you talk to his defenders in congress, they will say qui simply, the president ran on a promise to restrict immigration and build a physical barrier on the border with there was no ambiguity. he's not done that two years into his presidency with an all publican washington. robert: where are the democrats, where's president trump? erica: the senate agreed to $1.6 billion for the wall for the 2019 fiscal year. trump wants $5 billion which is what house republicans want. as jake said, i think therere a few factors that make a
shutdown possible, if not likely. i course,t will all come down to trump and what he wants to do but youav also house republicans in their last gasp of power abo t to go into minority and you have a number of conservatives saying we need t and pusthis mom for the wall funding while we can. we also have the president. he's about to travel to the g-20. he often has conflicts on the international stage where he can embarrass by other world leaders. comingm back f that, he might have motivation to make a stand on the hom front and it will come down to what he wants to do. robert: lisa, whut a deal? could the democrats ask for protections for dreamers, undocumented immigrants, in exchange for some funding f the wall? lisa: absolutely. there are some in the democratic caucus who think now that the house will be control by democrats, it will move the tenor of the debate more towards the middle. with republicans controlling both chambers, things were
moving too far to the right for any deal to make through the more moderate senate so there hope that a limited deal with democrats coming intoco power d get through. but could that happen by december 7? and with democrats working through their dine -- dynamics, seems unlikely. robert: what's your read on senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and how he'll handle this?oe manu: he not want a shutdown. he's made that clear for weeks. after going to the white house recently he told reporters there won't be a shutdown. a couple of days later, trump said a shutdown may not be a bad idea so it's obviously, as erica was saying, not ultimately mcconnell's cal the question is can they cut a deal between theil $1.6on in funding and the $5 billion in funding. i talked to lindsey graham last week about this. he said perhaps there's a deal
for the dreamers and funding for the wall. however, they tried that already in the past congress and it's already been rejected so it will be difficult to g done. it will come downo funding. jake: and could nancy pelosi be part of any of these deals and my read is probably not. she's about to come p intoer, facing an uncertain bid for the speakership. can she have her hands on any deal that results in a border wall built? robert: are moderates pressurini her the house? jake: yes, but i think anything on the cus of power, anything outside the bounds of the democratic platform, so to speak, will be difficult for her to pull off. >> and one factor that may help a shutdown happen is the stakes are lower. th will be a smaller shutdown, affecting a few agencies -- homeland security, agriculture, ste department but n the defense department or the majority of the federal government. big ones but not the whole thing. people could try to ride that out a few days.
robert: where's the freedome caucus inshe u.s. house? erica: they're irrelevant ore. about to republicans will be in the minority. any member of the minority in the house is basically irrelevant. 's a messaging job. but the freedom caucus eseccially sose they've had the ability in the majority to block legislation. they will not have that ability in the minority. if you look at mark meadows, he's walking around looking dejected knowing he'sgo about to from being a key player to much less than that. he still will have president trump's ear which hasimeen rtant to him and to his ability to throw his weight around. but that group's going to go from a group we talk about a lot to a group thate barely mention. robert: when you think about the president and immigration, he can do a lot with executive authority. how is congress going to handle ie presidentf he continues to do that? manu: i think he'll have to do
stuff with executive authority in the new congress in particular. it's hard to see any sort of deal getting through. it's been such an intractable issue in congress for such a long time. the president has such a hard tne on this issue compared nancy pelosi who may be the next speaker. that will be a difficult thing for them to deal with. he is going to face a prospect of a lot of focus from house mocrats who do want to investigate his handling on, say, the separatfn o families, in particular. so that is the pressure they're going to put on him but legislatively, any sort of big deal, hard to see that happen. robert: there are many issues where there may be an opportunity for compromise. one is irastructure. there has long been bipartisan consensus that congress should address crumbling roads andge br and highways and transit systems and tap water that poses public health and safety problems. the snag is how to pay f it. erica: always how to pay for it. especially there will bemo biggr y problems in the next year
hitting potential budget cuts coming up. the democrat who will probably lead the house transportation committee, peter defasio, says he wants to get a bill to the american public they can look at in the first six o monthsf next year. n's talking about $500 million for surfaceds. the president's talked about a trillion dollars. of course, the trill mark you hear a lot but defazio's talking about raising the federal gas tax potentially, something republicans alreadyem have a pro with. so mitch mcconnell senate is unlikely t pass that. robert: could some republicans get behind a gas tax? chamber ofypommerce? lisa: potentially. i haven't heard any yet and i think that's me -- on the local, that's more safe than in congress. robert: lisa's point about where the money comes from isim rtant. the president really wants public-private partners on infrastructure to g to the trillion dollar mark. erica: that was his proposal, something like $200 million in public funding that he thought
would unlock all of this private funding which democrats basically laughed at and as know, the idea of infrastructure week when there would ben infrastructure bill became a joke over the past congress. on the gas tax,he president himself, we've reported at the "post," in private meetings early in the year, threw out the idea of raising the gas tax,at e could be open to it. the way this president operates, he can change his position on a dime and you could see him coming around to that, as lisa said, it's not something mcconnell would want to do and would be a hard sell but you tuld seemp getting on board with that or some other funding mechanism democrats l and try to make a deal where everyone wins on an infrastructure deal.o robert the president want a deal, jake? people inside the white house oftenulay we s have started with infrastructure, back in 2017.no with divided government, could they push for something? jake: he could thank paul ryan
who convinced himtaot to with infrastructure and set off what many thought was a cascading setf failures legislatively. i do think that infrastructure is theue singular ihere the president wants a deal actually and doesn't want thess to bang democrats over the head with but mitch mcconnell has said we'ren not e doing a $900 billion infrastructure deal. robert: why is mcconnell not interested? jake: he's interested in infrastructure. his wife is theransportation secretary so there's a personal and professional issueut he knows what can get through senate and he's not going to put his secators on thed for a huge spending project and i think congress, what you're going to see, and you could say whatever you want about hetivations but will be i think a down-tick in spending or an effort among republicans to pump the brakes on spending. robert: on healthcare, manu, will we see democrats in the house push foredicare for all? manu: i doubt it. you probably will see factions of the house push for that.
i don't think you can see that ge approved by even this house, incoming house democratic majority. they'll probably have 234, maybe 235 seats. that meanshey could lose 17, 18 votes -- 17 votes if they ha 235 seats at the most. and there are a lot of members who are coming in from conservative districts. that's how they came into the majority. they beat republicans in traditional republican strong-hol and these same conservative members don't necessarily go along people who are pushing the bernie sanders medicare for allac typege so doing it alone, even if it got out of the house, no w it gets out of the senates so this issue will have to be done on bipartisan basis. robert: when you look at the map, a lot of moderates won as house democrats but cortez from new york, newly elected young congresswoman, a lot of position that side of the party for big change.
erica: she's the big star of the incoming freshman class and whau alluded to will be a dynamic we see over and over in the new congress on healthcare, immigration, other issues, where there are divisions internally in the democratics caucu about how far to go, what to do on any given issue, how far to push trump. do we push to impeach h? do we do medicare for all or focus on pre-existing conditions? do we do a big immigration bill or just something for dreamers? i think it will arise again and again a cause conflicts in dynamics. robert: what about negotiating drug prices? possible on capitol hill? lisa: absolutely possibl i think that's one of the first bills we can expect out of democrats on healthcare. they're also looking at a bill by frank cologne to bring back subsidies for health insurers, something a few republican senato s likean collins are
interested in doing but that's the sameua son where i don't think a mcconnell senate passes that in the end but it' somewhere from democrats could have a more moderate type of approach that cld gain steam but some other democrats will think that doesn't go far enough. i think they'll try that first and see what happens with t progressive voices. robert: there's more than just top in theas a bac senate. you have people who may run for president on the democratic side -- senator harris, senator booker -- they couldhe shift debate? manu: no question, you'll see them try toit out-pn themselves for a long time, trying to show themselves to be more aggreive, more liberal than other members. not just harrison and booker but even sarah brown, jeff americal elizabeth warren. who's not running? this will be an issue for chuck schumer but they're in the
minority. watch for the republican senate to do much of what they're dois in t senate -- trying to confirm a lot of judges which they cando with a simple majority, without democratic support. robert: we're talking about a shutdown showdownhis december. there's a lot of possible bipartisanship early nex yr but we're always thinking about the other cloud hanging over these discussions. democrats said midterm voters sent a cle message they want to check on donald trump's administration. many incoming chairs say they will use the powero investigate the president and members of his team. that's the scene next yr. are the president's tax returns at the top of the democrats' list? lisa: they're near the top. we know what's close to the top. we saw a letter this tuesday come out from jerry nadler who will be one of the big investigative forces for democrats. he wrote a letter to the acting
attorney general, among others, saying we will investigate how you have handled detaining immigrants and also separating families. so it's not just about trump's record. we will see the tax returns. we will see also things lik his policies and i think many of his cabinet decisions includinghe firing of attorney general jeff sessions, will come up quickly. i would expect hearings on that fast. robert: who are the players? who should we pay attention to on the democratic side, the chairs?ke eliza cummings of maryland, someone who has been in partisan warfare before on th committee against darrell lica.y je nadler in the judiciary are the two big nam think we should take a deeper look which is regular - hearin appropriations hearings and humdrum business of these committees will turn into parties -- partisan par fare.
if a cabinet secretary comes capitol hill for a hearing on budget matters, tsky'll be about policy. this will be a daily thing, not a periodic dynamic but a daily dynamic under fire almost every day. robert: are the democrats going to ris overreaching? erica: right and i think that hell be attention and something that leadership wants to avoid. some of these committee chairs who areed experiend who have been around for decades -- cummings, nadler, the chair of ways and means, they do not want to seem to be overreaching and will try to pump the brakes on going too far but as jak was saying, we cannot overstate how much the house willng c from a body that has protected the president, h and administration from answering
onemfortable questions, to that will be asking uncomfortable questions every day andav we'lla lot to cover. robert: if the house is aggressives with president trump, is the senate now the citadel for president trump? senator lindsey graham, likely the chair ofud theiary committee and the senate. manu: yes, the senate republicans have been like the house republicans in the past two years. they've protected the president for the most part. there have been some bipartisan investigations, senate intelligence committee investigation -- mostly behind closed doors -- the russia investigation. robert: will they try toro prott rt mueller, senate republicans? manu: no. right now there are a handful republicans who want to go that way but not enough to actually force the issue. u'll see democrats try to force the issue like that and pressure republicans toem join you'll see republicans try to defend the president in many ways and lindsey graham who will chair the judiciary committee
told me he wants to look into the f.b.i.'s handling of the russia investigation. robert: i want to explain the laugh a little bit. you're really saying the president has soit much pal capital still with his party, people don't want to break ranks?: ma question about it. one of theessons senate republicans have drawn, they don't want to be on his bad side and when he's on their good side, he can be helpful with their base. robert: adam schiff, house committee, what to expect from him? jake: he'll be empowered and he's a close ally of nancy pelosi and if she's speer of th house, that's someone to keep an eye on. the intelligence committee has turned from being a place where bipartisanship was i the d.n.a. to another battleground between the parties with very partisan members -- devin nunes of califoia who has protected the president and gone to great lengths t protect the president and adam schiff who has gone to
lengths tohe antagonize president so that's what this will be about. robert: we talked about cabinet officials coming up to capitol hill but it could be members of the family. ivanka trump, her email use under scrutiny. she could be cal up, as well. lisa: the idea that ivanka trump who spent years of reading stories about hillary clinton's use private email is now conducting her affairs for the government using private email is something democrats are putting me about but this together for the show today, this is a political and c cultural momening together and a choice for democrats going into this because the country says they want less toxicity. that's why they watch shows like this. however, it's a little bit like saying, we want to be healthier. does theountry really want to go to the trouble of exercising? or are w all addicted to the internal fighting? and can democrats push that back and be bipartisa
robert: what's the real agenda, based on what lisa sd? at the end of the day, does president trump want a foil in the house democrats and toc house dts want a foil in president trump? erica: i think trubsolutely wants a foil and perhaps that's one of the reasons he's been offering, sincerely or not, to help nancy pelosi become speaker ando find votes for her, if she needs them. you know, i think that house democrats are concerned about pelosi being the face of the a part when you ask them about that, even those who pport her, theyill say, no, no, she's not going to be the face of the party. we'll have a nominee, ultimately, and that's who the president will be focused on. but, in fact, whatevenancy pelosi has many amazing attributes and has achieved a lot. she's notli great in p she's not someone who's very popular and she will be good
foil for the president. manu: you've already seen the president blame house democrats saying the stock market has gone down because of the prospect of new investigations which iste comp false but the president is looking for someone to blame and you talk to democrats, they will tell you, e one thing they're concerned about is re-electing donald trump so they'll have to balance both being an antagonist, working with the president, but not working with him too much to anger their base. it's a complicated task but both sides see a useful foil. robert: vided government often a time for deals but often a time when things stall. jake: voters prefer dividednd government they keep elected two parties to divide congress and over the years we'll see re gridlock. robert: any key lawmaker who will try to cut through it? jake: no. robert: that's a professional reporter right there. we have to leave it there.
stay tuned for a special message from your local pbstation. i'm robert costa. have a great weekend. he[captioning performed by national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org.] uncer: funding is provid by -- financial services firm, raymond james. newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own's food products to charity and nourishing common good. the ethics and excellence in jourlism foundation. koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting, and by
♪ d. feinstein: i'll tell you what i remember about george moscone. i remember an enormously attractive human being. great personality. very outgoing. ♪ w browve i don't think georgemeasured whether or not he would do something based on whether onot it could be done. because it was theght thing. interested in doing it n. pelosi: he was sort of the golden boy. he had it all. he was articulate, he was comfortable about the positions he was staking out. he took risks. p toitical risks. (gunfire)