tv Book Discussion CSPAN December 4, 2014 8:00pm-9:15pm EST
together. . . funniest people i have ever known. she has a great sense of humor. the republican leader laid out his perfectically -- speech perfectly stept this lady has a is sense of humor that is quite remarkable. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: thank you. mr. president, just a word to both leaders. both leaders. thank you very much for your kind words and they also want to say thank you for mentioning my wife stephanie. this has been a remarkable partnership for a lot of years
and i could not do what i did without her, so thank you to senator mcconnell, mr. leader thank you. it's been an honor to serve in his body. i will have more to say next week in my farewell speech but i did not want this day to go by without expressing my appreciation. thank you. >> today former senate majority trent lott and former democratic leader tom daschle talked about issues in congress including the affordable care act, immigration policy, the eric garner decision and the need for bipartisanship in congress.
this event was hosted by the "christian science monitor." it's about an hour. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> okay. thanks for coming everyone. david cook for the "christian science monitor." our guest this morning are affiliated with the bipartisan policy center. they are co-founder tom daschle senior fellow trent lott and senior president jason grew me and then senate majority leader daschle was a guest speaker at bud sperling's 3240 and 41st and final breakfast as host. the senator visited nine times
before that a graduate of south dakota state university served as an intelligence officer in the air force, was a senate staffer and one election to the u.s. house in 1978 and to the senate in 86. he became democratic leader 94 servings twice as minority and majority leader. he left the senate in 2005 and is now founder and ceo of the daschle group that public policy advisory. senator said they managed to avoid one of our gatherings during his one and finished very successful career. not for trying on our part i would say that we are glad to be able to rectify that today. senator suthers a graduate of the university mississippi and
the university of mississippi law school. after practicing while he moved to washington to become a congressional aide and was elected to the u.s. house 1972 in time to serve on the house judiciary committee during impeachment proceedings against richard nixon. he was elected house minority whip in 1981 and in 1988 was elected to the senate where he went on to serve for terms. he was elected senate republican whip in 1995 and majority leader in 2006. he left the senate at the end of 2007 opening a lobbying firm. i think the preferred term is a strategic consulting firm with former senator john breaux. the firm was purchased by patton boggs and he is now senior counsel at squire patton boggs. jason vermeil earned a specialist degree from brown university and along the way became the 1988 national collegiate debate champion. he has a lot of -- a logically from harvard and founded and directed the national commission on energy policy.
in 2070 cofounded the policy center along with former senate majority leader baker daschle dole and miller. he is a present at the bipartisan center and his new book city of rivals restoring the glorious mess of american democracy. the biographical portion of the program now i'm morning's mechanics. america's natural gas alliance sponsoring a number of moderate breakfast including today's. our thanks go to marty durbin at the table back there with his colleagues helping ensure this survives another year on the monitor payroll. as always we are on record here. please no live blogging or tweeting and no filing of any kind while the breakfast is underway to give us time to actually listen to what our guests says. there is no embargo and the session ends. to help you resist that relentless self the urge we will e-mail several pictures of the session to all reporters here as
soon as the breakfast ends. as regular attendees know if you would like to ask a question please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle nonthreatening signal and i will happily call in the time we have. i will start off by offering our guests the opportunity to make opening comments and move questions around the table. thank you all for doing this. we greatly appreciate it. >> it's nice to be here. it's always good to see her friends from anka and we want to have an interaction. all i will suggest is the system is bone crushingly gridlocked and it will stay that way if we just continue to play by the same rules. our view at the bipartisan policy center is that the rules are going to evolve read the frustration of those who are constructive partisans who want to get things done are going to start to require a different approach to legislation. congressman boehner now has a
244 member majority and that changes his latitude some. i think if you look back to last year during the shutdown when speaker boehner had the leadership and said we are not defaulting on this debt that strengthen his hand. he he did not fall through the eyes of many people have predicted. and the last thing i will say in opening is that my experience that people who are the most frustrated with washington are members of congress. it's not what they signed up for it. the vast majority came here to get things done. i think that constructive frustration like the constructive frustration of the general public is going to start to have an influence if we can talk about it a little more and i tried to -- my book that has not been held up. >> what was the title? >> talk about our pragmatic but
not naïve ways to move the country back towards a productive partisanship. >> first of all i am sure this is all off the record. thank you to anger for hosting this in the "christian science monitor" for making it possible to be here with you today. soon, and i will have an opportunity to speak in 30 minutes with extensions that we need more time to filibuster. but i'm delighted to be here with my good friend tom daschle. we do a lot of appearances now and that's natural because we did a lot of things jointly when we were the respective majority and minority leaders back and forth a couple of times. when you go back and look at what we went through together not only the impeachment trial but 9/11 and the anthrax attack that specifically affected tom's office and how we dealt with the congress, we went through a lot of tough things but also i'm
very proud of the things we got done. i'm still an incurable optimists believe it or not. i still believe that good things will happen but it's going to take strong leadership. we are going to have to see some change of direction from the president. we are going to have to see the speaker really move aggressively in trying to keep his conference moving in the right direction. i have always said that when you are in leadership in the house and senate you can follow your conference or you can leave your conference. if you just follow it you have got troubles. i'm hoping the speaker will step up in that regard and he has achieved the goal he has worked on literally since he was in high school. he was going to be the majority leader. i think there are a lot of things that need to be done. with anga what's happening in the energy field has a positive effect on what's going on in the economy but a present
opportunities and challenges which i hope the congress will step up to next year. >> i just want to thank dave and the "christian science monitor" for giving us a chance to come back. it's a good opportunity to see some of you. we have not had the opportunities we used to have this leaders to mingle and talk with you is frequently as we used to. we look forward to the opportunity this morning. let me also thank jason and if you haven't read the book you what to do so. it's a fantastic book and i would highly recommend it. trent and i have worked together in a lot of different iterations over the years and it's been an enormous pleasure for me to work with him over the last several years in a lot of different contexts especially at the vpc. over that time i think it's fair to say we have become closer friends. i treasure that friendship and appreciate the chance to be with
him this morning. it's no secret that our country itself is very divided. the pew research center and others have said this may be the most divided we have been philosophically and ideologically in over 100 years. so the congress really reflects oftentimes the divisions within our own country. i think we are experiencing today. largely as a debate about the role of government in modern society. it's a debate between those who consider themselves rugged individualists on one side and those who believe there is a lot to be said for collective action on the other. finding compromise between those two points of view as we consider the role of government in modern society is always a challenge but it has become even more so. it's also been a tactical question for a lot of members to get elected to congress these days. the tactical question is when you stand your ground and when you look for common ground? there are a lot of people who believe they were sent to washington not to find common ground but to continue to insist
on standing their ground and making a stand on principle alone. the challenge in reconciling those two points of view first on the role of government and secondly on the tactical way with which one governs has really presented a set of circumstances we are facing today. as jason and transpose that said there are ways in which to address it. there are easier ways and there are some what's more typical ways and then there are ways that are almost impossible but if you have read walter isaacson's new book he quotes larry page as saying in order to be successful in almost anything you have to have a healthy disregard for the impossible and i think that's what we have got to understand. we have to have a healthy disregard for those who just say there's nothing we can do about this because it's just impossible. it isn't impossible. we can address it as a country. we have done so in the past and i hope we can continue to demonstrate their capacity to do so going forward.
>> all three of you and for your remarkable time sensitivity which we don't always find with our gas so thank you very much for that. i'm going to ask on behalf of bill douglas so that will get us started. let me ask you a noncongressional question are perhaps among congressional question as we all know. a new york grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the death of an unarmed african-american eric -- does the -- at the hands of police call for bipartisan action and if so what? >> maybe i can start by saying i think without knowing the specific circumstances in the case, understand there's going to be an investigation so we will better understand what
actually occurred and why. i do think that we have avoided a serious discussion about race in america now for some time. it's critical that we continue to understand the need for that dialogue, the need for us to become much more aware of the inequities and the challenges that we face as a nation. whether it's the voting rights act or voter suppression or anyone of a number of challenges we face in the country we have a lot of work to do in these cases are certainly a reminder of that. >> the way we are going to do this mechanically is i will let each of you respond to whatever you want to respond to. >> maybe a broader reflection, really does affect a lot of folks in this room. we now get to see almost everything, whether it is interactions between individuals
and the horrible grotesque actions of isil and that is changing the way people understand these problems. i have no actual statistical notion that there is more and violence between white police officers and african-americans today than there has ever been. my intuition is that there is less but we see it more and i think that does in a very constructive and important way forces conversation forward and it's hard to imagine a federal legislative response to that but we do have a very strong federal role in civil rights enforcement so i do believe this is going to be an ongoing conversation. >> i think it's something we have to confront. we have to come to terms with what happens in institutions
like this and what could be done differently. i have always had a little bit of a problem when you talk about what legislatively we did, some of the equipment that the federal government provides to police departments around the country now. you wonder why they need that. there's heavy equipment and some time in small-town police departments. i think dianne feinstein specifically and tom talked about doing something in that area to at least limit it to smaller side arms or weapons rather than tanks if you will. they may not have tanks that large vehicles. it's time that everybody ask themselves is policing being handled properly not only on the street but in the courts and in the public discourse. it's been interesting and troublesome quite frankly some of the things we have seen and heard and there have been some
others that have taken advantage of the opportunity to try to find some solutions. we will see what happens with that. >> the last one for me. i want to ask about what he sees the is the most likely areas for bipartisan action speaking of business roundtable yesterday. president obama cited tax policy, the transpacific partnership and trade infrastructure and surprisingly immigration as potential areas for bipartisan legislative action. based on your considerable expertise what would top the list of the best possibilities of bipartisan action if any? >> i do think trade is one that they have a good opportunity and need to work together. they can get off-track. if members of congress see the negotiations, particularly the tpp, the asian negotiations, they go too far in the labor and environment area republicans will react to that or if they
don't go far enough democrats will have a problem with it so there's a delicate balance there. to the administration's credit they are beginning to reach out in a bipartisan way both to members of congress and former members of congress to talk about how this can be done. we were involved in doing it. the problem is you get a debate with 60 votes required with the promotions on the fast-track but the actual vote is only 51 votes of members will be a little jumpy before they know the final product. are we going to agree to give this fast-track authority where there are no amendments. we could define it with the rules and then vote but i'm very much an advocate of the tpp and the ttip the one in europe. there are complications with both of them. they have had problems with japan on automobiles and agricultural products and there will be problems in europe and the administration is not wanted to put something, table that
europeans want. i know that mitch mcconnell will be wanting to be helpful in move that forward. i also think that's a form as possible. i think it tripped over things last week. they were getting close to having a big 400 billion-dollar tax extender package which would make some of the extender's permanent and the president threatened to veto and it fell apart. now there is a one year tax extender. some people say might have been a machiavellian move to save the bigger debate to have more pressure to get tax reform and the extenders in a package next year. i don't know, i'm a little nervous because it seemed like when they get started something trips it up and they lose momentum. it needs to be a contract -- comprehensive package. it is about jobs and economy so i hope they will do that. i think there's a good
possibility in the energy area. they are going to have to deal with some of the energy areas. we recommended the bipartisan policy center reforms would put somebody in charge of energy policy. 17 agencies commissions bureau said deal with -- so i think that's a possibility. obviously transportation i think that's a good possibility because if you have the aviation the faa's expire next year. we have to do something about the highway trust fund. i would hope they would get serious about dealing with the need for money and how you do that. there are not many options on the table. bill shuster is one of the best legislators in the congress and he is god good legislators on the senate side. we have seen an ability to get bills through that committee working with jim inhofe and
you have to do border security and you have to do the visa situation h-1b and each delay and you have to deal with appropriate way with the people here in a fair and reasonable way but do it in a way that it can't be defined as amnesty. that's a delicate balance. >> i agreed with both the president and trent with regard to the potential is. i would add one that is somewhat counterintuitive with everybody at the table and that's health care. i think that there is a list of health care initiatives that could enjoy pretty broad bipartisan support. i would start with the repeal and replace of sgr.
the sustainable growth rate. we have a 51-0 vote in the commerce department earlier this year and i think it's clearly something that everyone recognizes needs to be addressed. the children's health insurance program expires and as most of you know it always enjoyed broad bipartisan support. i think telehealth, there's a lot of recognition of the importance of telehealth and what it can mean for health care delivery not only in rural areas but urban areas as well and a whole array of new services to be offered through electronic communication. in addition to that, there is a number of issues affecting diabetes. we have 29 million americans who have diabetes. 86 million americans will have prediabetes at a cost of $322 billion a year and there are a number of things that we can do and prevention detection and treatment for diabetes that already have enjoyed broad bipartisan support. on a number of those areas
having to do with health i think the potential for bipartisanship is quite high. >> that area you just mentioned about telemedicine and diabetes, we have a program, an experimental program not from the university of mississippi medical center to sunflower county which is one of the poorest counties and the highest incidence of diabetes in the entire country. by this use of telemedicine they are monitoring people that are diabetic and have diet problems. they check their blood pressure and work with them. make sure you take your medication and talk to them about what they should be eating or not and doing the salt by telemedicine remotely done to an area that's 120 miles away where there is no local doctor in the county. there are a lot of exciting things that can happen in the medical area through the use of telemedicine. >> jason do want to chime in? >> to make the point that there are a lot of issues and a lot of issues that had some bipartisan
momentum over the last few years but frankly got choked out by the really destructive relationships towards leadership. the assertion that we have to let the committees do their work is really essential and there's a whole strata of issues. others -- i will just mention a few of them. energy efficiency. the shaheen portman bill has been sitting there. senators blunt and brown have legislation on advanced manufacturing. postal reform, something that people can feel and see sitting at the table and has bipartisan support. we don't have to start from zero. there's a misperception that congress across-the-board has been incapable of collaboration. that is i think quite sure at the highest levels. it's not really true within the rank and file. so in addition to some of the big issues in swallowing the
square pillow of health care. two things i would mention, oil exports. this is a fantastic issue because it kind of explodes the 30-year structure legislation which was based around light blue cardigan sweaters and scarcity and fear in the 1970s. we now live in an era of and incredible energy abundance. world export is one with the congress has to think about this in its new issue. people are not dug in and entrenched. >> you might also mention liquefied natural gas. >> the good news about lng as it doesn't require congress. the last point i will mention is dodd-frank. we never in this country passed a massive piece of legislation like dodd-frank are the affordable care act, perfect and locked it in forever. we have always had vitter of tuneups and improvements and there is a possibility both around the aca and dodd-frank to make some of those technical
corrections modest adjustments but bring those bills back into the forum. >> mr. bevington of the "associated press." >> senator lott mention congress and immigration and that's often a term we hear in terms of gridlock that members of congress don't want to take of votes to risk static back home. i'm wondering if the american voter had in your time of looking at american politics and government, have you seen a change? are americans less willing to take things on paying taxes are having a limit on social security and medicare and that sort of thing or is this all a reaction within congress itself? >> i actually think the american people are willing to be led if they could be shown that in so doing america can be elevated to
a higher level in public policy or an ultimate objective. i think there is as jason so eloquently talked about earlier there is far more transparency today and we have always known that the legislative sausage making is never pretty traded think we now see that elevated state of sausage making and people repel from that somewhat or the lack of sausage making in many cases because of the transparency that exists. so i think to a certain extent there is a reluctance on the part of members to deal and to come up with compromise in part because so much of it is so much more transparency than it's ever been in the past. we used to cut deals. and frankly earmarks were part of deal cutting. you could trade things that members needed back home for the opportunity to move legislation forward and that was all part of the legislative process. it wasn't pretty but it worked.
now we don't do any of that in part because of transparency and in part because of their reaction to earmarks that understandably have been generated over the last several years. >> you know, i agree with what tom said. these are different times and different people. i do think you know there is a little bit too much of the base vote. whether they are far left or far right and i never was one that hung around in the middle but i also think people yearn for their elected officials and leaders to lead and try to get things done and tried to explain to them why they are doing what they are doing. i voted for a separate part of education and i knew my constituents and this was on my still in the house, did not agree with me. but i did at the same time that i indicated what the boat was i voted for it and i explained why. even though i knew that 54% of
my constituents didn't agree with me. i never got any flack for that. they also knew when they elected me that i had an educational background as a schoolteacher working for the university mississippi and all that. but you know, the times are different. social media is a part of it and it's gone beyond 24/7. it's explosive and the media gets locked in on an issue and he really can get away from it. my phones were jammed for a week or two. my phone number in my office phone so i go to the office early. when my phone rings i would pick it up and say hello. who is this? this is trent lott who are you you calling? at a disadvantage by answering the phone but i'd was interested in what they had to say. in that process i got three death threats. one from oregon and the third one so it was but remember we lost that vote on a procedural vote.
the accounting i have been doing i was back this width i thought we would be able to win that bet over the weekend rush limbaugh labeled that amnesty and labor got ahold of the democrats and said no we don't want these workers coming in with visas. the democrats would come in and vote no because of labor and republicans would come in and vote no because of amnesty from rush limbaugh and i'm in the well of the senate with jon kyl, lindsey graham to notorious liberals, but also ted kennedy, diane feinstein and harry reid. the six of us were working on the boat and we lost. i was one of the most mind-boggling things i have ever seen. it is harder now i think that my attitude is why would he want to come here if all you want to do is to raise money and get reelected?
why wouldn't you want to make a difference? when i hear some of the criticism about, when i point out to some of the hell-raisers now. look when clinton was president tom and i were in the leadership we got welfare reform which president clinton signed in late head of balanced budget. we did tax reform and measure telecommunications reform the safe drinking water and raise military pay. what among those is not a good thing? what among those is not conservative from some of my conservative friends? i tell some of them look, just to do nothing is not a conservative position. to change the direction of the country you have to get an action whether it's liberal moderate democrat you have to get something done. it is harder and you do run the risk of getting defeated i guess or losing your leadership position. but now it's easy for me to look back and say, so what?
at least to go down standing up as morgan friedman said in the movie glory. standing up fighting for something. if you are going to get your head chopped off politically why not at least get something done in the process? i think we have lost that. people do want leadership. they want obama to reach out to mcconnell and for the speaker to reach out to the administration and talk, see where they can find some common ground. i think the american people would react positively if they would see that. >> one issue you raised is this idea of not taking party votes is just tragic. it didn't work. all the folks who senator reid was trying to protect by avoiding votes were all lost. voting is not only what captures the possibility but it's also what detonates bangor. the body was created fundamentally for the boat. my hope is that the last election cycle were a lot of
people were harmed by saying they were in lockstep with the president will demonstrate that if the political imperative is not to prevent people from saying where the constancy of 90% but will allow members to differentiate themselves. that would be a major step forward in that sense of the political logic started to shift. >> i would like to have one point. my good friend and partner john has talked about okay while the republicans have the senate and they have 54 votes but they need six more on a lot of issues on most issues except budget and reconciliation. they need 60 and he's looking to see if there is a full, there are six democrats and might be willing to maneuver the way john used to. he used to get tom and me both harper and because sometimes he would move against me in for tom and the rivers. but if that group is somewhat more moderate democrats decided
we are going to be a part of trying to find the 60th vote to get some things done i think you would have a lot of influence on that. >> so much has been talked about with mcconnell and what he's going to do with his new majority and so on. i'd like to ask about the flip side senator daschle. reid is going into the minority now so what is his task as minority leader? >> i think it's to lead and i think it's to find ways to achieve some common ground. he said something last week i thought was very encouraging. he said we are not going to fit into payback. if he meant that, and i assume he did because he always speaks from his heart, my guess is that there are going to be opportunities on an array of issues that we are pretty talked about where they could really be some common ground. it wouldn't have to take those
six people that john is going to be looking for. you could do it with 60 or 70 votes. that's possible depending on how democrats look at their role. it seems to me it's an harry reid's interest to accomplish as much as we can in the final two years of the obama administration. obama has two more years of opportunity and i find as i look back some of the most productive areas of the final of in the final two. i was certainly true of bill clinton and you can argue about other presidents but there's no question, there's a very rich agenda here that could be addressed and we could find real cooperation. trent and i were talking about this before we came in, i've been encouraged by the signs that may be a newfound relationship between mitch mcconnell and harry reid in the last two weeks. they seem to be talking more. they seem to be coming up with agreements a little bit more
frequently and if that's any indication i'm still even though it has to be shown i'm still hopeful that we can really find some common ground next year. >> he did say after he had been working to try to put together the tax extenders big package and it fell apart, he did say that he would support one-year extension which the house voted for overwhelmingly last night and he is also said he could go with the -- which some people didn't like that he spoke up and said we could do the cr on at this but the cr would be short-term homeland security. just the fact that he said basically realizing we have six or seven legislative days left this year that this is probably the best we can get. i would encourage what he said on both of these. >> jim carol. >> to have both of you here it's tempting to spend a whole hour
talking about your experiences as majority and minority leaders and we could write a book about it and affect both of you have but i guess thinking ahead to how mitch mcconnell is going to govern and we don't know yet but he wants to find common ground first of all have you talked to mcconnell because he asked your choice on becoming majority leader and what that's like an and second of all what should be as take away and if you had to talk to him what advice would you give the future majority leader of the senate and how we should conduct the senate. >> i have not talked to him since he's attained his new position but i've obviously had hundreds of conversations with them over many years about this. i'm encouraged that one of his real heroes as henry clay raid henry clay has always been iconic and viewed as a great compromiser, someone who could bring sides together and if that's mitch in modern times i'm encouraged by that. i would also go back to his experience with marla cook.
marlow cook was also someone who found apple opportunity to work with people across the aisle said he is a long history of experience and comments made about henry clay that seems to me are indicative of where his real soul lies. let's hope that can be reflected as he makes his decisions about leadership. as trent said these are different times but i think it's going to take meaningful leadership. stepping up to the plate in looking for ways to do things differently. i think he has that capacity. >> senator lott i have talked with mitch over the years and i must say the majority leaders don't generally ask for advice very much. [laughter] they tend to think they already know it at having said that mitch really does have a long record of learning. having been a staff member for john sherman cooper and having been in the senate as long as he has been being in a leadership
position as with and minority leader, so he knows how it can be done. i think he will want to take actions that will produce results. i am confident of that. that's easier said than done because as we have seen over the last couple of years you have the threat for filibuster, fill up the tree and everything falls apart. i'm sure he will run into some of that but i have known mitch. when i was in leadership i was the weapon he was minority leader in the last couple of years. i worked very closely with him. he knows how to get it done. i think he's determined to move things forward. so far i think what he has had to say it's been just the right tone for all the leaders in washington right now. i think his tone has been the best. you might expect that from me but when i say that i'm not
saying maybe other people have and have the right tone. he will be in adjusting study but you know he makes a .. himself that the three biggest deals that have been made in the last four years are between rich mcconnell and joe biden. i understand in the white house that called joel -- joe biden the mcconnell whisper. they served together and they know how to make it work. that's a valuable talent that we need more of in ring to take advantage of it. >> senator daschle there has been talk at the white house a lot of people are wondering what might've happened with the health care law if you have been in charge and i'm curious do you agree with that and how do you think things might have been different? what's the future for obamacare? >> first of all i have no idea. we have failed to pass meaningful comprehensive health
care legislation for over a century. the fact is we have passed something in 2010 and i look back with great satisfaction. was it the perfect though? absolutely not. i think most people fail to understand how much commonality there is. there's very little difference between republicans and democrats about the fact that we still have a cost problem. we spend more on health care in the united states than the entire gdp or brazil or russia in their entire gdp. $9200 per year this year. costs have come down dramatically as a result and part of the passage of the affordable care act. i would emphasize only impart but nonetheless they have come down. we still have an access problem. 30 million people are uninsured. we have serious quality problems. we don't even rise to the top 10 in the top 20 different criteria for performance and health today.
on those three challenges we find very little disagreement. the causes are also areas for which there is little disagreement and i think even the goal, what we want to build a high-performance high-value health care marketplace with better quality lower cost i think there's a great deal of consensus about that. i think those who oppose the affordable care act really ought to be forced to say okay if it's not a ca how are we going to address cost access and quality? how are we going to achieve that high-performance high-value marketplace? if it isn't this, what? very few critics have come up with a plan that would allow us the confidence in knowing that dad is a viable alternative. in fact there are no viable opportunities to the affordable player today at least on the table. i'm still hopeful that over time we can come to the realization that repealing the affordable
care act is just not a viable option. finding ways to improve it certainly is and there are plenty of opportunities for us to do that. [inaudible] >> i'm totally confident that it will survive. it may not look the same as it does today but we made history in january. very little was said or done about it but for the first time in all of american history if you have a pre-existing condition you can get health insurance. if you have a pre-existing condition you are not going to be charged more than somebody else. if you are a woman you won't be charged more than a man. they're among no more annual or lifetime limits. if you or your module you can sign up and your parents plan. even those little things are ones that i don't think the american people are ever going to be prepared to give up. you have 20 million people now who have insurance who didn't have it before or didn't have the quality of care that they have today. i think within the next couple of years that number could
easily be 50 million. we are on an inexorable trend toward a change in the health care paradigm of major consequence and the aca is here i think for good. >> let me briefly comment on that. first of all i think it would have been different. wouldn't probably have been a republican voting against it than he would have worked to find some way to make it a little bit more bipartisan. i do think the congress next year will vote to repeal it. i don't know whether it will be just a repeal or repeal and replace and i think of it sent to the present he will veto it and then they will probably do two or three whacks at it. they could do it en bloc or they may come to the medical device tax. they will probably want to do something about the mandate. they are going to pick some pieces off into the president's
credit, obviously you won't like that but he did say it correctly. there never has been a bill passed is perfect. maybe there are areas where we could make changes and we can tweak it in a way that would be beneficial to the people. i don't think republicans based on the election cannot try to make some changes in obamacare. >> just to add, democrats want to make changes too. the medical device tax and the interpretation of whether federal subsidies can flow to states that don't have state exchanges is a significant concern and clarifying that language. there's an intended consequence where folks who are low to middle class don't have access to subsidies for insurance that works. there's a mutual desire to change it. if republicans repeal portions and democrats describe it as -- we have to deal the past something.
>> the supreme court has agreed to hear a case whether federal subsidies and exchanges are legal en bloc. in the past as i understand it these fixes to legislations were fairly routine. >> almost always. almost always on a major bill. we would have technical corrections. >> right now it looks like there's going to be political warfare over making a technical fix to the aca. i'm wondering if you think that's logical. i'm wondering if you guys would have done this differently had he been running the show and for senator lott specifically if you think republicans should make that change to get rid of the ambiguity around federal subsidies? >> i would think they could work at that. one of the things i'm looking for, who would be the leader in the house or the senate, republicans are even democrat that would try to find a way to
do some improvement without demolishing the bill. is paul ryan going to step up and do that? how will orrin hatch and vern wyden work together. that would have been interesting to some to look it over the years. i think they would be dynamite. i think they could do some good things in the health care in the tax care area. it might get get out of control in their leadership. they are both -- he would take off on his own but frankly i like that. they are leaders and they have earned the right to be the ranking member and chairman of the finance committee and clearly one of the most important committees in the congress. >> you would agree with working on a technical fix. >> sure, it would. >> i think you guys would agree that whatever the failings and
leadership and whether you agree or disagree with the decisions that these are rational actors making rational decisions and whether to compromise or not. where does the change have to generate self? does it have to come from the mindset of the top saying i know what i thought was a rational decision to make his majority leader were speaker but i'm going to change that in the interest of this. as a start and middle with gangs or some kind of a bipartisan consensus that grows on the middle out or middle out orders are frankly say with voters who elect people that have a different mindset? it seems like unless these guys change their minds they will get more of the same. >> if i could jump in here. the new members in the senate are pretty good group. you take a look across-the-board they are experienced men and women that have been in state offices and have been in the military as leaders and in the house.
i don't think they came here to blow this place up. you have a guy like cory gardner in colorado, this is a doer. i think that i'm encouraged by the quality of republicans that were elected. i'm a strong believer in getting to the top. obama has got to engage more. he needs more people talking to him. i don't think all the burden is on him. when i wanted to talk to clinton i picked up the phone and called him or bush. people don't just say obama he won't talk to them but were they doing about that? and a sometimes they have to get around staff were traced to do and got in a lot of trouble when i did that. i think obama needs to lead and show some movement. i think mcconnell is determined to try to do that. i think boehner would like to.
he still struggling with some of his conference numbers. i think that is where it begins. >> i am encouraged by the rhetoric that i heard during the campaign about wanting to make washington work better. congress has had an approval rating of 14% right now. we had the lowest voter turnout in 72 years, 36% so there is ample reason for every one who got elected recently to want to make washington work better but there are two reasons we have not talked about yet. one is the erosion of authority and institutional power and stature of the senate and the house itself. the more they are dysfunctional, the more they cede authority and power to somebody who isn't the more they exceed the power of the president to take executive action or to governors who do their own thing. that is what's happening.
congress is at a position where they have to ask themselves are we going to become irrelevant because we are incapable of addressing our nation's problems today? i don't think anybody in that institution wants to be guilty of that. the other is, i might amaze as i travel abroad the intense curiosity the american people have about america in a foreign land. i get asked about all the time. why is washington so dysfunctional and as we try to convince the developing world especially that democratic republics are the best way to govern if we can showcase it in washington how do we really make that case around the world? that to me is also something we said earlier. the transparency is not just within our own country. it's worldwide. is that transparency continues to demonstrate the dysfunction of the city it sends sent
anonymously powerful message to the rest of the world and gets all of those who are not allies of ours reason to suggest they ought to be looking elsewhere for models in government, not the united states. >> i want to add a couple of thoughts. to the point that the electric matters there were some shift of people saying you know we want government to -- even if that requires collaboration or compromise from where we were a few years ago. it's also true that the country had a really deeply damaging recession that caused a great amount of pain to tens of millions of people. that creates a lot of anger and i think a lot of what we have seen in the congress, i think some of the captured by the tea party but not simply there has been an expression of that and thankfully our economy is now starting to look forward at a more predictable pace.
i think there are external factors that help but i don't think you can emphasize enough the process. we are social creatures and these same groups of people we see it all the time at the vpc can act in calabra device based on external conditions. i think senator mcconnell deserves a lot of credit and the regular border are the least interesting words and if any can explain it to the american public please do but the schedule came out yesterday and actually does move towards doing something remarkable coordinating the house and senate so they are operating at the same time. this move towards longer work weeks and i'm not trying to run the country on wednesdays. the notion of instilling more authority in the committees where people actually do spend time together matters a lot. the ideas that members of congress should take trips together, that this should be supported by leadership to 15
hour flight to kazakhstan where people get to know each other and then lastly as i mentioned in my opening comments the rules are going to change a little bit. i think there was an incredibly significant step by the republican party to run high-quality candidates in the midterm elections. that was not casual and it was not quiet. i was an incredibly aggressive effort that was very successful. i hate the word republican establishment, but the vast majority of both parties want to legislate and i think those folks are tired of the dysfunction. you are going to start to seem more aggressive response to an insurgent movement that changed the rules and it takes a while to realize that has to happen but both parties now, it's not just bipartisanship but the folks who want to legislate in the books are done and i think the people who do are angry as much of the people who didn't are angry and you're going to start to see some shifts in the
process. >> briefly in mississippi this year we had a first primary which frankly floored me. the less lengthy conversation i had with mitch mcconnell when he was talking to haley barber and saying get down there and help thad cochran. we tried but it was really really tough. but that did survive and is the chairman of the appropriations committee. primaries are really brutal on both sides. remember what happened to brands lincoln in arkansas two years ago. but through it all a think on both sides we came up with pretty good quality. >> last one jackie. >> there are sony topics you have touched on, immigration, trade, aca that i wanted to get back and ask about but i'm going to draw them altogether here at the end.
and just ask you both weather, i mean in all these discussions in the very nature of your bipartisan policy center is that it's like on the one hand on the other hand of both sides are equally at play. i just want to put to you, and skeptical -- skeptical because i find they keep coming back to people who are in there now, just ted cruz to name one. you mentioned all the people that would give boehner fits and people on the senate side. my question is, respond to the theory or the idea that has been put forward most prominently by tom mann and norm ornstein. we are at a point where it really is, the problem is more on the republican side. that there are more people like you said too many people come
here to stand their ground and not to find common ground. that's the basis of a lot of these primary fights. the voters want people to stand their ground. and i don't mean to draw this out but a lot of parties, you two were partisans but it's on a whole different level in many ways so could you address the question about whether there is one side is more to blame than the other given the way the party has evolved? >> you might expect me to disagree that i do. an economist had a map that showed how there was a circle that members worked in and it was clear purple and as the years it fell apart and there is no center. so yes he of the ted cruz's of the world then you have elizabeth warren's of the world and she has a cadre of friends. in the banking committee there's
a bill that is bipartisan but it has not -- we couldn't get it moved because of merkley and warren said no we are not going to let you do that. it was just a tweak of dodd-frank. i do think we have the problem and maybe it will clarify itself in 2016. i'm assuming that we will come up with a viable candidate and we will have a chance in the general election. one of the ways i answer that to be as diplomatic as the canon is i hope it's a governor or a former governor, period. >> but just to add quickly, it's hard to see senator warren or merkley would bring down, which shut down the government or threaten the fault to get their way. that's the kind of action is different. you never would have done that either.
>> i think the leadership is going to have to find a way to deal sternly with some of these members. frankly i have a record to back it up. i would not put up with some of the stuff they have done. that shutdown was one of the dumbest things i ever saw. never would have gotten a result that they said was possible. i think it was a lie to the mic in people and i just don't think you can tolerate that. that's one of the things i miss about earmarks. there was always the way to get rewards and there was also punishment. ..
trent's advice to mitch on that scores is absolutory right. the more you can engage and bring them in quickly, the more lakely it is that those stand your ground types will rook at the advantages of finding common ground, but mitch has, i think, a bigger challenge than hari does -- harry does in that regard. >> they can't but all wrong. there's some asimple tri. if you -- asymmetry. if you add the white house, the balance is reasonable, but again, speaker boehner and nancy pelosi can pass any piece of legislation they want. harry reid and mitch mcconnell can pass any piece of legislation they want. the question is whether the leadership gives that power to -- they have over the past two years and we see the result has been bone-crushing gridlock.
i think there is some logic. not going to see it all the time but on some key votes you'll start to see collaboration among leadership that is intentionally designed to isolate their edges. if not we'll have the same conversation in two years. >> i want to extend an apology to my colleagues who we didn't get to. there will a number of them. a good sign of interest. i thank to thank senators dashle and lott for coming. thank you very much. >> can i ask you a real quick question? [inaudible conversations] >> next, senator jay rockefeller
of west virginia gives his farewell address on the senate floor. then a house judiciary committee hearing on allows cam florida the supreme court. later, pope francis speaks to the european parliament. >> on our next "washington journal" richard berry looks at white house efforts to reform police department after ferguson. then, the author discusses already book examining the prison system. all on "washington journal." every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> friday, house democratic leader nancy pelosi briefs reporters on the democratic priority for the end of the year and the incoming 114th 114th congress. live coverage at 11:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span 2.
after 30 years in the u.s. senate, west virginia's jay rockefeller is retiring. thursday he gave his fair well speech, where he recount his tenure and his hopes for the future. his remarks are 30 minutes. >> senator from west virginia. >> madam president, i ask nance con sent to give my remarks while seated at my desk. >> without objection. >> and, i ask unanimous consent
to speak. >> howth objection. >> for hours and hours. >> without objection. >> i come to today with a spirit of reflection and optimism about our future. i'm also compelled towards an honest assessment of where we are as a body, of the promise of what we can achieve when we don't shy away from compromise, and what we can't achieve when we refuse to compromise. i also have very much on my mind that the job is of -- of public service is very hard work, and it's an extremely honorable, noble calling. here in the united states senate we have a unique ability and responsibility to do very big things. ignite innovation in hour schools and industry, grow and
protect the healthy country, foster global change, foreign policies that lead the globe. at the same time, we have the opportunity to touch individual lives, case management. one-on-one. with case work that often reaches people in their darkest hour. i love the senate. i love the senate. i love the intensity of the work, the gravity of the issues, i love fighting for west virginia here. i learned to love this fight as many of you know, as a 27-year-old vista worker in the tiny coal community of emmons, west virginia. a place that set my moral compass, and gave me direction. where everything in my real life actually began. where i learned how little i knew about the problems that people face there and in other places in the country. how little i knew.
and what a humbling experience that was for me. my time there was transformative. it explains every policy i pursued and every vote i have cast. it was where my beliefs were bolted down, and where my passions met my principles. emmons was where i came to understand that out of our everyday struggles, we can enlarge ourselves. we can grow greater. truly making a difference couldn't be an afterthought, never could. a singular focus and relentless effort would be hard but the work would matter. that's the deal here. important undertakings account be halve hearted.
you have to -- half-hearted. you have to commit your whole self. almost like pushing a heavy rock uphill. with both of your hands you push because if you let up for a split second with either hand, you and the rock go tumbling backwards into the abyss. there is always so much at stake. even today in west virginia, too many are struggling. they're fighting to survive. i call them hard working when i should say, hard surviving. but they are hard working and trying to survive. they're wary of the future. they're scared of their possibilities. sometimes they're afraid of themselves. and of their inadequacies. which have been bred in, partly through a scotch irish tradition, partly which says that change is bad, that
strangers are bad, was bad for quite a long time, but that's the way people are. they don't really want to change. so change comes slowly. so, we just simply fight twice as hard, and nothing stops us. there is vast dignity, madam chairman and vast honor in helping people. you cannot let go of it. i believe genuinely in the ability of government to do good, to serve, and to right injustices. this is why the senate must be a place in which we embrace a commitment to be del brative, passion not, unreliability but must be a place in which we're driven only by the duty and trust bestowed upon us by the people who put us here.
this where is everything else should be put assign, boxed out, as it were. yes, politics led us here. but this is where we shed the campaigning, or should. and embrace our opportunity to lead, to listen, to dig in, to bridge differences, to govern, and to truly make a difference. at our core we must be drawn to the hard all-consuming policy work that lives in briefings, hearing rooms and roundtables back in our states. yet our north star must always be the real needs of the people we serve. and so, policy to me starts with listening. it is seeing the face of our constituents-policy in terms of
people who it would affect, faces. you see your constituents, you hear them out. you understand their needs and their problems. you get to know them very well. and especially in small state like west virginia. listening to constituents and colleagues here alike is absolutely necessary. good policy is born out of compromise comprimise is not easy but it can happen and win we truly listen to each other it very well could. we separate our campaign selves from our public service selves. the cruelty of perpetual campaign destroys our ability to philadelphia -- fulfill or oath of office. it's hard to build a relationship without an honest
and open approach with our colleagues, republican or democratic. but we mist build that relationship because together we can do so much and without that we can do as we have seen, nothing. listening and compromise were key to the work of the national commission on children in the 1990s. i was the chair or the commission, which included a bipartisan group of government officials and an elected -- appointed experts in various fields from all backgrounds. there were many of us. 32. and we went all over the country to two years. i can tell you that reaching consensus was tough but we listened, debated, and we came to trust. even the most liberal and consecutives among us knew and each of us -- that each of us had the best interests of children at our hurt. that was not in