tv Newsmakers CSPAN December 22, 2013 10:00am-10:31am EST
>> i know you are eager to skip >> coming up, "newsmakers" with david ditter. after that, president obama's conference with reporters followed by vladimir putin giving his annual state of the nation address in moscow. simmons or david fitter the ranking member on the public works committee, thank you for being here. >> joining us as david drucker with the washington examiner and coral davenport covering energy and environmental issues.
there are some news about john back to the white house. he may urge the obama administration to bypass congress on a number of issues. what are you hearing? >> i think that is old news. has been what has been going on for several years. essentially since the 2010 congressional election. been the wholes strategy on environmental policy and a bunch of other things since republicans took the house in 2010. it is hard for me to imagine how they can double down on that. i think they are doublet that already. i can imagine podesta continuing to carry that out. >> what is your biggest concern? whichis what it is now, is that the obama administration in many cases in environmental action and others as going
beyond his constitutional going beyond their role in terms of executive action. i think that should be a very broad-based concern whether you agree or disagree with what they are doing, just in terms of constitutional democracy. >> what is the senate roll to stop that if you are opposed to it? >> we're trying to use all the tools that are available as the minority to push back on that when we think that they are crossing the line. a president has a lot of power. he has the power to make executive action. there are limits to that. they are going beyond that in .any cases reappointments are one example that are being litigated. the u.s. supreme court. when we think the president is
exceeding his constitutional power with pushback on that in any way we can. on the environment committee itre i am very involved, focuses on regulatory action. i think there are a lot instances where this is happening with the epa going its executive authority. we try to push back on that or. >> we will follow up with coral davenport. the report says scientists have concluded with 95% accuracy that human activity is driving the warming of the plant encoding increased drought, a future of extreme and dangerous weather. do you concur with this? where do you stand on global warming? >> first of all, that is not as clear to me at all, particularly
given the last 10 years which have essentially abated in terms of the trends that were being seen before that. secondly, even if you agree with that, the question is what are we going to do about it? how do we have an impact? i am very concerned about taking dramatic action that will clearly have a big negative impact on our economy if it is not going to make a difference with regard to a worldwide issue. it is basically china and russia and india not following suit. there is no sign inside that they will follow suit anytime soon. i have different levels of concern. those are the two biggest levels. >> i interviewed the louisiana state climatologist earlier. this is what he told me. he said louisiana might be the most vulnerable state in the country in terms of climate change. in particular, it has to do with the impact at sea level.
the higher it rises the more seaidable -- vulnerable a state is. it is off the charts compared to anywhere else. what is your response? >> we have a huge problem with coastal erosion and all of the issues we are talking about. that is a big problem whether climate is a factor or not. we have been doing a lot to counter that problem and have them making progress. losingow louisiana is about a football field of coastal area, if you can imagine a football field in your mind, every 38 minutes. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 days -- weeks a year. initiative has not been a dominant factor in that so far. there are arguments that would
be in the future. i think the established science is that so far that is mostly an impact of things like levying the mississippi river, pushing out what used to be the natural process of building a delta overflowing its banks in the channelization of our coast which has led to the infusion of salt water into the coast of the marsh which sort of killed legislation which is the glue that holds us together. i think those have been the dominant causes. , he was taken into account. he said specifically in terms of climate change, louisiana is the most vulnerable to damages. does that concern you? do you agree? >> this concerns me. this is an issue no matter what. we have been doing a lot of things to counteract it. >> i wanted to switch gears and
talk about the affordable care act and its implementation. you have been very active in thatg to pass an amendment would codify in very hard terms what the law has said about members of congress and their staff accepting government subsidized health care. staff go members and into an exchange. , given where it the office of personnel management officeeral government has come down on this and the regulations, are you finished trying to get the senate to pass the vitter amendment and get through the house again? is this some think you're going to continue to push where legislation --
>> i'm going to continue to push. we have not had a vote you in the senate. i'm not going to give up only have not had a vote and will get a vote in 2014. i am going to use every tool available to get that vote. >> do you feel your republican colleagues are as committed as you are? >> some are. some are gritting their teeth and swearing off camera. voteally all of those will with me when we get a vote. >> why did you decide to hone in on this? there is a lot of republicans that republicans feel exist with the affordable care act. this is become a prep -- pet project of yours. >> two reasons. first of all, it is so egregious. the actual statutory lien is clear. it is very clear this is significantly contrary to that
statutory language. to the basic fairness principle. i think the first rule of american democracy should be but any role that congress and the white house passes on america should have to live with itself. no special bailout or exemption. core principle. the american people feel this way. most top frustration, and of them would use a stronger washington thinking it is an elite ruling class that gets to live by different set of rules. number two is a very practical toson which also goes repealing or fixing obamacare. that is the quicker washington has to live with everything it passes, the quicker washington will start getting things right.
the quicker it will understand everything that is wrong with obamacare and deal with it. their own have to eat cooking, usually it improves a lot more quickly that way. a very practical application in terms of dealing with obamacare. >> do republicans have a responsibility to offer a replacement to the affordable care act if the general consensus is that you want to repeal? do you have a responsibility short of that given where the politics lie in the white house lessensenate to try and the impact of some of the problems that the law had on consumers. there is a discussion over where you should just let people live with it and then they can come to you asking for help or if you should try to fix certain things and havect democrats
accused republicans of not wanting to fix it in order to allow to fail. they said that is one of the problems they are having in fixing the law issues. do? do republicans need to what should they do short of being able to repeal it? certainly, repeal alone is not good enough. we need significant reform in our health care system. this was a problem before. these are real people who have serious problems getting the coverage they need. we need a solution for that. republicans have offered targeted solutions to the issues. that is not widely understood. i do not think we have communicated it clearly enough. wantsof the media never to report about it.
we will be underscoring that and explaining be targeted solutions more and better in 2014. we certainly have that responsibility. airing.are already how big of an issue will this be in 2014? i think it is at least 80% of the whole campaign. in terms of what it is about. i think it will be unusual. it is a huge issue. >> would you like to see her defeated? >> absolutely. she is helping drive the wrong direction. helping harry reid leave the senate and supporting ultra-liberals or disagree with the mainstream of louisiana thought. >> what is your relationship
like with her on legislative issues? ondr. jekyll and mr. hyde nonideological issues. onwork very closely together national issues were sent to be much more ideological like obamacare. >> i am wondering if you can explain. the gulf coast was devastated by the bp oil spill. since then there has been no new law or federal action to reform offshoreations on the oil industry. what should happen? this withk about senator landrieu? >> i disagree with your premise. there's not been a big new statute passed that has been a whole redo of offshore oil and
gas regulation. that is a whole new world. instances, it is gone too far and added unnecessary burden that does not include this. and -- being a complete redo. >> there does not need to be a law for the governing offshore drilling. >> i do not know exactly what it would be about. there is no statutory change that i think is necessary. they will be more beneficial at energy safely. in terms of protecting public health and safety and making sure a disaster like that does
not happen again, i do not know what a statute would say or do. congress passed a law reforming the national flood insurance program. billionime, it owed 25 dollars to american taxpayers. the purpose was to take the risk in flooding a property prone areas and take that from the taxpayers and push that on to the private market. arember of lawmakers looking to change or reform that as a free-market conservative. does it make more sense to move the liability from the taxpayers? why are you pushing back? >> the laws and not privatized flood insurance. what it tried to do was price
abettors better so the individual homeowners with assume it. i am absolute for doing that. when that threatens to literally them out of their home because it is unaffordable, when they followed all the rules they built them for the right elevation. they follow the rules. these are changing over time. there is a widespread understanding that it would lead to higher rates. those necessary to ensure the solvency of the system. said there, nobody
will be a significant number of cases where the premium increases are outright unaffordable. literally $30,000 a year. that is a whole different story. regardingnot work fairness. that is not work even in terms of the fiscal goal of making the system more sound. they are not going to be painting those premiums. they will be walking away from their homes. have about seven minutes remaining. >> are you planning to run for in 2015? >> i do not know yet. we're going to talk about it and really focus on it over the christmas holidays. we started to think about it over thanksgiving.
we will continue. i suspect we will come to a conclusion sometime in january. it comes down to one big question. what this about is where i can make the most positive difference. i stay in the senate or if i run for governor, that will be my last political job, elected or appointed. i comes down to about where can make the most positive difference. >> why? >> i need a retirement plan. yet.e not had one i'm not going to stay in elected office for ever. it is very clear to me that if i stay in the senate that will be my last political job, elected
or appointed. if i were to be lucky enough to be elected governor, that will be the last political job. >> what would you want to do? >> i would have come to the conclusion that i can make the most positive impact there. in terms of what i wanted to do, every state has challenges. importantry challenges in louisiana. i put education along with some other things. both k-12 and higher education. have the rule changes in the senate, which at least for republicans have been very yourcult, affected thoughts about where you'd like to spend the next eight years or and do you think about whether or not republicans will
win the majority in 2014 as a part of whether or not you want to stick around in washington or go home? >> i think both of the things but neither are dominant or determining factors. changes made as life less pleasant and fulfilling for anybody in the minority. prospect ofe getting in the majority after the next election is exciting. i think it is a great prospect. i think 50-50 or better. things will bee determining factors. >> do you think the senate we have seen it where republicans are forcing democrats to run out the clock on all of these pieces of legislation are going to be a price that they have to pay next year for the rules change the push last month? >> it is not ending this week or the end of the year.
they will continue in some form until 2014. what that looks like and feels like is completely up to the democrats. is a long-time observer of you and robert brock served the thinknment committee, i something a lot of people do not know is that you have been majorg very closely on a infrastructure built together. kenny talk about that? is that like a jekyll and hyde relationship? we are actually making progress on some environment issues which is unusual on that committee. certainly on the infrastructure side it has been traditional for republicans and democrats it to work pretty well together. tradition.inue that we came up with a water resources bill a few months ago
that i think was a very strong reform oriented bipartisan bill. it came out of our committee. our committee is very ideologically divided. yes amid the strongest conservatives and some of the most liberal liberals. you have some of the strongest conservatives and some of the most liberal liberals. a whopping majority. we are in conference now. i think we will get to the finish line early next year with a good conference report. as soon as that over, we're going to start on the next bill. we will bring the same bipartisanship to that bill. on the epa site, it is more unusual for that to ever happen. it is happening on reform. that is not involve barbara boxer as much. it did involve frank lautenberg
and now tom udall is in that position. we are a good bill that will pass into law in 2014. the ethanol mandate. >> correct. the program is broken. whether you want to continue it in some form or whether you want to repeal, i think there is a consensus that there are big problems with the program that thattened to hit the wall lead to spikes in fuel prices. i am working with abandon and we hope to have a bipartisan bill to introduce 2014 and starts. >> a couple of points that are surprising with the bipartisanship. asking about iran. negotiations continued.
the threat of sanction continues in the senate. do you trust the iranian government when it comes to dismantling the nuclear program? >> i do not. sanctions are a necessary backdrop if we are to ore any chance of success any reasonable solution that does not involve war. because of that, i am part of a significant bipartisan group in the senate that will be introducing and passing early 2014. >> you have a minute or two. reserve -- ben bernanke announces past week that he would begin to taper off the quantitative easing. this is a $10 billion minor taper. wall street loved it. yount to ask if you thought -- it should have been stronger or you feel that this has artificially juiced the economy
when eventually we have to do away with qe. has that been the right moves to help bridge the gap as the economy has spurred along? that it was too much for too long and it was going to lead to problems. time will tell. i hope it does not lead to major problems. i've had that concern for a long time. i certainly understand that we have a horrible economy. i think it is more incumbent on congress and the president to do something in a meaningful way and not get bailed out of this constant monetary policy. i feel it is building into the economy some real dangers that may manifest in the future. >> let me conclude with one question. if bobby jindal runs for
president in 2016, will you support him? >> i have not thought about that. i like him and his leadership. i agree with this political values. i'm not thought about what i would do -- i have not thought about what i would do or not do. i do think he will run. i think he will be a meaningful and significant candidate. >> he wants to be president? >> i think that is obvious to everybody who has been paying attention. >> thank you very much for being with us. >> it is a pleasure. >> we continue our conversation with coral davenport and david drucker. some questions on climate issues in louisiana in particular. what did you learn? positionin a fastening . he is the top republican on the senate environment committee. it is very much his role to play
a big heart and climate policy. he represents a state that scientists a will that -- scientists they will be devastated by climate change. and he pretty much debated the whole thing. spoken about climate science. away from annning issue that is going to be very important for his state. it's hard for republicans to put of climatee impact change and the unfortunate economic reality of what it means to deal with climate change. he does not seem ready to put that together yet. ?> why why is he invading this? that contributes more to his campaigns are the
oil and gas industries. bulk of louisiana's economy. louisiana lawmakers are stuck dependent on the oil and gas industry that drives the economy and feels their campaign coffers and facing a problem that caused by the oil and gas industry regulating and going after climate policies. it will hurt the same industry that drives the economy. it is a hard problem. i would not want to have it. the way he is dealing with it is not acknowledging the difficulty. >> let's turn to the political side. yet some personal news that dominate the headlines a few years ago. he has moved beyond that. governor, is for assume you'll probably be in a strong position. the state is decidedly conservative. lastlandrieu is really the
of what was a very strong democratic machine in that state. bobby jindal has not been perfect. he has been good enough to not lead a political taint . nimble ability to stay connected to his voters. despite past transgressions. tohas a good connection louisiana and. he may not be the most engaging guy in the world. i can tell sitting here that agree or disagree with them, he notices issues. he has opinions on them. he can talk about them. i was particularly taken with flood insurance. he had an opinion of why he did not like the reform that was pushed. he thought it would hurt middle-
class louisianians. that is an important quality to have. understand where your rank-and-file voters are. he clearly does that. it will be interesting to see what he does. says the rules changes and whether his party to the majority, he said it would not play a big role as we have , i cannot help but think the idea of spending four or eight years as a top guy running a state where your party generally is less and control has to have some appeal. >> what is your take away? what did you learn? ireland for a senator that always tells us on capitol hill "i do not do hallway interviews" he has a lot to say.