Senate Minority Leader Mc Connell on Midterm Elections CSPAN November 9, 2014 11:45am-12:16pm EST
relative to every other country on earth. our armed forces, you talk to them -- i had a chance this morning to just call some of our health service that is operating in liberia, and the amount of hope and professionalism that they've brought has galvanized the entire country, and has built -- they've built a platform effectively for other countries suddenly to start coming in. and we're seeing real progress in fighting the disease in a country that just a month or a month and a half ago was desperate and had no hope. so all that makes me optimistic. and my job over the next couple of years is to do some practical, concrete things -- as much as possible with congress; where it's not possible with congress, on my own -- to show people why we should be confident, and to give people a sense of progress and a sense of hope.
that doesn't mean there aren't going to be ongoing nagging problems that are stubborn and can't be solved overnight. and probably the biggest one is the fact that despite economic growth, wages and income have still not gone up. and that's a long-term trend that we've seen for 10, 20, 30 years. and it makes people worried about not just their own situation, but whether their kids are going to be doing better than they did, which is the essence of the american dream. i think there are some concrete things we can do to make sure that wages and incomes do go up. minimum wage in those five states was a good start. but i think more than anything what i want to communicate over these next two years is the promise and possibility of america. this is just an extraordinary country. and our democracy is messy. and we're diverse and we're big. and there are times where you're a politician and you're
disappointed with election results. but maybe i'm just getting older -- i don't know. it doesn't make me mopey. it energizes me because it means that this democracy is working. and people in america were restless and impatient, and we want to get things done. and even when things are going good, we want them to do better. and that's why this is the greatest country on earth. that's why i'm so privileged to have a chance to be president for the next couple years. all right? thank you, everybody. all right? thank you, everybody. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
minority leader mitch mcconnell held a news conference a day after the discuss elections to the possible agenda when republicans take control of the senate in january. working spoke about with president obama and certain members within the republican caucus. some might be considering a presidential run in 2016. this is 30 minutes. [applause] >> well, good afternoon, everyone. i would like to introduce dr. ramsey. the president of the university who is here, jim, thank you very much for joining us today. [applause] and you may recognize these youngsters are here. they are in a scholarship
program over the last 20 years. good to see you. and brightest program inside e student kentucky, not nonresidents. are each year and they here today to witness what we may talk about. so let me just make a couple of observations. voters were t the saying yesterday were a couple of things. number one, obviously they are not satisfied with the direction of the administration, but at the of time, i heard a lot discussion about dysfunction. and washington, i think there are a lot of people who think have a st because you divided government it doesn't mean that you don't accomplish anything. earlier today, i got a call from the president -- also reid and the
ted cruz, too -- which i thought you would be interested in. think, have the view that i think we all ought to see the areas of agreement. i always like to remind people that a divided government is not unusual in this country. we have had it frequently. i think even maybe more often since world war ii. when the american people choose to buy the government, i do not think it means that they do not want us to do anything. i think it means they want us for areas of agreement. house and ver had the eight years -- i can think of fairly t four significant things done. social security for generation, they did the last comprehensive tax reform. bill clinton and the did well for
reform, so i think we ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on to make progress in the country. institutional point of view, the senate needs to be fixed. speech back in january -- that widely covered, probably shouldn't have been widely covered, but a lot of people inside the attention to it -- we don't even vote. senator bagovich may have been defeated -- the first thing i need to do is get the senate back to normal. means working more -- i do not think we have had a vote on friday in anybody's memory. it means opening the senate up so that amendments are permitted on both sides.
and it means occasionally burning the midnight oil and oil to reach a conclusion. i can remember the way we to get bills finished was for the majority leader to announced on monday that we up a particular bill and when you finish it. finish a thursday night, friday morning, or saturday, but you have to mean it. and it is amazing what around midnight on thursday. people who were very tuesday morning were awfuly anxious to leave friday morning. another thing -- the committees need to be relevant again. if a bill comes out of the committee on a bipartisan basis both that made you have democrats and republicans who are interested in seeing it pass. there's a bipartisan constituency for moving forward. that, there said
are differences and we will on things be voting as well that we think the administration is not fond of. they seem to have had no interest in, for example, doing anything serious on the energy front. we have not had an energy bill and seven years. say energy these days, people think of the keystone pipeline, but that is only part of it. we need to embrace the energy revolution that is going on and promote it. advantageous to america -- it is hugely not ntageous to america, only in energy dependence, but employment. the employment figures tied to keystone are stunning. so there are certainly going be areas of disagreement, not unusual going back to the founding of the country. on what the message
-- many say they want the gridlocked and. what can you do and can you the american people that the gridlock will end? >> well, the senate is the problem -- nothing was done senate.e bills in the have american people change the senate, so i think we have the obligation to change the behavior of the senate and begin to function again. that is not guarantee that the president is going to agree with everything we do, but go back to work and actually passed legislation. i have actually been called by democrats and t last night -- prominent democrats -- they are anxious to be relevant again. they are anxious for committee work to be respected. their anxious to be able to offer amendments on the floor senate and actually get votes.
it doesn't guarantee that you have a presidential signature on absolutely everything -- president have the right to veto. i think he has been to too little bills in six years. the first two years, he loved everything got. in the last four years, he never got anything that he liked. >> after all this gridlock, american people believe you? >> will demonstrat it -- >> what a couple examples with this an work president on? >> trade agreements. were talking about that right before i came over here. much of his party is unenthusiastic about international trade. we think it is good for america. so i have a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner for america. the president and i discussed i came over efore
here and i think he is interested in moving forward. i said, send us trade agreements. we are anxious to take a look at them. the president has indicated in doing s interested tax reform. we have the that the highest corporation tax in the industrialized world means moving jobs out of your. those are two very significant areas of potential agreement. to work hink he wants with you or do you think you will be pulled by his own party? >> look, there is only one democrat who counts -- the president. me illustrate the point, biden and i initiated the end of point at 2012, the thing i thought would be most important for kentucky was a $5 million per person estate tax exemption.
a lot of people who have family farms and small businesses look like they're a lot of money, but they aren't. and if you're lucky enough to to e children who want continue the farm or the small business, you can it out -- couldn't get to them. the lower 1099% of the small farms and businesses in the state from being sold. democrats rs of the in the house made it quite in ar to me that if that was the final deal, house democrats would not vote for it. only three -- the point i'm making is, the democrat who counts is the president of the united states.
so -- you know, we were very much inclined to support president bush, as well. when you have the white house, member of mportant your party is the person in the white house. so we will see whether we with the president -- i hope so, that's what he says. david. >> thank you. senator mcconnell, except for have deals that you worked with joe biden on -- about how you united republican congress will possibly send the present bills to veto or sign? might alter the dynamics? he will i'm not sure sign everything, but we're going to function. going to pass legislation -- some of it you may not like -- but we are going to function. dysfunction k and
can be ended by having ascended that actually works senate that actually works. >> do you think it may be fruitful and said of the way it has been so far? >> well, the veto pen is a very big thing. the president of the united can deliver his party -- waware system works. paul esterday, senator said that the senate would be sending bill after bill to the president to repeal obama care. what other first tools can reduce or o reform or slow down -- >> it is no secret that everyone of my member -- obama care was a huge legislative mistake. the health led up
insurance market, and has put states in a deep hole in terms of the medicaid expansion and our own ability to finance it. if i had the ability, carl, get rid of it.uld obviously, it is still there. so we will be discussing how to go forward on this issue we will be discussing how to forward on this issue when we get back. the medical device tax, which has exported a number of jobs, the loss of the 40 hour work week, that ought to be restored. the individual mandate, people hate it. i think we will be addressing that issue for a variety of different ways. >> regardless of what happens in the last few races you will still be short 60 votes in the senate. there's a pretty ideologically
large conference up for election in 2016. should it be a reality check on your base for how far you can go . votes to do a lot of things on the senate. sometimes you can do it with 51 votes. an extremely important thing. that determines how much we are going to spend. there is no secret that i and most of my members think the bureaucratic string collation of our economy is a huge factor in the slow growth we have experienced after the deep recession.
, notve a huge example authorized by congress. cap and trade could not get the votes to pass. huge majorities in the house and senate. you look for us to go after through thef things spending process, which is our best tool in our governmental system. >> you told me that it was a hostage not worth shooting but a hostage worth holding for ransom. are we going to have another brinksmanship moment there?
>> there will be no default on the national debt. >> one issue is -- we expect the president will move forward with some executive action. what would the republican >> i think theo president choosing to do a lot of things unilaterally on immigration would be a big mistake. it is an issue most of my members want to addressed -- to address legislatively. it's like waving a red flag in -- a bold tobowl say i'm going to do it on my own. the president has done that on obamacare. forink it poisons the well
the opportunity to a dress very important domestic issue. i wouldn't do that to you. >> you have worked with the president for a number of years. sometimes cordial, sometime not so cordial. about tipalks o'neill. that was a wonderful moment with bipartisanship. can that be achieved between you and the republicans and the president? relationship- the i have had with the president has always been cordial. my attitude about all this is trust and verify. the american people have spoken. they have given us a divided government. the question for the president and the speaker and myself is what are you going to do with
it? i want to first look for areas that we can agree on. there probably are some. that is what we are going to be talking about in the next few weeks. >> did you basically say there would not be a never government shutdown. >> he will not be shutting down the government or defaulting on the national debt. >> do have any concerns about those numbers that might want to run for president, like to step outside of your leadership. how will you handle them? >> i know a lot of people that want to run for president. what i tell them all is the best day you have will be the day before you announce.
short of being in combat and being shot at, there isn't anything harder than running for president unless it is running for reelection. i have no problems with people's ambitions, i am serving in a body with a bunch of class presidents. they are all ambitious or they would not be where they are. a lot of folks with sharp elbows and big elbows. i am not troubled by ambition and i think we can accommodate that and still make progress for the country. codes even if it goes against your goals? >> you are asking me a. >> it has been rejected that the republican senate would ring this to a grinding halt. how do you expect to handle the president's combination, many very important one still lingering.
what are your thoughts are rolling back the nuclear option? >> to a job the second issue. >> that is something we ought to address. the most important thing that the majority leader decided to do which was to break the senate to change the rules of the senate. overruling the parliamentarian has said you cannot do that. it was a huge mistake in my view, it is hard to unring a bell, they have now established a precedent. it is a big issue and a big discussion that we will have in the coming months.
>> he is calling to congratulate me on my election and was impressed with the margin. i was pretty happy about it myself. we had a good friendly conversation. >> do you believe that it will be more difficult for you to have a responsible government? let's we have a whole bunch of people in the 54 member senate. >> it was a very cordial conversation, i appreciated the call. >> he called to congratulate me on my election.
he's a pretty independent guy. i think he will announce what he will do. >> he said twice that it would not be default but would you insist on because that correspond with any debt ceiling increase the way that john boehner? >> we have the opportunity now to pass a budget, which has to do with how you will spend. you have other mechanisms that were unavailable to us with the previous configuration of government. i think that that is a pretty important tool. >> can you talk about your phone call with harry reid, you have had the most acrimonious relationship. you said, the open acrimonious relationship with any two leaders.
>> we have had some spirited debates about the way the places being run. but, we don't have an acrimonious relationship personally. what was your conversation -- what was your question? >> what was your conversation like? >> called actually to complement me on what a skilled campaign we ran. he obviously paid very close attention to it. that seems to be the new paradigm since daschle was defeated, you get a presidential level campaign if you are leader of the senate. harry followed it very closely. he complimented me on a campaign well run. >> will you return the favor to him in 2016? >> i did not get involved the last time he was up and i don't tend to be involved this time.
>> and you talk about what your objectives will be as the senate majority leader? >> well, the immediate concern in the health there is, obviously the ebola crisis. with regard to the authorization to help the syrian rebels him as you know, we insisted terminating at the end of this year. that is one of the things that the president mentioned today that will be on the agenda friday.
there are number of things that have sort of stacked up and i think i've said it before, i will say it again. the senate hadn't been doing anything. there is a whole lot of unfinished business sitting there. some of which, it might be advantageous to get out of the way. democrats may want to do it, we may want to do it, in order to clear off some of the necessary work that has been undone in a dysfunctional senate. >> the banking committee is
certainly will be taking a look at dodd frank. i have called the obamacare for banks. the big guys are doing just fine, the committee bankers are struggling. i do think the banking committee will look at how much damage it has done to the little guys that had nothing to do with the banking meltdown. >> you are surprised that president obama did not shift more towards the center. does he have a responsibility to do that now and e.g. communicate with him in the phone call? >> you cannot really do anything without a presidential signature. several of you have mentioned it. the veto pen is a pretty powerful tool and i think both reagan and clinton are good examples of accepting the government you have rather than fantasizing about the government you wish you had. in other words, they don't but they had. reagan never had the house. the president has got a choice, because of the strength of the veto pen, he could stay on the current course he is on.
just be telling any effort we make to push back against what he's doing and having the people that work for him do his bidding or he could say, let's see if there are some areas of agreement. i have mentioned a couple that i think are pretty big and important issues that i think we have potential areas of agreement. trade and tax reform. we will see. >> are you ready to meet him there? how would you prevent members from yanking you back? >> i am pretty familiar with our conference including the new members coming in. the vast majority of them don't feel that they were sent to washington to just fight all the time. as i've said repeatedly here, divided government is not a