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Mitch McConnell
  Senate Republican Agenda  CSPAN  December 7, 2014 7:40pm-8:01pm EST

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it played normal activity to the monitoring machines when it was actually doing sabotage. >> now a conversation with senator mitch mcconnell p he talks about the republican agenda in the next to congress. this is 20 minutes. >> thank you very much senator mcconnell for being here. he had to work harder than you all know to get here because it is washington and it rained. washington doesn't cope with many things well including rain. thank you for persevering. congratulations you had a pretty good november by which i mean the kentucky wildcats and louisville cardinal paschal teams are off to a great start oh and you won control of the senate. >> one of my better months.
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>> let me start with at the 10,000 foot level and washington, the words of and congress have gone together a lot in the last two years. you've talked from the minute you won the majority about fixing the way the senate works. talk about how your point do that and what you have in mind when you say that. >> rarely does an issue like functioning resonate with the american people that it clearly did. there are two things we heard all of the country, people were very upset with the administration. you can figure that out pretty quickly but they were also not happy with the fact that we don't seem to do anything anymore. it was clear to those of us in the senate that the reason we weren't doing anything was the senate. we have evolved over last three or four years into a body that basically never passes anything
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except in an emergency situation. i feel like we have an obligation to the american people to be responsible -- right of center, governing majority. which allows votes on matters. your to freshman democratic senator and alaska running for reelection who never had a rollcall vote on an amendment of this and in six years. his opponent dan sullivan brought that up on a routine basis. not only did it not work politically but it did not work for the government. will be working longer and working harder and there will be an opportunity for members of both the majority and the minority to offer their ideas and to get votes. that sounds revolutionary i know, but we will pass individual appropriation bills
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rather than ball everything up into a continuing resolution which only further underscores the dysfunction. >> one of the things that helped to blow up the senate was the democrats invoking what is known as the nuclear option which is a rule that says you cannot filibuster presidential nominees, you can get them approved with 51 votes and your side hated it and you will be in charge in a matter of weeks, are you going to stick with that rule or are you going to get rid of it? some people say let's keep it in place and let the democrats get a taste. >> the worst thing about it was the way that it was done. the rules of the senate require 627 votes a high threshold to change the rules of the senate. very clear. the senate is a continuous body it does not adopt rules of the beginning of every session -- every congress like the house does. what was done is they moved to change the rules of the senate
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and it was overturned and they set a precedent that any majority at any time for whatever reason can change the rules of the senate. it is impossible to unring a bell so the president is there regretfully. your question is, what you do about it? there are points of views on both sides of this. leaving aside the way it was done, there are those who argued this was the way it was until 2000. even know the rules permitted filibustering executive branch and judicial appointments, it essentially was never done for the purpose of killing a nomination. that was possible it was never done. there are those who are arguing that put aside for a moment the
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way that it was done, this is the way that was up until 2000 when the democrats decided to start filibustering george w. bush's circuit court nomination. i can't give you an answer but will have a discussion shortly. >> many would agree the most important relationship in this town is between you and the president, talk about what that relationship is like from your point of view and how you think it evolves. >> we don't have any personal difficulties, in fact i've negotiated the only bipartisan agreement we had in the city ministration involving the vice president and myself and of course he was not a free agent, he was allowed to do so by the president. the two your extension on the bush tax cuts in december 2010 and the budget control act in august of 2011 and the fiscal cliff deal on new year's eve of 2012 were bipartisan negotiations. i don't have any fundamental
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problem with negotiating with the other side and we don't have any personal problems. there is however a deep philosophical difference. if you look at the way the president has reacted -- if you joined the governor of massachusetts, or illinois that by any objective standard the president got crushed in the selection. so i have been perplexed by the reaction, a sort of in your face dramatic move to the left. i don't know what we can expect in terms of reaching bipartisan agreements, that is my first choice to look for the things we agree on if there are any. at least on trade i think there is the potential for agreement, trade agreements are more popular in my conference than they are in the democratic conference. tax reform, we all think it out
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of the gun and so far the -- ought to be done. so far, the president's view has been he wants a trillion dollar ransom to do it. he was a trillion dollars in cvo, horrible revenue or the federal government as a condition to do copperheads of tax reform which reagan and tip o'neill believes would be revenue neutral to the government. we're not going to pay a trillion dollar ransom to do something that would make the country more competitive. we certainly need to do it, want to do it but are not going to under any circumstances give this administration $1 trillion more in revenue to do it. i would tell all of you to lobby the president to agree with us what the purpose of this all is. to make america more competitive.
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they already had plenty of tax increases, we had a tutorial in the last six years of her spending, borrowing come a taxing and overregulation. on the front page of your paper today. it points out how much regular americans have fallen behind. we know this stuff doesn't work we have had an experiment for six long years. if the president wants to make a country more competitive the single best thing he could do would be comprehensive tax reform. you notice i keep saying comprehensive, it will be tricky if not impossible to convince my members set c corp.'s get a rate to getince my members a rate down here. two things we ought have an
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understanding about at the beginning that large and small businesses should be treated the same and that it ought of the revenue neutral to the government. if we had those can of understandings before we start down the path we can get there. >> but you can step rate it from personal tax reform and have to. >> i know the president enjoys higher rates and wants higher rates. ideally, we would have the same top rate for everybody but at the very least we don't think big business deserves a rate down here and pass through businesses deserved to be up here. >> the other thing is to please stop the unpleasant surprises, no more government shutdown fiasco scenarios. pick the term you want. give us predictability no more market rattling events, can you offer assurances on that front? >> i made it very clear the day after the election that no more government shutdowns and threats to default on the national debt.
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we need to quit rattling the economy with things that are perceived by the voters as disturbing. having said that, there is still a lot of change -- there's no way to work around and i like to remind people he is the only person in the country to consign something into law and in the old days deliver the members of his party to vote for a deal that he makes. they are having an internal circular firing squad in the wave of the election. what i hope is that regardless of the direction the president
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takes that there will be 10 to 15 senate democrats who want to get back to normal and want to try to do things in the political center. who seem to me to be more willing to do that even when the president doesn't want to do it. >> although that senator got a little wiped out in the election? >> idol thinks a look at the vote on the keystone pipeline. this should surprise all of you in the room but about half the calls i got after the election were from senate democrats. they were not happy that i won that they were saying they are happy we would begin to get back to normal. that people's work would be honored and they would have a chance to offer amendments and ideas and committees would function again. i think there is a lot of
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enthusiasm about those changes in the senate. if you look at the keystone pipeline vote, there is a core of senate democrats who don't like dysfunction and do think we ought to work together to try to achieve at least those things we can agree on. >> one of the questions at the moment is whether you can convince your caucus to fund the government between now and the end of the fiscal year in september. or whether there is a conservative group who doesn't want to do that because they think the budget is leverage over the president to deal with the immigration executive order he promised to execute. can you get, in the name of predictability, your caucus to agree to fund the government between now and the end of the fiscal year? >> in the short term the senate will be in a reactive role, we will support what house republicans sent to us. next year would be more co-equal partners on that issue but right now our view is to support them.
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>> talk about immigration again if you want. you mentioned earlier that executive order has roiled the waters but your senate passed, and immigration reform and couple years ago. is it possible now? is that what you will seek? >> if you allow historical analogy, the most significant political figure to come out of my state was a long time ago named henry clay. he made a name for himself by trying to hold the country together prior to the civil war. for the end of his life we had won the mexican war and had new territory all the way to the pacific and a lot of potential new states which always raise the issue whether they will be slave states or free states. clay cobbled together a massive compromise that included a lot of different things. it was defeated. he was so discouraged, he literally picked up and left town and stephen a douglas who
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went on to be well known took it apart and every piece of it passed separately and only five senators voted for every piece. i think what has made it really difficult for the congress to swallow is the comprehensive nature of the weight is being presented. our democratic colleagues in the senate expect us -- to be focused like a laser on one issue and that is the people who are in the country the matter how they got here and what happens to them with their status? there are a lot of other aspects to this that are important. as the proud husband of an immigrant who came here legally, legally and ended up in the president's cabinet, i'm a big supporter of legal immigration. the legal system is a big mess and i think we ought to bust it up, and pass as much of it as we can. starting with border security as a way to reassure the american people will not have another
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calamity like we have had. and the speaker will have to give you his take on it but i would bust it up if i were to present it to the senate worker provisions and h2 way and some of the other things we can get broad agreement on and have it open for amendment but i don't know what the fate of the provisions that said that it immigrants are interested in would be but put on the president's desk whatever we could get to him that improves the legal immigration system and particularly strengthens the border which we had not yet done. >> the senator is pressed for time but i won open up to at least one audience question is summit he has one. -- if someone has got one. if not i'm happy to keep rolling. health care, there are questions earlier about the affordable care act. you're a big fan of the affordable care act obviously, there is a question about what a
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republican majority will do? how do you approach the affordable care act? now >> i assume you knew he was joking. it's a single worst recent legislation we are passed in the last half-century in the biggest step the europeanize american health care. however the chances of him signing a full repeal are limited. there are parts that are extremely toxic with the american people. the elimination of the 40 hour work week the individual mandate the medical device tax, the health insurance tax. i think you can anticipate those kinds of things being voted on in the senate, such votes have not been allowed in the past. who may ultimately take it down is the supreme court of united states.
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this very significant case that will be decided before june on the question of whether the language of the law means what the language of the law says. which is that subsidies are only available to states and set of state exchanges. if that were to be the case, i would assume you can have a mulligan, a major do over of the whole thing. presented that opportunity -- presented to us by the supreme court as opposed to actually getting the president to sign a full repeal which is not likely. >> with time for just one more question that i let you get out but i don't what the opportunity to pass without touching on foreign policy.
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one of the imminent questions will be whether congress is going to give the president a new version of what is called the authorization to use military force specifically directed at the islamic state. the white house seems likely to ask for that and will it be granted and how difficult will it be to work through congress? >> i think there is bipartisan desire and the congress to pass aumo. i think the admin's ration was less interested in that than we were. >> how long with that be? >> will have to see, it is a very complicated issue. as early as this year the president was calling us the junior varsity, it is clearly not a jv team it is an nba team with serious threats and implications for the country. >> are you optimistic that this can be a bipartisan effort to stop the islamic state? is it becoming a partisan issue. >> i think there are people on both sides of the aisle who feel
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that benign neglect will not have a good outcome. the big discussion of how much involvement but i don't think we can ignore roots that make it clear they want to kill us by beheading american citizens. >> you've been kind to take a break in a busy time and a busy day and we appreciate it very much and hope to do it again as time rolls on. [applause] c-span "q&a" with ann compton. and questions from the house of commons. later, national security adviser susan rice talks about global security threats.
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"q&a" is 10 years old. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] is ann week, our guest compton. retired after 40 years of covering the white house for abc news. she talks about gerald ford and and shares her personal experiences with these men and her opinions on their administrations. after 40 years of covering the president of the united states at the white house, who had the best and worst press operations? >>