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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 5, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EST

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, we probably have the least prrn era. not just unable to address pressing issues, but unable to do their basic job, struggling to pass budgets, struggling to pass appropriations bills, struggling to pay our national debt. these are basic functions congress should be able to do but struggle with. not surprised when, their approval rating is at an all-time low. i will not mention any of the other professions they rank in these things but they are definitely for the bottom. i think in a lot of citizens, there is a sense of apathy maybe futility, but certainly distrust in the system. what was born at bpc was a forum for people like these two gentlemen, people who believe we
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can transcend that. that these trends are not permanent. if we listen to another -- to one another, we can govern even in this polarized environment. we put together a 29 member commission. we had former interior secretary , senator bennett was one of our members. we had a really knockout group of people. former members of congress governors, cabinet officials. civic leaders, business leader people from all walks of american life. we went through an 18 month process and went all over the country -- california, ohio, philadelphia. we had meetings and engaged the american public.
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then, they had some debate and a liberation. they had -- and the liberation. -- deliberation. they did find common ground. that is our blueprint for strengthening our democracy. it contains 69 recommendations. three major areas of reform -- forming congress, forming our elections system, and a call to public service. not all of these are a magic pill. if we enact them all tomorrow the system is not going to turn around although i think we would see some big changes. there is always a way to find out how to work the system but these are achievable steps. they can really begin to lower the political temperature and get our system back to a level in which it can function. i want to start out kind of
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broad and ask you is our system broken? are we in trouble? is there a future question mark what is the outlook? >> thank you for allowing us to be here. i came last year and it was really great. is our system in trouble? our system was created to a chore gridlock. imagine this -- most countries have an authoritarian system like the chinese or russians or else they had a parliamentary system like the british or canadians where the chief executive is also the chief member of legislature. the parliament is executive and legislature together. we have a system called separation of powers. the founding fathers wanted to split authority and government so they created congress, the executive, and they said they
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were all equal. if you do not think that is a prescription for gridlock, nothing is. they created a system that did not have a center of accountability. from the very beginning, our system was not necessarily designed to be extremely smoothly operating and results in great distrust of the king or executive. they always worry about the tierney of executives. that is why they made congress article one. then, they thought congress could be in tierney as well so this was that an two into the house and senate. our system is designed to have one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator at all times. it only works if there is trust across the aisle and if there is
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leadership and if congress has rules and systems that work well and the president works with congress and congress works with the president and there is a trust between the two branches. i think what has happened in the last several years, maybe a couple of decades, is that the basic system of separation and gridlock is institutionally put into our system but there are always ways to work around it. one way was regular order putting systems in place. one way is for the president and congress to work together on primary issues. now, you have a lot of pressures on the system that we never had before. it really has a mighty metal impact -- a monumental impact. on average congressional raises
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5 million. just imagine what that does. you combine that with 24 hour media and social media and there are so many pressures on the system that we never have before. instantaneous access is there. saying that, i do not think the system is going to fall apart. i think our political system is still very resilient. parts of our system are working much better. local units of government are working better in the congress works when it has to. the last month or two that of the sessions this year, they got some stuff done because they had to. rootit put them at -- it puts a much greater premium. it puts more premium on the people to understand what they
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should and should not expect their government to do. i would say the system is trouble but not deceased and not dead and frankly, it is the people who are going to decide whether it is related enough to be a competitive power for years to come. >> i am in agreement. i do want to make additional comments. the ultimate source of power in america is the people. that is different from many other countries. we are the oldest democracy in the world. the british might argue with
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that but they had a parliament before we had a democracy. they did not have the kind of constraints on the king they have now until we showed them the way of allowing the people to ultimately make a decision. if you do not think people are still in charge, and you think outside forces are in charge, just ask jimmy carter or george h.w. bush, both of whom had all of the powers of the presidency at their control when the people decided they wanted to get rid of them. they could not maintain their power regardless of the formal levers of power. ultimately, the people and the way people vote determines what is going to happen in
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american politics and provides a leveling factor and a change factor that can take care of the extremes. when did report came out from bpc of all of the things that should be changed bpce took a to capital hill and started showing it to congressional leaders in capital hill. they went to senator mcconnell and he said, i do not have time to go through it all. will you take it to senator alexander? he was not being rude, he was just being realistic about the kinds of pressures a leader has. the bpc staff said to me, you are close to alexander, which is true. will you go with us?
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to make sure alexander would come to the meeting i guess. i do not think that was necessary. i think he would have showed up whether i was there or not. i went in and they presented these recommendations. alexander, who is a student of american politics and longtime participant, he was and the nixon white house where i first met him. he was governor of tennessee, he has been a university president, a cabinet officer, and now he is a senator. there is not anyone with a broader background of american politics than lamar alexander. then he said, picking out one item, he said with the exception of one item, we could change everything you are asking for
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and i called lish everything you want this afternoon. if we had a different majority leader. now we have a different majority leader. as i was writing in this morning and got out the newspaper there was a story on the front page of the washington post about mitch mcconnell's goal for the next two years. any of you see it? i recommend you read it. summarized in one sentence, mitch mcconnell says he wants the republicans to not be scary between now and 2016. he wants to set the table for the republican now many in 2016 by demonstrating that the republicans are capable of governing. he uses the phrase, we do not want to be scary. what is he talking about?
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he is talking about the tea party. in 2010, which was the wave election of the people saying we do not like what is going on in washington with the democrats and complete control. we want a change -- the people said that. there are a lot of folks writing that wave -- riding that wave with attitudes that are pretty scary and here i am, a senate figure and they cost as republicans three senate seats. we were poised to win nevada, delaware, and colorado where the incumbents -- the tea party came
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in, the people do not participate in the primaries and the tea party nominated unelectable nominees in all three states and and the democrats three seats they would not have otherwise had. in 2012, they handed democrats three more with scary candidates. and 2010, it was the candidate who ran her campaign saying, i am not a witch. that is a really john to catchy -- jaunty, catchy platform to run on. another guy was talking about legitimate rate. pe. another political position i would recommend avoiding being in favor of that kind of thing. add it all up.
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if we had those six seats from the previous elections plus where we are now, we would be at 60. the republicans would be filibuster proof. and you understand why mitch mcconnell is saying, we do not want to be scary going into 2016. now, this is the same mitch mcconnell who said, and the democrats have been beating him up since he said it. he said, my primary goal is to see that barack obama is to be a one term president. they got all tangled up. the people's reaction and the
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various elections are causing an intelligenct, thoughtful, political leader to say, we have to move away from the extreme positions. with the opprobrium harry reid took referring to what secretary glickman said, in the lame-duck, the was there on the democratic side leading the effort to make sure we got a regular orders done and the appropriations process handled in an intelligent matter? harry reid. harry reid and mitch mcconnell -- two old pros sitting down
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and saying, we have to solve the problem. harry reid now says, ok mitch, how do we work this out and make this happen. it was very interesting to see how they made it happen. and the senate, it was harry reid and mitch mcconnell working together. in the house, it was john boehner because nancy pelosi said she did not want any part of it. the number two democrat was saying nancy, we have to govern. and who was there with the two from the senate and two from the house making phone calls to members of his party and saying, will you get in line
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and help out? barack obama. barack obama making common cause with john boehner and mitch mcconnell because the people had sent the message that they wanted things to start to work again. that is where you come in. because you are the people. what you do to get more folks to participate in intelligent ways is what this effort on the part of the bpc is about. america, first nation to set itself up on the basis yes separation of powers, yes, gridlock, the people. we have had all kinds of problems, made all kinds of mistakes, our history is filled with blunders and a lot of embarrassing things.
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but, we have muddled through the decades and centuries to have produced the strongest, most resilient, most diverse, most powerful economy and country the world has ever known. i am a guy who says, we continue to muddle through. >> two things. you mentioned ivan background in the movie industry so you have to go see the movie "selma." it is the story of the voting rights act of 1965. it is important because it reinforces what the senator is saying. the ultimate power the people have is the power to vote. without that power, they lose every other power.
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the power to influence law-enforcement come all of these other kinds of things. one question you wanted ask your self is, without leaders acting like leaders, how resilient can our political system be? you are looking at two folks and the legislative process. i can speak for senator bennet, an extraordinary leader who always had his country's interest first and hopefully i did the same way but, for leaders to be leaders, it means leaders have to risk losing. congress is never designed to be a permanent job with seniority and tenure protection.
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for the political system to work, you need leaders to get their members to respond accordingly. >> let's talk about congress a little bit. you two both served 18 years in the house and senate. the last two congresses i would imagine are nothing like when you served. what is different? >> in the senate, harry reid made a conscious decision as the majority leader to protect his honorable members. the, as you know, only collects -- elects 1/3 of the members so you know in advance who will be up in the following
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year. harry looked ahead to the 2014 election which was the consequences of the election six years previous and six years previous had been a very good election for the democrats. he had an awful lot of democrats up for reelection and only a few republicans. he said, to himself self, the republicans are going to be offering a whole agenda amendments -- a whole budget of amendments to every piece of legislation that comes on the floor that great a series of top votes. president obama will want them to vote these amendments down. the republicans will cast the
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amendments and the most attractive terms. every amendment that is voted on will result in a 32nd commercial -- in a 30 second commercial. without the specifics of the motherhood -- >> i never vote against apple by. pie. motherhood is a different story. >> he has the authority as the majority leader to determine what bills come on the floor. the majority leader is the traffic cop who says, this bill can be voted on this one i will not bring up. that is how it works. he made the decision for partisan purposes that he was going to protect his numbers from all of these controversial
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votes. the trouble with that is, if you do that, you do not get any bills on the floor. that is an exaggeration but basically, the senate that i knew and served in, we would bring up bills there would be amendments from the opposing party depending on who was in charge. you take a test vote, be prepared to lose -- take a tough vote, be prepared to lose and the process goes forward. harry said, let's try this to see if we can protect all these vulnerable to my cats from -- honorable them across -- vulnerable democrats.
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all of the democrats had gotten beat up in their campaign for not having done anything. when they did vote, they always voted with the administration so they got these 32nd30-second ads. if you live in north carolina and do not like barack obama how do you express that? by voting against kay hagan. that is the way it has been done. it started before harry. other majority leaders have tried that. it came to a climax in the last two years to a point when i had members of the senate say to me and a wonderful conversation with a senior, liberal democrat who sat me down and said, tell me about your life. what did you do last week?
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well, i was there and so forth. he's us want to know my week? he said, the senate has done nothing. all week, we have not been allowed on the floor. mitch mcconnell said, when it looked as if he might be the new leader he said i promise if i become the majority leader, we will have amendable motions on the floor and i warn my republican colleagues, you have to take tough votes. i will run the senate the way mike mansfield ran the senate back in the days following lyndon johnson. and lamarr said, mitch, if you
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do not do that, we will get a new leader. we insist that you go back to that even though it means exposure for us. the people spoke in 2014 and now, i think harry thinks he made a mistake. i happen to like harry reid. he has been a great help for me. i think harry made a decision it seemed logical to him. he has made a decision now by virtue of what he did and the lame-duck and say, let's try something else. >> i agree. i came to the house in 1976, ran against an incumbent and spent $100,000 total on my race.
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today, that would cost $5 million and who knows how much outside money from places you never even heard of. what does that practically mean? it means that as an elected official, you spend most of your time raising money. i used to spend a lot of time on the house floor listening to what john dingell said. if i did that now as a member, i would begin the of malpractice -- be guilty of malpractice. what are you doing sitting and listening instead of raising money? what a profound change that is. if nothing else, it diminishes the ability of a member to be part of the political process. that is an and norma strange.
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-- and enormous change. in the 1970's and 1980's, the process whatas much more open. a process by which you can have an impact on the legislative process. any of you from pennsylvania? member the three mile island nuclear accident? i offered an amendment to require full-time inspectors from the federal government at every nuclear power plant in the country. that was an important thing as a measurement -- as a freshman. both parties have closed the process down for individual members. it is much tougher in the house. in the senate, one senator can still have great power. but in the house, you are one of
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435. notwithstanding, as we have talked about the last couple of months, people did work together better and there are more open rules in the house than the last few months. the president, who himself did not engage in congress very much . i regret he did not engage the congress very much at all. for the last couple of months, e-zines to be engaging congress much more -- he seems to be engaging congress much more. there may be some optimistic things that are happening. the money thing is a real problem.
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whether it influences policy or not is a? . we had a former speaker of the house that said that money is the mother's milk of politics. unfortunately it has become the cows cheese, the cream cheese, and everything else. there are probably 30 fundraisers today or tomorrow for people. we have got to figure out how to deal with the problem and in such a way that what it does is it kind of squeezes out average people who are not part of the political fundraising system. notwithstanding, there are some positive trends happening right now. officials understand that people are frustrated, the government doesn't seem to be moving on roads, sewers, infrastructure, tax reform, and they want to see
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something happen here. that is what the center pointed out, reasonably resilient. >> switching gears a little bit from what you were talking about earlier, let's talk about electoral reform. something that you both have a lot of experience with. both parties seem to be convinced that the other party is engaged in this systematic rigging of the system again them . in the other party we have gerrymandering, we have not been able to do anything about campaign finance reform. gaming the system for one parties benefit against the other. one thing that the commission from -- commission focused on was on the primaries. the recommendation of the national primary. what was the thought process behind that?
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>> yours is the classic example. >> yes, i -- i lost my seat in the senate without ever getting my name on the ballot. the system in utah sets up a party convention that screens candidates for the primary. all of the polls show that if i had been in the primary i would have one renomination quite handily. i have a 70% approval rating among republicans. but that was down from the 95% i had had previously because the tea party hated me for supporting george w. bush on immigration and supporting george w. bush on the tarp. i am a republican. this is a republican president. he happens to be right on both instances. it was -- he was six years a border state governor dealing
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with the border economy. he understands the immigration problem better than i do, living and in interior state like utah i will go with him on immigration. but the tea party types all insisted that they knew more about the immigration issue than any border state governor new. the convention kept me off the primary ballot under utah law. i don't tell you that to gain your sympathy, they did me a huge favor. i would have been so frustrated in the four years i just described i would be sitting there saying -- fly in the world am i wasting my time doing this? the point is that the founding fathers did not give us any constitutional basis for regulation of political parties. they didn't like political parties. they were hoping there wouldn't be any political parties.
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the reason that abigail adams said nasty things about thomas jefferson is because she accused him of being a party man, which of course he was. he was the founder of our first political party. in today's terms it was not much of a party. but he did some very interesting things, his principal party boys was a newspaper that he got the federal government to pay the publisher for. we do not have any constitutional basis for regulating political parties. consequently, all of our political law is a combination of state law and artie rules. in utah the party has made the decision to have a convention and state law allows it.
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in california they have abolished the party primary system that i knew, when we lived in california, and replaced it with what they call the jungle primary -- jumbo primary. that is very different from louisiana he -- louisiana where mary landrieu won the plurality, and i most states it would be enough for reelection, but in louisiana she had to go into a runoff to get 50%, which is different than the pot -- than the party primary in michigan. so, one of the challenges that we have is repairing the omission of the writers of the constitution. ask ourselves -- do we want a federal system trolling the
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nomination process for president? and dictating to the states the nomination process whereby parties get their nominees to the final ballot? i happen to think that that would be a good idea. it would mean amending the constitution, which i don't like. i voted against constitutional amendments on but -- based on general principles, i think is fine the way it is. but on this one? i would support some kind of careful analysis of how we recognize, in a modern, national state a political process that makes sense. because we do not have one now. >> i would make two additional points. you were one, the average voter turnout in the primary is less than 20%.
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between 15% and 20%. imagine 15% of the voters choosing your congressman is. i do -- goes to the point that most congressional districts are gerrymandered in such a way that they favor one party over the other. there are not very many competitive seats anymore in the congress. maybe 10%. or whatever. the states a different serious you have got all state. you cannot redraw state lines. at least, not to date. so, the redistricting process is something we have talked about but there ought to be a way to redistrict states more on a rational basis to make sure that all the republicans are put into one district, all the democrats are put into another district
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and they become very safe districts. what does this do other than disenfranchise voters? you don't quite have the ability to influence your congressman if you are in the wrong state. what it tends to do is encourage people on the extremes to control the political part -- process. the tea party will control the process for republicans, the left will do the same in many cases on the democratic side. in several states -- iowa, california, and others, they are looking at this from a legislative perspective to see if we can find different ways to redistrict rather than just letting the people who were elected to do the redistricting. it should be the people who choose their elected officials not the elected officials the choose their people. that was one of our reforms.
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there are other ways to get more people to vote in primaries. primaries are confusing to a lot of voters and a lot of them don't even know when it's happening. the final thing -- and i am not sure exactly again what we can do about this, but money in politics, where does it go? 80% goes to advertising. most of it is mother and apple pie? no, it is mostly your opponent is a memo who is disgusting and he does terrible things and you cannot possibly vote for him. that has kind of been around for a long time, but when you multiply by 10 the amount of money in the system you get 10 times the kind of scurrilous advertising. it turns voters off. we don't seem to get new voters to come to the polls.
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i don't know how people are in this audience, but the political system does not encourage a lot of people to participate because of what they see is involved in the campaign process encouraging more strains of the base to be the ones that primarily vote. that is something we have tried to address. >> it sounds like that between those two, you too would agree that a lot of the people in congress are getting cut out of the process. most everyday citizens are getting cut out. no surprise that we are getting all this conflict. with members participating in the process and voters getting out and voting things are getting back to normal.
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flex voters also see that the government is doing something. at first they see nothing happening. they see bills passing. there is more happening than you might think based on the media but in terms of being on the level of producing result, that would be encouraging. >> there are probably a lot of people in this audience interested in that. call it a public service. we have seen rates dropping. the citizens seem less engaged. what can we do about that? how can we get people more involved? something obviously is inspired you. >> it was involuntary. [laughter] it was the draft.
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so in my day, when i was your age, college and so on every young man was subject to the draft. i was able to get a deferment on the draft by registering for rotc in college, which meant i was committing to two years three years, whatever, as an officer in the air force upon graduation. i was in the rotc right up to the point where they gave me a physical and they said that with those eyes, you can never be a pilot. your eyesight is too bad. i said i had no intention of being a pilot. i said that you have other
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officers in the air force they cannot fly. they said -- we are sorry, we will not the view in rotc. so, i got a student deferment but upon graduation i was number one on the list that the draft board was going to call. the next month. so, i immediately joined the utah national guard. that was a seven-year commitment to avoid a two-year commitment. you could say -- well, how smart was that? well, the guard was not full for seven years. the two years was two full years. they sent me on active duty for six months. then i had another six and a half years of meetings and summer camps. it was a shared experience with
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every other young man in the country, when i went and showed up in california to go through basic training. where they fired live ammunition over your head just to convince you that they were serious. in my basic training unit i had african americans from the inner-city i had southern rednecks from the deep south. there were a couple of other college graduates with me who had gotten into the same situation. the major who sat there talking about what it meant to be wearing fatigues and to be a hired killer. it was a common experience that every young american male had.
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and you could identify with other young men by virtue of that experience, regardless of their other backgrounds. it was a uniting factor in terms of the american culture. i don't think that we appreciate how significant it was in knitting america together. now, i was fortunate enough to have served in the time just after korea and just before the unum. so, i never heard a shot fired in anger. but looking back on it i hated it while it was going on. i could hardly wait until it was over. i had young women on whom i had my eye to become my wife and my six months on active duty when i came home, she was wrapped up
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with somebody else. >> you do ok. >> fortunately. [laughter] >> fortunately. as life would have it, i am married to her sister. [laughter] >> kept it in the family. >> yes. kept it in the family. i got the right one. all right. i think that those kinds of shared experiences of service identification with a cause that is bigger than yourself focusing on something other than your own career for a while, i think they are enormously valuable. the more that we can find ways to do that, the more that we can break down the cultural barriers and some of the political barriers. the secretary talks about
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gerrymandering. and he is right. he but increasingly we are finding that americans are gerrymandering themselves. they kind of gather in communities. they migrate into cities or states, wherever they feel comfortable of their own kind and their own reactions. the experience of somebody going up -- growing up in white utah dealing with somebody who grew up in black newark, new jersey just isn't available to either the person from utah or the person from new jersey anymore. and it is tremendously valuable to find some situation where you are shoulder to shoulder with someone very different from you are, very different from the
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community in which you live, doing something different than either one of you has as a career goal. whatever we can do to find that, whatever his last source of than the draft, i think it would be a very good thing. >> the commission recommends a voluntary kind of national service. everybody between the ages of 18 and 28 being courage to take one year of their life and do either a military or nonmilitary option. teach for america, americorps it could be a litany of things. or the u.s. military. i personally believe that if i were a king or in charge, i would go with mandatory service.
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not military, but mandatory. it is probably not in the cards. and i don't think the country would go for that, even though i believe that what the senator talked about, this kind of sharing and experiencing something outside your comfort zone, your life is incredible. talk to the people who have done teach for america. are any of you thinking about the peace corps or americorps? a variety of things. it could be church related. when you come back i would venture to say that it changes your life. tom brokaw talked about what made the greatest generation the greatest generation. i am from kansas, we had a member of the greatest generation incentive for many
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years. his service have a lot to do with how he viewed life, politics, and sacrifice. not everyone is looking for that, but i think it is healthy and i think, to be honest with you this is the most important of the recommendations that the commission can make, even though it is not legislatively feasible. as the senator pointed out, the power is with the people. this recommendation says that young people need to have common, shared experiences beyond just their lives of college and work. by the way, it could go for older people as well. i think it is a practical matter and it needs to start with people going through the education system initially after high school or college. i think it would be a healthy thing for america to consider these options and alternatives. there is a bike lane project headed up by general stanley
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mcchrystal, the commanding general in afghanistan. it is run out of the aspen institute and the goal is to get basically one million young people between the ages of 18 and 28 into these programs and give them something for it. give them something like a g.i. bill of rights veterans benefits, some, some way to either compensate them or give them an edge. some benefits so that they would not want to do this for free. people need to benefit in some way with this, even though it would not be a lot of compensation. >> well, we are turning it over now to the audience. if you have questions, there is a microphone here and here. folks want to line up?
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>> hello i am from the university of san diego. speaking of incentives to take a long view, and your opinion what do you think is the best solution to incentivizing individual congresspeople to take a long view? >> first of all, no one is going to do something that liberally at intentionally causes their loss. that would be fallible in nature. i am from kansas and i went up and said get them, my constituents would think i was not, ok? i was sent there to represent their views, their perspectives, as much as i can. but i was also sent there to use my own judgment as well. you know, my judgment is that philanthropic lee, these jobs.
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people need to have the view that the country is important taking the view and without necessarily you will get 100% agreement on everything that you vote on. how do you incentivize that? i think that the system, it is always probably tense in that area. i have seen polling. i tried to figure out what my constituents thought. it ultimately became my own integrity. i have one example, when i was in the house the clinton asked me to vote for nafta. i was taught that it was 28% to 78% and i thought -- you know what? we are part of one big america and it is probably the right
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thing to do and i thought that i could talk my way out of it with my constituents. they saw it when i hadn't voted for it. i also voted for the 1994 bill that have assault weapons and gun restrictions. i thought that that was the right thing to do. guess what? i lost. mark udall talked about his loss and said that the citizens have spoken, the. him -- the bastards. [laughter] people have to further members to do the right thing and recognize that people are really of two minds. some people say hypothetically do the right thing, but really they want you to vote the way they want you to. you are a leader and have to stick your neck out.
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ultimately that is what it comes down to. character, courage, integrity. >> fortunately, a large percentage -- i would say a majority of the members of congress, regardless of prior -- regardless of party, try to do the right thing. their conscience is significantly strong enough. for -- tarp was enormously unpopular. you are all too young. this was the decision on the part of the treasury department to pledge 700 alien dollars in
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support of the financial system. an attack as a bailout for big banks by the far right and far left. secretary paulson, the secretary of the treasury, came before congress, but then ben bernanke, the chairman of the federal reserve system, said that we had four days before the entire financial system melted down worldwide. and then bernanke said that he had run out of tools. this is the chairman of the federal reserve system saying -- i have no tools left to deal with this challenge. and the only institution big
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enough to deal with it is the u.s. treasury and it will be a very big number. how big? they said 500 ilion dollars. the next day they said, no, we are wrong, it was actually $700 billion. chris dodd called me at night and said he wanted to meet with me. i called senator shelby, the ranking member of the committee and shelby said he wanted no part of it and that he would be voting against it and that it was ms. a. i was next ranking. i called mcconnell, the leader. chris has invited me. should i go? i said to take jeff gold with you. we decided to take bob corker as well.
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chris had a couple of democrats. dick durbin, chuck schumer marty from the house. we sat down and in about two hours we put a bill together and that was basely it, though more details that go into it. ok, the house rejected it. nancy pelosi said hey, this is enormously unpopular. republicans are in charge of the house. we will make the republicans pass it with republican votes. she withheld a certain number of democratic votes, whereupon john boehner said that he was not playing that game, withholding the appropriate number of republican votes, after that nothing failed.
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it lost one dollar trillion in value after 20 minutes whereupon mcconnell and read and we are not recessing until this has been passed. you will see to it. we will stand here. the collapse in the stock exchange stopped after harry reid and mitch mcconnell took the stand. talking to the house ok, mrs. pelosi released the democrats she had held back and weiner said ok and it had the house. it came over to the senate and we made a few very cosmetic changes to it as a fig leaf for the house so that they could say
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that it was right for us to have defeated that version but we are in favor of this version. this one has a semicolon instead of a,. it is now passing the senate by a comfortable margin. it has passed the house. chris dodd, who lost his seat, the chairman walked across the aisle and gordon smith, the senator from oregon. chris said -- gordon, you are facing a very tough reelection. we all recognize that. we have enough votes to pass this without yours. i recommend, for your reelection in oregon, that you vote against it.
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this is a democrat talking to a republican. martin smith said -- chris this is the right thing for the country, it's the thing we ought to be doing. i could not live with my conscience if i voted against it. gordon voted for it. gordon lost. that is a deep american tradition. i think it still holds. for all the other stuff that we talk about, get excited about -- this is terrible, hannity does tracy -- goes crazy, they yell back and forth, but i think the majority of the members of congress on both sides him are
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ultimately in that position. >> to questions of the time. would you go ahead? >> patrick sweeney hampshire. i was really touched by her story. >> a little bit louder. >> sorry. i was touched by your story of being shafted by the tea party. why hasn't been such a successful force on the right? why is there not a democratic equivalent of them? >> do you want to handle that? >> my question is similar. >> your name? where are you from? what's my name is eric, from the university of arizona. my elected officials do not accurately represent the population. just 50% women only 15% women
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in congress or the senate. do you think that this needs to be addressed? is it even possible? i am not trying to mandate 52% but is it even possible to increase participation from women and other minority groups? it seems right now that, with all due respect to you, most people in office are older white wealthy, christian men. >> i don't know about wealthy and christian. [laughter] >> and what would you recommend. lexus is where the marketplace has to work. you cannot mandate the number of women in congress, but i must tell you that it might be 20% now but it was like 5% 10 years ago and i would not be surprised to see 40% or 50% in another 10 years. there has been a dramatic increase. on both sides. it ought to be that way.
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redistricting, to some extent, helps the process if it is done fairly. it makes it so the people voting tend to be more balanced. more centrist. were independent in the process. i would urge you to go see this movie, "selma." again, it is a good example of how the voting rights act was an important part of the american political system. by the way, one of the problems with the voting rights act is that we now have a district -- we have these districts that are one race districts. single districts. you might be able to get two or three minorities, as opposed to one, if we cannot make this better, but that is my own perspective. in any event, i think that
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you're gradually seeing that it is not equal or perfect. same thing with corporate america. it really is beginning to move. talk to the party and they will tell you how they are focusing on female recruitment and minority recruitment. you now have an african-american congresswoman with -- how many are there in the state of utah? 2%? >> it is very much in the low single digits. >> the other thing is that it is more directly to the center. there is no real tea party on the left. there was the occupy america the kind of fell apart. there is a elizabeth warren, who kind of speak populist messaging now, and maybe that will rise into a serious political challenge in the next presidential election -- i don't
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really know. my own judgment is that the tea party was born out of i think genuine concern about the political system not being responsive, but it just took a radical turn to the right and it is kind of it -- supporting extremist positions. maybe as the senator said, the scariness will turn. >> we hope so. people are talking about elizabeth warren and ted cruz. on the left. of course, she was very outspoken in the lame-duck. it was terrible. she and ted cruz could have swapped manuscripts. they sounded alike. you are too young to realize what the democratic heart he had had it was a tea party led by a
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man named george mcgovern. now, the unum war was a huge mistake. within the democratic party the vietnam war got its momentum within the democratic party. the first major troop commitment was john f. kennedy, a significant escalation of the vietnam war was lyndon johnson. so, within the democratic ardea perfectly legitimate to test movement was formed as an antiwar protest movement. but it morphed into an anti-american movement. within the democratic party there was a group formed to try to counterbalance the electoral impact of that.
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the democratic leadership council, one of whose leaders was a gun governor from arkansas named bill clinton. you know he had been a mcgovern i -- mcgovernite as a college student, he quickly realized that that was a mistake and was ultimately the first democrat to win the presidency back after the democratic party had been taken over by the mcgovernites. you could say that jimmy carter won, but he won because of watergate. after this group took control of the democratic party republicans 15 out of the next six presidential elections. all right, the tea party is the mirror image of that on the republican side, only instead of being the war being the thing that triggered it, it was a sense of tremendous frustration that the government is too big
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too expensive, and unresponsive and those are all perfectly valid criticisms. just a way that the vietnam war as a mistake was a perfectly valid criticism on the left. just as people said that mcgovern went too far in that direction in the tea party thing they had gone too far and slip off the edge of the menu completely and, as a result, they made themselves irrelevant to the governing process. i said to some of my democratic friends, if we republicans cannot contain that the democrats are going to win five out of the next six presidential elections just like the republicans did during the mcgovern age. he comforted me and said that
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our capacity to screw up is sufficient that you will win more than that. [laughter] but yes, we have seen this happen before. briefly, on this issue america is the only place where the candidates are self-selected. if you have read some of the novels of jeffrey archer, a former member of the parliament of great britain about america it is hilarious when he gets to the nominating process because he describes it as if it were the british process, where the party gets to pick who the candidate is. the heroine in his novel, i have forgotten the name, it doesn't matter, is chosen by a select group of party officials to run for the senate in illinois.
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it is hilarious, because that is not the way it is at all. if she wants to run for the senate in illinois, she can run in america simply by paying the filing fee and she is there. she is on the ballot. so, the diversity and the question of balance has a lot to do with how many people are willing to try it. they are of the various groups you are describing. the party, yes, there is movement. we have tried recruitment efforts in utah for a young woman who would be a very attractive member of congress. she wants no part of it. for a variety of reasons. we self-selected was going to work.
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>> social media and the use of modern technology is democratizing the process. this is something no one was anticipating. this might be one of the reasons you have seen a dramatic upswing in the minority and female candidates. that is one great thing about modern technology. it gives more people access to the political system. >> you have got about five minutes left. we have two more questions, let's take them both at the same time. >> i am an international student at the harvard school. we have more than two bodies in most parliaments. >> getting closer? >> in the places where i grew up and lived, we have more than two parties. given how this chant of the american public has become with politics, do you think that a
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strong third party might emerge? do you believe that american politics would benefit from more than two parties? >> my name is stephen from hofstra, and my question was related to the election report. you mentioned the low turnout in primaries. do you think that what we saw in mississippi would be a good solution? as you can see, there was a more expansive coalition that helped him to win the primary and the general election. especially without this or that he saw from the tea party he might have been victorious. >> i favor the california general primary. everybody's names on the ballot.
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the top to go to the general election. everybody can vote for the top two. one of the top two. in gerrymandered districts, the top two will be democrats. after the old system you have the republican winning the republican primary with nothing and the democrat who won the democratic primary. he was absolutely invulnerable congressman for life. they went to the jungle primary and the top two names were pete stark and another democrat, and they voted for another democrat. i would love to see that in the state of utah, or a least a circumstances where would be to republicans. at least the democrats would get to choose which republican they
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preferred. whereas right now they don't have a voice at all. so, i would like to go in that direction. now, you're talking about a third hardy? that is not going to happen. [laughter] because back to what i commented on earlier -- the whole system is based on state law and party rules. there is no federal basis. state law and party rules have so embedded the two-party system into the way that things are done, that a third-party statutorily it faces a hurdle that is virtually impossible to overcome. >> states should be permitted to experiment with this. in many states and independent can go and vote and choose their party in the election and then revert back to independent of the other party if they want to.
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but this concept of just a republican and just of them at that voting for their respective parties may be a by gone of a bygone era. whether it is the california system or others, these are healthy. i am not sure that we will not have a third-party at some point in time, it is about how money is raised in this country. it is difficult to get collars unless you fit into one of these systems. we had an interesting senate race this time. we had pat roberts running against an independent. this was an independent leaning democrat who put $5 million or $6 million in of his own. until a few weeks before, the race was even. 18 years before that, he was a good friend of mine. looks like he was losing.
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they took over his campaign. they saw that he was from a bygone era. they put in modern communication techniques and modern amounts of money. he won. we had a third arty a few years ago, his name was ross perot. this was probably before your time. george h.w. bush, jimmy -- bill clinton, i mean -- and ross perot. it looked like he could be a factor, but then it fizzled. >> en 30% of the polls at one point. >> he talked about aliens and have you problems. [laughter] -- had a few problems. [laughter] but if people do not believe that the parties are looking out for their interests, we have had third parties before. the republican party was at one
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point a different party that was more attenuated to the populace but culturally it was not part of the system, and that made it more different. >> thank you. [laughter] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> up next, we will hear from trent lott and an interview with robert byrd. this was part of the c-span 2006 documentary, "the capitol." flex from the rotunda -- >> from the rotunda you enter the building and then enter the extension built in the 1850's. you see a stark contrast in the
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decorative nature of the old and new as the senate of the 1850's wanted to showcase their part of the capital from around the world. it is into this artistic and intellectual design that you find the chamber surrounded by ornately decorated halls from the winter of 1859. >> i was always enthralled by the senate chamber. what could they tell us? it if they could speak, what could they tell us? i think of the great men and women who have served. >> there is something special about seeing it when it is empty. it is an empty theater, in a sense. you stop, you look around you look at the presidents and vice presidents, look at the desks and imagine the people that stood there.
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the lyndon johnson's, the hubert humphrey's, the people who have had a huge impact on this institution. this was the chamber in which they fought their battles. there was a tribute that they pay to these people in their absence. >> the senate is almost like a living creature. it has a whole breathing tempo to it. it is almost like a person. if you treat it like you would treat another person, i think that it responds well. even when you are trying to make it do something it doesn't want to do. >> each state is equal. there are two senators from every state. each is equal, to a degree, to every other senator.
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these senators can speak, as long as he or she wishes to speak. there is freedom of speech. freedom of speech runs deep in english history. roman history, even. and colonial history and american history. since the constitution came along. freedom of speech. >> the senate chamber opened on january 4 1859. on that day the members of the senate as a body left their old chamber, the old senate chamber, walking down the corridor and into their new chamber. there was excitement, there was an tue phan is him about the new space. >> when you go in there today it is a bit hard to really evoke the way that the chamber would have looked in the 19th century it has changed so dramatically it when it worst opened in 1859
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the room looked very victorian. highly ornate, floral pattern carpets, filigree on the walls, a wonderful stained glass ceiling. >> the senate chamber was expanded. as new states joined the union more space was needed. congress appropriated $100,000 to build the new wings of the house and the senate. when you look out into the chamber there are a variety of things going on. this layout is similar to the old chamber. that same layout has continued. the 19th century it would have
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been the vice president. they would sit in a chamber. again, the press can look down. if you look into the diplomats gallery and the members gallery the specific areas for people to go and view what is going on on the floor. looking at or towards the senate on the left-hand side would be the republicans and on the right would be the democrats. the majority and minority leader are front and center at the front of the room in the center aisle.
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>> when i walk into the current senate chamber and i see 100 beautifully polished desks, i have a lot of different thoughts. it is the latest in a long, unbroken chain of senators. over 1880 members of the senate they really do reflect the different kinds of opinions and walks on american life. >> it is probably one of the most unique and important pieces as far as decorative furniture. the desks were purchased in 1819 at a cost of $34 by thomas constantine. there have been desks prior to
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that time, but the british marched on washington as part of the war of 1812 and august of 1814, setting fire to the capital. all the furniture was destroyed. they took these desks after that. they needed new desks and acquire these desks. they were beautifully made. mahogany, and laid. there were even grills on the sides of the feet of the desks. these were used for some of the earliest air-conditioning systems here in the capital cold eyes that was brought in under down -- underground to cool the chamber and were ventilated in the room to allow the air to come through in the floor. so, today as curators we try to preserve that history. we also recognize that every senator and event in the chamber members of about 1900 started
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signing the desks. we had the signature either in 10 or they would carve it with a pen knife inside the desk drawer. >> they would carve your name and was a schoolboy tradition that has gone on for years here. senator cold\t was the first in my desk. my father use my desk. i carved my name in the desk and kept it for quarter of a century . there are two dodd names in that best. knowing the history of that desk, the daniel webster desk he was such a tightwad with public spending, he would not have the top put on, his is the only one without a little bit of an extra top. for those of us who know the
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history of those desks and what occurred, it is significant. >> people come and walk around the senate chamber and really see a lot of marvel musts. they will recognize a number of these as presidents of the united states. but they are not presidents. they are there because they were presidents of the senate, they were vice presidents of the united states. the constitution provides of the vice president preside and break the votes and for much of history, that's all they did. from the very first, john adams, up to berkeley, that was the prominent and primary role. beginning in the 1890's the senate passed a resolution that a commission be made for each of the vice presidents.
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the first was 17 on the inside of the chamber, and then to lewis lulu link -- and then through the rest of the building. henry lewis, chicago colfax, they were both implicated in the scandal. in the 20th century bill agnew would have to resign from office. a number of these people whose careers were less than stellar were all in the correction -- collection. all of them, successful or unsuccessful, our dear. they are all sort of object lessons, perhaps, about american politics. some of them are quite spectacular. looting theodore roosevelt. as you would expect. >> above the doors and the chamber are latin phrases and
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symbolic imagery. these marble release were done in the early 1950's, as were the latin motifs. basically it was part of the renovation of the chamber in the early 1950's. the image that you see his patriotism, courage, and wisdom. we don't know exactly why the artist selected those three images but he was given a lot of latitude to design what he thought would the appropriate for the senate chamber. these are quite lovely pieces. the latin phrases the first one is that god has favored our undertakings and the east -- in the east entrance doorway. on the west entrance doorway it says the new order of the ages. then you have -- in
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>> miss use of the hold in the senate has become a fundamental problem. >> why did you in both the house and senate play an active role in opening up both chambers to television? >> you know, i don't want to get too sanctimonious about this but i do believe in openness in government. i generally don't like secrets of any kind. i just think life is a lot easier if you kind of live an obama book. i thought it was part of the modern era. we weren't covered by media. it was pen and pencil. it was the electronic age, audio, radio and the powerful medium television. i thought people who couldn't come to washington from
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smalltown u.s.a., needed a chance to see what we do in some cases i think it has adversity affected us. i think we have more performing for the eye of the camera. but we have had an occasion of people seeing us at our best when the debate does soar to a degree, and we do have legitimate disagreements sometimes without being disagreeable. for me it was simple. >> to hear the public debates going on, and so as a first-hand did not -- to be a first-hand witness to history. not just by reading the record, but hearing the voices and watching the faces who are the thursday and arc tenths of policy. the down side of it is it is theater. we don't have any real debates
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anymore because people are aware that they are performing on a very public stage. i think that truncates the debate. it has a way of stylizing the debate in a way that did he prifes people of the real negotiations and things that are a part of any legislative production. >> the clerk will call the role. >> mr. acaca alexander. >> the rules of the senate perplexed me when i first came over from the house. i like order and rules. this is what you do and you have a second degree amendment and all that. i got to the senate and having been a member of the rules committee, i kept looking and watching the institution and saying this doesn't make any sense. this is not robert's rules of order or house rules of order. what are these rules? i went to the parliamentarian, how does this work? he said there are two rules that matter.
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exhaustion and unanimous consent. if you get the senators exhausted enough, they will agree to anything. >> that senate is the forum where people speak, and where senators can speak as long as their feet will hold them. if their feet won't hold them, they can sit dewine and get unanimous to speak at their desk. that is the protection of the people's liberties. as long as there is a place for someone to speak as loudly as he wishes, we can be sure the people's liberties will endure. >> it was dirkson, a republican leader of the senate in the 1960's who said, thinking about the members of the senate, what a diverse lot they are. oh, great god what a chore it is to try to harmonize their
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discord ant voices and bring them together. >> the great days of the senate were not because the rules were better or worse, but understanding the role of the senate. not as a partner with the executive branch or a partner with the house, but as a unique place that has a co-equal obligation to make sure people's voices are heard. >> the 114th congress gavels in tuesday at noon eastern. up next, a look at some of the legislative priorities of the republican-controlled congress with bob. from "washington journal," this is 40 minutes. bob cusack is editor-in-chief of "the hill" newspaper in washington and we always appreciate him joining us on "washington journal." a day before the start of the 114th congress, how concerned should speaker boehner be about
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holding onto the speaker's gavel? a story from "the hill's" website this morning -- "republicans voting against boehner." guest: i don't think boehner has too much to be concerned about what he has got to contain it. in the last congress there was this last attempt -- within 24 hours -- to overthrow him. it was really not managed a very well. there were 12 republicans at that time that did not vote for boehner either, voting for somebody else or abstaining from the vote. out with 12, 10 are returning. out of those 10, looks like six to seven to eight will not vote for boehner. and then you of incoming freshmen. they have to get into the high 20's to make trouble for boehner . john boehner needs a majority of the house to vote for him. democrats will vote for nancy
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pelosi in there might be some who don't vote for her but vote for another democrat. john boehner needs to keep that number under 28 or so, and it looks like he has got that. what remains to be seen -- overall, it is a safe bet that john boehner is going to be speaker. host: in terms of what happened to use goat versus this time around, there are a couple of different candidates that have put their names forward. is it unusual that they haven't coalesced around one financial t -- one potential pick. guest: it is a shift in strategy, and the dynamics are different. they had lost seats in the senate, lost the presidential race lost seats in the house. here john boehner and his team have picked up 13 house seats. he has got momentum. the shift in strategy you mentioned is because last time around they did not coalesce behind one. vote for whoever you want and
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maybe we can get it to a second ballot and basically create chaos, and it was chaotic because it got awfully close and john boehner was sweating it out the last time. here they have not been able to coalesced behind one candidate. some have suggested trey gowdy republican from south carolina who is heading the benghazi committee. but he has told us that he is not interested in becoming speaker. he is loyal to boehner, he is going to vote for boehner. the rebels, louie gohmert and ted yoho, republicans from texas and florida respectively, have said they will not vote for boehner and have offered themselves up. host: what is the bigger picture here? you talked about the rebels in this congress. how are the rebels going to shape this new 114th or congress? guest: if you look at the makeup of the house, there are more republicans and that gives boehner more votes to play with.
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anytime he has tried to pass a very controversy ability is needed to rely on democrats such as raising the debt ceiling last year, where only 28 republicans announced voted for a clean ceiling increase. some say that he has a stronger hand he does he has more to play with some of the republicans -- some of these republicans are more conservative. getting the votes to pass controversial bills just republicans only, it is still going to be difficult even though they have a historic majority host:. host: how difficult a task this incoming senate majority leader mitch mcconnell have trying to round up the votes? guest: it is a dream job for mitch mcconnell and he has got a stronger hand than most people thought because most handicappers were thinking he would win the senate they be with 51, 52. he has got 54.
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he has vowed to pass a budget and that is going to be challenging even with 54, because most, if not -- i would bet all democrats come whatever i do they propose they are going to vote no. he is going to have to get ted cruz and susan collins. he can afford only a few defections. host: lead story on -- "republicans take the reins." what are the key changes on the committee level? who are the key chairman you are going to be watching in the house and senate? guest: in that house you have to look at john mccain at armed services -- host: in the senate. guest: i.t. critic of president obama. you also have to look at senator jim in half, climate change skeptic -- jim inhofe, climate change skeptic. he will be in charge of the energy committee.
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in the house, darrell issa was term limited. jason chaffetz is taking over for him and he will be a little bit different than darrell issa. basically, the other one is the house -- is the chairman of the house ways and means committee he has not said he won't run for president, but it is very doubtful that he will. he wants to move tax and trade bills and he will play a role in crafting the budget. he could be one of the most powerful ways and means chairmen we have seen since bill thomas ran the committee. host: just because of the profile that he has? guest: yes, because the profile -- conservatives like him. he could have mounted a leadership bid. not interested could he says he is not going to be in congress forever. he has had a testy relationship
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at times with president obama. but maybe they could agree on some issues, and not many of them, certainly on obamacare they will differ, but on trade issues there is some common ground. host: we are talking to bob to sack of "the hill" newspaper on the 114th congress, getting set to meet 28 hours from now. bob cusack here to take your questions and comments on today's segment in "washington journal." host: want to talk to you for a second about steve scalise, the house majority whip and we talk about the controversy that has surrounded him in the past week and how that might overshadow things. host: this is something that john boehner will have to address on camera. yes -- he has put out the
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statements of warning steve scalise, who spoke to a racist group -- he has acknowledged this -- in 2002. he says he progressed talking to that group back then that he wasn't sure he was talking to that group and at one point blame staff on it. scalise i think has been able to weather the storm because while there have been democrats who have called for him to step aside as leader, republicans have not, and anytime you get into this type of controversy, as long as members of your team don't call for you to step aside, you are probably going to survive. at the same time, it is something reporters will be asking about this week. host: "hill" story on this topic -- the headline, "mia love defense scalise." the importance of mia love defending phillies. guest: she is a black republican
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who defended scalise. and a democrat from louisiana has also defended scalise. that is why i think this story is fading but it is certainly going to be talking about -- talked about. host: a story in "the new york times" this morning -- "allies say willingness to talk to anyone, nearly his undoing defines scalise." we want to get your thoughts and questions for bob cusack as we get said to kick off the 114th congress. pennsylvania on our line for republicans. caller: how you doing? good morning. i'm really tired of everybody slamming the republicans for gridlock in congress, always being accused of not working with the president on getting things done. you can't work with someone who
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everything he wants to do is detrimental to the country whether it be the affordable care act or climate change or his foreign policies. everything he wants to do is always harmful to the country. as far as boehner goes, i would like to see him replaced with a more hard right republican such as crtuuz or gephardt for any of those guys -- host: you mean gohmert, louie gohmert? caller: yeah, some of who is going to stand up more. we can't let immigration -- i'm tired of everything -- the republicans want to stand up to him and they always get blamed because they hate him or it is a racist thing and it is just not true. everything obama wanted to do is bad for the country.
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this affordable care act is horrible. yeah, there was a lot of people getting insurance that didn't have insurance, but when you look at the people who are losing their jobs, the insurance rates are also directly, people that are losing their jobs -- insurance rates are all skyrocketing, people that are losing their jobs or getting part-time hours, it is just terrible. host: bob cusack, what are you talk about how president obama is going to interact with the 114th congress, and as you do that come here is a quotation from his news conference he had before leaving -- "i am absolutely sincere when i say i want to work with this new congress to get things done. we are going >> guest: they are going to have to agree on some issues. how they strike the deal, it remains to be seen.
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the president does want to get some stuff done. he is going to do a lot administratively, whether on climate change or other health care issues. he has said, we can disagree on these issues, but we can agree on possibly these issues. whether it is striking a major deal on a fiscal arrangement. passing trade authority. i do think that this congress will be better than the last one. republicans have control. they have got to show they can send bills to the president. their goal is to make obama the party of no. the first thing they're going to center him is keystone. -- send it to him is keystone. i think they will do that pretty quickly. host: less gridlock is your
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prediction? guest: i would not expect major entitlement or tax reform. it is very hard to get a tax bill through. host: robert is in milwaukee line for democrats. caller: with a guy like ted cruz and mike lee of utah and all the rest of those people in the republican party who are so anti-obama, you know there is not going to be anything done. just like the first republican caller who just called. he is taking a cue right from rush limbaugh and fox news. i think if anything gets done, it won't be from the republicans. it will have to come from the president and the democrats. these republicans only want to do one thing and that is to kill
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obamacare or the aca. host: talk about the issue of executive action and how those actions have been received by congress. guest: you had the immigration executive order. that was very controversial. that is something the president said he was going to do, but democratic senators in tough reelection races did not want him to move forward on it before the election. he held off and has done it postelection and that is one of the things republicans will have to deal with by the end of february because funding for the department of homeland security expires at the end of february. this is a real pressure that the republican leaders are under. they have to appease their base. one of the things we wrote about
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last year is that even if they do defund these immigration agencies that would be implementing the executive order on immigration president obama still has the authority to deem these people essential government employees. republicans, some of them are saying that we don't have a strong hand. the president can do what he wants on deeming certain officials essential. host:if you look a year back when we had the government shutdown those exact agency officials were deemed essential. at the same time, that is why louie gohmert is running. he feels that john boehner has not applied enough pressure on the president on immigration. there is concern that
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republicans are going to move forward on some time of immigration reform, but not on anything close to the senate passed bill in congress. they will move on smaller bills and that will attract controversy. host: a tweet coming in. can you talk about the impact of the jonathan gruber story on the health care debate? guest: i think it is significant. a fair amount of coverage came up to capitol hill. he apologized for what he said in calling voters stupid. the other aspect of the effective gruber's, is that there is another challenge of obamacare dealing with federal
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subsidies. his comment will be used against this administration. he says he was not an architect of obamacare. he was in the room, he was in white house meetings. he was described as an obamacare architect in many articles and did not till the producers not to call them that. -- him that. he was in the room when they were making the decisions and that could come back in the supreme court decision which should be decided in june. without those subsidies, a lot of people say that obamacare crumbles. host: we are talking to bob to sack. -- cusack. anthony is in tennessee. are you with us? caller: i have two things i would like to say.
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i was a veteran of the vietnam war. my father was a veteran also. i want to start off with congress. i don't really follow too much politics. congress stood up and said we are not going to do anything for this president and then he is called a liar when he stood up. my father died in the 1980's. he went 21 days out of 28 days at fort dix. the veterans hospital told him
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to go home. we took him to john f. kennedy in new jersey and they did what they needed to do, operated on his lower spine. then they did a test and found he had a blockage and operated on him. they found a tumor the size of a football. we have letters from congressman howard. we have them. there are copies which you can barely read. host: thanks for sharing your story. not the only caller today to talk about v.a. issues and veterans care.
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prospects for further efforts on that in the 114th congress? guest: i think there will be some. we did see a bill passed on v.a. reforms. those investigations are ongoing. there are some bills i was looking at -- when you think about what republicans are going to do in the congress, you have to look back at what the house passed in the last congress. a lot of the republican bills were not voted in the senate. there are a fair amount of bills that are bipartisan that i think will get bipartisan support in the house and will be voted on in the senate. they are not controversial bills. that is what republicans have to show. congress is very unpopular. they have to change the dynamic of that. they have to show a flurry of
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activity. one issue that should come up is whether congress will vote on an isis authorization. speaker banner said he is open to it. he put the ball in obama's court. he said -- john boehner said he should crafted and send it to congress. -- craft it and send it to congress. i don't know if that is actually going to happen. president obama said, we could vote on it, but i also have the authority to do what i am doing. isis is not on the front pages anymore. there are certain members who say that this important of a member -- vote should not be voted in a lame-duck session. host: you talked about comparing
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the last congress to this congress. jamie is up next in summerville, south carolina. republican line. caller: good morning. i have been listening to you and i have a follow-up question to what he just spoke about. congress being unpopular. i thought the shutdown of the government helped them because they stood up to obama and they picked up all those more seats this time from two years ago. they took the senate. that shows me that people are tired. they might have reelected him on the platform that he ran and then he changed his mind and decided, i am going to go my way and ignore congress altogether. that has made more people mad and that is where they picked up more seats in congress and now they have taken the senate. they need to piecemeal this.
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i think through the affordable care act, i think it is great that people got insurance and the subsidies. but i think one of the things that they need to go back and look at when they take these things through the courts they need to take it out because i think it is unconstitutional that it is not considered a tax if we don't have insurance. i think that is an individual right for a person to either have it or not to have it. when they send these things through and that is going to get us a republican president. if they send these things through and he keeps saying veto veto, it is going to make it hard when 2016 comes up. guest: i certainly agree that the republicans are setting up their 2016 nominee. if they do a good job of
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managing the congress, sending a lot of bills to president obama, winning the showdowns, that is going to bode well for whoever the 2016 nominee is. i think republicans and polls show -- john boehner thinks it was a misstep and republicans were blamed for the shutdown. you had all of the attention go from the shutdown to the nonfunctional government website of obamacare and that took all of the momentum that democrats had and took it away. others say, republicans needed to take a stand. that is why republicans say, we are not going to shut down the government again and that is where mitch mcconnell -- it is going to be fascinating to see how he runs the senate. he is a deal maker. he wants to get stuff done. he has said repeatedly that people want to get things done.
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he has struck deals on a number of issues, specifically fiscal shutdowns -- showdowns. host: big guns rights in on her twitter page. can you talk about w --rites -- writes in on our twitter page. can you talk about dodd frank? guest: elizabeth warren has been so outspoken on the crom the bus -- cromnibus. elizabeth warren said, we need to stop giving away to the wall street guys, the k street lobbyists who are looking for changes on this.
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a lot of controversy on that. i think you will see more division on the left than we have seen before. we have seen a lot of the tea party versus republican establishment. we are now seeing this elizabeth warren wing of the party going up against a treasury nominee. al franken came up against the treasury nominee. that is why everyone is reading and parsing every word that elizabeth warren says. at the same time, you have to look at hillary clinton's panel numbers. but we are still a long way out. host: we have 15 minutes left with bob cusack. what is on the table in the coming months


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