Senators Discuss Trump Administration Legislative Agenda CSPAN December 3, 2016 1:15pm-2:32pm EST
week and we are featuring programs remembering that day. u.s. army film portrays japan as a nation determined to rule the world. -- when themap factories were producing for japan's war machine, than the rest of the world would fall. >> just after five on oral history, survivors from the uss crew memberre 1000 were killed. eastern on american artifacts, -- >> it was commissioned and saw action in the pacific. she is often remembered for the surrender of japan in tokyo bay. harbor,ll tour pearl part of the national world war
-- for our complete american history tv spec -- tv schedule, go to c-span.org. >> c-span where history unfolds really. 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and brought to you buyer cable or satellite provider. two democratic senator, chris coons of delaware and amy klobuchar from minnesota discuss congress and the incoming trump administration. they talk about president trumps alleged social media usage, his position on health care, and recent cabinet picks. the event also included questions from students.
this is an hour and 15 minutes. we will open up our phone lines around 2:30 p.m. eastern to get your thoughts. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the george washington university and the jack morton auditorium. tonight, as with many that have taken place recently in universities, homes, forums, , and places of congregation throughout the tonight is an
event of careful reflection on our future. as we move through the annals of in the wake of the recent presidential election. as is the tradition of the george washington university and our renew -- our renowned school we exchanged some of the most delicate issues of our time. conversations series has a long tradition of bringing together some of the leading minds in politics and media to engage in a healthy debate to advance our democracy and civic dialogue. behind every headline is a story. and behind every story our ideas and actions. as an institution of higher learning, our never ending could is to penetrate these elemental in search of truth and
understanding. the veritable pillars of any democratic society. great pride as the dean of the college of arts and at the george washington university to host this event because it represents the fabric of who we are. we are home to the engaged liberal arts. where students drink from the and's dutywledge students married a world of as we know the life of the mind with the real world at large. we are the home of value added where we may be ready to tackle whatever the world may bring. with the highest ethical and moral compass education can
provide. the grand maestro of this evening's event and our school is franklic affairs says no. frank sesno. emmy award-winning journalist and the creator of planetforward.org, a project.ia adamant we need an informed public if we are to have a healthy democracy. it gives me great pleasure to introduce your maestro. sesno.essna o -- frank [applause] thank you, this is quite a crowd. they testament to how to topical
this is. before i bring out our guests for what will be a tremendously fascinating conversation, i want to thank some special people who are here. we are able to have this conversation and many other at georgedo washington university generally because of the generosity, the support, and the unwavering friendship of some special people at the school media affairs. we have our national council chair here. to our national council members and your support, financial or otherwise, that helps make this event and the sort of things you,ble, i want to thank and i want you to join me in thanking our wonderful friends. [applause] we are able to do is because of the generosity and philanthropy of the people
in the room. i also want to thank the college democrats on republicans who are cosponsoring the event with a -- this evening. our media in the room who joins us for this conversation. this is a conversation we are happy to share. and we hope others join in real time. jenna is our very special leader here who made it happen. the # this evening is now what s smpa. i would like to introduce our
panelist of the evening. senator james lankford of oklahoma, senator chris chris coons of delaware, senator of minnesota and the one in only dana bash. [applause] thank you for coming how many students are in the room? and how many of you would consider yourselves politically active or politically aware? >> and how many predicted the president-elect would be the president-elect? >> let the record show i see about five hands. we are going to talk about where we are, what is changing, how i
bipartisan group is going to interact and govern with a very unusual unprecedented president-elect. i'm going to invite my friend and journalist to enjoy in the question -- to join in on the questioning. we will come to the audience for questions. let me start with a broad question. what do you think it is going to be like? president elect is tweeting about flagburning. he has named new nominees to his cabinet. and moving against certain other things he promised on the
campaign. we never had any way like this in the presidency. except andrew jackson served his country. what is the big change going to be? >> no one knows what to expect other than things are going to be different. i do expect him to follow through on some of the campaign promises and then some that he's good to say when i can do that anymore. i think that's the nature of what we have seen. for instance, i'm going to prosecute hillary clinton. now yes come through and say, i'm going to be a magnanimous, we are not going to do that anymore. trade, he was very passionate about trade issues, but throughout the entire campaign he said i like free trade.
you have better deals and trade. >> what are the big change is going to be? is we will have a president that is tweeting himself immediately all the time. -- he will call me up. during the primaries, during the change election, and to the focus of the national conversation. at some way that demonstrates the power of social media. this is our first real social media presidency.
president obama was quite adept at social media. the structure, the fundamentals and democracy was going to be challenged and strained. >> am going to ask you -- i am going to ask you. we have two democrats and one republican. we tried very hard to get other people. we were not able to add to this group. the changed landscape and , whatd role of the senate do you anticipate?
>> it is going to be an unpredictable time. the democrats and the senate are going to have power. we have 48 democratic votes right now. said he isonnell going to keep in place the senate rule. we have the fact that we need 60 votes. other exceptions for cabinet nominees. not for the supreme court. we assume that was going to happen with the republican majority. we do have power.
various common ground. i would never say because you don't agree with someone that you don't find that common ground that is good for the country. we can talk in more details about infrastructure. maybe there will be some agreement and we can move forward. the main role of the senate and congress as a whole is really to check the pal -- to check the balance of power. there's also the check off balance in the senate. theparty will now control house and senate. when it comes to some compromises on this legislation or we are not going to reverse of whatever the issue is?
>> as a journalist you have observed many different administrations and clearly one of the big differences here is the twitter. and once upon a time when the media set the agenda has been candidate who has been uncommonly successful at setting the agenda at three in the morning. we were talking about his tweet as it preceded us. >> we know what it meant for the campaign. she did take the steering wheel and turned it with his twitter feed. sometimes he did it to his detriment. and to the point where the of the campaign his eight successfully took his twitter .way from him and he won
however, he also understands the and his social media twitter account in particular. and he feels emboldened, because he won. it worked. but campaigning is one thing and governing is quite different. attacking the colic for correctly pointing out the donald trump's tweet -- that there were 2 million illegal votes cast and was not provable and probably not accurate is ok. that is probably not going to move stock markets. it is possible he could wake up one morning and set out -- and send out a tweet that could shake the global economy. the answer. none of us knows the answer. the one republican cap here, i'm
wondering what you think. if donald trump cultural the phone and said why should i handle this twitter thing -- said how should i handle this twitter thing, what would you say? >> it's just a person to be next to you, because there is a difference between a candidate and a president. i think he will learn quickly that what he says as the president of the united states, the world will listen. this is the most powerful office in the world still. bar none. and it can't move markets. and it can change the relationships of people within our country. i would say it is not a bad thing to come to -- to continue to communicate. this is what he is thinking at this moment.
quite frankly every press release that goes up from every president wasn't written by the president. ran it past him and ran it past the chief of staff. the spokesman typically speaks for the president. this is this very raw emotion of the president that is new. of you, and answer this how many of you felt or are fearful of the incoming president. again for the cameras, if you didn't see, what would you say? >> a lot. issue. is a serious
i have had students in my office in tears. i have had students tell me they have been called names that we do not accept as proper acceptable discourse it is not about pc, it's about what we do and don't call one another. how should donald trump and the people around donald trump handle this? >> i think there are different reasons for fear. one is to break down in the politics. a lot of that is going to depend on his phone. he has a whole government he is going to be running now. you may have people negotiating an agreement for him and he tweets something. there are all kinds of problems that he's going to have to work.
the second piece is legitimate security fears depending on what his policies are. they have to make dozens of decisions per day that can affect the world order. is theater -- the third fear just immigrants and people that are concerned about their status. we have a lot of refugees in my state. friendtold my repeatedly, if you have dreamers and others that are here, the laws bigger than anyone's tweet. the laws bigger than anyone's rhetoric. of this is going to depend depending on what his actions are that are involved in other parts of the government.
that is a big part of it. i like the campaign where it was everyone went down in a vortex. and the whole day it became that. i'm not certain that my party going forward won't be doing that anymore. we have our own agenda focused on the economy. i think you're going to see a different dynamic. >> what is the dynamic going to be in the senate? is we are going to be able to find each other. part because of the dynamic amy points to. we are the one piece and congress were controversial bills, bills that don't necessarily command as broad of support as they might get slowed up or get stopped. we are in institution that has six year terms.
backstage about the two-year terms and six year terms. part of our structural role is to be's fascist a serve long enough that we get to know each other. all three are active members in the prayer breakfast. a broadocused from range of religious and political and regional backgrounds adding together for an hour. we get to learn a lot about each other. it is possible to agree s senators that we want to focus on infrastructure, on manufacturing, on supporting our veterans. we want to downplay or marginalize the will and back-and-forth and forth it has on the constituents from a nation that fear -- that merely seems to be led by tweet.
i think the gravity of the job is beginning to sink in. i think the conversation he had withintelligence briefings it is focuseda, and changed quite a bit after the night of the election. i'm choosing to be an optimist here. >> we are very civil people here. >> i choose to be hopeful based on the tenor trump struck in his victory speech, where he focused on veterans and infrastructure. optimistic about the offensive or -- offensive proposals that he has already stepped back from.
illusion that i'm going to agree with many of his cabinet nominees. i think a number of the outlandish things are going to be put aside. we are not going to suddenly and a romance with putin alliance decades of with nato. they have been very forceful. >> that is a number -- that is another factor. whether it is mike lee and rand paul. whether it is john mccain and lindsey graham in russia. and others that have not taken more moderate positions on various issues.
that's going to be a big deal there. >> this is definitely a shock to the system. to the system is not necessarily a bad thing. as somebody who has covered you and genuinely believed these individuals are phenomenal public servants to a person, they are phenomenal public service -- public servants. there is so much blame to go around and it is unclear if the solution is going to work. voters wanted a disruption. there is reason to be optimistic if people like this -- as long as those in the media
hold their feet to fire can find common ground. whether it is on infrastructure republicans, you have different points of view with the president elect on how to deal with entitlements. you guys are not going to have them unless they are dealt with. are not in a dictatorship that has a single leader. it has always been the offensive thing for people to say. leader of a coequal branch of three branches. tvs the executive branch, there is a legislative branch and a digital branch -- and a judicial branch. he is the coequal leader in many things. i chair the subcommittee on regulatory affairs.
i work with writing the regulation but the process. there is a lot of statute in how the regulations come about. would say i worked very hard for the last two years to build coalitions and say we have real problems when regulations are going out. how many are being overturned in the court. and my democratic colleagues would not get on board. and i kept saying to them if there is a president trump, you are going to want to have good boundaries on how the regulations are done. me and saye calling let's work on regulatory reform. and i have smiled at him and said i'm so willing to work on this because regardless of when you play republican or democrat or president, and americans i
-- for those of you scared by a president trump, this is america responding to a sense of frustration. four times. this is a frustration of people feeling like they are not being heard. elections, with most the electorate, leader looks for arsonists and carpenters. these three folks are all carpenters. he's going to walk in and say this on these the change immediately. for a long time if you want to burn down the house an arsonist. >> there is still a house and a senate and a judicial branch.
none of that has changed. >> undeserving of the former prosecutor that prosecuted arson cases. -- i was just looking at the former prosecutor that prosecuted arson cases. >> we're talking three senators here. there are plenty of things. some of the fears that have been expressed is related to climate change. he is led by someone who is essentially a chronic denier. that may all be good for those areas that produce jobs and for those that think climate is a big issue. president can move quickly and make rapid change.
optimistic that the economy has moved even in a way when the new secretary -- most power plantsg happen because of fuel switching to natural gas. we are going to see a significant resurgence of cold -- of coal. i think there has been more reduction of greenhouse gases than there has been on regulatory impact. hopefully one thing that could happen is a new administration that may invest in sequestration. bluntly the private sector in the united states has overwhelmingly accept the idea that climate change is real, the people cause it.
what happens in washington will have less of a negative impact given that every major fortune 500 company says we have already invested in these changes. what the epa does matters. small try to note our reasons to be less depressed. the climate change agreement matters with the rest of the world. obama did hed to say -- this is like me try to figure out cuba. suggested to the new york times that he would reverse himself and that he might not change it. i agree there are a lot of action in the private sector. reducing greenhouse gases, there
is also major businesses that see there was an issue going forward. especially international businesses. if he were to step back from the agreements he made with other countries, if we start putting ,ressure in other countries that would not be good for the future here. -- >> we have so many politically engaged people in the world. trump the nixon goes to china on the issue of immigration? >> i absolutely agree this will be a situation of nixon goes to china. back to the earliest years, we are going to do immigration issues and then it didn't happen. the work of the senate was not matched by the work of the house
. in trying to engage and bring a real and agreement -- a real agreement together. this is a situation where trump could stand up and say immigration is a problem. this is a problem. by he gets criticized someone who tells him what the solution is. and his solution is i'm going to hire good people. i don'ta ceo that says have to fix that, i have to find good people to fix it. that on immigration, we will settle the immigration issue. >> the senate immigration bill on the judiciary committee actually contained hundreds of millions of dollars in security
at the border. was going to be a combination of personnel and fencing. of course it had a number of other things. the point is i have thought in my most pleasant moments that maybe there is a chance to move forward given the strong support we have. there were other compromises in the bill. .hat is going to be a leap now this would be a major effort. i can tell you on the democratic it has to be a combination.
something that works for the people that are here. >> there has been an ongoing conversation about how do we do in congress, how do we handle this? everybody is going to take parts that they hate and put it together. there is a way to be a to approach this. so we only have the relationship -- we already have the relationship, so that's ok. if you say i like a and b, a and b are a good idea. are ay thinks a and c good idea and she really hates a, and i really hate see. we have a say to do compromise you have to do a little bit of a that she hates and a little bit of see that she hates.
it is easier to get unstuck if we both say we both like the -- both like d. let's get moving again. part of the challenges everyone is trying to say you have to do a little bit of what you hate so we are doing nothing. >> it is easy to talk about that when it is a b and c. it is a different question when it comes to obamacare and are you required to be -- to have health coverage? let's take that for a minute. that was a specific and deeply held position of candidate from throughout the us you interviewed him how many times? >> several times. >> five or six not including the debate. i asked him questions about obama care.
more importantly, what would he put in place. >> what do you see taking place? >> i see he is going to rely a lot on you guys, truthfully. i remember very clearly my line of question was what would you replace obamacare with? i'mhis first answer was going to do away with lines, which was a core republican ideal. and then i said what else? , no.id literally he didn't. this is one example of how any of you, it would have been lights out, you didn't have a health care plan? it didn't really matter. is nowitive side of that
we have the pricing, which is hard for the democrats. but he is somebody who had some plans and has done this and come up with some ideas. and is a doctor. i think obamacare is a perfect how he has a big idea of what he wants done, but he is going to be ok with allowing people fill in the blanks. >> i polled tom price's piece he wrote for politico on the 30th of july 2009, which was the 45th anniversary of medicare. this is a really interesting example. my friend int terms of media bias. i see today talk
about conservative price.amacare, tom and he has this quotes about how medicare, having government in medicare is the worst thing to have in health care. theif you go back and read entire paragraph, here is what it says. i can attest to nothing who's had a greater effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government's intrusion into medicine through health care. that is what i see quoted through everybody. because of washington's one size all fit that one-size-fits-all -- earlier in the piece he made reference to insurance companies area talk to a senior citizen about medicare. talk about doctors who aren't taking medicare patients anymore.
maybe it really is broken. maybe they are really right. >> when you look at medicare , it is one of the best things to happen in this country. there is a reason they wanted to stay. we look at reform? yes, i have been an advocate for a reformed delivery system. inhink we didn't do enough the affordable care act from a state that has seen high-quality care to the states that are less organized in their health care and charge medicare rates that are much higher than what we do in some states. it's called geographically averaging. so i have been an advocate for some reform. at the same time when you look at the need to make changes to the affordable care act, i think you have to look at what is going to work and you can't make
the changes in one day. you have the benefits people want. staying on your parents insurance until you're 26, the hole that was closed, the pre-existing conditions. and then when i start looking at changes i would like to see, some changes to pharmaceutical, which no one ever wants to take on. becoming huge, 20% of our health care costs. a bill mccain and i have to bring in less expensive drugs from canada. look at what happened with epipen, that is one example. the drug you use for opiate overdose has gone up.
do we want reform? yes. is more than just medicare. it is stepping back and looking at this. i was hoping we could do a reform bill and make changes, but not if the discussion is going to be let's just throw this out and figure out what we are going to do later. >> i worked hard in the last congress to introduce and work on five different bills that were modest reforms to the affordable care act. there was a new republican senator, who was presiding over the senate. i gave a speech about obama care about 18 months ago. the first half of the speech was three stories, three delaware he ends -- three delaware people -- people whose lives were saved through the affordable care act. the others i met were
contractors and physicians with the increasing rate cost has really hurt their business, caused them to drop coverage, to stop providing certain care. and he was running away during the first three stories. he came out and looks to me and said, you are a democrat, aren't you? i said yes i am. minutesaid you spent 15 spending about the flaws of obamacare. i wasn't part of the seventh when i was doing that. but there are many in our caucus who recognize it wasn't written was written by humans. and it is flawed. the challenges, compared to what? if you follow the path the house majority for publicans have -- the house majority republicans you there will be a very negative consequence.
one of the core principles has been federalism. my oldest those states that embrace the affordable care act will have the option to retain. and those that rejected it will be of the same we don't think this works for our state will have an alternative path for achieving the same goal. >> i reached up to a friend of mine who is a player in health care. i said what do you think i should ask? are you committed to ensure that the 21 million americans will be covered. >> i would say that is one of the conversations we have. when obamacare was put in place there were many people that had state-based coverage that lost their coverage. they had to get new doctors, go
through new testing. we don't want to see that again. those folks were diabetics forecasts are patients. -- diabetics or cancer patients. the goal is to do that. you haveeeze on what on that and help with the transition. let me make a couple of comments on this. commentg back to your about bias. that is the focus for every person trump without that puts out. the first story is how horrible they are, we've gone back to 3 and they said this, so racist and arrible terrible human being and they hate all people. they don't like any human beings. i get people coming to me and saying these people are horrible individuals.
backing up and looking at people in singh let's look at the whole of what they are doing and let's give them the opportunity to walk through the process. there are people who are frustrated and upset, they lost the election, so i don't like him, i will like anybody he likes. -- i won't like anybody he likes. you are doing to him what you said you don't like he did to you. how do we fix that? that is a modeling issue. that is the modeling each individual does. i'm amazed the number of people who don't like the caustic nature of his tweets or what evans on social media, but if you read their tweets, holy cow. g rated compared to some of theirs that i see. i asked folks to say, why don't you look at your own stuff?
to evaluate what we are doing and example we are setting for the next generation. on the health care issue, the strawman that has been put up continually, democrats want to take care of all people and republicans want for people to be on the street. that's not true. everyone knows it. it's two different solutions. there is a passion to say how can states solve some of these issues? states are closer. in the past five years medicare the highesthas had in improper payment rates of all government. $142 billion in improper payments in just medicaid, that's a state run programs that the federal governments trying to manage and can keep up with. if you move to states organizing and being able to do more, they are more engaged. , whenegulator in oklahoma there is broad, they are down the street and we can check on
it. it's 1200 miles from here. when you are managing fraud, when you are managing relationships, they know about it in the state because they are down the road. there's multiple options but there should be more ability to monitor and control that on a state level. i don't have the belief that the only people in washington, d.c. love americans. i think there are state leaders who love the people in their state and care for what's happening in the state as well. >> this touches on the media thing. we will go to audience questions. the way a lot of this is portrayed through the media, including cnn, a lot of talk radio, is through the ideological prism. it's not as gentlemanly and
womanly as this conversation here and it doesn't focus on compromise and consensus focuses on conflict and headbutting. >> that's right. one of the things that has frustrated me in my service in the last six years as i will get asked if i'm available for show and get tentatively booked on get bumped for somebody who is more of a willing to throw a punch. >> smiling and nodding. >> for a paid person who will do it and pretend they're not paid. >> if it didn't matter in our line of work whether we were ever wrong the sunday show her the cable show it would be easy to ignore as it doesn't matter . there is a feedback loop.
senator sessions at the nominated. to be our next attorney general. he and i have done a series of interviews and one of the things i did immediately was to have a statement and i've said this a couple of interviews and i told jeff directly. i give him credit for two things we worked on well together that i did not expect he would be a good partner on. when the federal public defender service got slashed by the sequester that she is a real law and order guy and a former federal prosecutor. he joined with me to make your that funding got restored for the public defenders. that as have understood a principled prosecutor, he understands if the defendant does not have a good lawyer, the odds are going to get a bad conviction -- i did not naturally grasp that. it was a good relationship. when the obama administration for the victims of
child abuse, senator sessions worked with me. there's a lot of other things i suspect i will disagree with him on. on civil liberties, civil rights and other issues -- >> you hold them accountable to --t statement he made promised him i would keep an open mind. we will have a full and fair hearing. what mayor garland did not get that's merrick garland did not .et i'm less concerned about statements made decades ago as i am with angst he's done recently in the senate as a legislator. i will look at his record. made up my mind yet and i don't think i should have made up my mind. >> any decisions you have made up your mind on? am waiting eagerly to see
what he will nominate as secretary of state. >> what if it is worker? -- corker? >> sen. corker: the first senator i traveled with overseas. -- senator corker was the first senator i traveled with overseas . bouncing around from pakistan to afghanistan, we had some fascinating conversations. the least of the other three and i came back with a real respect for him because he was a mayor. he and president-elect trump might get along really well because they both have a background in development and construction. he is a very conservative republican greg we do not agree on a lot of issues. he is earnest and honest and fair and he has managed to committee well. >> rudy giuliani? >> that would be harder for me.
i don't know rudy, but i'm not afraid of rudy. only because of what i saw him do in new york city. he was fair and law and order and engaged with all people and all parts of the community. he was very passionate about helping the whole city. >> i'm very concerned about some of the comments he's made during the campaign. i will look at each nominee. i did that when -- that is your job as a senator. i will see who he brings in. where would you like to hear
them? think, senator, you are obviously a conservative and from a very red state. where do you think -- you talked about the prayer breakfast at so forth -- where do you think you as a republican along with democrats along with president trump can actually get things done? >> i think there's a lot of areas. >> what is the first thing in real terms? where you can move through congress and get to his desk that he can sign that would make everybody go, ok, maybe he's working now. >> it would be tough to try to think of the first thing because they're so many priorities. -- there is some any priorities.
that's so many priorities. committee. nerdiest >> antitrust? >> ok. [laughter] that issue is a big issue. i do think we will find more common ground on immigration. if people are willing to drop a and b to focus on the common ground, we will be able to move on things. we have for decades now done nothing on immigration. there are major problems that are there that we need to address. we can focus on the common ground areas and not right about the a and c areas. >> if he calls tomorrow and says i want to work on something with you. what do you think we can get done? >> infrastructure. if you called me tomorrow, i would say do not step back on -- i'm veryas done
concerned if we start moving backwards. say?e first thing i would hello. [laughter] to finish answering the question, the thing i think has most potential come infrastructure. frome eight blocks that bridge that fell down. you have baseline funding already. somethingchance to do to have broadband and roads and
bridges, you name it. wastewater treatment plants. agendak about a rural come i think that would be a big step if we started working on that. how we pay for it, there is some interest in overseas money, trillions of dollars overseas. has been devoted to this for a long time. finding some way to bring that money back from overseas. it will be a bit controversial on our side. finding a way to bring the money back and we have companies voluntarily bring the money back with a rate that gets enough votes to pass, you could have a certain percentage of it go into either in infrastructure orancing authority -- straight into the highway fund. >> you should take some more time to think about it.
>> he probably would not listen that long to me. out there i put it now because maybe one of the advisors is watching c-span. --maybe the president-elect he doesn't watch c-span. >> your passion and your main portfolio is international policy. as republicans go, he's not so hawkish. >> he isn't. i would talk to him about manufacturing first. i lead an initiative called manufacturing for america. we put together 25 bills on a wide range of issues. they are all around how to sustain growth in manufacturing. inve had 900,000 new jobs manufacturing added over the last five years.
we are winning again at manufacturing and there are things we can do to accelerate the trend and to move in the right direction. we can increase employment and productivity. this is an area that puts people to work without four year university degrees that allows folks with a wide range of backgrounds to have a decent life and a high wage. i think fighting for manufacturing would be the first thing i would talk to about. i want to invite students or anyone else to ask questions. how does the media need to change? >> nothing. we are perfect. [laughter] >> where do i start? desperatehave to be ourselves under the microscope
-- we always have to put ourselves under the microscope and be reflective. you have a president tweeting and inclination is to follow the shiny red object. conflictnation is also is good tv. it's not just about conflict, it's about compromise. working hard on that is important. >> we will go to your questions. we will get as many in as we can. we have to let you go because you have an interview. >> thank you so much for being here today. -- really curious in general a lot of people have been talking about the future of elections and the electoral college and political parties.
i was wondering if you guys had any opinion or ideas about the future of these things. i know a lot of people have heard the conversation. >> i would make it easier for people to vote in a lot of states, not harder. the voting rights reauthorization would be good. the electoral college, it turns out that despite what donald trump may have said in his tweets, hillary clinton did win the popular vote. that is worth looking at. that will be very difficult. i can do one thing, it is the campaign finance side. we have some jurisdiction over that. i will focus on it. united bringing in some much of this outside money that candidates no longer control their own message or what they are doing -- the money we raised is the work what comes in in major campaigns from the outside.
>> good evening. with the way the president-elect looks at or in policy as a zero-sum game with winning or losing only and how foreign policy has become more unilaterally focused with action from the president in recent history, what can the senate due to try to wrestle back some of that power from the president as it looks like the president-elect will not be diplomatic in any way? >> i don't know that he won't be diplomatic in any way. i would be nervous at the first state dinner. he is so informal and how he speaks and is not careful. he is a very smart businessman and he does know how to move issues and he has traveled around the world. the world benefits from a strong
america. as we continue to strengthen, the world continues growing stronger. economy continues to struggle, the world economy continues to struggle. i don't think he's walking away from nato. nato has not lived up to its military obligations. they never have. a country but us has kept their end of the bargain to be able to maintain what is required to be in the nato alliance. if pressure was put on those to set you up to live up to your end of the bargain, that is not necessarily a bad thing. much -- don't know some we will know more after he picks a secretary of state may exact the what direction he wants to go. not all that concerned about that. >> i have an article that just went up that lays out five areas where i think the senate can and
should make a real difference in the conduct of foreign policy. i disagree that there's never been a nato country that has met the military commitment. we've been disappointed in several of our largest allies. that may be one positive outcome that comes of his somewhat reckless statements it may scare the daylights out of our allies. i will briefly say, we have not stepped up to our constitutional -- we areclare wars conducting conflicts and a half dozen based on the 2001 authorization for use of military force. should take a hard look at what we are authorizing the president to do and what geographies and what purpose and work in a bipartisan way to reauthorize the wars we are conducting today and do it in a way that doesn't have the leaking edges of the current
authorization. >> thank you for being here. mccainrning, senator exasperated i don't want any more questions about the president-elect. the you think that is your right as a senator? to youryour advice republican congressional colleagues in fielding questions about the president-elect? >> are you a student here? do we have the best students? great question. on the senate republican side, we have the got lit we walked through -- the gauntlet we walk through. there's a line of reporters that one of the whole way and try to stop us and ask us a question about something from said 10 minutes ago.
i respond to reporters, i am not trump's spokesman. i'm not trying to negate that. if you want to know what trump meant by something, ask is both person. my responsibility is to speak for my state and what i believe as a senator, not have to speak for john mccain and what he says or not have to speak to the president-elect and what he says or the house members. i don't speak for them. i may have opinions on one thing or the other, but it has become the gauntlet of the constant go tcha. they want to say this republican is battling this or public in. it is a great story. we don't agree on everything, but not all republicans think alike. that should be ok. >> next question?
>> good evening. and a trumpmmigrant supporter, i have a question about immigration. that has been such a huge drive in his campaign for so long. do you think that will be one of those issues where the senate can meet halfway instead of a a nd c? is that one of those things where it is easy to be negotiating and he will back down? >> yes. i do. part of it is what chris and amy were saying before. the senate is a place where good bills go to die. the house is going to pass something and they will be very passionate about immigration. the future president will be engaged in this issue. the senate is the place where the minority voices always heard. they will be that bastion that's my hopepe
is that we don't walk away and do nothing. >> we have a history there were we did work out a bill and had significant support for that bill. of people who are very knowledgeable about the issues. that also bodes well. i still think it's going to be hard to get this given the rhetoric, but the facts are, i do think there could be a chance. it would be to do it immediately. i'm try to picture how that happens. >> amy and i serve on the judiciary committee together. we did three weeks of markup on the bill. we had hundreds of amendments and the terrific work of the bipartisan group of senators that piece that together, they are all still serving with us.
made significant contributions. a lot of the architects are already there. we need a president who is willing to take risks and meet in the middle and draft a bill that can gain support from both parties. >> i totally agree with you. makessident trump conservatives happy with the supreme court pick and figures out a big win like reforming obamacare, he will have a lot of people he can call in for immigration reform. debate is about whether we will give citizenship to people who are here currently undocumented, the whole thing falls apart. there are so many other areas of immigration reform we can pull together. you don't get immigration overhaul without dealing with that. a difference between giving citizenship and giving
some sort of legal status. you have to deal with all the basics first if people are willing to say let's come and find agreement on it, that will be one of those a and c type issues where everyone demanded, we cannot move on this lets you give everyone citizenship, it all falls apart. i want to ask about campaign finance reform. i was not a trump supporter. one of the things that appealed to a lot of people who did support him was the idea that he could not be bought. really, he self-funded a lot of , incampaign in the primary comparison to jeb bush who had $100 million in corporate money. campaigndonald trump's change campaign finance reform in the united states, even if things like citizens united remain? >> he has not made that a major
topic. he made drain the swamp a major theme and mainly focused on lobbyist and those issues and there is some support on the democratic side. he is a unique character. >> he spent a third of what hillary clinton spent. >> he has not talked about putting in a justice who wants to change citizens united or a tostitutional amendment change citizens united. >> i am so sorry that we cannot take more of your questions. a.b. there'll the role be a chance to mingle and mix with -- maybe there will be a chance to mingle and mix. let me ask each of you, through
this conversation which has been ,uilt around what trump means what young people here should be watching for and thinking about as they experience and learn washington. >> they should be looking at getting involved. the people disappointed at the election results, the less thing would be to put your head under the covers and say i cannot believe this happened, i will not be part of this. we need u.s. watchdogs, we need you urging us and we need people to volunteer and stay in the system. i thought maybe people would be like that. they have not been like that at all. they are active, they are out there, they want to talk about issues. they been coming up to me in diners and airports more than they've ever done before. they are not uninterested. that is what you have to do. in policy interested
than politics. a lot of people are fascinated with the campaigns. that is the job interview. be more interested in the job than the job interview. on a personal level, i see some of you that are concerned or afraid or whatever it may be. in oklahoma, eight years ago when president obama was elected, i had people running up shut going he's going to down this industry in this industry, i'm afraid for my job and my family. there were conservatives who were afraid. it is still america. we are going to work this out. if you are a person of faith, live your faith. that is one of the deepest parts of who we are. for individuals who don't have faith, you can still be a great american and not be a person of faith but for people to have faith, live that out.
>> look to these two as role models. senator langford has an article he wrote with senator scott finding our way towards each other across racial divide that is worth reading and it reflects how thoughtful he is. senator klobuchar was recognized by the school of journalism for being the leading senator in taking bipartisan bills and getting them signed into law. we have two great examples here of the folks who make a difference. if i could offer some closing advice, be willing to be engaged, learn from people who are different than you. live your faith and make a difference in the world because then you will find things that matter to you. we have to have an engaged, passionate electorate or democracy is not going to work. this will be a rough couple of years for us as we try to find a new accommodation with the new president. it is still america. the lights are still on.
it still works as a democracy. elections, our governance and the sense of community depend on you. thank you for investing the time this evening and i hope we have offered some encouragement. >> i don't want to follow that. [applause] >> i want to and where i started. may be frustrating and broken that -- i say this to people -- to a person, these individuals come to washington and run not because of the power or the glamour, but because they want to get stuff done. ideas andve in the the ideals that drove them to public service. be optimistic about it. it is real. >> and fight for what you believe in.
voice, make a difference. that's why you came here this evening. your voices are heard. i wanted us to have this conversation and i'm sorry we have run a little over what it but it has been worth every second. part of this is because it is a media issue. we hear the same voices saying the same things. they don't get the chance to hear individuals. you are not marching in lockstep behind donald trump. you did not march in lockstep behind obama, though close. [laughter] >> it's important for people to realize that the men and women who work in these jobs are three-dimensional human beings. they bring more than the soundbites to these jobs. that is one of the dangers we saw in this campaign. was dumbedampaign down