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tv   Brookings Forum Examines Record of the 115th Congress  CSPAN  August 3, 2017 4:27am-6:05am EDT

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courage to make it out of slavery. i cannot stop reading about him. cate lineberry discusses her book "the free or die." was a bribery charge against him at one point in his career, and he never fully recovered from that. that is one reason he is not better known today. >> sunday night on c-span's "q&a." institute,rookings political scientists and reporters discussed procedure and how it affects republicans' ability to pass legislation. the panel includes molly reynolds, author of "the politics of filibuster limitations in the u.s. senate." this is an hour and a half. ok.
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ms. binder: thanks very much for joining us. for those of you standing in the back, there is an overflow [inaudible] ok. thanks very much. i am sarah binder, senior fellow in governance studies. i have the pleasure of moderating today. i will introduce our speakers. and then we will open it up to get going. to my left is molly reynolds, a fellow here at governance studies and the author of "exceptions to the rule: the politics of filibuster in the u.s. senate," which will be the launching point for us in speaking about procedural politics, particularly health and tax today. next, norm ornstein, a resident fellow at american enterprise institute and longtime political
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science observer of washington and everything in it. then, sarah cliff from vaux, senior editor who specializes in health care coverage. and richard rubin, a tax policy reporter from "the wall street journal." just a very, very brief comment to get us going here. i have to say, if you have not seen molly's book yet, you should. it strikes me as the best of what brookings has to offer, which i see as twofold. first, pardon me, but it is deeply rooted in political science, which i know is why you are all here today. it takes both theory and data and consequences and significant ce seriously and brings them together.
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the second dimension, it does it in the service of explaining contemporary politics. in particular, as we have seen this past six or seven months, the question of reconciliation which molly calls an exception to the rule, meaning it is a majority procedure. i would say that elsewhere in the book, it is more than just reconciliation. molly looks at many way in which the senate over time has found ways to limit the filibuster. i would say she has her eye on something that is hiding in plain sight. as of the last six months, it is overflowg from the room today in the presence of c-span -- it is an everybody's sights. with that, i will start us off. molly, you go first. your book about procedures and limits debate in the senate, perhaps you could say a little bit about how it helps us
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understand what is going on in the senate this year. molly: absolutely. thank you sarah, and thank you all for coming today. the biggest lesson from the book is that i have impeccable timing. when i started this project five years ago, i had no idea it would come out in the midst of this debate. i promise to tell all of you what my next book is about so you will know five years in the future that is what you should be paying attention to. in all seriousness, one of the big arguments that i make in the book is budget reconciliation empowers the simple majority on the floor of the senate. whichever party holds the majority, we should expect them to use the process in a way that will help them stay the majority in the future. in the book, i talk a lot about how they do this by thinking
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about what is in their political interests of individual senators in their party, particularly the ones that will be up for reelection in two years. and they make decisions how to use the process with an eye toward how it will help them keep hold of the chamber. obviously, this is going to change from year to year. one thing we know makes the senate different from the house is that the senate's staggered terms means the situation facing the majority party is different from one election to the next. at the same time, keeping the majority is not just thinking about what is in the individual interests of your members. it is about the party's collective interests and promises they have made to the voters. we may think that under unified party control of the house, the senate, and the presidency delivering on collective promises might be important. voters look at a washington
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where the same party controlled the house, senate, white house instead of, why can't this party do anything? this can create situations where the individual members of the majority party are pressured. so what is best for the party's collective goals and what is best for their interests are not the same. i think that is what has happened so far this year. for better or worse, republicans have decided that being able to say they repealed obamacare in some way, shape, or form is an important shared political goal they have. at the end of the day, actually writing a health care bill that could accomplish that rhetorical goal, that also 50 members of the senate thought was in their individual interests, proved difficult to do. i think we saw this very well in the saga of dean heller.
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we saw him at the end of june make a dramatic press conference with the governor where he said, i cannot support what this bill does to medicaid. by the time there was a final vote on the last amendment in the senate last week, heller was willing to vote to keep the debate going. it is an example of where a bill was bad for his reelection chances, but there was pressure to help his party achieve this goal. a second thing i would take away from a book that helps us think about what happened this year is the role of committees in the reconciliation process. i think it has gotten less attention. if you are here with us today, you probably know the way the reconciliation process starts is with a set of reconciliation instructions in the budget resolution. these help tell particular
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congressional committees to work on proposals that would achieve budgetary change by making changes to either revenue or to mandatory spending programs in their jurisdiction. what we saw this year -- one thing i argue in the book is that, when congress is deciding each year whether to write reconciliation instructions, it thinks about, what kind of reconciliation proposal might a committee produce if we tell them to do that? will they produce the kind of proposal that will make the majority party better off? there they going to reduce kind of proposals that are not going to make the majority party better off? this year we saw mcconnell chose to circumvent the committee part of the process altogether. we had a working group that began with 13 members. folks floated in and out. he did not use committees in a formal way. one reason that might be true is that the senate health committee features three of our most
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problematic members for mcconnell over the process. , andpaul, lisa murkowski susan collins. if we think about how the majority party is going to anticipate what their committee might do in the process, the fact that mcconnell might have thought they would be unable to produce a bill or produce a bill that was not going to help him get the 50, that is another thing the book can help us understand about the current process. the last thing i will say, then i think we may talk about this more later, is i also took on in the book reconciliation is not a magic bullet. it certainly can help majority parties do things they want to do. but at the end of the day, there are other challenges. it does not solve all of them.
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in some cases, it can present challenges. a great example is the burden, which we know limits the content of reconciliation bills. there is reason to believe it did not make mcconnell's life easier in that it limited the scope of things, deals that they could be trying to make. i think we will come back to that question in a little bit. ms. binder: thank you. norm, you have been watching congress for a while. [laughter] norm: old, old is the word she is looking for. [laughter] ms. binder: perhaps you could talk about your perspective, about what has happened procedurally this year, what you have seen this year versus what we have seen in the past. norm: thanks, sarah. for those of us who have known molly since she was a very young person hereworking at brookings, i want to add how lucky
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brookings is to have her back. this is not just a superb book, but if you have read all of her observations on the website and in other places, she has fulfilled all of the promises we saw when she was an intern. here. second, one of the things i do on a side is i am a consultant for the hbo series "veep." it has been a challenging year. [laughter] norm: in we have a challenging " is ahead because "veep satire, you take reality and push it to a point of absurdity. when you start with absurdity, it really does become more difficult. on the question that sarah asked, we all know about the old saw you should not watch law or sausages being made. i used to say when we were
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writing the book, "the broken branch," i had a friend at the university of iowa that went to do a tour of a meatpacking plant and said, "congress is much worse." it has only gotten worse. -- dean heller -- two words steve wynn. the world we live in, we cannot ignore a reality as well that this was discussed in terms of health care, but underlying it was this was a way to find a big tax cuts in pay for a sizable portion of it through medicaid, and much of the pressure was coming from people who work for more concerned about getting the tax cut, even though underlying it is what was the promise made through those 60 plus votes to repeal and replace andy pressure from the president to fulfill
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on healthof pledged policy without much of a concern at all on policy. having said all of that, we have all watched, and those of us will been around for any length of time, the process that has been distorted or tilted or changed in different ways to confront the realities of withasing difficulty passing policy, and one of the things we've seen over the last that beingars is and making an omnibus and throwing things and because it is the one trend that gets to the destination, and that means you are getting legislation and things that are thrown together. that has seemed true in the past, and we have also seemed outrageous in the policy process
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during the time that i wrote the the in 2006, we declined regular order, which has never been a clean process or always fulfilled, but one that went toward finding brought leadership coalition for major policy that tried to use the process of committees, expertise moving forward, having at least some level of debate on the floor, some kind of open amendment process, and then making sure you have an open conference committee that would reconcile the difference between the two branches, the two bodies. that has been deteriorating for , and we have had lots of things that were concocted largely not in an open way. saw this time was different in both content and , a processbstance
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different from anything i have seen before, so i can go right hree-hour, middle of the night vote in the house on the medicare prescription drug plan, including tom delay being chastised, which is a far as it will go, and we are seeing more episodes of it, the fecklessness committee,e ethics trying to shake down and then brought in member on a floor to get that final vote. we can go through the same bill in the senate where two elected members of the conference in the senate, including the senate committee leader, tom daschle, basically shut out of the conference while those deliberations were going on. we returned to the 2011 budget compromise, trying to get past a disaster that both sides saw
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with the process where patty murray and paul ryan did much of the negotiations themselves behind closed doors. if you look at most of those processes, they were bipartisan, and that included the conference committee where john decided aschel and aough d number of colors will be left out, he would go in and negotiate, and that is where he made famous, but what i cannot be bought, but i can be rented. what paul ryan and patty murray is the regularly report back to their colleagues in a process that was from the get-go thoroughly bipartisan, which was not. molly and sarah polk said, bypassed the committee entirely, started with a group of 13 old white men,
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excluding all others. it may have had people coming in and out, for the bill was effectively put together by mcconnell and his staff, not using the expertise. mcconnell famously barred the as well as other stockholders, a man who had polio as a child, from being able to give any input. a kind off course crazy process on the floor. i've not seen anything quite like it, and maybe this will now turn it to come after the debacle, some semblance of a order and something that will be better, but when you have a majority intent on doing everything within its own already with narrow numbers and divisions within its own ranks, and even a senate that is now determined to look in a different direction, you have a
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harsh present at that has no desire or willingness to move in that direction. i think the twists and turns and the vocals and attempts -- the vocals attempts to damage the deliberative process and one that is designed to yield broadly consensus is gone for a .ignificant period of time that is that not just for policy outcomes but for the whole nature of the deliberative process in the representative democracy, and that is that for all of us. inder: thank you, norm, for that right note. i'm reminded of "have a nice day." i am reminded of a "new york wass" story of someone who thoroughly insulted by the analogy of sausage being made. republicans's, the
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decision to pursue the repeal and replace, healthy debate has played out so far. sarah: thank you for having me. congratulations to molly. i will echo your amazing timing. the slow weekend watching -- that will probably change by the end of the day. declare it a slow day, someone gets fired from the white house. [laughter] sarah: i want to get to the role of reconciliation we have seen in 2017 and i want to echo what norm was saying. i have been covering the health when itate since 2009
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became clear they were not going to get any republican votes and moved on. it was a very different process we went through this year compared to 2009, 2010. a while ago, i worked with a few countsinterns at vox two of the different hearings that happened in 2009, 2010, basically after obama came into office and started working on health care. we found 44 dailies -- 22 in the senate, 22 in the house -- related to the health care law. personally, i remember watching so much ceased afterin new york at the time, in my routine during the affordable care act debate was get into my headphones, my cubicle, and watched c-span committee the meetings at the boiler house, and was a very -- there is so much to cover with all these hearings, but the
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debate, the saw the pushback, how the bill was coming together. covering this health care overdid it was quite a different experience. twoearings in 2009, 2010, hearings in the process of for this year. two in a senate, not in the house. no committee process, no hearings. from a media perspective, it is quite difficult to cover a bill being drafted in secret. if you do the investment can find out information about it, of course you focus on the hill, but at the end of the day, it's hard to cover a committee meeting that is not happen. ofnorm mentioned the role advocate, i was covering a lot of families who were trying to lobby their senators, and they found it very difficult to lobby they had bill that never seen because you can go into the office and say "we
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oppose these medicare cuts," and they will say, "we are still working on it." grouphard for nanc an advocacy to lobby against something they cannot discuss. it is a different process from my perspective, much more secret, what's less information -- much less information. the short amount of time that we get with these bills has made it difficult to understand what is actually in them. there was one moment i became involved with the american health care act, the house version of obamacare mobile and replace -- repeal and replace, they added on a macarthur amendment, a very smart legal observer called me and said if you cross reference it, it turns out it was right, i wrote a story about this, and the next morning, there was a debate about whether it actually existed.
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and i was watching the house freedom caucus chair saying it was not there come other people see it was there, but nobody had much time with the bill. people do not have time to read it, analyze it, and that is the challenge of legislating so quickly and so secretly. would be thele issue of lifetime limits, which the affordable care act outlaws. there was a debate among analysts and actually a few folks here at brookings were quite active about whether the house bill brought back time limits. this is a small detail for congresswoman roby: ballgame. for people who rely on the coverage, this is the whole thing. what they do -- it is not a footnote. it is what matters to their lives. it took a while to parse through the language. there are real-world consequences to legislating so quickly and secretly.
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in terms of reconciliation, it health carehake the hell depositary significantly in terms of what republicans could and could not do. one of the big roles republicans had was to deregulate insurance, freeke it more of a market, to how much they charge people, the affordable care act did deregulate the insurance agency is required coverage of benefits, lome premiums, not charging sick people more than healthy people. it changed the insurance market and made it much more regulated. that is something republicans really wanted to take down. the rules really prevented a lot of that work. they were limited to things related to the budget. they certainly try to push the limits of this, i would say. like changethings how much you could charge the oldest members of your plan compared to the youngest, that
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was struck down. planned parenthood was another key that got caught up in legislation. trying to get it past the regular order, past the 60 votes with just 52 votes in their caucus. that he said, one thing that surprised me a little bit was how much of republicans were trying to change the process, break from regular order, but stopped the reconciliation will. one of the things i've learned from many conversations with senate republicans can overrule the parliamentarian. senator mike lee from utah, a conservative, a key advocate, would say let's use that power and overrule the parliamentarian. the fact that they did not do that imperva the rules about committee but broke order by kathy reconciliation rules, it kept in my mind about what we
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know about popularity, how much they actually liked the restriction of reconciliation, how much they can blame the lack of forward progress on and say, "well, we have the complex senate will, that is why we cannot pass anything, that is why we cannot do." i think it is telling that they did not take the option given how much they were willing to break from senate traditions and the break that we have seen. ms. binder: sausage. [laughter] ms. binder: richard, we have heard a lot about how congress, in theory, we hope, perhaps his finish on health care or not. next on the republican agenda is to move on to taxes. perhaps you can talk a little bit about what you see as major issues or a crucial role to watch for as they try to develop into tax reform or tax codes. richard: thanks for having me.
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i want to start by giving a shout out to molly's book, which i read mostly. what i like is a sort of puts intellectual framework around havesarah and i experienced, and norm has experience even longer -- it sets up, even in the title, sets of these things as exceptions to the. -- the rule. entry is a reminder that the body, is a majoritarian part and it recognizes over the years the limitations of that. google does a nice job of setting out, sort of categorizing -- the book does a nice job of setting out, sort of categorizing the majority thresholds, when the partisan pressures are there, to do that and when the partisan pressures
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are not. wd what sarah just finish ith, which is one of the reasons why -- it is amazing republicans want to enact this bill, and they know the power of having a super majority threshold still exists for the inevitable time when they are not in charge. be 2019, 2021, at some point down the road. it is very much a defensive play against one they what they know the other side might do in the future. the rule itself is a for example, part of molly's book, the book is part of the initial reconciliation procedures. correct me if i am wrong, there was a reconciliation bill in the early 1980's that went to far in the the love the senate. they passed -- the view of the
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senate. they passed a lie, and then they said would a minute, we want this to be the exception of the total, and the rule, so they created the burden rule, and now we all divine the understanding byrd rule means. molly talks about how the people to watch versus when you go from the regular procedures to the simple majority procedures available to watch are the ,,dian member of the chamber the median member of the , and the senators
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under the most immediate electoral pressure. congrats. and that they should, right? -- shift, right? senator mccain, , forectoral pressure senator heller is the one to one. of the things he cares about are the. geothermals like industry, the gambling industry, the tax code, so that is what i othere looking for, and senators kind of brings her hand and want to be the pivotal senator and hold their vote out for something they might want to
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14-12 from a is commitment, if not through regular order, at least through committee, gives every single one of those republicans the ability to try and create some leverage. and that's what molly said the same cross pressure, too. he needs a love money to run a very expensive race in nevada. that crosses more of the line then you might think from just ,ooking at what the state want . what is personal views might be.
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he cannot distance himself all that far from the leadership. like someone like senator murkowski, who is already demonstrated she can win, senator heller has not. he will be a keepers and watch kay person to watch. in that framework, republicans who feel the way electorally then witt that collins and mccainki and did, they distanced themselves from where the senate leadership wanted them to me. ms. binder: i have a couple more questions, and then we will open it up. i may have an answer, but i'm going to ask it, we talk about the ways in which reconciliation itself has changed republicans on health care, could a different republican president or white house or education secretary, put a different scenario, could
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we have majority leader would approach this in a different way. as sarah has written extraordinarily persuasively and anyone who has followed this nose, the aca is not in a death spiral. it is not broken. it could be repaired relatively easy. with as bargaining power president and a congressional majority to tilted more in a direction they would like. easing up on some regulations and adding in their malpractice reform, making it more market friendly. some of the things we see now being discussed by the problem have not solved any
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problems and is not going to be looked on with favor by speaker ryan. the frustrating thing for anybody who follows health policy is how easy it would be to what this back on a reasonable path. we are in a tribal environment. , jeffe a republican party flake is one of the most conservative people i know, anybody who thinks he is a moderate, he is not. thes a guy who values delivery of process and compromise and the institutions. you don't have a republican party that has a large but moderates and a larger group of conservatives are in people who are being called moderates by reporters and you can't get them
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to stop despite the craziness of doing so would have been at the right end of their party. now it's conservatives and radicals. the face ofl seen speaker boehner. moree going to reach loudly to find a center. you're not owing to be speaker for very long. you're not going to find the right kind of operation to pull it all together in the house. i doubt very much if you had a president jeb -- who would look at this in a different way, you would find that common ground. seeing as what we are lamar alexander is moving toward trying to create some regular order in the senate. they might able to come up with things people would see as a
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reasonable balance. maybe they will get the one year just to keep this going to stabilize insurance market. whatever they are able to come up with, i don't see it working in the house the way the house is now cost. -- constituted. like question.ll i've and impressed with your reporting. ion -- always keeping an , my sense of having been in the appreciation for procedure is relatively new. i am sort of curious about whether the way you have to convince editors important and muchou go about our on how
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should pay attention to this or is this something you don't want to know about? readers areound interested in policy. this is not something i have to convince my editors on. they say we did not explain reconciliation. because it is so key to the process, because of the news we focus a lot on explanation and bring in a bigger picture to the news. is something our readers are interested in. of grows outnd here. editor forth our five or six years. -- we are together at box
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vox. it i think policy has become exciting to people if they can understand it and understand why it going away it is. a lot of that requires a waning a lot of complex procedural things and talking to experts like sarah and molly so we can understand it. there is a desire because our readers are understanding how important procedure is, we have found that people are hungry for this. good example is we saw a lot of you, this screenshot about how mccain's vote had and it be health-care effort because of this wrinkle in reconciliation. guy who had just a little bit of information and decided he was in a bird, we had -- expert, is this over? we wrote a long story about
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that. that came to us from our readers. is, my readers are interested in process. it's exciting and gratifying to me. job, that was a very instructive experience, learning about procedure. the outcome. about that's where i was during the aca and tarp. i watched everything from that vantage point and trying to understand those rules. ofdon't write a lot reconciliation explainers. i'm sure we will have to do one at some point is fault.
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-- this fall. helps know procedure where the important hurdles are. writing. they have to agree on a budget. -- in't raise long-term don't spline it. in -- explaine it. i want to make sure people understand the structural procedural barriers that are there. those things will drive the policymaking. republicans need to decide on tax reform. how much revenue should the government collect over the next decade? they have not decided that yet.
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they can talk about details and the rates. they've got to make that decision first. i approach my job without procedural knowledge in mind. when you think you know everything about reconciliation, you don't. even the little bit of knowledge is dangerous. >> let me just say i be one super reconciliation expert in the audience. question. your book goes into detail about the conditions under which congress has considered not just reconciliation, but other exemptions from majority rule.
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week, the sanctions on russia, the president to let those in the congressional consent area perhaps you could say a little bit about what you see going forward for the bird rule. we talked about the frustrations. we did not get this time around. perhaps you could say something about whether or not you see the process next for change here and how it might come about. >> that's a great question. i think the only people in washington other than senators , this comes back to something he said earlier and
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richard touched on. sometimes, the rules are tovenient for senators lighten the process of what they can't get done on a policy perspective. she has been writing from the beginning of the health care fight about the degree to which the choice to use the reconciliation process the private republicans of one of their most effective tools for getting them to agree each other, blaming democrats were not cooperating. once they did need them a credit help, they could not say that's the reason they are not getting anything done. sense, to the degree that the rules help them by the
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soliciting policy changes or help them by giving them us gave on, they can't agree need to have the rules and procedures we do. that's how i think about the about thequestion procedures we get out of congress. the questions specifically that will be interesting to watch, some of us complain about it a they complainant about it in reconciliation. even while they are complaining about it, they are using it to individual.
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they are using that's offer amendments it seek to embarrass the other party. it's a balance they have to strike. at the same time, use it to their antigen. are there rules in the budget act. thinking deep in mind is to the rules help them do what they want to do, if they don't help them, do they also provide a source of blame because they don't agree on policy. >> i want to make an additional point here about what has happened to the delivered of process. -- deliberative process. johnson was asked why they were
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slapping this bill together. he said we didn't think donald trump would be president. what he was saying was we don't have to come up with an alternative. two more timese to repeal and replace. you go back to a confessional that eric cantor just did recently. one of the things that has been a favorite ongoing tweet of mine, eight years ago he said our alternative to the then nascent affordable care act is weeks away. 100 weeks and counting, 200 weeks and counting. what has happened is, if you have tribal politics and you are in the minority and you make a tactical decision or elect will gain that no matter what the majority opposes, you will oppose it, that's what they did through the entire obama administration, your capacity to
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come up with alternatives atrophies. there is no desire to do it. you've got to do a lot of heavy lift in and you will get a lot of opposition. now, they are confronted with something very different. i'm not sure it can come back. again, that the tragedy for the process. you don't have competing alternatives where you can work out some sort of compromise and if you condition and audience into believing that everything the other side did was so awful and evil that you can't any of it, you are really left with nothing. >> you think that is limited to health care? should we expect dysfunction on it taxes western mark -- taxes? is there hope going forward western mark -- forward? >> i think it's something we
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will confront with every major issue going forward. it may not work for things low the radar. developingme members and area of expertise and they are finding if they are not ones that will be picked up by laura ingraham for mark ingram for sean hannity, you can actually get through in a bipartisan way. it becomes increasingly difficult on the big issues. it also means you are now driven more by, because you have excited a tribal media and base, you are driven more by their demands than by working out a nuance of policy. that is true with tax policy as well. when you look at some of the things on there with -- wish list, wiping out the estate tax and some of these other areas of
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list of, this is a their billionaire actors. -- backers. was desire to take it works so it would improve the economy. that goes away. it becomes more mindless and that's what i see. i see that with infrastructure as well. >> maybe you could sketch some cap ways we might or might not see on tax reform or tax cuts giving the heavy load. i'm struggling to reconcile the significant to is him you hear from the white house and the leadership that have the principles figured out it's going to be done by mid-november.
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know, asg else that i you get further into the details, it gets harder. there are trade-offs. there are different income groups and companies and deficits now and spending cuts later. they've just scratched a little bit. they have not really apple with it. you they haveth spent -- with. >> they have spent five years working on the proposals. they've been working on the house and print from 2016. they are familiar with the trade-offs. know what it takes to make the numbers work and the
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principles just aren't enough. there's a lot of figuring out of what they want the. they want to promote growth. it's going to have to be more complicated than that during -- that. that's not to say they can't do it. i come back to something. what theo think about governing majority in congress is rid -- is. it has been a bipartisan group -- that's what it has come down to. that's what it looked like on the cliff and the spending bill earlier this year.
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republicans, senate republicans and house republicans. produced a ton of legislation. they haven't figured out how to work within the majority's they have. gotten aack of having lot of experience working with that majority into a complicated issue like tax reform, they will get to the hard decisions after they have tried to do with the budget and the cr. i've made this joke before. eating it in the rose garden. i am not going to rule it out.
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they have the imperative to get there. it's hard for me to see the steps. >> rose garden ceremonies are not just war bill signings. [laughter] exceptions, wee think of them is hiding in plain right. -- site. are there some other ways congress has decided they are going to limit? why might that happen? ight they tie their hands? as sarah says, it's mostly about the procedures more generally.
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congress has said we think that havecular people should limitations on debate, that means they can it be filibustered. there are two principal reasons by congress does this. in some cases, it's to avoid lame. there is some change they think is worth making. they want to take some of their fingerprints off of the actual process. that gives them the power to come up with a proposal to someone else. that could be a special group of members within the chamber. that is something like the supercommittee. the plan was they were supposed to come up with this proposal and that would come back to the chambers.
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it couldn't be filibustered. it's how we might think about the procedures to close military group ofere a special actors are charged with coming up with that proposal and that comes back. those are situations where it might be a good idea to make a change. ultimately, they want to avoid the blame for making hard choices. case, a couple of legislations,ns sometimes congress wants to increase the ability to check what the president is doing. one way to do that is to make some executive actions removable by congress. congress speeds up the process for how it would consider those
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review measures. happened on some recent bills. targeted choices. this is part of what i often get. gridlockhe solution to in congress? i'm not terribly mystic. been carefully targeted. they think certain to asians warrant special procedures. situations more at special procedures. >> isn't it dead? it could come back if they wanted to. if they are freed from
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reconciliation, you see progress on any elements of the affordable care act repair, on the insurance subsidies? could we see some action going over? >> it does seem like at the moment never say never. clear pathver a forward over the next month. it will be very hard to see any health-care legislation coming back with the house in recess and senator mccain back in arizona. there are not the people here to get anything done. it seems like for the next month just this onet last skinny repeal bill that went down. there are actually order for an bills that were considered. they rejected for different health care bills. there is one that is still hanging around.
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i wrote a story about it yesterday. i don't tickets a compromise solution. it is more of an radical than the other bills considered. i don't see that one going forward. there is a big medicaid cut. i don't think that is it going forward. we had an announcement from the health committee. beginning september 4, they will hold some partisan hearings on fixing the individual market. they are working on a very tight timeline. in august, insurance companies will submit their final rates to they have to make a decision of are we in or out? you're looking at a very small
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window of doing something. i think the announcement of hearings is probably bringing comfort to insurance companies two of the nervous about this uncertainty. it gives them more confidence that help may be on the way. there are some real-world decisions to make. there is a short timeline. happen weekly. i think things are pretty clear. when i talk to insurance this is about an $8 billion fund that helps pay the dockable. one of the things that surprised me was this is something a lot of republican legislators support. brady, representative
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mare -- lamar alexander thinks we should appropriate this money. there was some chatter about getting done in the bill last month. someone we have seen bipartisan support. another is a reinsurance fund would help offset expensive patients. patientook at iowa, one there has over $1 million in medical bills each year. it requires expensive drugs. it becomes a game of hot potato. insurance companies would like a fund for that. to jacketneed premiums, we will help you out on the back in. i think the question is whether process will lead
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to those demand getting met. sociopathsleft out in the room. that is the president of the united states. he is intent on blowing everything up and intimidating insurance companies and punishing them for this failure and taking subsidies away from congressional staff, senate staff to show them who is really boss. where many of the things sarah is talking about it be done relatively easily and you can find pretty broad majorities for i don't think you'll find members of the house see the whole thing alone up. most of them understand a will be blamed for it. they are in charge now. when you have a president intent on thwarting all of this, it's an additional challenge beyond
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simply be problems of congress. we should also add that of congress, if the republicans have difficulty making policy in a sane administration with people who care and know something about policy, you might be able to fill the back room a little bit more. that is absent. >> we have time for questions. boneseve there are my mysteriously coming around. could tell us who you are. >> my name is tom. i have been in and around capitol hill for 55 years. my question is institutional. i was part of the creation of the budget office in the mid-70's. the effort was to give strength to the congressional
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institutions no one knew what the whole budget was about. it was to bring larry. -- clarity. has this been strengthened or weakened by the budget act? the only part of the institution that look like it has come into its own was the cbo. it came from nowhere. >> when you close your question by bringing up cbo, that's an institutional question that is the right place to go. to be awas created
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source of expertise on budgetary matters. part of why some of the criticism we have seen has been so troubling. the job is to make congress better at its job. i think thinking more broadly about the question of the budget there are all sorts of things that are wrong with the budget process could make work better. i'm not a person who thinks that we should scrap it entirely and start over. the question is how we make it work with the current political incentives that members of congress face. that is something i spent time thinking about in the context of the budget process.
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our temporary environment, the only thing that really move our appropriation bills and other big-budget deals. if you are a member of congress have something you want to get out in the open, that's where you go. of whack at game mole. policy games.e the goals are not going to go away. they are just going to pop back up. you end up having someone fights on those measures because we don't have places to have them anymore. for me, that's a real challenge to confront.
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>> i want to give a shout out to alice rivlin, the first director of the cbo. it's not much of an exaggeration to say she was like george washington, who established the body for well over 200 years. we had a presidency where people came into the office with a certain set of expectations and veneration for it. what alice did was to create a culture of expertise and professional pride and every cbo director that followed, including the current one, has continued that are in it to jewel as a consequence. newt gingrich blew up the office of technology so he could damage expertise in science and move
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more toward ideology. he is tried to do the same thing from the out time with the cbo. it is to some credit to the members that they have not let that happen. if cbo goes, god help us. >> i would like to commend your coverage of these issues. if it's heartening to see how much people care about these issues. procedure, canon only be one set of instructions in place at a time so it congress does not include tax reform instructions, that would supersede the health care instructions. we heard some discussion on health care but congress is moving to tax reform. that could create a lien break.
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is that true? is there some other way i should be thinking about that western mark -- that? >> let me take it back at this. -- a crack at this. it is an open question whether those instructions turn into a pumpkin onset number 30th or not. did ass has never an act reconciliation bill of beyond the year was created for. they never tried. that is out there. some people will tell you expires and some people say that it won't. it's pretty clear that once budget, thepts a house and senate agree on the same version of the edge of
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resolution, that supersedes the fy 17 budget. percent -- provides the procedural protection. i think you have heard the white monday, they can do a lot of work on the tax will all the way up until that point. you have a budget resolution get through the house and have one get to the senate and you have a tax bill written. they could be working on it area -- it. there are 17 instructions that still survive in -- survive. there is a possibility out there that one might repurpose 17
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instructions for tax reform. you hear people talk about that. that budget doesn't call for tax cuts inside the window. that would be tricky to do. one could amend the fy 17 budget resolution. why youd for me to see do that instead of writing fy. people talk about michelle budget instead of a real budget. that would be like when they did for cap y 17. many republicans don't want to do that because they want to adopt the budget that alice's within a budget window.
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you will see some on that. >> you are doing a great job. i want to put out some context. i think it's really help old to remember we are what we might call really eight -- reconciliation case. richard laid out a number of open questions. take the process places it hasn't really been before. uncertaintyurce of for people like us, other people who follow the process closely. torage americans are trying understand the possibilities. for me, i often bring myself back to the idea that we're offering up edges about what we know is possible here. the other thing i will say and
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this has come up a couple of times in response to different questions here is that we can sort of play fantasy congressional procedure all we want. we enjoy this as an office topic of conversation but at the end of the day what matters is what they want to do policy-wise. sarah was saying she doesn't see a way forward from where we are on health reform. that's still true, whether or not the procedures would let us keep going down that road after september 30 or not. so talking about procedure is great. obviously, it's part of how we all make our living but at the end of the day, it's the real
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policy challenges here and until republicans can come up with ways to solve those, i think that that's kind of what we should be thinking about, what keeping the procedures in the background amounts to. >> it's also important to note that getting a 2018 budget resolution will be a very heavy lift. the freedom caucus wants to return to sequester numbers for defense and for discretionary domestic spending. the kind of budget that paul ryan might be able to get through the house with republican votes alone is going to have one hell of a time getting adequate votes in the senate and then if they do end up in a conference reconciling things that tilts more in a senate direction, it's not clear at this votes will be there in the house. and any kind of budget resolution that they pass is not going to be one that's going to go back to the old boehner model of getting a smaller number of republicans joined with democrats because no democrat the support the kind of budget resolution that they'll put forward.
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>> somebody's in the way back. perfect. back. perfect. skinner, waschard mitch mcconnell playing 13-dimensional chess and trying to make it look like he was a bill but really hoping the bill would fail and to avoid blame or was it a more straightforward toe where he really did want pass a.c.a. repeal in some form and failed for some pretty reasons? sarah: i think challenging to mcconnell'sitch head and what his goal was with this whole effort. ithink at the end of the day kind of order the options he saw preference. and his i think the first would have been to pass something, to get
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you kind of saw him sticking with it, pulling out the skinny repeal at the the process as the way forward which suggests to me tore was a sincere desire actually pass something through the senate to show not just the done, we gotething it done, too. so i think that was certainly there. that was achievable, the second best thing was wasing his caucus it unachievable. my colleague, dylan scott, who at voxhealthcare with me talked to a lobbyist who called "show them a body" theory of healthcare. you need to take the vote, show them it's going to fail and demonstrate we did all we could youi think that's also what saw play out last week. they went through vote after after billted bill and we were up at 2:00 a.m. last c-span2ight watching and apparently c-span was overloaded, i knew some people it could not get on to watch
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but those of us who watched it, we watched the drama play out where it was the "show them the body" theory of healthcare where and you've seen a lot of remarks from leadership, something stunning for mitch mcconnell, even though true but he told reporters yesterday the problem isn't the democrats, the problem is getting the republicans. so i still believe from everything i've seen that the something butss if not to pass something, then at least show the fact that they it.dn't do but i think one of the things i've learned from this whole have consistently underestimated the drive of the theblican party to repeal affordable care act. i thought back in march when the ryan declared affordable care act the law of the land after the first failed vote that we were going to move to something else and you would find other things to write completely was wrong. i think the drive in the rank and file is quite strong and can
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desires toadership's move on, to do different things. so we'll see if that comes back but i think throughout, the goal has been sincere, to actually pass something. add to that.t senator mcconnell is very careful about what he says almost always so if you go back to that march time period, his phrase at the time when it passd like the house would the first bill. he said something like, when week.dispose of this next is not we'll pass it. it's really important. that they knewed the dead cat might land on their door step and they wouldn't be able to do anything about it. no one knew where the votes were on this more than he did. did he always say what he knew? no, of course not. back at look at his statements. there was really only maybe a
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where heo in july started saying things like, we're going to pass it. otherwise, it was we're going to to call it so his verbs matter and so i'll get intong that as we tax reform. >> thank you very much. follow up on something mr. ornstein suggested about the advocacy groups. i hear you refer to the republican party gearing in after the house vote in march it seemed to me it wasn't rank and file. that was club for growth and haritage fund strong-arming their captains on the house side. -- perhapss that's that's wrong. disagree.
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of those groups on congress i'd like to you discuss. is somethingain i've never seen before where you're pushing to pass a bill by all widely rejected of the stakeholder groups, including ones you've been theed with in the past in health world, but also by a large share of your own voters sort ofourse the bizarre thing of having senators back homemembers go and go into the effectively witness protection programs to keep away from their own constituents was really kind of weird. so you have to ask yourself, why do they keep pushing this? of it is, i think as sarah suggested, if you say over over again for seven years, this is the worst thing that we can imagine and you have one of your prominent presidential candidates, now a cabinet
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saying the affordable care act is the worst thing that's benry, carson. repeal-- if you vote to it, root and branch, 60 times, on you anda burden you feel that burden even if your constituents don't but the here is that the real pressure and push came from money'd ideological interests, as you suggest, and pushing them media very hard and you cannot underestimate the level of intimidation that members feel if they are going to be singled attacked by lara ingram, rush limbaugh, sean hannity and others in the blog world and tribal media world more generally. of this as a lot does the money. >> i think one of the things
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that surprised in this process is how little republicans cared about healthcare interest groups. a pervasive group within the obama administration that if you were going to pass a healthcare bill, you need the american medical association pharmaon board. i think they took this from clinton care and harry and louise ads, if we don't get these players behind us, they'll sink us. one of the things that surprised me is that republicans got very far with none of these groups them. i was also surprised how little groupshealthcare speaking out, the insurance industry. not real great under republican plans. ton hospitals which stand lose a lot of money put out strongly worded letters but it tvn't the scorched earth ads. we've seen big lobbying
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campaigns and it certainly wasn't that. so i'm curious if one lesson democrats take from this is of those theories they had about the other side of advocacyhe healthcare groups, whether those theories were wrong and one thing i'm very curious is if there's any democrats in back rooms somewhere thinking about how pass -- if they don't need those groups, if they can write off the insurance industry write off pharma, if they're thinking to use reconciliation, single-pair system through reconciliation if we're willing to say we don't need your support on our side. as molly suggested, when you test the bounds of reconciliation and explore how far you can get with it, it gives other side some ideas do whenat they could they're in power.
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>> hi, i'm james -- jason. a journalist. you guys talked a lot about sort thehe closed-off process, gang of six in the tax reform bill and at the same time you closed-off process, you have a president who is saying a lot of things to the media at times. interviewthere was an the washington published in politico where he reform in waysx that didn't fully align with what ryan and others have said. how does that interact in terms of you have this closed-off and a president who has talked openly at times? so, for me, the thing that i think about most often in the -- context of president and
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big intra party legislative fights republicans are having is the degree to which trump is not well suited those intraparty problems in a way that another be.ident might one in terms of the substance of makeolicy, being able to an affirmative case to members as to why they should or should not do something and also in the context of his political standing. one thing we know from a fair sciencef political research is that when a president is more popular, he to memberslity to go you to doook, i want this and i can give you political cover for doing so because i have the political capital that comes with popularity. and we can talk about sort of trump's relative standing with republican voters versus not with republican voters and where he's more popular and where he's not more popular but to the
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a low that he has approval rating, he does not have the ability to say to you to take this thing for the team, and i'll be able to help you overcome the costs of doing so. so for me, those are the things that i think about in the of trump and these fights within his own party. richard: to add to that, this is policywhere campaign plans matter, right. so if you look back at the bush in 2000, they were pretty clear about what they wanted with their first legislative priority was, tax bill. that planetails of would be so when they came into office, even with the delay from election, they were able to move pretty quickly and they had buy-in from a large segment of party on that plan. easier because hay had a surplus
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thate time but to advance and it was enacted by may. if you look at the affordable care act, there was a lot of work done by the obama campaign the white paper wastor baucus put out, it right after the election. the amount of work that had gone on before the election in a between theay campaign of the incoming partyent and the majority and the congress of the same both was like intense on the bush tax and affordable care though then affordable care act took 14 months to get done from the worko, there was a ton of that had been done in advance and the distance president trump had from the party and the fact that many of them didn't think basicallyin has prevented that from happening this time around.
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molly's point, one of the things that became difficult in these negotiations, number ofar in a interviews that he gave that president trump had no grasp on what the policy concepts in the healthcare law, or healthcare bill, that republicans were remember and i think i covering the affordable care could see things happening with the white house toing suggestions responsive members' concerns where a democrat could say i'm concerned about how this medicaid will affect my state and the white house thinks through things and offers them something and it's hard to see process happening here. there were two interviews where president trump estimated that insurance should cost, in one interview, $15 a month, in another interview, $12 a year. it is so far from the realm of numbers that anyone who has ever interacted with the health -- obamacare --iewed
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asking how much it was fair to $150 a month. they get that health insurance costs money. of acalaska -- acknowledgment matters. lisa murkowski saying i don't think you're .ngaged when you ask the question, could another republican have gotten this done? if you had an executive and president that was actualengaged on the details on what was happening. norm: we had a president that rose garden ceremony high-5ing when the bill was passed and then saying it was mean. the senatorsone of would ask trump a substantive or question about health policy but they all winfield -- out.d
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>> thank you so much. my name is zack moore, former stafferudget committee and currently with the committee for a responsible federal budget. i'm wondering, when we talk tax reform and reconciliation, we're going to have a lot of bird rule problems. in addition to just the long-term deficit issue, do you see any regulatory issues be votedform that will out and this was a big issue whether or not the house was to pass even be able bird issues.e thank you. you will say that that's the right thing -- a right thing to paying attention to. ofpart because of the level detail with which i have been following the healthcare fight,
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have been following the coming bit less in a little detail but what i would say generally is again, we should are thest at where policy disagreements and until as richard pointed out earlier, they figure out some of idea of whether these more ancillary questions bird rule. what i will say about the bird importanti think is and hasn't come up yet is the moree to which it injected uncertainty into what was already an uncertain process around healthcare reform so it be interesting to see if something similar happens with taxes. it's sometimes hard to think back to even just last week and the time line of if i'mthat happened but remembering correctly, it was not until friday, the friday prior to the vote on the motion
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toproceed, that we started get publicly a sense from courtesy of the democrats on the senate budget committee, of what the parliamentarian was advising the bird rule. just dayss again, before we came up for the motion to proceed so the degree to already moving at a really fast pace and if they want to keep up to anything close to what the white house yesterday about what they're looking at on a pace for tax reform, the degree to which there's uncertainty in the process more generally, like the important source of that uncertainty, in the reconciliation. >> richard: i think things like structure of the i.r.s. are unlikely to be not a- i'm parliamentarian -- are not likely to survive the bird situation. i think some republicans have conceded that, that that valid
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separate track because it's not primarily natureand budgetary in but in general i think there will be fewer issues because you the kind of regulatory regime trying to be changed in quite the same way. that said, i'll echo's molly's point. we don't know what the bill looks like. if it ends up being more rates and baits, then, the precedents from 2001 to 2003, you can do that. when you start writing more don'tx policy, i just think it's been tested at all. reconciliation gets 20 hours of debate but we only get 90 minutes. so thank you so much to all the panelists and to all of you. are where are are are for your questions.
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[applause] >> c-span city tour takes history tv to tacoma, washington, as we explore the literary culture. located on the puget sound and ount ranier, tacoma was chosen as a hub for the railroad. we'll travel the city and talk to local authors including the author of "god and captivity" and share the history of faith based programs in prisons and the role religion plays in the u.s. prison system. >> there's a lot to fellowship ministry which is an organization that started this work started by chuck olsen and went to prison for watergate
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crimes and became born again and started a international prison ministry and they were running an entire wing in an iowa state prison and all these same issues. you get a year of tv in your cell and access to parole in this way so americans united for the separation of church and state did sue them and the organization lost and have to repay the state of iowa but kept making the argument that they're not partisan, that they're faith-based. >> also learn about the life of tacoma's first african-american mayor harold moss. as he recounts his role in the pacific northwest, his book, "fighting for dreams that matter." >> you have to stop screaming at the council because you won't get anywhere doing that. you want to get on the other side of that bench and you have to calm down.
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i got that from whites and blacks and had to change my attitude because you realize you on the other side of the bench makes the law. >> on sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv, we'll visited tacoma narrows bridge to hear about the collapse into puget sound on november 7, 1940. the bridge was considered the third longest suspension bridge in the world and today the collapse is used as a case study for civil engineers in the study of bridge design. >> there was no suspension bridge anything like this anywhere in our part of the world anywhere in the pacific northwest so that was an unfamiliarity with how a big thing like this was supposed to behave so people excited about it, there's a certain musical gracefulness about a bridge like this so people i guess just wanted to think it wasn't anything wrong. >> watch this program and more as the cities tour takes you to tacoma, washington, saturday at
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noon eastern on c-span's book tv and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span 3. the c-span cities tour, working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. >> sunday on "in depth" american educator, tea party activist and author and attorney chris ann hall is our guest. >> for different reasons everyone has an idea the federal government is out of control. and then the most asked question i get, as we teach, what do you suppose that is? what do we do about it? have wen teaching the constitution properly? for the last 150 years. we would know what to do. >> she's the author of several books including "essential stories for junior patriots," in defense of liberty" and "sovereign duty."
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we'll take your phone calls and tweets and facebook questions, watch "in depth" with krisanne hall on c-span 2 on book tv. >> new orleans mayor mitch landrieu is also president of the u.s. conference of mayors. in washington, d.c., he spoke about issues facing u.s. cities and the national policies that mayors would like to see congress address. he's joined by the mayors of columbia, south carolina, and mesa, arizona, at this event hosted by the christian science monitor. it's just under an hour. >> ok. here we go. maybe not. >> thank you. >> while they're miking the mayor benjamin, i'm going to start by keeping us on schedule. thanks for coming. our guests are leaders of the u.s. conference of mayors,


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