tv Brookings Forum Examines Record of the 115th Congress CSPAN August 3, 2017 5:08pm-6:41pm EDT
how this man who shouldn't told from the time he was a young child that he was anything could have had the courage and determination to find a way out of slavery and i just was couldn't stopi reading about him. >> journalist and author looks a the life of robert smalls, slave who escaped bondage during the civil war and went on to become a member of the u.s. congress in her book be free or die. thee served five terms in house of representatives. there was a bribery charge against him at one point in his fully, and he never recovered from that. and that's my opinion is one of the reasons why he's not better known today. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q and a. >> the special counsel in the russia investigation, bob muller, has impaneled a grand jury. the wall street journal reporting it's a sign the inquiry is growing in intensity. in grand jury began its work recent weeks and could mean the inquiry is likely to continue for months.
he's investigating russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether president or associatesgn colluded with the kremlin. the president has disputed the and has called the investigation a witch-hunt and you can read more in the wall street journal online. next, a look at how procedure and politics are affecting the congress and its ability to pass legislation. from the brookings institution, half.s an hour and a >> excellent. well, thanks very much for joining us. for those of you standing in the an overflow room. if you would like a seat.
okay. well, thanks very much. i'm sarah binder, senior fellow governance studies. i have the pleasure of moderating today. ourgoing to introduce speakers, say just a minute about molly and her book and it up to get going. to my left is molly reynolds, a governance in studies and the author of exceptions to the rule, the of filibuster limitations in the u.s. senate, which will be really the innching point for us thinking about procedural politics and their implications policy in particularly health and tax today. next, residence fellow, american enterprise institute and long, long-time political science observer of washington and everything in it. cliff from vox, senior editor who specializes in
coverage, and then richard reuben, u.s. tax policy streetr from the wall journal. very briefery, comment to get us going here. i have to say if you have not molly's book yet you should. it it strikes me as the very 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 here today. andit takes both theory data and consequences and significance seriously and brings them all together and the second dimension here, it does service of explaining contemporary politics in particular as we've seen the past six, seven months. reconciliation, which is itself as molly calls them an exception to the rule,
meaning it's a majority procedure in a world, in a senate, which is supe supermajoritarian. on something eye that is hiding in plain sight, but as of the last six months judgingeverybody's, from the overflow room today and the presence of c-span, it's in sights.y's so with that i will start us off. molly. first. new book, of course, about procedures that limit debate in the senate. perhaps you could say just a little bit about how it helps us to understand what has been happening in the senate this year. >> absolutely. thank you, sarah and thank you all for coming today. think the biggest lesson from the book is that i have really impeccable timing.
that when i started this project five years ago, i that it would come out in the midst of this debate. to tell all of you what my next book is about so you'll know five years in the that's what you should be paying attention to, but in all seriousness, one of the big thements that i make in book is that because budget a simpleation empowers majority on the floor of the that whichever party holds the majority, we should expect them to use the process to help that's going them stay the majority in the future. book, i talk a lot about how they do this by thinking political's in the interests of the individual senators in their party, areicularly the ones who going to be up for re-election in two years and they make to use thebout how process with an eye towards whether it's going to help them the chamber.f
obviously, this is going to change from year to year. one of the things that we know the senate different from the house is that the senate's terms mean the electoral situation facing the majority party is really from one election to the next. at the same time, keeping the just about not thinking about what's in the individual interests of your members. it's also about the party's kind of collective interests and the collective promises that they've made to the voters. we might think that under unified party control of the the senate and the presidency, delivering on those collective promises might be important.y voters look at a washington where the same party controls thehouse, the senate and white house and says why can't anything? do but this can create situations where the individual members of party arety crosspressured. so what's best for the party's what's bestoals and
for their individual interests might not be the same and i really think that's what happened so far this year. so for better or for worse, republicans have decided that say they'veo repealed obamacare in some way, shape or form is a really shared political goal that they have. day,t the end of the actually writing a healthcare bill that could accomplish that rhetorical goal that also 50 members of the senate, that's a lot, within their individual interests proved really do.icult to and i think we saw this, for example, very well in what i call the saga of dean heller. so you saw dean heller at the june, as these things go, dramatic press conference with state's governor we said i can't support what this bill does to medicaid and then by the that finalhere was vote on the last amendment in
hellhair heller had, being willing to keep the debate going. an example where the bill was bad for his re-election chances, but he was under pressure from his party to achieve this goal. a second thing that i would take away from the book that helps us about what happened this year is about the role of committees in the reconciliation process, and i think that's gotten a little bit less attention so i want to spend a little bit of time on it. if you're here with us today, you probably know that the way the reconciliation process ofrts is with a set reconciliation instructions that the budgetd in resolution and these tell particular congressional committees to work on proposals would achieve some amount of budgetary change by making changes to either revenue or to mandatory spending programs in jurisdiction. and what we saw this year -- and so one of the things that i
book is that when congress is deciding each year write somes going to reconciliation instructions, it thinks about what kind of proposal might a committee produce if we tell them to do that? are they going to produce the tod of proposal that's going make the majority party better off or are they going to produce the kind of proposal that's not to make the majority party better off? and so this year one of the things we saw is mcconnell in the senate just choose to circumvent the committee part of process with reconciliation altogether. we had this working group, i membersit began at 13 and then folks sort of floated in and out. but he did not use the formal way and one of the reasons why that senatee true is that the help committee features three of mostost -- three of the problematic members for mcconnell over this process, lisa murk owski and we thinkmons so if
about how the majority party is going to anticipate what their committees might do when they're included in the process, the fact that mcconnell may have thought that help would be a bill orproduce produce a bill that was not exactly what was going to help think that's i another thing that some of the help usthe book can understand about current -- the current process. and then the last thing i'll say we may talk more about this later is that i also touch in reconciliation not the a magic bullet. it can help majority parties do things that they want to do, but at the end of the day, it doesn't -- if there are other challenges, it doesn't solve all cases it cann some present challenges of its own. isa great example of this the bird rule, which we know limits the content of so iciliation bills and think there's reason to believe that it didn't make
mcconnell's life easier in that it limited some of the that -- thengs deals they could be trying to make, but again, i think we'll come back to that question in a little bit. i'll stop there. >> excellent. thank you. watching've been congress since -- well for a while. [laughter] >> old is the word she's looking for! [laughter] say ahaps you could little bit about your perspective on what happened procedurally this year compared we've seen in the past, particularly in the context of healthcare reconciliation. sarah.ks, first let me say for those of us who have known molly since she at a very young person here howkings, i want to add lucky brookings is to have her back. superb book,ust a but if you've read all of her observations on the website and places, she has fulfilled all of the promise saw when she was an
intern here. second, one of the things that i do on the side is i'm a consultant for veep, the hbo series. [laughter] it's been a very challenging year. and we have a challenging year because, of course, veep is satire and satire is where reality and then push it to a point of absurdity. with absurdity, it really does become more difficult. on the question that sarah know about the old saw that you shouldn't watch law made.sages being and i used to say when tom man and i were writing the broken branch that i had a friend at the university of iowa who went meat packingof a plant and came back and said congress is much worse. gotten worse.y and then one observation about
dean heller. add tore two words to this: steve wynn. ignore the impact of big money and the world we in in the post-citizens united world. reality ast ignore a well that this bill may have started out and was discussed in buts of healthcare underlying it was this was a way to try to get the big tax cut sizable portion of it through medicaid. pressure washe coming from people who were far more concerned about getting the cut, even though underlying this as well was the promise voteshrough those 60 plus to repeal and replace and the tossure from the president fulfill some sort of pledge on much of aicy without concern at all about policy. that,aving said all of we've all watched and those of us who have been around for any time, a process that's
been distorted or tilted or ways toin different confront the realities of increasing difficulty of passing policy. and one of the things we've seen over the last 20 or 30 years is bills being passed, but bills being longer because there a temptation to pile on to something that you know is make it an and omnibus and throw things in because it's the one train that may get to its destination. that means you're getting polyglot legislation and often things that are just sort of thrown together. that's been true in the past and outrages in the policy process and indeed, going wrote thetom and i broken branch in 2006, we decried the decline of the regular order, which has never been a clean process or always fulfilled but one that looked towards finding broad leadership
coalitions for major policy that tried to use the process of committees and subcommittees and expertise moving forward, having at least some level of debate on of openr, some kind amendment process, and then making sure that you could have open conference committee that would reconcile differences branches, theo two bodies. and that's been deteriorating for some time and we've had lots outrages and we've had lots of things that were concocted in secret and not in an open way. waswhat we saw this time different i think in both intent tone and substance of process from anything that i have seen before. could go back to the nighthour middle of the vote in the house on the prescription drug plan that included tom delay being
chastised, which is all the ethics committee ever does, that's as far as they will go more episodesng of its fecklessness, the house week. committee this but being chastised for in effect trying to shake down and then bribe a member on the floor get that final vote. the same bill in the senate where two elected members of the conference committee in the senate, including the senate's democratic leader were basically shut out of the conference while those deliberations were going on. the 2011 budget compromise to try to get past a disaster that both sides saw sequesters where patty murray and paul ryan did much of negotiations themselves behind closed doors. but if you look at most of those were bipartisan. and that included the conference
committee where john brow even though dashell would be left out, he would negotiate. that's when he made his famous can't be bought, but i can be rented. patty murray and paul chairs of the the respective budget committees was they regularly reported back to their colleagues in a process that was from the get-go thoroughly bipartisan. this was not. sarah one as molly and both said, by-passed the entirely,process started with a rump group of 13 old white men excluding all others. it actually may have had people coming in and out, but it down.ed the bill was effectively put together by mcconnell and his the expertise.g mcconnell famously barred the dimes among other stock
holders in the healthcare process, a man who had had polio as a child from being able to input, and then, of course, a kind of crazy process floor. so i haven't seen anything quite willthis and maybe this now turn into after the debacle semblance of a regular order and something that will be a little bit better. have a majority intent on doing everything party, withwn narrow numbers and divisions within its own ranks, and even a toate that now is determined look in a different direction, you have a house of representatives that has no willingness to move in that direction. and i think the twists and turns debacles and attempts to the fundamentals of a deliberative process and one build broadgned to
leadership consensus is gone for a significant period of time. forthat's bad not just policy outcomes, but for the deliberativeof the process in a representative democracy. and that's tragic for all of us. >> thank you, norm on that bright note. >> have a nice day. [laughter] >> i am reminded of a new york a decade agorom where the reporter went to a sausage factory and interviewed manager and who was thoroughly insulted by the analogy of watching sausage made. sarah, cliff. perhaps you could tell us, how republicans' decision to use reconciliation to pursue repeal and replace of hasaffordable care act affected or might have affected the debate as it played out so year?is >> great well thank you so much for having me, congratulations
molly on the fantastic book. echo your amazing timing, holding this last week could bit been a little challenging getting us all in one room, but you seem to have chosen the one somewhat slow on wood week in washington we've had this year, but that will probably change by the end today. [laughs] so yes, exactly. and our newsroom whenever we would declare it a slow news day, someone gets fired from the out. house it turns so i want to just comment a little bit on what we've discussed so far and then get of reconciliation we've seen in 2017. and, you know, i just want to that,hat norm was saying you know, someone who's covered not quite as long, but has been covering this healthcare debate since 2009 when the democrats began work on the affordable withact and began work republicans i would say in a bipartisan process that lasted it becamemonths until clear they were not going to get any republican votes and moved on, it was a very, very process we went through this year compared to
2009, 2010. ago i worked with a few of our interns at vox to count up all the different hearings that happened in 2009, 2010, basically after obama came into and started working on healthcare. we found 44 hearings, 22 in the house, relatedhe to the healthcare law. personally i remember watching so much c-span, i was actually based in new york at the time and my routine during the affordable care act debate was literally get into my headphonest out my and spend a full day watching c-span, watching these hearings blair house with republicans and democrats. it was a very -- you know, at was like quit it with all these hearings, there's so was ao cover, but it process where you saw how they were getting to decisions, where you saw the debate, you saw the this billyou saw how was coming together. this healthcare effort has been quite a different experience. 2010.hearings in 2009,
two hearings in the process this year so far. two in the house, zero in the senate. we did have some floor debate over the past week but no process, no hearings. and, you know, from a media perspective, it is quite to cover a bill being drafted in secret. findo the best you can to out information about it, to talk to your sources on the day, but at the end of the it's hard to cover a committee meeting that didn't happen and this is also true as norm the role of advocates, i was covering a lot of families lobby theiring to senators and they found it very difficult to lobby against a had never seen because you can go into their office and say we really oppose these medicaid cuts and they'll say we're still working on it, our draft isn't out, we can't it.ent on it's very hard for an advocacy group to work in a world where, you know, they don't have access and they can't even comment on what is being discussed. so it has felt like a very
different process from my perspective. much more secretive, much less information. the short amount of time that we it with these bills has made really difficult to understand what is actually in them. moment that i became involved with the american healthcare act, the of obamacare repeal and replace where this was the second iteration, they added on these macarthur amendments and a very smart observer called me and said hey, there's an exemption to this whole law for congress, it andcross-reference look and it turns out he was right. it was there and i wrote a story the next morning, there was a debate about whether it actually existed. and i was watching mark med os chairuse freedom caucus on tv saying it wasn't there. problem was of this the fact people hadn't had time to read it and analyze it, and i
really theis challenge of legislating so and secretly. another example would be the limits, whichime the affordable care act outlined. there was a debate among analysts about whether the house bill brought back lifetime limits and you know this is a detail for congress, it's not the whole ballgame, but for people who rely on this provision for one family i covered who have a 6-year-old who said $3 million in medical bills? whole thing. what they do on this detail, it's not a footnote. it's kind of what matters for their life. and, you know, it took a while to puzzle through that language. arehat is all to say there real world consequences to legislatingo quickly and so secretly. of reconciliation, it really did shape the healthcare very significantly in terms of what republicans could and could not do. one of the big goals that conservatives had going into the effort was to deregulate the insurance market, to make it
more of a free market where insurance companies could choose sell,enefits they would choose how much they would charge people, the affordable care act, it did regulate the industry. it required coverage of essential health benefits, it and men charging women the same premium, not charging sick people more than healthy people. it changed the insurance market and undeniably made it much more regulated and that was something wanted tos really take down and the reconciliation rules really prevented a lot of that work. they were limited to things related to the budget. they certainly tried to push the say, you this i would saw them do things like change how much you could charge the your planbers of compared to the youngest, that was struck down by the not relatingan as to the budget. planned parenthood got caught up in reconciliation. really were hamstrung trying to repeal a bill that was passed with 60 votes with just caucus. in their
that being said, one of the things that surprised me a little bit was how much willing to were change process, break from thelar order but stuck to reconciliation rules that they did not -- one of the things as i've learned from many sarah is thatwith the senate republicans, they could overrule the parliamentarian, they could say we disagree with you, senator mike lee from utah a advocate of was a this approach saying let's use that power, let's overrule the parliamentarian. the fact they didn't do that, the fact that they broke all rules about committees and did so many things out of order, but kept to the reconciliation rules, it in my mindquestion how much they actually wanted this bill to pass given what we know about its popularity, about how many people would lose theyage and how much actually like the restriction of reconciliation, how much it is something they can blame the forward progress on and say well, we have these complex senate rules, that's why we
can't pass something. reason we can't do this. there was that option to overrule them, and i think it's did not takethey that option given how much they've been willing to break traditions in the seen. that we've >> sausage. richard? we've heard a lot about, of how now that congress in theory we hope perhaps has on healthcare or not, that the next on the republican agenda is to move on taxes. perhaps you could talk a little bit about what you see as major issues or institutional hurdles to watch tax reform develop or tax cuts. >> thanks for having me. i want to start by talking a bit about molly's book, which i read mostly. and what i really liked about it is it creates -- it puts an intellectual framework around
havesarah and i experienced and norm's experienced for even longer in senate works.he it'sven in the title setting up these things as exceptions to the rule. reminder that the a supermaj s and the bookrian thegorizes reasons why senate has carved out simple majority thresholds for thing partisan pressures are there to do that and when notpartisan pressures are and i think that leads directly to what sarah just finished the, which is one of reasons why maybe republicans decided they didn't really want to enact this bill, but the other thing is they know the
having the super existsy threshold still for the inevitable time for when they're not in charge, which could it be 2019, 2021, at some point down the road. defensivery much a ploy against what they know the do in the might future. and i think the bird rule itself example, it wasn't part of the initial reconciliation procedures. a reconciliation bill in the early -- correct me if early '80sin the that went too far in the view of the senate. they passed it, it had a bunch nothings in there that were purely fiscallal and they all looked at each other and said wait a minute we want this to be and nottion to the rule the rule. and so they created the rule to in, and now we understandings of
what the rule means and how it works and we'll spend a bunch of that in tax reform. and so looking ahead to tax is the saga of dean heller, volume 2. molly talks about how people to watch, when you go from the regular procedures to the simple majority procedures under reconciliation, the people to watch are the median member of chamber, right, could make heller. that's senator the median member of the committee, who's the median member of the finance committee? see, but i make a pretty strong case that it's senator heller and the senators under electoralmmediate pressure and that's senator heller. so congrats. so that may shift. didn't end up being the median senator with the
pivotal vote. and, in fact, it was senator mccain who has different -- in pressure.lectoral so we'll see how this shakes hellert i think senator is one to watch so like look for the equivalent of that speech he gave on healthcare on tax reform, one of the things he most, is it small energy,ike geothermal which is important in nevada, is it things that are important to the gambling industry, is it things outside the tax code? what i'll be looking for and there's other senators who raised their hands and want ande the pivotal senator sort of hold their vote out for things that they might want, on committee, it's 14-12. and so the commitment this time not through regular order, at least through every single one of those republicans the ability some leverage.e
and going back to what molly said before, we'll see the same politically.e i think, you know, you've got said, too.what norm you've got for senator heller, one-term senator, maybe a little bit more than a single terminal, but he needs a lot of run a very expensive nevada. and that's going to cause him to aligned with the senate majority leader and the senate thinkship than you might from just looking at what the wants, what the electoral pressures are in the state, what his personal views might be. can't distance himself all that far from the leadership, you know. like senator murkowski win byonstrated she can distancing herself from the leadership. senator heller hasn't.
he's going to be a key person to watch, and then in that framework to watch if there are senate republicans who electorally the way did, where they felt they could safely distance themselves from where the senate be.ership wanted to >> i have a couple more questions, and then we'll open it up. norm maybe i could imagine the answer, but i'm going to ask it. inve talked about the ways which reconciliation itself has hamstrung republicans on healthcare, plus slim majorities. could a different republican or white house or hhs secretary, could a different scenario, could we have seen success on aca repeal where we time? see it this >> i've got to be a little skeptical, although i do think a afferent president and different senate majority leader would have approached this in a
very different way and, of sarah cliff has written, i think extraordinarily persuasively and anybody who's followed this issue knows, the affordable care act is not in a spiral. it is not broken. repairedact, could be relatively easily. and there's bargain congrsi a itrow one to be able to tilt more in a direction that they would like. easing up. more marketlittle friendly. some of the things that we see discussed bybeing the problem solvers caucus that not solved any problems and is not likely to be great favor by e y who follows health policy at all is how easy it
to actually put this back on a reasonable path. a tribal in environment and we have a jeff flakeparty as who is one of the most conservative people i know and i've known him pretty well since house, anybody who thinks that he's a moderate, he's not, he's a very conservative guy. he's a guy who values the deliberative process, compromise, and the institutions. it pretty clear that you don't have a republican party that has a large group of even a small group of moderates, and then a larger group of conservatives. people who now are being called moderates over and over again by reporters and you can't them to stop despite the craziness of doing so, would been at thes ago right end of their party. now, it's conservatives and radicals. and if you decide that and they
the fate ofn speaker boehner, that you're reach more broadly to find a center, you're not going to be speaker for very long, and can make that work as a majority leader in the senate, but you're not going to find the right kind of cooperation to pull it all together in the house. doubt very much if you had say a president jeb bush, who this perhaps in a different way, that you would still be able to find that kind ground.n and now, i do think that what as lamar alexander towards trying to create some semblance of regular order in the senate and they to come up with things that all of us would see as a reasonable balance, maybe they're going to be able to get to keep thisjust going to stabilize insurance markets, but whatever they're up with, i just don't see it working in the house the way the house is now
constituted. for sarah and richard. i think you'll like the see.ion, but we'll so i have been impressed that keeping an eye on institutional constraints that are affecting policy decisions. my sense, having been in normngton not as long as but long enough that this isreciation for procedure relatively new, relatively new? to scour c.q. to find it. course about whether you have to convince editors what'sis is important, your own perspective on the importance or how much one should pay attention to this readersthis something don't really want to know about? >> we have found readers of vox inleast are quite interested senate policy.
have tonot something i on, so imy editors think there's certainly because process, andto the i think because of also the news website that vox is where we focus a lot on explanation and of helping bring a bigger news that it's something that our readers are interested in, our editors are in, and i think -- i've worked with my editor in chief, we worked together at the post, and now work together at vox and both of us agree that for a while kind of considered like the exciting fun part and policy was almost like the vegetables that to eat. but lately i think policy has actually become really and exciting to people if they can understand it and understand why it's going is, but a lot of that, you know, requires explaining a lot of really
complex policy things, procedural things, talking to experts like sarah, talking to like molly so that as journalists we can understand it, but i think there's a desire our readers are understanding how important procedure is to shaping found thate have people are hungry for this. a good example is that we saw viral i'm sure a lot of you this screenshot about how vote had quietly ended the entire healthcare effort because of this kind of in reconciliation process and it seems like a guy who had just a little bit of wasrmation and decided he an expert and we had a lot of our readers, you know, asking is true? is healthcare over? i want to understand this. story abouta long that and that was not -- that was something, you know, that came to us from our readers where people wanted to know hey, is this thing, right? so i find it's very -- my editors are readers, they are quite interested in process in a
a policy nerd, it's exciting and gratifying to me. job at, my first washington was three and a half was a veryq. so that instructive experience in learning about procedure because about the is inextricably tied to the outcome so that's where i was during aca, that's where i was during tarp. i watched all of that happen vantage point of trying to learn and understand those rules and so i'm not sure that we don't write a lot of explainers i'm sure we'll have to do one at some point this fall maybe that can -- the great thing with the internet is you can and th just resurface these things and they're there all the time, but i find it important procedureowing the helps you know where the sort of
are right?urdles in know like keep writing every story before they can pass agree onl they have to a budget and the budget has to has to big the tax cut be, i don't frame it -- i try to the jargon as much as i can because we're writing for a real big general audience, but i frame it to make sure people understand the structural procedural barriers that are there because those are the things that are going to drive the policy making. to decide oneed tax reform. revenue the government should collect over the next decade. threshold question they need to decide that they haven't decided yet. when they decide that, they can talk about the details and the whatever, but we're just not there. it, butcan back fill they've got to make that decision first. job with that
procedural knowledge in mind and the other thing i always try to you think youen know everything about reconciliation, you don't. so -- reddit man's little bit of knowledge is ofgerous, but even a lot knowledge is dangerous on reconciliation. superee at least one reconciliation expert in the audience. wondering where i get my knowledge from. so here's a question for molly. talked a little bit -- and your book goes into detailed modeling of the conditions under consideredess has not just reconciliation but also other exemptions from majority rule and putting those limitations into statute, sanctions oriran this week the sanctions on russia, the abilities o abilitye president to lift those without congressional consent.
a littleou could say bit about what you see going forward for bird rule, for budget acts, i know we've talked about senators' frustrations with -- which unfortunately, we around.et this time perhaps you could say a little seeabout whether or not you the prospects for change here, not?t might come about or >> yeah, it's a great question. probably thek that only people in washington other than senators themselves who watch a not to get to vote-orama last week were us. this comes back to something sarah cliff said earlier and touched on a little bit, which is the idea that aretimes, the rules convenient ways for senators to the process for what they policyet done on a
perspective. and sarah bidner has been since the beginning of this healthcare fight about the toree to which the choice processreconciliation deprived republicans of one of their most effective tools for getting themselves to agree with other, which is blaming democrats for not cooperating. theso once they went down route where they didn't need democratic help, they could not credibly say that the reason they weren't getting anything done was because democrats work withlling to them. and so in that sense, i think -- and this is consistent with the the book, iske in that to the degree that the them, either by facilitating policy changes, or giving them a scapegoat for policy changes on, ihey can't agree think we'll continue to have the rules and procedures that we do.
ofhink that's just kind generally how i think about the what dictates the procedures we get out of aboutss, that i think them in the context of what policy change do they allow us case or, you know, in this allow us not to do? on the question of the vote-orama one thing that will be interesting to watch, senators complain about the vote-orama a lot. they claim about it in the the budget resolution, they complain about it in the context of bills.liation but i've also done some other work that shows that even while they're complaining about it, they're using it to their advantage, they're using it to good amendments that are for individuals, for themselves individually, they're using it to offer amendments that seek to embarrass the other party. so it's a real sort of balance that they have to strike. it's this thing they complain about publicly but at the same
use it to their advantage. forward, asnk going we consider the bird rule specifically, other rules under the budget act, some of which are relevant for tax reform, the in mind is do the rules help them do what they do, or do they -- if they don't help them do what they alsoto do, do provide a source of blame for because they't do don't agree on policy? >> i want to make an additional point here about what's happened to the deliberative process. telling moment when they were asked why they were slapping this bill together and he said well, we really didn't think donald trump would be president. and, you know, what he was saying is we don't have come up alternative because if hillary clinton is president, we
can just vote 60 more times to repeal and replace and you go back to a kind of confessional just did cantor recently and one of the things that's become a favorite ongoing mine, eric cantor eight our alternative to the then nascent affordable is weeks away and i would do a tweet, we're 100 and we got toting 400 weeks and what happened is andou have tribal politics, you're in the minority and you make a tactical decision for gain that no matter what the majority proposes you're going to oppose it, and did through the entire obama administration, withcapacity to come up policy alternatives atrophies. there's no interest or desire to it's a hard thing to do and you've got to do a lot of heavy lifting and you're get a lot of opposition and now, they're confronted with
different,hat's very but it's atrophied enough that i'm not sure it can come back that's a tragedy for the political process. if you don't have even competing where you can then work out some kinds of compromises and if you an audience into believing that everything that the other side did was so awful that you can't keep any of it, you're really left with nothing. norm, do you think that's limited to healthcare, because of the history of it? we expect dysfunction going forward on taxes because an issue republicans might in the past have had some hopetsese on, is there going forward for that? >> i think it's something we're going to confront with every major issue going forward. it may not work for some of those things that are a little the radar. and you do have at least some members who are developing a of expertise and there are some areas where they are
if they're not ones that are going to be picked up by mark levin orr can hannity that you actually get them through in a bipartisan way, but on the big issues i think it becomes increasingly difficult and it also means that you are now by, because you've excited a tribal media and a base, you're driven more by their demands than you are by working out nuances of policy. tax policy,rue with as well. when you look at some of the things that have been on their wish list, the simplistic element of wiping out the estate wiping out some of these other areas of taxation and basically following in this case billionaireof their backers, that brings us back to issue, even the kind of sausage making that we've seen with tax bills and tax reform in the past as in 1986, which still had some desire to
work so that it would actually improve the economy, goes away. more mindless and that's what i see and i see it well.nfrastructure, as >> picking up from that, richard maybe you could sketch for us pathways we might or might not see on tax reform cuts, particularly given the heavy load of other things they have for the fall on their plate? i'meah, so i -- they've -- struggling to reconcile the like significantly optimism that you hear from the white house and the house and senate leadership the principlesd figured out and they're going to march ahead, and it's going to by mid-november. reconciling that optimism with everything else that i know -- [laughter] which is that as you get further into the details, this gets harder. trade-offs. there's trade-offs between different income groups, there's
trade-offs between different of companies, there's deficit nowetween and spending cuts later. they've just scratched a little bit, but the party's not really grappled with it, and i think seen this come up repeatedly where if you talk to ways and means republicans, they've spent -- especially the ones who have been on the committee for a long time, they've spent five years working they worked on dave camp's draft from 2014, they're working off the house blueprint -- they're familiar trade-offs, they're the ones i just think they have a lot of figuring out where they want to be beyond the general one of cut tax rates and promote growth. it is going to have to be more complicated than that, and they have not engaged in the internal
trade-offs yet. that's not to say they will not and cannot do it. jumping off what norm said, i try to think about with the governing majority in congress is, and since the budget control act, the governing majority has been bipartisan majority of senators and a handful to a couple handfuls of house republicans with house democrats. that is what it has come down to and that is what it looked like on the fiscal cliff. that is what it looked like on the spending bill earlier this year. this group of republicans, i guess with the exception of the 2015 repeal bill that was vetoed, has not produced a time -- ton of legislation. they have not figured out how to work within the majority they have, and taking that lack of
having gotten a lot of experience of working with that majority interest complicated issue like tax reform, i mean, look out. look out. the realwill get to hard decisions after they have tried to deal with the budget and the debt limit and any i'ver of deadlines, so made the stroke for a while, i will make it again. i may well end up eating a maggot had in the rose garden in mid-november. there's a lot of desire to get something done, and they have the electoral imperative to get there, but it is hard for me to see all the steps from today to there. >> luckily, rose garden ceremonies are not just for bill signings into law. for molly. as i said at the outset, many of
these exceptions to majority rule we think of as sort of hiding in plain sight, except for reconciliation. i thought maybe you could say a little bit about some of these other ways in which congress has decided they are going to limit, maybe say a little bit about why that might not happen, why senators might hide their hand, and maybe as it relates to some of the recent examples we have seen. >> thanks. know a lot of you are suddenly super interested in reconciliation, but much of the about these classic procedures in the senate more generally, where congress has periodically said we think a particular pieces of legislation should have limitations, and that means they cannot be filibustered. in the book, i sort of sketch out to do principal reasons why congress does this. in some cases, it is to avoid blame. there's some policy change they
think is worth making, but they want to take some of their fingerprints off the actual process, so they will give the proposalcome up with a to someone else, if it's a special group of members within the chamber, so here we can think about something like the supercommittee, which definitely failed, but the plan was that they were supposed to come up with this proposal for deficit reduction, and that proposal would come back to the chambers amended,t could not be and then it could not be filibustered. it is also how we might think about the procedures we have used in the past to close military bases, where a special group of actors are charged with coming up with that proposal, and that comes back for an up or down vote.
there, the situation where congress thinks it might be a good idea to make some sort of change, but ultimately, they want to be able to avoid some of the blame for actually making the hard choices. sarahher cases, and alluded to this earlier, in the case of a couple of pieces of sanctions legislation is that sometimes congress wants to increase its ability to check what the president is doing, and one way to do that is to put -- to make some executive actions reviewable by congress, and in exchange, congress speeds up the process for how it would consider those review measures. again, this has happened on some sanctions bills. and that sort of thing. really targeted choices that congress makes in particular situations. part of why a question i often what ier people find out
wrote this book about, is this the solution to gridlock and congress, and i'm not terribly optimistic about that. one thing i demonstrate in the book is that it has been pretty careful and pretty targeted when particular situations really warrant special procedures. >> i have one more question for sarah, and then we will open it up. if it's a case where reconciliation is dead, understanding it could come back if they could get it off the corridor, if they are freed from reconciliation, do you see progress on any element of the affordable care act repair, perhaps on the insurance subsidies? should we expect to see some sort of health committee action going forward? >> yeah, that is a fantastic question, and it does seem like at the moment -- although i have learned to never say never -- there is not a clear path
forward. particularly over the next month, for example. it would be very hard to see any sort of health care legislation coming back with a house in recess, with senator mccain back in arizona receiving treatment. there's just not people here to get anything done. it seems like for the next month or so, it really -- one thing that might have gotten lost a little bit in the shuffle last week is not just that this one last skinny repeal bill went down in the senate, there are actually four different bills that were considered by the senate, either not voted on, voted against -- they rejected four different health care bills last week. there's one that is still .anging around i wrote a story about it yesterday. i do not think it is a compromise solution. i think it is more disruptive and more radical than the other bills that were considered, so i do not really see that we going or would. it's a really big medicaid cut. sen. heller: has very surprisingly to me sign on to
this bill. yesterday, we had an announcement from the health alexanderfrom senator from tennessee, senator murray from washington that beginning center for fourth, they will start holding bipartisan fixing the individual market. they are working on a very tight timeline. companies insurance have to submit their final insurance rates to on septemberv, and 27, they have to try to make the decision, are they in or out, selling on the marketplace, given that opened role and is starting in november. so you are looking at a very small window of actually doing something. with hearings such a rich way forth and the september 27 deadline looming in the future. i think the announcement of hearings is probably bringing some comfort to insurance companies who have been really nervous about this uncertainty. it gives them more confidence that help might be on the way, but, you know, they have some real-world decisions to make. they have to decide -- all of
this is to say there is a very short timeline if you're going to do things to make the market work better in 2018. they need to happen very quickly, and i think things are pretty clear. two talk things that are constantly at the top of insurance company lists. one is funding subsidies that help pay deductibles of copayments of low income obamacare enrollees. one of the things that surprised me was this is something a lot ever public and legislators in key leadership positions support. i believe representative brady with ways and means, lamar alexander on health -- they have all said they think we should appropriate the money. there was chatter about it getting done in the budget deal a few months ago, and it was left out, which surprised me and little bit that democrats did not go a little harder on that provision, but for whatever reason, it was not included, so that is a key one, and one where we have seen bipartisan support already, and another creating
some sort of reinsurance fund that would help offset the cost of really expensive patients. if you look at a state like iowa, for example, we know there is one patient who has over $1 million in medical bills each year, and for someone with hemophilia, which requires quite expensive drugs, it becomes a game of hot potato of who is going to end up with this really expensive patient. basically they will help out on the backend so you do not have to jack up premiums. the process has been very divided and very partisan, and i think it will lead to those demands getting met. >> i just want to add we have left out the sociopath in the room, and that is the president of the united states, who is intent on blowing everything up, intimidating insurance companies and punishing them or this failure, and taking subsidies away from congressional staff,
senate staff, to show them who is really boss. so where many of the things sarah is talking about could be done relatively easily and you could find pretty broad majorities for them, and i do not think you will find even the more radical members of the house who really want to see the whole thing blown up because most of them understand they will be blamed for it. they are in charge now. but when you have a president of this, thwarting all it becomes an additional challenge. this goes way beyond simply the problems of congress, and, of course, we should also add that if congress -- if congressional republicans have difficulty making policy, in a sane administration filled with people who care or know something about policy, you might be able to fill the vacuum a little bit more, but that is absent. >> ok, we have time for
questions. microphonesere are mysteriously coming around. excellent. great. you want to come here? >> i have been in and around capitol hill for 55 years. ,y question is institutional since i was part of the creation of the budget act in the mid-1970's. the effort then was to give strength to the congressional institution. nobody knew what the whole budget was about. it was to bring clarity of thought and activity. does this panel of experts believe that the institution of congress has been strengthened or weakened by the budget act?
and say theforward only part of the institution that looked like it had come into its own during this whole debate was the cbo. came from nowhere. the rest of it has been -- the keyword that i heard this morning was defensive. >> i think when you close your question by bringing up the cbo, i think as an institutional question, that absolutely is the right place to go. the cbo created this act to expertise, area of which is what some of the criticism has seemed so troubling. i think thinking more broadly about the question of the budget act, and you are correct that
what got us the budget act was executive overreach in the budget area. i think there are also its of things that are wrong with the budget process that we could make work better, but i'm not a person who thinks we should scrap an entirely and start over. i think the question is how we make it work with the current political incentives that members of congress face. something i spend a lot of time thinking about both in the context of reconciliation but also in the context of reconciliation more broadly is ourfact that in contemporary environment, and a lot of, the only things that really move our appropriations big-budgetther deals. if you are a member of congress and you have some fight that you want to get out in the open, that is where you go.
sometimes i talk about congress as a giant game of whack a mole. members have these goals they want to achieve, political and policy aims, and if you start whacking down some opportunities for them to achieve them, their goals are not going to go away. they are just going to pop act of the things that are moving, which now increasingly adjust budgetary matters and appropriation bills, so you end up having so many whites on those measures because we do not have places to have them anymore. for me, that is a real challenge that we have to confront, and how do we have a budget process that accommodates that political reality? >> i want to give a real shot at and props to alice hoagland, the first director of the congressional budget office. it's not much of an exaggeration to say that she was like the george washington who welllished the body for
over 200 years we had a presidency where everybody coming into the office had a certain set of expectations and veneration for it and all of that, up until recently. and what alice did was to create a culture of expertise and pride, and every congressional cbo that followed has continued that, and it is a jewel as a consequence. newt gingrich blew up the office of technology assessment so he could basically damage expertise and science and move more toward ideology, and now he has tried to do the same from the out with cbo, and it is at least to some credit of all of the members, including the leaders, that they have not let that happen. if cbo goes, god help us. >> hi, my name is stephen
hendrickson. first of all, i would like to commend your excellent coverage of these issues. i think it is really heartening to see how much people care about these issues. my question about procedure, my understanding is there can only be one set of reconciliation instructions in place at a time so that if congress does include tax reform instructions, that would supersede health care construction. the white house still wants to focus on health care. that they would have a kind of clean break where the reconciliation past would not be in place. is that true, or is there some other way i should be thinking about that trade-off? like expiration of reconciliation for 100? >> let the ticket crack at it.
oncal year 2017 ends september 30. it is an open question if those questions turn into a pumpkin or not. congress has never enacted a bill beyond the budget for which was created, but they have never tried. so that is out there. some people will tell you it expires. some people will tell you know. going to the second point, it is pretty clear that once congress adopts a budget, meaning house and senate agree on the same budget, that budget then supersedes the fiscal year 2017 budget, and the instructions vanish, and procedures are important because the instructions are what provide the procedure. i think you have heard the white director make this point
monday -- they can do a lot of bill and theax fiscal year 2018 budget up until that point, so you could have a budget reconciliation get through the house and the senate. you can have a tax bill written. and the instructions would still -- the 2017 instructions would still survive until that last moment. ofn there's the other sort possibility out there that one the 17epurpose instructions for tax reform. you hear people talk about that, limited by the pumpkin thing. potentially. that budgetact that does not call for tax cuts inside the window, so that would be tricky to do. the budget.end
that requires the house and senate to vote. it is hard for me to see why you would do that instead of just writing a fiscal year 2018. you hear people talk about doing a shell budget instead of a real budget, which would be like the one they did for fiscal year 2017 that many republicans in the house side in particular do not want to do because they do not want to adopt a budget that balances within the budget window. see also its cross pressures and all that. did i cover that? >> yes, you did a great job. i want to provide a few pieces of context to what richard just said. i think it is really helpful to remember that we are at what i might call a sort of reconciliation edge case here.
all of these -- richard just laid out a whole number of open questions, and these are open questions because we are trying to take the process in places that it has not really been before, so that is a source of uncertainty. for otherike us, people who follow this process pretty closely, and also for just average americans who are trying to understand what the possibilities are. for me, i often bring myself back to the idea that we're offering up edges about what we is possible here. the other thing i will say and this has come up a couple of response to different questions here is that we can sort of play fantasy wegressional procedure all want. topicoy this as an office of conversation but at the end of the day what matters is what
policy-wise.do saying she doesn't see a way forward from where we are on health reform. true, whether or not the procedures would let us keep going down that road after not.mber 30 or so talking about procedure is great. how wely, it's part of all make our living but at the realf the day, it's the policy challenges here and until republicans can come up with solve those, i think that that's kind of what we about, whatinking keeping the procedures in the background amounts to. it's also important to note that getting a 2018 budget very heavywill be a lift. the freedom caucus wants to forrn to sequester numbers defense and for discretionary domestic spending. the kind of budget that paul ryan might be able to get
through the house with alone is goings to have one hell of a time getting adequate votes in the and then if they do end conference rec silg things that tilts more in a clear direction, it's not at this votes will be there in the house. and any kind of budget pass is nothat they going to be one that's going to the old boehner model ofgetting a smaller number republicans joined with democrats because no democrat the support the kind of budget they'll puthat forward. somebody's in the way 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 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 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 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 where heo in july started saying things like, we're going to pass it. otherwise, it was we're going to to call it up.ng 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. 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 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 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 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. >> 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 time u 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 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 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 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. 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 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 >> 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, 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 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 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. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] thef crowd is gathering at 9008 sandy that 9000 feet -- at