tv Newsmakers Rep. Jim Mc Govern CSPAN April 15, 2018 10:01am-10:35am EDT
sunday morning program, 7:00 a.m. eastern time here on c-span television. "newsmakers" is coming up next. our guest is massachusetts democratic congressmen jim mcgovern. he is the ranking member on the house rules committee as we talks about the snap program. congressman next on neuse nufmentse enjoy the rest of your eekend and a great week ahead. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit ncicap.org] >> next, "newsmakers," with massachusetts congressman jim mcgovern. then we'll show you some of facebook's c.e.o. mark zuckerberg's testimony before the senate and house committees. and later, the senate
confirmation hearing for mike pompeo, nominated to be the next ecretary of state. >> this week, representative jim mcgovern, democratic of massachusetts and the ranking agriculture subcommittee on nutrition. thanks for joining us. and in the questioning is allen of bloomberg news as an agriculture reporter and mike serves a congressional reporter. gentlemen, thanks for joining us. >> thank you for being here, congressman mcgovern. n the next few days, the house agriculture committee will be considering the farm bill. reauthorizes all farm subsidies and nutrition prasms the big issue is going to be food stamp. there was a lot of concern among democrats that there were going to be cut made to the program. the congressional budget offices
scoring it as a neutral bill. there is the concern? >> the concern is they've crafted a proposal that will throw millions of people off the benefit. and then they've created this new bureaucracy that won't work to try to provide work training for so much these people. the snap program is one of the most effective programs in the government and it provides people with food benefit ax very modest food benefit. and when secretary purdue testified before the ag committee before he became head of the u.s. da, what i asked him about the idea he said if it fix it.oke, don't >> they're dealing for training programs. it's allowing the channeling of
the funds and that's something that the democrats have wand for years. why the opposition now? >> it's creating a whole new bureaucracy that will not even meet anywhere near the needs of the people that could be thrown off this benefit. >> they're saying it could work. >> we've done 23 hearings on snap at their request. if this was such a good idea, don't you think at least one of those hearings would have been about this? these ideas, these changes and these so-called reforms that will in the ag bill, none of them were reflected in the hearings we held. we didn't see this language ntil just a day ago. they don't like it. and they have historically been -- had put a bull's-eye on this program and i'm sick and tired of them beating on poor people. if they get their way on this bill, millions of people will
lose their benefit and some things are worth fighting for, fighting for those people. it's worth it. >> what kind of tweak to the program could you expect? farm bills don't come down from heaven into capulets. what tweaks do you see? >> first of all, what i would like to see is an expanded benefit. the average snap is about $1.40 per person per meantime for this extravagant benefit is $1.40 per person per meal. i want to make sure that more people who are entitled to the benefit can get it. i also, you know, want to address the issue that they seem concerned about, which is how do you get peep off -- people off of snap? let's set the record straight on the majority of people who are on the benefit are not expected to work because they're children, senior citizens or disabled. of those who could work, the vast majority work. yet they earn so little they still qualify for snap. here's a radical idea. why don't we talk about a livable stpwhage why don't we
talk about raising the minimum wage? hy don't we talk about raise minimal bill? >> what would be a job training proposal, sorment of way of moving people to work that you could support? >> already, i mean, there are job training programs out there. and there are already limitations on able-bodied without dependents. they can only be on the program for three months. they don't have a job, they lose their bell. that's harsh but they already exists and we have work training program that currently exists. why are we reinventing the wheel? this is an attempt to really go after a population of who is vulnerable. and i'm -- i've sat through all these hearings. i've heard all the rhetoric. i'm fed up with this constant belittling of poor people, and minutishing their struggle. and i think democrats are united n opposition to this bill.
they want to go to the core of this program and we're going fight it. and the other thing is, it reflects a lousy process. i mean, none of us were involved in it. none of us were informed about it and it's shameful. >> a little more broadly. you say you wanted to expand this program. how would you pay for something like that? cbs just came down with this report that there's going to be a trillion dollars in 2020. if that's the new normal, how do you pay for anything domestic, discretionary entitlement. how do you plan to pay for the programs? >> i would prefer investing in programs like this rather than tax cuts. but here's the other thing. this is what we are now finding out. the great austin food bank and the massachusetts children's health watch completed a study on the consequences of food and security and hunger in massachusetts in terms of other
costs. they have estimated that the cost associated with food insecurity and hunger in massachusetts is about $2.4 billion a year. that's a billion with a b. so the fact that we're not addressing this issue, the fact that we're content to keep the benefits so low that food banks and other charities have pick up the slack midway through a month, there are costs associated with that. kids who go to school hungry don't learn. people who don't have access to good nutritious foods end up with high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, the list goes on and on. to avoid solving this problem has been incredibly expensive. i can't tell you right off the bat exactly where we would find all the money. i'm just telling you by not addressing it, it's costing us a lot more. >> undoubtedly, any farm bill that would pass congress would be reconciled with congress.
given the position of the house, there is still a possibility that a farm bill that would be palatable to you could pass the bill this year? >> i think our farmers deserve the certainty of a farm bill. i'm not sure that the current bill as drafted helps farmers as much as farmers deserve to be helped. but the bottom line is, you know, i guess my answer to your question is i don't know. because, again, the host position on food and nutrition is so extreme. and it's so harmful to people in this country who are struggling in poverty. that unless they make some dramatic shifts for me, i can't support a farm bill. from the very beginning, i've said i will support a farm bill that doesn't increase hunger in america. that was my -- that was the bar i set, the line in the sand that i drew. well, you know, this bill will
increase hunger. and so let's just radical changes, i'm not sure that we can reconcile the bills. the senate, you know, again, as a very, very vastly different approach. the food and nutrition program has will be in the house. i don't know where these proposals came from maybe you get chairman conway on the program. who wrote this? surely not the people from the agriculture company. it is not the product of liberation and the agriculture committee. it's not the product of the hearings we held. the hearings we held basically said do the opposite of what we're doing in the farm bill that republicans put forward. >> switch gears a little bit and talk about syria. you have pushed for more authority resolution in the umf. that has gone nowhere for different positions -- reasons. but speaker ryan says there's no need for one. which is a different tone from speaker boehner. he didn't like the proposal that
former president obama had sent down. is this a set backwards in the congressional oversight? >> absolutely and it is. it is so disappointing to hear speaker ryan say that and now that he announced his retirement, i was hoping that maybe, you know, he would stand up and actually do the right thing on this and a whole bunch of other issues. look, congress is aggregating the constitution responsibilities by seating these, you know, war powers to the executive branch. and war is a big deal. we got to be debating it. we ought to be set the parameters of what we're talking about. and not just reacting to things. and, you know, we're in a war that seems to be a war forever in afghanistan. we're still involving iraq. we're now in syria. we're in a whole bunch of other places. and congress is just sitting back and doing nothing. you know, it is wrong. and we ought to ask the white
house for an aumf and debate it and vote on it. and if congress votes no, then that means you don't go to war. >> what its that doesn't satisfy syria? aumf's, t know how the i don't know how you can apply that to what's happening in syria. right now, with the president is lking about is the meet goes beyond it. this is beyond the purview of just go fighting terrorism. he is broadening and, look, before we start dropping bombs or sending more troops someplace, maybe we ought to talk about, you know, what we're doing and what the implications are. and, you know, where the traps might be and whether this is a good idea or a bad entered what are the alternatives? and again, you know, i blame the
white house for not coming forward with the plan. i blame congress for being gutless with not dealing with the issues of war. speaker ryan has done his best to keep any aumf legislation off the floor. well, you know what? you know, you got start thinking about the men and women who we put in harm's way. they deserve our attention. they deserve us to make sure we thoroughly vet these ideas and these initiatives before we go forward. so i -- you know, we ought to have an aumf debate. >> politically, specifically, which lawmakers are vulnerable to that vote? you said you want to protect people from that vote. >> i think within -- the majority of republicans do not an aumf ve a vote on
of any kind. they get burned with president bush on iraq and don't want to put on that situation again. it's easy to be a member of congress and when things are well, go i was there with from the beginning but when things don't go well, say i was against that from the beginning. but when you're on vote, you're on record. i'm pleading with the republican leadership to do your job. and we all should do our job. >> a lot of senator who is are looking at 2020 in the white house. don't you think they would not like to take that vote? >> maybe they don't but that's too bad. part of our job is to debate and vote on issues just like this. you don't want to do it, then you're in the wrong business. >> does this essentially result in some sort of criteria -- crisis of leadership on the republican's side? >> i have no idea what's going to happen on the republican's side. i mean, the speaker has announced he's going to retire.
i don't know who his replacement is. and, you know, to be honest with you, thapes to republicans to decide. i'm hoping we're going to win the house back. we'll be in charge. >> coming up on that for just a moment, of course, the republican leadership turmoil is now coming into the fore. the democratic party has not always been united in its own opinion on what the future direction of leadership should be, especially here on the part of some younger members who feel folks like nancy pelosi have been in power for quite a long time and maybe there could be time for a new generation. do you see regardless of who the democrats picture, any tensions or division that could possibly create some questions about the direction of the caucus going forward? >> i think we're more united than not. and as far as nancy pelosi goes, she's done an amazing job and i hope she's speaker. and i judge people on their
effectiveness and on their performance. and i've worked with older members of congress who i think have been terrific and some have who have been not so terrific. and i've worked with crourning members of congress who are extraordinary and some who are not so extraordinary. this is about effectiveness and performance and i think she's done an incredible job. >> what about the argument that she is toxic in certain districts? she sees republicans have spent millions of dollars bumming that reputation but it does force democratic candidates that literally run ads that say i won't run for her? >> paul ryan is controversial in some district. chuck consumer is controversial in some districts. mitch mcconnell is controversial in some districts. tip o'neill was being used in ads and districts against democrats. but the bottom line is, you know, that's to be expected when ou're upfront.
>> when you hear those district, you hear about a lot of the left on the democratic party. but a majority of them have a slightly different opposition. what were the character of a democratic majority in 2019 look like that would be different in how they're working on in the minority given there has to pa bigger tent? >> i watched conor lamb's race pretty closely and listen food what he has to say. he said a lot of the same things that i said in my distinct he said we need to protect medicare, the importance of unions. he talked about the importance of investing in education. those are democratic values. and so, i mean, i think our values have been consistent for years. and we may not have always
articulated them as effectly as we would like -- effectively as we would like, but i would expect if we take control, we will try to move this country in a very different direction. one that's aimed at the middle class and one that's, you know, that's not just a big giveaway to the wealthiest people in this country. there are other people who are most well connected. >> democratic leadership last summer went out to rural virginia, and announced a better deal. this is going to be your 2018 platform. it's all economy focused. there's no social issues. there's no guns, no immigration, no abortion. and there was very little mention of donald trump. is that going to continue to be the message going forward or how do you avoid talking about the president of the united states heading into 2018 considering his popularity is historically low and he's everywhere? >> again, every congressional
district is different. and i think people need to run races that are -- that are compliant with their districts. but what i've been experiencing when i travel, you know, different places and speak to different audience, whether they're liberal or conservative audiences, the concern over the president of the united states has intensified. people are concerned. they are nervous. conservatives in the congress are nervous. i mean, you know as well as i do what they say to you off the record versus on the record. they think this president is unhinged. they are frightened by his rhetoric. they are annoyed and shocked by his tweets. and they are very worried about what he's done and how he's doing to the republican party but what he's doing to this country. and i think the president does play a factor. he played a factor in our victory in pennsylvania with
conor lamb. he played a factor in the victorying in alabama. i think he's factoring an even state legislative races. he is not a popular man. and so there's a great deal of concern over him. i would expect that he will be a factor in these elections. >> spring becomes summer becomes fall becomes november. how loud does the impeachment wing of the democratic party become? >> i think the consensus is that we're going to have to wait and see what bob mueller's investigation produces and then make a decision. i mean, i think some of us are horrified by the character and the behavior of this president. i'll be very blunt with you. but there's also the political reality that, you know, impeachment is very difficult. that's the way our founders intended it. nd i think, you know, absent a strong evidence from mr. mueller that the president has violated the law or that he's colluded
with the russians. i don't think thatism movement is -- impeachment is likely. i mean, not that i've been part of. i think people keeping their poeta to drive to -- why are we having investigations? we're having them to fine out there are some -- something there. with each passing day, i believe there is something there but we have to play this out. and the republicans will say we will automatically impeach him. it is a high hurdle to impeach somebody. but if there is evidence that show this president broke the law and he engaged in conclusion with the russians, i think republicans will -- collusion with the russians. >> address a high hurdle played on you if the democrats win. >> it will, but i'm looking
forward to all the challenges that will be presented if i was to be chairman of the rules committee. i hope i can become the chairman of the rules committee. >> what will you do if the house were to flip and you pick up the gavel? >> you know what, i would like to believe that if democrats control the house, that we would run the place better, that we would be -- we would act like professionals, that we would understand that everything has to be closed. i mean, the republicans have presided over the most closed ongresss in history. and i think that's been bad for the institution and i think it's been bad for our image. i think a lot of the toxicity in congress, a lot of the resentments are based on the fact that the republican leadership has closed everything, totally. and by the way, not just they
have not just shut out democrats, they have shut out democrats as well. i can't promise that every rule is going to be an open rule but there would be a greater attempt to try to comet -- comet more members. the house -- accommodate more members. i mean, people say why don't you solve the issue with the dreamers? you know? or why condition you do something about universal background checks when it comes to guns? the reason why is because the leadership will not allow any amendments to come to the floor who address those issues. we could solve them in a nanosecond. but they have shut everybody out. >> but putting yourself in the position of the majority and this is always the classic majority. you could bring a background check for the house. you have an open debate. now the folks who got elected in the districts as democrats have to make a bunch of difficult votes that can be used in attack
ads. >> they can vote no. people need to vote their conscience of these issues. i believe we ought to have sensible gun control laws. some people don't. but here's the deal. the issue is important enough that we ought to debate it. and what democrats have suggested, what some of us have been urging the current leadership to do is let us bring our bills of the floor. you bring whatever bills you want to bring to the formula call your friends at the n.r.a. and have them draft legislation for you. let's debate it and vote on it. bring to it the floor. majority wins. that's the way it's exposed tonight. to me, that will restore some of the integrity of the institution. speaker ryan promised about a more open house. it's been the opposite. this is the most closed house in history. and that's not the a record that i want to be proud of. we need to allow more debate and we need different ideas to have
their day on the floor. and that also means we don't have to win everything. and i think if we could establish a different process, i think that would do a lot toward bringing us together and maybe we'll find more common ground on various pieces of legislation to get more done. >> you said everybody should just vote their district and conor lamb proved that with his victory in pennsylvania. but there is still this need for a national message and there is still going to be a very big presidential campaign in 2020 and there is still the bernie sanders wing versus the more traditional democratic wing. and how do you see all of a that playing out in terms of how do you unite these force where is some say oh all we have to do is adhere to our liberal issues and others say you never win a purple district with that in mind the gerrymandering comes into all of this. that message simply does not resonate.
so once you get these guys to washington, how do you mill all of that into one cohesive message and allow you to govern and pass big bills? >> i say vote your district in your conscience, whether they do it to things that i mentioned. but look, you don't have to agree to everything to agree on something. and if that something we agree on, we ought to move forward. i believe we should have assault weapons banned. a lot of people don't. well, i agree we should have universal background checks. you know? i like think to maybe we can all agree. we should have universal background checks. maybe it's not as much as i want but it would be a helpful step forward. we ought to be able to come together in some of these economic issues, strengthening pensions, to be able to -- you find common ground, ways to protect medicare and to protect social security. you know, and maybe find common ground to strengthen some of our environmental laws so that we can have a majority that actually believes that climate
change is for real. so i think there's lots of areas and we don't have to agree on every single thing. and, look, you know, i'm a liberal democrat. i couldn't get elected in west virginia. and, you know, joe probably couldn't get lented in massachusetts. but we have a lot more common than divides us. the stuff we have in common, we ought to move. the stuff we can't, we have to work out. >> now, there was a democratic congress as recently as 2010. how does a democratic congress in 2019 differ from that one? >> well, you learn from past experiences. and i think, you know, and i think we need to listen to all members and especially the new members about what works and what doesn't work. we need to pay attention to these races that we're winning in very difficult districts. and understand what messages
work and what mesms don't. but, -- messages don't. and when people talk about these big differences, between the wing and the establishment, i see a lot more in common. and some of the things we want to do may have to be done incrementally. maybe not all at once. but, you know, based on these last few months, i feel the democrats are coming home and they're more united than ever. they're fearful of the man who's in the white house. they're really men who was in the white house. they are disappointed with the dysfunction in congress. they understand congress has been complicit in the trump agenda. they want something else. hopeful that we are going to be a lot more unified than some of you guys inc.. host: representative jim mcgovern joining us on "newsmakers" this week, ranking member of the agriculture
subcommittee on nutrition. host: what did you learn from the conversation, particularly about the snap program and also the farm bill? >> the farm bill is operating on a different political context. what is striking about the democratic position is they are more united on opposition to a proposal that, in some ways, is milder than what several of them supported in 2014, when you saw actual cuts to the program. it does not necessarily make sense from the idea could -- of what could be seen as more punitive. it does make sense when you look at the political context and how people maybe looking at a farm bill passed in 2018 versus one passed in 2019. the policy is always what people are focused on, but politics looms in the background.
host: as far as the future of the farm bill, what would you say its status is? >> the farm bill now is actually fairly popular among farmers. you do not hear as much debate among farmers about the farm bill. it is always that focus about getting the bill passed. the snap for graham runs anywhere from two thirds -- the snap program runs two thirds to around 80% of the program's actual spending. this time, the debate is over where the money is spent, versus farm constituents. mcgovern talked a little bit about the aumf. were you surprised about what he said? >> no. he has been consistent over the years. it is one of the strange issues that unite liberal democrats like jim mcgovern and more libertarian-minded minds on the republican side. these guys are pushing speaker
ryan and leadership to vote on a new aumf. it never happens for the reason i think mcgovern stated which i think is correct -- it is too hard a vote for people to take. the last time it came around, it costs some people their political careers. it is never easy to vote on war. but as mr. mcgovern says, it is a constitutional responsibility. a lot of concern yesterday -- the defense secretary testified before the house armed services committee, and he said, like brian, the current aumf -- like ryan, the current aumf is fine. was a very broad response to democrats are concerned there are no constraints. and considering the volatility of this president, their is real concern. so no surprises within mr. mcgovern's responses, but it is
a debate that is not going to go away, particularly as this issue heats up. and if we start firing more missiles, it will be an issue. host: a lot of talk about the november elections. what did you gain from that? >> for all the talk you hear that it is time for nancy pelosi 70 plus leaders who have been around for 15 years -- for all of the talk of the younger generation overthrowing them, there is still a lot of support for them in congress among guys like mcgovern. nancy is a trueblue liberal. guys like mcgovern support that. they like her tenacity. they like everything about her, her fundraising, her work ethic. it is unimpeachable in their minds. they will continue to fight for her. also worth mentioning nancy pelosi just nominated jim mcgovern for the ranking spot in the rules committee. he is coming off a big victory
that has a lot to do with nancy pelosi, so he will not flow her under the bus 48 hours later. that said, she has an enormous fan base within the democratic caucus. a lot will depend on november. how many seats to they flip, do they win the house? not only that, are there are enough seats there to bring nancy pelosi back into the fold? >> mike lillis covers congress for the hill. erga covers the article culture department and related issues for bloomberg news. thanks for joining us on "newsmakers." [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> tonight on "q&a," hoover institute senior fellow and ferguson on his book "the square and the tower." >> what is striking to me when i interact with these groups is not their power but often their sense of powerlessness.
if you think about the events of 2016, just to take an example, not many members of the supposed world government planned that britain would vote to leave the european union and that donald trump would become president of the united states. donald trump is definitely not someone who gets invited to those meetings. then -- for example, take the financial crisis, the events of 2008. 2008e sat in a meeting in saying what we really need for the world government is a massive financial crisis. >> "q&a" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> on separate days this past week, mark zuckerberg, ceo of facebook, testified before senate and house committees concerning the connection to cambridge analytica and access to user data. we begin with mr. zuckerberg's appears before a joint hearing of the senate judiciary and