tv Rep. Adam Schiff Sen. Roy Blunt Speaker Paul Ryan at Baker Hostetler... CSPAN May 18, 2018 12:15am-1:26am EDT
to white supremacy in the south. >> watch c-span six city tour of selma, alabama, saturday at 5:30 p.m. eastern and sunday at 1:30 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. >> congressmanadam schiff is the lead democrat on the house intelligence committee. he along with house speaker paul ryan and a missouri senator sat down to talk about some of the issues congress is working on. this was part of a legislative seminar hosted by the law firm baker hostettler.
>> we are going to get started off this morning. there's never much going on in washington these days. people from around the country say "hausa going in washington?" it's not old. more and more folks are on twitter. i'm delighted you are here. this morning, the president tweeted out. i would love to get your reaction. "congratulations, america. the greatester of witchhunt in american history, still no collusion and no obstruction. the only was done by democrats unable to win on election day, despite spending far more money.
he is for spring -- referring to special counsel robert mueller through the anniversary of the special counsel's work. one of the leading democrats in the house, the ranking democrat on the subcommittee of intelligence, involved in these conversations. what's your reaction to the president's tweets this morning. whenever he calls the mueller investigation a witchhunt, i always think of, because i literally represent hollywood. the scene in monty python where they seminole which by laying them and comparing it to a dock. that's rudy giuliani's role, making that kind of an argument. investigation is now one year ongoing. former assistant u.s. attorney, prosecutor of he has movedcrime,
with breathtaking speed, when you consider the number, type of indictments, they conduct the investigation. you compare that is not just to cases that you -- when you compare that not just a kiss as you might be familiar with, but other congressional special counsel investigate -- not just cases you might be familiar with, but other special counsel investigations, there were two in benghazi, one on a bipartisan basis by the house intelligence committee, debunked conspiracy theories about benghazi, and a second done by the subcommittee on benghazi, very partisan. total of those eight investigations in congress , its own investigation took about 3.5 years. in the 3.5 years, the only indictment produced was a
serious one, but thanks to the congress, was of those terrorists involved in that attack. the contrast is striking. time, the campaign -- the president had been indicted, -- for the campaign had been indicted, others have been indicted and pled guilty, and one of the president's few advisers had been indicted and pled guilty. there almost daily revelations about new people under investigation or in which there are deeply disturbing allegations or evidence of wrongdoing. i can understand why it seems like it might be -- a lot for the president. is, in terms of a complex white-collar criminal investigation, which is what this is, it's quite -- things
move quite rapidly. think bob mueller, who i've , from his daysme of fbi director, is one of the asked prosecutors. think he has run his investigation flawlessly command i have great confidence he is thoroughness that the allegations deserve. >> there's so many lanes, areas of this investigation that you are touching on. where do you think this is going? how does this story end? >> good question. there have been statements in the last 24 hours by rudy giuliani that he was assured by the justices that they would adhere to a certain policy. i think mr. giuliani has demonstrated that you can't rely day today on representation made by the president's defense
lawyers. would expect it's probably the case. there's nothing constitutionally that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. there are good reasons to believe that even if bob mueller found evidence of criminality on the president's part, he would that thely to decide proper way to treat that would that trust people in -- part of the country. the deputy ag, rod rosenstein. rod would have the responsibility of deciding what report, whicht makes them a key figure in all of this. i think while the country role,tands bob mueller's they will -- robert mueller's role, they will understand rob rosenstein's, which puts him at risk. he has two decisions to make. what is the scope
of bob mueller's investigation? be fired,ller can replaced by someone who would do the presidents fitting. that person can hobble the mueller investigation and we wouldn't know it's. of equal significance, when bob mueller makes a report to the justice department, the attorney general is refused -- the deputy ag makes the decision of what to do with it. that report contains evidence of criminality, the part of the president of the united states. does it go to congress? does it get released to the public? doesn't get buried? this is why his role is so important. i can't tell you where we are headed, because i don't know all the facts about mueller. share of thenow a
facts, which i find it deeply disturbing, but the investigation -- we have been allowed to do, this committee by being able to follow the facts. there are still significant missing pieces. just to give you a quick illustration, george inadopoulos was informed april 2 thousand 16, the russians had thousands of stolen emails. this timing is significant, because it is before the clinton campaign knows that russians have stormy males. the trump campaign finds out about this before the clinton campaign. kudos george w's share this information with? who else on the campaign knows about this? doesn't inform the meeting in trump tower? is it the reason they took the meeting? is it because when they got the mail, they were disappointed that they were aware of the fact that the russians had deeply damaging information? these are questions mueller was
-- on our committee we must find out, but they wouldn't allow us. it's hard to say. it's hard to escape the sense that there are more surprises to come. you, work -- recommend to because it's riveting and also very telling, in terms of what we are going through is a small cast -- podcast called "slow burn." it basically is like today. you will see the most incredible similarities between what we are going through. >> a lot of lawyers in the room. former federal prosecutor here. did you see the mind of the former print -- federal prosecutor questioning?
i would not like to be there while he is not -- he is questioning me. thank you for not questioning me. bobalk around this issue of mueller, possibly interviewing .he president could be facing a near-term constitutional issue. been speculation about whether they will interview the president. president doesn't want to be interviewed by bob mueller. he issued a subpoena for that. court.estion reaches the i don't know if you think that is likely or not. it onthat decision if whether mueller wants to ask president trump about things that happened before he was president? have you thought those things through? it's my view that if the president fights a
subpoena -- there are distinctions between the current circumstances in which a subpoena was using the president's testimony during the investigation, not during the trial. i'm not for documents or tapes. you can distinguish these from the facts of cases involving sin, but those look largely like distinctions without a difference. one case a civil case, another criminal. strongly in favor of compliance with the subpoenas. if they fight his, the white house loses. they fight whether this has little to do with whether they expect to win or lose. it's more to do with whether they expect they will have a in a fit from fighting it, and the delay that would accompany fighting it. there's probably more. are we better off trying this ,ut with a fight over subpoena
because we can continue to pound on the special counsel, found on how long the investigation is taking, even though we are responsible for the delay? --s theme is demonstrated two positions at the same time, with breathtaking capability. i think they will look at it that way. not who is likely to lose, but rather, are they going to have a system for the fight and delay, additional time to which -- in which to undermine an investigation. from mike point of view, they have a lot of help on the hill. the justice department, impeaching the credibility of people in law enforcement, it's a scorched earth tactic that will do long damage for those institutions. subpoena may the
be a consistent part of that strategy. tear down the institution, elevate the fight, make it a partisan issue, and one of the benefits of this from the president's point of view is, i believe, that the president may feel that there is nothing worse than a route -- allowing rob mueller to continue this investigation. -- the investigation. the search of michael:, the issues that have come up as a result of that, the seeming never end of legal trouble. if you can discredit the fbi, the justice department, it works not only for russia, but whatever else they find. they find may be the greater concern for the president. about thealk intelligence committee. we are in an important election year.
congress and others have said that there is perhaps a good chance that democrats will regain a majority in the house in this years election. would love to get your thoughts on that. if democrats win a majority in the house this year, you presumably would take over as chairman of the intelligence committee, an important post to do things for the country. what are the first things you would do if you became chairman? you've seen from the ranking member position, where you have an important opportunity to discuss things. it's obviously not the same as chairman. how would you agree shift priorities of the housing committee? would do is thing i restore the committee, which has been badly damaged over the last year and a half.
and, reestablish a good working relationship. the good news is about a committee, not inherent from the outside, is that even among the worst of times in terms of our theerences over prussia, russia related work of the committee has gone on in a nonpartisan way. not that chairman nunez and i ever discussed this and said we need to compartmentalize -- compartmentalize our differences, but i think we both recognize that implicitly. today for example, i will have to rush out, because we have a hearing on china. world,ge in the cyber and in other realms. that work has gone on. nonetheless, some of the actions of the committee have been deeply damaging to our relationship with the intelligence community.
that will have to be fixed. a long-term project, but among the most damaging in terms of our committee's relationship with the intelligence committee was the nunez mamma -- memo. it was the first time this of skier house rule was used to selectively declassified in a very misleading way, certain intelligence we have received. now, it was one problem that this was deeply misleading. it was different that it was newer than intelligence we were given. there was a bargain between the intelligence committees and communities, that you share with us your deepest secrets and we will handle them responsibly, we will use them for oversight. we will hold those secrets in confidence, respect the process, protect sources. that was finally did by the
publication of this memo. -- violated by the publication of this memo. we are obligated -- they are obligated to answer questions, in some cases to share intelligence with us. of course, that's a standard that is highly subjective. it depends on having the confidence of knowing what to share with us. deal with that in a nonpartisan and respectful way. i wouldn't want to focus on .ebuilding that relationship in terms of the russia investigation, i think we want to see, what has been done by the time next year starts? what has been time -- done in the senate? what remains undone? i do not think we can prejudge what that will mean, but those
are the questions we should be asking. on the foreignme affairs committee, have been involved in different foreign affairs issues, very knowledgeable and active on that front over the years. korea.to touch on north this is bouncing around it seems. and tweetingeying and statements by different members, both of our leadership and kim jong-un's leadership. where is this going? how do you think this plays itself out. do you have big concerns or are you confident this good and well? its positive and rather a dramatic change of events that we are at even talking about having talks, a summit. we are obviously in a far different place than a matter of months ago.
the nuclear button. think it's positive that there is a window -- i think it's positive that there is a window to see the different relationship established, and possible move -- to move along the path of denuclearization. that being said, negotiations and north korea are fraught. the north koreans play -- no one can go into this process .hinking it's going to be easy fact that -- over the we weren't immediately going to war with north korea, and the north korean dictator was speaking in a different way than months ago. looks like it's really going to happen. the council was against that. the events of the past 48 hours.
-- they will build up expectations, they will attempt to leverage what they can get before negotiations. once you are in negotiations, they will use a variety of tactics to get the economics in before they can put anything on the table. it's going to be difficult, it's going to take time, and it's going to need the most rigorous verification of anything with north korea's track record. i'm concerned in particular about one thing. that is having walked away from the iran agreement. a kim jong-un recognizes that -- i think kim jong-un recognizes our president may need this. we had to nuclear problems now instead of one.
it may be why we see this otherwise inexplicable statement from the president. -- how was this written? violating the iran and north korea agreement sanction. we talked about violating those agreements and sanctions, and what they are doing about it. we also found on a bipartisan trust the we cannot technologies, to be used -- so why on earth would the president say in a 100 degrees, 80 degree change of attitude, we should help because otherwise they will lose jobs? such a statement. this may have to do with meeting
china on north korea as it has anything to do with trade. me that if the president is desperate enough to get an agreement with north weeks,within a matter of completely reverse course on this -- chinese bad actor. yes. what kind of agreement would he expect with north korea? it's consistent. this is not the hallmark of this administration, but they will insist upon it denuclearization regime stricter than with iran. difficult and high bar. that out ofed desperation to get something with north korea, that we get
the appearance of a deal, of denuclearization, without the reality of it. me turn it to the internal democratic pot -- party politics. democratschance the will be in the majority of the house in this year's election. a lot of democrats have talked about how there's a generation havemocratic leaders who come a potential leaders who have been stymied by the current leadership of the democratic party in the house, leaders who have been there for a number of years, some of whom will be with us later today. i will chat with them about that as well. how do you feel like that lack of turnover and leadership, democrats in the house, how has that impacted that next run of potential leaders, potential
future leaders. -- leaders? you are a ranking member, but talking about moving up in the ranks when that current leadership generation, retires or moves on, house -- how does that affect the next generation? >> i might be in an atypical situation. really brought on by leader pelosi in the sense that when i became a ranking member on the intel committee, i was not a senior member, or next, or next. i think she has looked for try to move up to leadership, try to essentially develop the team for the next .eneration of leadership i'm obviously grateful for that.
will be generational change i am sure. it's just a question of when that takes place. i will say this. i hope we take back the house, and leader pelosi is our speaker. when people don't get to see is what aer pelosi masterful job she does of keeping the most diverse and disparate caucus -- congress together on one page. donald trump -- helps us with unity, but nonetheless, when you are in the majority, -- minority, struggling to fend off things that are that you consider deeply antagonistic to , it splinters -- it's easy to form a firing squad and be at each other's throats as a party. we have stayed completely
unified, and it's largely because of her leadership. we are positioning to take back the house largely because of her leadership. that generational change takes place, whoever occupies going totion next is realize just how dam difficult of a job that is. industry.e a cottage i think this cycle in the absence of real legislative achievements to run on, they're falling back on nancy pelosi. that didn't work in pennsylvania. i don't think it's going to work as a general matter. alternatives, because there's not much for them for running on.
i don't think at the end of the day, it's going to affect her leadership, or how voters perform at the polls. i'm increasingly optimistic about november. but i think is going to determine the results in november is turnout. we debate within both parties, how much of a campaign is focused on persuasion, how much is focused on turnout. i don't think there's a question about what the result is going turnout. there was a fascinating article about one of our leaders that circulated recently. it said that the gent -- general election campaigns don't work tomore, that we are vulcanized and pulverized a nation, that you can't persuade people to vote against party anymore.
you can do persuasion , notigning in a primary asking people to choose between parties, but in the general election, it's diminishing returns, not worth it. the strategy has to be turning people out. i think there's a lot of merit to that sadly. the most crosscutting problem of all that her country is facing now and going forward, we now get our information from different places. we live in a different information world. i wish i could tell you what we could do about that, but it's not the problem most people think it is. everyone gets civics education. civicst like they teach in some parts of the country, not others. it's what happens after, when we now inhabit one station or
another. americans get their news from social media, algorithms design our newsfeed and tail -- and taylor to what we want to hear. it's making life very difficult. that's a big challenge. is,long and short of it nancy pelosi is going to be our speaker. i think she is the best. i support her. second,king for a close you have a hard time finding a close second for someone with her capabilities. >> jim clyburn will be with us today. i'll ask about the article. last question. you've got a crazy schedule. we appreciate you making time to be here. who is your favorite republican in the house and why?
>> my favorite republican in the house. looking for -- >> looking for a bright spot. >> cold. i think he is as smart as they come. both strong on policy and politics. ability. his i think if there were more in congress like him, we would be far more productive to get things done. it would be a far less partisan place. list.ld be on my there are quite a lot of others that i really enjoy working with, had a great working relationship with. i could happily give you a much longer list. >> but we don't have time. let me think -- helps me thank congressman adam schiff for being with us today.
in spite of you. [laughter] >> mrs. ferguson, probably why? just his internship offer. 's and the our next get -- guest. of theice chairman senate republican conference. number four elected republican leadership position in the senate. he is the senior member of the appropriations committee, as well as chairman of the oncommittee that is focused general health care and just -- education and labor programs. senator blunt previously served in the house. he was the majority whip. i serve on his team. we worked on lots of things together. there's nobody i learned more me it was a great opportunity for me to learn from
one of the masters. we have weeklies -- weekly conference meetings. each member of her leadership would have an opportunity to talk about what's going on. wastimes you didn't feel it a best use of your time. there were other things you needed to do. was goingt roy blunt to have something important and interesting to say, and that would make my week better. we are delighted he has made time from his scheduled to be with us here today. on theoned your work appropriations committee. you worked on the hhs buzz -- budget. the secretary is pushing a series of reforms that president trump laid out last week. trying to walk a fine line.
seemingly trying to walk a fine line between reducing prescription drug prices. not trying to have innovation for what's going on in the world. congressional republicans seem ok. >> we had the secretary in. he called me right before the presidencies announcement. mr. gottlieb, the fda, maybe the two best people we've ever had running those organizations, in
terms of their preparation to get there. it's complicated. he understand. areaifference in that between that has gotten better .ver the last two years it's bigger on one side than people would think. you have to, and advertising, put your list price out there, for people who will say it will have an impact. this has been developed overnight. the one thing we don't want to lose is the innovation opportunity. congresswomancy
delora on the other side, 12 years of no increase in. nih funding has made that a priority over the last three years. generally, but we know about the human genome. euro body has a lot of what you need to fight off. they take a pill every day to enhance back. i think it's an important time. i think he's a great person. >> do you see the president's plans as more of an administration play affecting regulatory structure.
>> a lot of the drug pricing is driven by the biggest purchaser of drugs, which is the federal government. minimal how much of that requires medicare and medicaid changes as much as it requires changes. the president laid this out as a campaign promise. i'm sure like a lot of campaign promises, it's a lot more complicated than you would think. it doesn't work out quite that well or that easily. i think they happen to put a team together for those two agencies. hhs and h a a, that would be
likely to get something significant. they have a responsibility to publicly report about it as well as privately. >> you mentioned your work with the hearing today, nih. an election year. you and i both know that it's tough to legislate an election year. .ou aren't appropriate or appropriations have to happen every year. it's more difficult than others. .hat do you expect there's midterm elections coming out. a lot of those concerned about races this year. what you see them might get done this year. perhaps in a lame-duck.
what -- i don't think i'm going to see this is ground leaking -- a groundbreaking legislative year. what happened last year, usually the congressional review act. it was 2001. that was the only time it's ever been used until this year. 15 times last year. one time this year, reversed regulations already being proposed. is obviously a huge legislative accomplishment. we aren't going to do anything like that this year. what we need to do this year was just somehow break out of this into howon we've got we spend people's money and publicly debate that. workven't had this process in the right way for almost a decade now.
both senator mcconnell and senator schumer are saying all the right thing. the main work of congress was to decide how to spend the money. you directed the administration by that. you did it pretty specifically. that horrible term. to decide howob to spend the money, and the president's job to execute that , the executive branch, not the decision-making branch. .e need to get back to that i think we are going to try harder. budgets out that aren't needlessly controversial, in terms of legislative issues involved, and try to get that to .here 10 years ago
one of these 12 bills and maybe a couple at a time to the floor. member of the house and senate could make any amendment they want, as long as they had an amendment that applied to that bill, and they paid for it if it was spending by producing some other line. if we can get that, that would be the single biggest legislative accomplishment we told make to get back patterns people understood again. >> a handful of folks who served in both the house and senate like you. who hasbecome anybody served in the leadership of the house and of the senate as you have. that's got to give you a unique perspective on how the body's work together, don't work together. can you reflect on that for a minute? >> there's two people in the history of the country who are
elected leaders in both places. it could be part of it. we would do this again in the other legislative side of the building. i just heard adam talk about this. the relationships are better than you think. in our committee -- incorporating committee, as you take defense off the table of discretionary spending, there's still a 11 committees the committee i chair has one third of the money. we justnondefense, and have to -- have disproportionate influence.
three or four things we can't agree to. the -- the four of us had to figure at how to work house and senate. we have to figure out what those priorities are, and i think we have been. and age increase in the last three years. we have eliminated a combined 32 programs. we zeroed a bunch of them out. they weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing to prioritize at this unique moment. $7 billion. nih resources.
this is going to be our priority . there's a conclusion that this is the right time. that makes things worse. everybody -- what people learn in their civics class, anything that comes along -- along, almost none of that happens. the senate, house passed bills. they try to come up with a compromise that goes back to this.
and we have fallen into this terrible moment that i i believe we may be about to get out of where people would actually run for office, if i don't get exactly what i want, i'm not going to be part of anything else, which is a guaranteed definition that you're going to fail. in a democracy you are not supposed to get exactly what you want because it's not a democracy. i have never voted for a perfect bill. i have voted for a couple perfect bills but i have never -- [laughter] >> you told me a video you introduce was perfect. >> i thought was better than wobbly what finally turn out to be the case, but i've never voted for a bill that couldn't be better. we somehow, police have temporarily lost in many peoples minds that part of how the system is supposed to work. >> let me give it to the international scene. you and i travel to israel together. a big week in israel, big news
with the establishment, moving of the embassy, u.s. embassy to jerusalem. obviously very popular in some quarters, and very unpopular in other quarters, controversial, violence we're seeing in some places obviously. how do you see that? what are your thoughts on that? how does that play into what we all hope is a peace process that achieves some sort of peace longer-term in the middle east in that very, very volatile region? >> i am pretty supportive of the president's process on even more supportive of the goals that he's trying to achieve. i think what we have here is, after eight years of a government that largely viewed the united states as if it should conduct itself like we're any other country in the world, the results of that, which are lots of things, really gets in a dangerous situation.
now, three administrations are responsible for where we are in korea, but some frank talk about korea, some sense that we're not going to let korea become a nuclear power and prepared to do whatever it may take to prevent that made a difference. same thing in iran. in israel, i was there, that was the tribute i were on. i was her when they were turning gas over to the palestinians, and sharon was the leader maybe if anybody could get this done, sharon is the guy who might be able to get it done but a member -- i remember we were down at the border watching the movement back and forth of the turnover in august of the year that happen. so gaza is part of the problem, and uncontrolled part of the
so-called palestinian authority. as it relates to the embassy, overwhelming votes year after year in the congress to move the embassy to jerusalem. and every president has said they were for that. there's only so long you can continue say you are for something and people believe you might actually before it can tell you have to do something. we all would've wished that would've been a better way to handle the gaza border, but there is no country in the world that he get all kinds of people trying to rush across your border armed, and unarmed, you wouldn't do something about that. i think the president clearly has a set of fresh eyes on these problems, and in foreign-policy there were a lot of patterns,
particularly that developed over the last decade, that needed to be broken and they think he's broken the pattern. >> he has broken the pattern on a lot of things. >> i'm on the intel committee and we spent, north korea has been the biggest single issue we have dealt with on that committee for almost three years now. and seeing what was happening in, the last year of the obama administration clearly, this new guy, you know, a person who has, might act impulsively but clearly has a lot of confidence in himself and his ability to command the world attention and manipulate the press, sounds like another guy that we know. so be interesting to see what happens. summit the singapore
will occur next month, and hopefully the president is prepared to walk away if you don't achieve the number one goal here, which is the absolute denuclearization of north korea. and we were foolish to let iran get in a situation where they could become a nuclear state and have it approved by the rest of the world within the next decade. >> we are bumping up against the time you promised us. lightning more question, 15 seconds. the senate as the house is full of a cast of characters really interesting folks. who is the most interesting u.s. senator that you served with? senator.teresting that question open. >> they are all pretty interesting.
>> and impossible to pick one. >> it is. i was talking to actually senator hirono from hawaii and i were working on an adoption issue the other day. we were talking, i was looking up at the senate floor and i thought, and i said to her, i said there is so much talent to get i said you might come and i said you might pick five people here that are not all that talented, but it is all right, >>let's hear that list. [laughter] >> but there's so much talent here it is such a shame we're not taking full advantage of it, and i do think, now, i had good across the line relationships in the house, the democrat with, steny hoyer, they got i certainly dealt with the most, what am i really close friends. we didn't vote together very often but i do think senate the relationships are closer because there are so few of you and because the senate rules, you always have to have some interparty ability to get things done. i do think people are little
more cautious about a limit dating relationships in the senate. in the house with 435 people you can make the decision, there are 200 or 100 people and just never going to talk to, to get away with that i guess. but you cannot do that in the senate. it would be hard. >> one hundred people, so interesting that you can't pick just one. that's how we summative. senator roy blunt, thank you for being with us here today. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> i'm paul. [laughter] i'm about to introduce paul.
as you all know, congressman paul ryan is the 54th speaker of the house. he is now serving his tenth and final term in the house. he represents wisconsin's first congressional district. he previously served as chairman of the house ways and means committee and chairman of the house budget committee. he is one of the most thoughtful and respected members of the house on either side of the aisle. folks who agree with him or disagree with him appreciate his integrity, his attention to detail, his concern and care about policy. and we're delighted and honored that he has once again made time to spend time with us. please welcome paul ryan. [applause]
>> so you made your announcements last month. you said you wanted to run right through the tape, which means even though you are retiring at the end of this term, that you're going to keep working as you can to make sure you get everything done that you can possibly get done. what are you going to try to do before you leave the house at the end of the and the speakership? >> basically complete a better wage and many of you may know we ran on a specific coherent agenda in 2016. we showed the country this is the engine we would enact it given a unified government. where more than two-thirds the way to doing it but we have more to do. part of that agenda was our infrastructure bills. the faa bill which is air travel, airports. that's done out of the house waiting for the senate to pick that up. we are working on the water bill, water infrastructure bill and then a permitting belt after that. and then our workforce agenda. that was the last component of
the better way agenda. that is career technical education reform, education reform, and welfare to work. that bill is on the floor right now introducing a requirement for job training requirement to able-bodied people on food stamps that do not have small kids. we have 12 million able-bodied adults right in our communities. who don't have small kids, or working age who are not working, not looking for work or not in school. so we really want to focus on getting them on the ladder of life, getting them in the economy, income into the workforce, getting them in school. so the bill that's on the floor now says that cohort, to that group of people you've got to put 20 hours of work in or look for a job or go to school and we will cover the cost of it, to get you from welfare to work. we've had two pilot projects, one in maine and one in kansas that did this and it was phenomenally successful. people ended up nearly doubling
the income within a year by going into careers and jobs. so with tight labor markets like we have right now, which a good problem to have, we want to focus on closing that opportunity gap and the skills gap. so that and then starting the appropriations process. i think the budget process is very dysfunctional. we have a new committee set up between the cell -- house and the senate to come up with the new process but in the meantime we would like to get out appropriations bills through and with a plan in the senate and the newly invigorated senate appropriations chairman to actually get some of our appropriations work done. that is a a pretty big list of to do for the rest of the summer. i want to make sure we keep our majority. i feel good about that but the speaker of the house spends a lot of time on the road basically one of the reasons why i'm going to move on, having been there 20 years and a 13,
14, 16 year old at home when you're only home basic one and have days a week, sundays and part of saturday. it's not the right life stage of life for me. >> we met 20 some years ago when you were working for jack kemp and we were young twentysomethings add a few years later we both elected to congress. but ever since i've known you, you live and breathe tax reform. this is something that is animated you since the first day i met you. did the passage of the tax bill factor into your decision? >> it did. it gave me a sense of contentment and pride. it's the first issue i worked on as a policy person when i was a staff economic policy analyst for jack kemp. it's the issue i've worked on the most. it's what i became chair of the ways and means committee to do . getting that once in a generation tax refund on which i really believe fundamentally reset the foundation of our economy in a very strong and profound way, getting that accomplishment. also the poverty agenda i've
been fighting for, that's in law now. the opportunity zone which we use, enterprise zones, that's done, that's in law. what we call the conservative free-market approach to solving communities,or we've advanced that ball very, very far. i am going to list and checked off a lot of things i came here to do. i became gravely concerned for the state of our military and the readiness crisis at this sequester presents, brought us to. and i really wanted to focus on getting the military into a place to be rebuilt and that's done as well. the one thing that got away is entitlement reform, health care and retirement reform. discretionary spending today is lower than what was eight years ago, even after we did this budget to rebuild the military. the military budget is still
smaller today than it was eight years ago. that isn't the culprit. culprit on debt is entitlements, particularly health-care entitlements. i'm proud house passed its bill to reform two of the three health-care entitlements regrettably, it failed by a vote in the senate. that's the one that kind of got away. not for the lack of the house acting or moving, but because all those other things that came to do i've gotten done, and at, you know my family, you know my kids, i want to be a full engaged dad. that's kind of why that did help to make the decision, made the decision easy. >> i told you this the day you you know my family, you know my announced your going to retire from the house. you've got three teenagers. i have four teenagers. i did it. -- i get it. teenagers need that. -- dad. their ideal weekend is not spending time with you. >> speak for yourself, paul. my teenagers love hanging out
with me for every second. >> they were not teenagers when i do the job with all of these great weekends where was all of us. humbling, isn't it? >> let me talk another policy. president announced his plan for reducing the cost of prescription drugs last week. what role do you see for congress in this process? is there a congressionally? -- congressional play? the president talked a lot of regulatory and executive action. hard legislative these days. >> we very much believe in article one. [laughter] we write the laws. i'm sure there's permitting, fda reform i think is important. speeding up the transmission of approvals. that's very important. we are working between the commerce committee and the judiciary committee on a compromise on getting the generics online faster after
have expired. i think there are things we can do in that area. the president talked about rebates getting passed on. that something a lot of people talk about making a difference. but what we don't want to do is get in the realm of price controls that lead to scarcities or violating property rights and -- intellectual property rights. that means we won't have the kind of research and develop an -- development and innovation that we've enjoyed and that we're expecting to have two cure -- to have cure all of these diseases. >> you are a free trader. you made a mark on that and have been an outspoken free trader, a great advocate for free trade over your career. president trump's record on that in rhetoric of that is more of a mixed bag. is not the traditional republican orthodoxy on trade. is the republican party changing?
is the president leading a part of that change in the republican party? how do you see this? >> our party is big party, and there are different views on trade. no two ways about it. what i'm trying to do is get us to where we all have consensus. when we have consensus is ongoing after unfair trade practices where people or countries are violating the rules they agreed to play by. intellectual property theft, dumping, transit shipping. most of that is china. so i think we should focus on the abuses of the rules. china entered the wto. they are violating not just the spirit but the rules. we should all people to account. because free trade works if it is done in a rules-based system where rules are followed and applied or in force. -- enforced.
so that is the right thing to do because you don't have a rules-based traits system then it doesn't work. i think that makes more sense than a mercantilism approach where you're trying to sort of prop up industries or raise prices for temporary protection. that never really works. that's why for instance, i didn't like the 232. i'm glad they really slammed it down, exempted allies and more focus on surgical approaches to the actual abusers and set -- instead of raising the prices for market protection. i think they are getting in a much better place. i would love to see them get a nafta deal done right now so that we can vote on it this year. i can set the deadline, the loss of the deadline. how longot is clear on it takes to process a trade agreement once it's been agreed to. we could process it by the end of the year. i don't know that's going to
happen. it would be nice if it did happen. so we could have napped in hand. -- nafta in hand. nafta was written before the internet existed, before we had this amazing potential for north american energy market. so there's a great upside to having a new and improved nafta but it needs to be new and improved. it would be wonderful if we could get that done now. if not then it would just take longer time. i think people are nervous that the next government might change and change their attitude. our hope and focus is to focus on the countries that are actually abusing the rules and not playing by the rules so we can hold them accountable. >> let me pivot to internal republican politics in the house. you said that you want leadership elections to figure out who the next leaders of the republican conference in house, you want those to be after the november elections rather than during this year somehow.
we both know that leadership elections are perhaps the most unpleasant thing you do with as -- you deal with as a member of congress. it's just friends against friends. why do you want those elections to be pushed back until after the november elections? >> that is the schedule. that's the normal course of business. that's how it always works. it's not like a change from the rules. it's just sticking with the procedures. you always have leadership elections after the election. that how we do things. and to introduce the leadership election in the middle of a legislative session when you're trying to finish your java your agendaof completing your would not you want your stride. it could take weeks if not months, like you say, interpersonal fights which when we are trying to close our agenda and get our work done, it's the wrong time to have that kind of drama. that's why none of us think it's a good idea.
i think kevin mccarthy should succeed me. i have not been cagey about that. any good leader of an organization wants to repair his succession plan. so i'm in the middle with kevin of trying to prepare a secession -- succession plan pending things over him. that's why we're teaming up this summer to crisscross the country map of house republicans to make sure that our majority is in good hands, is well-funded and that we have a seamless transition. that takes time to do and what we don't want to do is have some kind of an ugly fight in the middle of summer while we are completing our agenda. some people suggested, let's get the leadership elections over with so we get the fall election with that finished. but you have a different view . >> only because it's not that easy. it's not the one election because the other elections that get opened up. you basically have a free-for-all.
thato mention the fact more people on the field raising funds for a majority means more funds for our majority which helps us keep our majority. always been one of the most optimistic people that i know. you are always thinking about the bright side of things. there can be a lot of things to be pessimisticto about. politics is tough. some folks will say, it is increasingly partisan and divided country. what are the things you're most optimistic about when you think about your 20 year career in the house and the things you have accomplished. that's kind of looking backwards. in terms of looking forward, what keeps you optimistic. >> i'm optimistic. i do worry about 21st century technology, identity politics.
we are becoming more divided. that, i feel of very good about our economy. i feel very good about the state of our military and where it is headed. i feel that we're getting our fundamentals right. we will get entitlement reform. we will because we must. i don't think that the people want a single payer government run and rationed health care system. we have made some good incremental progress on that front. i feel confident that we will get there. the point being, i think we'll have another great american century and the reason that's so good is because we're leading the world in freedom and opportunity and self-determination in the form of government and that's a good thing. so i'm actually very optimistic, the fact that kids coming out of college will have great careers to choose from. we have wages going up, economic growth, we have businesses coming back to the country. we have investment occurring. so, i see a very good foundation for the economy.
i see a strengthened foreign policy because we are strengthening our military. so, i think a lot of the key fundamentals are in place. i do believe that ultimately we're going to have to get health care fixed and get an entitlement issue, but one or two basics and there's no stopping us. immigration, we're dealing with that as well. but, a couple of big issues that have got to get fixed and will get fixed because they have to get fixed and i think we are going to be just fine. >> you mentioned immigration and i've got to ask you about the discharge petition, more and more republicans signing onto that. things -- thing happens from time to time. obviously we don't like discharge positions and we think it loses the floor. and nothing guaranteed to go into law. it would provide a vote, but the issue would be dead and wouldn't go anywhere. so, we're working with our members to address the votes that they're looking for, but to do it in such a way where we can have a shot at law.
something the president would sign and we've had productive meetings with our members in the last 24 hours. i feel we can go in the right direction, address the concerns that our members have in this very big, broad conference that we've got. and do it in such a way that we get closer to law and not just make some kind of a point. >> there are-- i know i speak for a lot of people. certainly people here and across the country. millions of people who are deeply, deeply appreciative of the sacrifices you've made, your family have made, your wife and kids made for you to serve the way you serve, particularly to serve as speaker of the house which you describe as incredibly time consuming, all consuming and we are deeply, deeply appreciative both of your service to the country and for your willingness to share your thoughts and time with us today. speaker of the house, paul ryan. [laughter] -- [laughter]