tv Washington Journal Rep. Paul Tonko CSPAN June 16, 2018 12:30am-1:02am EDT
>> next week, the justice department inspector general will be on capitol hill to discuss the findings of his report on the fbi and their actions are during the 2016 presidential election. he will we appearing before the senate judicial committee alongside is for rate. -- the fbi director christopher wray. you can watch that live monday at 2 p.m. eastern here on c-span. up next, more reaction to the inspector general report released by the justice with new york congressman paul tonko. he talks about the legislative agenda in congress. then a look at efforts to improve postal service operations. later, minnesota representative tom amer talks about conduct by the fbi and justice department, and upcoming midterm elections. continues -- "washington journal"
continues. host: we welcome back congressman paul tonko. thank you very much for being with us. guest: my pleasure. great to join you and your viewers. host: let's begin with the ig report and your reaction. guest: i think it shows there was no bias as it played into decisions made. the inspector general has great credibility and integrity. it did show, if anything, that then director comey made efforts that there wasct a trump administration that now has proved to have some merit as opposed to sharing with the public the investigation on then candidate clinton, which then proved there was nothing. it speaks to the fact that the department needs to be independent and not political and pretty much substantiates
that. host: moving ahead, what changes need to be made, if any? guest: i think we will learn a lot from these investigations with regard to meddling in our elections and i feel we will go forward with improvements that can be done and make certain that with any investigation, that there are laws that are followed. if there are people that break that bit of regulation, that guide, the ethical quality of the department, they should be removed, as they have with any agents that may have proven less than honorable. host: you worked for hillary clinton when she served in the u.s. senate. do you think james comey's decision altered, influence, affected the election? guest: i think you could argue it had an impact and in such a -- itelection, i think
causes a little concerned. you move forward and make certain that we work to make certain that good policy and great initiatives are the effort here so that america can grow and people can be treated justly and fairly and that we are a shining beacon for the world. that let me put two issues are front and center in the house. first, the immigration debate coming up next week. what is it going to look like and how do you deal with the children of illegal immigrants now separated, 1400 now living in a former walmart in texas? guest: let me state i think it is an embarrassment to america to be treating these families as we are. separating families seems so un-american. you can see the videos or the photographs of two-year-olds weeping as their mom is carried away. guest: the white house says they
host: -- the white house says they should not becoming here illegally. guest: these people are seeking asylum, escaping violence. it may be gang wars, domestic violence, these children should have a haven. these families should have asylum and they are not doing anything illegal. i think just the fact that you would torture children this way, rip them out of the arms of their parents is an awful image to share with the world. we are better than that. in terms of legislation, the majority has said they have come to a consensus. what does that mean? we were not part of that. the consensus must be within the own majority. that doesn't do what we need to do. there needs to be a bipartisan approach. in 2013, the united states senate passed immigration reform and the house refused to take action. we have pushed really hard with
the discharge position on daca. we can do a much better job improving the situation making sure there is a sound pathway to citizenship for people looking to call america home and do it in a way that is fair. there has been a lot of denial. it intoeven wrapping the wall, there will be funding for the wall. there are much more important things to do and it is a bad image for america. host: you have also been part of the a debate that's part of the debate over the opioid crisis. how lawmakers will be addressing the growing problem. guest: -- [video clip] >> this is not the first time we have dealt with the subject.
in the last congress, we passed the comprehensive addiction and $4overy act and we added billion in the omnibus for funding. we are spending this weekend next week passing more than 70 bills dealing with this addiction. this is not the first step and not the last step, it is simply the next step. this is destroying the fiber of this nation and we should ba fod health care professionals on substance abuse. please explain. guest: representative johnson, the public and from ohio in a bipartisan way came forward with a measure that would provide for these centers of excellence that
deal with substance use disorder curricula development that will train the next generation of medical professionals with the skill set -- for the skills that they required to respond to this epidemic. i would like to just lay out the facts as to why these bills are necessary and why there is a degree of urgency. we have an epidemic. we have a crisis. in 2016, 60 4000 people succumbed to substance abuse disorder of some sort. that number, they believe will grow in a sense of 70,000 for the 2017 data. that is a startling bit of evidence. then, we know specifically that about 20% of the substance abuse disorder community is getting treatment. of americans who
are struggling with illness and addiction are not getting the help they need. when they have that moment of clarity, they need treatment, not a demand. i have introduced other bills that deal with treatment. i believe it is the epicenter of the solution. these bills are going to improve the situation. i am cosponsor on many of them at in many ways, co-authored the legislation and i think it will be helpful. if we avoided the treatment peace, which was the case in the first two markups, i am happy and proud to announce it is now -- the treatment piece is part of the final package, as it should be. it bothered me when we used the flipped 180t degrees from an earlier memo, saying that it would cause divergent into the streets if you did medical assisted treatment programs. it diverse into thed street
because people cannot find treatment. what i communicate with my substance abuse disorder community in my district in new york, the first thing i hear is availability of treatment on demand. two bills i have done i think are very important to the response of the epidemic. host: jason is joining us from michigan, independent line with congressman paul tonko. good morning. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. representative tonko, you mentioned something about the immigrants coming in and how you wanted a humane approach. guest: yes, sir? caller: it is not president trump's responsibility to take care of mexican citizens. that is the mexican's president -- execute president's responsibility -- that is the mexican president's responsibility. why isn't anyone holding him responsible as the leader of that country?
guest: we have always been there as a source of refuge. if there are maltreatment of people seeking asylum, we have been there. nation, asa powerful a compassionate nation, as one that has a moral obligation as we believe to those who struggle, i believe these are families seeking asylum who are refugees, then as we have always done, we are there for individuals and to tear apart families i think is grossly un-american and morally objectionable. host: in his 10th year in the u.s. house of representatives committees include energy. we will go to the republican line. caller: good morning. i have a couple questions to ask you. do you have a wall around your house? not, sir.o
caller: second question is. second question is. well, you have a fence in your backyard. how many of these illegals will you take in coming across the border? third question is, was hill it -- if hillary was elected, would we find out what went on with the fbi and how corrupted they were? guest: investigations are showing there was a clearance there. there was not any misdoing. also, with the illegals, as you label them, undocumented might be another choice of verbiage, but this is about finding a sound pathway to citizenship so there is a legal standard established and there are resources at the agency to provide for a sound bit of policy reform, which we hav tried to initiate for several years.
ehost: jack from arizona, democrats line. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? thank you for taking my call. i have a quick question for your representative from new york. i am in arizona and i don't that he realizes the fact -- going back to my grandparents and their grandparents, they came here -- this is a whole different ballgame. these people are coming through mexico. this.e mexico for all of this is a nightmare. we have 10 million to 20 million illegals in this country not counting chinese and all these others and they have said chinese could be spying. forget about breaking up families, they should not be here. they are ruining america.
don't you get that? you are in new york. go down to the border, texas, arizona. --re have been over 800,000 by illegals alone. guest: our nation is a nation of immigrants. time, since the beginning, we have -- our nation -- we are a nation of immigrants. that is something i think is a strength for us. the process, again, needs to be improved. legislationforth that deals with a path to citizenship, daca -- i have met with attorneys, people in law school, people in middle school. --med school. recently, successful medical
school students now contributed to the fabric of america. this is a powerful addition. it is not draining us. the daca situation would allow for a soundness in our society. these are people who have known no other culture but the american culture. they have been trained here and educated here and are only asking for fairness. host: the president imposing $50 billion in tariffs for china. this comes on the heels of the tariffs on steel and aluminum from the european union and actions aimed at canada. are we heading for a trade war? guest: we may be. to look at all the disruption that has happened out there with many of our allies, you mentioned challenge -- china, but with our allies we have had the imposition of tariffs that are straining our relationship. in a way that has made it difficult -- i agree with the president that we needed more
fairness in the trade agreements, but where are we with that? we needed to have the trade issue addressed before we start moving with the tool of tariffs that need to be very meticulously addressed and they have not been. slamming on some of our allies, not addressing our trade agreements with these trade contacts that have been made, we need to move forward so we can protect american jobs, grow our economy, all with the dynamics of fairness and integrity and the slamming of our allies have only made it difficult as we look at the recent news of the past week where we are very much a friendly cohost with the north koreans all while we just slammed our best allies. host: i want to get to your reaction to what i asked representative emmer when the president saluted the korean
general. is that proper or appropriate? guest: i think people are free to do what they want. when you salute someone who is part of a regime with kim jong-un that found it acceptable to execute 140 of north korean officials because they needed to agree with their regime, we are now showing great respect and tribute to a nation that does not share our american ideals. all while, again, we have turned our backs or offering slams to our allies. it just doesn't make sense to me. guest: bridget from -- host: bridget from austin, texas, democrats line. caller: i have a son who is a veteran and while i know there has been recent legislation passed to modify things so that veterans can get private care,
what we had learned when my son most recently went in, there ifld be 30 days before he -- you have a cancellation, please call me back and he had been triaged and they knew he had to be seen but when he looked into private care, many health care professionals, particularly psychiatrists and psychologists do not except any insurance and they certainly don't accept vouchers. there has been a lot of turnover in leadership of the veterans administration and i am just curious about what is really going to be the oversight and .eadership going forward i particularly would be interested in comments because since the democrats are very much in favor and i have been in favor of universal health care. since the veterans administration is an example of
how federally administered health care system works, it doesn't seem to be very effective and what is going to be done? guest: thank you. this constant review of the veterans administrations, i have a va health center in my district that receives great marks. they have established a tremendous mental health wing and expanded their services. overview of these agencies, making certain the letter and the spirit of the law is adhered to is important and in compliance of the efforts of the affordable care act to make certain that pre-existing conditions are included, premiums are held down however possible and access and affordability to care is an outcome. i think that applies to our veterans. we want the very best out there for those who have served this nation and will continue to make certain veterans care is sound and intact. the vice chair of
the congressional treatment and addiction recovery -- have you been affected by this personally? guest: i know friends and paid the veryhave difficult price of losing loved ones. that has motivated me and inspired me to join that caucus. out of respect to them, i commit to the families that i will do my best to make a difference. one is with treatment. whensaid earlier the show, you need treatment on demand, it is there for 20% of the public. unserved when they have that moment of clarity. my measure makes certain that md's have their cap of how many patients they can see lifted from 100 to 175 and it makes certain we codify the nurse practitioners and assistants who are added to the mix of service
providers who can be there for treatment on demand and we add professional- disciplines for nurses perhaps like midwives, who could be helpful to pregn wanten, postpartum women, and acknowledge the fact that we have some 13,000 children on average born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. these are dynamics addressed by populatione service and making certain that 20% figure is vastly improved. that is critical and has to be the epicenter of the solution. we were not speaking to the crisis or the epidemic. the certain is to make sure of a medicaid reentry bill that re-addresses -- addresses the prison population. we find many loved ones struggling with this illness end up in incarceration. in order to best address the
statistics where we are told 129 greater is the factor that companies -- a companies and individual when they are released from an incarceration center. there are many reasons, but probably the prime is physiology -- is a logically -- physiologically, you are probably more likely for that overdose situation. my bill would take those already on medicaid in incarceration that would have that medicaid startup 30 days before release so the dollars invested in their treatment before incarceration are well spent so they don't come out and be yet another victim to the illness. i think these issues are thoughtful, smart on crime, the way to best utilize taxpayer dollars so we are not wasteful in the effort.
many families have been touched by this. we go forward and we hope they can well advised the full house. host: our conversation with paul tonko. joining us from claiborne, georgia, independent line. good morning, mike. caller: good morning. the kids,start with but i would like to say something about the opium thing, too. these kids -- all these people coming across the border, they have a right to a hearing on whether or not they are legitimately seeking asylum. first off, it is not a crime to seek asylum. once they get these people in here, this entire situation is built around the dollar. it is the prison industrial project -- process and the industrialization of our
comments. what we have built up, these people are handing off to their cronies and pocketing a gazillion dollars. the opium thing ain't a bit different. go back and read about the chinese opium wars. we traded opium for tea and now we have the entire planet hooked on this stuff so it pays the bills. we are gardening the pipelines and poppy fields. there are pictures of that all over the internet. host: thank you, mike. guest: i think the approach to the epidemic on opioids and heroin and crack needs to be a three legged it stool. prevention, treatment, recovery. if we abandon prevention or treatment, we are not going to stem the tide. it is important to continue with the elements of prevention and to enforce or reinforce by
financial assistance, research the brain. there is already telling research that shows why some are impacted by the illness of addiction. there are weaknesses, and we will have a better idea of how to treat. research and prevention are a key part to the solution of this epidemic. host: let's go to skip in california. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. to make ated statement here about mr. tonko and all the reasonable people left in this country because there is not enough. i agree with almost everything he has said and most of these people will say -- they say it
based on facts and these people who call in and are basing their information on conspiracy theories and obviously coming from fox news. i am so tired of this. i just hope that somewhere along the line we could go back to being a reasonable country. thank you for taking my call. host: thank you, skip. guest: thank you for your assessment. i think we are a nation with great intellectual capacity. we are facing complex issues and we need to address those issues with thoughtfulness, facts, and at times, wherever applicable, science. to go forward and do this in an academic way would mean that our legislative response, executive response would be optimum and i think we can do it, it just requires our will to do it.
i have seen the dismissiveness of science in this town. very troubling. so much so that i authored the scientific integrity act and we put a watchdog status into each -- you cannot manipulate, politicize the research information as it is developed for it it needs to be shared with the public and the legislature. host: jesse, democrats line, good morning. caller: good morning. i am calling because i wanted to make a comment about our callers from the previous speaker as well as the current gentleman. attackshad a barrage of around not and media being tough enough on the last
and not being tough enough and although the report that came out yesterday clearly showed it was, if anything, leaning towards the republicans, they were still not satisfied. i apologize if my comments are not directly related to your latest statement. i am asking all the democrats to forceful, toore push back more. being cordial, but the atmosphere is changing and i don't know if necessarily the approach we have had in the past is working. thank you for your time. host: thank you, jesse, appreciate it. guest: i think i read into that the approach to --
host: the ig report. guest: right. i think we need to let professionals do their work. thate every bit of belief the director, the individual in integrity andat is respected by both sides. allow people to do the work and from there, make decisions. i don't think we need to jump ahead of the process, but we need to encourage them to do their work and do it thoroughly. i think the world is relying on it and our generations that follow us will require it as americans that we get the facts and get them nailed down so that we can devise a plan of response to that report. host: i want you to watch this ad now airing, taking aim at the democratic leader in the house, nancy pelosi. [video clip] >> she is at it again.
>> already looking beyond this midterm election to take back that speaker's gavel. >> with pelosi as speaker, everything we fought for will come to an end. >> democrats will raise your taxes if they take back the podium. >> this november, it is all at stake. host: that ad from the and rcc and your democratic colleagues ryan higgins saying he would not vote for nancy pelosi if she were to become speaker. guest: i think the ad speaks to politics of fear. they seem to be experts at emotional lysing campaigns and i understand it because if you don't want to defend your record, you talk about emotional
context and put out an ad like this. the fear tactic, they could demonize anyone. addressing tens of millions of people who hereto for were not covered and is addressing the pre-existing conditions, which is helpful and it has been forceful on making certain there is integrity in government. she has an agenda along with the caucus to build a stronger america with infrastructure, build the fabric of individuals by making certain health care variousr areas -- programs that develop the strength of the individual are there and build a that her government. integrity, accountability, transparency and campaign finance reform. i think it is demonizing. whoever is the leader, they will demonize. host: you will support nancy pelosi? guest: i believe the speaker has
done a good job. host: >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. saturday morning, president of public affairs clifford young discusses trade and u.s.-canada relations. puerto rico and the potential of bailout for the island. and legislative efforts to help curb the opioid crisis. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern saturday morning. join the discussion. host: while it's fairly certain the house will take up immigration bills in the coming immigration bills in the coming week what that debate will look like is less certain. joining us is rafael bernal. what are key details to know