tv Washington Journal Rep. Gerald Connolly CSPAN January 10, 2019 3:53am-4:21am EST
writer. previously a member of the texas state legislature, serving terms in the state house and senate before his political career he saw combat in iraq. ,nd in the sixth district earlier in his career he was on the city council of arlington, texas. new congress, new leaders, watch it on c-span. >> democrat gerry connolly joins us now. his district contains one of the largest districts of federal employees. after last night's dueling addresses, are we closer to ending the shutdown? rep. connolly: what shocked me remarks, president's
if you just watch them and did not know anything, you would not know we are in the second longest government shutdown in american history. i thought that was a shameful part of the president's presentation. the crisis for him is not the shutdown of the federal government and the furloughing of 800,000 employees, and the services increasingly being denied to the american people. he chose to talk about the wall. i thought that was a huge disservice to the country. >> is there any deal to be had? >> i think the deal increasingly attractive to republicans is, let's reopen government and start a series of conversations about border security. the wall could be part of that conversation. but if you make it -- it is a
,recondition without a wall >> why do you think it is increasingly attractive to republicans? four republicans who represent large numbers of federal employees and federal contractors, and for republicans , it is really important for their economy and they are beginning to get we actions back home about the consequences of the economic ripple effects that are all negative from the shutdown. so they are under increasing pressure to find a way out of this. host: can you name names? rep. conolly: the already have several republicans in the -- lisa murkowski of alaska, shelley moore capito of west virginia, susan collins of colorado,y gardner of and i think they will be joined by more. host: walk us through what the
house will be doing when it comes to these individual funding bills coming to the floor to open parts of the government. how that is going to work and what the strategy is behind that? rep. conolly: we have already passed a full funding bill for and ast of the government short-term funding bill for the department of homeland security in the house. ironically those are bills that we are sending to the republican senate that they had already passed unanimously. mr. mcconnell, whose face ought to appear on a milk carton in this shutdown, previously shepherded those bills and now cannot be found to bring them up for consideration in the senate. i think he will be under increasing pressure from his republican members. 24ember, the republicans had senate seats up for reelection that they are defending in 2020, and increasingly a lot of those 2020 republicans will feel the heat. if mitch mcconnell will protect his majority, he will have to help find a way out of this.
so far, he has been missing in action. host: gerry connolly is with us until the top of the hour. if you support the shutdown, the phone line to call is (202)-748-8000. and for federal workers, the phone number to call is (202)-748-8002. if you don't support the shutdown, the phone number to call is (202)-748-8001. rep. connolly: in my district, and probably for every federal employee, there is at least one employee.ntract the private sector since ronald reagan increasingly provides a direct services to the federal government, so sometimes the federal employee works next to a federal contract employee in the work lace. those federal contract employees are not only not being paid for their work, they don't necessarily get guaranteed retroactive pay when this is over. host: and you are trying to
guarantee this for some federal contractors. rep. connolly: yes. host: which ones? rep. conolly: i don't understand what you mean. host: you said federal contractors. rep. connolly: my view is, if you do the same work in the work lace as a federal employee, you ought to be treated with the same kind of consideration retroactively when this is over. you recommend to a young person to go into the federal service this of days? would.nnolly: i the federal service is a calling this days and serving your fellow citizens, making america a better place, is a very noble thing to do. host: laterally take a few calls. barbara from florida, good morning. caller: hello.
yes. i am calling to support donald trump, our president. i have always been a democrat that i am leaving that party because of their stubbornness. i just -- they just want to get rid of trump, period. that is my statement. thank you. rep. connolly: i don't know that democrats just want to get rid of trump. he was elected president and we certainly respect about, but it does not mean that we march in lockstep with his agenda or his goals. we believe what he is doing right now is flat out wrong. holding the federal government hostage, the actual operations of the federal government hostage to a political promise, which had two parts to it -- we would build a wall, and hard to, mexico would pay for it. be in theuld we position as citizens of seeing our federal government shut on
over a wall that mexico, not you and i, was supposed to pay for? that is my position. host: do support impeaching donald trump? rep. conolly: i think it is premature to hold that conversation. we have a process underway. robert mueller's investigation is not complete. it is a criminal investigation. more and more revelations continue to tumble out. he just got a six month extension on a special grand jury here in washington. i want to see robert mueller be allowed to complete his investigation. then we will see where we are. every president has to be held accountable. but to prejudge the situation by saying, let's have impeachment and we will fill in the blanks later, i break ranks with those who make that argument0 abc news reporting that the department of justice in the coming weeks -- your thoughts on that? rep. conolly: i think it is a real's? -- real a to los
the department of justice. mr. rosenstein to his credit appointed a special prosecutor and has overseen in the investigation and has done so honorably. it has got an ominous and chilling feel to it to hear that he might be leaving. host: robert calling from virginia, he opposes the shutdown. go ahead. caller: good morning, guys. i believe this is all political for 2020. i think donald trump is just picking a fight with the democrats to get this thing rolling for 2020. if robertuestion, mueller finds that trump did collude with the russians, will the supreme court justice seats be vacated? rep. conolly: what a good question. unfortunately, that would impeachments.onal
but let me say, i agree with you and it is so glad to hear you frame the question in a good old southern accent. because this ought to concern every american, irrespective of what part of the country become from or what political party we belong to. this is about the integrity of our country. proof is fond of collusion, it is a serious matter, and impeachment proceedings will have to start to occur, because you can't turn a blind eye to a foreign interference in the most sacred function of the democracy, the election itself. but we are not there yet. we will see what happens. to the supreme court, one of the consequences of the electoral victory by donald trump is that he gets to appoint and the republican senate gets to confirm supreme court nominations. the republicans and donald trump have radically changed the influence on the
supreme court and in the district and circuit courts throughout the united states. and that is why elections have consequences and that is why we ought to be concerned about what is happening right now. host: alexandria, virginia, jerry is a federal worker. good morning. federalnot only am i a worker, but i am also part of the armed forces. i don't know why you guys. and congressman connolly, who happens to be my congressman as well, not only as support. not somebody i have good feelings about. he claims to be supporting the military and federal workers. if you look at something -- c-span, do your homework, there was something put out, a rating for all congresspeople. he has one of the worst records supporting -- not supporting military and federal employees. narf?what is
caller: it is the national association of retired federal employees. caller: it is a disgrace. host: congressman, your response? rep. conolly: the facts are wrong. of national association active and retired federal employees has supported me and all my elections. i have a 100% voting record with them, and also a virtually 100% voting record with the military association employees. when certain military groups actually did endorse, i was endorsed by those organizations for reelection. i was praised most recently by virtually every veterans group for the work i did recently in getting a bill passed through the defense authorization act to make sure that fallen soldiers' families continued to receive death benefits doing shutdowns such as this one. your facts are completely wrong.
. i am glad i have a chance to clear them up. host: new video from the white house. white house press secretary sanders was asked about the border wall this morning. here is a little bit of what she had to say. am concerned about the crisis of the border. we need democrats to step up and do their job. >> is there truly aggressors of the border, and if so, why did the president declare a shutdown? shutdown -- the best solution is to be able to work with congress to get this done. you can close a lot of the loopholes, fund border security fully, and that is what we are hoping to do. why all the concentration on the open border? >> it is not the only place. what we know is that the southern border is a most
vulnerable point of entry to our country, something we have to protect. even if one terrorist comes across the border, it is want to many. we have to do everything we can to stop that. >> the president appeared to offer no new proposals or no new ideas at his address. what if anything changed here over the course of the last 18 or 19 days. >> the president was laying down his proposal for the american people. theut a proposal forward to congress and two democrats and we still have not heard back. they have yet to make a counter offer. we hope they will get serious about negotiating. >> in terms of negotiation, is that something you imagine will get woven into this if the shutdown does not end soon? proposal,e put out a it is not something that is being discussed at this point. we still know that there are dacas that are regarding
that need to go up to the supreme court. right now we have a proposal on the table and we would like to see democrats respond. host: congressman connolly, your response. rep. connolly: what is sad about watching this proposal is, we have a solution, build the wall. froms a political is supposed to be paid by mexico, and suddenly it becomes the issue for the democrats. we have an agreement to fund the government that the past republican-controlled senate allowed to pass unanimously. it was donald trump for decided based on right wing pundits reacting to this, that he would change his mind. bus, we are in the second-largest shutdown in american history. now, the wall, the russian of the wall is based on lies -- in
the wall is based on lies and and norma's distortions. >> if you listened to the president you would think that everyone who courses the border is a drug mule, but most of the illegal immigrants come in through trucking that legal ports of entry -- most of the illegal drugs that come through the border come in through trucking. rate among crime immigrants and undocumented immigrants is lower than that of population.merican >> there are tragic examples that happen, but there are also tragic examples that have been with nativeborn americans. >> to characterize immigrant population in appeals to the most xenophobic, nativist elements of our society and it is a shameful thing to hear coming-out of the mouth of the president in the oval office. and to hear sarah sanders repeating those lies and those
distortions, frankly, it is a sad day for america to watch. host: what we didn't hear from the president last night was that he would clear a national emergency to find the funds to build his border wall. sanders just said it no, that they are still looking at the possibility. your thoughts on that. rep. connolly: i think he didn't do it because there is no national emergency. it is a little hard to declare one that does not exist. this is a manufactured crisis. the only crisis on the border is the humanitarian crisis he helped. create we are ready lost two children who have died because of lack of proper care because of the system he has not put in place that ought to be put in place at the border. if he wants to talk about border security writ large, democrats are more than willing to talk to him about that. if he wants to continue to insist wall or nothing, i don't think there will be it, and ground because we don't share
that view at all. just as for his base, the will has become symbolic of something. host: if the wall becomes symbolic --has it become symbolic for democrats? rep. conolly: it has become a symbol and a metaphor for his nativist policies. host: does that mean he cannot allow any mile of the wall to be built? rep. conolly: there are parts of the border that have barriers, physical barriers. most of us think it is a silly waste of money when you could so much better invest in technology , drone technology, for example, intelligence intercepts, new facilities that would -- and personnel, that would frankly do a much better job of securing the border and providing ancillary services, including services. but the wall has become this anti-refugee, anti-asylum, anti-immigrant symbol. use saw what happened in the midterm elections when he went
on this kind of rant around the country. on average in suburban districts, republican incumbents lost four or five points that week. this is not something that resonates with the public. we are not a bigoted people and we can see through this kind of fear tactic and fear mongering in characterizing an entire class of human beings, immigrants. host: we want to let you chat with as many colors as possible. phyllis in new york, good morning. caller: i would like to say, the buck stops with the president. i will use a scenario. you get city sanitation workers in the new york that work overtime during snow and don't get paid for six months. the money is allocated for them, just like it is for the federal workers, the money is there. why don't they roll it over it like big corporations do? of dollars every day,
make interest on it, and that will pay for the wall? rep. conolly: we will take it into consideration. but i don't want to pay for the wall. , mexico was supposed to pay for the wall. that was his promise, and he needs to keep it? rep. conolly:. host: bob is a federal worker in annapolis, good morning. bob, go ahead. caller: hello. host: bob, you're going in and out. maine. go to wynn in caller: yes, i oppose the shutdown vehemently. it is an issue that is really based on rhetoric. that is what is killing communication between the two parties, that is what is charging up the left and right to go out -- to go at each
other's throat. nobody has a good data to make the decision and that is what the problem is. you can go in there and find some data and have it support your cause. what i think c-span should do is have a session once a week where you can put charts up, show the isa, dispute the data that spewed out by either the left or the right to you get to the truth. cbo data and i have a set that shows how much pay federal workers get! sector. to the private 52% higher than federal employees whose bachelor's education. if you have a high school diploma, you get 50% higher compensation than private sector employees. what the woman said earlier on a prior segment that people should
have savings -- they should have savings. privatethink that sector workers should be hindered by not getting their paychecks because of the shutdown. take the whole wall thing, take it off-line, and don't try to harm any of the workers as a result of this medical spat -- political spat. rep. connolly: i couldn't agree with you more, federal workers should not be held hostage to a partisan political agenda that is losing support by the hour because of there is no real intellectual russia now for a rationaletellectual for a wall. on your comments on federal employees, at the lower end of the skill set, federal employees tend to do welcome. to the private sector in terms compensation.
but when you get into the high skill set, lawyers, technicians, engineers, scientists, they are actually way behind their private sector counterparts and increasingly so. for a group that says we ought to run government liquor twooration, i worked for corporations over 20 years before i came to government -- no ceo would freeze the salaries of his workforce for three years running. or put on a hiring freeze, threaten compensation, redo their pension program, call them names, disparage their work -- that ceo would be removed from every responsible corporate board. threaten to shut down the corporation. can you imagine a major corporation traded on wall street doing that? of course not. yet that is what we are doing here. federal workers should not be -- shoulder age
not be held hostage to the political whims of a president. host: we have a federal worker, go ahead. caller: i have been in the military and i have been a 96 and iworkers since ' have been through multiple shutdowns for varying reasons and both parties causing this. to you think it is right that congress gets paid their per benefits, while federal workers daunt and we are being used as pawns? rep. conolly: that is a perennial debate when something like this happens. everyone has a favorite cause of one congress should get paid. host: are you taking a paycheck? rep. conolly: i am taking a paycheck. i am working night and day to get the government back operating. i remember when we were talking about d.r.e.a.m.e.r.s. legislation, people said that if we did not passive, congress should not get paid. if we didn't pass a budget, congress should not get paid.
the constitution mandates that congress should get paid, to -- and toongress from focus federal members on doing their jobs. i don't favor the government shutdown, i never have and never will. i think it is bad public policy. you as a citizen have a right to expect that the president and congress are doing their jobs, keeping government open and operating. that is -- doing. -- caller: yes, good morning. i think if we save one american life with of the wall, which back, -- which, by the way, it seems like democrats want the wall, then they don't want the wall, i don't understand that. they are tell you,
making a big thing out of something that is not that big of a problem. i think the president is in a better position to make the call , and i support him. i was a democrat, but now i'm a republican. i don't like what they are doing and what they stand for. thank you. recall the history here of this shutdown. the president didn't bring up the wall when the senate unanimously passed the two bills we passed last week. that was a unanimous vote in the united states senate. a republican-controlled body. the republican-controlled house to pass those bills. and the president said he would sign them. it was only when sean hannity and rush ingraham, limbaugh, and other right-wing talking heads objected to his signing of those bills without a wall that he changed his mind.
he abruptly denounced and pulled the rug from underneath mitch mcconnell and the republican , which maythe senate be why he is missing in action, that he would not sign it. he created the crisis, he injected the wall where it had not been and we're in the position we are in. i think that's wrong and i will hold him accountable for that. democrats did not create this prices, president trump did. guest: before donald trump was there a time when you supported a wall, or money for building walls on the u.s. border? guest: i have supported border security but never a physical it's a 14thk century answer to a 21st century problem. i favor beefing up border security, and humanitarian assistance to meet the asylum requests for the growing, intermission we are taking care of children who are ponds in this game.
we have already lost two children who have died because of lack of care on this side of the border. we cannot have that. that's not what america is. washington journal continues. representative don bacon is back at our desks, a republican from nebraska who has served on the armed services committee and homeland security committee during his two years on capitol hill, and agriculture as well. afters your take away those dueling addresses last night from the president and nancy pelosi and chuck schumer? >> we have a problem at the border and we need to get it fixed. the president ran on this with his priority during the campaign and he won election on it. this is an opportunity for compromise and we are not seeing it. but nancy pelosi and chuck schumer set down a single dollar for the wall, that's not compromise, that's gridlock. we havbr