tv Washington Week PBS November 24, 2018 1:30am-2:01am PST
robert:a divided countd elects a di congress. i'm robert costa. welcome to "washington week." the history making class of freshmen lawmakers in the house upends the balance of hou -- power in washington. will there be bipartisanship or political war? >> a democratic congress will work for solutions that bring us together because we've all had enough of division. robert: as democrats vow to also be a check on president trump, house republicans prepare to be in the minority for the first time in eight years. >> we will work with anybody across thatisle if they are there to work to move america forward. robert: and the president issues a warning to democratic investigators. president trump: they can play that game but we can play it better. robert: we discuss the new era of divided government next.
announcer: this is "washington week." funding is provided by -- >> kevin. >> kevin. >> advice for life. life well planned. learn more at raymondjames.com. funding is provided by --wn newman'soundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity and nourishing the common good. koo and patricia yuen throughio the yuen found committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation. the corporation for public broadcasting, and by ntributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, moderator, robert costa.
robert:good evening and thank you for sharing y wr thanksgivikend with us. can a divided congress work together?h and wesident trump? tonight, on this special edition, we look aad to january when democrats will take control of the house and republicans will continue toho power in the senate. joining me are four top notch congressional reporters. they roam the mare halls and know the key players. lisa desjardins with pbs newshour, jake sherman of politico, erica werner of "the washington post," and manu raju with snn. let'rt with the issues. there are many fronts for possible biparsanship from infrastructure to trade and healthcare. but the most challenging issue is likely to be immigration. president trump is teatening a partial government shutdown next month if congress doesn't agree to his terms for funding for his long-promised wall along the
u.s.-mexico border. president trump: when you look at the caravan, when you look at e mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very goo time to do a shutdown. robert: before we talk about bipart,anship possibiliti jake, what are the possibilities right now for a shutdown in december over immigration? jake: i'd say pretty good. the president is facing a tough scenario. he's going to lose a chunk of washington next year and he's t off this nice on the border wall for two years. ders intalk to his def congress, they will say quite simply, the president ran on a promiseo restrict immigration and build a physical barrier on the border with mexico. there was no ambiguity. he's not done that two years into hisresidency with an all republicann. washing robert: where are the democrats, where's president trump? erica: the senate has agreed to $1.6 billi for the wall for the 2019 fiscal year. trump wants $5 billion which is what house republicans want. as jake said, i think there are
few factors that make a shutdown possible, if not likely. of course, it wil all come down to trump and what he wants to do but you also have house republicans in their last gasp of power about to go into the minority and you have a number ofes conservativ saying we need to seize this moment and push for the wall funding while we can. we also have the president. he's about to travel to the g-20. he often has conflicts on the international stage where he can be earrassed by other world leaders. coming back from that, he might have motivation to make a stand on the home front and it will come down to what he wants to do. robert: lisa, what about a deal? could the democrats ask forec prons for dreamers, undo exchange for some funding for the wall? sa: absolutely. there are some in the democratic caucus who think now that the house will beontrolled by democrats, it will move the tenor of the debate moreowds the middle.
with republicans controlling both chambers, things wereng mooo far to the right for any deal to make through the more moderate senate so there's hope that a limited deal with democrats coming into power could get through. but could that happen by december 7? and with democrats wking through their dine -- dynamics, ems unlikely. robert: what's your read on senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and how he'll handle this? manu: he does not want a shutdown. he made that clear for weeks. after goi to the white house recently he told reporters there won't be a stdown. couple of days later, trump said a shutdown may not be a bad id so it's obviously, as erica was saying, not ultimately mcconneles call. uestion is can they cut a deal between the $1.6 billion in funding and the $5 billion in i talked to lindsey graham last
week about this. he said perhaps there's aeal for thereamers and funding for the wall. however, they tried that alrea in the past congress and it's already been rejected so it will be difficult to get done. it will come down to funding. jake: andos could nancy p be part of any of these deals and my read is probably not. she's about to come into power, facing an uncertain bid for the speakership. can she have her hands on any deal that resultsrn a bor wall built? robert: are moderates pressuring her inside the house? jake: yes, but i think anything on the cusp of power, anything outside the bounds of the democratic platform, so to speak, will be difficult for her to pl off. >> and one factor that may help ahutdown happen is the stakes are lower. this will be a smaller shutdown, affecting a few agencies -- homeland security, agriculture, state department but not the defense department or the majority of the federal government. big ones buthe not whole thing. people could try to ride that
out a few days. robert: whers the freedom caucus inside the u.s. house? erica: they're irrelevant or about to be. republicans will be in the minority. anyember of the minority in the house is basically irrelevant. it's a messagingob. but the freedom caucus especiallyo because they've had the ability in the majority to block legislaon. ey will not have that ability in the minority. if you look at mark meadows, he's walking around looking dejected knowing he's about to go from being a key player to ch less than that. he still will have president trump's ear which has been important tim and to his ability to throw his weight around. t but group's going to go from a group we talk about a lot to a group that we barely mention. robert: when you think about the president and immigration, he can do a lot with executive authority.ho is congress going to handle the president if he continues to do that?
manu: i think he'll have to do stuff with executive authority inthe new congres particular. it's hard to see any sort of deal getting through. it's been such an intractable issue in congress for such a long te. th president has such a hard line on this issue compared to nancy pelosi who may be the next speaker.e that will a difficult thing for them to deal with. he is going to face a prospect of a lot of focus from house democrats who do want to investigate his handling on, say, the separation f ofilies, in particular. so that is the pressure they're going to put on him but legislatively, any sort of big deal, hard to see that happen. robert: there are many issues where there may be an opportunity for compromise. one is infrastructure. there has long been bipartisan consensus that congress should address crumbling roads and bridges and highways and transit systems and tap water thates p public health and safety problems. the snag is how to pay for i erica: always how to pay for it. especially there will be bigger
alney problems in the next year hitting poten budget cuts coming up. the democrat who will probably lead theouse transportation committee, peter defasio, says he wants to get a bill to the american public they can look at in the first six months of next year. he's talking about $500 million for surfa the president's talked about a trillion dollars. of course, the trillion dollar markou hear a lot but defazio's talking about raising the federal gas tax potentially, something republicans already have a problem with. so mitchne mcc senate is unlikely to pass that. robert: could some republicanseh getd a gas tax? chamber of commerce types? lisa: potentially. i haven't heard any yet and i think that's more -- on thelo l, that's more safe than in congress. robert: lisa's point about where the money comes from is important. the president really wants public-private partners on infrastructure to get to the illion dollar mark. erica: that was his proposal, something like $200 million in
public funding that he thought would unlock all of this private funding which democrats l basicallyghed at and as we know, the idea of infrastructure week when there would be anfr tructure bill became a joke over the past congress. on the gasreax, thedent himself, we've reported at the "post,"n priva meetings early in the year, threw out the idea of raising the gas tax, that he could be open to it. the way this psident operates, he can change his position on a dime and you could see him coming aund to that, as lisa said, it's not something mcconnell would want to do and would be a hard sell but you could see trump getting board with that or some other funding mechanism demrats like and try to make a deal where everyone wins on an infrastructure deal. robert: does the preside want a deal, jake? people inside the white house often say we should have started with infrastructure, back in 2017. now with divided government, could they pus s forething?
jake: he could thank paul ryan who convinced him not t with infrastructure and set off what many thought was a cascading set of fai legislatively. i do think that infrastructure is the singular issue where t president wants a deal actually and doesn't want the issue to bang democrats over the head wi but mitch mcconnell has said we're not even doing a $900 billion infrastructure deal. robert: why is mcconnell not? interest jake: he's interested in infrastructure. his wife is the transportatio secretary so there's a personal and professional ieue but h knows what can get through senate and he's not going to put his senators on theor record a huge spending project and i think congress, what you're going to see, and you could s y whatev want about motivations but there will be i think a down-tick inpending or an effort among republicans to pump the brakes on spending. robert: on healthcare, manu, will we see democrats in the house push foror medicare all? manu: i doubt it. you probably will see factions
of the house push for that. i don't think you can see that get approve by even this house, incoming house democratic majority. they'll probably have m 234,be 235 seats. that means they could lose 1 18otes -- 17 votes if they have35 seats at the most. and there are a lot of members who are coming in from conservative districts. that's how they came into the majority. they beat republicans in traditional republican strong-holds and these same conservative members don't necessarily go along people who are pushing the bernie sanders medicare for all type package so doing it alone, even if it got out of the house, no way it gets out of the senates so this issue will have to be done on a bipartisan basis. robert: when you look at the map, a lot of moderates won as house democrats but cortez from new york, newly elected young congresswoman, a lot of position that side of the party for big
change. erica: she's the big star of the incoming freshman class and what you alludedo will be a dynamic we see over and over in the new congress on healthcare, immigration, other issues, where there are divisions internally in the democratic a caucusbout how far to go, what to do on any given issue, how far to push trump. do we push to impeach him? do we do medicare for all orn focus pre-existing conditions? do we do a big immigration bill or just something for dreamers? i think it will arise again and agaun and conflicts in dynamics. robert: what about negotiating drugs? pri possible on capitol hill? lisa: absolutely possible. i think that's one of the first bills we canxpt out of democrats on healthcare. they're also looking at a bill ea frank cologne to bring back subsidies forh insurers, something a few republican
senators likns susan col are interested in doing but that's the samehe situation i don't think a mcconnell senate passes it'sin the end but somewhere from democrats could have a more moderate type of approach that could gain steam but some other democrats will think that doesn't go far enough. i think they'll try that first and see what happens with the progressive voices. robert: thers more than just mcconnell as a backstop in the. sena you have people who may run for president on the democratic side -- senator harris, senator booker -- they could shift the debate? manu: no question, you'll see them try to out-position themselves for a long time, trying to t showmselves to be more aggressive, more liberal than other members not just harrison and booker but even sarah brown, jeff americaly, elizabeth warre who's not running? this will be an issue for chuck
schumer but they're in the minority. watch for the republin senate to do much of what they're doing in this senate -- trying tot confirm a of judges which they can do with a simple, majori without democratic support. robert: we're talking about a shutdown showdown this dember. there's a lot of possible bipartisanship early next but we're always thinking about the other cloud hanging over these discussions. democrats said midterm voters sent a clear message they want to check on donald trump's administration. many incing chairs say they will use their power to investigate the president and members of his team. that's the scene next year. are the president's tax returns at the top of the democrats'st lisa: they're near the top. we know what's close to the top. we saw a letter this tuesday come out from jerry nadler who will be one of the big instigative forces for democrats.
he wrote a letter to the acting attorneymo general, others, saying we will investigate how you have handled detaining immigrants and also separating families. so it's not just going to be about trump's record. we will see the tax returns. we will see also this like his policies and i think many of his cabinet decisions including the firing of attorney generaleff sessions, will come up quickly. i would expect hearings on that fast. robert: who are the players? who should we pay attention to on the democratic side, the chairs? jake: eliza cummings of maryland, someone who has been in partisan warfare before on that cee against darrell lica. jerry nadler in the judiciary are the two big names but i deepere should take a look which is regular hearings -- appropriations hearings and humdrum business of these committees will turn into parties -- partisan par fare.
if a cabinet secretary comesil o capitol for a hearing on budget matters, they'll be asked about policy. this will be a daily thing not a periodic dynamic but a daily dynamic under firey almost ev day. robert: are the democrats going to risk overreaching? erica: right and i think that will be attention and something that the leadership wants to avoid. some of these committee chairs who are experienced and who have been around for- decades cummings, nadler, the chair of ways and means, they do not want to seem to be overreachg and will try to pump the brakes on going too far but as jake was saying, we cannot overstate how much the house will change from a body that has protected the president, and his
administration from answering uncomfortable questions, to one that will be asking uncomftable questions every day and we'll have a lot to cover. robe i: if the houses aggressives with president trump, is the senate now the citadel for president trump? senator lindsey graham, likely the chair of the judiciary committee and the senate. manu: yes, the senate republicans have been like the house republicans in the past two years. they've protected the president for the most p there have been some bipartisan vestigations, senate intelligence committee investigation -- mostly behind closed doors -- the russia investigation. robert: will they try to protect robert mueller, senate republicans? manu: no. right now there are a hanreul of blicans who want to go that way but not enough to actually force the issue. you'll see democrats try to force the issue le that and pressure republicans to join them. you'll see republicans try defend the president in many ways and lindsey graham who wilh
r the judiciary committee told me he wants to look into the f.b.i.'s handling of the russia investigation. robert: i want to explain the laugh a littleit. you're really saying the president has so much capital still with his party, people don't want to break ranks? manu: no question about it. one of the lessons senate republicans have drawn,t they doant to be on his bad side and when he's on their good side he can b helpful with their base. robert: adam schiff, house intelligence committee, what to expect from him? jake: he'll beed empow and he's a close ally of nancy pelosi and if she's speaker of the house, that's someone to keep an eye on. the intelligence committee has turned from being a place where bipartisansh t was in d.n.a. to another battleground between the parties with very partisa members -- devin nunes of california who has protected the president and gone to great lengths to protect the president
and adam schiff who hase g to lengths to antagonize the president so that's what this will be robert: we talked about cabinet officials coming up to capitol hill but it could be members of the family. ivanka trump her email use under scrutiny. she could b called up, as well. lisa: the idea that ivanka trump who spent years of reading stories about hillary clinton's use of private email is nownd ting her affairs for the government usingrivate email is something democrats are emailing me about but puttiet this tr for the show today, this is a political and cultur moment coming togethe and a choice for democrats going into this because the country says they want less toxicity. that's why they watch shows like this. however, it's a little bit like saying, we want to be healthier. does the country really want to go to the trouble ofxercising? or are we all addicted to the internal fighting?
and can democrats push that back and be bipartisan? robert: whatnd the real a based on what lisa said? at the end of the day,pr does ident trump want a foil in the house democrats and the use democratsant a foil in president trump? trump absolutely wants a foil and perhaps that's one of the reasons he's been offering,incerely or not, to help nancy pelosi become speaker and to find votes for her, if she nee them. you know, i think that hou democrats are concerned about pelosi being the face of the party and when y ask them about that, even those who support her, they will say, no, no, she's not going to be the face of the party. we'll have a nominee, timately, and that's who the president will be focused on. but, in fact, whatever nancy pelosias many amazing attributes and has achieved a lot. she's not great in public. she's not someone w's very
popular and she will be a good foil for the president. nu: you've already seen the president blame house democrats oneing the stock market has down because of the prospect of new investigations which is completely false but t president is looking for someone to blame and you talk to democrats, they will tell you, the one thing they're concerned about is re-electing donald trump so they'll have to balance both being an antagonist, working with the president, but not working wit him too much to anger their base. it's aomplicated task but both sides see a useful foil. robert: divided government often a time for deals but often a time when thing stall. jake: voters prefer divided govern tnt andy keep elected two parties to divide congress and over the years we'll see more gridlock. robert: any key lawmaker who will try to cut through it? jake: no. robert: that's a professional reporter right there.
we have i to leav there. stay tuned for a special message from your local pbs station. i'm robert costa. have a great weekend. [captioning perfonmed by the na captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org.] announcer: funding is provided by -- financial services fm, raymond james. newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own's food products to charity and noonishing the coood. the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation. koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences pu our communities. the corporation foic
♪ d. feinstein: i'll tell you what i remember about george moscone. i remember an enormously attractive human being. greatvery outgoing. ♪ w brown: i don't think ergeorge ever measured whe or not he would do something based on whether or not it could be done. george was far more interested in doing it because it was the right thing to do. n. pelosi: he was sort of the golden boy. he had it all. he was articulate, he was comfortable about the positions he was staking out. he took risks. took political risks (gunfire) ♪amazing grace!