tv Republican Reps. Johnson Banks on the Conservative Movement CSPAN December 7, 2020 11:12pm-12:00am EST
indiana. this is 45 minutes. >> good morning, everyone and welcome to this conversation. i am the president of aei and i am very glad to have both of the outgoing and incoming chair man of the republican study committee here this morning to talk about the coming congress and their priority. the republican study committee has many of you know has been an influential center of conservative thinking and policy proposals for years. former chairman and scholars often work with the republican committee on major issues i intensified for the committee and advise them on various issues including food security and poverty policy. we've had scholars talk to them and they are the emerging young leadership of the movement in
the united states and we are pleased to have the outgoing chairman mike johnson from louisiana and incoming chair man from indiana. mike johnson from louisianana ad jim banks from indiana. i'm going to do a quick introduction of both of them and then ask questions but we will from the audience and if you would like to ask questions, please submit them to email@example.com and we will put them up on the chat box although i have a bunch of my own questions as well so we will try to get to them as they come up. brief introductions. the representative is the chairman elect of the republicans subcommittee and representative banks is in the second term representing the third district governing the northeast corner of the state including fort wayne. the representative serves on the armedes services committee, education and labor and veterans affairs committee and like congressman johnson he's the father of young children and we
always like to know about people's families. representative johnson is the outgoingpr chair man. the second term representing the fourth district of louisiana covering the northwest part of the state including shreveport. he serves the judiciary committee and the natural resources committee so i would like to start with you. what did you accomplish and what are you most proud of in the past year? >> thank you for having us. we are ont the mend and this was a very productive years. founded back in 1973, and it was labeled at that time and referred to as the intellectual arsenal of conservatism in the house and operated as a policy
shop where the conservative philosophy makes its way into the legislation where we put that on to paper and develop an agenda that moves forward in the congress. it's difficult when you are in the minority and that is where we found ourselves the last two years but when i became the chair man and by the way we have 148 members in the current congress i got the group together and said we are going into the minority. we understand that and there is a sort of idea some people have that when you are in the minority you wander in the wilderness for two years and i said we are going to do the opposite. i would like to propose that we spend this next two years with our hands at the wheel and we are going to work very hard and realign what w we do. my vision is to sort of trim the fat and get rid of the taskforces we have, for example
we had a second amendment task force on which every single vemember was assigned. we narrowed the focus down to just a handful of seven taskforces and separated the membership populating each between 12 to 15 members and the charge was this we will develop actual policies and the national securities task force, the government efficiency, budget spending task force. i'm going to hold up a visual aid. we call this a conservative playbook and it's a compilation of all the work we did, 330 page policy manual where each of these came out with publications over the course of two years where we had solutions to the
greatest challenges in america. this is the playbook to run when we get the governing moment we think we will have in 2022 and the team will have to go. a. >> representative, what are your goals for the coming year? >> likewise, thank you for hosting this. aei hasn't just been important to me as a member and to my staff educating us on a number of policy issues but as you said, it's been a great partner with the committee for a long time and we look forward to building upon that partnership in the next couple of years. i'm proud to become the chair man and following the footsteps of my great friend from louisiana but there is a strong legacy within the committee as you mentioned vice president mike pence was the chair man of this group a decade ago and before him others like dan burton and my friend david mcintosh were the chairs of this
influential group as well. and i hope to do this job have as well as what mike johnson and many of those others have done in the past to be the chairman of this strong influential conservative body in the house. he's laid the groundwork. mike didn't just say we are in the minority there's nothing we can do we are going to sit on our hands in the last term. mike johnson and the last two years mapped out a roadmap of where we are going to go when we win back the majority. now we have another two years in the minority but we can taste the majority. we are if you seats shy and i think they will win back the house in two years and one way that it's going to play a role winning back the majority is it needs to be in the fight and i want to lead us into the fight
on a a number of areas but a few that are important at exposing theg radical left has taken over the democratic party and juxtaposed that with where the republicans are and where i think moste of america is, a fw of those issues would be right out of the gate to fight to preserve and protect the amendment would be one of those major initiatives and educating the american people about how important the amendment has been for a generation and saving unborn babies and preventing taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. it will be on the front lines of exposing the radical democrats. what was once bipartisan and what the presidents from jimmy carter to bill clinton to joe biden have defended and supported in the amendment is no longer supported by the democratic party today so that's
a fight we willl engage in right out of the gate. a second would be preserving the trump euro defense budget. democrats now are telling us they want to cut military spending substantially right out of the gate at the beginning of the new administration. we can't allow that to happen as we fell behind before, and now we've caught back up with our chief adversaries and china and russia and others by rebuilding the military and getting back to where we are with significant defense budgets. the legacy has been balancing thee budget and fiscal responsibility. we will be out there like we always have. but the big area where i think we have to move that is different for the conservative movement and president trump has
taught us that marrying the populist ideas of the president with the traditional conservative issues, those are new areas one would be free speech censorship and reforms where i see they are heavily engaged. being on the front lines of challenging china and holding them accountable is something that they would engage in heavily as well. >> i want to follow up on that comment of marrying the conservatives by president trump and may be mor maybe more tradil conservatism and the question of the debt and deficit and entitlement. sticking with you, representative. are you when you talk about the debt and deficit and spending constraints are you talking about medicare and social
security, is an entitlement reform constraining the growth of the commitments to the retirees and is that no longer a part of the republican study committee's agenda or where are we on that? >> it's definitely part of our agenda and this o last term the chair man gave me the honor of chairing the budget and spending task force and we put forward the only budget that came anywhere in the house and it balanced in six years and we tackled social security medicare and medicaid and made reforms to those programs as part of an effort to show colleagues you can't balance the budget. the president's budget proposal balanced in about 12 years in our budget proposal balanced in half. i will never be more difficult to put forth a balanced budget than now after we've gone
through what we have in the pandemic and all the stimulus spending that we passed over the past six to eight months. but showing the colleagues it can be done just like we always have in the first half of 2021. >> you said at the start of this that the pandemic is a real thing and you know it because you've suffered from it and your colleague joined a group putting out an emergency stimulus package of about a trillion dollars. where would they be on that or gettingth that done quickly durg the lame-duck session? >> i think there's a broad recognition among the house and the senate that the american people need some relief.
to double down on the programs that were efficient and some of the things related to that because we know it had the desired effect. the paycheck protection program was a measure taken by the government but we could justify that in accordance to the conservative philosophy because it was the government that shut the economy down so it needed a proper response. we would invest in that again because we see that as a wise investment. it kept employees attached but g.they've long since been exhausted and they are running out and there's a number of small businesses that are the lifeblood of the economy in my district and so many others that frankly won't survive through this holiday if they don't have a little bit extra to qualify for. the senate proposal said that if
a business could show more than a 50% drop in revenue in the previous year then they might qualify for another round. there's some reasonable measure and objective standard that can be used so the problem we have had up to this point pelosi, schumer and the democrats wanted to load it up like a christmas tree, totally unrelated to the problem is we keep trying to weed out the central theme of this and we are over $2,700,000,000,000,000 now this is up from every one because you can't kick the can down the road and there will be a reckoning so that is the balance today. as far as the detail of the specific plan there will be more negotiations but i think perhaps it is moving in the right direction. e> i would note i always like to make it clear you do things and
make things happen and make the tough decisions but the scholars can help. they help to design the ppe that did have a positive effect of keeping people employed during a very difficult time. representative, are you in agreement something needs to be done but the debt and deficit is still something to be tackled in the future and let me add a follow-up we've done work on broadening the base for the revenue purposes may b maybe evn including a consumption tax. is there any way they could give given the debt and the deficit support any methods of increasing the revenue to the federal government given how much we are committed to it? >> we should do more and extending the paycheck protection program is the common
sense move forward that had bipartisan support before but it's been a held hostage by speaker pelosi ever since. there is money left on spend it hasn't been extended and those dollars are sitting in washington when it could be used to support businesses in louisiana and elsewhere. mitch daniels who was a governor in indiana well known i'm sure to all of you used to say living next door to illinois is like living next door to the simpsons. when it comes to these radical democrats that spend all the spending deals are coming from democrats which forced the taxpayers in indiana to offset the deficits and fiscal haresponsibility decades before the pandemic for states like illinois and the taxpayers in louisiana and elsewhere that they would have to pay for.
that's what i cannot support is even the bipartisan deal yesterday what reward fiscal yeairresponsibility in some stas and put the onus on the backs of the taxpayers and states like mine that have been responsible and put forth balanced budgets every two years in theth statehouses. that's what i cannot support moving forward. as far as the latter question about additional revenue and other places we can go to offset the deficit and thus $27 trillion national debt, the committee put forth a plan we will send it to you, robert, that we put forth a year and a half ago that cuts wasteful spending and reforms and entitlement programs and without having to increase taxes across the board so we show how it can
be done. in the next term we have to fight even harder to put forth those ideas. i'm the first to admit that the republicans have fallen flat on their face when it comes to the mantle of being responsible. yesterday republicans chose the new leader of the budget committee jason smith from missouri who was a strong conservative and it will be his job as the ranking member to advocate for the fiscally responsible budget and then we get the majority in two years and it will be his job to pass the leadership doing with the democratwhat thedemocrats failee last term famously said when we failed to do that, pelosi attacked us for it it would be
our main responsibility to put forth a budget and i know jason e'll do that when he is the chair of the committee for two years. >> i'm glad you mentioned the different choices between illinois and indiana. his adult children all moved to join him in illinois because of more business friendly schools and governing environment so we've got a point that has become clear and i want to stick with you for a minute more and ask about china. here's an area that it seems to have convinced the country as a whole we need to be tougher on china and a variety of ways whether it is arabs, protecting taiwan and what do you think is the place that you would like to see the country go and
continuing that application and pressure the country is already there. it's catching up with the rest of the country and that is what president trump taught us. for those that are long time movement ideological conservatives, this was hard to wrap our minds around. the free-trade ideas with holding china accountable for unfair trade practices that sett the top of the list one of the areas that i appreciate most it's teaching us catching up with the rest of the country so the country wants us to hold in a very bipartisan, strong bipartisan way they want congress and the administration to hold china accountable. this is what i am really worried about, the sharp turn of the biden administration and contrasting that with where the
trump administration has been. it hasn't been perfect but it's an opposite message of what we've heard frome president trup and the policy of appeasement versus the accountability and pressure so they need to fill the vacuum and be out there and i served on the task force if we it's the greatest existential threat america faces economically and militarily they put forth a numberpu of proposas and i expect we will continue to make thiss a primary focus. once again there's the policy of it holding china accountable
needs to be a piece of who we are as a conservatives to build the coalition president trump taught us to win the majorities and the white house in 2024. the outcome of a couple and i also gather that there is an influx of young women into the republican caucus and i would say looking at these new members, do you think that you will get many of them to join or are they going to be conservative women how to join the republican caucus and other questions wehe have in the audience if you might address how does the committee differ from the freedom caucus?
it's not an automatic that they are chosen it will be part of the group and we are excited about that because they bring a lot to the table. with regards to the difference between the freedom caucus and republican study committee the freedom caucus is a little bit smaller group and we have the largest office of conservatives but the philosophy is aligned almost exactly. in fact they have a huge crossover so i think that in this congress probably 75 or 80% or more were also members of the
berfc. the tactics different sometimes but i don't think there was any daylight between the two groups in the last congress and the current chairman of the freedom caucus, classmate of jim and mine we were going strategy together almost daily. we are aligned int that way so t is just a further strength to have more of those voices in the room and we implement that. what we try to do is over the last two years this is my preposition when i ran for the chair man as i said. i feel like in some ways we came in as freshmen when president trump came into office and that wasnd an interestin in intereste last four years have been interesting in politics as we all know. the understatement of the century. but in some ways the landmarks have been used.
it's to explain why the philosophy is superior to socialism or all of these other competing ideas. what i proposed two years ago is i said we have to break this thing down and the foundations s and remember the core principles of the conservatism and remember we are here to advance those. i love what ronald reagan said inin his farewell address. he said it's a great communicator but i was just communicating great things. the same great things since the founding. they don't change. that's the beauty. the seven core principles, individual freedom, limited government, the rule of law, fiscal responsibility, free markets and human dignity. and under each of those there are several subcategories, human
dignity, the sanctity of every life. so, thee idea is when we bring n new members and we calibrate what we are doing at the largest caucus of the republicans in congress, when we move forward with the policy initiatives and we publish the conservative playbook for the republican led congress, all of that is grounded in those core principles. and when we p have a new member developing these, i just got elected the vice chair of the republican conference and i'm talking with the leadership about how we want to have some seminars to help them think through what this looks like and some of them are coming in and have never been legislated before. they never had to put their philosophy into practice and so we want to help them through that. by doing that i think we are going to train a new generation of leaders in congress and it's going to be effective in the years ahead. >> representative banks, representative johnson mentioned those tenets and i'm going to
ask about two of them, one is government where some of the conservatives might say president trump challenge did as a desire to the kind of national industrial policy and one of the areas that has come up is in the family policy with family leave mandates and things of that sort. another area that is happening right now, and i want to ask you specifically about it because the team said they support it as well it's a significant increase to the child tax allowance. senator lee and senator romney said if they support something along those lines the democrats would insist that include full refund ability all the way down to people who pay no taxes and already get significant transfers of payments to help shore up their income with food
stamps and other benefits. are you going to direct and point out that additional cost that comes with the child tax allowance, where are youhe on ts tax allowance and making it refundable all the way even to people who already get significant benefits? >> first and foremost, we look at a $27 trillion national debtt and what that means to the future of the country, my daughters today are 11, nine and 7-years-old. what the debt of their generation is inheriting is going to continue to grow if we don't do something about it. we have to recognize we cannot pass more irresponsible spending moving forward. this is a good example, this is a great example of what they do. they get together the mechanics of what we do on a daily basis. we have a staff of about ten individuals who work hard every day and this is also one of the
differences between the rfc and other conservative caucuses on the hill. it's a a talented team that put out policy analysis of every piece of legislation that comes through the vote on the floor and a part of that analysis is a fiscal impact. and every bill would increase the size and scope of the government or decrease it and if there are conservative concerns laid out in the legislative analysis when the members of congress become members that is what they are paying for but the most importantnt investment that they are making is this legislative analysis that the sharp talented team second to none on capitol hill spend hours writing it and it goes to the members of congress and this is a good example of where they would provide an analysis on extending or growing tax credits like these and tell us what it
would do to increase spending and the deficit and debt even further. i promise that it will be on the frontlines of the debate exposing the results of the programs like this to the future of the country when it comes to deficits and debt and spending even further. >> and then for both of you if you want to start on the rule of law conservatives generally have a certain commitment to the tradition and order and respect for institutions. all of that is coming into question a little bit in the wake of this election and there are serious tensions in the republican part party now. the arizona governor and georgia governor and wall street journalists in very intense conflict with the president's behavior concerning the total
order of power. where does that stand with regards to the rule of law? >> with the increasing debt that we have in this country it's you said it very well one of the things that is presupposed is these ideas are reliable and trustworthy and fair. if you are going to have a government of, by and for the people, the people are the sovereigns themselves, the consent of the governed, and if the governed don't believe that the power structures are in place and fair and equitable then our whole house of cards
fall. it is a fragile thingng and it relies upon the faith in these institutions, so when you have an election that they have no confidence in they see instances of fraud and on a broad basis that are credible, it makes them wonder if they should take the time to vote again in the future at all and it is a great concern to all of us. so i am a constitutional attorney. my background i've spoken about this the last couple of weeks encouraging them to exhaust the legal remedies because i think it is critically important and i think every american citizen, every voter is owed is that, whoever they voted for as president because we have to root out the fraud and irregularity and make sure that even if we don't in this current election if it isn't capable of being overturned, and it's probably not, we have to make sure that this doesn't happen again in the future.
>> he has exhausted his legal remedies and he isn't winning. he said he won't concede even then. is this the confidence they should have in the system, previous presidents lost bigger elections for the sake of order and recognizing the importance of opposition and -- >> there's no question about that. but what is the appropriate time, is it right now or do you wait until the final case is resolved and i'm in that camp. the president said in his own words a few days ago at the white house that he would obviously participate in the peaceful transfer of power. but the distinction between this and all previous ones is that you didn't have this level of fraud alleged in so many places
at one time. the instances of covid and the rapid absentee ballots that were used in this cycle is unprecedented. that is where the problem lies. so we have to make sure that all these questions are not lingering or hanging over our election system going forward. i'm literally getting tense about this right now just while we are talking. people that are not watching right now, constituents of mine on the subject stand with the president, make sure it's fair and all that. the rank and file a lot of them are deeply concerned about this and we've got to root out the fraud. >> during the past several years, one of the heroes of the conservative movement has been the attorney genera attorney gee united states so far and stood up to take some tough stands and incur the wrath of the progressive left in a really unpleasant way. yesterday he said there is no evidence of fraud and now they
are attacking him. how do you react to the attorney general's comments from yesterday? >> i appreciate that the attorney general made the comments. and if he is saying they can't identify fraud, i think we should take those comments very seriously. but let me say this. at the very outset of this congress, when they took the gavel and they took the majority, they symbolically introduced their very first bill, hr one. this was january 2019 long before covid-19 and before the pandemic. hr one was a piece of legislation that would nationalize elections and push all states towards mail-in
ballots. this was the strategy long before the pandemic. the senate obviously didn't move it forward and they used the guide of the pandemic in many states to expand mail-in ballots to their advantage and that is one of the reasons mike johnson is saying so many americans have lost faith in the institutions and faith in the election process. there are things we should do and recognize at the outset that we should look at ways we can create standards to preserve the integrity and security.y. i've been working with my secretary of state in indiana and i've introduced that would require states before receiving
matching federal grants related to elections that would match theul voter role with social securityoc databases. there are sensible pieces of legislation we can advocate for that would return integrity and security back to the elections and preserve the america trust process. and i want them to be in the middle of that debate and i want to find ways over the next couple of years to advocate and advance the legislation that might do exactly that. >> i want to ask one more question. there's a long history of federal intervention in local elections. with the shelby case in the supreme court, they ended section five because it was too aggressive at this time and intrusion of federal power. given what's happened are you reconsider the role of
the federal government in elections in the state? >> i've been very resistant to it because i am an old school ol conservative and there is a reason our federalism is important and we have trusted the states to handle the process but there's also a presupposition that it would be done d fairly and justifiably ad if that is a problem than those leare things we have to look at. i am not in favor of the big federal intervention, but i do think that the responsibility primarily falls with the state legislatures and there's going to be inre a result certainly by the republican led legislatures to clean this up and make sure that this doesn't happen again. another thing that was at a moment ago the attorney general did say that they have not seen fraud that would be sufficient to overturn and he also clarified later that day they
have not yet reached their final conclusion. they are reaching out. most of it is an academic discussion and everybody recognizes it is probably too late to overturn. but again we have to exhaust every remedy and investigation to make sure that we know exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. that is the big issue. okay, so i do have a question from one of the listeners that i want to ask. and this concerns given the debt and deficit issue it brings us back to the role of the house as the builder of the fiscal policy in the united states. are you inclined is that an area that deserves further reform or reduction that the committee would entertain? >> i will tell you as a general
notion we have been very consistent about it if you rewind the clock it's the greatest economy in the history of the world not just the united states but the world and there's reasons for that. it's because we reduce the taxes and regulations largely and unleashed the american economy. we believe in that general idea and philosophy and principle and i think the vast majority of the members will double down on that when given the opportunity. what we are going to be doing is playing defense because we have the commitment by the president-elect and his team that they want to raise taxes. it's the opposite approach that we need, so there will be a vigorous defense of the policies and ideas the first thing we need to do is make a tax cut for the individual rate permanent. if the republicans are the party
of the working class and working people, then we should have done that from the beginning. we made the corporate tax cuts permanent and son's heador to te individual rate at ten years and i think that was one of the big missus that they need to go back to make the individual rate cut permanent. as mike johnson is saying the next four years likely will be fighting against the progressive repeal of the tax cuts altogether so that is a fight that they will be in the middle of over the next couple of years. >> one thing that was clear to me is the working class americans were positive about the state of the economy before covid-19. that the unemployment rate, the poverty rate, the ratio of people inmy employment was at an all-time best achievement and median income was rising.
given that the vice president is bringing in the team from president obama's economic policy, do you think that they have it in them to get us back to an economy of late 2019 or what is your view of where the policy will lead us. >> i would like to think so but it's hard for me to see the economic advisors of the president who did the most damage to the working class perhaps in modern times would be willing to learn or take a page from the playbook that they despised so much that they campaigned against in this last campaign cycle. so the scenario that i hope the republicans can seize the mantle and spend the next two years we remind the american people at the party and the policies of the republican party are on the side of the working class, the democratic party is not. >> representative johnson, do you have a comment?
>> to the nature of your district, do you represent working-class districts and are they coming from people first i would say i do believe that the bright spot, the silver lining of this outcome is with biden and harris in georgia will have the opportunity to draw a stark contrast between the policies we've implemented and pursued and what they are going to pursue and try to do with the rise of socialism in the house. we are going to have a very distinct contrast to draw and we like that going into 2022 because we can show what we have done and what the results of the policies were. that means a lot in a district like mine i am in northwest
louisiana. about a third of the state where one of the lower economic scales is relatively low and louisiana is one of the least. we've got the greatest people in the world and the natural resources of any state. we have all of the conditions here to be number one on the list of every economy but what has held us back is wrongheaded policies on this level and decades of corruption and all that. but we have to have a condition on the federal level to allow the states to compete and then it's up to us to adjust to the economic policies to make it work. my people desire that and appreciate the opportunity. they love president trump because of what he did for them. as you said, they went up and
had more economic opportunity and economic mobility for more people. the pathway out of poverty was broad for more people and they saw that and experienced it themselves. many of the longtime democrats are scratching their head and said my goodness ma maybe theres something to do to this. we have to see them now as the republican party to make that case to the working class that we are the party that can best present your interest and give you and your family better opportunity. the truth is on our side and we are anxious to make those arguments. >> last word for you on this. anything else you would like to tell us about the coming years? >> i represent the district with the most manufacturing jobs per capita my dad by the way as an example of the working class voter wh is not a traditional republican but who loves president trump and came to the republican party more firmly
than ever because president trump and for the republicans to win in the future, we have to keep the voters like my dad in the fold. i tell people all the time i got elected four years ago in the same election my brother got elected in a local office my dad was more excited about donald trump winning the white house than he was either of his sons winning. if we are going to win the majority or the white house, we've got to keep the working-class voters in the fold. president trump taught us how to do it and i think that the china subject is a key part of this. my dad when i was a kid, nafta was a four letter word as well. the u.s. mca one could argue that it's just extending or reforming nafta and the fact president trump spend time renegotiating and drafting trade deals that the american workers first, those are areas that are
hard for free-trade comic traditional conservatives to wrap their head around. but we have to learn a few of these lessons if we are going to be a politically viable party and if the conservative movement is going to be a winning movement in the future and that is the conversation i want them to focus on in the next couple of years with trump t out of the white house what can we learn from him and what are the lessons we've learned from the trump era that can help sharpen ourselves and grow our movement moving forward. there's no better place to have that conversation than the republican committee. >> this has been a great conversation with two distinguished members of the house of representatives. honored to have you with us this morning and i appreciate your service to the country. thankk you for listening. and we will see you next time.
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