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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 29, 2016 5:00pm-7:01pm EST

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that was at the most basic level about a desire for them to repatriate their surplus in the form of investment and we said, okay, but going to take the form of factories employing americans. that's the way we have to do those plans this way we do today. i don't see those chinese factories. >> so we have any time for one or two questions, but before we get to that, i just wanted to ask one quick question of the chairman. with this focus on enforcement by the president-elect, do you foresee any sort of work with him, with the administration on trade enforcement legislation? any type of new ideas floating around there? >> sure. look, both parties, i think, agree on strong enforcement. mr. trump ran on the strongest enforcement of the two candidates in one, and i think most people agree that was a convincing part of that -- of his support nationwide.
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so i think given the opportunity and chance to assess new tools, the new ones we gave this new president less than ten months ago because he may find there are tools there he didn't know. secondly put those tools in place. make sure -- for example, the wto is where the trade rules stand and where they are enforced. so he has the opportunity, i think, to assess within the wto, aggressively pursue, for example, china's behavior that don't follow, that violate our trade rules. one of my suggestion would be, look, the start of the bush administration, unfortunately str worked it very diligently. i still think if we're serious about going after china on intellectual property in protections, that we ought to be aggressively pursuing and
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concluding bilateral investment treaty with china. i would go straight toward that issue rather than play it on the sides or merely through the wto. that's one offense. i would take a second one. >> we will take questions from the audience. anything from the trade agreement? >> okay. good to see you, chairman. >> thanks. >> now that tpp is on hold for the future, we don't know how long, the obama administration still has some trade initiatives that they are negotiating or trying to finish by the end of this year. maybe you could comment on tisa and ega and where you see those going, even concluding maybe.
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also, do they need congressional approval? >> i hope they do conclude, i think the environmental agreements closer to the finish line there. china still needs to step forward in a major way. europe has to as well to make sure we're actually addressing environmental goods of today and not of 20 years ago. so i'm hopeful that makes progress. it depends whether they are changing u.s. law in that process and whether that has to be submitted or not. tisa, i think the service agreement is really important for trade, competition, for lower costs, very important. i think some of the decisions europe has made, for example, requiring each country to approve it, i think they are creating roadblocks and making it very difficult to move in agreement forward that should be
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i think agreed to in a major way that has so much upside globally in an economy worldwide that's not so hot, not doing so well. i'm hopeful that progress can be made. again, i think u.s. administration has worked very hard to continue those agreements. i hope they are concluded. >> i think we've run out of time. i think the chairman has to get along to -- >> that vote thing? >> yeah. >> yeah. >> thank you so much for joining us tonight. i'm going to hand it over to my colleague. doug palmer, senior trade reporter. thank you so much. [ applause ]
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>> well, hello, everyone. thank you for coming and thank you for coming ambassador froman. on behalf of politico and our sponsor, fedex, and everyone here. i think it's fair to say when we booked this event a few months ago, we expected a different discussion, focused on transferring trans-pacific partnership with lame duck, the election of donald trump swept it off the table. i do want to ask you if you agree with that. now we're looking at a potential new era of tit for tat trade eras with some of our biggest trade partners, china and mexico. ambassador froman has traveled all around the world negotiating trade deals. i've had the pleasure to go
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ongoing on 5% of those troops, including the time we went all the way to columbia, maryland, for talks on south korean agreement. that was one of the finest suburban hotels i've ever visited. >> absolutely. the real reason i mention that, the trump campaign tried to hang the blame on hillary clinton. i was there a week and never saw hillary one time but saw ron kirk, and wendy cutler, the chief u.s. negotiate, and ron froman running the whole show on behalf of his friend, president obama, who met way back in the 20th century. when they were both at harvard law school. >> man, where is this going? >> just one last paragraph. i'm sorry. my favorite fun fact about ambassador froman is that he got his start in international affairs by helping resolve
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albanian blood feuds which unfortunately we won't have time to get into today. although i would be curious how to compare to washington blood feuds. are they any easier to resolve? anyway, i'm going to shut up and just give ambassador froman the opportunity to talk. first i have to ask the question that's on everybody's mind. ambassador froman, the obama administration launched talks on the trans-pacific partnership in 2010. there were 19 rounds of negotiations and after that another 15 senior official and ministerial agreements until an agreement was finally reached october 5th, 2015 in atlanta, georgia. mr. ambassador, after all that work, after all that travel, after all that time you were away from your wife and two children and other negotiators were away from their families, is the tpp agreement really dead? >> well, i was about to say, thank you for having me, doug. i may revise that. let me revise that comment.
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look i think -- first of all, thank you for having me back. i think the work that's been done on tpp, both in terms of opening new markets for american exports and raising standards there so we can create more good jobs, more well paying jobs, i think it's a very strong agreement. as the president has said we've not been fully successful in convincing people how it addresses the concerns they raised but we are fully committed to asia-pacific region, it's absolutely critical to our strategic and economic interests and we believe that the kind of high standards we were able to negotiate in tpp does exactly what the american people want, which is leveling the playing field. we've heard a lot of -- certainly one of the themes coming out of the election are people's concerns that we face an unlevel or unfair playing field.
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that was silly when the main motivation behind it when we went into tpp to make sure we did open our markets disproportionately for our exports, other countries have big barriers to exports. and that we raise standards. labor standards, intellectual property right standards, standards in terms of how an enterprise should operate so they don't compete unfairly against our private firms, standards on the digital economy. those are all things tpp accomplishes. so i'm hopeful over time as people look into it and see what's at stake as the rest of the world moves on and pursues their own trade agendas and we see what the implications are for us economically and strategically, that we'll be able to see that work move into effect. >> okay. so not completely dead. but -- >> in the previous panel i heard somebody use the word purgatory. i think i prefer the word
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purgatory. i think there's a lot in there. i think other countries are certainly not going to stay still. they are going to move forward. whether they move forward by taking tpp forward without us or they move forward in their own bilateral or tri-lateral or regional trade agreements, the rest of the world isn't going to stand still. that means we're going to be left on the sidelines seeing not only the opportunities tpp represents lost but seeing existing share in markets eroded by other countries getting access. that i don't think is in our interest. >> right. right. but one curious thing today, i notice that you and secretary vilsack met with state agriculture secretaries at the white house. >> that's actually tomorrow. you have great foresight. >> oh, that's tomorrow. okay, i'm sorry. right. and that seemed like a tpp event. i wondered, is there some crazy
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possibility president obama could still present it to congress. >> i think we made clear we stand ready to move forward. we've worked to address outstanding issues, the poor producers had some issues, and now they're supportive of the agreement. dairy farmers had issues, now they are supportive of the agreement. financial services sector had issues, now they are fully supportive of the agreement. even on the major outstanding issue of biologics and intellectual property rights, i think your publication as well as others reported we were very close to an agreement in the run-up to the election. so we stand ready to move forward, but this is fundamentally a legislative process. it's up to the congressional leadership to decide whether and when it will be taken up. >> what's going to happen when president obama meets with other tpp leaders at the apec summit this week? will they make some sort of statement to try to move the process forward? is there something they can do
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to somehow memorialize the agreement so it's there if the trump administration wants to take it up in the future? >> the other countries are already moving ahead. many of them are far down the line in their own approval process. the lower house of the diet in japan approved it last week. others are moving forward through their own respective ratification processes. so i think this meeting that we'll have in lima among tpp leaders will be an important opportunity for the leaders to share perspectives on where they are domestically and want to hear from the president on his perspective where it goes from here. >> last week i was at an event and dan pierson from the cato institute said trump could wait a few years and rebrand it trump pacific partnership. do you see something like that
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happening? >> we never thought of selling the naming rights. it's an interesting idea. i'll leave that to the institute to suggest. >> i want to ask about nafta, donald trump says he's going to renegotiate -- going to withdraw from nafta unless mexico and canada agree to renegotiate it. didn't president obama say he was going to renegotiate nafta? did you guys ever get around to doing that? >> he did and we did. he said back in 2008 when he was running for president that he wanted to renegotiate nafta. he was very clear about what he meant. it was because labor and environmental issues were dealt with in nafta as side agreements that were not fully enforceable. he made the point if we're going to have trade agreements we have to treat labor and environmental issues as seriously as every other issue in the agreement. that's what we did through tpp because mexico and canada are part of tpp. when they agreed to binding and enforceable labor and environmental provisions that was renegotiation of nafta. there are other parts, too. we got
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more market access to canada than nafta and dairy and poultry, access to mexico in certain areas such as the energy sector. so tpp is, in fact, renegotiation of nafta. in that area, like so many other areas, if tpp doesn't move forward, until it moves forward, those gains are not to be seen. if we care about, for example, raising labor standards in mexico, both because that's good in and of itself and because it helps level playing field for our workers, it's important to move forward with tpp. because that's exactly what it does. >> for whatever reason, nafta seems to resonate negatively with voters. did you ever -- did the administration ever suggest to hillary clinton that she try to sell the tpp agreement as a renegotiation of nafta that did all these things you just described? >> we have certainly in our efforts to describe the benefits of tpp mentioned and talked about how it is the
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renegotiation of nafta. it's the most significant expansion of workers rights, 500 million workers around the world would have binding and enforceable labor rights. as i said, that's not only good for itself, in terms of the dignity of work but in terms of leveling the playing field for our workers and our firms. one of the main complaints is we live in a world where we compete with low wage labor. that's a reality. that genie is out of the bottle. the question is what are you going to do about it. our view was through tpp, if you could get other countries to agree with the right of association and right to bargain collectively and prohibition of child labor and forced labor, that would improve level standards in other countries and level playing field for our workers. that's what's at stake with tpp moving forward. i have to say for critics of tpp or opponents of tpp, i think the question really is by defeating
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tpp, or delaying tpp, how are they improving workers rights around the world? how are they leveling the playing field for our workers? in the meantime when we could be raising these workers rights, why are we imposing on our workers a continuing unlevel playing field. >> do you have a theory of what -- i know you say you prefer to think of tpp in purgatory. do you have a theory of who put it in purgatory? >> are you asking about divine intervention here? no, look, i think what we've seen is a rise of populism. >> right. >> not just in this country but around the world. a populism that was both the right and the left. i think you've seen a politics that didn't always permit a full
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debate based on facts. i think that combination of events has made it difficult to get the message through about just what's at stake here. >> yeah. do you remember where you were october 7th, 2015, when hillary clinton came out against the trans-pacific partnership. >> i think i was probably at work, in my office. that was a few days after we had completed the tpp negotiations and we flew back to washington, to immediately go up to the hill and consult on it and were in the process of doing so. >> do you remember how you felt? >> i'm not going to comment on any candidate past or present. i think this election process has very much underscored that there are a lot of people who feel left behind. whether it's because of technology, demographics,
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globalization. we talked about before, we don't get to vote on technology or next generation of robots or software. you don't really get to vote on globalization, it's just a force. trade agreements become the scapegoat for quite legitimate concerns that people have about income inequality, stagnation of wages, about feeling left behind relative to others in the global economy. that's something we need to deal with. if there is a silver lining to this whole debate, it is that i hear both republicans and democrats coming back from the campaign trail talking about how we need to do more to deal with displaced workers, communities affected by change, wherever that change comes from. whether it comes from technology or from globalization. that's going to be an important debate going forward. i would hope coming out of this
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campaign and coming out of this election we don't draw the wrong lessons or pursue the wrong remedies. cutting off trade is the wrong remedy. we know that. 14 million americans owe their job to exports. we export over $2 trillion worth of goods and services a year. cutting us off from the global economy is not the answer to these concerns, as legitimate as they are. it's dealing with these other issues about dislocation, about transition in a way that goes beyond what we've done before. >> right. i mean one thing the trump campaign has suggested is sort of a more radical use of trade defense measures in order to keep out imports from china. what do you think of that idea? is there more the administration could have done on that front? >> i think we've been very committed to trade enforcement and to the use of the trade remedy laws. i think as you see now, i think there are more trade remedies being imposed by the commerce
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department and itc than ever before in history. a lot were in the steel sector. on the trade enforcement side we brought 23 cases before wto, more than any country in the world, 14 of those cases brought against china. we've won every case that's been brought to conclusion and we're continuing to work on those cases. so i think we believe that enforcement is very important. that clearly is an issue that's been underscored by this campaign as well and i expect it will be important in the future as well. >> i had a theory that you had at least one or two more wto cases you were going to roll out during the tpp debate. >> we work on them on an ongoing basis and we bring as soon as we are confident they are ready to go. whenever we're ready to go, we will bring them. >> could we see more between now and the end of the administration? >> as soon as we're confident in the case so we're ready to bring it, we'll bring it.
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i don't want to ruin the surprise. >> will the obama administration declare china a market economy under anti-dumping laws before it leaves office? >> well, look, i think as china itself has recognized, the determination of market economy status is actually a determination that falls under each of our statutes, each country's statutes. we have criteria in our statute about what constitutes a market economy. china can apply for market economy at any time. i think the last time it did so was back in 2004. i think there is widespread view that based on those criteria, that it has not yet achieved that status. i think what they are focused on is what happened at the end of the year when part of their accession protocol to the wto expires and how will that affect our application of anti-dumping laws in the future. that's something we're continuing to work through. >> so there could be some announcement on that? you could announce a change? >> haven't made any decisions on that.
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>> but it's still under consideration. what do you think you can get done in the closing days of the administration? do you think environmental goods agreement could come together, could there be a conclusion of the u.s.-china bilateral investment treaty? >> the g-20 leaders back in september underscored the importance of trying to get the environmental goods agreement done this year. we've been working to follow up that commitment. we've made very good progress. we still have a ways to go. it will be absolutely critical as it was with information technology agreement that china play its appropriate role in this and puts on the table. china has potentially one of the greatest beneficiaries of ega both in terms of the country that produces environmental goods and the country that desperately needs those goods to deal with very serious environmental problems. but it's going to be important that they put on the table the kind of access the rest of the countries are willing to offer if we're going to be able to reach that agreement. we're looking forward to engaging with them on that in the near future. >> bilateral investment treaty?
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>> those conversations are ongoing. i think it's important that it be a high standard agreement that really reforms and opens up the chinese economy and creates real disciplines to address the kinds of problems that our companies have had in that market. again, we've made progress but we're not there yet. >> i was wondering, what's the morale like at uscr now? as we started the conversation, you guys spent five years negotiating this agreement. it looks like it's not going to go anywhere in the foreseeable future. that must be very disappointing. you also have a president-elect who repeatedly on the campaign trail talked about how stupid america's trade negotiators were. do you think they are going to be able to work for this administration? >> well, uscr is a great institution. i worked in a number of different parts of u.s. government, and there is no
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finer group of career civil servants than usdr. they are incredibly dedicated, incredibly hard working, and incredibly dedicated to their mission of both negotiating strong trade agreements and making sure they are fully enforced. i have every confidence as they have with every previous transition, and i was reminded when we came in in 2008 that -- 2009 that they had a number -- we raised a number of concerns about previous trade policies and renegotiating agreements and the like -- that we will work well with the new administration as well. they are very professional and i have every confidence they will be able to work with new administration to work on their priorities. >> we talked about how much you travel on the job. after january 20th, you'll have a lot of time. do you have any travel plans? what will you be doing next? >> i'm going to be finding a hammock on a beach and sleep for some undetermined period of time. that's the only plans that i've
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made so far. >> but you seem, i don't know, i sort of observed you have an interest in wildlife conservation. do you think you might be doing something in that area? >> i don't know. it's a great -- it's a very interesting area, something i've learned about in this job and my previous job at the white house working on development issues. the link between developments, trade, national security and wildlife is really very significant. so it's one of the areas we focused on tpp and getting tpp countries to agree to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. it's something i spent time in after riafrica, are a ban did a and elsewhere, and something i'll stay focused on as well. >> we're about out of time. i did want to get your thoughts on this one question. there's sort of this confusing information where public opinion polls show democrats support trade more than you would expect, republicans support it less than you would expect but
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the parties vote in the opposite way in congress. i don't know. how do you see that shaking out over the next couple of years? >> well, look, i've seen those polls. i think it is interesting that young democrats, african-americans, hispanics, asians are all more pro trade than average. there's a certain group of republicans not as pro trade as average. i think we'll have to do more. by we, i mean the collective we, government, business, agriculture, to continue to educate people about what's really at stake. we take for granted when we pick up our phones and we download an app, or we take it for granted that the ecosystem that allows it to happen is one that's going to always exist. we know that other countries are quite eager to set up walls around the internet, create
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national clouds, to tax digital products. we take for granted the amounts of farming that comes from exports. when that disappears as other countries even to our market share, we're going to find those same people in rural america who have been concerned are going to find themselves facing more challenges, not fewer. that's why it's so important to get the story out and to get the facts out. i would hope going forward we could have a more fact-based discussion about the benefits of trade but also what we need to do as a society to deal with those impacted by change wherever it comes from. >> okay. thank you, ambassador. thank you on behalf of politico and everyone here today for spending time with us. i'd like to thank fedex for sponsoring today's event and luiza savage and all those on the politico team who worked so
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hard to bring this together. thank you to those in the room and those watching on live stream. there is a quick reminder for those of you in the room, please join us for cocktails and conversation in the back of the room. have a great evening and please thank ambassador froman again. [ applause ] [ room noise ]
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coming up later today, democratic senators chris kuhns and amy klobuchar adiscuss how they will work with the trump administration, starting at 6:00 p.m. eastern. follow the transition of government on c-span as donald trump becomes the 45th president of the united states and
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republicans maintain control of the u.s. house and senate. we'll take you to key events as they happen without interruption. watch live on c-span. watch on demand at or listen on our free c-span radio app. >> thank you very much. welcome to congress. honeywell's ceo david cote and blackstone ceo stephen schwarzman talk about the division between wall street and main street, and what the trump administration will mean for business. >> we wanted to take a look at what the political campaign and public opinion in general did to the reputation of big business, your companies. and so we've asked dave cote from honeywell and steve schwarzman from blackstone group, both ceos, to come in and talk about the relationship between big business and
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government. it took a kind of a beating from both the left and the right this campaign season. so please join me in welcoming david cote, steve schwarzman. dennis berman, our finance editor, is going to interview them. thank you. [ applause ] >> great to have you guys with us. so what went wrong? you guys are like politicians out here yourselves. what went wrong? why is the reputation of business so poor, particularly as it relates to politics and the voting public? dave? >> in terms of what went wrong, i guess if the question is geared towards the view of business in general. >> yes.
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>> i actually remember complains about this long before the financial crisis or this election. and i can remember actually having a discussion in new york with a couple of people, and les moonves was there, the guy who runs cbs. i said, jeez, how come you guys can't make a movie where the ceo is the hero and rescues somebody from a burning building? >> this group likes that movie. >> something where we're portrayed positively. because we're actually a force for good. the reason the country lives as as well as it does and has the standard of living it does is because of business. now, i'm not a complete anti-regulation guy. i do think you need certain regulations to maintain a certain common denominator. but at the end of the day, we're the reason the country is so productive, so innovative, and standard of living is so good. yet that message started getting lost a moment ago. i wouldn't be surprised if you tracked it back to my generation
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in the '60s, if you start to look at when did people start to look at business differently. >> steve, baby boomers to blame? >> i don't know if it's baby boomers. it's sort of at evolution which started in the in early 2000 period with enron and world comp and a series of issues. democrats had been sort of quiet for a while. then you had the financial crisis. and there were a lot of causes for the financial crisis, six or seven major factors. but the way the legend got told, it was only the banks. no one else contributed to anything. and that kind of focus carried on. it became really good politics. it helped elect people. and it's continued, actually, to
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this day. and so i think it was inculcated into popular culture. it was repeated. and it's a tough thing to run from. >> right. so if we view the results of last tuesday's election, somewhat clearly a referendum on politics in washington, but perhaps a referendum on business as well. the mood of the people who voted the way they did seems to be antiestablishment. people on stages, in washington hotels, wearing ties. the mood appears not to have changed, at least from the populace's voice, would you agree with that, dave, or no? >> i don't know that i would look at it as an anti-business vote. most of the people that i talk to who did vote for donald trump would say that they just feel like things aren't working, and that things need to change, and
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it doesn't get a lot more specific than that other than things need to change. we don't know what, but we need to take a chance that things are going to change. i don't know that it was a lot more complicated than that. >> right. so if there's one concrete thing that you guys can do, you've been involved in washington, to your credit you've served a lot and been involved here. steve, you've been in business a long time. if there's one concrete thing you would recommend to people here about what they might do to change perceptions here and beyond, it is what? >> i think things are going to change. i think they'll change a lot. and if you're a new president and you promised to create jobs, the mechanism you're going to use to change those jobs is the business community. so the business community now becomes front and center. it's got to work. it's got to create jobs. and the new administration is
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going to do it with an a lot of different policies. you're going to see very substantial changes in regulation. the financial community has been really constrained to extend credit. that was part of regulatory changes. it's gone so far everywhere in the developed world that growth has been reduced way below potential. europe, u.s., other democracies. and as a result, you have all these unhappy people. there are other factors as well. but without extending credit, shrinking financial institutions, economic growth tends to correlate almost one one-to-one with credit extension. we have shrunk credit ruthlessly. and that's going to be reversed. you're going to have a different tax regime with lower corporate taxes, lower individual taxes.
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you're going to have monies brought back in the trillions from abroad. you're going to have different tax regime abroad. there are going to be so many of these changes. i think what's going to happen, it's going to really force growth from a policy perspective. >> you're excited? >> i am. >> does it create real substantive growth, steve, or is it just the appearance of growth, that unless business leaders truly invest, may not sustain itself? >> well, i think you need the preconditions to grow. you've had almost no productivity in the united states over the last x years. part of the reason, i think, is so much money has been diverted into regulatory uses, without any result from it from a productivity point of view. so i think productivity is going to go up. overall economic activity is going to go up. and i think the business
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community is going to look infinitely better at the end of a two to four-year run than they have for quite a long time. >> clearly i would wage they're the sums spent on regulation, however big they may be, are far less than the sums spent on buybacks and dividends. it seems there has to be a change in the mindset of ceos in this room who say, i'm going to build a factory, i'm going to invest. they haven't been doing that. >> if i can support steve's point, though, i do think that as we start to grow more, which i think is a possibility, that that perception of business we were talking about is a lot less concerning to people if you're growing 3% than if you're growing 1.7. i do think that happens. one of the interesting things that has surprised me with this election is, it feels like there's a real change in the
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animal spirits, if you will, of business people. and there's just a different feeling amongst business people when you talk to them, this whole change aspect, which i have to admit i did not forecast. and i've been quite encouraged to see it in this past week. and that along with some of the changes that steve was talking about, that could create a very different dynamic. if we could end up growing more, people are going to feel better about it. >> if people believe it, it becomes so. >> it does happen. >> i think we have a poll question for people here, i think we asked this very question. can we call that question up? maybe if we can't, we can do a show of hands. do we have the question, guys? no, we don't. okay. how about a raise of hands. how many people here feel animal spirits? >> yeah, i do too. >> that's about a third, 40%. how many of you are really willing to spend money in a way
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that you were not before because of the way you feel? >> we have to see change. >> but my point is they are the change, are they not? >> it's been a week. >> the stock market is up 6%. the stock market is up a lot. so i don't agree with what you're saying, but they have to be willing to spend. >> two weeks ago, had you done the same poll and seen how many hands raised, i think it would have been zero. >> does anyone here want to say what would be the thing that would make them want to spend? does anyone want to speak up here? hold that thought, maybe we'll get to you. do you feel there's a renewed, almost moral obligation for u.s. companies to think about americans and american jobs and american success and productivity, perhaps in ways that they were not previously? >> i've always thought that was a slippery slope for any large company to start thinking that way. and i pride myself on being an
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american, and i'm very clear when i go around the world that i'm american and think that way. but as business people, you should always be thinking about productivity, how can you have the best products, how are you going to participate in every single market, how are you going to obey the law everywhere. and i don't think it's a good dynamic for the country or shareholders if you're always thinking about this is what has to happen in the u.s. first. i don't know that that's always the best way to run a company. >> steve? >> i think dave sketched it out right. our objective with companies is to make them grow at least 50% faster than the s&p. and there are a lot of different ways, when you're doing that, to create jobs. some of them are here. some of them are abroad. you try and find the optimal mix. nothing stays the same in business. so where there was, you know,
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sort of very substantial offshoring, some of that works, then people find out, jeez, that's a little kludgy, we ought to domicile our people back here. there's an evolution going on. i think there may be some tax regimes to encourage people to have more jobs here. and that's part of the change that's going to occur. >> it seems that a lot of politicians believe that business peoples' job is to create jobs, which it actually is not. a businessperson's job is to create profits, of which jobs are -- >> fundamentally, if you're a businessperson and you think your job is to grow quickly. >> exactly. >> if you grow your companies really fast, what happens is you hire more people. >> correct. >> we have 700,000 people who work at our companies. we're the fourth largest
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employer in the united states. you know, people think blackstone is just a financial company or something. we're quite substantial. and if we're driving all the time to grow fast, because that's when you sell an asset, you get more money for the faster growing the company is. and we keep hiring more and more people. that's good for america. >> do you think people in washington understand that distinction? >> no. no. you get the same thing when you hear a politician say that they're going to go to washington and create jobs. they're not going to create jobs. they can create an environment where jobs can be created. but the only way they create jobs is if they hire more government folks. and that's not a good use of taxpayer money. >> right. so what's your perspective then about the way business can improve its image and reputation right now? going through all the things we just discussed, it still seems
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like you're in a way saying, well, it's washington's fault. clearly business has a renewed responsibility to advocate for itself in ways that it was not before. >> it gets a little difficult. what are you going to do, start taking out full page ads? >> we would love that, actually. we can get you a good deal. >> the unfortunate part is we're the only ones that read it. >> that's not true, approaching 3 million, i must say. but seriously. is there anything you can do to improve your reputation? >> i would say to the extent that we can be helping the country grow, and advocating policies that help the country grow, that's probably the single biggest thing we can do. >> and pr is a waste of time? >> it falls on slightly different ears. >> we have a different approach. we're members of huge
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communities, as honeywell is. our people volunteer a lot of the time. we do all kinds of things for our communities. we have a very active foundation. we do a lot of stuff in sustainability, because it is profitable, actually, to do green type projects with our companies. and if you fight this fight one person at a time, one good act at a time, and if everyone did that, and if companies did what preet barata was talking about, run a completely ethical environment and let everyone know about it, i think if you took a number of companies in america and everyone behaved like that, you would definitely change the attitudes towards business. >> what would you say to americans -- >> i'm sorry. i have to disagree just a bit. i think all the stuff you just
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talked about, my guess is if we asked everybody here, they do all the same things. but still this attitude is there. >> so what would you say then to americans who believe the system is rigged and business is a part of that rigged system? >> it's not. >> okay. >> i wish it was. my job would be a hell of a lot easier. sold yours. >> stev so would yours. . >> steve, china. given your experience over there, what have you learned about business and government from your experience in china? >> china is a completely different system. you know, they don't exactly have rule of law. so it's little bit of an adventure, when you're there. one thing you learn is, you know, it's good to have an
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american-type framework, legally, ethically and so forth. however, chinese workers work really hard. sometimes they're difficult to get to do exactly what you want the first time or two. but these are very entrepreneurial people. and they work harder than people almost everywhere in the world, leave americans side. they have real will to win. and it's almost the whole country with the will to will. and that's how you get these extremely high growth rates. you can do it through debt policies and other things where, you know, one can argue that they've pushed the limits of
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some of the things that they can do. they're clever. they don't mind setbacks. it's not a problem. they set extremely ambitious goals. and they don't mind if they don't get there the way they originally tried. so that's in a way admirable. and it's what has made almost every analyst wrong about what would happen in china. >> is there any one aspect of the chinese way of doing business that you wish would be more integrated into the u.s.? >> yes. >> go on. >> well, partly it's this endless will to win. and not stopping. and continual innovation. it's almost like everybody's an entrepreneur. >> has america gone soft, then, in comparison? >> has america gone soft? as compared to when?
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the 1880s? yes. so we've had a great run in america. and, you know, the number of people who really, you know, sort of approach things with the zealous perspective of some of the chinese is not as high as it might be. >> but the run isn't over here, right? there's so many things to be hopeful for about america. >> i didn't say the run was over. you were asking me to compare where we are, like a balance sheet, with where china is now. >> dave, you had some reaction to china? yeah, i always thought they did a great job of having a long term strategy for the country, having some sense of how things were going to evolve and what they had to get done. and then they really get on with it. i mean, there's a lot of arguing that goes on behind closed doors, and we tend to think of it as a totalitarian system, which it's not exactly. it's something that we're not
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quite familiar with. they have their own elections, different than ours. but theirs are a hell of a lot more vicious, as dirty as we think ours was, theirs are a lo vicious in the end result. and they really have a big argument about it but then they develop a strategy that they kind of stick with, and they have a focus on what it is they want to get done. whereas we just kind of argue from election to election. i'd like to see more focus on some of those longer term trends. the three that i always talk about that i wish our government would talk more about is, one, the economic rise of china. this century they're likely to become the number one economy in the world. the changes in technology. look at what's going to happen on the digital side with the digital revolution which is likely to go on the entire century. and the biological changes that are coming. when you start thinking about crisper technology and can happen with dna. and the third one is the population is going to go from 7
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billion to 10 billion people. how do you feed them and handle the pollution? i'd like to know that our government is thinking about that and doing something. in china, i do get a sense that people think about it and start talking about energy efficiency in a way that says how do we make sure that our people can breathe the air that we have, how can they actually use all the water, that limit amount that we have. i don't feel like we really think that way. i think that we benefit from it. >> thoughts on that? >> i think dave's right. they have long-term goals for example in education. when we announced the schwartzman scholars program, the president of china wrote a note as part of the announcement of the great haul of people, and he said he wanted two of their universities to be in the top ten in the world in 20 years.
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part of the reason he liked the scholar program is it fit in with chinese universities learning from some of the western approaches that we just take for granted. now, that's the kind of planning that we basically don't have for the most part. >> and then go and do something. >> can business fill that void and if so, how? >> i'm not sure how business fills that void. i've always felt like between government and business, people tend to want to look at them as the same but they're really not. i've always looked at business you don't mind churn, you don't mind companies going bankrupt. it happens all the time. most companies over the course of 100 years are going to be not viable. but you get a significant part of activity. you worry a lot less about
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sustainability. with government you need just the opposite. thank god we don't count on them for productivity because there wouldn't be a lot coming, but you need sustainability. the fact that the system has existed for 200 years is great. there's a similar bee on theic relationship where government needs to not just regulate but they need to enable business and they need to focus on that enabling side, whether it's the infrastructure we talk about, the education system steve was talking about, what do we do with trade which is going to be important, a patent system in the digital age. there's a lot of stuff government needs to be doing to enable business to be successful. >> you served on the simpson-bowles commission. where do we stand now? i don't think that came up once in the presidential election. where do we stand now on the debt? is everything cool? >> actually, it came up several times in the election and both candidates always did a great
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job of swatting it away and nobody really wanted to hear about it. and no, the problem has not gone away. my generation is still retiring. even if you have 4% gdp growth for ten years, the problem is still there, and a lot of it is going to come back to healthcare costs, medicare, medicaid. it's as simple as that. that was the issue seven, eight years ago when we were doing simpson-bowles and it's still the issue. as my generation retires, we're going to swamp the system. >> business reputation, doesn't some of this have to do with the 1% income inequality, the ever growing gap between the c suite and the average worker's pay, the decline of unions, the decline of collective bargaining or the ability of average workers to negotiate. isn't that also kind of contributing to disaffection
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among the public with business? >> i think that's a convenient explanation. i think that what really is going on is that regular americans, middle class, lower income people, have not had a good environment to increase their income at least since 2000. there was a statistic i think yesterday where it said that since 2000, 60% of americans have less real income than in the last 16 years. this is appalling. it's not about just some people because the federal reserve lowered interest rates and popped up asset values. this is a more serious problem, and you have to address this with a positive approach in
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policies to create economic expansion, not at the rate that we're doing. and you have to dramatically increase economic growth to help the people in the country. >> but these ceos say they're not willing to spend. some of them feel a little animated but not enough to grab their checkbook. >> but these things, they got to start someplace. you start with changes of policy. you start with a much more neutral to positive approach towards business, towards innovation, towards growth. you set up the policies, you create a different environment, and things start happening. that's the way you make change. and i think those issues are
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going to be addressed. >> to steve's point, i think it's less about somebody's doing well than it is somebody's doing well and i'm not doing as well as i did before. if everybody's doing well and at different paces, i don't think that's so bad. i always thought bono, i love his music, never cared for his politics so much but he had a great line once when he was asked to compare and contrast the u.s. and ireland, he said in the u.s. if you don't have any money and you're walking by a big house, you look up and you say some day i'm going to be that guy. in ireland you walk by and you say some day i'm going to get that guy. as long as we still have that attitude in the country about i want to be that guy, that's what's really important. we can't lose that as part of what we do. >> comments, questions? thank you very much. >> to learn more about what the trump administration would like to do, we're joined by eric
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yoder with the "washington post" who reports on federal work force issues. good morning. >> good morning, thank you for having me. >> could you in a broad way -- what would the president-elect like to do to the size of the force and how would he like to do that? >> it's very interesting because he has not talked about specifically reducing the federal work force by any particular number. that's very unique compared to some of the republican proposals of the recent years that were contained in their budgets which for example advocated for a 10% reduction. so what he has said during the campaign and really there has been nothing more said about it since was that he would like to impose a hiring freeze with certain exceptions, and his stated goal is not specifically to reduce the work force per se but to shrink it down so that corruption is easier to find. again, that's a very unique take on why you impose a hiring
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freeze. that said, they did carve out several specific occupations or groups of occupations that they would exempt from the hiring freeze, and they specifically mentioned the military which raises the question of are we talking about military uniform personnel or are we talking about civilians who support the military, which of course would mean most of the defense department. he also talked about exempting public safety type jobs which would probably mean law enforcement jobs which would mean carving out large parts of several large agencies, most particularly dhs, justice, a few others that have law enforcement functions. and he also talked about carving out healthcare type jobs which would probably mean carving out another large agency which would be the v.a., plus parts again of certain other agencies that also have health functions.
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so when you take all those carveouts away, you're probably left with less than half of the 2.1 million that you spoke of in terms of the executive branch. >> does history teach us a couple of things, first of all, what happens when you make cuts to the federal work force, and does it really save money in the long run? >> that has been kicked around for a long time, and g.a.o. did a report looking back at several hiring freezes going back as far as the carter administration and basically found they really didn't save very much because there were mismanagement issues and in many cases agencies did not reduce the amount of work they had to get done so they went out and hired contractors to fill in the gaps. some of the proposals that had been raised by the house republicans in recent years have specified that agencies could not go out and hire contractors, which would at least address
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that issue, but it does not address the issue of if there's the same amount of work to be done but fewer people to do it, what happens. well, the result is one of two things. number one, the work slows down to the point where you're getting backlogs. or number two, employees who are left behind just are working harder and harder to make up for the difference. neither of those are sustainable outcomes in the long run. >> and so, before we let you go, mr. yoder, what about the unions that represent these employees, what's been the reactions to these proposals that have been floated? >> they're very much opposed to it of course and they make these same points that we've just been talking about. but you have to remember that in the federal government context, unions have very limited bargaining rights and they can be consulted on certain things and they have rights to certain information and they can challenge the way things are carried out to an extent, but it's not like they can go to the
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bargaining table and prevent this. >> eric yoder who writes on issues of the federal work force and other things for the "washington post," he's their national staff reporter joining us this morning. mr. yoder, thank you so much. >> thank you. and we are live here at the george washington university standing by for a look ahead at congress and governing under the new trump administration. senators chris coons, amy klobuchar and james lankford will be on stage for discussion. we are live here on c-span 3.
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ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the george washington university and the jack morton auditorium. tonight, as with many that have taken place recently in universities, homes, forums,
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clubs, and places of congregation throughout the united states, tonight is an even -- an event of careful reflection on our future with learned guests as we move through the annals of history in the wake of the most recent presidential election. as is the tradition of the george washington university and our renowned school of media and public affairs, we are the promoters of respectful dialogue and exchange of views on some of the most delicate issues of our time. the conversation series at smpa has a long tradition of bringing together some of the leading minds in politics and media to engage in healthy debate to advance our democracy and our civic dialogue. behind every headline is a story, and behind every story are ideas and actions. as an institution of higher
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learning, our never-ending quest is to penetrate these elemental levels in search of truth and in search of understanding. the veritable pillars of every democratic society. it gives me great pride as the dean of the columbia college of arts and sciences at the george washington university for our institution to host this event tonight because it represents the very fabric of who we are. we are home to the engaged liberal arts where disciplined intersect and inform each other, where students drink from the well of knowledge and in the halls of our institutions, students marry the world of theory to the realm of practice, as we symbolically meld the life of the mind with the real world at large. we are the home of value-added education, where we strive to
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ennoble our students to be citizen leaders, ready to tackle whatever the world may bring with the highest ethical and moral come ppass. our school of media and public affairs is frank says know. he's the director of media and public affairs here at the george washington university and a former cnn bureau chief anchor and white house correspondent. he's an emmy award winning journalist and the creator of, a multi-media project that highlights innovations and sustainability. he is passionate about storytelling, and he is adamant that we need an informed public if we are to have a healthy democracy. it gives me great pleasure to introduce tonight your maestro, frank sezna.
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>> thank you very much and good evening, everybody. this is quite a crowd. a testament to just how topical this is. before i bring out our guests for what is going to be a tremendous and timely conversation, i just want to cover a couple of things. first i want to thank some special people who are here. we are able to have this conversation series and many of the other things we do at the school of media and public affairs and at george washington university generally because of the generosity and the support and the unwavering friendship of some special people at the school of media and public affairs. we have our national council, our chair is here, barbara bradley haggerty, john lansing whom i see. cornell belcher. so our national council members and to your support financial and otherwise that helps make this event and these sorts of things possible, i'd like to ask all of you in joining me in
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thanking our wonderful friends. [ applause ] so much of what we're able to do is because of the generosity and the philanthropy of the you in the room. i want to thank our co-sponsors this evening and they have helped us publicize this and obviously have done a pretty darn good job, so thanks to college republicans and democrats. to our media in the room who join us for this conversation, this is a conversation that's important and we're happy to share, and we hope that others can join in in real time and i'll get to that in just a moment and we'll be able to watch and learn from. john parrino, jen hall pen and betty s bet betty sailor helped to make this happen. the hashtag this evening is now what. as you're tracking this, please feel free to share it with your
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social networks and let's get a little positive conversation going. i'd like now to introduce our remarkable panelists for this evening. senator james lankford of oklahoma, senator chris coons of delaware, senator amy clklobuch and dana bash. thank you all for coming. you didn't have anything else to do. before we start, just so we can get an orientation, how many students are in the room? okay. and how many of you would consider yourselves politically active or politically aware? >> why would they be at g.w.? >> so weird. >> and how many of you predicted that the president-elect would be the president-elect?
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>> for the cameras let the record show i see about five hands. what we're going to do this evening is talk about where we are, what's changing and how a bipartisan group, democrat, democrat, republican are going to interact and govern in a very unusual and unprecedented president-elect and president, the role of the media past and present. i'm going to invite my wonderful friend and really remarkable journalist dana bash also to join in the questioning as we go. we'll come to the audience for questions in a bit so you will have an opportunity as well. let me start with a very big, broad question to the three senators, and that is simply, what do you think it's going to be like? i mean, just on this day the president-elect is tweeting about flag burning and you should lose your citizenship and maybe go to jail. he's appointed new -- named new nominees to his cabinet who are true to his campaign pledges of
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wanting to replace, repeal obamacare and move against certain other things that he talked about on the campaign. but we've never had anybody like this in the presidency. >> since andrew jackson. >> except andrew jackson served his country before he was president. what's the future going to be? >> it's the unpredictable nature. no one really knows what to expect other than to expect things are going to be different. >> what do you expect? >> you know what, i do expect him to follow through on some of the campaign promises. >> some. >> and i expect him to say on some of the promises, no, we're not going to do that anymore. i think that's the nature of what we've already seen. for instance, i'm going to prosecute hillary clinton. now he's said i'm going to be magnanimous, we're not going to do that anymore. there will be some of those -- for instance the trade, he was
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passionate about trade issues at the beginning but throughout the entire campaign he also said i like free trade, i think we should trade. >> he's a businessman after all. >> he said we should have better deals, no one knows what the better deals are. he said we should have better deals but we should have free trade. >> what do you think the changes are going to be? >> first that we're going to have a president who is tweeting unvarnished immediately apparently all the time, not necessarily about -- >> maybe in the middle of a meeting with you. >> likely, as we're in the middle of a meeting if we doesn't like what i say, and you'll call me up and say what do you think of donald trump's tweet. he demonstrated a remarkable ability to grab the steering wheel of the bus and shift it and change the national focus of the conversation at whim. in some ways that demonstrates the power of social media. every time there's been a major shift in communications
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technology, a president emerges who really grasped it and was able to lead with it. barack obama, our correct president, was adept at social media but this is taking it to a new level. what do i think it will be like? i think the senate will matter more than it has before. i think the structure, the fundamentals of our democracy, are going to be challenged, and i think the role of media and informed voters is going to be more important than it's ever been. >> i want to make one point. we have two democrats and one republican here. we tried very hard and senator coons thank you, your staff also to get other people. calendars are crazed, and we were not able to add to this group. that's why i'm going to ask dana -- no, i'm not. but senator klobuchar, when you think of the changed landscape and this changed role of the
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senate of which you are not a majority, what do you anticipate? >> first of all, i would agree with my colleagues that it's going to be an unpredictable time. we don't know exactly what this is going to look like. what we do know is that the democrats in the senate are going to have power because of the senate rules. >> the democrats are going to have power? >> yes. we have 48 democratic votes right now, and senator mcconnell has said he's going to keep in place the senate rules, at least that's what he said at a dinner that i attended. and so if that is the case, then we have the fact that you need 60 votes on most legislation. there are exceptions for budgets and other things. there's exceptions of course for cabinet nominees. there's an exception for judges but not for the supreme court if that remains the same. we were taking that at a 60-vote margin and we assume that's what's going to happen with the
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republican majority again. so given all that, we do have power, and i think we have to be smart about how we use it. first of all, if there's common ground, i'm never one to say simply because you don't agree with someone on a lot of different issues that you don't find that common ground if it's good for the country. things like infrastructure, we can talk more in detail about these things that maybe there will be some agreement and we can move forward. but then i think the main role is the senate and really the congress as a whole. it will be to be a check and balance on power. there's a check and balance on the administrative branch, but there's also the check and balance of democrats in the senate because one party will now control the administration, the house, and the senate. so i think that's going to be a very important role when it comes to trying to say no, we need some compromises on this legislation or no, we're not going to reverse this policy and go back decades on whatever the
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issues. >> we'll come to some of those particulars and where the filibuster is going to matter in just a minute. but dana, you have, as a journalist you have observed many different administrations, and clearly one of the big differences here is the twitter president. >> absolutely. >> and the once upon a time when the media set the agenda or so other people thought has been blown up by a candidate, now president-elect, who has been uncommonly successful at setting the agenda at 3:00 in the morning, or 6:00 in the morning. i was on cnn at 6:50 and we were talking about his tweet that preceded us. what exactly does that mean? >> we don't know. we know what it meant for the campaign which was -- you put it so well in a very vivid way which is that he did take the steering wheel and turn it with his twitter feed. sometimes he did it to his detriment and to the point where at the end of his campaign you
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remember his aides successfully somehow took his twitter away from him and he won. however, he also understands the power of social media and his twitter account in particular, and he feels emboldened because he won. >> it worked. >> it worked, sure, it worked. it worked. but campaigning is one thing as you all know, and governing is quite different. if he's attacking my colleague, jeff zeleny, for correctly pointing out donald trump's tweet saying there were 2 million illegal votes cast was not provable and probably not accurate is okay, that's probably not going to move stock markets. but it is possible that he could wake up one morning and send out a tweet that could shake the global economy, depending on his mood that day. so i don't know the answer. none of us knows the answer.
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i actually am wondering -- you're going to get picked on, but the one republican here, what you think. if donald trump called you on the phone right now and said how do you think i should handle this twitter thing, what would you say? >> i would say have somebody that's by him so he can say it out loud and say, should i tweet that and someone say hmm. change a couple of words on that just to clarify. >> call that adult supervision. >> it's just a person to be next to you because there is a difference between a candidate and a president. >> absolutely. >> and i think he will learn quickly that what he says as president of the united states the entire world listens to. this is the most powerful office in the world still, bar none. and it can move markets and it can change the relationship of n.a.t.o. and it can change the relationships with people even within our country. i would just say it's not a bad
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thing to continue to communicate. it's not a bad thing because it's very authentic. people know this is really what he's thinking but it's not a bad idea to be able to say it out loud and have someone else say let's work on wordsmithing it. every press release wasn't written by the president. it was written by someone else. they either ran it past him or ran it past the chief of staff and the president never saw it. the spokesman typically speaks for the president. this president didn't hear most of that. it's someone speaking on his behalf. this is this very raw what's the emotion of the president, that's new. >> let me ask the audience something and honest this honest ly. how many of you are fearful about the incoming president? for the cameras, if you're watching on c-span, what would you say, dana? >> a lot.
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90%. >> senators, this is a serious issue. it's one thing to have political division. we've experienced that in the past when candidates have won and lost, but it's another thing -- and i have had students in my office in tears. i have had students tell me they've been called names that we do not accept as proper, acceptable discourse. it's not about p.c.. it's about what we do and don't call one another and think of one another. how should donald trump and the people around donald trump handle this now? and how pervasive do you feel this is? >> well, i think there's different reasons for fear, if i could guess this. one is just a breakdown of our politics and what that's going to mean and i think a lot of that's going to depend -- that's in his hands, including on his phone, how he treats people. remember, he's got a whole government he's going to be running now and so as jim mentioned, you may have people negotiate an agreement for him and then he tweets something and can undercut them.
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i just think there's all kinds of problems he's going to have to work with the team that he has. the second piece is legitimate security fears, depending on what his policies are. a president has to make dozens of decisions a day that can affect people's lives, that can affect the world order, and he's going to have to take that very, very seriously. i think that's why president obama has been repeatedly meeting with him to convey that message. and the third fear that i picked up in my own state is just immigrants and people that are concerned about their status. we have a lot of refugees in my state. we have somali among the population and i have told them repeatedly and of course this doesn't apply to the entire country, the law is bigger than anyone's tweet and anyone's
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rhetoric. so a lot of this is going to depend, depending on what his actions are, on those of us that are involved in other parts of the government to, as i said, be a check and balance, and i think that's a big part of it. i would agree with dana, unlike the campaign where it was everyone went down in a vortex with whatever he said and the whole day became that, i am not certain that at least my party going forward is going to be doing that anymore. we're going to have our own agenda focused on the economy and working with republicans in congress when we can. i just think you're going to see a different dynamic. >> what's the dynamic going to be in the senate as a response to this? >> my hope is that we will find each other and work together more than we've been able to in recent years. >> why? >> partly because of the dynamic that amy points to which is the filibuster means. we're the one piece within congress where controversial bills, bills that don't necessarily command as broad a support as they might get slowed up or get stopped.
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frankly, partly because by structure, by intention since the founding, we're an institution that has six-year term terms. james just got elected for a six-year term. part of our role is to be small enough that we get to know each other. all three of us are active members in the prayer breakfast which happens every wednesday we're in session and where folks from a broad range of religious and political and regional backgrounds get together for an hour. there's nobody there but senators and our chaplain, and we really get to learn a lot about each other. it's a very powerful experience. it is, i think, possible for us to agree as senators that we want to focus on infrastructure, on manufacturing, on supporting our veterans, on things that we can agree will strengthen our country and that we want to tamp down or downplay or marginalize. the jerking the wheel back and
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forth on our constituents of a tweet. i do think that the gravity of the job is beginning to sink in with president-elect trump. i think the conversations he's had in intelligence briefings and with president obama are important. the tempo of the tweeting and focus changed after the night of the election. look, i'm choosing to be an optimist. >> three very civil people here. >> this is the beginning. >> the tempo of the tweet. >> the tempo of the tweet. look, i choose to be hopeful based on the tenor that trump struck in his victory speech where he focused on veterans and infrastructure, period. and i choose to be optimistic about the number of his more
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outrageous, outlandish or offensive proposals from the campaign that he has already stepped back from. i have no illusion that i'm going to agree with many of his cabinet nominees, with his agenda, or his priorities, but to the point just made a few minutes ago that 90% of this audience is genuinely scared of him as president, i think a number of the more outlandish things said in the campaign are going to be put aside, partly by senators working together to say, hang on a minute, we're not going to suddenly have a bromance with putin and set aside decades of alliance with n.a.t.o.. we're not going to ignore the illegal annexation of crimea and education. >> lindsey graham has sent signals -- >> they've been very forceful. >> that's another factor which is a number of republicans who on various issues, whether it is mike lee and rand paul on some of the civil liberties issues, whether it is john mccain and lindsey graham on russia, whether it is susan collins and
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lisa rakowski and jeff flake and others who have taken more moderate isspositions, i think t will be a factor as well. that's going to be a big deal. >> i just wanted to add to what you were saying about trying to make the 90% of the people in here who raised their hands saying they were fearful, look, this is definitely a shock to the system, but it's not a shock to the system is not necessarily a bad thing. as somebody who has covered you all and, you know, genuinely believed that these individuals are phenomenal public servants to a person, they're phenomenal public servants in a system that has been broken. voters got that. they got it. it hasn't worked. the gridlock, there's so much blame to go around and it's unclear if this solution is going to work, but they wanted -- voters wanted a disruption and they got it.
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and i actually think that there is reason to be optimistic that people like this and as long as those of us in the media hold their feet to the fire can find common ground, whether it's on infrastructure or fixing -- the republicans -- you guys have different points of view with the president-elect on how to deal with entitlements but you got to deal with them because you guys are not going to have them probably unless they're dealt with. >> here's the big issue. we're not in a dictatorship that has a single leader that defines everything. i've heard people say the ptsd ceo of the country. he's not. he's the leader of a co-equal branch of three branches. he leads the executive branch. there's a legislative branch and a judicial branch. and the perception that's risen and it's risen for the past couple of decades that somehow the ptresidentsresident is the
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not true. it's fascinating to me, the week after the election and i chair the subcommittee on regulatory affairs, so i work with the process of how regulations come together. there's a legal process called the administrative procedures act and there's a lot of statute in how regulations come about. i would tell you in my committee, i work very hard for the last two years to be able to build coalitions and to say we have real problems with how regulations are coming out, the speed, the frequency, the way that they're coming out, how many are being overturned in the court. there's a problem with regulations and what's happening right now. my democratic colleagues wouldn't get on board. and i kept saying to them in the presidential election, if there's a president trump you're going to want to have good boundaries on how regulations are done. a week after the election, democratic members are calling me saying let's work on regulatory reform. >> a lame duck. >> as soon as possible, let's work on regulatory reform.
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i smiled at them and said, i am still willing to work on this because regardless if a republican or democrat is the president, that's a co-equal branch that needs to have boundaries. americans, i would tell you -- and i agree with dana on this, for those of you that are scared of a president trump, this is america responding to a sense of frustration to a budget process that doesn't work, it hasn't worked since 1974. there's been four times since 1974 the budget process has worked, four times in that time period. this is a frustration that people feel like they're not being heard. with most elections, the electoral either look for arsonists or carpenters. these three are carpenters. president trump is an arsonist. >> if you want to burn down the house, you hire the arsonist,
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and that's exactly what just happened. >> that's the response of the american people. but there's still a white house, there's still a house and a senate and a judicial branch. none of that has changed. >> i'm just looking at the former prosecutor that prosecuted arson cases. i can go with the gang sometimes. >> we're also talking with three senators here, and the senate is a dlib ra tif body and the deliberative body is designed to slow things down, but there are plenty of things -- >> we do that well. >> you do that really well. there are plenty of things that a president trump can do quickly. some of the fears relate to, for example, climate change, a candidate who called it a hoax, who has turned to his transition team, is led by someone who is essentially a climate denier. they knew the person who he's turning to for the department of transportation believes in revving up the coal plants again and digging. that may all be good for those areas that produce jobs.
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for those who think the climate is a big issue, it shows that the president can move quickly and can make rapid change. what's your response to that? >> i remain actually optimistic that the economy has moved in a way that even if a new secretary of transportation and president wants to dramatically revive coal production in the united states, most of the closing of coal power plants has happened because of fuel switching to natural gas. we have abundant natural gas because of fracking in this country. i don't think we're going to see a significant resurgence of coal mining production and burning in the united states, but we'll see. i frankly think there's been more reduction in greenhouse gases because of fuel switching than there has been because of regulatory impact on coal production and output. hopefully one thing that could happen is a new administration might really invest in carbon s sequestration and technology
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that's less dirty and more sustainable. the private sector in the united states has accepted that climate change is real, that people cause it. >> are you saying what happens in washington doesn't matter? >> what happens in washington will have less of a negative impact given that virtually every major fortune 500 company says we've already invested in making some of these changes. our regulatory agenda matters and what the epa does matters, but i am trying to note some small reasons to be less depressed for this audience. >> but also, the paris climate change agreement matters with the rest of the world. >> which he said he's now not going to get rid of. >> when he talked to obama did he -- this is me trying to figure out with him. >> he suggested. he didn't come flat out and say it. >> he suggested to the "new york times" that -- >> he would reverse himself. >> right. that he might not change that. but i just say, i agree with chris that there's a lot of action in the private sector and
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we have companies in my state like carhill and others that are very supportive, general mills, in moving forward on reducing greenhouse gases, so there's also major businesses that see this as an issue for them going forward, especially international businesses. but that gets to the international issue, is if he were to step back from the agreements that we've made with other countries which does have an impact to me, if we start putting pressure on other countries they agree to do it. if we walk away from that, i think that would not be good for the future. >> because we have so many political -- politically engaged people in the room and history majors, i can make reference to nixon goes to china. could trump be nixon goes to china on the issue of immigration? >> yes, i've said that to people already. i absolutely agree this will be a situation of nixon goes to china. if you go back to the earliest years of the obama administration when all the promises were made we're going to do immigration issues and it didn't happen and then the work
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that the senate did, i wasn't there at the time, on immigration, was not matched by the work of the house and was not matched by the actions of the -- >> the senate did its job. >> was not matched by the house or the white house to try and engage and bring a real agreement together. you've got to get all three parties to be able to do that. this is a situation where trump can stand up and say, immigration is a problem. where he has been effective is to stand up and say this is a problem, and he gets criticized by saying -- when someone says tell me what the solution is and his solution is i'm going to hire good people. that is a ceo mentality that says i don't have to fix that, i have to find good people that can fix that. i just know that's a problem and we need to commit resources to it. if we does that on immigration, we'll settle the immigration issue. >> i want to put on my chris coons optimistic hat. i have wondered this because the senate immigration bill when
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marco rubio and others were on the committee, contained hundreds of millions of dollars for security at the border. it did not mandate a wall across the home border and he's been backing away from that. it was going to be a combination of personnel and fencing and of course it had a path to citizenship and a number of other things. >> the gold door. >> yes. so the point is i have thought in my most pleasant moments tha maybe there is a chance to move forward given the strong support we had in the senate, the bipartisan bill and there were other compromises that were brought up in the last bill. but the point is that's going to be a leap now with the base that's been behind him in the campaign and also the immigrant community which is not going to be very trusting of this. so this would be a major effort if he wanted to do this and it would be -- there's clearly people in congress that want to work on it but i can tell you on the democratic side it has to be
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a combination of not just order at the border but also some kind of path to citizenship, documented worker, something that works for the people that are here that would qualify for that kind of status. >> i know everybody has insight on this as well. there's been an ongoing conversation on how do we do compromise in congress and how do we handle this. the lock on this has been that everybody's got to take parts that they really hate and put it together. so we've been in this gridlock. there is a way to be able to approach this and say for the common ground, what amy is talking about, so what we -- >> we're building relationships. >> we already have a relationship so that's okay. the issue is if you look and say, i really like a and b, i think a and b are a good idea, amy thinks b and c are a good idea and she really hates a, and by the way, i really hate c, at
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some point we can say to compromise, you got to do a little bit of a that she hates and a little bit of c that i hate and that works it out. but you're stuck if you try to do it that way. it's easier to get unstuck if we both say we like b, let's move on what we agree on and let's stop staring at each other and fighting over a and c and let's get moving again. part of the challenge is everyone's trying to say, you've got to do a little bit that you hate so we're doing nothing. >> it's easy to talk about that when it's a, b and c. it's harder to talk about when it's obamacare and it's a question of are you going to be required to have health coverage and if you're not are you going to be fine, is the federal government telling you to do that and what's the a and b and c. lets it's take that from it because that was a specific and deeply held position of candidate trump throughout, right? you interviewed him. >> are you talking about repealing obamacare? >> repealing obamacare. you interviewed him several times? >> five or six, not including
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the debates. >> and you talked to him about obamacare among other things. >> yes, i asked him questions during the debate about obamacare, not just obamacare but more importantly what he would put in place. >> and what do you see taking place? >> i see that he's going to rely a lot on you guys, truthfully. maybe not these guys, but you. i just remember very clearly in one of the debates during the republican primary my line of questioning was about what would you replace obamacare with. his first answer was i'm just going to do away with the lines around -- he did this -- the lines around the states which is of course a very kind of core republican ideal that you allow more insurance to be sold across state lines. then i said, well, what else? and he's like -- i said do you have anything else and he said no. i mean literally he didn't. of course again, this is just one example of how any of you --
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you would have been like lights out. you don't have a healthcare plan, but it didn't really matter. the flip side and the positive side of that for you guys is now he's put price in which is harsh for the democrats but he actually is somebody who has some plans and he's done this and he's come up with ideas and written it into legislative language and so forth. >> and is a doctor. >> and is a doctor. so i think obamacare is a perfect example of how he's got a big idea about what he wants done, but he's going to be very okay with allowing a lot of people to fill in the blanks. >> this is a really -- this thing on healthcare is really pi interesting. i pulled tom price's piece he wrote for politico in 2009 which was the 45th anniversary of medica medicare. this is a really interesting example actually and i'm looking
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at my friend bob here in terms of bias, media bias. so all the reporters that i have seen today talks about conservative anti-obamacare tom price and how he has this quote about how medicare was the worst thing -- having government in medicare is the worst thing to happen to healthcare. but if you go back and you read the entire paragraph, here's what it says. as a physician, i can attest that nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of healthcare on the federal government's intrusion in medicare. that's what i see quoted. because of washington's one size fits all approach, flawed coverage rules, broken financing mechanism, serves are increasingly having care ration while funding spirals out of control. talk to a senior citizen about medicare. talk to a senior citizen about doctors who aren't taking medicare patients anymore or the
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concierge service they have to buy. maybe medicare really is broken. maybe they're really right. >> well, i mean, when you look at medicare itself, it has actually been one of the best things that's happened for the seniors in our country when you look at their status, what their life was like before and what it's like now and there's a reason that they want it to stay. do we look at reforms, yes. i've been a long-time advocate for better delivery system reform. i don't actually think we did enough in the affordable care act, being from a state that has always had high quality care and seeing the money go down in one big transfusion to states that are less organized in their healthcare and medicare rates that are much higher than we do in some states. that's not right. so i have been an advocate for some reform. but at the same time when you
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look at the need to make changes to the affordable care act, i think you have to look at what's going to work and you can't make the changes in one day. you've got the benefits that people want, staying on -- i'm not -- staying on your parents' insurance until you're 26, the doughnut hole that was closed, the pre-existing conditions. when i start looking at one by one changes i'd like to see, clearly some changes to the way those individual exchange works, clearly some changes to pharmaceutical which no one in the senate ever wants to take on but it's huge. it's 20% of our healthcare costs now when you include hospitals. senator mccain and i have a bill to bring in less expensive drugs from canada. senator grassley and i have a bill to stop pay for delay. look at what happened with epipen. that was just one example. the top ten drugs in this country, four of them have gone up 100% in their price to
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consumers. insulin's gone up three times. na loxen has gone up 1,000%. do i want reform, yes. i always said from the day we passed that bill it was a beginning and not an end. it is more than just medicare. it's stepping back and looking at this and i was really helpful we could make changes but not if the discussion is let's just throw this out and figure out what we're going to do later. that is not going to work for the american people. >> i worked hard in the last congress to introduce and to work on five different bills that were modest reforms to the affordable care act. i'll never forget, there was a new republican senator who's a physician from louisiana, was presiding over the senate and i came to the floor to give a speech about obamacare. this is about two years ago, 18 months ago. and the first half of the speech was three stories about three delaware yans whose lives have been saved by the access to t
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affordable care act. the others were small business owners, contractors or physicians, where the increase in rates and costs have really hurt them, hurt their business, caused them to drop coverage, caused them to stop providing certain care. and he was writing away during the first three stories. when he heard me tell the next three stories, his head came up and looks at me and says you're a democrat, aren't you? i said, yes i am. and he said you just spent 15 minutes talking about the flaws of obamacare. he was genuinely surprised. i wasn't part of the senate when it was passed but there are many in our caucus who recognize that it wasn't written by god. it was written by humans and it has flaws. the challenge here is compared to what? if you simply follow the path that the house republican majority has and repeal it, just wipe it out, repeal it without any work together to find something that can achieve some of the same goals in terms of coverage and quality and cost
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reduction, i think then republicans will rue the day because there will be a very negative consequence. on the other hand, one of the core principles of republicanism has been federalism, respect for states and their ability to reach their own conclusions. my hope is that one of the things on the table will be that those states that have really embraced the affordable care act and have put in place exchange that work and have really invested in it will have the option to retain much of the structure and rules that exist today, and those who have utterly rejected it have an alternative path with less government. >> i reached out to a friend who is a player in healthcare forum and said what do you think i should ask. he said ask the republicans given the promises made to the affordable care act are you sure that the 21 million americans provided coverage under the law will continue to be covered. how do you answer that? >> that is one of the conversations that we have.
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when obamacare was put in place, many people had state-based coverage or other coverages that lost their coverage. they had to get new doctors, they had to go through new testing, they had to do a new shift. we don't want to see that again. those folks are diabetics or cancer patients. >> these people who are covered will continue to be covered? >> the hope is to have that. to say freeze with what you have on that and help with transition. you're really looking at two states with a bridge and a transition. let me make a couple of comments. one going back to the bias and about tom price. that is the focus right now for every person that trump puts out. the first story is not from dana of course but immediately the first story is how horrible they are, we've reached back to 1973 in a comment they made at a college meeting and they said this, so they're a terrible racist and they're an awful human being and they hate all people, period. they don't like any human beings. and so what i get people coming
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to me and saying, oh, my gosh, these people they selected, these are horrible individuals, where are you finding these, instead of backing up and looking at people and they're doing and give them the opportunity to be able to walk through the process. that's one of the things now. people who are frustrated and upset. they lost the election they didn't wish it would go his way. so i don't like him and i probably won't like anybody he likes. in many ways i'm catching people saying you're doing to him what you said he didn't like he did to you. how do we fix that? that's a modeling issue. >> how do you fix that? >> that's the modeling that we could and each individual does. i'm amazed at how many people that don't like the caustic nature of his tweets but if you read their tweets, holy cow, trump's are g rated compared to what i see other people put out
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there and how caustic and angry things have become on social media. i try to ask folks to say, why don't you look at your own stuff and be able to evaluate what we're doing and the example we're setting for the next generation. on the health care issue, the strong men that are put up continually is that democrats want to take care of people and republicans want to put people on the street. that's not review and everyone knows it. two different sets of solutions. to go back to what chris was saying, how can states solve some of these issues? in the past five years, medicare -- i'm sorry, medicaid has one of the highest improper payment rates of all government. $142 billion. improper payments in just medicaid. if you move to states being able to organize and be able to do more, they're more engaged.
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that regulator in oklahoma that's overseeing just under 4 million people, when there's fraud, they're down the street and we can check on it. when you're managing fraud, bad relationships, you've got a bad doctor, a bad hospital, they know about it in the state. >> so this is -- >> multiple options but there should be more ability to be able to monitor and control that on a state level. i don't have the belief that only people that are in washington, d.c. love americans. i kind of think there are state leaders who also love the people in their state and want to care for what's happening in their state as well. >> dana, this touches on a media thing. in five minutes we'll go to audience questions. so much we're not going to get to here. a way a lot of this is portrayed through the media, including cnn, my alma mater, the place
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you work, rush limbaugh, rachel m maddow on msnbc, it's not as gentlemanly and womanly as this conversation here. it doesn't focus on compromise and consensus. it focuses on conflict and head butting. >> that's right. and so one of the things that, at times, has frustrated me in my service in the last six years is that i will get asked if i'm available forry show. i will get sort of tentatively booked and then i'll get bumped for somebody who is more of a bomb thrower or more willing to take a fight, more willing to throw a punch. >> you're smiling and nodding. >> or a paid person who will do it and pretend they're not paid. >> so, if it didn't matter in our line of work whether we were ever on the sunday shows or the cable shows, it would be easy to just ignore it and say it doesn't really matter. but on some level our visibility to our constituents, to our friends and supporters
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nationally depends on how often we're on the shows that they're interested in. >> just move the ideas. >> there is sort of a feedback. i'll give you a quick example, to get back to your point about nominees. senator sessions has been nominated to be our next attorney general. i've done a series of interviews already. one of the things i did immediately was to put out a statement. in a couple of interviews i said this and told jeff directly i was going to do this. i give him credit for two things that we worked on well together that i did not expect he would be a good partner on. when the federal public defender service got absolutely slashed, savaged by the sequester -- real law and order guy and former federal prosecutor, he worked with me to make sure that funding got restored by the public defender system. i should have understood as a principle prosecutor he understands if the defendant doesn't have a good lawyer the odds are you're going to get a bad conviction and it will get overturned on appeal or higher. i didn't naturally grasp that.
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it was a good relationship-building exercise for us. second, when the obama administration cut funding for victims of child abuse act, senator sessions worked with me to get the funding restored and reauthorized. in six years, those are the two things we've worked well together on. >> on civil liberties, civil rights. >> do you hold him accountable to the statement he made, in soft pedaling the ku klux klan that he made decades ago? >> i promised him we will keep an open mind, a full hearing, what merit garland didn't get. i'm less concerned about statements from decades ago than i am things he has done recently in the senates a legislature, but i'm going to look at the whole record and ultimately, whether i support him or not, i haven't made up my mind yet.
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i don't think i should have made up my mind. >> any decisions that you have made up your mind on with regard to cabinet positions by the president-elect? >> i am waiting eagerly to see who he will nominate for secretary of state and secretary of defense. >> what if it's corker? >> senator corker was actually the first senator with whom i traveled overseas, as i think we discussed before. fascinating trip. joe manchin, bernie sanders, bob corker and me. >> band of warriors. >> had there been a camera crew in the back of that c-130 bouncing around from pakistan to afghanistan, we had some fascinating conversations. i knew senator corker least of the other three before we went and i came back with a real respect for him. he was a mayor. i think he and president-elect trump might get along very well because they both have a background in development and construction. he is a very conservative republican. we do not agree on a lot of issues but i find he is earnest,
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honest, fair and has managed the committee well. to me, those will recommend him pretty high. >> rudy giuliani? >> that would be a harder slate for me. >> should ask him about rudy giuliani. >> i don't know rudy but i'm not afraid of rudy only because of what i saw him do in his leadership in new york city. he was fair. he was law and order. he was fair. he engaged with all people, all parts of the community and was very passionate about helping the whole city when he was there. >> are you convinced? >> i'm just very concerned about some of the comments that he has made during the campaign. and, like chris, i'm going to look at each nominee on their merits. i think that's very important. i did that when sonja sotomayor was nominated to the supreme court. that's what you do. that's your job as a senator. >> any name out there you would propose right now? >> for the supreme court? chris koontz. >> no, for this cabinet that's emerging. >> well, let's just -- i'm just
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going to see who he brings in. so -- >> dana, let me let you ask a question of the senators you've covered so closely before we go to the audience. where would you like to hear them? >> oh, boy. i'll start with you. senator, you are obviously, you know, a conservative and from a very red state. >> that's why i have red hair. >> exactly. i was just going to say that. but you -- where do you think that you -- you talked about the prayer breakfast and so forth. >> yeah. >> where do you think that you, as a republican, along with democrats, along with president trump can actually get things done? >> i think there's a lot of areas. >> like what's the first thing in real terms, and practically, the first thing you could move through congress, get to his desk that he could sign that would make everybody think okay,
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maybe things are working now. >> that's a tough thing, what's the first thing. there are so many top priorities. i talked about regulatory issues before, how we function again. >> it's important but, no offense, it's not so sexy. >> i know. i chair the nerdiest committee, i joke. >> i chair the anti-trust. >> oh, okay. >> several students who aspire to your job. >> that issue is a big issue. we'll find more common ground on immigration than everyone wants to admit at this point. if people are willing to drop a and b or a and c and be able to focus on the common ground, i think we'll be able to move on things. we have, for decades now, done nothing on immigration. and there are major problems that are there that we need to address. if we can focus on the common ground areas and not have to fight about the a and c areas, we'll do okay on it. >> if he called you tomorrow and said, amy, i want to work on something with you, what do you
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think we can actually get done? >> i would say infrastructure. it's the best bet. by the way, if he called me tomorrow i would say don't step back on what obama has done on cuba. that would be the first thing i would say, leading that bill to lift the embargo. >> that would be the first thing you would say? >> yes. i would just say it but then i would go -- >> how about you? >> first thing i would say? probably hello. >> yeah. really? to finish answering dana's question, the thing that i think has the most potential, based on partly what chris said is, and he raised it the first night, infrastructure. i live eight blocks from that bridge that fell down in a summer day in minneapolis, 35w bridge. not just a bridge. it's a highway. 13 people died and i will never forget that. and if he's willing to finance a major infrastructure development in this country, we already have passed the fast act, led by senator mcconnell and senator


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