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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 19, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EST

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talk to us, but i was a little kid, so i could listen. all in, you know. i remember the meat rationing. i remember the meat rationing. i remember my mom couldn't have .oles it we didn't have rubber. they had artificial rubber. ohsaved our grease on this because they took that and used it and were able to turn it and use it for the war effort. things we don't do now -- we have been at war for 100 years, 12 years. it's the 1%. those out fighting.
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it's just that life has changed a lot. i don't think anybody likes war. we are theke aggressors and we are doing it when you see these people the heading our people or killing innocent people because they have a different belief in religion or something. pretty tough. cracks i'm told our time with you is running out. we haven't even gotten to education. what are you most proud of? >> proud. passedble to get a bill early on my second term that
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said we were going to build a big landfill. i was able to get a bill passed to make that go away. i was able to work on wilderness legislation. . we did good things on education. ,e had reauthorization's done things that had not been done for a long time. in the committee, a lot of democrats have thanked me for
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the job that i did. i think of henry hyde. i used to just love this. wanting to change the world. i hope that i can just get out of town with a little dignity. it was chairman of the judiciary committee. i had the opportunity to go and see how wonderful our
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country is. and see how these people went to us. a lot of people were scared to death. some of theot keep treaties we have made over the years. things like that. it's a great nation. but we still have some problems we need to deal with. i think we have a system set up to do that and we are working on it. i told the speaker a few years ago, there's a lot of great young people coming in the congress. when i say young, i mean young in years and young in here. inexperience. i think the country is in good hands and in the future, they
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will do some great things. i look forward to what they can do with the senate and the house . debated,ills will get addressed, and we will get work done. >> thank you for spending some of your last hours in congress with c-span. we thank you. >> thank you. >> next, president obama talking about cuba and the sony cyber attack. c-span's interviews with michigan congressman dave camp and california congressman buck mckeon, both retiring. here are some of the programs you will find this weekend on the c-span networks. saturday night at 9:30 p.m., actors seth rogen discussing politics and humor with the daily show cocreator liz winstead at the harvard institute of politics.
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q&a, katie-span's pavlik on what she perceives as the hypocrisy of liberals with their war on women rhetoric. on c-span2, saturday night, -- students should think creatively, and have a goal in life beyond the material. and sunday morning, book tv visits lot that -- visits our literary tw sites. and saturday at 6:00 p.m. damien shields talks about the life of irish american soldier patrick labor and -- and the battle of franklin, tennessee. investigative piece by san francisco's k aro in --
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kron in neighboring oakland. find the schedule on us, or send us a tweet @cspan #comments. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. conference,and news president obama discusses cuban policy, the cyber attack on sony pictures, working with incoming republican congress and using presidential executive orders. this is just under an hour. >> hello, everybody. we have a full house today. all i want for christmas is to take your questions.
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[laughter] in lester's final press conference, i said that 2014 would be a year of action and every three-year for america. -- would be a breakthrough year for america. and it has been. yes, there were crises that we had to tackle around the world. many that were unanticipated. we have more work to do to make sure our economy, our justice system, and our government work not just for the few, but for the many. but there is no doubt that we can end the year with an renewed confidence that america is making significant strides where it counts. the steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990's. all told, over a 57 month streak, our businesses have graded nearly 11 million new
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jobs. almost all the job growth that we've seen have been in full-time positions much of the recent pickup in job growth has been in higher-paying industries. and in a hopeful sign for middle-class families, wages are on the rise again. our investments in american manufacturing have helped fuel this best stretch of job growth since the 1990's. america is now the number one producer of oil, the number one producer of natural gas. we are saving drivers about $.70 a gallon at the pump over last christmas. we have repaid taxpayers every dime and more, and the american auto industry is on track for its strongest year since 2005. thanks to the affordable care of, 10 million americans gained health insurance just this past year. enrollment is beginning to pick up again during the open
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enrollment, and the uninsured rate is at a near record low. since the law passed, the price of health care has risen at its slowest rate in about 50 years. we cut our deficits by two thirds since i took office, bring them to below therefore your average. meanwhile, around the world, america's leading. we are leading the coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy isil. we are leading the international unity to check aggression in ukraine. we're leading the global fight to combat ebola in west africa. and we are preventing an from taking place here home. we are leading efforts to address climate change, including last month's joint announcement with china that has
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already jumpstarted new progress in other countries. we are writing a new chapter in our leadership in america by writing a new chapter with the cuban people. in less than two weeks, after more than 13 years, our combat mission in afghanistan will be over. many of our men and women in uniform will spend christmas in harms way. they should know that the country is united in support of you. we are grateful not only to you but also to your families. the six years since the crisis have demanded hard work and sacrifice on ever but his part. as a country, we have every right to be proud of what we have accomplished. more jobs, more people insured, a growing economy, shrinking deficits, booming energy.
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america's resurgence is real. we are better off. i've always said that recovering from the crisis of two dozen it was our first order of business. on that business, america has outperformed all of our other competitors. in the past four years, we put more people like to work than all other advanced economies combined. we have now come to a point where we have the chance to reverse an even deeper problem, the decades long erosion of middle-class jobs and income, and to make sure that the middle
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class is the engine that powers our prosperity for days to come. to do that, we have to make some smart choices, we have to make the right choices. we have to invest in the things that secure even faster growth, and higher-paying jobs for more americans. i'm being sincere when i say i want to work with this new congress to get things done. to make those investments. to make sure the government is working better and smarter. we are going to disagree on some things, but they're going to be areas of agreement. we have to be able to make that happen. that will involve compromise every once a while. as we saw during this lame-duck period, that spirit of compromise may be coming to the fore. i'm excited about the prospects for the next couple of years. i will not be stopping for a minute in the effort to make life better for ordinary
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americans. thanks to their efforts, we really do have a new foundation. we are better positioned than we have been in a very long time. the future is ready to be written. we have set the stage for this american moment. i will spend every minute of my last two years making sure that we see that. my presidency is entering the fourth quarter, interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter. i'm looking forward to it. going into the fourth quarter, usually get a timeout. i'm not looking forward to a quiet timeout. christmas with my family, i want to wish everybody a merry christmas, happy hanukkah, happy new year. i hope all of you get some time to spend with your families as well. one thing that we share is that we are a way to much from them. and now josh has been given me the who's been naughty and who's been nice list.
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i will use it to take some questions. we will start with kerry. >> thank you, mr. president. north korea being the biggest topic today, what does a personal response look like to and did sony make the right decision pulling the movie? or does that set a dangerous precedent? >> let me address the second question first. sony is a corporation. it suffered significant damage. it there were threats against employees. concernsathetic to the that they faced. having said all that, i believe they made a mistake. in this interconnected, digital
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world, there will be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assault. business isder of to make sure we do everything to prevent those kinds of attacks taking place. i had a cyber agency team to look at everything we could do at the government level to prevent these kinds of attacks. we have been correlating with the private sector but a lot more needs to be done. one of the things that i hope congress will work on in the new year is stronger cyber security laws that allow for information sharing across private vector platforms as well as the public sector so that we are incorporating best practices and preventing these attacks from
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happening in the first place. but even as we get better, the hackers are going to get better to. some are going to be state actors. some are going to be nonstate actors. all are going to be sophisticated and many will do some damage. we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace starts imposing censorship here in the united states. because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary they don't like or news reports they don't like. or even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others starting to aging and
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self-censorship because they don't want to offend the sensibilities of somebody who sensibilities probably need to be offended. that's not who we are. that's not what america is about. again, i am sympathetic that sony has worries about liability. i wish they had spoken to me first. i would've told them do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks. imagine if instead of it being a
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cyber threat somebody had broken into their offices and destroyed a bunch of computers and stolen discs. is that what it takes for suddenly for you to pull the plug on something? so, we will engage not just with the film industry but with the news industry around these issues. i think all of us have to anticipate that occasionally there are going to be breaches like this. they're going to be costly. they are going to be serious. we take them with the utmost seriousness. but we can't start changing our patterns of behavior any more than we might stop going to football games because there is the possibility of a terrorist
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attack, anymore than boston did not run a marathon this year because there was a possibility somebody might try to cause harm. let's not get into that way of doing business. >> have you considered taking a symbolic step like watching the movie yourself? >> i have a long list of movies i am going to be watching. [laughter] i never release my full movie list. but -- let's talk to the specifics of what we now know. it was announced today and we can confirm that north korea engaged in this attack. i think it says something interesting about north korea that they had the state announce an all-out attack on a movie starring seth rogen and james
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franco. i like seth and james, but a notion that they are a threat gives you some sense of the kind of regime we are talking about. they cost a lot of damage, and we will respond. -- caused a lot of damage. and we will respond. we will respond proportionally and in a place and time and manner that we choose. it is not something i will announce here today at a press conference. more broadly though, this should be caused to work with the international community to start setting up some very clear rules of the road in terms of how the internet and cyber operates. right now, it is the wild west.
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part of the problem is you have weak states that can engage in these kinds of attacks. you have nonstate actors that can do enormous damage. again, this is part of the reason why it is going to be so important for congress to work with us and get the bill passed that allows for the kind of information sharing we need because if we don't put them place the kind of architecture -- put in place the kind of architecture that prevents these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to affect movies, this is going to affect our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily scary. and by the way, i hear you're moving to europe. where you going to be? >> brussels. >> excellent. congratulations. i think there is no doubt that what belgium needs is a version
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of politico. [laughter] the waffles are delicious there, by the way. cheryl. you have been naughty. go ahead. >> looking ahead to your work with congress next year. you mentioned a possible compromise on tax reform. i'm wondering, do you see a republican congress as presenting a better opportunity fractionally getting tax reform next year? will you be putting out a new proposal? are you willing to consider both individual and corporate sides of the tax ledger and are you still concerned about corporate emergence? >> i think an all democratic congress would have provided an
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even better opportunity for tax or form but i think, talking to speaker boehner and leader mcconnell, that they are serious about wanting to get things done. tax reform is one area where we can get things done. i think in the weeks leading up to the state of the union, there will be some conversations at staff levels about what principals each side are looking at. i can tell you, broadly, what i would like to see. i would like to see more simplicity in the system. i would like to see more fairness in the system. with respect to the corporate tax reform issue, we know the companies are paying the full freight, 35%, higher than any other company on earth, and other companies are paying zero because they have better accountants and lawyers. that's not fair.
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there are companies parking money outside the country because of tax avoidance. we think that it is important that everybody pays something if in fact they are effectively headquartered in the united states. in terms of corporate inversion, those are situations where companies really are headquartered here but on paper switch their headquarters to avoid paying taxes. i think that needs to be fixed. fairness. everybody paying their fair share. everybody taking responsibility i think is going to be very important. some of those principles i have heard republicans say they share. how we do that, the devil is in the details. i will be interested in hearing how they want to move forward.
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i am going to make sure we include some pretty specific or postals, building on how we move -- proposals, building on how we move forward. one other element i think is important, and i have been on this hobbyhorse for six years -- bless you -- we have a lot of infrastructure we have to rebuild in this country if we are going to be competitive. roads, water systems, sewage systems, airports. we are way behind. early on, we indicated that there was a way of lowering rates, eliminating loopholes so everybody is paying their fair share and during that transition providing a mechanism where we could get some infrastructure built. i would like to see us work on that issue as well. historically, infrastructure has not done a democrat or
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republican issue and i would like to see us return to that. >> on cuba, when you're administration was lifting sanctions on myanmar, use our commitments for human rights reform. why not do the same with cuba? and do you have any indication that north korea was acting in conjunction with china? >> we have no indication that north korea was acting with another country. with respect to cuba, we are glad the cuban government has released slightly over 50 dissidents, that they are going to be a and allowing -- owing to be allowing the red cross and united nations to operate more
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freely and monitor what is taking place. i share the concerns of dissidents and human rights activist that this is still a regime the represses its people. as i said when i made the announcement, i don't anticipate overnight changes. what i know deep in my bones is that if you have done the same thing for 50 years and nothing has changed, you should try something different if you want a different outcome, and this gives us an opportunity for a different outcome. suddenly, cuba is open to the world in ways it has not been before. it is open to americans traveling there in ways it has not been before. it is open to church groups
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visiting their fellow levers inside of cuba in ways they -- their fellow believers inside of cuba in ways they haven't been before. it offers the prospect of telecommunications and the internet being more widely available in cuba in ways that it has not been before. and over time, that chips away at this hermetically sealed society, and i believe offers the best prospect of leading to greater freedom, greater self-determination on the part of the cuban people. i think it will happen in fits and starts, but through engagement, we have a better chance of bringing about change than we would otherwise. >> do you have a goal for where you see cuba being at the end of your presidency?
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>> i think it would be unrealistic for me to map out exactly where cuba will be, but change is going to come to cuba. it has to. they have an economy that doesn't work. they have been reliant for years, first on subsidies from the soviet union, then on subsidies from venezuela. those can't be substantial -- can't be sustained. the more the cuban people see what is possible, the more they will be interested in change, but how societies change is country specific, culturally specific. it may happen fast. it will probably happen slower than i'd like. greg's i have a number of questions on cuba as well --
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>> i have a number of questions on cuba as well. >> do i have to read all these down? -- right -- to write all these down? >> when the clinton administration -- they shot down planes. they have a pattern of being provocative. >> general provocative activities. >> anytime you have reached out a hand to them. when you talked to president castro, did fidel have a role in the talk? did his name come up? did you ask about how he is doing? people have not seen him in a while. there is talk about lifting the embargo and changes.
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are you getting involved in terms of money on a new embassy. >> i have to cut you off there. with respect to sabotage. my understanding of the history of the plane being shot down, it is not clear that was the cuban government purposely trying to undermine overtures by the clinton administration. it was a tragic circumstance that ended up collapsing talks that had begun to take place. i have not seen anything in the historical record that says they shot the plane down specifically to undermine the clinton
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government. it is not precedent it for the president of the united states and the president of cuba to make an announcement at the same time that they are moving toward normalizing relations. there has not been anything like this in the past. that does not mean that over the next two years we can not anticipate them taking certain actions we may end up finding deeply troubling either inside cuba or with respect to their foreign policy. that would put significant strains on the relationship. that is true of a lot of countries out there where we have an embassy. the whole point of normalizing relations is that it gives us a greater opportunity to have influence with the government
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than not. i would be surprised if the cuban government purposely tries to undermine what is now effectively its own policy. i would not be surprised if they take actions that a given time that we think are a problem. and we would be in a position to respond to whatever actions they take the same way we do with a whole range of countries around the world when they do things we think are wrong. the point is we will be in a better position to have an influence and there may be carrots as well as sticks that we can apply. the only way fidel's name came up -- i think i may have mentioned this in the interview i did -- was, i delivered a
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fairly lengthy stamen at the -- statement at the front end about how we are looking forward to a new future in the relationship between our two countries but we are going to continue to press on it perceives it -- press on issues of democracy and human rights that we think are important. in my opening remarks, i took about 15 minutes, which on the phone is a very long time, and at the end he said mr. president, you are still young man. at the end of my remarks, i apologize for taking a long time, but i said i wanted to make sure he was clear about where i stood. he said you are still young man and you still have a chance to break fidel's record. he once spoke for seven hours straight.
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castro delivered his own remarks, which lasted twice as long as mine. and i said it must run in the family. but that is the only discussion we had. of fidel castro. i sort of forgot all the other questions. >> how personally involved are you going to get -- >> with respect to congress, we cannot unilaterally bring down the embargo. that is part of the liver tot act. -- libertad act. there will be a time while congress to just sit. -- where congress digests it. --re are bipartisan sit
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supporters and attractors of this. the pool see how the actions we take unfold and i think it will be a healthy debate inside of congress. i will certainly weigh in. i think ultimately we need to pull down the embargo, which has been self-defeating. but i don't anticipate that happens right away. i think people will want to see this move forward before there is any serious debate about whether or not we would make major shifts in the embargo. we will go to brampton. >> i wanted to follow-up on that by asking under what conditions would you meet with president castro in havana? would you have certain pre-conditions you would want him to meet. on a hack, i know you said you will not announce your response, but can you say whether you're
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considering additional economic sanctions on north korea? can you rule out military force or some kind of cyber hit? >> think i am going to leave it where i left it. we just confirmed that it was north korea. we have been working off a range of options. they will be presented to me. i will make a decision on those based on what i believe is proportional and appropriate to the nature of this crime. with respect to cuba, we are not at a stage here where me visiting cuba or president castro coming to the united states is in the cards. i don't know how this relationship will develop over the next several years. i am a fairly young man said that i -- so i imagine that at some point in my life i will have a chance to visit cuba and enjoy interacting with the cuban
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people, but there is nothing specific as far string to target a visit on my part. choline nelson. there you are. >> you spoke about 2014 being a breakthrough year and you ended the year with executive actions on immigration, cuba, and climate change. republican lawmakers have said they are less inclined to work with you if you continue to pursue executive actions so aggressively. have you concluded it is not possible to break the fever in washington? >> i think there are real opportunities to get things done and i take speaker boehner and mitch mcconnell at their word
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that they would like to get things done. the question is going to be are we able to separate out those areas where we disagree and those areas where we agree? if republicans seek to take health care away from people who just got it, they will meet stiff resistance from me. if they try to water down consumer protections that we put in place in the aftermath of the financial crisis, i will say no. i am confident i will be able to uphold vetoes of those types of provisions. but on increasing american exports, on simplifying our tax system, on rebuilding our
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infrastructure, my hope is that we can get things done. i have never been persuaded by this argument that if it weren't for executive action they would have been more productive. there is no evidence of that. so i intend to continue to do what i have been doing, which is, when i see a big problem and the opportunity to help the american people and it is within my lawful authority to provide that help, i am going to do it. and then i will reach out to members of congress and republicans and say i would rather work together. immigration is a classic example. i was really happy when the senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill. and i did everything i could for a year and a half to provide republicans the space to act, and showed not only great
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patience, but flexibility, saying to them look, if there are specific changes you would like to see, we are willing to compromise. we are willing to be patient. we are willing to work with you. ultimately, it was not forthcoming. so, the question is going to be, i think, if executive actions on areas like minimum wage or equal pay or having a more sensible immigration system are important to republicans, if they care about those issues and the executive actions are bothering them, there is a very simple solution, and that is passed bills, and work with me to make sure i am willing to sign those bills. both sides are going to have to compromise on most issues in order for their initiatives to become law. i have to sign off on them which
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means they have to take into account the issues that i care about just as i have to take into account the issues that they care about. i think this is going to be the last question. julian. >> one of the first bills mitch mcconnell said he would pursue was the keystone pipeline. when you talked about this in the past, you are concerned about the entire metal risks. what will you do -- also, given the precipitous drop in oil prices recently, does that change the calculus? >> i don't think i have minimized the benefits. i think i have described the benefits.
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at issue in keystone is not american oil. it is canadian oil. that is drawn out of tar sand in canada. that oil is currently being shipped out to rail or truck's, and it would save canadian oil companies and the canadian oil industry and enormous amount of money if they could simply type -- type it all the way through the united states down to the golf -- pipe it all the way through the united states into the gulf, where it will be sold into the world market all around the world. so -- i won't say no, but there
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is very little impact, nominal impact, on u.s. gas prices, which the average consumer cares about, by having this pipeline come through. sometimes this is sold as if it is going to lower gas prices in the united states. it's not. there is a global oil crisis. -- a global oil market. this is good for canadian oil companies and the oil industry, but it is not going to be of huge benefit to u.s. consumers. it is not even going to be of nominal benefit to u.s. consumers. the construction of the pipeline itself will create a couple thousand temporary jobs.
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there are probably some additional jobs they can be created in the refining process in the gulf. those are not completely insignificant, but when you consider what we could be doing if we were rebuilding roads and bridges around the country, we could probably create hundreds of thousands of jobs or millions of jobs. there are better ways to create well-paying american construction jobs. with respect to the cost, all i have said is if in fact the project goes forward that it is not adding to climate change which does impose serious costs
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on the american people, some of them long-term, but significant nonetheless. more flooding, more wildfires, more drought. there is a direct economic impact. as we are rebuilding after hurricane sandy, we have to consider how to increase preparedness in how we structure infrastructure, housing, and so forth along the jersey shore. in terms of process, a nebraska judge is still determining whether or not a new path of the pipeline is appropriate. once that is resolved, the state department will begin in all the information it needs to make a decision.
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but i want to give some perspective is there has been a tendency to hype this as some magic formula to what ails the u.s. economy and it's hard to see on paper exactly where they are getting the information from. in terms of oil prices and how it affects the decision, i think it will not have a significant impact except perhaps in the eyes of folks when gas prices are lower they may be less susceptible to the argument that this will lower gas prices. it would never lower gas prices because the oil goes into the world market. >> is this something where you clearly say you're not going to let congress force your hand.
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>> we will take that up in the new year. >> any new year's resolutions? >> thank you mr. president. last question, again. six years ago this month, i asked you what was the state of black america and you said it was the best of times and the worst of times. you said there had never been more opportunities for black americans to receive a good education and the worst of times in unemployment and the lack of opportunity. we are entering 2014. what do you say to those black americans about those issues and race relations? >> like the rest of america, black america is better off in the aggregate than it was when i
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came in to office. jobs of been created. people have gotten health insurance. housing equities have been recovered. 401(k) pensions have been recovered. a lot of those folks are african-american and they're better off than they were. the gap between the income and wealth of white and black america persist, and we have more work to do on that. i have been consistent in saying that this is a legacy of troubled racial past, jim crow, slavery. that is not an excuse for black folks, and i think the overwhelming majority of black people understand it is not an excuse. they are working hard, trying to get an education, trying to send their kids to college, but they
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start out pretty far behind in the race. we should be willing to provide people a hand up, not a handout, but help folks get a good juror -- get a good early childhood education. help them graduate from high school and afford college. if they do, they will be better able to succeed and that is going to be good for all of us. we have seen some progress with the education reforms we have initiated. they're showing measurable results. we have the highest high school graduation we have seen in a long time. we're seeing record numbers of young people attending college. in many states that have initiated reforms, we are seeing progress in math and reading scores are african-american and latino students as well as the broader population, but he still have more work to do. now, obviously how we are
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thinking about race relations right now has uncolored by ferguson, the garner case in new york -- has been colored by ferguson, the garner case in new york and a growing awareness in the broader population of what people of color have understood for some time, and that is that there are specific instances at least where law enforcement doesn't feel as if it's being applied in a colorblind fashion. the task force i formed is supposed to report back to me in 90 days, not with a bunch of abstract musings about race relations, but some concrete tactical things that police departments and law enforcement agencies can begin implementing right now to rebuild trust
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between people of color and the police department. my intention is to, as soon as i get those recommendations, to start implementing them. some will require congressional action. some will require action on the part of state and local year it -- state and local jurisdictions. but i think it has been a healthy conversation we have had. these are not new phenomenon. the fact that people have been able to film would have just in the past been stories astana around the kitchen table -- passed on around the kitchen table allows people to make their own evaluations and assessments, and you're not going to solve the problem if it is not being talked about. in the meantime, we have been moving forward on criminal justice issues more broadly. this is the first time in 40
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years were the federal prison population and the crime rate have gone down at the same time, which indicates the degree to which it is possible for us to think smarter about who we are incarcerating, how long, how we deal with nonviolent offenders, how we deal with drug offenders, diversion programs, drug courts. we can do a better job and save money by initiating some of these reforms, and i have been very pleased to see republicans and democrats in congress who are interest did in these issues as well. -- interested in these issues as well. one thing i will say -- and this will be the last thing i say -- is that -- i -- one of the great things about this job is that
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you get to know the american people. you meet people from every facet of life in every region of the country, every race, every faith. and when i don't think it is always captured in our political debates is that the vast majority of people are just trying to do the right thing. people are basically good and have good intentions. sometimes our systems and our institutions don't work as well as they should. sometimes you have a police department that has gone into bad habits over time and hasn't conquered some hidden biases that we all carry around. but there are practical solutions. this is not a situation where people feel good seeing somebody choked and i -- and die.
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i think that troubles everybody. there is an opportunity for all of us to come together and take a practical approach to these problems. i guess that is my general theme for the end of the year, which is we have gone through difficult times. it is your job, press corps, to report on the mistakes that are made, the bad things that happen, the crises, and i understand that. but through persistent effort and faith in the american people, things get better. the economy has gotten better. our ability to generate clean
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energy has gotten better. we know more about how to educate our kids. we solve problems. ebola is a real crisis. you get a mistake in the first case because it's not something that has been seen before. we fix it. we had some unaccompanied children at the border. it may not get fixed in the timeframe of the news cycle, but it gets fixed. part of what i hope, as we reflect on the new year, this should generate some confidence. america knows how to solve problems and when we were together, we can't be stopped. and now i am to go on vacation. mahalo.
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> next, a discussion about the role of the legislative branch and constitutional powers of congress. after that, interviews with dave camp and california congressman buck mckeon, both of whom are retiring. >> on the next washington journal, usa today white house reporter gregory corti -- korte talks about the legal power the presidential memoranda has held. michael calhoun from the center
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of responsible lending will talk about payday lending and regulation of the industry. some of thet changes expected to occur at the u.s. postal service. american postal workers president mark demonstrating -- dimondstein. 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> here are some of the programs you will find this weekend on the c-span networks. saturday night at 9:30 p.m., actor seth rogen discussing politics and humor with daily show cocreator liz winstead at the harvard institute of politics. sunday evening at 8:00 on q&a, author and town hall editor on what she perceives as the hypocrisy of liberals with their war on women rhetoric. saturday night at 10:00 on book the toperwards, universities are missing the
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mark on education and students should learn lessons on how to think critically, because you do, and have a goal in life beyond the material. and sunday morning, book tv toits lafayette indiana visit authors and two were -- to ur literary sites. , the civily rolling confederate army during his battle in franklin, tennessee. a 1974 investigative piece by kroc tv inco's police brutality in oakland. let us know about what you are watching. call us. e-mail us. send us a tweet. join the c-span conversation.
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like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. authorek on q1 day, katie cap which on what she -- katei kaparich. what about ted kennedy? >> the idea this book came from whenhe 2012 convention they were showing the tribute video to him because he is passed away and for training him as a women's rights champion when he left a woman to drown his own car. if he had not gone back to try and save his own behind, she would have survived. you can't do an entire video at a convention claiming to be preaching and fighting the war on women and glorify someone like that while not including that part of that life in a
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video about his women's rights record. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. we are airing one program from each year starting december 22 at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. the hudson institute held a discussion on the role of the legislative branch and constitutional powers of congress, looking at whether there is a growing concentration of power in the executive ranch and what congress can do about it. ther topics included affordable care act and the keystone xl pipeline. this is about an hour and 35 minutes. >> afternoon.
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i am arthur herman, senior fellow at the hudson's to take. -- hudson institute. i want to welcome you those who are here and those in the audience of c-span2 what i will fascinating and unique event that is taking place right now in the present, past,t and future of the u.s. congress. as almost all of you know who are in the room, the big buzz has been in the last couple of months and a half has been about the prospect of a gop-dominated congress coming in january. an office at has this time has ideas about what that congress should be doing. they have their shopping list or has been writing.
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>> i myself have one and there are a couple of items that i would like to follow up on. we don't have any current members of congress with us because our purpose here this afternoon is slightly different. >> they are napping. >> they are not. our purpose today is what we are going to talk about today, which is what the next congress does is as important on how and why it doesn't. and what it needs to be involved to be part of congress to be the legislative branch in today's political cultural milieu. slightly, background in 1932 something happened in american government and the
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history of american government. that was the election of franklin delano roosevelt. with that election, a decisive shift began underway of power accruing to the executive branch from the other two competing branches. as you all know, the three-branch system -- legislative, judicial, and -- were seen by the founding fathers as a set of countervailing interests in the terms of discussion and the ways that government and a self-governing republic such as the united states would take place. more power began to accrue to the executive branch. the argument being that the executive branch and its agents -- had moremation information, a quicker response time to crises like the great
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depression, and were able to wouldout policies that cater to the nation's wealtwelfe and future policies. the accrual of power accelerated with world war ii. the assumption was that only the executive branch has the skill and speed with which to respond to international crises such as the outbreak of war and deal with issues of maintaining america's security and also to help to maintain peace around the world and in support of our allies. that process then became increasingly two fold in the 1940's and 50's. that were some voices spoke out against this sort of drift of power to the executive
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branch. taft,s like robert political scientist will more kindle.- wilmore kind large, the political scientists, policy makers, thought the drift of power towards the executive branch was not only inevitable but also desirable. if you look at the kinds of figures who talked about american politics, leading figures in discussing politics in the 1950's and 1960's, james macgregor burns, richard new staff, all the attention and focus was what on what the executive branch was able to do and a way to expand its power. kennedy school of government was founded as a way
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to enhance this role of the executive branch and its power as a part of the american political system. come at they have end of six years of the obama administration to rethink that shifting balance of power within the united states government and to ask a question about whether that growth of power in the executive has been a good thing or a bad thing overall and what are the steps that are necessary necessary to reverse it, to reassert the power of the other two branches, and in particular the power of the legislative branch. that is what we will talk your today. the person who has put his cards on the table, conceptual to cards on the table, is my colleague christopher demuth.
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as far as i know, he has never worked in congress. >> a summer intern. >> the only thread. has,er, christopher demuth during his years for working for two republican white house is and as presidents of the american enterprise institute, is probably this town's leading expert on regulation and on regulatory reform. not only why regulation happens, but also the ways in which it has encroached upon aspects of american culture, society, and government in ways that are not entirely desirable, and what to do about that. i'm glad to ask him and see if this is the thought process involved. at a certain point, watching the
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steady growth of regulation in american government, i suspect that my colleague asked why is this happening? whatart of the answer was congress ought to be doing and to be, and that is going the starting point for us to understand what it is a restoring the constitutional congress is about and what might colleague has to say about that particular topic. i'm going to sit down. saying tostart by those who were coming to the christmas party, that is in the lobby. that is not here. you can go back down. thank you very much. thank you for that interesting and kind introduction. i'm particularly gratified that senator don nickles, one of the
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ablest legislators of the modern europe, came to town in 1980 , wouldhe 1980 elections come here to discuss some of these issues on the day after the 113th congress has adjourned . last month the republicans won solid majorities of both houses of congress. doing'ain that in so they have gotten themselves into a terrible fix because they will be taking charge of a branch of government that through decades of delegation and disuse of its constitutional powers has terribly hobbled its ability to exercise effective checks and balances, to play the constitutional game. they are going to be facing an executive branch that has accumulated tremendous autonomous power as a result and
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is now under the management of a left-liberal president who is determined to exercise those powers to the hilt. for is a partisan problem the republicans but it is also a constitutional problem for all of us. my essay that you have, a constitutional congress, was published shortly before the election in the weekly standard. it addressed the partisan question but is genesis was on earlier writing on the constitutional one. i documented congresses wholesale delegation of its taxing, spending, lawmaking powers to the lawmaking branch and viewed with alarm the growing concentration of power in a single branch and a single individual. that aoccurred to me time of fully-divided government, when one party controlled the congress, article
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one, and one party controlled the executive, article two, might have provided some opening for an institutional reboot. madison, the james partisan interests of a congressional majority might be connected to the constitutional rights of the place. when it appeared that we might be in for a time of fully divided government, i set myself the thinking about how the connection might be accomplished and i came up with a five-part plan for congressional restoration. i noticed that a five-part plan is very popular for dieting, dating, making a resume, other earnest endeavors. i thought this might draw attention to my ideas. there is a fundamental difficulty here. it has to be knowledge and emphasize. kindodern age has not been
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to the representative legislature. this idea that we should be governed by elected representatives of local districts who gathered together to make the laws that we live our lives by by hammering out was an original against the prerogatives of kings and autocrats. that was a very long time ago. it was a time when politics and government were naturally restrained by what economists call high transaction costs. when travel and communications our slow and costly, legislative sections were critical locations to learn developments in other sections of the nation, to take the measure of other political
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leaders, friend and foe, to forge alliances, make compromises, far from the gaze of the home-town crowds. when political organizing was costly, political groups were few and broad-based and the demands were general. when law enforcement and program administration were costly, the executive branch could of course all do only a few things. in that world, representative legislation was not a beanbag, but it was at least manageable. in the modern age, i affluence and high technology had disrupt it all of those al functions. -- all of those traditional functions. lawmakers no longer need to schlep to washington to find out
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about national issues or plot and dicker with their colleagues. they can be done to the media and direct communications. we have thousands of very well-organized lobby groups to go for every imaginable cause. monitor,lities to reward, and sanction individual legislators has reduced space for compromise and created new opportunities among collocations for championing national, rather than local, interests. the pressures foreign and lists array of government interventions is overwhelmed legislative capacities. the disciplines of the old committee system and seniority system, and the falling costs of administration have an powered the executive branch. they have greatly augmented its natural advantages over the
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legislature, advantages born of hierarchy, specialization, the ability to multiply functions indefinitely. in the 18th and 19th century, law-making was legislative. it was custom-made. it was bespoke lawmaking. in the early as 20 century, say the new deal, it became industrial-h executive lawmaking. lawmaking in america today is information-age executive lawmaking. the basic congressional adaptation has been to delegate to the consecutive agencies. congress has very broad goals. they are against discriminating against the handicap. the authority for achieving the goals is given to agencies with broad discretion to pursue those
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were the goals through various regulatory procedures. the individual members, senator representatives in place of the age-old give and take of collective legislating, adopt a new business model. they set about influencing the decisions of this going executive behemoth on behalf of local constituency groups. the committee leadership structure is supplanted by a artisan leadership structure devoted to supporting or opposing the incumbent president, whatever he may do. regular order, especially budgeting and appropriating, collapses under the weight of 1000 worthy and unworthy clamming for attention. i will give you the first three steps. if you know about four and five,
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you'll have to read the article. the first step in my congressional makeover is for congress to reclaim its many authorities for taxing, appropriating, and borrowing that it has abdicated to the executive branch. critically, this would be done as soon as the hundred 14th strictly as ae matter of constitutional housekeeping and renovation. it would have no policy content about spending levels or immigration policy or the powers of the consumer financial protection bureau or any of the other matters on which the administration and the republican congress will be sharply divided. in that manner, when the thesident was presented wi the bill for his signature, he
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would be given a clear choice whether or not to prevent congress from reclaiming delegated powers and exercising them as the constitution provides. that formulation to some seemed a little bit prissy when it was first advanced, but i am happy to say that it's intense apparentity became almost immediately after the election when president obama and his long-advertised highly controversial changes to immigration policy by executive order. the republicans who were opposed to that action said in the next two that they were going to stop it with a rider to the appropriations of the u.s. customs and immigration service. a day or two later, there was another embarrassed apology, another report. oops, sorry, we just realized we had not realize this. the ci acid is completely
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financed by its own fees. it is completely independent of congressional appropriation so there is nothing we can do about it. the budget legislation that was finally passed last weekend extended appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year all the way through to october with the appointed exception of the department of homeland etc. he, is resides and has to be re-appropriated in february by congress. because thishing eis does not need congressional appropriation at the the statute granting independence is rescinded. if that recession is done as part of a bill that also prevents's eis from implementing the president's unilateral immigration policies, he is certainly going to veto it. the political controversy will be about the substance of the
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immigration policies rather than the central constitutional point. i want to note one more thing about this controversy. customs and immigration service gained its financial independence as part of the 2002and security act of which was passed that president bush's instance in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. important part of the delegation story going back over the decades is that extraordinary powers are delegated from congress to the executive in the face of emergencies that require fast action and then they continue to rest in the executive branch when normal times return. -- broader lesson is this crisis and urgency favors the executive. normalcy, routine, and patience favor the legislature. that is the essential reason congress needs to
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reclaim the many financial constitutional powers it has given up in a matter that is shorn of ancillary crisis-provoking battles with the president over immigration policy or the powers of the consumer financial protection the debt over raising ceiling. following the republican debacle of the latest debt ceiling, congress handed over its borrowing power to the treasury. the treasury can borrow at will to pay its bills until this coming march. that power needs to be reclaimed as part of an unadorned act were congress is simply declaring its readiness to resume a routine exercise of its constitutional responsibilities.
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the exercise of those powers in competition with the executive will involve the difficult questions of strategy and republicans are not going to win all of them by any means. at least the congress will have a fighting chance. it does not have a fighting chance today. step two is to reinstitute the spending power. this is both the least controversial as an abstract manner of the proposals, but also the most problematic and difficult as a practical manner. to even's inability pass a budget and government funding on a regular basis is a source of widespread contempt and ridicule. many inhared by congress itself. many will tie you that resuming regular budgeting be a splendid idea and speaker boehner and senator mcconnell have vowed to
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set things straight when they get back to town. this would not require legislation. the president's signature is not part of it. all they have to do is resume congress' own procedures for annual auditing appropriations, procedures it established in the -- in theon congressional budgeting act of 1974. in hearing to the discipline of a budget and passing 12 regular appropriation bills by the end of each summer will require radical change in structure and culture. changes in the adaptations congress has made to modern politics. the evisceration of the committee chairman, especially of the taxing, appropriating, and budgeting committees, has cleared away internal congressional obstacles to
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spending growth and multiplicity of interest group tweaks that individual members are under constant pressure to a seed to at the decline of committee members and the transfer of the powers to party leadership was dramatically illustrated in the past week in the humiliation of finance chairman ron wyden in the senate at the hands of his party leadership. the annual continuing resolution replacing appropriation bills in which the entire government is funded for a. 'of time -- a. play strongly to the advantages of the executive branch because it results in one big annual crisis. i worked in the reagan administration for several years. when i was there, congress
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frequently and routinely interfered with excellent and well thought out policy initiatives we were pursuing by regulation, antitrust, other areas through ryders. the treasury department, the justice department, other agencies. we would see the riders. we would see if we can work around them. something we could do in place of them. if we could not, we would just sort of give up and move on to other mischief. we always took them seriously. routine. they happened all the time. rolledof these had been up into one annual crisis were ronald reagan could have unrolled his national rhetorical skills and competition with a few much less known people on
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capitol hill, it would've been dandy for us. it would not have been good for congress. reforming the spending process will require reconstruction of a strong, specialized, policy hierarchy where the committee chairman have strong powers onto themselves and are no longer the handmaidens of the party leadership. it will require relearning actual legislating, the arts of collective choice where we have to come to a decision amongst ourselves and compromise with people sometimes a very different and conflicting views. the third step is to on delegate undelegate the lawmaking power from the regulation committees. congress by delegation has created a lawmaking machinery capable of cranking out loss and
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volume vastly beyond what a bicameral committee could be doing by the constitution by itself. the most direct proposal is a republican idea that has floated for the last couple of years and passed the republican house twice called reins. the bill would say that major regulations of the executive branch could not take effect until they were approved by both houses of congress and signed by the president, which would be a foregone conclusion, and would joy fast-track privileges to come to one up or down vote --to an upper down vote. regular d mean
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legislation would be simple up or down votes. it takes the slow-moving, processting legislative and plunks it into the high-volume regulatory machine we have built. it's going to be an interesting thing to see. it was one thing when it was an ty obama measure. now that -- an ty obama measure it would mean highly complicated legislation added to the calendar every year and arriving with privileges at a time and place of the president's choosing. we'll see if they want to do that.
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the congress will certainly try to displace some regulatory decisions under obamacare. the e.p.a.'s green house gas initiatives, other things where republican feelings run high. it's not going to be easy to, i mean, those things will not be -- will not be signed by the president unless he finds himself in a fix after the supreme court decision on the ederal health -- the subsidies to the federal health insurance exchanges. in the summer. my own idea is for confidence building exercises, for congress to get back in the game of actually making decisions, collective choice, legislation in these areas. nd i propose to -- in my article, little ideas, that has a good chance of getting democratic votes and a good chance the president would sign. one to be to legislate high, very high capital standards for
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large banks and other large financial institutions. ousting the extremely timid ideas for enhanced capital standards being floated by the fed and other agencies. creating the very best bailout protection we could have in the future would mean that the equity holders, not the taxpayers, were standing behind financial risks. senator brown of ohio, a liberal democrat, and senator vitter of louisiana, a conservative republican, have backed just such a bill. the second is to free these amazing new innovations in personal health information such as smartphone monitoring apps and personal genetic profiling techniques such as those of 23 and me from f.d.a. premarketing controls. senator deb fisher of nebraska,
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republican, senator king of maine, independent, that means democrat, he caucuses with the democrats, have introduced pretty good piece of legislation along those lines. i have a particularly colorful phrase that i'm proud of in my article. it said, if these acts were to pass and actually take power away from the regulators in these two areas, they would be great victories for bipartisan, foe populism over the expertise and crony capitalism. how do you like that? up so i'm for pursuing opportunities here to take law making right back to congress. i think that we should be prepared that congress, in thinking about the balance of powers, should be prepared for some surprises in the next two years. i think this convention alameda idea that the president is a
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late termer, a lame duck, he's very unpopular, he'll try to pursue some foreign policy initiatives, that's what presidents do in the end game, but not much else. i think that may be incorrect. ideology of strong systemic views. he's very smart. he's intensity determined. and if you look at the things he's done in immigration and other areas, it's as if he came to washington with aly the of about 10 things that he told us about during the campaign in 2008, and he's determined to get them done and he doesn't have to be popular to get them done. he can just get them done, given the powers that the executive branch has accumulated. i want to give an idea that everybody's going to think sun believably fanciful -- is unbelievably fanciful. consider the idea that president obama has advanced it several times since the beginning of his national
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career and most recently in an amazing statement he released shortly after -- i think it was shortly after the election, in any event, it was in the last month, month or so. and that is that the internet ought to be converted into a national public utility. under comprehensive controls over price, entry, terms of service and, in particular, this is called net neutrality, that service providers should be converted into common carriers who must take all commerce at the same price, regardless of the different prices and values of the services that are being provided. essentially to treat the internet the way we treated railroads and airlines in previous epics. 's an unbelievably primitive retrograde idea. but it's got some support in the faculty lounges, in the law schools around the country, in some economics departments.
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it's got some support in the business models of some big firms. and the president is deeply attached to this idea. moreover, he says he can't do it by himself. it's up to the fcc -- f.c.c. well, that's exactly what he told us several times about immigration policy before he just came out and announced, well, i'm going to do it myself. cot president make the internet a -- could the president make the internet a nationally -- national publicly rated utility just by himself? i think he could. the electromagnetic spectrum, which is the key scarce resource in the internet, is something that is by declaration owned by the federal government. has been ever since herbert hoover said so in the 1920's. most of that spectrum is allocated by the f.c.c. but the government could take
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that allocation back in a way i'm going to tell you in a second. and in any event, the executive agencies, defense, commerce, others, they own a huge amount of spectrum that they do not use themselves that can provide enormous bait for the enterprise i have in mind. moreover, the government itself provides many things directly like geostationary positioning g-map for our apple and devices on our phones. that actually is based upon a government enterprise. the democratic party has a sort of proprietary feeling about the internet. it has from the beginning. al gore told us that he came up with the idea to begin with, many people in the party believe that it was singularly responsible for the president's 2008 victory. most of all, the executive branch is now able to act unilaterally with enormous
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power and lack of any kind of apologetics, doing things that would have been considered impossible in the past. i have in mind the administration's position in the, quote, managed bankruptcies of general motors and chrysler. where it simply rearranged what had been the traditional legal rules of priority, in the b.p. oil spill, where it simply called up somebody from the white house, they called up b.p. and said, please sebled us $20 billion immediately, we're going to use it to administer our own compensation fund. something that if you'd said it before, can a president just do this, people said, no, he can't do that, but did he it and it was a popular cause and it worked. most recently these amazing -- the amazing developments in these so-called inversion international mergers, where there are some very solid
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financially sensible mergers that had been prepared, agreed by the boards and people at the white house got on the phone and ome of the directors had some candid conversations and the board announced they were abandoning these initiatives to everybody's amazement. if the white house called together the major internet rvice providers, the major firms that provide major internet matters, and forged an agreement fournette neutrality and public utility controls, that everybody was going to agree to, and everybody kind of understood that they had to, because there were tax and other pieces of business they had before the executive branch that would be taken into account, and it was taken over rubber stamp or approval in the beginning of a program, and by the way, nobody appeals.
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we want to keep the judges out of this. i think it could be accomplished. i don't want people to think i'm paranoid. this is not a prediction. i want to use this idea simply to dramatize the astounding amount of discretionary power that has accumulated in the executive branch and how it could be used for astounding purposes in the next two years. i'm not unmindful that congress has many vices of its own. a republican congress we cons constituted along the lines i have sketched out would without doubt be the source of excessive and horribly wasteful spending, tax and regulatory provisions that benefit narrow groups at the expense of the public. those are part of a larger policy and institutional problem we have in our politics. but the immediate problem is that our constitution depends on robust competition among the
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three branches and in particular between the two political branches to keep federal power relatively constrained, under control and honest between elections when most of us are not paying attention. and to police the inevitable corruptions of concentrated power. the republicans have many big and worthy policy reforms that and many of pursue us feel very strongly about them and hope that they do well. but my point is that even as they do that, it has fallen to them to do something larger and that is to restore some badly needed constitutional balance. thank you. [applause]
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>> when i first read chris' article, i immediately said, this is an article that deserves to be a panel discussion at hudson, it needs to be something that will interject deep into the debate about the role of congress, past, present and future. and i did this for two reasons. one, out of a measure of my respect for my colleague and friend. the second reason, because it was a sneaky way to get to meet don. don to me, i will always think face of the sunny republican senate during those divisive years of the clinton second term, of someone who always seemed to have the right thing to say, who always seemed to be on the one hand
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supporting causes and issues that i, as a devout conservative, supported, but at the same time did it in ways that were -- that no liberal could accuse as being threatening or as being dangerous to -- or mean-spirited ordaining rouse to the public good. so i began to wonder, is it really possible that here in washington there could be someone who is so good and sane -- with the nt and kind of integrity that he seems to have? and everybody that i've talked to has said, yes, that's don. a little biographical information for you and in fact the more you read his biography, the more you're going to like him. and particularly in my case. like me, he's a smalltown guy, grew up in oklahoma. like me he attended public
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schools. to pay for his education at oklahoma state university, he and his wife ran a professional dry cleaning service. >> janitorial service. >> janitorial service. do you still have that business? >> no. >> ok. 1978 en in 197 don ran -- don ran for the oklahoma state senate and won. two years later, he ran for the united states senate and was elected as the youngest republican ever elected to the united states senate. in his years in the senate, he assumed a series of leadership posts which i won't summerize for you here. but he certainly was part of the inner circle in shaping the future direction of the -- of what a republican senate should look like, the kinds of issues to take up, the ways in which to build the core that will be
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necessary for a republican senate and a republican congress that comes up in january. and for that reason i think it's extremely important to have don here as part of our commentating on the issue of the future of the congress and what takes place. as you may know, congressman knick ols is now retired from the senate. his place was taken by tomko burn who also seems to -- tom coburn who also seems to me to be the model of the kind of legislator we would want, the kind of senator we would want in the future. i just want to tell you that i tom enormous respect for coburn but dons is the original coin. and so -- don is the original coin. so with that i want you to welcome please senator don nichols. [applause]
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>> i'll just make a few comments and then i'll join you. one, i want to compliment chris for his outstanding speech and say i share many of the concerns that he touched on. as was mentioned, i came into town as a senator in 1980. i will say things have changed a lot. leadership in the senate, for example, just flipped. it's flipped seven times since i've been in town. it's going to flip again. and it's not all that unhealthy when it does change. chris talked about the natural tensions, there should be some tension between the legislative branch and the executive branch and frankly the judicial branch. i believe very strongly in that. and i was in the senate for 24 years, i always felt like it was part of my job, since i was in leadership for most of that time, to protect the legislative branch. protect it from the executive branch, if they were
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legislating, and even if the judicial branch, if they were in the legislative business, which they've done on occasion. but the real problem in the last several years, i think, with the -- with president obama's administration, is i think there's a real disrespect or a lack of respect for congress. i know he served in the senate for two years. he came in just as i was retiring. voluntarily, i might add. nd i complimented him. all members of congress, members of the house and the president, when they are sworn in, they take an oath to uphold the constitution. and i am absolutely flabbergasted at some of the comments and some of the statements that our president, who sometimes says he's a constitutional scholar, makes in just grossly voy lating the
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constitution. grossly. the constitution, article one of the constitution says basically congress shall make all laws. all legislative powers are granted to the house and the senate. all legislative powers. the only exception to that is in the 10th amendment which basically gives all other legislative powers to the states and to the people. but all legislative powers on the federal side are delegated to the house and to the senate. and then reserved to the states and to the people. it doesn't say, mr. president, you don't like the fact that congress hasn't legislated on immigration, you go ahead and do it anyway, and then maybe hope that congress is going to address it and if you're happy with it, you can sign it and it will supersede the law that you just implemented. that was his statement not long ago. right after the election. interesting he made that statement after the election. but i thought, whoa, did he just say that? did he really just say, i'm going to pass a law and i know
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it should be done by congress, and frankly for the last two or three years he said it should be done by congress, when people were telling him, hey, we want you to do more on immigration, he said, i'm not king. i can't do it by -- i have to go -- the congress has to act. he was right in saying that. and he said it several times. and then right after the election he said, i'm going to do it, full speed ahead, and i want congress, i challenge congress to supersede what i just did. whoa. doesn't say that. it doesn't say it when it comes to the health care bill. here's the law that congress passed. pretty unusual circumstances, the way they passed it, but i won't comment on that now. ok, congress passed the law, some of it is unpopular and some of it is going to come up before the election, so i'm just going to suspend the individual mandate. not going to enforce it. i hate to say it, but he's supposed to faithfully execute the laws. it doesn't say suspend those
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that he doesn't like, don't have to enforce the ones that really maybe are uncomfortable. that in this case he's totally responsible for. because it might have political repercussions. and you can just go on and on. oh, well you mentioned the consumer finance protection board, cfpb. unbelievable delegated powers to one individual more or less made a czar, subject to senate confirmation. he couldn't get senate confirmation, so he did a recess appointment. and this individual, the way congress passed this law, you talk about congress delegating powers, congress passed laws that says, yeah, they can get a percentage of the revenues coming from the fed and it boils down to several hundred millions of dollars a year, not subject to a congressional appropriation. so no oversight, no board, no
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commission, in this case didn't even have the confirmation process. again, just sticking the finger in the eye, i think, of the senate. his nlrb recess appointments, on individuals that he couldn't get through the senate, that were actually defeated in the senate, were not going to be confirmed, so he did a recess appointment. in this case the courts said, whoa, you exceeded your authority. then he came back, was able to get him in because senator reid changed the rules of the senate. wow. i think there is a constitutional crisis in the fact that the president is really disregarding the constitution as it's written. and is trying to implement his policies as if he is a czar or a king. and there's a real reason why our forefathers had the wisdom to separate the powers and to have a balance of powers, to have the checks and balances. and what happened after president obama was elected, he ended up getting 59 votes in the senate and then 60. and all of a sudden he could
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get almost anything through. and i almost think, god bless him, but senator byrd was one of the champion notice senate who would defend the legislative -- champion in the senate who would defend the legislative powers or the balance of powers and it was in his later years and i was gone and anyway they were able to railroad it through. and they did railroad it through. passed i think on december 24 or something in the first year. wow. it really bothers me. and i hope and pray -- let me -- i want to be positive. there is new leadership in town. and with senator mcconnell as the new majority leader, he is going to return to regular order. one of the things that chris was advocating was that congress would do its job. for whatever reason with the democratic leadership in the senate for the last six years, and i want to separate the two. the house basically did its job. they passed a budget bill every year. they passed most of the
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appropriation bills every year. hey didn't pass in the senate. when chris talked about the senate doing continuing resolutions, the senate last night passed -- well, last night, a couple of days ago passed an appropriation bill that had most of the appropriation -- that's the first time the senate has acted on an appropriation bill in years. i think for five years they were on the continuing resolution. this bill passed, and, yes, they worked out most of all of the bills, but they didn't have any of the bills in the senate on the senate floor subject to amendment. the thing i'm saying is, good news, is i know senator mcconnell. i know his new chief of policy, worked for me for the last 27 years. they're going to do a fantastic job. they're going to revert to regular order. they're going to have appropriation bills. they're going to have a budget. i was on the budget committee for 24 years. every year we tried to do a budget. we didn't always get them done. but we always had one on the
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floor. we always marked it up and we usually had hundreds of votes in the process much passing a budget -- process of passing a budget. for the last six years, president obama's first year, when he had this supermajority, did get it through, and he used that to pass frankly obamacare. and ads 1 trillion stimulus program -- and a $1 trillion stimulus program. since then he didn't have a budget. except for one year the house said, you don't get paid if you don't do a budget, so the senate did pass a budget. but it was not designed to do anything. it wasn't designed to actually come up with a budget. now they're going to come up with a budget. and it is not easy. i was budget chairman for a couple of years, but i was on that committee and if you do a budget, you're doing the largest budget in the world. and you're dealing with everything. and in the senate, the way the rules are, you have unlimited opportunity to amend it. so anybody, senator sanders can say, i want less money for defense and i want more money for education. you have unlimited number of those amendments. and so you can easily see, it is not an easy process.
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but it's a healthy process. i will guarantee, i will bet anything in the next year the senate will have more votes in 2015 than they've had in the last six years combined. they're going to have lots of votes. they're going to have lots of opportunities to do some good, to do some bad, to have some mischief. but they're going to be working. and i bet you, it may not be pretty, i should forewarn you on that. legislative process sometimes is not pretty. but it will be working. they will do a budget. they will have appropriation bills. they'll have lots of opportunities to make amendments. whether they'll be successful, this is the idea of, well, ok, the republicans really don't like what the president is trying to pass the law on immigration, so how do you stop that? oh, we find out they already have the money coming in automatically. well, can they change that? that's going to be hard because he might veto it. so you might have a lot of things like that. where congress is trying to
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reassert basically congressional authority. you all know he has enormous budget in the trillions of dollars, but congress only appropriates about 30% of it. the rest of it's kind of on automatic pilot through entitlements and so on. so congress can shape those, can control them, can pass laws to change them, but it's not easy. and this president may veto those. if somebody says, i think we have a reasonable cost of living adjustment. not one that's overinflatesed. money, can a lot of help save social security, it's something that everybody that's studied anything knows it should be done. but can it happen? maybe not. because senator reid said, over my body, we're not going to do. it so you can have some big things like that, it might be very healthy, be very positive. it can get done, can it get past the senate? can it get past the white house? who knows the next couple of years. there's going to be lots of tension. that's ok. that's healthy. that's part of the process. so i'm actually kind of excited. i think you're going to see a
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return to the legislative branch, more or less standing up to the executive branch. hopefully to reclaim some of the authority and the powers that have been granted. but mainly to push back from a white house right now that is trying to usurp their powers, well beyond what the constitution allows. and so it's going to be a very teresting, very -- i started to say hotly contested, but this is part of the process. i think it's going to be kind of fun to observe. in the next couple of yearsment and hopefully, prayerfully, in the long-term, we will return to a real, what i would call, constitutionally balanced basis of government between the three branches of government. thank you for letting me participate. [applause] >> thank you. as moderator i get to claim ivilege to ask the first
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questions. first one for chris, second one for senator nickles. my question for chris is this. in your list, your agenda, for what the new congress must do s part of its clawing back its powers and its role, constitutional role, the one piece of legislation for the obama administration that's been a major source of controversy here in what's taken place is obamacare. and yet you didn't mention it. xplain yourself. >> in obamacare, the policy action has basically moved to the courts and to the states. for the time being. last week the congress did something that nobody thought possible, it actually revised,
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substantially revised two provisions of dodd-frank. that was thought to be impossible. that wasn't quite the prurel partisan enactment that obama was. i think it still is the case that the administration would veto any effort to change obamacare. however, there are several strong constitutional challenges, including in particular the one coming out of the d.c. circuit and the virginia cases and others regarding the provision of tax subsidies to the federal as opposed to state exchanges. that will be decided by the supreme court, by the middle of the year. i think it's fair to say that there's a significant chance that that act will be held to have been beyond their statutory authorities. >> it's a pretty potent
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challenge. >> and if so, senator nickles is health care expert, so i'm hesitant to say too much here, but i believe that if that -- if the decision went to that way, the administration would be in something of a fix and it would really need some legislation, which would open things up a little bit. obamacare also requires a lot of cooperation from the states and we have a new sectionalism in our politics now. we used to have the south versus the rest of the country. that's long gone. but we now have the heartland growing and generally conservative states versus the coastal, generally liberal, generally not growing, states. and it's a pretty sharp sectionalism that's making this cooperation difficult. so we have these two other constitutional check


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