tv President Trump and Congress CSPAN October 1, 2017 1:23am-2:25am EDT
on c-span's q&a. congressman, democratic the present of henry cuellar and michael burgess talk about congress and the first year of the trump administration. they also talk about health care, or security, and hurricane relief. for the annual texas tribune festival in austin, this is an hour. this is one hour. >> welcome to the panel about serving congress and the trump area. were very honored to have two men have attended the university of texas, one graduate from north texas anomaly alumni. my immediate left i have congressman henry who is from laredo. he's been serving in congress
since 2004. one of the reasons i'm excited for him to be here today season appropriate her. he helps decide how we spend our money. there is anything i was told in the aftermath of hurricane harvey, the five most important members of congressman are john cornyn, the senate majority whip in the floor park breeders. is a democrat. have delayed in the democratic efforts from the state of texas to get as much money for harvey as possible. my for the left is a cars man from louisville elected in 2002. his the most important texan from congress on the healthcare issue. very powerful committee chairmanship. i once asked if he was the quarterback of the effort for healthcare reform and he said i'm the water boy. but he's very important on this issue. i follow these guys around the capital and annoy them and asked
some questions. they're very much believe in their issues, they work hard. i'm honored to have them here talking to us about their life in congress. [applause] >> and will start off with the be very sad anecdote about my life as reporter in washington. the flow, the energy, everything in washington changed a 12:00 p.m. january 20, 2017, when donald trump was inaugurated. from then on, weekends, nights, early mornings, you never knew what news was going to come. that kept me on my toes. at the peak of the health care debate in february ended up resorting to using my wineglasses to drink coffee because i didn't have time to wash my dishes. that's the emblematic thing of washington. i wanted each member to talk
about how things have changed and how you have adjusted. are you tired, are you excited? how do you feel about this new era? >> thank you so much into the texas tribune and michael would call him the dr. because he's an empty very good at healthcare. every time there's a new president, there's always a new rhythm. a new congress, the president of the sets of rhythm and how we do our work. near president obama and a rhythm, but when president trump got elected was very different simply because a lot of the traditional norms that we had were just changed. many presidents to have better tweeting, how many that are able to sent out a tweet and
basically have the media members of congress and others follow what he does. it set up faster pace because it's not the same type of city work under what i call a traditional republican administration so thought different. it looks like there's more activity in ways is faster than what we've had. i talked to reporters and members of congress, it's a faster pace because what he does. nevertheless, in congress in many ways, most of the issues were working on were doing the same thing. i sit on the appropriations, and it's very bipartisan. in fact, if we headed our way, all of the decisions were made by the root appropriators we wouldn't go into the drama that
we currently see right now. but we have a budget in a continuing resolution and then shut down. on one level you have the presidential current. in congress in many ways, not all but in our committee it's the same type of work we're doing certain items career, the republican majority is following him on it were certain things. in many ways it's a rhythm that we have not seen before. >> when i came in right after the midterm election in 2002, so the bush administration was there and establish. they have gone through their transition. i saw one president obama came in the transition met and things were different for us.
but the henry is correct, there's a certain rhythm to the congressional year. after you pick up on it things become predictable. you will have the swearing-in or if it's not an election year the first congress of the year that convenes. the state of the union is given and they lay that priority shortly after that than the budget is produced, the house produces a budget and the center produces a budget. allegedly they get to work on appropriations which we do through the summer months. by september 30 it's wrapped up with the balance of the year and clean up on items that didn't get done. now that's in theory, it has really been several years, we've talked about president trump in the disruptor but for the first time in the first year of the new administration of president trump the congress and house
have passed depreciation bills since beginning of the fiscal year. so it has been, even though he's a disruptor and things are different under his watch, the house got us worked on. the senate still behind as they typically do. it's hard to vote for an appropriations bill is either spent too much money or doesn't spend enough. there's always to be a no vote. but i am hopeful with the house setting the standard in the age of trump. the senate is not going to understand that if were going to do the people's business, we have to correctly spend the people's money that allows the appropriators to go through it. you enter how many hearings in the we did it on the house floor and went late through the night. that's with supposed to be.
and a lot of criticism, common authorizer, henry's an appropriate her in the difference between the two just a you know, i try to take at least one trip every turn in the national tutor of health is a big beautiful building and they're all named for appropriators. i've never been in a building that is bending for an authorizer. so, we do the work, we have the hearing to decide what needs to be done. then henry comes in and writes a check at the last minute and gets the credit. >> i used to cover west virginia politics. the senator who is now deceased from there was the most powerful appropriate ever, robert byrd, everywhere you go there is a rubber bird building, bridge, tunnel. so there's no overestimation of
that power. at the beginning of this administration continuing on, a lot of republicans have avoided town halls. you don't back down from your conservative principles but you seem to be fearless when people are chasing you. >> that's part of our obligation to our constituents it's just one of the ways of communicating with constituents. i've always found it interesting, not always helpful but certainly educational. the years that i voted for the debt limited 2011 was hard doing town halls, people were very angry people on the right were angry, you gave president obama everything he wanted and he
didn't get a thing for it. now, we actually were able to bend the spending curb on spending a little bit. i look back and say maybe it wasn't all that bad. but it doesn't matter what the issues. if you're doing a general town hall and people get it they say the congress minister in the town hall tonight, now almost everything is doing i'm good, i don't need to go. but if you're mad maybe are there and you come to talk about the things. spence typically what i hear weather on the right or left. that's just been something that's part of the congressional year. we have an obligation to hear from our folks. i will say this august the town halls, i don't ever require that
there be a police department there, but we always tell her communities what were doing. will be in your community this weekend, were doing a town hall. maybe it's because of the shooting at the baseball practice, the police presence at the last two town hall i've never seen anything quite like it. normally you have one or two uniformed officers standing at the back of the room. and that's enough and sufficient for people to be polite. right after gabriel gifford was injured in front of a low-power congressional events in a park in the come i had one of the police departments ask if they could set up a magnetometer a. i said he really can ask people to go through that. they were good, they backed off, but the summer the number of law
enforcement there, the plane close one that were there, to me it was startling, that it has become that hard for me to go and interact with constituents. >> that's something i have not thought of. in mid-june, i was supporting on the senate side and i turn to a friend and i said, something is in the air and it's bad. i don't feel good being here. two days later, i plan a women's up waltzing is reporters versus female members of congress, the day before i went to the female practice to scout them, and i'm at mile practice the next day and carl's famous congressional reporter and he said practice is over, there has been a shooting. a going to the dugout and she said steve scalise has been shot. i went to the shooting scene and baseball cleats.
all i can think about is what if they were for the women yesterday. there's no dugout. kevin brady who is that -- pointed out to me that if the picture that day had not been given the day off to rest, they would been trapped in the bullpen right by the shooter. it's none real story, i think it into politics to cover this kind of thing. i'm supposed to cover the best of america, are you afraid of your safety? >> certainly there is a new sense of lack of stability out there. in so many ways people come and i'm talking about emily constituents but you have members the way they talk to certain folks, there's just no sense of civility anymore.
i grew up for my parents, you treat everybody the way you want to be treated. there's just no sense of stability out there and -- civility out there. i sitting congress and communities. but to go around with security like the administration does? we don't do that. were out there, but there's a very different environment out there. >> i go on the republican side to see how the lines are working. again, every situation is different. i cannot say from a security standpoint that is something i
spent a lot of time worrying about. et cetera knows, the average member in congress doesn't have security detail. it was only because steve scalise was at that practice that there is actually someone who is there to return fire. had he not been there that morning and what a tragedy, he was the one that got severely injured. but without him being there it would have been significantly worse. >> i want to get to a couple of issues. most on the radar right now which i don't if i don't get to initiate care about, understand that's my life every day. there's an issue i think i'm gonna write about the world changes an hour later. but where are we on health care? and where we going? >> next question. >> you're asking me to predict
the future where the senates involved, it's hard to do. i would have predicted that we would have been past this point many months ago, i will admit that it was harder on the house side than i thought it would be. remember that the house had passed under senate reconciliation rules had passed the major pieces of repeal bill in december 2015. president obama vetoed that repeal bill. our statement to his veto was okay, if we get the white house that's what we will do. when i met with my counterparts at the statehouse and state senate in december 2016, i look said look at the bill we passed a year ago and that is likely going to be what we will be doing. now, that didn't happen and
there are people who are concerned that if we passed a bill that was a repeal, that reconciliation individual mandate got rid of most of the taxes of the obama care subsidies the medicare expansion in two years time. there were people, moderates and conservatives in the president himself tweeted out that you're going to have to do some replace along with repeal, cannot be a repeal only bill. i know we don't get credit for but we did several hearings and the subcommittee on health. >> and they would like 18 hours. >> those hearings did not because nobody wanted -- they just became slug fest on obama care is bad what you're doing is worse. the fact that hearings are continuous because they weren't
productive. we produced a bill based on 2015 reconciliation. not like it hadn't been through that on the house side, it had been through regular committee process. the changes that were made were made to add more replace elements to the base of repeal. we marked it up in an open fashion. amendments were not limited, votes were not limited. we went for 28 hours throughout the day. we read the bill to work. some people say we didn't even read the bill. in fact, we did. we rented in committee. the clerks read the bill and off they went. then to follow that, we had 18 hours on the rules committee.
that bill came there. eighteen hours of debate. minority leader pelosi and hoyer came in for three hours talked about how great the affordable care act was but it wasn't an open process in the past. nevertheless, people forget that the time invested in this on the house side was significant. we had to go back to rules to additional time stat amendments were people said were knocking about four because it doesn't have this or that, it was pulled from the floor and house which i thought was a mistake. the rules committee had already provided same day authority which meant we could've stayed through the weekend until we got it done. we went home instead.
thirty-four weeks later it did pass and went over to the senate plenty of time for them to get it done before the memorial day recess which is what they said they wanted to do. they had plenty of time to do it before the fourth of july resource but they didn't. plenty of time before the august recess and it turns out they weren't ready. the bill as it has changed, the graham cassidy bell, what i have tried to get my staff to do is prepare, we don't know completely what the bill is, but try to prepare a side-by-side for members of the house, you know what you voted for in may, the said things that saying these are different so people will be able to work to the process, is it something i can support or not.
the house will not have a great deal of time. the senate if it does what will be midweek or later. the senate parliamentarian has said this must happen by the 30th at midnight. the house could vote on it the following week, but i think everyone is anxious if the senate passes to get it evaluated. >> congressman, dear considered one of the democrats was most approachable to republicans. did you ever think of supporting the healthcare legislation that came to the house? >> no. on bipartisan but i'm not going to vote on a piece of legislation that i think does harm. i voted for healthcare law some years ago.
it was not a perfect bill, but i know when you pass a piece of legislation you always come back and fine-tune the things that work and don't work. the problem was, to be fair and both sides the democrats when we are in power they didn't want to make changes with acted like it was a perfect bill. then the republicans wanted to repeal the whole thing. so we had to extremes and nobody it to sit down and talk and see what works and what doesn't work, you either modified or change it. then of course republicans committed and they control the white house and senate so they go back and go to a replace something. the replacement my thing is if you're going to go for one with all due respect and you're gonna knock out the different proposals when they saw it come out with the numbers but if you
get a not count 16 or 32 million, were living in two different worlds. with all due respect. if you're gonna focus on premiums but not going to find a way to lower the premiums then you're not doing the job. the piece of legislation is one that will knock out millions of individuals for healthcare have you thought about that, vote for that. second of all, there is some feel-good language that says pre-existing clause says these conditions are not going to be affected.
but then you leave it up to the states to decide and with all due respect, you get a state like texas you know it's going to happen though get rid of some of those placentas mental and maternal care under this piece of legislation. if you feel congress if the states that are doing obama care lose and the states that are anti- trauma care had no state insurance program are benefited by getting billions of dollars. basically what you're saying is congress can't do it so they put a short limit where they put up the exchange plan. so they set up a different thing same in 2027 money will be gone,
now, will congress appropriate that money, we know what happens so again, my thing has been and i am a democrat but i believe we have to work in a bipartisan way. at the beginning of the year he's to be the chief of staff but he's now the white house legislator and says we want to see if there's anything we can back in february says except for healthcare we can talk about taxes, transportation and other items except for healthcare. now, a couple weeks ago when the president asked for republicans to sit down there are blue dogs
down and work thing now. that is the bottom line. >> we will move on but with health care. >> first off if your insurance is so bad he will not buy it unless you have the threat of the federal government breathing down your neck, is it a good product? are you being well served by the people better offering of product and are you getting good value? there is the problem. my personal feeling is the individual mandate with the centerpiece of the affordable care act fundamentally realtors the relationship between the government and the governed
the mattis will be jettisoned. now with the cbo to repeal that individual mandate? there would still have this sense they cannot use it but they are functionally the insured so to talk about people in the individual market so may i point out previously before the affordable care act came down the pike that you are covered with a pre-existing conditions but in the individual market yes you pay a higher premium but the premium that you paid was lower than the premium that
you paid now with obamacare. and kelly hancock is a state senator
reorder the risk pools in the states of texas right now nobody is enrolled there is no money but if that was available they could be up and running in a short period of time. so yes texas would benefit. there would be the equalization of the dollars available. those states that expanded medicaid with a state like texas. there has to be away to even things out. that is one of the main
sticking points had to handle a state that expanded mandate --
medicated those that didn't i of members from virginia they work very hard with a democratic governor who wanted to experience that and said we will not do that. and to check that expansion you have members from new jersey and they are concerned and what is in during. not just disable them pregnant women with that medicaid expansion with a federal match but after two
years they could still be enrolled. after the time is up a can stay as long as they say. but for whatever reason with employer sponsored insurance or they lose eligibility they cannot come back on. and to do so at the federal standard maximum rate. so texas is fixing to lose a lot of money that will delay october 1st for go we will
don't blame the president. played your of leadership because they carry the lion's share of this responsibility. >> a couple of things. eighteen hours of hearings with no witnesses, no associations from hospitals or nurses or doctors or advocates or cancer. >> no, no, no. >> i'll let you speak. no testimony from anybody. eighteen hours to deal. day you think that is the appropriate? in dealing in
18 hours? and with those individuals is that something to say we did a good job as members of congress? a thing that is wrong if you take away the preexisting conditions i think it is wrong. and at the end of the mandate talked to the heritage foundation one of the most republican groups out there. now they are running away. so why can we not sit down to allow witnesses and the advocates to give input?
and then to have a collegial relationship. every thursday the republicans meet in the of this powerful voting bloc? it is the largest republican state in the house. and things can die over that if you take a lot of pride to be unified something happened after harvey. and then another one the next week. saying that nobody can remember the last five that haven't. >> i called joe tuesday to
sit down at say delegation this is my first time in 12 years to be in the texas chair of the democrats and is there hope we do more. we have nominated a task force on harvey so we can work with john sharp was the chairman of the of a commission in to have that sense to coordinate so we might disagree on certain things but the texas democrats and republicans will stick together. >> the startling thing to me was. >> do you not still have day
wednesday afternoon?. >> i don't know the answer to that profess then be elected to the congressional delegation. you'll find this hard to believe but when dave republicans were banned from the speaker's plunge. then -- much then they met on thursday when senator hutcheson said both republicans and democrats to her office once a month with
the senate appropriators they were generally well intended. >> when i first got there then we were wrapped around the there have been efforts over the years in texas is the second biggest day in the country with a significant number of representatives in washington but we work together. >> what was said he say to the houston homeowner who was not allowed to buy flood insurance who now they are under water and now may be the mortgage is under water? >> first of all, there was
an initial 15.2 billion dollars money going down for the disaster. also for harvey and also the wildfires. you are flooding but we are burning over here. so there will be others. we are hoping to provide funding but also those different agencies so you have to look to get that finding itself. we'll get the share that we coordinate with the state used to be in the state legislature with that rainy day fund i may be off by a few dollars but there is
10 million so i said they should do the same thing. it was good to attack the federal government to say we are spending too much money. and and to start of the state's response. with those issues so at that time judge penn's ruling is in the of billions of dollars and a lot of issues would come up with that system that they have with those waters into neighborhoods that were
flooded so the question is was that man made? if i was an attorney for the insurance company i would say there is a lot of issues coming in i hope they learned their lesson and it appears as a lot of folks that said you have to take that somewhere to provide that funding. i hope we don't get into that fight here because as we look at what happened with harvey it will take a lot of money but the big fight for the conservatives
so don't get me started on sandy and with the appropriations. >> so here we are so we have to take that third petition. >> is one thing is bipartisan. there has been an argument about this. and with that other hurricane always said is i hope we don't get into that same argument. we should take that like dead disaster.
>> there was the offset from katrina. event what those appropriation events were reduced to offset the money necessary step to rebuild new orleans. and department of homeland security took it back later. there was no reason not to do the same approach for sandy but for whatever reason you will notice with this supplemental approach. from the agency perspective the ability to be flexible at the agency level, i think
with those subsequent devaluation. >> and some of those will be offset. >> we will take a few questions from the audience. >> i live here is an ostin in texas diamond army veteran i want to use thank you for your support to protect 800,000 rivers so what you planning on doing to reach across the aisle for a legislative solution for dreamers were you doing to get it on the floor for a vote?. >> when a bipartisan group
is asked to go sit down and if the speaker does not put a for a vote. my feeling is that 99 percent of the democrats will vote yes for:bin to get to the 218. because we have not been able to get a vote for perot so the speaker said he is for it but we never got a vote on and. you will have the vote so i'm hoping they put it on the floor.
there is a lot of negotiations putting a republican group to work. i got a call from the senator now from texas that the president asked me to call you working on a piece of legislation. what do you have in mind? because the dream act to me that is not negotiable to a 14th century solution with border security so the president did say strong border security so the next day they called the former
amply and said we need a wall. so we need day dream act we will deal with the wall at a later time. >>. >> one of the questions i have asked repeatedly because you cannot do this and other countries. with your first year in office we had a bill on the floor and that it was too harsh and then they have the of problem have to do with and then people are replaced by this problem.
drink of water. with $18 billion per year with border security. $80 billion per year. if you read everything. but they keep moving the goalposts. in this is never enough for the better sick --- border security. some people feel if you have a wall that solves all the problems. that is a 14th century solution.
and to thank you know better than the people at the border. >> and general kelly created a great deal of difference in the short time from only a security. and it looked entirely different in may of this year because of a leadership coming out of the agency. >> talking about border security and it just sounds like buzzwords. like a dodge because i don't know what border security means. so what conditions would apply at which time you
could say now we have border security. what does that mean? in very explicit terms. not adding 150 border guards . that doesn't tell me anything we can do that easy. at that point you say now we can do daca. >> janet napolitano asked if there is operational control and and i would submit 40 percent is a failing grade. so we saw the of number of youngsters that have been apprehended in processing centers there was a up the
facility to handle that. the president of the united states said it is okay but that the board curve was flooded and hillary clinton did. but the dollars were never spent. end the infrastructure the iata infrastructure that is necessary to curtail that requires the courage and with us e-verify program is is not mandatory. >> but in 2005 by a mass to
do something for legalization for kids that were brought to this country by their parents so can we stop doing that? can we stop having people that fall into that category? the answer is no i don't know how many have arrived since january 2005 but i suspect a significant proportion. >> so they don't understand the of border. howdy use secure a border? first of all, sending $18 million per year that is the 1 yard line. if we go to the 20-yard line
that secretary kelly said across the border. in helping them to secure the border. literally hundreds of thousands of people and with other countries to secure the border with technology if somebody is against the wall they think they are against border security. look at the mobil. right now it is estimated $23 million per mile. give me $100 i will buy a good offense. i mean that. you can do that at. but with the offense -- the
offense the treaty with mexico you cannot put it at the river bank sometimes you have to go up 1 mile i will not mention the name they do have a constituent he is a veteran and his parents serve did roll for two -- served in world war two. that means if he visits the cemetery for the burial place of his parents he has to go on the other side of the fence. what about wildlife? were those bonafide centers or the of wildlife refugees? there is no respect to any
of that using technology. people of washington think if you put up a fence it solves the issues. talking about the great wall of china and i will tell you what happens stibnite that is all the time that we have today. i want to thank them for having a passionate debate. that was highly respectful. [applause]
announcer: in his weekly talks, president trump talks about the federal response to help puerto rico and the virgin islands and his plans for tax reform. the nevada senator gives the democratic response to hurricanes. pres. trump: my fellow americans, our hearts are united with puerto rico and the virgin islands, who face devastation from two catastrophic hurricanes. we are working night and day with territorial and local authorities to assist at those in need to help save and sustain lives and begin the long recovery and building efforts. our commitment to the effort is this, we are with you, we will stay with you, and we will come back stronger than ever. we are sending tremendous amount of supplies and food and water