tv Newsmakers Rep Garret Graves CSPAN July 29, 2019 7:16pm-7:49pm EDT
in c-span3 presidential leadership surveys, taken between 2000 and 2017, grover cleveland drops from 17th to 20 third place. ulysses s. grant makes the most rheumatic rise of all the presidents. where does your favorite president rank? learned that and more in .-span's the presidents it is great vacation reading. available wherever books are sold. in 1979, a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers make up their own minds. c-span open the doors to washington policymaking for all to see. bringing you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. a lot has changed in 40 years but today that big idea is more relevant than ever.
and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of make upnt, so you can your are mine. brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. on "newsmakers" this week, we welcome louisiana republican congressman garrett graves. he serves as a member of the house natural resources committee and the select committee on the climate crisis created earlier this year. helping in studio with our questions, brian schatz, energy and environment reporter. also ben hulac, staff writer at cq roll call. ben, you get the first question. ben: give us a sense with a backdrop on this vote on the debt what the republican strategy to lowering the federal debt is. what is the medium and long-term plan?
this is certainly reaching crisis proportions. you have a debt in excess of $21 billion. proposals like medicare for all will add over $30 trillion. this is crazy. one of the things we have to do, we have met with folks this week and last week talking about better ways of valuing the public benefit of different federal investments. everyone knows you can look back at the percentage of the budget attributable to mandatory spending programs, programs not subject to annual congressional appropriations, that has exceeded far in excess of 70% of the overall budget. up from percentages as low in the upper teens, even the low 20 percentile range decades ago. we have to attack the mandatory spending side and make sure we apply criteria that looks at the value generated from these investments, just like any private company would fo, just like a family at home would do. i believe we should actually impose penalties on members of
congress. it is our job to negotiate these bills and it is our job to set the budget for the federal government. if we are unable to do that, we should not be paid. it is our job. people in the private sector are paid for performance, and i think that scenario should be what we do at the federal level to put the appropriate pressure on congress to ensure it does its job. there are not enough penalties in place to force congress to handle the budget appropriately. >> congressman, on that point, i saw a headline earlier today on this debt dealing and budget caps deal. it was called the death of the tea party. what do you think of that? rep. graves: i think that is a bit dramatic. you have to recognize the environment under which you are negotiating in. we should not have gotten into a
position where we are up against the edge of the debt limit to begin looking at this and addressing this. there has been a spending problem for decades. this is not something we should wait for one of these moments to come and negotiate. there have to be proactive efforts. you have heard about starting from zero. you come in and justify programs. i talked about some of the things that open go has done looking at statistics. they paint clear pictures on where your problems are. we are clearly on an unsustainable trajectory. i will say it again -- just like you do at home, like in a private company, you have to prioritize and value dollars, and you have to stick to a budget. >> good to see you. to continue with the headline grabbing news, crime and energy policy, you were on a baton rouge talk radio show yesterday.
you said in regards to the robert mueller investigation, "stupidity was committed by some, crimes were committed by none," did the seven or so our testimony from the special counsel change your thinking at all on the investigation? i want to also ask you about your thoughts on the priority among democrats to now get don mcgahn to come testify. rep. graves: first of all, i think this entire mueller situation -- you guys are well aware, you can look at the investigations that have occurred through congressional committees, the inspector general, the special counsel. we have had investigation after investigation yielding thousands of pages of documents. at the end of the day, what is happening is americans are generally split. people are hearing what they want to hear. if people support the president, they said if mueller said he's exonerated, we are good, as did all of the other reports. if people dislike him and chose
to vote for another candidate, than they are on another path. they say crime was committed and we have to move forward on an indictment issue. this is one of those litmus test issues where people are hearing what they want to hear based upon that bias. as i said before, we have done thousands of pages worth of investigative reports. it is time to move on. we need to focus on the things americans actually sent us here to do. we need to work on the budget, we need to work on an infrastructure package, helping to improve our energy options that are available. we need to make the right investments in our environment and the many things people sent us here to do as opposed to continuing down this political witchhunt we have seen happening for years. >> moving to climate, give us a sense of what it is like on the climate committee in the house. what do you hope to achieve? how is it going? what have you learned?
whether through testimony or some presentation of a persuasive witness, has something changed your mind about climate change? rep. graves: i really enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the committee. it really has been interesting. first of all, i believe the committee was created largely to continue driving this political wedge. in reality, if you look at the issue, there are areas where we need to be working together and cooperating. speaker pelosi probably set this up to try and distinguish positions between republicans and democrats. on the democrat side, you have seen much of a civil war occurring. you have the energy and commerce committee not wanting to see the jurisdiction. some of the folks on the climate committee have been trying to gain traction and ground in sliding a little bit. certainly with some of the legislative tactics we saw earlier this year, there are some examples of that. i think you have seen folks advocating for the green new
deal to stake their turf or claim. watching this from the republican side has been interesting. we are not really sure who we should be talking to and negotiating with. nonetheless, here's the thing. we finished the hearing a while ago and talked about adaptation. that is one of the areas where it doesn't matter if you are a republican or democrat, anything, this affects all of us. we've spent trillions of dollars on disasters since the 1980's. we cannot afford to continue spending in this way. there is study after study that shows predisaster mitigation, making those investments on the front end is where you get the cost savings. number one, the threat is not going away, it will continue challenging us as a nation, our communities, that's what we need to focus our initial efforts on. number two, you look at the fact that the u.s. has reduced emissions more than the next 12 countries combined.
the united states is actually the leader in global emissions reductions. you read the newspaper, you watch tv, that is not reported. most folks don't realize it. rather than coming in and taking some of these aggressive, penalizing approaches that will cost u.s. jobs, penalize our economy, what we need to do is looking at those strategies over the past several years that have yielded these benefits and double down on those, make investments in those areas that have yielded the increased emissions reductions. we then can export some of those solutions, like we're doing in louisiana. we are sharing low emissions natural gas to 35 countries around the globe, 13% lower emissions than russian gas. those are solutions we can use to continue building upon our transition into renewable energy sources, where this makes sense, giving americans more energy solutions.
i can go on about the areas where i think we are unified, where we can be working together. the challenge is that this committee was set up in order to create partisan divide when there is none in reality. >> if the committee was set up to drive a message and partisan divide, why did you want to be on the committee? rep. graves: i thought there was a much better narrative we needed to be discussing. to some degree, that climate agenda has been hijacked by some who are not appropriately applying conservative principles to this issue. we have an opportunity to make our nation more resilient from disasters. we have an opportunity to complement some things we have been able to do with the tax legislation, the regulatory agenda, and efforts currently on trade to level the american playing field. by coming in and doubling and tripling down on these issues that have increased energy efficiency, conservation, innovation, resulting in lower energy costs that allow us to
produce products and manufacturing in the u.s. at a more competitive price than other countries. my home state of louisiana right now, lowest electricity rates in the nation. we can continue building upon some of these successes and allow us to build jobs, growing the economy, and higher wages in the u.s. >> after you took the job as a member of the select committee, the guardian newspaper called you the rare republican who is actually worried about climate change. do you think that is fair? rep. graves: i don't know about rare republican, but i am very concerned about it being from louisiana. we have lost 2000 square miles of our coast. more importantly, having experienced disaster after disaster, no one should experience that. we can prepare our communities in this nation in a way much different than the past, where we come in and spend billions of dollars after a disaster picking up the pieces, rather than spending millions on the front end to make communities more resilient.
>> there's a growing number of conservative advocacy groups that are supporting a carbon tax in one form or another. we have seen a number of different proposals. francis rooney is coming out with a bill that would tear payroll taxes to complement a carbon tax. we have seen proposals from former congressman crivello to funnel revenue into infrastructure. we have also seen dividend bills. is there any carbon tax proposal you can conceivably embrace as part of a larger package to pair down emissions? rep. graves: when you come in and take policy that is an abrupt shift is when your policies are not working. i will say it again -- our policies are actually leading the world in emissions reductions. rather than coming in and introducing these abrupt shifts in how we are handling climate and emissions in the u.s., i
think the solution is very different. the solution is looking at the strategies that have viewed as being the global leader, and helping to build upon those successes, rather than coming in and penalizing the united states economy, transitioning jobs to other economies that result in higher global emissions, as we are seeing right now. the united states has reduced emissions to the tune of one billion tons, but china has increased their emissions by 4 billion tons. this is a global problem. that is not a solution, by having a net increase of 3 billion tons while we are reducing in the u.s. >> if i can follow-up up on that, you have said for a long time, and i think you mentioned this today at the select committee hearing, that there needs to be a global approach to curbing greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions. the u.s. has decreased emissions since 2005 by 14%, despite a substantial -- i know that you oppose the paris accord.
what does a global strategy look like to you? >> that is a good question. we have to have a multilateral forum where we can have discussions about this. is problem with paris related to the pledges. you have countries like china investing trillions of dollars in other countries against u.s. interest. being allowed to increase their admissions. that does not make sense. that prolongs the challenges that we are experiencing. we need to treat them fairly. the u.s. takes aggressive efforts to decrease.
you will have a transition to they have greater emissions resulting in greater global emissions and it does not make sense. .ou have to have a fair deal i do support the u.s. withdrawing. i think it is important for the u.s. to continue in a trajectory. >> 10 minute left in our conversation. mention -- i'm sure you are familiar with it. would you support ratification of that treaty? >> i would. the senator from louisiana has been very outspoken about this. treaty -- you had emissions for product that had
greater global warming potential and alternative products that were developed, but the problem is, you do not have wide are -- widespread market availability. how do you continue a global agreement? in exchange for those that have lower global warming potential. it makes sense if you can identify you have alternatives. have the u.s.ld commit to the reduction of those products. we need to ensure that we have appropriate manufacturing of the undermined not benefits to american consumers. this is a treaty that would phase out these very toxic chemicals found in aerosols and refrigerants. >> it makes sense to identify
the products with the greatest global warming potential, figure out strategies on how to reduce that. how do you make investments and strategies that provide the greatest benefits for lowest-cost? those strategies make sense. i do support the adoption of ratification of the treaty. >> i want to ask you about campaign-finance, which is kind of regularly in the limelight. democrats often say republicans are unwilling to act on climate policy because they are beholding to fossil fuel benefactors. so far for reelection in 2020, you have accumulated $42,000 from fossil fuel companies. more than any other industry. i'm wondering what you make of that argument? >> first of all, i think it is fascinating that folks are
talking about campaign finance reform coming in and trying to place the burden of financing campaigns on taxpayers. earlier this year, legislation passed that was going to take a contribution from an individual and multiply it times six and bring in taxpayer funds to fund campaigns. that's what american wants, more tv commercials beating up one another. i think that is crazy, awful policy. in regards to the folks who have contributed, what you just told me is news to me. number two, the state of louisiana is the biggest single component of our economy, the energy economy. i would fully expect those are the folks contributing to us. i will also tell you we have people that are environmental advocates and others. we have a broad spectrum of folks who have supported our campaigns in the past. when i first was running for congress, we had energy companies, we had industries and other employers supporting us.
at the same time, six-figure investment from environmental defense fund. it's because we have been able to demonstrate the ability to work together with diverse parties to advance solutions that make sense. i very much appreciate the diversity of support we have been able to gain over the last several years. you wilma find an instance where we have gone out and done things for campaign contributions. we do the policy that i think is right, continue doing that. our continued advocacy for clean energy solutions for identifying trajectories that allow us to continue being the global emissions leader would seem to perhaps be contrary with the narrative that you are trying to set right now. we are going to continue advocating policies that make
sense. policies that help maintain or improve the competitive edge of americans. that help to increase wages, an employment opportunities, and do the things right for the people. >> i don't want to try and set a narrative. this is a common argument by democrat. >> can we say the democrats receiving contributions from companies that are profiting from some of the clean energy options can similarly be influencing those folks? you don't really hear the narrative. i fully expect people that represent states, big energy states, transportation states, would end up being the leading industry employers contributing to their campaign if they represent the people. >> i want to ask you on your work on the select committee on the climate crisis, how often do you get to meet with minority leader mccarthy about that? what guidance has he given you for your work on that committee?
2, how often do you talk to the white house about your work? >> i meet with mccarthy, republican leader mccarthy, at least weekly. he has given us free reign to advocate for the policies that are right. there has been no mandates to dictate us whatsoever. i do try and work closely with energy and commerce ranking member greg walden, as well as a number of other members of congress on our committee the have expressed interest in this topic. trying to move in a nonpartisan direction to advance more cost effective solutions for resiliency, energy options, cleaner environment, and it has been great. in regard to the white house, i spent time working with senior administration officials from epa, department of energy, and others, to make sure we are working together, sharing information. as i do with democrats. certainly being as inclusive as we can to make sure we are on
the right trajectory. >> a couple of minutes left. >> i would ask you about what's happening in your home state. undeniably, it's on the forefront of climate change, perhaps unlike any other state in the country. describe climate change, and is it the next essential threat -- existential threat for louisiana? >> it is difficult, do we have a threat in louisiana? absolutely. if you look at the challenges we have, we have some of the fastest sinking rates in the nation. we are experiencing searise like the rest of the world. we are subject to hurricanes and other intense storms. we had an unnamed storm three years ago that don't rain. d --u dumped rain. -- dumped rain. we had rain that dumped seven to eight inches of rain in one hour three weeks ago. the challenge when you look
across the threats our state is exposed to, the greatest one is attributable to how the corps of engineers, our own federal government, has managed our weather system that resulted in the historic ongoing and future loss of coastal wetlands, which is our buffer from tropical storms in the gulf of mexico. this issue and these collective risks are a high priority for louisiana. it is why when i worked there, we blew up components of five agencies, created a new streamlined coastal agency to be in charge of resilience. is why we lead some of the efforts in the u.s. congress, including some of the greatest advancements. last year under a republican congress, we improved resiliency efforts, dedicated more funds to the corps of engineers, fema, the department of housing and urban development, and trying to cut through the bureaucracy and
red tape that has impeded progress in delivering on these resiliency progress. not just louisiana, but the rest of the country. >> what would your role be for properties that are flooded repeatedly? what guidance should there be about handing disaster money out? >> that is another low hanging fruit area. we certainly should not embrace repetitively exposing americans to flooding or disaster. it is an area where we needed to come in, it is more cost-effective to do buyouts, and other solutions that make sense. we have done some of the most extensive elevation relocation programs in the nation in louisiana. i was very happy to be a part of many of those, because we are bringing solutions to many people that have been repeatedly exposed to disaster, destruction of their physical property, and the security of their families. >> last week, you reintroduced legislation to reform dell mesa with congressman richmond, bipartisan bill. more offshore energy revenue funneled to louisiana.
you stressed in the past it is a critical asset to coastal restoration. how do you get that bill across the finish line? >> if you look at the legislation, we commit every penny of that money to the gulf states that produce offshore energy to ensuring that we are improving the sustainability of the coastal communities, the coastal ecosystem. by demonstrating our commitment to not take this money and spend it on projects, but projects that congress has authorized in law for construction. we are demonstrating our commitment to ensure these dollars are spent on projects that will provide a return on investment to taxpayers, that improve the ecological
productivity, the resilience or sustainability of our communities, and importantly, that reduce future disaster costs for all americans. that's why these investments save taxpayer dollars ultimately, rather than costing them. as we go through and educate other members of congress, we will continue to build support for this. a nearly identical bill passed the house resource committee unanimously last year. i think we can build on that by educating other members of congress about the importance of these investments and how it benefits the nation. >> congressman gary graves, republican of louisiana, thank you for being on "newsmakers." now we turn to our roundtable. continuing our discussion. i want to start with his view on climate change. you both cover this issue extensively. where does his view fall in the spectrum of how the republican
party thinks of the issue of climate change? >> i think he will be somewhat towards the center. he spoke the language very well. he is deeply versed in policy issues across the board. i asked him a pretty in the dark question about the congali accord, and he knew what it was. just because he could not put his finger on what it meant and what it was regulating, that has stumped a lot of senators. i think he is toward the center, he is certainly one of the more well versed in the house. he doesn't talk much about the science. his younger voters, younger citizens, younger members, don't dispute the science. i think he is firmly in that camp. >> i would agree wholeheartedly with everything he just said. this is a guy who has a really impressive resume in the energy area. he was a former staff member on
capitol hill, he put together big energy bills, he has had pretty important roles in louisiana dealing with energy, coastal restoration. he is one of the point people dealing with hurricane katrina. i would agree again that he is emblematic of the kind of republican disposition right now on climate. they are acknowledging the human connection to climate change, but they are unwilling to embrace some of these really aggressive measures that most scientists are concluding will dramatically tear down emissions. talking about regulatory mandates, carbon tax, i think that bodes poorly for any type of consensus with any congress. the chairman of the energy and commerce committee just announced he was planning to unveil a bill that would zero
out, or at least reach net zero emissions by 2050, and he wants to do it by the end of the year and bring in republicans. without any republican willingness to embrace some type of regulatory mechanism or a tax, i'm not sure how that becomes bipartisan. >> that brings us to your question about the carbon tax. your thoughts on his reaction? >> it is a good question on how to get a member like graves to support a tax. if we bounced back to the pollone and house energy and commerce democrats plan to zero out all u.s. emissions by 2050, they have come out with this plan. it is something the republicans
are not yet doing. they are not specific on what their plan is. it seems often they will plan to criticize the green new deal, which if you read the text, is a resolution democrats on both chambers have made clear it is more of an ambitious goal, a spiritual target to reach. the short of it is the democrats are in the planning stage. they don't yet have enough to put together a bipartisan aggressive climate bill. the republicans on the whole are not coming up with a lot to offer on their own. they are not yet at the table. >> i want to give you a chance to talk about his reaction to your campaign finance question when it came to funding through fossil fuel companies. he said it was news to him when he talked about how many donations he had gotten. >> campaign finance is a very sensitive issue for all lawmakers.
i don't think most lawmakers want to go out -- often people have to -- and i'm not familiar with his fundraising strategy, but this is something lawmakers have to do, they have to generate money so very election -- for their reelection coffers. it is part of a bigger narrative where a lot of the industries being regulated. they really stand to benefit or lose from policymaking or contributing contributions to campaigns. he is absolutely right that democrats get a lot of money from environmental groups. at the same time, the fossil fuel industries are economic behemoths. they really contribute in pretty stunning fashion. >> brian covers energy and environmental issues, ben does
the same procedure rollcall. thanks for joining us on "newsmakers." announcer: if you want more information on members of congress, or to the directory online store.org. store.org.n announcer: secretary of state mike pompeo sat down at the economic club to talk about priorities. here are some of his remarks. >> thank you very much for coming. a busy monday already. sec. pompeo: thank you for having me. i appreciate it. moderator: did something happen this morning we don't know