tv Sen. Johnson on Delaying Vote on COVID-19 Relief CSPAN March 4, 2021 2:31pm-2:43pm EST
short for anti-fascists and saying that you are against fascism doesn't blind the truth of those who watch your actions when you break storefront windows and throw bricks and things like that. you can call yourself what you want. but it's your actions who speak louder. as far as any trump supporters threatening acts of violence, they are just as despicable as those on the left who threaten and carry out acts of violence. host: cheryl chumley, the "washington times" online opinion editor. find the work of her publication at >> the u.s. house canceled the meeting due to continued security concerns in the aftermath of the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. the associated press reports that the capitol police have asked the national guard to retain maine at the capitol for
two more months. they write that the pentagon is reviewing that request. more than 5,000 guard members currently in washington are set to leave a week from tomorrow on march 12. the senate, meanwhile, is in session. they are about to get under way with a vote on the motion to proceed to the $1.9 trillion relief package. the measure that passed in the house early last saturday morning. in the senate it could be a long day and night. they are expecting to include an about approximately five-hour reading of that bill. you can watch coverage of the senate on c-span2. senator ron johnson is one of the senators calling for full reading of that bill. and he talked about that this morning in a briefing with reporters.
reporter: let me ask you about what, specifically, your plan is to slow down or amend the covid relief bill? senator johnson: that's not how i would describe what i'm attempting to do. i'm trying to actually return the senate to more deliberative body when it relates to a $1.9 trillion spending package. let me put that a different way. $1,900,000,000,000. just as a relative example, back in 1993, the senate debated a $19.5 billion supplemental appropriation process for 12 days on the floor of the senate. this bill, starting out, 100 times larger than that. in the end, because of that deliberative process- again, this was a totally partisan bill introduced by the clinton administration. because of that 12-day deliberative process, all of the republican senators were involved, eventually that
spending package was whittled down to $4 billion. if we could have a similar type of deliberative process, maybe we can improve this bill. we don't need a $1.9 trillion blowout. the vast majority of this has nothing to do with covid relief. evidence by the fact nobody knows exactly how much. but probably close to $1 trillion of the previous $4 trillion we already authorized is not yet spent. some is not even obligated. so why are we authorizing another $1.9 trillion when you still have $1 trillion sitting on the sidelines not being spent? it's actually hard to spend this much money which is why we should not authorize another $1.9 trillion. i'm trying to make this a more deliberative process. obviously shined light on this abusive and obscene amount of money that's going to further mortgage our children's future. reporter: i know you said yesterday in a radio interview that you're going to need 12 or 13 of your colleagues to help
with the amendment-- reading of the amendments. can you explain why that is? senator johnson: in order to have a sufficient second, you need 20% of the members on the floor at the time to second a roll call vote if you do the math. if all 50 democrat senators. if we have 13 republican senators, 20% of 63 is 12.9, so we would need 13 members at all point in time to provide that sufficient second. reporter: do you have that support, do you believe? senator johnson: i certainly hope so. i'm setting up a schedule for people to sign on. reporter: and then on that same-- in that same vain, i know you said you want the entire substitute amendment read which will take approximately 10 hours. senator johnson: by the way, i feel bad for the clerks that will have to read it. it's just so important. so often we rush these massive bills that are hundreds if not thousands of pages long. you don't have time-- nobody
has time to read them. and so you start considering something that you haven't even read. so at a minimum, somebody ought to read it. and this will give everybody time, quite honestly, as the clerk is reading it, we can read it as well. our staffs will have time to consider what the provisions are to start crafting amendments. how can you craft effective amendments on a bill that you haven't even seen? or haven't been given time to read? reporter: do you have amendments in mind that you specifically would like to propose or you're going to support that your colleagues are going to propose? senator johnson: yes, i have many amendments. generally what happens with these budget reconciliations is, even if they are in conference, there are probably hundreds of amendments offered, kind of thrown in the hopper. because of the way we run this, you start late in the afternoon. you're out of steam early in the morning and people give up. we only get a couple dozen amendments actually voted on from our side. i'm trying to set up a process where we can all the amendments
considered. again, a true deliberative process, again, 1993, a $19.5 billion package was debated for 12 days on the senate floor. this is 100 times larger. to put some perspective, these sums are incomprehensible. if you stack dollar bills one on top of each other, $1 trillion stack is over 130,000 miles high. it would reach more than halfway to the moon. that's what we're talking about indebting our children with. into the future. a stack of $1 bills that reaches halfway to the moon. i think it deserves more consideration than a few hours. reporter: and the process you referenced that went on for 12 days, how long do you think this could go on? senator johnson: a deliberative process ought to be 100 times longer than 12 days, i don't expect that.
but we should consider every amendment offered. again, that's what voter ram is -- voterrama is supposed to be, unlimited number of amendments, we should consider every amendment offered. reporter: and can you give me any preview of the main amendment you'd like to see? senator johnson: there are100 senators. each can offer hundreds of amendments,. only considered a fraction of those. at this point in time we considered all amendments that senators want voted on. reporter: it's been reported that the democrats have taken out the bridge in new york and the train in california as well. what's your reaction to them? there is dialing back of some of those things. senator johnson: that's what providing public information can result in. when you put public-- when you exppings expose this to the light -- expose this to the light of day.
even something that's benefiting senator schumer or speaker pelosi gets pulled from the bill. they could have stuck it in there, had this thing voted on, nobody reading the bill, that might have survived. $1.9 trillion, there's other roads and tunnels and bridges of nowhere, i'm sure, that need to be highlighted. and that's the deliberative process, that's what the amendment process will highlight. hopefully we can dramatically reduce the size of this bill. again, i don't think we need additional authorization right now when you have $1 trillion sitting on the sidelines. it hasn't been spent yet. spend that first before you authorize any new dollars. but that's not what democrats want to do. they just want to, again, quickly pass another $1.9 trillion. reporter: and on this hearing today, i know the white house pulled neera tanden to be o.m.b. director. there has been push by some democratic leadership in the house to have ms. young be the new nominee for o.m.b. director for the biden administration. is she somebody you could support based on what you heard? senator johnson: she has come with good recommendations from
senators i respect. o.m.b. director is incredibly important position, especially for myself, another accountant. numbers matter. and we need information. that's the main thing i'll be looking for from the nominees is to make sure i get a commitment from them they'll provide congress, particularly this senate, with the information we need. right now i don't know how much that $1 trillion or how much that $4 trillion isn't unspent. that we've been told it's close to $1 trillion. it would be nice to have that information real time every day of the week but we don't have that information. reporter: you haven't heard anything yet from ms. young? senator johnson: the process has just begun. reporter: ok, thank you. senator johnson: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> book tv on c-span2 has top nonfiction books and authors every weekend.
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