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tv   Washington Journal Rep. Jim Mc Govern Rep. Tom Cole  CSPAN  March 25, 2021 7:10pm-8:01pm EDT

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c-span.org. >> c-span's washington journal, every day, we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day and we discussed policy issues that impact you. friday morning, we are taking your calls and getting your reaction to president biden's first press conference, then a reporter discusses big tech leaders' testimony before congress. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern friday morning and join the discussion with your calls, comments, texts, and tweets. >> we are joined by the chair and ranking member of the rules committee, representative jim mcgovern from massachusetts, and also, from oklahoma, representative tom cole. congressman, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. congressman, thankr joining us. both: thank you.
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host: an important hearing on the 1973 war powers are you chairman mcgovern, tell us about the war powers act -- on the 1973 war powers. chairman mcgovern, tell us about the war powers and why you are taking up revision. rep. mcgovern: lyndon johnson said it's easy to get into war, it's hard as hell to get out of war. over the years both democratic and republican presidents have initiated military intervention, military action involving our troops without appropriate consultation with congress, without getting congressional approval. basically usurping congressional power when it comes to the issue of war. the war powers which was passed over 50 years ago was supposed to balance things out and it
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hasn't. presidents find ways to get around it. we had a hearing in the rules committee to examine how we can do things better, and we talked about updating the war powers. it was an important committee hearing, it was a bipartisan committee hearing. i'm fortunate to be able to serve with my ranking member who shares many of my concerns about this issue and the hope is to establish a record and perhaps move forward legislatively to fix it. host: the war powers act passed nearly 50 years ago in the waning years of the vietnam war which says in part the constitutional powers of the president as commander-in-chief to introduce armed forces into hostilities or situations where imminent involved in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances or exercised only when pursuant to declaration of war or twos for the lithic statutory authorization or
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national emergencies created by an attack upon the u.s., its territories, or possessions, or armed forces. we seem to be operating under another of those authorizations, those authorizations of use of military force. where are we in terms of being able to have troops overseas? what are we operating under? rep. cole: the two most important authorizations are the 2001 authorization for the use of force which was a congressional response to 9/11. secondly the 2002 aumf which ok'd us going into iraq. there have been other measures since then but those two have provided the justification for the executive branch to get us involved in innumerable conflicts in a variety of areas. when they did not suffice, let's
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take libya in 2013, whenever it was, and that particular case, i think the obama administration stretched to the nato alliance and got us involved in libya as part of nato. there have been endlessly creative ways for the executive branch to get us into wars, and congress whether it agreed or not would be stuck with or dealing with it afterwards. host: certainly over the years since the beginning of the use of the aumf efforts have been made on the republican and democratic sides to end those and they have fallen short. why is that? rep. cole: because it's hard to get a majority vote with us. i think part of the problem here is that the executive branch has tried to usurp power.
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the other part of the problem is that, -- rep. mcgovern: congress has not stood up for its constitutional prerogatives. for a lot of members of congress i think this is true on both sides, they prefer not to vote on these issues and preferred not to debate these issues. it's easy to stand on the sidelines while the president launches a military incursion somewhere and cheer it on if it's going well and criticize him if it's not going well. you don't have to vote or debate. that is not courage. our men and women who serve in our armed forces demonstrate courage every day. when congress does not do its job and debate these issues and hold the president's feet for the fire that is moral cowardice. what we are saying is, we all have responsibilities here, if you go to war that's a big deal. we are putting the lives of our
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constituents in harm's way. we ought to at least debate these issues and go on record as voting one way or another. host: a release from your office ahead of the hearing with the title of bipartisan coalition of lawmakers introduced legislation to introduce -- to reduce war -- your proposed legislation would "reassert congress's constitutional roles. how did this come about between you and chair mcgovern in terms of developing this legislation, and how does this legislation see congress reasserting that role? rep. cole: i want to give the chairman a lot of credit. he's been consistent on this issue throughout the time i've known him. we have been on the rules committee quite a few years together. it didn't matter if it was the obama administration or the bush administration or the trump administration.
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he has consistently been here. i think he has unique credibility on the issue. part of the problem is the two sides in congress want to support their president even when they disagree with them. and jim was certainly supportive of president obama and is supportive of president biden. he has been insistent on this idea that if we are going to commit troops there needs to be a congressional vote on that. and i tip my hat to him and applaud him for that. we have worked on this a variety of times over the years trying to nudge congress towards this and as he pointed out in the hearing we have a unique opportunity because the biden administration is interested in looking at new -- at revisiting this issue. we have to have -- we have not had an executive in either party in the past that has wanted to do that and it has been suggested that's because president biden when he was senator biden wrestled with the same kind of problems that our
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colleagues on both sides of the isle are dealing with on a regular basis. host: want to boko me out -- want to welcome our viewers and listeners. (202) 748-8000 is the democrats line. (202) 748-8001 for. (202) 748-8002 for independents and others. representative mcgovern, if you want to expand on what that legislation would do and how it would change the war powers as it currently exists. rep. mcgovern: the point of the hearing is to tighten things up and require boats and required the necessary checks and balances be put into place. we are going to war, we are engaged in military today and over the years that are being justified from an authorization past 20 years ago. i was in congress when we voted
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on the authorization of the use of military force in afghanistan. every member of congress democrat or republican with the exception of congresswoman barbara lee voted for that. i thought in the aftermath of 9/11 it was appropriate to go after those who were responsible for the terrible tragedy that took lace on our homeland. today, could i go back and change that vote, i probably would, because that authorization has been used to justify a continued involvement in afghanistan that has changed and changed and been used to justify military operations other countries as well. i voted against the authorization for the use of military force in iraq because i was concerned about how these open ended aumfs would be used for a president to do whatever they wanted to do. i was concerned under democratic
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presidents as well as republican presidents and we may have finally caught lightning in a bottle in that we have bipartisan concern in congress, we have a president now who has indicated that it is open to reviewing some of these things. let's pursue this and see whether we can do this better. i hope that's what happens. host: in terms of being open to changes the administration was barely a month old when they were faced with the situation in syria with airstrike in syria that was launched in late february. under what authority was that airstrike launched? rep. cole: the president used his article to powers which was a stretch i thought. he did not use the existing aumf s as justification. i think this is another reason why we need to revisit the war powers resolution. presidents, and i love joe biden
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and i expect that he will be a great president, but i want to make sure that when it comes to issues of war that we are getting it right. that we don't prematurely, and not unnecessarily get into a military conflict, that there is the approval of congress and the debate. these are constituents lives. this is not just some arcane academic discussion. people die in these wars. we spend trillions. i heard somebody complaining about the cost of the american rescue package when i was waiting to get on. we spend trillions in afghanistan. these are issues that deserve our attention and deserve thoughtful debate. we ought to make sure if we are going to commit american forces that it is absolutely necessary
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that it has been debated and that congress is on record as voting to authorize that use of orders. >> can i make a quick response. >> that is an area this most recent action by the biden administration we have a different perspective of, i think that president biden was acting within article to powers. it was an attack in response to an attack that put american contractors lives at risk and killed a foreign national. it was not meant to be sustained activity. it was a warning to some militias operating in iraq. i thought that was pretty appropriate. i know some of my colleague to disagree with that. that's not what i'm concerned about. i'm concerned about long expensive engagements, as i know the chairman is that go on without -- something like when we went to
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war with isis in the obama administration and finish it up in the trump administration. i think that was the right thing to do but congress should have voted on it or the libyan incursion i think that was the wrong thing to do and congress should have voted on that in the obama years. i don't want to hobble the president where he can't respond to an attack. this is a different -- a difference that is pretty minor between chairman mcgovern and i. our broad view on this is similar and i think an administration that wants to work with him, we have a chance to get something done and we will see whether or not congress has the will to enforce what we have done. host: your sense is like congressman mcgovern that this administration, president biden is open to talking about or revising this war powers act, do you think this is part of your effort in terms of being house members, being chair and ranking member of the rules committee of the house itself reasserting some of its authority over this
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in response to the many executive orders we have seen not just in this presidency but the trump and obama presidencies as well. rep. cole: speaking for myself i do. jim and i don't see every issue the same way, a liberal democrat , i'm a conservative republican. i think we see the constitutional role of the institution in which we both serve in the same way. it is refreshing to have an administration that lines up with that. that was not true of previous administrations republican or democrat. we will see how far we can go. there was some concern yesterday that we might go too far with a presidential veto. i assured the republican witness that race that point that i think it's unlikely a democratic house and a democratic senate with a democratic senator tie-breaking and i think -- vice
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presidency with the tie-breaking vote is likely to put up bill on the president's desk he doesn't want to sign. i think a lot could come from the fact that the administration does appear to want to work with us and i have a lot of confident in -- a lot of confidence in my friend mr. mcgovern's leadership on this issue. host: congressman mcgovern, can you give us a timeline of when you think this bill drafted by your committee will see action on the house floor? rep. mcgovern: we had a hearing in the rules committee, the house foreign affairs committee had a hearing yesterday. there are multiple steps. there will probably be an attempt to repeal or come up with new aumfs for existing conflicts. my hope is that in the coming weeks and months that we work on legislation and move it forward. the original war powers resolution was vetoed by richard nixon, and congress overrode that.
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i don't want to invite of vito, but i just point that out for historical fact. the deal is that we need to do something. tom and i, we have different political opinions. we represent constituents who, when in times of war are called to serve, and we have an obligation to make sure that they are being deployed out of hock -- if they are deployed in harm's way it's absolutely necessary and we have a responsibility to prevent that. there is a constitutional responsibility and a moral responsibility to our constituents. we are still in afghanistan. i said yesterday that in the hearing a couple of years ago that i visited afghanistan and met with troops from massachusetts.
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one guy asked if we knew what was going on over there. it is so far removed from what the original mission was and the ash in the aftermath of 9/11. you need to know what is happening here. i think one of the problems is that congress has kind of allowed these wars to go on autopilot and we have not done our due diligence or debated these issues because there is no sunset on these aumfs. if we don't do something, 40 years from now some president will be justifying a military operation in sun country based on a 2001 or 2002 aumf. we had no idea in 2001 what the reality would be in 2021. for a whole bunch of reasons we need to take a look at this and update and modernize the war powers resolution. my hope is that we can do that in a bipartisan way.
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you don't have to agree with everything to agree with something. i think tom and i agree on a lot of something and hopefully we can move something forward that can make it through the house and senate and get on the president's desk. host: you brought up afghanistan. do you think u.s. troops should be withdrawn by the may 1 deadline? congressman mcgovern? rep. mcgovern: i do. again, people have different opinions. we have to find a way to end this war otherwise we will be there forever. i want to protect and create a more stable world, but endless wars to me do not do that. when we talk about national security we need to understand that national security means the quality of life are people here at home. we have people who are hungry, people that are homeless, people
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who don't have jobs. we have aging infrastructure and we are told we don't have the resources to finance that. yet we have the resources to spend halfway around the world in a conflict that i'm not quite sure is adding anything to our national security. my whole view is the sooner we get our troops home the better. host: congressman jim mcgovern is the chair of the rules committee and congressman thomas goal is the ranking member. we have gary waiting illinois on the republican line, go ahead. caller: thank you. what a wonderful opportunity to have a republican and democrat together. my question is, is there any way you to can get together and [indiscernible] for people that make all the machines and weapons, and maybe watch their voting record and have it put out into the public so we know.
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the second question would be, why is it when you have 20 minutes to vote it takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half to get the votes in? let third question is, i have been trying to get someone to listen to me, i am on social security, i'm below the poverty level. i don't own a computer but i would love to see it remind -- no one seems to pay any attention to me when i say that. [indiscernible] thank you very much. host: you can skip to the one point if you want. we will start with tom cole. rep. cole: in terms of the voting records, they're pretty transparent. i'm not one that thinks we stumble into wars because of the defense industry or what have you. i think they do their job in terms of making sure we have the appropriate weapon. our job is to decide how much we spend and what we do.
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i don't think it's difficult to find out where members stand on the issue. on the 45 minute rush and we are operating under covid conditions and i hope we can review that soon because most members have been -- have gotten the vaccine. it makes it difficult to execute the vote. it's not members being lazy, we are supposed to come on in tranches and leave in tranches. that is what is causing that. in terms of social security you raise an important point. i have a bill, i used to carry it with our former colleague john delaney to do what ronald reagan and tip o'neill and howard baker did which is to set up a commission to review social ready, because it's going bankrupt. the trust fund, talking about raising nicole. that would speed the time up.
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i don't think congress will allow that to occur. we were closer to it in 1983 the last time we made a major overhaul of the system. this would set up a commission, we would have to have a super majority, congress would have to vote on that. that's what we did last time, we fixed it or about 50 to 70 years. we should do the same thing. this is a popular program and we should not be at risk area we could have a debate about how much more robust to make it. it's not like there's money sitting there. money is going out faster than it's coming in and has been since 2011. we have 10,000 people a day turning 65 becoming eligible for medicare and pretty quickly after that social ready if they are not already on it. that generation is going to live longer than any previous generation, it's bigger than any previous generation.
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we have real strains on the system that need to be addressed and it needs to be done in a bipartisan way. host: our main topic is the war powers and the house effort to revive that 1973 act. we go to ethel in daisy, tennessee on the democrats line. caller: i think they ought to get out of these wars, because we have that federal budget up there with this pandemic. if you are not going to fix the economy with this virus they have to get it under control and get people back to work. so schools can be open and be open safely. i think joe biden is doing a good job about moving the
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vaccine and the american people ought to give him credit for it. i think he is a good person, and i think he is going to do great things for this country. host: thank you. jim mcgovern, do you want to respond? rep. mcgovern: i agree with the caller. i am somebody who believes that a better way to promote national security and international stability is not through war, and not through selling arms to countries with terrible human rights violations but to focus on issues like poverty or hunger. i'm the author of a program called the mcgovern dole international food for education program named after george mcgovern and bob dole who cared deeply about ending global hunger. this is basically a school
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feeding program and some of the poorest countries in the world. i remember visiting one of the programs in a poor neighborhood in columbia many years ago, and a young mother came up to me and introduced me to her 10-year-old son. she said, and this neighborhood, every day, one of the armed actors comes through here asking me, the mother of this 10-year-old boy to give up my son. if i give him up and he joins one of these armed groups, they will guarantee him something i can't which is feed him every day. she said i have come close to doing that, but because of this program i don't have to get my son up and he will stay here and learn how to read and write and become literate and may be the leader of this country someday. my view is when we do things like that and help lift people up, people like us and if they like you they won't blow you up. bottom line is we need to
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refocus much of our attention on those kinds of things and start moving away from militarizing so much of the world. personal view, i think the caller. host: congressman mcgovern, you mentioned the foreign affairs committee is taking up the legislation as well. i will ask both of you if you have heard from leaders in the military on this legislation on how they feel about it and they -- how they feel about the continued use of these authorizations for military force. tom cole, do you want to start? rep. cole: i have not heard much since the hearing, but i remember asking jim mattis when he was secretary of defense, i was and still am on the defense appropriations subcommittee and asked him if he needed aumf. he said they do. we never got a proposal out of the trump administration, i'd be
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unfair to the formal president i didn't say he wanted to get our troops out of afghanistan and he did not initiate major military operations overseas. obama and bush did much more of that than president trump. in some areas i disagree with him, like trying to reduce troops in nato i think was a mistake. his instinct was broadly not that different in terms of not being involved in these things. i think the military wants a new aum -- that means we need to get together and find a way to assert congressional authority. i think congress is much less likely to plunge the country into war then either party. i think getting more people involved in decisions slows it down.
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that's probably a good thing except in a national emergency where the president has all the authority he needs if there is an imminent attack or an attack underway on the united states, he could responded would not have to wait for congress to act. these ideas of going in in a case like libya or iraq where i agree with president obama and president trump in dealing with isis, it still would be better to do it through congress and get a lot of fingerprints on the decision. host: representative mcgovern, your thoughts? rep. mcgovern: i have similar thoughts to what congressman cole just said. i go back to what i said earlier. decisions to go to war, putting our troops in harm's way is a big deal. people's lives are being put at risk. i think one of the things that we feel very strongly about. it was kind of the point of the hearing was that we need a better process. the current war powers
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resolution we believe is broken. it needs to be modernized to reflect current day realities and it also needs to be updated to deal with the fact that presidents of both parties have found ways to basically ignore congress. that is not good. if a president wants to go to war and there is a robust debate and people are raising criticisms, if those criticisms are unwarranted it only strengthens the president's hand. if the criticisms are warranted we might rethink this. i go back to what i said at the beginning. lyndon johnson said "it is easy to get into war, it is hard as hell to get out." rep. cole: we have very senior officials involved in the justification in the bush and obama administrations for decisions to deploy military or spare you all of them, all of them agreed that these aumfs in
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the war powers need to be changed. even there thinking i think one of them in particular who worked in the bush administration as a senior lawyer for the state department at the national security agency, at one point said, "i initially did not favor the idea of sunsets, and i would want to make sure that if we ever did something like that, congress had to ask -- had to act expeditiously so you don't leave troops out there unfunded. his thinking had changed because of the sheer length of the involvement that we had. people of both parties recognize we are dealing with a broken system here, and they are trying to work together across party lines. i took a lot of hope from the witnesses. they work for very different
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administrations, but they work very far apart -- they weren't very far apart in their thinking about the changes that needed to happen. host: was here from san diego, omar is on the independent line. caller: vietnam veteran, two combat tours, ended up shutting down saigon, came back. it's a funny thing, congressman. i do agree with mr. mcgovern who has good points on funding. i don't hear anybody mentioning anything about operations. it is now a corporate military and it was when i was back in there. case in point agent orange, the corporations love it. everyone is making money. i would like to see them start taking a closer look at putting out to the people that the corporations are behind this. whatever military base is being set up in a foreign nation -- corporations are behind it.
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as i was getting out of the war, 80 years later, as the same thing. vietnam, 2021. something for mr. mcgovern i would like to mention in closing here. i came back from vietnam in 1975. one thing i was never told was that vietnam veterans were able to take civil service exams to look for work. there was no work for me. that's why ended up leaving massachusetts. i thought i would drop that on you. get out of war, 10 year war, 30 year war, there is no point in it. the war is here in the united states. they should be focusing on who they are leading into the country because we don't have to go overseas. america is broke. host: congressman mcgovern, your response. rep. mcgovern: let me think the caller for his service to the
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country. i agree on the issue of the growing corporate influence in terms of not only war but our military-industrial complex. we continue to fund weapon systems that are obsolete that have no practical use, but we do so in large part because these corporations continue to try to persuade members of congress to develop these weapon systems. they tell them we have to keep them going. also i think some of our foreign policy has strayed from a commitment to human rights. we have weapons manufacturers that want to sell weapons to countries like saudi arabia, and we shouldn't be selling anything to saudi arabia that is at all lethal based on their human rights record. we need to reevaluate this. it gets into the issue of campaign reform and the power of
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some of these corporations. we have to have a discussion about what our foreign policy should be based on. i believe it ought to be based on human rights and that ought to be the centerpiece of our foreign policy. that means some of our so-called allies are not meant to be the beneficiary of met but -- of weapons made in the u.s.. host: a question of the mechanics of all of this, if you wind up getting legislation that changes the war powers act, where does that leave the current authorizations for military force, and 2001 and 2002, are they automatically voided, do they have to be revisited legislatively? rep. cole: this is my personal opinion, -- we still have on the books the 1990 one authorization from the persian gulf war, that needs to be revealed. i think the 2002 authorization
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for the iraq war needs to be repealed outright. the 2000 one which does empower us to deal with the transnational terrorist groups i think probably needs to be modified, but cap in some form. we didn't go to afghanistan because corporations wanted us to go to afghanistan. we went because it was a platform osama bin laden operated out of thousands of americans on american soil. we did not go to libya because corporations asked us to. the obama administration made a decision. i agree with some of what jim says about corporate influence and the weapons act, but let's not believe that they decide when and where we go to war. i think what we are trying to do here is get more decision-makers and reassert the authority the founding fathers thought congress should use. they put the declaration of war
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in congress because they did not want a single individual being able to put the country at war. they wanted to be a broadly popular decision. we have gotten away from that since the second world war, particularly since 9/11. i think what we are about is an effort to reclaim that and make sure that if we do commit our men and women the most awesome -- most national -- responsible for having made a mistake if you will and getting us into a war that they opposed or we shouldn't have been in in the first place. host: go ahead. rep. mcgovern: tom made an important point when he reference to the 1991 authorization on the use of force in the persian gulf. it is still standing. we have not ended it. it is ridiculous that such an authorization is still on the
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books, as it is in 1991, and its current form, and in 1992. that is a long time. if we use the 2001 authorization act, if we use that to justify a military attack someplace that involves u.s. troops today the people who will fight in then war were not even born when congress voted on the 2001 aumf. we have to end or change these. that's probably the first order of business. they want to know if we can do that sooner rather than later. host: let's go to mark calling from chicago on the democrats line. caller: hi, good morning, gentlemen. a question for each of you. i'm glad to see you working together. i'm calling on the democrat line.
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i'm afraid that negotiating down a bill to compromise and still we will find you don't get any votes from the minority, so i'm concerned about that. i did want to ask you, and addition to that, mr. mcgovern, how do you compartmentalize the fact that mr. cole voted against the certification of the election, how do you trust him and others who essentially voted to overthrow the election? mr. cole, do you expect us to forget that? why would we give you any credibility on anything going forward? i mean that respectfully. host: tom cole, care to respond? rep. cole: absolutely. i voted the way my constituents wanted and i made that clear. i think jim and i will disagree on this. democrats did in 2001 challenge this in 2005 and 2017.
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this has been a form of protest in the past,. it is stunning to me that it was ok for democrats to do it but not ok for republicans to cast a similar vote. host: on his first question are you worried that you will be able to get enough republicans over on a bill like this? rep. cole: i think there is a great deal of bipartisanship in this and i think all of congress is worried about this loss of support and we certainly still have troops that aren't in play and deployed. the deployment is nothing in terms of scale and size like they were in the bush and obama years. they have come down quite a bit at the end of the obama term and throughout the trump years. there is more concern that we not get back to where we where on both sides of the aisle.
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you could tell this from the hearing. there was not a lot of disagreement between republicans and democrats. there are a lot of areas we could agree on and jim made this point yesterday. we have an administration that wants to do this which was not true of previous years. i think in the last administration trump wanted to do with more than the national security apparatus wanted to do it. i think we have a unique opening . i think hopefully with jim mcgovern's leadership and leadership on the foreign affairs committee where i understand they had a good hearing yesterday i read the stair and special i read the statement from the chair and the ranking member. we can find common ground and get something done. we have a president that seems to want to work with us in this case. >> representative mcgovern the caller had mentioned compartmentalizing. tell us about your relationship with your partner there.
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rep. mcgovern: i think tom cole is one of the most decent and honorable people i've ever worked with in congress. i disagree with his vote and i disagree very strongly with his vote, he knows that. i say that as somebody who was one of the last people on the house floor on january 6. i came face-to-face with this group of writers -- rioters. that day is etched in my memory forever. having said that, i also differentiate between, from tom with those who actually gave oxygen to the movement that resulted in what happened on january 6. and those who continue to try to rationalize what happened. those are people i have a tough time dealing with. tom and i have a very good relationship and one of the
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things that i appreciate is that he always reaches out and wants to have a conversation. he has a little hideaway in the capital and sometimes invites me down for whiskey and cigars and we talk about a whole bunch of stuff. i have to be honest, i feel very fortunate that he is my ranking member on the rules committee. i think it's not only fortunate for me, but the rules committee impacts everything in congress, it's good for the institution. he believes in the institution and he is a good, honorable, decent man. he's a conservative and i'm a liberal. you'll have to agree on everything to agree on something. i look forward to working with him as we move forward. host: a couple more minutes before we wrap up. we go to carl in madison, mississippi. caller: i'd like representative jim, i'm calling from massachusetts.
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i remember the first gulf war when bush senior was commander-in-chief and i was stationed in riyadh. i remember before the ward started -- i was making -- i was bringing products back on base about 15 miles. i had about two weeks for christmas and thanksgiving. i met a lot of people around the country in saudi arabia. the problem i saw, in the camp you would detect that -- we were in there -- then after 9/11 they created another action. i know what you are saying about the war powers. we have to be very careful. war was the reason we went over there. saudi arabia --
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that's why went back to research. the war and 9/11 was a disaster. i try not to blame it on junior bush, but i think what the kingdom is doing is coming to an end. you need to be aware of what is going on, just like north korea. kim was born two years after i left on january 7. he was born in 84. i was there for 81 and 82. there were a lot of policies made after world war ii. you have to go back and research the policies after the end of japan host: either if you have a response? guest: let me just say that i think your policy, it ought to be human rights. and the gentleman talked about
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saudi arabia, that is a country that has one of the worst human rights records of any country in the world. they dismembered a washington post journalists. people are imprisoned and tortured for the mildest of dissent, and yet we continue to have this relationship with saudi arabia that, unfortunately makes us somewhat complicit in some of the horrible things that are happening. we should not be selling to saudi arabia and we should be pointing out every chance i get, and i give president biden credit for making public the -- for declassified information on who is responsible for the " washington post" journalist's murder, because it points to the fact that this is a country that really has a human rights record that deserves condemnation, not our support or complicity.
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host:: we appreciate your time. let us get one more call and then we will wrap up. maureen, in new york. go ahead as we wrap up. caller: i just wondered, given the threat that china seems in the past, and especially accelerating now seems to be giving to us, how would a bill like this impact the executive branch, the president's ability to address that kind of thing, and how are you looking at it in this bill as you make this? host: we will start with you, and wrap up. guest: i do not think it will limit the ability at all. in the western pacific we have strong allies in countries like japan, south korea, australia, these are countries that we have alliances with, countries that
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in the case of japan, we have forces stationed there. i do not see a limitation to the freedom of action. if we were to stumble, which is the furthers thing i know that jim and i would want into a conflict with china, that would certainly require a congressional approval. again, if the chinese did something untoward, anti-american president would be back -- would be free to act and has the alliances that you would need to be effective in the region. again, i would want congressional scrutiny, because that would be a conflict of immeasurable consequence for this country given the size of both economies and populations, and the fact that both are nuclear powers, that is certainly something that we would need to be extraordinarily cautious about, but we have obligations, friends and the ability to defend ourselves.
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i do not see anything we are talking about limiting the president from doing the appropriate thing, but we would make sure that congress is included in the decision. host: a few final thoughts. host. -- guest: war should be the furthest thing from our minds. there are other ways to address the challenges that china poses. on the human rights front we ought not to be allowing our businesses to purchase goods from communities where they use slave labor, that is what they are doing with the uighurs. we should use targeted sanctions on chinese officials who oversee policies that result in severe human rights violations or people guilty of corruption. but we ought to raise our voice and the international community about what they are doing in hong kong and they are cyber
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attacks against the united states, that is another area of concern, but i go back to what i have been saying over and over, we need to reformulate our policy where our values with regard to human rights are at the centerpiece, and that is what i hope will happen under this administration and i look forward to working to my friend. i have such great admiration to see how we will make progress. host: jim mcgovern is the chair of the rules committee, the ranking member is representative tom cole of oklahoma. we appreciate your time in ta announcer: c-span's washington journal -- every day, we are taking your calls live on the air on the news of the day, and we discuss policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning my we are your reaction to president biden -- coming up friday morning, we are getting your reaction to president biden's first news
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conference. be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. ♪ announcer: tonight come on c-span, president biden takes questions from reporters at the white house followed by chuck shumer talking about the legislative agenda when lawmakers return from their two-week recess. and later, the confirmation hearing for the fema administrator. ♪ announcer: c-span is your unfiltered view of government. >> broadband, a source for environment. that is why charter invented billions. upgrading technology. empowering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting

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