tv Senators Rob Portman Chris Murphy Debate Economy Foreign Policy Gun... CSPAN August 1, 2022 11:55pm-1:30am EDT
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both for being here this evening. as you know the first half of this form will be a true oxford style debate. the second half will be a conversation and those questions will come from me. the guidelines are very simple after one senator presents his argument the other will have a three minutes to respond. then each of you will have another 90 seconds for rebuttals. we will follow the format with all four topics tonight. senator murphy won the coin toss but he allowed senator portman to go first. we are starting in true partisan fashion. so, senator portman, we will have you begin on the topic of inflation and the economy. sen. portman: great. thank you, nicole for moderating. i appreciate cw for hosting today. i see some of our staff out here, chris.
my staff had to be here. [laughter] but, i also want to thank the hatch foundation and the kennedy institute for what they do to discourage partisanship and encourage finding common ground. warren was a dear friend of mine. i got to know it when i was in the bush administration. finally, the bipartisan policy center which i worked closely with in professional legislation. chris and i worked with them on the retro count issues. i was asked by the bipartisan policy center to do this. i said, maybe. i said who are you having? they said, why don't we do to moderate democrats you know who they are. and they are friends of mine, and i said that would not be much fun. so instead i recommended someone who was more progressive, with whom i have a lot of respect,
but with whom i also disagree on policy issues. i'm looking for to tonight. inflation, now that i spent most of my time -- [laughter] the biggest topic, it is all about inflation and the economy in terms of it going into a recession. it is really inflation. it is the gas pump, food, it is clothes, everything. my contention is we don't have to be here. we are already in a tough situation coming out of the first phase of covid it where you had on the supply side. but as the economic students know here, it is about the mismatch between demand and supply. we should be doing everything we can to loosen up the supply-side. which i would argue my administration has not done. but on the demand side, we blew it in march of last year. 15 months ago we passed the biggest spending bill in the history of congress of either side. that is -- the legislation said we would be providing a lot of stimulus when the economy was already picking up. the nonpartisan group we relied
on had told us by june 30 we would be back to economic growth as it was a pre-pandemic which was pretty good as you recall. yet, the democrats and biden administration insisted on this package which was $1.9 trillion which caused a lot of the inflationary pressures we are now seeing, because it increased demand to the point were with the natural constriction in supply coming out of the first phase of covid, we cannot keep up. it wasn't just those of us on my side of the aisle that said it would be a problem, but so did the former attorney secretary and the official in both the bush and obama white house is. economists looked at this, i noticed we were already beginning to improve. and now we see this reconciliation bill. i opposed it because of the tax revisions. it's a big mistake to raise taxes at a time when we're trying to get the economy on track and deal with these inflationary pressures. if you look at what we're
talking about, this corporate minimum tax, the joint committee on taxation will tell us, tax is born by a lot of people, including workers, somewhere between a 30% and 70% of a corporate tax hike is taking out of wages and salaries based on the economic analysis out there. second, prices will increase at a time where we are suffering from 9% plus inflation. for us to increase prices seems to be a huge mistake. manufacturers will be hit hardest. the national association of manufacturers said it will result in a loss of 218,000 jobs. not a good thing as we are going into these lower economic times. traditionally, the definition for recession. we can argue whether it is really recession but i will tell you the people i know back home,
lower middle income family, it is already recession. it was one before we have these numbers. people are hurting. the economy is in trouble. inflation is too high and yet it seems like we're doing exactly the same thing we did 60 months ago. which is to say the government should be spending more taxing more, at a time where we should be getting help from under this inflationary and recessionary pressures. >> you made it right on time. senator murphy. sen. murphy: first let me extend my thanks to you, nicole, for moderating this conversation and gw and the kennedy institute, the bipartisan policy center. i got the chance to serve with senator hatch but not senator kennedy. they set a model for the senate both spirited partisans. they had convictions that they held firm to, but they knew that their job was to argue their case and sit down and try to find a path forward. i'm glad that rob made the suggestion to bring me on the stage with him today. it is true.
we have often very different ideologies, different approaches to problems. but we are often close collaborators. we have worked together on significant foreign policy matters. we have written legislation together on domestic manufacturing policies. i was proud to support his leadership in making the the biggest commitment to infrastructure spending. i was proud to have him as a supporter in our recent effort to change america's gun laws and invest in mental health. i hope you will see both sides of the senate here today, spirited argument. but, also an effort to find common ground. on the economy, there are two sides of the story. this is an economy that is admittedly on fire. we have 3.6% unemployment, virtually unprecedented. we have wages growing, inequality shrinking.
fewer kids in poverty, than in recent memory. on the other side, there is no doubt, costs are increasing, inflation has been a consequence of a fast-growing economy. the economy did not grow as fast, as it did last year, any time since 1984. we need to recognize both sides of the story. but, it is also true, that inflation is not a uniquely american problem. so, inflation is global, because most of this is caused by a global supply chain crunch, as a result of our manufacturing sector, and are system distribution, it cannot keep up with demand coming back so fast after bottomed out during covid. so, if you look at a left-leaning government, like the united states, there's inflation, you look at a center government, like you see in
france, you see inflation, you see a right-leaning government in britain, you see inflation. it does not mean we don't have an obligation to attack this problem, but it is evidence to the fact that some of this is dictated by global forces. but, as rob mentioned, this week we are going to take a piece of legislation that will address this cost crunch for consumers, across the country. this is a piece of legislation that will dramatically reduce health care costs, for seniors, who will never pay more than $2000 out-of-pocket for drugs. this piece of legislation is investing in renewable energy. it can bring down energy prices for consumers by 10%. yes, we do ask, handful of the most affluent, profitable corporations to play at least -- pay at least 15% of their income in taxes to pay their fair share. but, that is what is necessary in order to deliver cost relief to the people that need it most.
and it is also why, even though -- even the wall street journal came to the conclusion that this legislation will have a deinflationary impact because it spends less money than it takes in, but also it is going to end up putting money in the pockets of a lot of americans that desperately needed today. -- need it today. there was a cost crisis for americans before prices started rising. my hope is that we seek common ground here. while we won't be able to get on the same page this week on the inflation reduction act. it is true, sooner rather than later we need to recognize that whether prices are increases by 8% year or 2% a year, there are a whole lot of americans that cannot afford to live or buy groceries, or medicine, therein lies the opportunity for bipartisan cooperation.
sen. portman: a different analysis of the same bill. when you look at the economic study has said about this bill which was in the wall street journal today, does not decrease inflation. the next two years it increases inflation at a time when we should be doing just the opposite. it is no wonder because it provides some more stimulus, but also puts taxes on the economy. i talked about the fact that half of the taxes are going to be borne by manufacturers. we passed this legislation, we tried to pass it called tips plus. u.s. manufacturers to be more competitive. if you look at the growth numbers, we had a .9% reduction in economic growth. driven by a lack of investment, 13.5 percent decrease in investment in this country. that is exactly what this legislation will do, further decrease investment.
companies who have taken advantage of the tax reduction, meaning you can write off your equipment if you are a manufacturer, which is why half of the people are capital intensive industries. you can no longer take that deduction. if anything we will try to find the bonus depreciation to encourage people to an invest to be more competitive, including with china, who has more of tony -- more than 25% of the world's money manufacturing in one country. hopefully we end up with a different bill than what is proposed because of these realities. tech companies as well, that rely on stock rather than salary sometimes are being told you can't take the full deduction, it discourages people from offering those kinds of plans. it will also have an effect on other industries as well to the point that 218,000 people lose their jobs.
in the manufacturing sector alone. congress is going to take a look at this week, we will have a debate. my hope is we will be able to pass some amendments to make this legislation more workable. sen. murphy: corporations across this country enjoyed this enormous windfall from the tax breaks. they were not asking for a big tax reduction as they got. but they ended up seeing a historic reduction in tax liability. the claim at the time was that this was going to stimulate the economy so much that the bill would end up bringing in more money than it cost the government. that did not turn out to be the case. it drove up deficits. it created unfairness among the american public who saw their costs going up, but also saw the tax liability going down. there was a limited relief. what we are talking about here is the 200 most richest prophet
-- profit of corporations were simply asking them to not pay v rate but to pay just a minimum of corporate tax. we are going to take some of that money and apply a debt reduction, $300 million of deficit reduction. $300 billion of deficit reduction but then we're going to take the rest of the money and give it to consumers right now that are having trouble paying their bills. we are going to invest in seniors who are going bankrupt through prescription drug cost that spirals out of control. one third of seniors have to moderate their prescription drugs, have to have their pills, have to take less than what is prescribed because of what what it costs. investments in renewable energy to lower that bill as well. so, the targeted corporate tax increase is all about making sure the profitable companies at
least pay something in tax. i think people will support the bill because that money is being used to deliver relief to the pockets of people who needed. >> thank you, senator murphy. we will move onto the next topic, and safety. -- gun safety. you have three minutes. sen. portman: i am grateful for senator --sen. murphy: i am grateful for senator portman. it has been 30 years since congress has passed any legislation addressing the epidemic of gun violence in this nation. what we have learned is it is inescapable. no matter where you live, no matter what your zip code is, you can wake up and have your life fundamentally transformed by a mass shooting, by suicide, by homicide, an accidental shooting. and it is not a coincidence that the rates of murder and mass shootings has increased in this country.
as these dangerous weapons have proliferated, all over the nation. i have two kids, a fourth-grader, the same age as those young kids in uvalde. and i have a middle school or. -- middle schooler. the fact that they need to worry about their safety and think about where they will run and hide when they walk into school every day, if a shooter were to walk in those doors is heartbreaking. i am proud of what we did together. it is an example of a congress can do together but it is not enough. i don't understand why congress can't do the two things that the american public have achieved consensus on. first is universal background checks, make sure every single gun purchase in this nation goes through a background check. to make sure the criminals, or seriously mentally ill, are not getting their hands on them. the studies show it is the most impactful in trying to reduce the rate of violence in this
nation. second, get these weapons of war off the streets. these weapons that have become the weapon of choice for mass shooters. an ar-15 is not essential if you want to hunt or protect your home. but it is essential if your intent is to kill two dozen people in five minutes or less. to me our job is not done. i think the bill we passed will have an impact. more than anything else, shows the american public we have the capability to rise to the occasion. but, the fact that all we were able to do where these incremental changes. it shows you how much power the gun industry and lobbies still have in washington. it shows you how broken the institution still is around these basic issues of public safety. it shows you how much more work we have to do. this epidemic can't be measured on the number of lives lost.
every single child in this nation is going through a level of trauma and anxiety, especially those who grow up in more dangerous neighborhoods and places like cleveland or new haven, fearing for their lives every day they walked to school. we have an obligation to build upon the success of the bipartisan bill to take the next steps necessary to keep our community and kids safer. sen. portman: this is -- just to thank chris, you can see he is passionate about this issue. they are heartbreaking. many of my colleagues have -- on the other side of the aisle are happy to have this issue debated and discussed, yet to find common ground is not necessarily their interest. i know senator murphy was under a lot of pressure because i talk to some of his colleagues who were unhappy with him because he
was going to say, you know what, let's get something done here this time. that's one reason i joined the effort because i thought it was the right attitude and thought the policies would help to address the real issues out there. in doing so, he didn't get everything done. but more importantly, for a lot of his colleagues, thought this is selling short of what we should be doing. i appreciate the way he handled that. i note -- no it wasn't easy. the most important part of the bill was the metal health revisions. we encourage red flag with due process. that is really a mental health issue but the amount of funding we have put in these community health centers for mental health is unprecedented. people probably did not recognize that because there were other aspects that had to do more directly with the gun issue.
this is where so much of the problems arise. as i am sure many people in this room know, 54% of gun deaths are in this country are suicide. beyond that, each of these horrific mass shootings, there is a mental health component in every case. people that are left out of the system and have not been in a position to get help or if they are in a position to get help they are not being required to get help. so, that is why the legislation is so important. not just a mental health funding and the community health centers and so on, but encouraging states to have laws. the other part of this that we do not talk about is what happens every night here in our nations capitol. chicago being famous, cleveland,
we have one of the higher homicide rates in cleveland. in the country. columbus did a study of gun violence and it was a deep report, i found it fascinating. ed found there are 17 gangs in columbus. that is .05% of the city's population. they are suspected to be a part of 46% of homicides either as victims or perpetrators. or both. this is the gun violence we do not hear about. obviously, this is where most people are dying from gun violence outside of suicide which is primarily cities, primarily gang violence, directly related to the drug trade which is so lucrative. that is a bigger issue that has to be addressed.
sen. murphy: i was with the mayor of a big city in connecticut, and his entire career has been in law enforcement. he told me the story of illegal guns in connecticut. it was a big deal when we picked up a gun in a traffic stop. or when we went to the house for domestic service. so about 10 years ago, it started to be a regular occurrence. every week we would run into an illegal gun or two. he said today, we find them every single day. it shows how many more weapons are in circulation. so many of those are illegal weapons, weapons they get bought in states with looser background check laws, gun shows or online, and brought to states with tougher laws.
in order to get our hands wrapped around this full epidemic including violence in cities, you have to do something about this pipeline of guns, universal background checks. i thank rob for what he said, he took a risk as well. republicans have to go up against opposition to this bill. he mentioned the mental health spending in this bill. i will leave you with this. i have mixed feelings about the inclusion of mental health spending in a bill about gun violence, because i worry, i imagine republicans have the same worry, because it creates an impression there is a link between mental illness and violence. i think it's an important part of the bill, it will save lives, but i do think we have to be careful about making to direct a link at a time or we are trying to overcome the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
sen. portman: the focus is on those perpetrators and getting them the care they need, again, it's undeniable, you look at these mass shootings in every case, it goes back to someone who did not have either access to, or if they had access did not take advantage of that. and how you get people the cure they need. but on the illegal guns and broader issue of crime, we have an explosion of crime in our cities. it has come along with covid. we have an explosion of overdoses coming from illegal drugs, primarily fentanyl which is the synthetic opioid coming from china for so long. through the mail system. about two thirds of the overdoses in ohio and around the country for the most recent year were fentanyl-related. cocaine, heroin, it's all out
there, but increasingly, cartels are turning to fentanyl. why? it is so incredibly powerful. 100 or 200 times more powerful than heroin, a few specks of which can kill you. it is now being made into pills. it is so lucrative for these cartels and criminal organizations in this country associated with cartels, it is a lot to protect. this has led to a lot of this violence. that's a great segue to the border discussion which may come next. >> that is correct. you have three minutes. sen. murphy: well done. [laughter] sen. portman: we have an unprecedented number of people coming across the southern border seeking to come to the united states unlawfully, they come to the border, they are met by the border patrol, about half are turned away under title 42.
which of the administration wants to do away with. the rest are allowed to come into the country, and the number of people encountered by the border patrol over the past three months has been unprecedented. over 200,000 people. along with that has come this absolute flood of drugs. if you look at seizures of drugs, they are unprecedented. in may alone, there was enough fentanyl seized to kill 200 million americans. it's coming across in two different ways. at our border, we are not doing the proper screening, only about 2% of cars and traffic is being screened at all.
the bad guys know this. these criminal organizations are using that. if you have been to the border, as i have, read in with the border patrol, talks to dozens of people responsible for protecting our country, it's overwhelming, and the cartels are using decoys to move drugs across. one night when i was in el paso, we were listening to the radio, they said there is a group about to cross at one point, so the border patrol was focused on that. unfortunately, when they got to that point, the larger group came across one mile or two away, dressed in black, backpacks on. who knows what is in those backpacks? if you talk to the border patrol, they will tell you most drugs were not being seized. more and more was by people
because the border is open now. it is so easy to come across our country. so it's a crisis. back in the obama administration, they called it a crisis. somehow this administration cannot call it a crisis. it's also one most americans look at and shake their heads. how could this be? we have an opportunity for people to come here illegally. -- legally. we take 900,000 people a year. i am a big proponent of immigration. it is part of the fabric of our society and economy. but we cannot continue to have the lawless movement of people across the southern border. people who were locked into the back of a semi truck, unable to escape the summer heat. these numbers continue to grow. this year, they believe there
will be 600 or 700 people who will die crossing the desert, in one of these trucks or otherwise, even a couple of years ago it was in the tens, 30 people. it's not that it is just a massive movement of drugs across our borders, it's not just the other contraband including guns, it is the fact that this is not a humane policy. the traffickers are taking advantage of this and exploiting them. we need a legal system that works. sen. murphy: i think it's important to level set the conversation about migration, by talking about how the greatness of america is tied up in our willingness to bring people to this country fleeing persecution. we are almost all here, children of immigrants, immigrants ourselves, and the future
of this country, future greatness is wrapped up in our ability to continue that legacy. i know rob believes that as well. while i don't put senator portman in this category, i worry there are many people today inside the republican party who do not want to solve issues at the border, who don't really want to solve people here without documentation, but want to keep this issue open as a political wedge, a rallying cry, as a mechanism to make people fear those who look different. i think this is a worrying moment. because if you look at our ability to keep up with the rise of china, there's no way to do that unless we bring the best hard-working people from all around the world. senator portman is also right that the numbers are high this
year, there were also very high in 2019 when president trump was in office, they are higher today, that is in large part because of the title 42 process , which turned people back around and sent them back across the border without prosecution or the chance to apply for asylum. you have seen this quadrupling of the number of people coming back to the border for a second time, third time, fourth time. presentations are high, many are individuals who are coming over and over. it's also true, we are seizing more fentanyl and drugs at those ports of entry. that's because we are making investments, we are finally putting technology at ports of entry to catch these trafficers. the tragedy is for four years of the trump administration, president trump was so focused on building this wall which
frankly, did very little to capture the trafficking, making -- we delayed making investments necessary, because the precincts i have got tell me over 90% of the illegal drug trade is coming in through ports of entry, not through portions we will continue to make those investments, but i take up senator portman's challenge which is to impose a rules-based immigration system which is both fair and humane. but that requires republicans coming to the table to talk about comprehensive immigration reform, not just building a wall, but figuring out a better way to allow more people to come here legally, what to do with folks who are living in the shadows today. this debate can't be just about the threat immigrants pose to this country. it has to be about the
the opportunity we have to size our immigration laws to be smarter about legal pathways. that benefits the nation as a whole. sen. portman: we found common ground tonight. i am interested in expanding legal immigration. when we try to do that, we often find ourselves unable with visas, latest legislation, we put something in place that was -- that would help to staple the green card for people in stem disciplines, and i think that is all good. but we have to do something about this unlawful current system that is serving nobody except the traffickers. the administration made specific decisions when they came in to change everything. you mentioned that president trump had a lot of illegal entries coming in in 2019, he changed policies to the point where when the biden administration came in, the border was essentially secure.
by that, i mean that it was a small percentage of the current flow of people, drugs and contraband. because policies worked. the main change was dealing with the asylum policy. right now we have such a wide open policy that people can claim asylum, come for eight years, if they get appeals, maybe six or eight years. if they don't, maybe four or five years, before they even have their first hearing with an immigration judge. the backlog is 1.5 million million people in that system. it's no wonder people are staying. the administration has chosen not to deport people. removals have virtually ended. that is not a lawful system as well. president obama, those who entered unlawfully, removed about 65% of those. president biden, 5%.
when the biden administration came in, there was 70%. these changes have consequences. i think it's good to have a comprehensive approach, but we have got to have a secure southern border first. sen. murphy: i have a read on why our presentations at the border dropped off in 2020. i would argue that was covid. not trump's border policies becoming effective. those numbers dropped off as soon as covid became the national emergency and title 42 was initially imposed. people just stopped moving during those first six months. and productively, presentations at the border fell. but again, the senator is right that the amount of time it takes to get through the asylum process is too long. that is why we put money in this last budget to start to clear that backlog. but i will tell you, that is a
fight republicans were not necessarily willing to put dollars into clearing that backlog. that's why president biden proposed a new way to process asylum-seekers, so they can get through that system faster, a reform being opposed right by many republicans. we can work together to speed up the asylum process but we have to work together. the last thing i would say about this is the conditions in central america and mexico, i know there is belief that there policies -- there are policies of the american president on people who make this journey, it's by and large the conditions in which people live. one of the worst decisions president trump ever made was cutting off help to central american nations to help them gain control of their security situation. hopefully, that is something we can agree on on a bipartisan basis. part of the policy should be
assisting nations like those in the northern triangle to keep their citizens at home by increasing stability. >> finally, senator murphy, we will conclude with our last topic of the evening. protecting individual liberties. you have three minutes. sen. murphy: i know this is a difficult and sensitive issue. i wanted to talk about it today because it's probably the topic most of my constituents in connecticut want to discuss with me right now. i thought, to be honest, it was important to put on the table today. the heart of what it means to be an american is this idea of liberty, personal freedom, that the government should not tell you what choices you should make, should not dictate to us about how we live our lives. but the folks i represent in connecticut are really worried about a new e so's in congress
and -- ethos in congress and on the supreme court that seeks to put government more and more in charge about our bodies, personal lives. that takes choice away from us. the most personal choice we have to make is when to have a child. the issue of abortion is hotly contested. i completely understand people who make the decision that they are morally opposed to abortion. but because it is so anchored in personal morality, it is the last subject government should be dictating to individuals. that question of whether to proceed with the pregnancy should be the choice of the individual's in confrontation -- individual in contemplation with her family and doctor. i worry this is the tip of the iceberg. in that dobbs decision, the court previewed that they may,
very shortly, come after other protections that have been long in law, some more recent, whether it be the protection to have access to contraception, birth control, or the recent protection to marry whoever you love regardless of sexual orientation. my belief is this is a time where we need to step up as a body for the basic idea of personal liberty and freedom, something republicans talk about a lot as well as democrats. that means i think we need to act with urgency in the united states senate to pass legislation that codifies roe. i'm glad to see bipartisan legislation introduced in the senate, talking about bipartisan compromise. bipartisan legislation to codify roe and make that decision back -- give that decision back to families, make the decision for
themselves. we have to act with similar speed to protect access to contraception and birth control, make sure states can't ban gay marriage. some say those are illusory threats. the supreme court has not acted, nothing to worry about. that is what we heard in the lead up to the dobbs decision. those justices came to the hill and said, you do not have anything to worry about, precedent is important to us. now, we have half the states in the nation where women can't receive the full range of services. this is a moment where we can come together and stand up for that basic unifying issue of personal freedom and liberty. sen. portman: personal freedom and liberty. republicans obviously value that, and many of my constituents were nervous with our gun safety legislation because they thought their liberties were being directly affected. i would argue they were not, and i have heard this discussion with people back home who value the second amendment. i don't think it was abridged by
that. i think it focused on this notion of keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and the mental health components we talked about. also personal liberty. mandates, regulations, republicans are constantly fighting against the imposition upon our country and citizens, because we do believe personal liberty is very important. it was an interesting way to describe what you are talking about. in terms of abortion, it is an issue that's very emotional, people have strong views on both sides. one thing i have found interesting is since the dobbs decision, there is a sense that the american people are all on one side of this issue. that is simply not true. in fact, when you look at some of the data, it indicates from the planned parenthood research arm, 71% of americans support limits on abortion. yes, they opposed reversing roe. that is by about 55%, but when
asked about the details, 49% believe abortion should be limited, at most up to six weeks. 72% support a 15 week limit. this is an issue that divides us as a nation. where should it be best placed? i believe it is best placed among the elected representatives. the democrats in the senate with whom i have talked about the most recent decision on the epa were up such the -- were upset that the court was taking the role of the legislature, which is just the opposite. it should go back to the legislature. that was the point. the same here, for 200 years, it was left to the states to decide this issue. some states will find themselves on one side of the spectrum and others, the other end. americans have mixed views on
it. in terms of these other issues, i am one of the republicans that cosponsors the respect for marriage act. i think that is important. but i don't think these codifications are required because anything was said in the dobbs decision. senator murphy said the decision suggested these other rights would now be up for grabs. it's just the opposite. one of the justices said that, and the others actually said the opposite. others, in a concurrence of justice kavanaugh, he went out of his way to specifically call out that he does not believe -- i do not believe it's a high risk, i believe it's a low risk. that is with regard to the respect for marriage, having so
many couples rely on the decisions with the protocol that is appropriate to codify with the simple codification, a targeted simple codification, not what we see in the rope out -- in the roe codification. sen. murphy: this is an issue that divides us. everybody comes at this issue differently. there are those that believe the decision should be entirely left up to a woman or physician. others believe there are no circumstances where an abortion is warranted. then there are many that believe there should be some limits. but that is the case i am making. given how personal this issue is, there is really nothing more personal than this decision of when to proceed with the pregnancy. given how divided we are, it should not be in the hands of government.
republicans say, well, the right place for this to be is not in the court, not the congress, but in state legislatures. for me, it does not belong in the hands of government, it should be up to families. i hope you are right, i hope we do not see follow on decisions, but i fear they are coming. lastly, let me thank rob for his support for the respect for marriage act. my hope is that we will pass that either in the next several weeks, or by the end of the session, and i believe it is another moment where we see republicans and democrats come together to move this country forward. despite how broken this institution appears from the outside, when you put the gun bill, with the potential for the marriage act, the infrastructure bill, the chips act, this is a pretty impressive list of
bipartisan accomplishments in a 5050 -- 50-50 senate. all of this, despite disagreements, gives me hope. sen. portman: hope. i think there is some hope. this is some common ground. in terms of abortion, maybe not. again, a powerful issue, there are so many strong views. it is interesting looking around the room. 90% of countries have laws on the books that prohibit abortion after 15 weeks because it is such a powerful issue and people feel so strongly about it. i think government does have a role and we ought to be able to have a dialogue in those states and be able to come up with the best approach for that state. with regard to the broader
issue that we talked about today, which is how do we find a common ground, i do agree that we passed some pretty good legislation over the past couple of years. it's never perfect. the infrastructure bill we talked about earlier was not exactly how i would have written it, nor how chris would have written it. but we do have a responsibility having gotten elected to serve the people, getting something done to help people, move the process forward. directionally, we have done some -- done that with some of this legislation to make the country more competitive, an opportunity to have our kids and grandkids enjoy what we enjoy, which is to be able to be in this great country, greatest country on the face of the earth. and have all of the opportunities in the world. my hope is we have seen common ground tonight. hopefully we have laid the predicate that our job is not to throw the red meat, but help people we have represented.
>> i want to thank you. this concludes the first half of this debate. we are going to take a short break to begin our q&a session, so we will ask that you allow us some time while the stagehands take away the podium from the conversations. in the meantime, take a look at this video for some background on the senate project. [video clip] >> we have several goals for the senator project. first and foremost is to encourage civil debate between the right and left. that has disappeared, and the days of senator kennedy and senator hatch who are completely opposite human beings, politically, religiously, geographically, yet they worked together and created meaningful
legislation that still influences the course of the country today. the symbolism of the relationship between ted kennedy and warren hatch is an enormous, particularly with the senate project. the likelihood of these people coming together to be this productive when their career started was not very high. these are two people who together passed the care act, ada, medicare part d, on and on. our goal is to bring the senate together and have opposite sides respect each other's thought process, to derive results from cross pollination ideas, and do what the senate has always done. the origins of the senate project came out of a board meeting where two board members had just returned from a trip.
they saw a body that was deeply divided that had no resemblance to the senate they knew, and felt that we needed to do something to help heal the senate. the second goal of the senator project is to demonstrate the influence -- we are in a unique position. we have the only replica of the u.s. senate chamber in the world. obviously, there is only one other, that is in washington, d.c. it is symbolic, making the senate as productively -- productive as humanly possible, to teach about the workings of the senate. what we want to do is be part of this solution and demonstrate the power of the institution. like our mission itself, this effort is a partnership. it is a partnership between the hatch foundation and the
>> that was a spirit in whimsy. sorry. [laughter] >> i want to thank you again. now we will move to the conversation portion of our debate, and i want to start this portion off with some of the breaking news we are learning about at this hour. a short time ago, president biden addressed the nation with respect to the counterterrorism operation that killed an al qaeda operative. i just want to know at this stage, what do you know about this drone attack? sen. murphy: we were in the skiff together this evening.
we were brief it -- briefing on an entirely different issue, so we didn't have a heads up on it. it's very important that these things remain totally confidential, classified. our sense is this guy was not nearly as charismatic as osama bin laden, but he was directly involved in carrying out attacks against us, our western allies and others. the administration is to be commended for continuing to go after some of these individuals who continue to try and kill our allies and citizens and soldiers. sen. murphy: al qaeda is a shell of what it once was, but it is unquestionably still a threat. i was a supporter of the president's decision to leave afghanistan.
but, there was this question as to what our capabilities would be to hunt and go after the terrorists inside afghanistan once we were there. we will get more information about this operation, those who conducted it in the administration, but hopefully it helps prove that even without the kind of human intelligence, without the presence of thousands of troops, we still have the ability to track networks and find those that are still trying to do harm to the united states. >> that being said, this is someone who was the mastermind of 9/11. what does it say that it took more than 20 years to hunt him down? sen. murphy: it is significant how many al qaeda leaders and isis leader's we have apprehended and killed. that campaign has been effective
in crippling their capabilities, at least to project power out of the region, so it is true this particular individual has been at large for a long time, but it's also true we have been routinely taking out the number two, number three, the operational leaders itself. throughout the last two decades under republican and democratic presidents. i don't think that's coincidental that there is a lower projection of threats to the united states than there was when we started this project. >> i want to get a better sense, because you mentioned this, senator murphy, in terms of the president's decision to leave afghanistan. i wonder, senator portman, do you think that was a mistake? do you worry it could become a
safe haven for terrorists? do either of you see a scenario where the u.s. may have to go back in? sen. portman: i was very critical of the way the administration exited afghanistan. but it was precipitous, hurried and dangerous. it resulted in the loss of lives. 13 service members including one from ohio. i visited the family afterwards to think -- thank them for their service. we did not have to do it that way. we have not lost anybody and i think 18 months. we had the ability to do it in an orderly way. the result was, once the air cover was gone, the afghans were not able to protect themselves or rely on it. they had not gotten to the point where they would be self-sufficient without that airpower. it was a huge mistake.
most people realized it. certainly, when there was the rush on the airport outside of cabell -- kabul. we ended up taking people u.s. a result of the rushed nature had nothing to do with helping u.s. service members. yet, we are bringing them into the united states without proper screening. we have over 100,000 people, many of whom if they were translators, drivers, absolutely deserved something better than what they got. they certainly deserved to come to the united states, but they have not been able to. some people came that had no connection. some had been considered national security threats, and we left a lot of people behind. my friends who served are so
distraught by that because they feel as though the ethos of the military, not to leave any member behind, was violated. i don't understand why it had to be so hurried and unplanned, and why we had to have such a disastrous exit. my hope is we will not have to go back, to answer that part of the question, but because of the way we left, we did not leave in place an ability to deal with the terrorist threat. my concern with al qaeda, isis and others was they would come back into what they consider a terrorist haven. that's exactly what happened. the people have suffered greatly under the taliban in terms of the economy, starvation, women being repressed as they were in the previous taliban administration. it's a very unfortunate
situation all the way around. sen. murphy: we have different perspectives on this. i think president trump left president biden in an impossible situation. remember, he is the one that signed the agreement with the taliban guaranteeing the united states would leave by a certain date. president biden extended that date. if he had chosen to stay longer, his military advisors were telling him he would have to send in thousands of additional troops because the taliban would start attacking us again. what happened was, unexpectedly overnight, both the afghan government and the afghan military collapsed. you could make an argument that the administration should have seen that coming. but even if we had, i do not know how you manage to pull off an evacuation of that size that does not involve some level of chaos, some level of danger.
when your partners pack up and disappear overnight. without warning, without notice. and the afghan military and government did. those scenes were heartbreaking, the loss of life was heartbreaking, but sometimes we set up unrealistic expectations for political leaders, especially on questions of national securities in far-off places. given the circumstances of how the evacuation played out with the abdication of our partners, unfortunately the decision to leave had consensus on both sides of the aisle. i don't think there was a way to do that much cleaner than the way it turned out. i know there is disagreement on that. it's just my perspective. sen. portman: disagreement on that. definitely.
there was a way to do it in a way that was not as hurried and chaotic. it still would not have been easy, and never is, but to this day i can't understand why president biden did not follow the advice of his military commanders on the ground who did predict some of this. some are saying it was not predictable. it was quite predictable. the question is, if you told the taliban, if you do attack us, we will use the full power of the united states government against you, and they did not want that to be unleashed, so i did think there was a way to do this. now, i don't have any choice but to continue to monitor the situation of this al qaeda terrorist cell. i'm not suggesting we should go back in with troops on the ground, but we have to continue to pay careful attention. >> turning to asia.
as you know, speaker pelosi has lead a delegation to the region. we expect that she would go to taiwan, according to a taiwanese official. senator portman, you were there recently. senator murphy, you said any visit to taiwan should be purposeful. should they go, and do you support more members of congress going to taiwan or is it simply too risky? sen. murphy: speaker pelosi should do what she thinks is right. she has a much longer history and deeper expertise in china policy and taiwan than i do, and i'm glad the administration is today, we do not definitively
>> we have a policy of providing taiwan with what is necessary for them to descend themselves. i want to make sure that as a body if we decide to change that policy and some would argue we should, that we do it purposefully, not accidentally. if we are going to essentially guarantee at taiwan's security that requires a pretty significant reorientation of forces. that requires a dramatic entries -- increase in military spending.
to fall backwards into an implicit security guarantee i just do not know is necessary today. that's am you get to eat -- that's ambiguity. i think that's question is an important one but it is one i think we should engage in deep consultation with our constituents before we leave ourselves onto a path that may ultimately result in certain conflict with china. >> ed is a dangerous and volatile part of the world because china has been increasingly aggressive not just in the taiwan straight but the south taiwan sea. japan is worried, all of the countries are worried. the entire pacific rim, for good reason. because china is flexing its
muscle in doing so in an aggressive way, military expansion including taking a coral reef and turning it into a military base, the philippines would tell you that was illegal, but they do it. i think it's true there is a danger in the region, and the united states can't be a police officer for the world. but we could be the sheriff, you get a posse together, that posse is the other countries in the region who absolutely align with us. i was there in april, three months ago, visiting australia and japan, it was fascinating. the same thing is happening with nato. because of china's actions, our allies are closer together than ever. the quad which includes india as
-- is also having very productive talks, we are closer than ever with australia and japan and india. that is the only silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud which is china's aggression. i thought the visit to taiwan in april was helpful. we had good opportunities to talk about specifics, in terms of what kinds of military approaches we might take to protect themselves, to act as a deterrent from china making a huge mistake in doing what russia has done in ukraine which is to attack a sovereign, independent country. one would hope china would see this makes no sense, no logic. we also talk about other issues including semiconductors.
perhaps you know this because of the recent debate about semiconductors, the importance of this one product. semiconductors are in everything. more electronic, more digital even more so. 90% of the high-end semiconductors are made in one country. that is taiwan. we already have a vested interest in a country that turns to us, that trades with us. it's a very important country. i hope speaker pelosi makes a decision she believes is best,
but that she goes and does what we did three months ago, which is in the face of china writing letters to my office, i guess to me, my office didn't show me the letter until i was on the plane. so i had no choice but to go. if you go, you will be met by a counteraction and a counteraction was some jets across the taiwan straight line. i think it was fighter jets, maybe eight of them. in this case, they may do more if speaker pelosi goes. but think about the alternative. we were supposed to go before our trip, this was a previously scheduled trip.
our trip was very productive. she says, i'm not going to go because of these threats from china. but i cannot visit an ally, democracy, independent country. our visit was consistent with both the taiwan relations act and the one china policy -- it shows weakness, if you rattle the cage, the united states will respond by backing off. i suppose you can do a lot of this virtually. i think it will be a message to be interpreted as the united states not being willing to do the normal course of diplomacy, much less be engaged in a deeper way in the region. to try to be a counterbalance to
what is happening. >> very briefly before we wrap up i do want to get both of you on ukraine because i know you had worked across the aisle on that specifically. we know today the fight and administration announced an additional $550 million of security. is there another supplemental package in the works, what would you like to see in it and you -- do you expect the same level of bipartisan support we saw earlier this spring? sen. portman: chris and i have been to ukraine together. and we have talked a lot about this issue. there is a group of republicans and democrats and we start this after 2014 russian invasion.
now it's expanding beyond that, in southern and eastern ukraine and maybe beyond. but we have stuck together, this is a country that has turned to the west. the whole revolution of dignity that happened in 2014 you may recall that in living color, we got to see it all on tv. we had massive demonstrations. i went there as an election monitor and got to see out there election where by the way, everyone voted in the entire country. we would both agree it was really disheartening to see the russian buildup, we took the
last delegation before the invasion, we were left surprised and the global community -- our military intelligence was quite good. intelligence community generally did a good job to analyze what was going on. something was going on. and was knocked -- not just a military exercise. it was hard to imagine much was -- russia would be doing this, it made no sense. this was a neighbor that just wants to get along with neighbors including russia. it's extraordinary this has happened. now the question is, can the united states sustain help for ukraine? we are leading a group, it's not just us.
we are leading that group. the uk's very active. this latest charged -- tranche announced today provides weapons for long-range artillery which are changing the battlefield, we believe, finally. in eastern ukraine. that is the only way you get russia to the table, to change the dynamic. it's important for us to continue the assistance because they are our friend and ally, and we have to stand up in this case. first time since world war ii we have seen a european country invaded. it is extraordinary what has happened. we have to respond. importantly, if we don't continue assistance, i don't think russia comes to the table.
we saw the ships sail out of the harbor in odessa today, that was great news. by the same token, the russians continue to bombard these areas. including bombarding ukraine, odessa a few days ago. you can't make this up. i hope we will pass another bill. it will be harder. because the patience of the american people is weighing to a certain extent. it's something we need to remind people, what the stakes are. what is happening and why. what is the rationale? i hope we continue to send the right equipment. we are finally getting to that point.
i think we need to -- >> by the end of the year. that was my question, when do you feel another package could come? sen. murphy: i think we will likely need another package by the end of the year at the rate we are drawing down. i give tremendous credit to rob. they are very good. there is a risk. news outlets do not cover ukraine every night like they did in the early days and all of a sudden, we start elevating other priorities. to the extent this is still a bipartisan priority, it's a large share due to the persistence on this. two additional thoughts. rob is probably the only senator who has been to ukraine more than i have. i used to go with john mccain. and have been grateful to joint
with rob on a few of these later trips. two additional points. president xi is watching. his taste for moving earlier on taiwan is directly connected to whether or not he sees russia pay a long-term price. and whether he sees a battle lines start to move. putin thought he was going to roll straight into kyiv. people fight hard to defend their territory, especially when they have friends. taiwan is going to fight very hard. our ability to continue to support ukraine is critical -- next line second, this town a military lens and it's important to understand the long game. what they are seeking to do in part with the oil crisis is to
weaken the appetite of the west, the europe and the united states, to stay in the fight, cut a deal with russia. rob and i worked to fill the -- build the government capability to spin back against russian propaganda. our efforts -- russia is in the business trying to convince europe to give up. it is not worth it. and we can assist in telling the truth about what is happening in ukraine. that's not about military assistance, its information assistance. a new capability that we started at the state department. >> i want to bring things back here at home very briefly. as you know, you have the
bipartisan bill you both supported back in june to provide more health benefits to service members who have been exposed to toxic burn pits, now you are on opposite sides. i think a lot of people are wondering why senator murphy you and two dozen of your colleagues flips. you have veterans outside the u.s. capitol. what is it going to take to get this done before the recess? sen. portman: i voted as i did a month ago, because i thought we allow an amendment process, the video earlier, the comment was made that the senate is not what it used to be. the blame goes to individuals for to partisan, but it is also our leadership and not allowing debate, not allowing what we are looking for which is the ability to introduce an amendment.
>> is it worth holding up the bill over one amendment? sen. portman: absolutely. we will resolve that and vote for the bill. i will vote for passage whether it passes or not. it is important we have the opportunities to take -- this is $280 billion. when you look at the budget, it can be another $350 billion that would be spent on nonveteran affairs matters, it's not about the veterans, they beget the same amount. you would have more domestic discretionary spending because of this slight of hand. i know what this means, i want to stand with my colleagues and have the opportunity to debate on this. i think we will. i think you will see the legislation passed. even this week. i talked this afternoon about it. i'm trying to encourage
democratic leadership to allow a real amendment process. when those gentlemen were in their prime, the senate debated all the time. we were viewed as the world's greatest deliberative body. we have very few amendments. by the way, that goes for democrats and republicans in charge. it is easier to make in a partisan issue. even on the of the structure bill, we wanted more amendment. any other bill in recent memory, we had 26. it was not enough. we think people should be able to voice concerns. so i voted the same weight last time which was i voted against --. we lost the vote that time. this time i did the same thing. so my colleagues were with me in doing that. the point is if we can have the
opportunity to have this one important amendment we will vote for final passage this week. >> count me in for having a more open amendment process. the senate has changed in part because power has been further consolidated in leaders but majority leader and minority leader, it used to be the chairman of the committee worked the bills, allow for full and open amendments. if we get back to that it is a much better senate. i didn't know rob's votes on this bill. i am glad to hear he was consistent because there are a lot of people scratching their head as to why there were 24 republican senators that voted to advance the bill the first time and changed their votes the second time. the objection senator -- raised i heard them talking about it on the floor.
it wasn't as if it was a mystery. so why did 25 senators choose a different path when the same belt with the same issue that he raised was present the second time? there are two explanations. a massive change of heart, which rarely happens in this place and that kind of number and scope or it was a reaction to the announcement of eight climate change bill. i don't think the american public are going to tolerate that's kind of gamesmanship but my hope is we can get this done and resolved. >> as we conclude i do want to leave with some thoughts on where there is common ground. because this is the fourth time in a history that we have had a 50-50 senate i am really curious to find out what lessons both of
you have learned from this experience and i know a lot of people think especially in an election year, it is hard to get things done, but where do you think you can find common ground before the session ends and be on? >> i will start this one. two lessons i have learned coming off the passage of the first gun bill in 60 years. the two things i learned through that process and now almost decade i have been in the senate , i am still fairly new. once the relationship is met i got to that senate after sandy hook. i was introducing myself to callings as the same time i was trying to lobby them on a controversial bill. it does take time to build up trust. fort rob to get something big as -- done as big as infrastructure
-- you have to have trust and sometimes in today's senate we have little time to spend together and little time to get to know each other. we have got to find a way to take the time to build that trust. the second thing is to try to not litigate everything through social media. >> color me guilty. far too quick to run to my twitter feed to complain but the reason we got that gun bill done was because we did not litigate our differences in public. we kept them private and in this age of the media's to communicate, often that accrues to our detriment not benefit. my hope for a small but important thing that can get done is our next project which is before the electoral count act, which governs how electors
are chosen and counted, ambiguous, people can take advantage of if they are trying to put someone in the office who did not win an election and we have departed the bipartisan group that has a proposal on the table that would fix that and make it more certain the winner of an election has an expedited path to the white house next time around. that is on of the dockets i hope for next year. >> i think hope is even in the next four months we can get some things done. i have four or five projects i would like to have completed by the end of the year. and as always been a bipartisan issue and we have legislation we think can be bipartisan and be passed to help with iras and small businesses and self-employed and so on. that is an example -- something
meaningful that we have not been able to get done in the past four or five years and i think we can now. the infrastructure experience was interesting because we started in the mental -- middle and worked out. leadership tends to have more influence and power but we made a decision we were not going to either side, starting with two of us am a four of us, eight of us and moved out there was actually a lot of consensus around taking tax increases out and making it about infrastructure and making compromises. a dirty word for some but that's what you have to do when you are behind closed doors negotiating. you have to move forward. the alternative was to spend another few decades without an infrastructure bill that's put to the u.s. way behind building countries and our ability to
deal with a whole range of issues including resiliency which is something we are experiencing right now with more climate issues. that same group that formed the nucleus of that and chris is part of that group is now going onto to work on several other things together. one is the -- act which, to put it simply would never allow a january 6 moment to happen again. which is the way we think the founders intended it. it is possible to get some things done toward the end. i did think the political season is upon us and that makes it more challenging. both parties in the senate believe they can get the majority, democrats can keep it, republicans can get it. in the house i think there is more of a sense republicans are likely to take the majority. it makes the senate more interesting because we don't really know. something like a reform effort,
we are talking about the rules of the congress in terms of the -- count act and it actually goes beyond that. we don't know who is going to be in charge. and a way, it makes it easier. you are kind of flipping a coin. my hope is we will get some good stuff done and have the opportunity to show people we can't work together. changing the rules to allow more debate is a good thing,. it is not just getting to know people it is so you can trust and who you cannot and who you can work with and to the media who are here, i think playing everything out in the media is almost as detrimental as playing it out on social media sometimes. it is important to be able to have that trust and if it is played out in the public sometimes before it is ready, it makes it more difficult to get
there. i think those are some lessons learned and my hope is we can continue to make progress by following guidelines and get more things done. thanks, nicole for moderating us tonight. >> i want to thank both of you for your time, for joining us. it has been a pleasure. we want to give our huge eggs to george -- huge thanks to george washington university along with production manager tom gorman. the next debate will take place in utah. you can go to the senate project.org for more detail. for now, congressional correspondent for cbs news. thank you and everyone have a good night. [applause]
♪ >> here is a look at what is coming up on the c-span networks. life at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span, the senate banking committee talks about the impact that housing market is having on renters and communities around the country. limit 2:30 p.m. a hearing on the future of wireless communications and the fcc auction of the radio frequencies that wireless signals use. 11 the economic -- the decision
to stop processing applications in may. limit 10:00 a.m. that 12:00 p.m. the senate gambles and to continue work on judicial nominations. everything is online at c-span.org. >> c-span has unfiltered coverage of the house january 6 committee hearings investigating the attack on the capital. c-span.org/january 6 our web resource patient to watch the latest videos of hearings, briefings and all of our coverage on the attack and investigations. we will also have reaction from embers of congress and journalists and authors talking about the investigation. c-span.org/january 6 for a fast and easy way to watch when you cannot see it live.
>> president biden addressed the nation on what the white house is calling a successful counterterrorism operation after u.s. armed forces killed one of the world's most wanted terrorist who played a key role in the 9/11 attacks. 11 years ago the obama administration conducted a similar successful operation to kill osama bin laden.