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tv   Washington Journal Tony Mecia  CSPAN  October 16, 2017 3:33pm-4:02pm EDT

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>> until the u.s. senate returns, a portion now of today's washington journal looking at lobbiest spending during the trump presidency. >> at the table now with tony ma see ya, first time guess for you, with the leak woo he standard and the topic is lobbying spending during the trump presidency. here's a binge of a piece you write, lobbying money spikes under president trump so far and you write that self months in into churn session congress hag passed for large legislation, republicans control both house and the white house and failed to produce a new health care bill. now the effort to appears to be growing his ambitious for tax reform. can be tempting to declare this is a do nothing congress but a review of public disclosure record shows that congress is usuallily busy being lob yesterday by business groups and interests. tell us more. >> guest: you heard a lot of frustration over the last few months at congress, at
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washington. you see the callers and the recent segments, you hear that frustration, that they're really getting nothing accomplished. but at the same time when you look at lobbying money being spent, that money is actually on the increase. so some people might say, that doesn't seem to make a lot of senior why are they spend smuggle nothing is getting done. it's there's this expectation whenever you have a president and a come of the same party, at the beginning of a new president's term, that things would get done. so you look at these expenditures the first six months of 2017 and they're on the increase and approaching the level that -- approaching record levels that we last saw at the beginning of the obama administration, when president obama came in, had a solidly democratic congress. a lot of these companies, industries, are spending a lot of money just trying to advance their agendas. you're not seeing a lot of major
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legislation yet out of this congress, but it's not because lobbyists aren't working hard. >> host: in your piece, chart here called cash infusion and you do write that the companies and trades are on extra to spend the most on lobbying since 2009, and projected to spend $3.34 billion this year. these numbers come from the center for responsive possession ticks. let's look at the industries. by industry, pharmaceuticals and health insurers, some up on top, 144 million. insurance companies, 78. electronics, 68 million. oil and gas, 64. as we take a look at these industries-tell us more about the number snooze sure. if you look at the top ten list here of the spending by industry, it's striking how many of them are involved in healthcare and the health care debate. mass was huge focus of congress in its first few months of the year, didn't wind up with any legislation. but as you said you see
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pharmaceuticals at the top, insurance number two hospitals and nursing homes at number seven, health professionals number eight. healthcare has always for the last several years been the top -- if not the -- at the very top, toward the very top, of lobbying expend did tours. but i think the fact you have this relentless focus on health care over the years, that's what is bringing out some of that spending. you're also -- imsure you discussed the opioid story that was in the "washington post" wind and "60 minutes," you see that spending, some of that reporting was informed by these numbers, the lobbying spending and these are all publicly disclosed. there are pretty good disclosure laws as far as what the lobbying firms have to disclose to as far as what they're spending, what exactly they're spending it on. so if you are willing to come to look and dig it up, that
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information is there. >> host: let's invite the viewers to phone in with questions and commends for tony cia. we'll get to your calls when they come. in republic. >> a season rite pour the weekly standard, as far as top individuals spenders go, so far this year, through june, here are the numbers and phones utah chamber of commerce, 40 million. national association of real real tore 21-point, 1 the pharmaceutical research and manufacturers of america, 14 million. then there's several more hospitals or medical healthcare type of facilities. at&t on the list of top ten so is boeing and dow. tell us about the numbers. >> guest: you see the chamber of commerce at the top of the list. it really has a wide portfolio of interests, things it's
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interested. obviously tax reform is a big driver but also all sorts of bread and butter regulatoriy issue. the u.s. chamber of commerce is interested in. so, i guess if a not surprising you have so many big companies wanting to have a -- establish a major presence in washington. the old saying is, if it's not the table, you're on the menu. so sort of you want to make sure you have the presence here. the lobbyists if talked with say it's not just a one-time thing where, my gosh, there's bill coming before congress so we need a presence. it's establishing the relationships and making sure that those relationships of ongoing. >> host: remind us what lobbying and is what it is these days. has it changed? >> guest: i think it has. i think people have this conception that lobbying involves you see it in the movies, smoke-filled rooms and arm twisting and promises of campaign cash. a lot of what they do is a little more ordinary than that.
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you have a number of firms, a number of law firms, other boutique companies that are just -- they're tracking legislation and reporting back to their members and trying to get the most up to date information that they can relay and it's also mobilizing their members and their -- the people who they share ideas with. it is meeting with those lawmakers and helping inform that debate. we have a conception that it's all bad. it's a little more complicated than that. everybody -- you always hear, lobbyists are destroying -- they're making so it we can't get things done. but there is a lasix think in our system for helping lawmakers understand the things they legislating about. by providing expertise. you can say we don't want the lobbyist writing legislation that benefits them but there's a role for people who are affected by legislation to have a voice
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in that. >> host: calls are here, august just from sleeve part 0, louisiana, democrat. >> caller: my question is what is the difference between a lobbying and bribing? would you express that? >> guest: well, sure. lobbying completely legal. bribery, not so much. there is -- is a just said there's a role to be played for industries that are affected by legislation, to have a voice in legislation. obviously some of the concern and one of the thing that president trump ran on was this idea that this is a swamp. we need drain the swamp. and so there are various elements of that. lobbying, campaign contributions, regulatory stake that has an exercises a lot of influence. bribery obviously -- that's
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illegal. lobbying is legal. >> host: augustus our thrill and. >> caller: he done stirred up the swamp more than. the stirred the swamp up. like we used to go mudding, we call it, got the fish to jumping. >> host: thank you for calling. thank you for calling, augustus you. write that almost every business isn't you're is involved now, and consider it just the cost of doing business? >> guest: that's right. a lot of times you'll see industrieses that are newly emerging, don't understand the value. you know about the technology companies, google, facebook, get into nat in the piece. five or circumstance years ago they didn't have a washington presence. then started seeing there's some talk in washington about regulating companies more, and all of a sudden they beef up their lobbying prepares ten --
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lobbying presencefield, and a couple of them on the list, google, and so they've seen the value for themselves in having that presence and making their voice heard. >> host: yoenis auburn, alabama. republican caller. hi, joe. >> caller: huh are you doing? my question was, always the house and the senate, there's no legislation being pushed through -- major legislation. when you say lobbies might have a lot to do with that? >> guest: well, certainly there were -- there is a lot of opposition to the republican healthcare plan that was put forward earlier in the year, various versions of that. did that have a lot to do with it? that probably certainly played role. there was also republicans have a very slim majority in the senate, not a lot of room for
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error, so if you can peel off two or three of them, in the senate, then you can kill a lot of things. some is the lobbying, some is maybe a lack of popular support some is resistance to what the president wants to do. there are a number of factors, but certainly -- i have no doubt the lobbyist made their voices heard on the health care issue. >> host: dana writes: not surprised that lobbying was up. big changes are happening weapon began the piece by saying not much has happened but we know health care is very much out there and of course taxes. the leadership is looking towardded some sort of tax reform bill. with that do you expect to see a spike in lobbying and what provisions in the tax code? >> guest: sure. tax reform is going to bring out a lot of lobbyists on a lot of different issues, no so than health care. health care, big issue, affects
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directly the healthcare industries, insurance. tax reform affects pretty much every single business and individuals, so, you are going to see a lot on that. right now that's republican plan that came out a couple of weeks ago is starting to get a hearing on capitol hill, you are seeing a bunch of different organizations weigh in on it. an issue of state and local tax deductions where you have group frocks california, new york, new jersey, high tax areas opposed to that. you have the issue of realtors who don't like the increase -- the proposed increase in the standard deduction because they worry that would chip away at the mortgage deduction and make buying a house something that is important you have the tech nothing companies that are concerned about the money overseas, the issue of how do you repatriate the money.
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they have other a lot of money offshore, tech companies. charities worried about what changes could would do to charitable giving. you have bankers, the banker association interested in how do you treat the deductibility of interest. there are all kinds of issues. those are just some of the big ones. all sorts of provisions of the tax code that all kinds of attention that have big effects on the a lot of different businesses. >> here a "washington times" story related to that part of the. republican plan would add a $4,000 tax deduct for charitable giving, look to prop up donations amid complaints from charities the g.o.p.'s tax reform could hurt their bottom line. i big idea from mark walker, influential house conservative has come up blaine teed a $4,000 tax deduction for charitable givingon what is already in the tax code. to give boost to low in middle income families by letting them
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take a standard deduction and deduct for charitable giving. >> guest: i think that's an illustration of how -- so, if we're worried about lobbyists, are those lobbyists or people representing vital interests of charitable organizations? i think it's a it more complicated than just black and white issue. >> host: million my from collegeville, pennsylvania; good morning. >> caller: good morning. i have this part of the answer if we're offended by lobbyists and congress people going over the line, and cooperating too closely together in the interests of -- some interest or eye. would say you hold the -- both of them conditionable. if i were living in the tennessee struck or the congressman from washington's disk i would be call thing offers anding and them to explain how they didn't exercise more judgment in the lawmaking
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concerning the opioid -- the daye dea as i understand it from 60 minute so is please hold your congress people conditionable and get mad, do something. >> guest: i think that's a good point. at the end of the day, who is responsible for what the elect representative does? i think the voters are. the elected representatives are conditionable to the voters and so if you're elected representative is not doing what you want him ortho do, vote them out. there's a lot of outer benefit dish think a lot of what you have, one of the reasons that president trump was elected was that some of the disgust forwards, the perception it that they're looking of their own interests, looking at the -- after the interest of big business and not looking out for the little guy so let's bring in an outsider.
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>> host: my lean burk writes that didn't trump say he was going to stop this lobbying, promised made and brokenment did the president say anything about lobbying and what was it. >> guest: i think there weren't a lot of specific. the phrase we're most familiar with is want tot drain the swamp. did want some sort of lobbying reformes. had meat some minor reforms when he came in as far as this issue of the revolving door, people moving from regulatory departments into industries that they regulate and so he put out some rules saying, well, my appointed -- the appointed positions were not going to -- going to say you need to not do that for five years. so, that's something. but it's not as far as big whole sail change to how it -- it operates, nobody is viewing that as a major accomplish. >> host: nothing coming out of congress in this area. >> guest: not right now. hasn't ban priority. a lot of other priorityes.
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no to say they won't get to it but certainly not on the agenda right now. >> host: let hear from ron, in gretna, florida. independent caller good morning, ron. >> caller: good morning. i was just wondering, when it comes to lobbyists, the constitution bill of rights speak of people's rights 'when did the lobbyisted have more power to address our public officials than the people? why isn't there a buffer zone between the lob lobbyists and the congressmen, called the people, that are looking at this before it goes congress? congress it gets there we don't know what happens and we're the ones that are supposed to be being served. so, when a lobbyist want to see congress, shouldn't he have to go through a civilian panel first that gets their ideas and their input, not what some politician who needs a campaign contribution from a special
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interest group. we now are embroiled in this healthcare battle that is bankrupting the country. the democrats are saying we really need this, but where were the democrats when way were signing nafta and cutting our salaries in half. we could at one time afford health care. now that we are sit shipping mose of our jobs overseas, where is the money coming from in democrats care about it. didn't care too minute when they turned america into a rust belt. >> thank you for calling? one problem i house to regulate, can you outlaw lobbying? tell lawmaker you can't meet with lobbyists in we plant lawmakers listen to as many different voices as we can. not the exclusion of regular people you. certainly don't want -- only method of getting information but certainly the caller is
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right, there's a perception that lobbyists run this town but certainly dish think members of congress would tell you they're very much in touch with con city students and do listen to the people who at the end of the day, they need be responsible city of. >> we looked at figures from the center for responsive politicked. in general who tracks lobbying money, how is it tracked, and how can folks like our viewers fine out what is going on out there? >> guest: a great question there are laws that have been passioned over the years that require that mandate that lobbying be disclosed, who the lobbyists are, what issues they're lobbying on-how much moyer they spending and they have to be filed every six month. we the the numbers for the first six months of 2017. january or february see the numbers from the second half of the year, see how much money people are spending on tax reform if individual citizens and c-span viewers want to see
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that. you maybed the center for responsive politic, a great job come buying those, and that all that is available publicly. the web site is open secrets.org. if you want to see how much your member of congress is getting from the pharmaceutical companies or how much they're lobbying on particular issues, there's all sorts of information out, very easily searchable. what interest is interesting in each bill, it's all public record. the immediateways free to report on, that individual citizens are free to look up and draw their own conclusions. >> our guest is a senior write for the weekly standard. previously worked for the charlotte observer in north carolina, deputy business editor there covering banking, real estate, manufacturing and other issues, has a ba in political science and history from duke and journalism and mass communications from the
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university of north carolina. chapel hill is our next call. joe. good morning, joe. >> caller: good morning. >> host: good morning. what would you like so i a, joe? >> caller: so, i'd like to talk a little bit about interesting how we're preventing this as just a valuable information. so we have other spike in lobbying and that's real real new but it's interesting. all neutral until we get to the point where we say things like congress has been busy. they're listening to all the lobbyists, a if that's valuable busy work good for the people. and that's whole thing about how everybody needs to give access to congress so they can make good decisions as if that's all neutral. what about following the money and the power and the value of having that money pushing through interests that are not representing the people. i'd like some comment on that.
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>> guest: on the issue of, is congress working, are they doing anything? some people -- one point of view is they haven't done anything and just taking recesses and meeting with lobbyists and doing nothing to advance the people's interests. if you're happy with the status quo, people say, well, maybe they're not making things worse. i do think there's a difference of opinion on the value of lobbying. we don't want politics to be influenced by groups that don't have the people's assed at heart but it can be a complicated thing because what joe believes and what somebody else believes could be vastly different and so congress has to sort that out. so it's not just a matter of saying, well, why congress not doing what joe wants them to do?
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>> host: if members, by twitter enmembers of congress on listen to lobbyi niters trying be informed. george from clarksville, tennessee now. good morning, george. >> caller: yeah. hi. good morning. says that he says that we have the best government that money can buy. i think that most people agree with that. but i didn't think it was legal -- if you have somebody that guess to congress and they've been in congress for 15 years and went there with $100,000 in their bank account, and now on their salary, and their significant other's salary, they're worth millions of dollars, seem knows that should be a little illegal, like -- i mean, a lot of greed and corruption in lawmakers and shouldn't be tolerated in my view. >> guest: i think you see a lot of frustration when people
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coming into congress and then 20 years later they're multimillionaires, congress has ethic laws as far as what they can take in gifts from speeches, but i think it is extremely frustrating to people see people come to washington, and they make a living here and they do well for themselves. at the same time that people back home have -- are facing real struggles. >> host: edward from wisconsin. is it mingon. >> caller: yes. >> host: go ahead, please. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i've called in the past. i just want to say as a republican that i read a book by a michael savage, called "trump's war" and it's an excellent become. would recommend it for everybody in this world to read.
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it explains multinational corporations, explains all the corruption that is involved with lobbyists and half of the senate and as a republican, i'm changing my mind about a party. i'm going to be an independent in the future and i never change from independent to any other party. thank you for my call. >> host: what's driving you change? what's making your change. >> caller: say that again, mean. >> host: what's making you changer registration from republican to independent? >> caller: this particular book. "trump's war. i" explained the whole situation with a congress and what is going on in the global political system and how everything is so corrupt, we need a man like donald trump. i would vote for him as an independent but not as a member of the democratic or the republican party. so if you have any further
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comments i'll take them. >> thank you. anything you want to react to there? >> guest: a lot there. if you see a lot of frustration with what is going on in washington. both parties ump think this is an issue that a lot of the -- riles a lot of people up. a not a democrat or republican issue but insider versus outer issue. >> host: one last call. margaret from gresham, oregon. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. >> host: you're welcome. >> caller: you're absolutely right, there is a place for lobbyists but who has enough "to use them? except the rich people? those people are sent there to congress to do what the people wanted. they have lost that long time ago. a long time ago. and lobbyists is one though main reasons. i know there's a smile on your face and people complain about lobbyists because they will he here forever. good luck to you. and the rest of us poor people
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will just keep struggling along. >> host: final thought sunny don't think we're looking down or noses at people i think it's a reality of what you have in washington and we as journalists have a responsibility to report to the people. here's the information out there, and you can see how much is being spent on lobbying and use it to inform your vote. ...
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[inaudible conversations] the senate will come to order. d the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal lord god, we bless your holy name. provide our lawmakers with the
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wisdom to obey you completely and receive your guidance. may your guiding presence inspire them so that they can find even in troubles opportunities for joy. lord, remind them of the blessings that come from being challenged, as they learn from experience that the things that test them produce endurance. when their endurance is fully developed, give them the satisfaction of possessing such integrity that their faith will not shrink though pressed by many foes. lord, help our senor

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