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tv   Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell Holds News Conference  CSPAN  November 10, 2016 12:12am-12:40am EST

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that has been liking us for so many years. what i see now with a unified government is the opportunity to get back to work for the american people. donald trump pulled off an amazing political feat. he deserves tremendous credit for that. it helped us keep our majorities. it showed the country that people do not like the direction we are going. we need to change direction. what i am excited about is we in congress, along with our nominee, offered a very specific agenda on which direction to take the country. that is the direction we are going to go. that is why i am excited about working with our president elect, our vice president-elect, on the transition to make sure , we hit the ground running. >> you say you want to unify the country. there is a pervasive fear of they do not know what to expect. they are worried about civil liberties being violated. thinks mr. trump represented during the campaign. what do you say to them? speaker ryan: i do not think you should be worried about civil
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liberties being violated. look at the judges he would choose from to put on the supreme court. these are people that respect the bill of rights and respect the constitution. one of the biggest victories of this race is the constitution itself. for those people who are concerned, for those who did not want the republicans to win, we had a very clear agenda. we believe in the principles that built this country. we believe in the constitution. we have an agenda to get people back to work, to bring accountability to the federal government. we want the federal government to respect the state. this is exciting. for those people who are concerned, this is the time to unify, the time to heal. our president-elect set the right tone last night with his speech, to be magnanimous, presidential, and bring people together. >> think you're going to work with him on the transition. donald trump running his
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campaign tried to take you up and the primaries? speaker ryan: yes. i do not worry about things like that. i do not worry about interparty issues. donald and i have had fantastic conversations in the last 18 hours. mike pence and i had a great conversation about transition meetings. how to make sure that when his hand comes up the bible, when his best when he is sworn in as president we are very excited , about working with him to make sure that is the case. [inaudible] speaker ryan: i will not get into reconciliation issues. i want to sit down with the president-elect and his team to talk about what they want to achieve, what work they want to say taking care of and what work they once to take up when they come in. this is something we are going to have to plan on this transition.
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i have to tell you, having been involved before, it is very exciting to be going into a lame duck with a republican president following right after. i'm excited about that come and we are going to coordinate with our president-elect on only can achieve. thank you. appreciate it. >> dee's portable? -- do you support a wall? leader majority mcconnell -- mitch mcconnell says he looks forward to working with president-elect donald trump. this is a half hour. senator mcconnell: hope you are having as good a day as i am.
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before we get started, just one parochial matter. kentucky had the unfortunate distinction until yesterday of being the only state in the south with a democratic legislative body. that changed dramatically yesterday as the republicans in the bluegrass state took the statehouse, going from 47 up to 64. it had been almost as long as it had been since the cubs won the world series, 95 years of continuous democratic control. that only added a little more happiness to my evening. to more current and national matters, senator schumer called yesterday and offered his
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cooperation. i said that is certainly what i intended to do. we talked again today. that is still the view of both of us, that we want to work together to see what we can accomplish for the american people, not only in a lame duck, but beginning next year. i have had a chance to talk to the president and vice president. to president-elect trump and vice president-elect pence. not only just offering congratulations, but about wrapping up business this year. i am really proud of the races we won. if you look across the country, as all of you know, we had a lot of exposure. 24 of us up, only 10 of our democrat friends, in a day where
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the american people were bracing themselves for major change. it is noteworthy that only one or two senate incumbents were defeated. i think an appropriate way to look at the senate races, 18 of them, senate candidates, ran ahead of the presidential candidate. in other races, somewhat of a mixed picture. in a day when people were voting for change, they voted not to change the republican senate. i'm proud of that. many of our members had bipartisan accomplishments to run on, as distinguished from the previous congress, where the senator from alaska had not been allowed to offer an amendment on a bill. we opened the senate up and gave
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people an opportunity to express themselves, offer ideas. in the case of several of our members, there were important accomplishments for the states they were able to talk about during the course of the campaign. i want to particularly congratulate president-elect trump. i think we can agree this was a stunning election, and clearly an indication the american people would like to try something new. i know the speaker shares my view we would like to see the country go in a different direction and intend to work with him to change courses, to change the course for america. he will have the opportunity to fill a supreme court vacancy. i said in february of this year, to a hail of controversy, that i believe it best the american people decide who made the appointment to the supreme court. i thought i was on firm footing
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in doing that. it had been 80 years since a supreme court vacancy in the middle of an election year was confirmed by the senate. you had to go back to 1888 to find the last time a vacancy on the supreme court in a election year was confirmed i a senate of the opposite party of the president. the american people have spoken. president trump will send us a nominee, i assume, early next year. with that, let me throw it open. >> considering how republicans balked at merrick garland, why -- there has never been an outright filibuster. why would you expect democrats to handle any nomination from a president like trump differently? if they do block it, would you return the favor with a nuclear option? senator mcconnell: it may not surprise you that i will not address what might happen.
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what we do know is that the new president will fill the vacancy. i expect it to be handled in the way these court appointments are typically handled. i would not anticipate any particular strategy that the democrats might employ to defeat it or what we might do in reaction. >> have you spoken with senator schumer? senator mcconnell: we have not discussed anything. >> do you think comprehensive tax reform is feasible next year? what are some of your other priorities? senator mcconnell: we will be working with a new president with a new slate of priorities, but he talked about tax reform. i think this is really important. in the early part of my service in the senate, we did comprehensive tax reform in 1986. president reagan and tip o'neill were revenue neutral for the
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government and tried to make america more competitive by lowering the rates for as many as possible. president obama and i, and i know he had this conversation with speaker ryan as well. the current president is not interested in making it revenue neutral. he wanted more money for the government. if you want to make america truly competitive, the goal ought to be revenue is reduced by the elimination of preferences. use that to buy down the rates. we have a particular acute problem with the corporate tax rate, as everyone admits, thereby creating the opportunity for inversions and the like. what i would prefer to see, and i have not had a chance to talk to the president about this yet, is comprehensive tax reform that does not just lower taxes for the corporations that are having a hard time competing with the rest of the world, but for the
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rest of american businesses, which are not corporations. escorts or llcs. we need to have an agreement. and back in those days, we did it the last time, there were plenty of democrats on board. bill bradley was a key player. that is hopefully something we have bipartisan agreement on. >> you talked before about how in republicans have a very 2018 favorable map. it is likely you will have the majority through your next election in 2020. are you starting to think about what sort of legacy you will have or what stamp you can make on america in the next four years? senator mcconnell: no. we have not started the next congress yet. plenty of time to talk about legacies later. >> i wondered if you had a preference for how long you would like to fund the
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government. would you like to go just until trump takes over? are you thinking omnibus? senator mcconnell: really haven't talked about that. there are two priorities. how are you going to fund the government? second, excuse me, second, the 21st century bill. the president is interested in precision medicine. device president is interested in the cancer moonshot part of it. i am interested in the regenerative medicine. senator alexander and chairman of the and have done trigger of work on this -- have done terrific work on this. i would like to see us finish that important new measure this year. the president and i discussed those two matters this morning. >> in june, you expressed concerns about donald trump, his
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comments about hispanics possibly harming the party's relationship, the same way goldwater did with african-americans. the morning after do you still , share those concerns? number two, do you support his central policy idea to build a wall? senator mcconnell: i am not going to relitigate the events of the past. we have a new president. i would like to see him get off on a positive start. i think we should look forward, not backward, relitigate the various debates we had internally and with the democrats. >> what about the wall? senator mcconnell: we will be talking to the president about his agenda. border security is important. i think our democrat friends realize we have not done a good job of that. achieving border security is something that ought to be high on the list. i want to try to achieve border security in whatever way is the most effective.
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>> senator, do the election results signal an end to the war on coal? how does that affect your agenda in the next congress, and what does that mean for coal jobs in kentucky? senator mcconnell: the war is not a result of any legislation we have passed. one of the things i hope the new president -- and he mentioned this during the new campaign -- will do is take a look at the unilateral actions the president took through executive orders and regulatory overreach of one kind or another. the coal industry is a perfect example of that. there were a lot of others. and see how much he can undo. the unilateral actions the president took all by himself, which would not require us. i think in looking at why the country has had such slow
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growth, the most tepid recovery after recession since world war ii, overregulation is the principal reason why the president did not have one year of 3% growth. you saw a lot of people who voted for the new president yesterday. frustrated -- they may not have put it this way, but the lack of growth is the reason for lack of opportunity and jobs. we have to get this economy going again. we need to take your foot off the brake and put it on the accelerator. much of that can be done by the president alone. much of the problem has been created by this president alone. we will be working with the administration to make suggestions about what unilateral actions he can take to undo some of this regulatory overreach that has slowed the economy. coal's a good example. >> can you characterize how you see the senate majority's relationship with president-elect trump? is it to be a partner, is it to be a facilitator of his
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agenda? do you think he shares your perception of the role of the senate majority in his coming term? senator mcconnell: i know he's happy. we still have a republican majority. we look forward to working with him. i think most of the things he is likely to advocate we will be enthusiastically for. where we have differences of opinion, i expect to discuss them privately. the goal would be to get on the same page to turn the country in a different direction. we have had a tutorial over the last eight years in big government. taxes, regulation, big debt. we know it does not work. you do all this stuff, you get slow growth. in order to get the country growing again, we need to undo much of that. good news is, a lot of it was done by the president by himself, so we are going to be enthusiastically supportive
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almost all the time. where we have differences, we will talk about them privately. we will see if we can work them out. >> what is your plan on health care going forward? do you plan on repealing obamacare right away? senator mcconnell: it is a pretty high item on our agenda, as you know. i would be shocked if we did not move forward to keep our commitment to the american people. it was the single worst piece of legislation among the many bad pieces of legislation passed in the first two years of the obama presidency. the sooner we can go in a different direction the better. , >> any chance it comes up in the lame-duck? senator mcconnell: you would have to ask him. tpa is still in place if the next president wants to negotiate a trade agreement. he has the opportunity to do that and to send it up. >> the framework president obama
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has negotiated? senator mcconnell: it will certainly not be brought up this year. it would be up to discussion through the new president. i think the president-elect made it clear he does not favor the current agreement. he has the latitude. tpa is in place during that administration, to negotiate better deals if he chooses to, sending them up for an expedite. >> in september, you said you wanted to move spending bills to a series of omnibus bills. did the election outcome change that? senator mcconnell: we will be talking with the speaker and the president about how to wrap up the spending this year. you are asking me a procedural question. i do not blame you. but i do not know the answer. we would like to finish funding the government this year. exactly how to achieve that over
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a three-week period is a matter for discussion. how to package it, differences in the house and senate. i would like to wrap up the business of funding the government in this fiscal year, this calendar year. >> do you plan to use budget reconciliation for the repeal and replacement? senator mcconnell: a question you know i am not going to answer. just to stipulate that every single republican thought obamacare was a mistake, without exception. that is still our view. you can expect us with a new president who has the same view, to address the issue. >> do you support the stated goals of withdrawing from nato and forming a closer alliance with russia? senator mcconnell: again, i want
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to look forward. i will say for myself i think the nato alliance is every bit as important today as it ever was. i think article 5 means something. you attack any member of nato, you have us to deal with. i want the russians to understand that fully. >> the last time there was unified control of the white house, senate, and the house, your belief was the democrats in 2009 and 2010 had acted too fast on their own unilaterally with no bipartisanship in the stimulus, aca, dodd-frank. how do you avoid those mistakes? senator mcconnell: let me just answer broadly. i think it is always a mistake to misread your mandate.
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and frequently, new majorities think it is going to be forever. nothing is forever in this country. we have an election every two years right on schedule since 1788. i do not think we should act as if we are going to be in the majority forever. we have a temporary lease on power, if you will. we need to use it responsibly. i think with the american people are looking for is results. to get results in the senate, it requires some democratic participation and cooperation. we were able to do that during the first obama tenure in the deals i negotiated with biden on three different occasions. we are going to be looking for bipartisan support. i think overreaching after an election is, generally speaking, a mistake. >> one of the items that has been on the president-elect's
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agenda has been congressional term limits, which is not something you have been a fan of. what would you say as to whether or not that has any chance? senator mcconnell: they are called elections, and they will not be on the agenda in the senate. thehs that now that republicans control all aspects of the government, you might reconsider the earmark moratorium? senator mcconnell: i don't think so. >> criminal justice reform is something that has supports on both sides of the aisle. is that something you look at in the new congress? donald trump has not talked about law and order on the but it has not made it into legislation. senator mcconnell: in terms of scheduling the senate, we have serious division among republicans. i would not rule it out. i do not want to speak for the
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speaker. he said something about whether or not they might tackle it. it might be a good question to ask him. if they send a bill over to us, we will take a good look at it. it is a pretty spirited debate. not only on a philosophical basis. i have some conservative members who are in favor of it and opposed to it. it did not look to me like a good agenda item for us at this point, but i would not want to rule it out for next congress. >> back to the supreme court issue. could you just help us understand how much advising and consenting will you be doing? senator mcconnell: i was pleased the president-elect was already asking for our advice. as you know, many of us made suggestions when he put together a list of prospective nominees.
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he was asking for our advice. i think he will be open to that. i, for one, intend to take advantage. i have a few suggestions or like -- i would like to make that i will not mention. i think he is open to our suggestions about that. i think it is good. >> you mentioned a few things in the lame-duck. you did not mention tax extenders. will that be in play over the next few weeks? sen. mcconnell: i am not sure we are doing extenders, are we? i don't know the answer to that. when you don't know, just so you -- just say you don't know. >> you and senator reed have been famously adversaries for years now. sen. mcconnell: we were both sad that the nats did not make it past the first round again.
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[laughter] >> can you extend on your relationship between senator schumer, and you expect a different relationship. what does he bring to the table that you can work with? sen. mcconnell: i think we are getting along fine. guys like to write these personality pieces. he has a job to do. i have a job to do. i respect him. i think he is very smart. i think we will be fine. we both have our roles to play. i don't expect him to enthusiastically embrace my agenda. on the other hand, to do things in the senate you need some , bipartisan support. democrats're like the in 2009 and 2010 with 60 votes, and they paid a big price for it. >> can you describe your relationship with governor pence? do you expect them to be the
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chief liaison on capitol hill? sen. mcconnell: i really like governor mike pence. if you ask any of us who served with him, we all like him. we all thought it was a great choice that president-elect trump made in picking him. i would just mention the way vice president cheney worked with us, he was at many of our tuesday launches. you know that dick cheney was a classic guy that did not necessarily say anything all the time. he was like a sponge, absorbing what our concerns were. he acted almost like president bush's senate liaison. i have mentioned that to vice president pence. i hope he will attend our tuesday policy lunches when he is in town. kind of the our liaison between the administration and the senate, much like vice president cheney was.
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>> regarding the majority, the senate leadership fund says that when the democrats started to raise a lot of money in competitive senate races, you personally "sent up a flare" to republican donors. to try to raise more money for keeping the majority. sen. mcconnell: what i did was to call attention around the country to the fact that this group existed. it was obviously operated by people that i have known well for years. i knew what their purpose was because they announced it. their purpose was to help us keep the republican senate. sure, i praise them and made sure everybody was aware of their existence. >> when did you feel like there was a key moment? sen. mcconnell: i don't know if there was a key moment. i recommended that this group be


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