tv Senator Jeff Flake Answers Constituent Questions in Gilbert Arizona CSPAN August 28, 2017 3:50am-4:50am EDT
festival, and you have over 100 authors, it children's authors, illustrators, graphic novelists, all of these different authors there all day. over 100,000 people come in and celebrate books and reading. you cannot have a better time, i think. i am a little prejudiced because i am a librarian. any reader who wants to get inspired, the book festival is the place. announcer: all day coverage begins saturday with pulitzer prize winning authors. the national book festival, live saturday starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern on cspan2.
>> republican senator jeff flake held a town hall in arizona and took questions on various issues including trade, tax reform, border security and stability in u.s. politics. this is just under one hour. [applause] >> thank you mike. >> good morning. >> this mic does not work very well. >> [indiscernible] >> i don't think any of them are working all that well. ok, all right, we will get it before the event starts today. senators, obviously a lot going on in washington right now. you have a new book out, conscience of a conservative, a rejection of destructive
politics and a return to principle. let's talk about that. the book echoes a number of comments barry goldwater made it in a similar book years ago. maybe you could talk little bit about that book? >> thank you. barry goldwater -- [no audio] [protesters yelling] >> i just want to know, are you in favor of the environment or not! >> we will have the opportunity for questions from the audience later. [indiscernible] >> i mean, i am just trying to find out. you don't support climate change? >> i apologize for that.
kinds no worry. >> it may not be the first or the last one today, i am sure. book,n talking about the barry goldwater in 1960 felt like the conservative moment in the -- movement in the republican party had been compromised by the new deal and he felt like there had to be a manifesto put out for conservatives to follow. so he wrote "conscience of a conservative" at that time. this book i wrote is very much an homage to senator goldwater and also because i am concerned about where we are today. i am concerned that the party is going down a populist route, and populism is called populism for a reason.
it may be popular, you may win elections that way but it is not a governing philosophy. i am concerned by this intense nationalism and anti-free trade and arizona benefits significantly from free trade. nafta has been good for arizona, obviously it needs to be modernized but it needs to be continued, not abandoned. i am concerned that the party might go there, and the, half of the book is on what the subtitle is, "the rejection of destructive politics." i am a conservative i am just not in a bad mood about it [laughter] sen. flake: i think it is something that is an affirmative, positive philosophy. not built on anger or hatred. i am concerned about where the party might be going there as well, if we follow the lead of some individuals who would give in to that kind of destructive behavior. so i would like to address that quite a bit in the book. it talks about going back -- growing up where i did, so
snowflake is the center of the universe, [laughter] sen. flake: i am sure the eclipse will be most prominent there as well! i grew up with a great example, my father, being the mayor of the city, doing public service, judicial advisory council for this date, uncle that were in politics, jake flake from snowflake who was a beloved speaker of the house, and also another who was eager of the house and state president. they found ways to work across the aisle while governing in arizona and do it in a collegial manner, looking for compromise. and i feel like we are losing some of that in this shirts versus skins, winner take all, winners and losers type of environment. it is a beak concern of mine and i address it in the book.
-- it is a big concern of mine and i address it in the book. mike: you address it very well. there is a quote in the atlantic a while back where it says maybe you were too nice to be a senator! you certainly have a stellar service record and it shows that you can be nice and be a conservative too. sen. flake: i hope so! mike: so try not to be a grumpy conservative, we appreciate it. you have been a strong supporter of free trade, please talk about that. it is very important to the
southern part of the united states and to the whole country. clearly some of your directions have broken with the administration and are different, can you talk about that? sen. flake: overall, trade has been extremely important for the state of arizona. we are a border state and we take advantage of that. we'll have $19 billion in trade with mexico, last year. that is something we should be proud of and seeks to expand, and i am proud of the chamber of commerce, all of the folks who have pushed this. the people of arizona understand, i think, better than others days, the valley and importance of trade. in this country we are just 5% of the world population, less than 5%, less than 20% of the world's economic output and shrinking, not because of our economy shrinking but because the developing world is growing faster. we cannot grow economically, we cannot have a better standard of living or quality of life if we shun trade and if we build barriers to trade. so i am very concerned about where we are going, the rejection of the trans-pacific partnership or the tpp which was a big mistake which will haunt us for a long time. as we speak, the other parties to the tpp, the other 11 countries are seeking to do deals amongst themselves and they will leave us behind. the international supply chains are set, once they are set it is tough to break back in. we all know how that works. i am concerned not only on the economic front but also on the geopolitical front as well, rejecting the agreement means
particularly for those countries in southeast asia, we want them to be in our trade orbit, not just in china's. we are giving them no option, and they are looking elsewhere for trade partnerships. we have to get away from the idea that we are the only game in town, we are not. we can harness free trade, make it to our benefit as it has been over the past couple of decades, several decades. but if we reject this trade agreement, the administration has said they want to go forward with bilateral trade agreement. great! do them! bilateral trade agreements usually grow up to be multilateral trade agreements in this day and age, but we cannot
reject multilateral trade agreements. prior to nafta, our total trade with mexico was between 50 billion and $60 billion per year, 25 years ago. now, it is over $500 billion per year. the administration seems to fixate on the trade deficit we have of about $50 billion. well, take it! if you are trading nearly $600 billion with a trade deficit, particularly when it has to do with the energy sector, it is not as detrimental as some people paint it as. we need to move forward from this rhetoric from the pet -- the president's campaign which was to reject nafta and has evolved to let's renegotiate it. i hope it means let us modernize it, let us make it better and stronger for all three countries involved. the reason for negotiation, moving forward, -- i am
encouraged as are my colleagues who want free trade. mike: you spoke out about that pretty well in your book. if we create a vacuum, someone will be waiting there to fill it. sen. flake: to that point, just after the election i was down in mexico's 80, a preplanned trip the trip took on more urgency after the election. the mexican senate, while i was down there, was working on the tpp that we had just rejected. their efforts were moot in that regard but at the same time the russian and chinese presidents were both in southern america telling these countries that would have been part of the tpp that we are here. it says something about us being
left behind if we do not aggressively look for these trade agreements. mike: great, thank you. let us talk about something that is closer to home. you grew up in a ranching family in arizona, so you know very well that water is important and is the lifeblood of arizona. you sit on the committee for energy, and we appreciate your support for srp there we are talk about your efforts to preserve what are in arizona? sen. flake: i appreciate the question, thank you for all that you do there. it has been wonderful to fly over northern arizona when i fly from back east and a.c.l. of the -- when i fly from back east and ice he all of the greenery -- i see all of the greenery. when i get over to my parents house and our ranch, i always see myself on a horse, writing -- riding mile after mile after mile. i never remember it being as
green as it is right now, it is gorgeous, and we are benefiting from a wet monsoon. having said that, in the winter last year, particularly in the sierra nevada, there was a drought issue for arizona. reprieveven a little and theard to lake mead water there. water is the lifeblood of arizona. arizona has planned very well, better than other western states because of the foresight of those who came before us. the people i mentioned, who worked on the ground water code, the republicans and democrats who came together in the 1980's
and required eight 100 year supply of water for development to happen. we are in better shape here in arizona and the key is to make sure that kind of planning continues. which is why it has been great to work with senator mccain and other members of the delegation is it with the governor and his water advisers and they what are the priorities for arizona? we did this for arizona a couple of years ago, and my efforts and senator mccain's in particular have been in tandem with arizona's priorities, and we try to make sure that voluntary arrangement to leave water behind the dam in lake mead by arizona water users would be honored by the federal government. to make sure the water did not disappear down some canal in california. they have a bigger delegation than we have. [laughter]
sen. flake: so we are always concerned about that. we got a agreement from the department of interior to make sure the voluntary water arrangements would be cast in stone or honored. that was done in an appropriation bill and we will have to do the same thing again this year, but i believe we can do it. we have to make sure that one, the colorado river that we have a drought contingency plan that involves a lot of other water users obviously. and other states, so, these are important things. just as important is to make sure that every drop of water that falls on the state is captured and we make use it -- make use of it. srp has done a lot of work on this project, nature conservancy, showing us that as long as we have a watershed, with traditionally the ponderosa pine forest in the north, they are about 20 to 50 trees or acre, they were, now they are around 200 on average. in the a lot of straws ground.
for fires.fuel course of about 16 about 20 % oflost our northern forests. it has terrible consequences in terms of this watershed that is so important to arizona. and srp obviously knows a lot about that. when we have the sediment falling into the reservoirs it has costs to municipalities and others. these are the things you are working on a lot? mike: thank you, you cannot talk about water without talking about the watershed and the conditions, the effect that the fires have been causing it with respect to water quality. i appreciate all of your efforts on that. you cannot have a successful,
you cannot manage a successful watershed control without having a process that is more developed than what we have right now. >> that threat, we have a lot of -- sen. flake: that's right. we have a lot of force out there -- we have a lot of forests out there and there is no way to manage it, they need to partner with our industry, and the problem was prior to the previous fire, the industry was gone. growing up, we always had a paper mill, we had timber industries, a lot of activity in the forest in terms of reducing the fuel load. but that all went, and that was partly the reason that the fire was so devastating. we knew we had to get private industry back after that fire. we started these stewardship contracts. it worked well with the
administration. we were able to bring it back about 135 million dollars to the industry. the srp's were involved with the other uses fornd products.st the difficulty has been to get the federal bureaucracy to move quick enough to prep this acreage. we have a lot of acreage ready now, the problem is just getting it prepped and ready for private industry to go back in. it has been an ongoing process that senator mccain of myself work on a lot. we tend to work together on that to have better leverage. we meet with chief tidwell of the forest service frequently in washington to make sure they are prioritizing arizona. we've had some good results.
we have an initiative. we have about 500,000 acres ready to go. we have had some problems with the contractor but we are working through that. hopefully this year we will do as much as 50,000 acres and if we can continue at that pace, we will actually make some progress. mike: we appreciate your support on that issue. let's talk about tax reform. it takes a lot of leadership and commitment to get a piece of legislation through in an environment like today. can you talk about your direction here? sen. flake: we have got to lower our rate if we want to be competitive globally. we talked about the importance
of trade, but if we want to be competitive globally, we have got to have a lower tax rate. that is priority one. every proposal we have seen has lowered the corporate rate. i am pleased that the houses abandoning its efforts on the border adjustment tax. i think anything that smacks of a tariff is not good in this environment. we should not be putting up new barriers to trade. we are moving away from that. that is a good thing. i know secretary mnuchin has been calling senators. it looks as if the administration will be pushing for traditional lower-the-rate, broaden-the-base kind of reform. woulds certainly what i like to see. doubt.heavy lift, no they come and they
lobby hard. it is not going to be easy by any stretch but i think when you compare to health care, it is different. health care is personal to individuals and families in a way that tax reform is not. tax reform, like i said, it will no doubt be tough but we are got to do it. we in congress need a victory here. when you look at what it has done, the economy, hiring, the unemployment rate, i think it is baked in that we are going to do tax reform and if we do not come through, it is going to be a big blow to the economy. we are feeling the pressure on this. mike: you mentioned health care. let's talk about that. clearly, there has been a lot of controversy over the strategy replacing affordable care. talk about your direction and path forward. sen. flake: this morning in arizona, about 200,000 families or individuals woke up without health insurance.
they will have paid the fine to the federal government. more than 183,000 people will have paid the fine but they cannot afford the insurance. so they paid the fine and still do not have any entrance. you have an even greater number that has insurance on the exchange, the obamacare exchange, but nobody can afford to use it. when i go to the gym in the morning, like i did this morning, inevitably on the treadmill next to me somebody will come up in give me their obamacare horror story about how they had insurance and lost it. [chuckling] sen. flake: or, here's what their deductible is. i have a friend who said he is paying $1500 in premiums every month. when you totaled the deductibles for his family, it goes to
nearly -- and combined with a premium -- he pays more than $30,000 out-of-pocket before the first insurance dollar kicks in. that is just not a situation that can continue. looking out in his room, i'm sure many of you have similar issues. small business in particular is hit hard. those of you who -- i mean -- 70% of arizona's still covered by traditional employer insurance for small businesses and contractors are really hit hard. arizona has that issue. we are kind of ground zero for the failure of the exchange. 14 of 15 counties have one insurer. in every county in arizona, the average premium for a family of four is more costly than their mortgage. in a couple of counties, it is
double the cost for their mortgage. that is not sustainable. it is really not. and arizona is obviously an expansion states of more than 28% of the population is covered by our version of medicaid. in some counties, it is up over 60%. so, that is important to her -- to arizona as well, and how we deal with that. sustainable. be always been,has pull the rug out from under those people who have insurance now. that is what obamacare did in a big way. a lot of people lost their insurance when obamacare came along. we do not want to repeat that. those are picked up insurance on the exchange, you cannot pull the rug on the medicare expansion. you can't pull the rug out from
them either. you have to make that system sustainable. don't take insurance away from people 11 now and make sure the system we have is sustainable. when you look at the medicaid expansion, some of it is medical inflation plus one or two, depending on the population. we have to find way to make that sustainable for the long-term. i would've hoped we could have kept the reform effort alive. we were not able to. but, i hope we can. senator mccain has pushed for it over and over his entire career, get back to regular order. let's put this back in the health committee. have them work out a fix. that is where we are now. mike: this does not seem to be an environment where compromise and regular order prevail very easily. how do we get there from here? sen. flake: we don't have a choice. that is what i was talking about in the book. the biggest by far is our
looming debt and deficit. we have a debt of 20 trillion dollars. we have a deficit that is about six hundred billion dollars now. over the next decade, we will get back over $1 trillion a year. that is not sustainable. at some point i fear the financial markets will wake up one morning and they will have already decided we're not just a good bet. when that happens, it takes decades, generations, to grow out of it. other countries -- japan, greece, others are finding that out. i do not want to be in that situation. i want to fix this kind of thing before we get there and you can only do that if you work across the aisle. [chuckling] sen. flake: it happened when republicans, democrats, sat down together and said -- let's share the political risk because one party, when that party controls both chambers in the white house whether it is republican as it
is now or democrat, that party will never take the chance because midterm elections are never more than two years away and the party will never do on its own and so i think with this vitriol we have in this inability to compromise, it is in my view, as a conservative, it is preventing us from achieving conservative ends and we have got to get away from this notion that it is a bad thing to sit down and work across the aisle and it is just -- it is disheartening to be in that situation where you are attacked if you realize that we need a bipartisan solution for something.
mike: it is far more than an economic issue, it is a world reputation and national security issue. in your work on the foreign relations committee, you are seeing that now. sen. flake: you bet. with regard to the challenges we face and our standing in the world, north korea is the most urgent, obviously. that is a big problem. i think our allies need to know we are there. that we are steady. that we are predictable. that is why in my view that is what a conservative is. if nothing else, a conservative may be boring. that at least predictable and sober. his use of diplomacy and force, our allies need to do that. we need to recognize our adversaries as well for who they are and what they are looking to achieve. russia did try to intervene in our elections. whether they were successful or not we will leave to others, but they certainly tried and we
ought to want to know what they did. and, we want to try to make sure it does not happen again here or in other countries as well. but we have big challenges around the world on the security front, on the trade front. certainly with nuclear weapons and proliferation that we need to make sure that we lead as we have in the past. >> thank you. let's talk about infrastructure. a big priority for both parties this year. it is important to all of the chambers and all of the cities. there has been some discussion and ideas raised about repealing tax exempt status of municipal bonds. that is clearly important to municipalities hand impacts our citizens. can you talk to us about your view on infrastructure proposals? sen. flake: obviously, the country is in need of a big
boost with infrastructure. there is a lot of discussion on how we fund that. that is a big question. i have long supported a tax holiday when it comes to repatriated assets. to bring them back at a lower rate and devote a portion of that to infrastructure. those discussions are continuing. others want to lay claim on that revenue to bring down the rate further. we need a boost and infrastructure. the question as far as a state like arizona, do we farewell with regard to guess tax and -- fare well with regard to gas tax and other moneys they go to the federal government and then come to arizona.
one thing i've always try to do is make sure every dollar we sent from arizona, that we get it back in a way that we can fully utilize in and part of the problem is that when the federal money comes back to arizona, it is tied up with regard to federal mandates and regulations that decrease the value of that money when arizona goes to build up infrastructure. that is why i have supported things like pla equity to make sure that like in the bush administration, product labor agreements, that the government is neutral with regard to project labor agreements and davis-bacon requirements. we should get rid of it when it comes to federal contracts on infrastructure because that simply drives up the cost and means that arizona can build a lot less than they would have otherwise. so there are things we can do on the regulatory front to make sure our infrastructure spending
goes further. but with regard to what the infrastructure package contains in the end, that is still being discussed. there was infrastructure week the administration had it a couple weeks ago. but i do not think anything was settled during that time. there may be a big package with regard to tax reform that includes an infrastructure element. sometimes that is a way to get more votes for the tax package to include infrastructures spending. it's going to be a busy fall in that regard. mike: thank you. we started out the morning with questions from the audience. it did not go quite as planned. [laughter] mike: maybe we'll try it again. sen. flake: there was an element of that question i want to address. people were saying, no unified your disagreements with the administration but aren't there
things you agree with? yes, there are. i think the president appointed a great supreme court justice. george neil gorsuch, i was pleased to help shepherd that through the committee and now he is a sitting justice. i think that is a good. i think the national security team the president put together is a good one. i sleep better at night knowing general mattis is in charge over at defense and that tillerson is at state. federal, state, tribal land, it makes it difficult to provide services when the land is owned by the state or federal government, which also means that when the federal government takes actions with regard to regulatory issues whether it is power generation issues or grazing or land use issues, it has an outside and packed on airs on a. we want to make sure federal government is right-sizing of regulations and not one-size-fits-all because that does not benefit arizona. i sense it is better in that regard. we are working with epa in ways we have not before with things like ozone or things like
particulates or things like, you know, dust storms that arizona has that the epa for the longest time cannot recognize that arizona has periodic test storms that have nothing to do with development here, they have just been here for millennia. so, those kinds of regulations, i think the administration has been more responsive to the state concerns and that is a good thing. mike: great. thank you. let's take a couple questions from folks. [indiscernible question]
sen. flake: i've talked to bob about that. bob corker, who she mentioned, is chairman of the foreign relations committee, when we had a big defense sale to certain countries, the committee wants to insert its jurisdiction to make sure that we review and make sure they are not duplications we do not know about. i know that bob corker has been in favor of trading and sales and i will have to check with him and see what it is about but i am confident that we can work past it and that he has the country's best interest at heart. corker is a good chairman of the
committee and a good man so i will talk to him. mike: more questions from the group? >> [indiscernible question] sen. flake: well, thank you. certainly identified a problem that i think a lot of us are learning a lot more about just in the past couple of years and if you read about it, some states are particularly hard-hit. ohio, new hampshire, arizona is not immune at all. we have our own issues there. the governor has taken action in that regard. where in later iterations in the health care reform we are discussing, there was a significant bit about
investment and addressing of that issue and so i think that the congress is coming to grips with what we need to do in that regard in terms of treatment so i am hopeful that we are going to get there but it is a big issue. thank you for raising it. mike: i do not think there is a state in the country not impacted by right now. additional questions for the senator? there is a microphone coming. >> thank you for your leadership in the senate and your work in arizona, i know you regularly travel and recently went down to southern arizona to visit with ranchers and property owners. i was wondering if you could share what you are hearing and any teacher action on security and those issues. sen. flake: yes.
i was just in nogales the week before last. gorgeous. they really had a good year. the ranchers are happy in that regard but also happy in that border crossings are down significantly. it has been a trend over the past several years but it is at the lowest level in about 30 years right now. that is due to a number of factors. the biggest of which is the economy, particularly in mexico. doing well largely because of nafta. one of the big factors is nafta. that is one of the concerns i have about where where going on trade. the other implications that it has on border security. but, to me, in the bipartisan immigration bill passed in 2013 notof the senate that did house, theren the are significant border
investments. there are areas in some of the towns where we need better walls or fences as we go out of the cities. there are some areas i can tell you along the border that do not lend themselves to a wall or a fence or just about any barrier but our best dealt with by surveillance and so when people talk about one solution on the border they have not trouble the -- travelled the border. when you talk to the ranchers there, you have a lot of different issues that come up all the time if you go down in cochise county, you know, it is a watershed. the water flows north not south and so you cannot have a wall. obviously you have to have a fence with storm gates that open when floods happen. so, it is a different kind of border infrastructure then many envisioned. the situation is better. there is good cooperation between local law enforcement and federal government. at the time, the border sheriffs
sherrif wilmont in dannels inriff county, we have good cooperation that has borne fruit there. so we are in a better situation on the border than we have been in a while and we have to build on those improvements and recognize that any event might change the equation significantly. if mexico in their elections next year were to elect a
populist or leftist government, that might change the trajectory of government there and terms of revenue is asian, trade, and it could affect their income to me is significantly. we would face pressures again. that is one big concern i have about not just the policy we have with mexico but the rhetoric we have with mexico. if we gin up anti-american sentiment in mexico it might i traveled with dan bell a , rancher near nogales two weeks ago on his property and the new infrastructure in terms of cameras and technology has improved the situation significantly in terms of crossing. we have had better improvement. the problem is that you still have a very few people coming to work, migrant traffic across the border, but you still have to be -- you still have those carrying drugs and we have to be concerned about that as well as the prospect of terrorism.
it used to become i talked about in the book, and in an op-ed i wrote recently about a situation on the border back in the 70's when i was back on the ranch and we employed labor that came across the border. there was really no border patrol on the border at that time. sometimes they would come up to northern arizona but it was a different time into age. we did not have the terrorism or drug worries we have today. you can't have the kind of situation we have back then, back now. andave to remain vigilant make sure we have border security. host: we will go back to more questions but let me just ask you one i wanted to, but got off track. cuba. you spent a lot of time trying to improve our relations with cuba and have been successful. we have seen some threats that could go backwards. sen. flake: i have always felt that if we want to punish the castro brothers, make them
deal with spring break once or twice. [laughter] people ask why senator from arizona or then a congressman was involved with cuban policy and i said i took a poll among cuban-americans in my district and both of them said move ahead , we like what you're doing. i've always felt american should have the freedom to travel where they want to unless there is a compelling national security reason not to and there was never -- all indications pointed that the the -- cuba would be -- cuban people would be in a better situation if we allowed travel. i did not often agree with the obama administration on foreign policy, but i think president obama did the right thing in 2010 when he allowed cuban-americans to travel as much as they wanted. no more restrictions. before that, if you were a cuban-american in miami, and your mother and father were in
havana and your father died, you would have to decide -- do i go to his funeral or will my mother die within three years because i can only travel once every three years. what an awful, awful thing we did to cuban-american families. but then, that was lifted. they started traveling. that happened to coincide with a time when the castro's realized they could not employee every -- we could not employee every cuban. they were allowing cubans to work in the growing private sector in cuba. the travel of cuban americans increased remittances that president obama also allowed for seed capital for cuban entrepreneurs. over five years, you went from almost zero private sector employment in cuba, to now today 25% of the workforce and cuba is , employed in a private sector. running a bed and breakfast, private restaurant, taxicab
services, beauty salons. they are making good money by the standards of what people working for the government in cuba are. an average waiter in a cuban restaurant that is private earns $50 a day. in a government restaurant next door, $20 a month. that is changing the dynamic politically. it is giving them more economic freedom certainly. it gives them more political independence from the government as well. that is a good thing. the cuban people are better off and i am proud of the role, the small role i have been able to play in forwarding that. one of the best experiences i had was i was asked to go down to cuba in december of 2014 two participate in a cold war era spy swap. if you have seen "bridge of
spies," this is similar. when we decided to change the dynamic in cuba, there were some issues with detainees and spies we had to solve. i was asked if i would travel to cuba on a sensitive mission and not even tell my wife or staff where i was going and that is why i joined. go to an island somewhere? that is the kind of thing i like. host: did they give you dark glasses? sen. flake: none of that but we went to andrews air force base at 5:00 in the morning, myself and senator leahy. a democrat who had been working together on this issue. we flew down to cuba to pick up allen gross, an american who had been held for five years. i visited him in prison before in havana. he was about to take his own life unless he was released. there were three cuban spies in our jail who got on a plane.
we all landed in cuba at the same time and were on the ground for exactly 31 minutes. we picked up allen gross and headed back to the united states. i will never forget we had been in the air about 25 minutes and the pilot came on and he said, we have now entered u.s. airspace. allen gross stood up and just cheered and breathed deeply in and out several times and said, now i know i am free. it was just a wonderful reminder of what it means to be an american. not just -- just 90 miles from our shore, you can have a communist socialist government that imprisons people who protest and want freedom. just a reminder of what this country means. and it was just a great experience, one of the best i've had in congress. host: thank you. wonderful story. we have another question.
sen. flake: put him to sleep on that story, sorry. host: great story. >> you did answer my question on immigration before. can you comment on the policy of energy independence and what it means to country going forward? sen. flake: great. i think we are in a position right now that 10 years ago, certainly 15 years ago we never , thought we would be in. the abundance and the technology that has allowed us to extract natural gas and to have secure sources for the foreseeable future and allowed us to not only have a more secure energy future and be more independent of countries that we would like to be independent from, but a cleaner energy future as well. we have been able to, you know, do significantly more than we
thought we would have with regard to moving away from dirty fossil fuels into a cleaner environment. it is a good sign. i am in favor of certainly keystone and what we can do to become energy-independent. at least north america. we are closer to that goal than we thought we would be, you know, just a few years ago. and it also makes a difference if we can export natural gas as well to europe. to central european countries, eastern european countries to change the geopolitical inquiries there as well with russia. we are in a better situation, i think, and this new administration has been helpful in terms of being able to access natural gas deposits on federal land and also call deposit and make sure we have an energy policy that makes sense going word and that increases our independence.
host: any questions from the crowd? >> great. as you know, senator mccain was chairman of the armed services committee from the state and that is an area he is focused on. obviously, we are concerned about our budgets with regard to the defense department. making sure that we have the right balance and you know, a long-term plan to make sure that we are defended. and that really is going to depend on making better use of resources that we have already
and that can only be done if we have reform in acquisition and we half to make sure that small businesses and particular have access to these contracts. i know senator mccain is working on that. it is a big important point, particularly for arizona. we have a lot of emerging companies. defense-related industries that benefit from acquisition reform. >> let's take one more question. i don't want to keep everyone from watching the clips -- the eclipse. >> i represent a small university here and work with a lot of young people. the issue of civility is a topic that comes up at times and we encourage our students to build communities and be a part of the community to interact in a civil way.
i think that's what you are promoting. i haven't read the book yet, but i wonder if you could speak to the cause of the seeming instability -- incivility we see in public service right now and what some good solutions might be so we can work together with moving forward? senator flake: it is a big part of the book. when i was finishing the book, i happen to be at the baseball practice for the republicans for the congressional baseball game when the shooter was there. i went back and included a paragraph about that. that's only one side. i remember thinking when the shooter opened fire on the field and seen bullets bounce off the gravel around the infield, the thought came to me and stayed with me for a while, just why?
who could look out at a field of middle-aged members of congress playing baseball and see the enemy? it is something that we have got to work on in a big way. i mentioned in the book the experience of when gabby giffords was shot in tucson. a year after she was shot, she had come to return to the house, it was the state of the union at that time. we left empty seat for her just a few days after she was shot. she returned, it was a big deal and so i sat next to her and she wasn't able to stand when she wanted to when the president, president obama, would have an applause line, the democrats would stand and so i mentioned in the book i would help her up and that left me standing, a republican amid democrats. i started to get texts and
emails from irate republicans saying why are you standing? that is when i really thought this has gone far too far. we have got to come to a place where we don't look at other people -- other americans is our enemies, no matter how fierce the debate can be, and i'm a fierce partisan on some issues. ugly and we get have to get away from calling our opponents losers or clowns or things that make it difficult to sit down and work with them on the big issues that we have to work with them on. about thatncerned and that's my much what the book is about. thank you. host: that is a good one to wrap up on. clearly if we are going to return to principal as the
senator talks about his book, that starts with an informed discourse and that is what these meetings are about and that's what these sessions are about. they have good conversations and questions. senator, we thank you for being here today. i want to give you an opportunity to mention something if it wasn't included. senator flake: on the trade trade neverimes fares well in a political campaign, it's always easier for a politician to .28 shutdown factory and point out that it's because of a bad trade agreement and say someone else took your job. in arizona we have groups like these ballot chambers and a lot of other groups that have talked about the value of trade and so the population understands and i applaud you for that. it makes it easier for
politicians to do the right thing when you have somebody groups and individuals were doing the right thing. and making it easier for us. i want to thank you for that. host: before we break i want to thank you for the support from your staff as well. we appreciate the work they do. of the other half sponsors and the chambers thank everybody for participating and please join me in thanking senator flake. [applause] >> president trump and his family are back in the white house after spending the weekend at camp david. where he was monitoring
coming up, bloomberg news white house reporter discusses the week ahead in the white house. directorrist project talks about centrist candidates in 2018. on usa today's kevin johnson the cost to protect the president and his family. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal coming up at 7:00 a.m. this morning. join the discussion. tonight on "the communicators." guest: what's the -- >> what the framework on how we look at cyber security? i think congress has bipartisan support on that. is trump administration looking to focus on that and we look to participate. >> we visit the microsoft tech fair in washington d.c. to learn about issues facing congress. a microsoft research or share
their thoughts. we are able to ingest data from sensors, drones, cameras. tot services they provide panama department. someone else wants precision map. that tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. next, a look at the situation in the democratic republic of the congo where an estimated 3.8 million people are internally displaced according to the u.n. office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs. legaliscussion focused on conflict and human rights violations in the country as challenges facing you and peacekeepers. posted by the tom lantos human rights commission, this is just over an hour. thank