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tv   White House Briefing  CSPAN  March 16, 2018 5:58pm-6:18pm EDT

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new york representative louise slaughter, died earlier today at the age of 88, after suffering a fall last week. she served the people of rochester, new york, the last 31 years. and currently serves as the ranking member of the rules committee. she is survived by three children. house speaker paul ryan released his statement saying louise slaughter was tough on failing -- unfailingly gracious and unrelenting in fighting for her ideas. she was simply great. and house minority unanimous -- leader nancy pelosi said this -- >> at today's white house briefing, mark short, president trump's legislative affairs director, accused senate minority leader chuck shuke -- chuck schumer of intentionally delaying the president's nominees to key positions within the administration. this is 15 minutes.
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mr. short: good afternoon. since i know many of you are interested in white house personnel issues, we wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the historic obstruction that we have faced by senator schumer and senate democrats in confirming our nominees to enable us to settle our white house. the senate obviously has the constitutional responsibility for advice and consent. so with that looks like in real life is the president selects a nominee, they -- undergo an entire f.b.i. background check. they work with the office of government ethics to deconflict financial issues. and that's a process that takes a good amount of time and resources. only then, after cleared through an f.b.i. background check, and the office of government ethics, is a nominee submitted to the united states senate. when they get to the senate they go through several additional evaluations, including meetings with staff, meetings with the members on both sides of the aisle. the nominee then undergoes a hearing and the committee then votes on the nominee to get out
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of that committee. at that point the nominee moves to the senate floor for full confirmation. traditionally the senate routinely con firms the administration's nominee once out of committee. it is there to respect the will of the american people and the election for an administration to fill out its roles under a new president. instead what senator schumer has done is require cloture votes to slow down the process and obstruct. at this point in the past four administrations combined, the last four administrations, the senate had conducted 17 cloture votes, combined. cloture votes in essence being a filibuster on a nominee. 17 cloture votes in the last four administrations combined at this point. today, the senate has had 79 cloture votes in the first 14 months of our administration.
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17 over the last four administrations, versus 79 in the first 14 months of our administration. that is more -- that is roughly five times the number of the last four administrations combined. senator schumer is essentially weaponizing a senate procedure, demanding cloture votes on our nominees that he even eventually supports. 11 of the president's nominees have been approved without a single dissenting vote yet still forced to go through 30 hours of debate to slow down the senate calendar simply for the purpose of obstruction. even senate democrats have begun to call this out and say it's getting to the point of ridiculous. at this rate, the senate would take 11 1/2 years to confirm our nominees. 11 1/2 years to confirm our nominees. so let me give you one more
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example of the compareson historically. in the first entire term of the george h.w. bush administration, his entire four year he faced one cloture vote. in the entire four years of the clinton administration , he faced 10 cloture votes. under the george w. bush administration, the entire first term , he faced four cloture votes. barack obama faced 17 in his first entire four years. we have faced 79 in our first 14 months. in adds up to 32 combined the entire first four years of those administrations, relative to 79 in our first less than a year and a half. so let me give a couple more illustrations of specific individuals. pat pezella is our nominee for deputy secretary for the department of labor.
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we still don't have a deputy secretary, number two person, at the department of labor. pat was nominated 00 days ago, reported out of committee in october. he was confirmed in the george w. bush administration by a unanimous voice vote. he's been confirmed by a previous congress without any dissension. and yet 269 days later, we still do not have a deputy secretary at the dotcht labor. at the e.p.a., deputy administration andrew we'ller, he was nominated 152 days ago. scott pruitt still to this day does not have a deputy, a number two, serving at the e.p.a. he was reported out of committee in november. yalzine pobley will be assistant secretary for department arms
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control when confirmed. this is important particularly in light of upcoming negotiations with north korea. she was nominated 298 days ago and is a previous staff director of the foreign affairs committee. isabel lieu nass, reported out of committee in july, nominated to be assistant secretary of the treasury for intelligence and analysis. this helps work with many of the sanctions you have covered. so many of these positions in fact are national security positions. lastly, kevin mclenan, to be commissioner of customs and border patrol was nominated 298 days ago. obviously it's been a priority of this administration to highlight the security threats we face on our southern border. kevin in taking that role will be safeguarding our borders and helping to prevent terrorists and contraband from entering the united states. yet congress and the senate continues to dither and not have a confirmation vote.
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we're pleased that he finally got through a cloture vote last week. we expect him to be confirmed monday night but 298 days later, the american people have been anxious to make sure our border is being secured. we still don't have a head of customs and border patrol this level of obstruction is beyond historic. it is something that is -- that you i know are focused on personnel inside the white house. we ask that you also shed light on the historic obstruction happening in the united states senate to make sure we're able to have our administration to do the job of the american people and make sure our country is safe and secure. >> thank you. you mentioned the plight of the nominee at the state department for arms control position. you mentioned the need for having that person for the upcoming negotiations with north korea. yet you still do not have a nominee to be the u.s. ambassador to south korea. why is that? when will you have that nominee? and is that position also important for your efforts?
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>> sure, i think there's been several conversations about that internally, as we go through that process it gets so delayed and so long that nominees have withdrawn from the process before getting to the senate. there's a few examples, including that posts. but we have on fwoing conversations about nominating someone soon. reporter: the ambassador to germany, which senator is holding up nominations for that and why doesn't the senate support theder just vote on the nominee. marc: mary elizabeth is one of the stars on our team, she's been with us from day one, she helped staff justice gorsuch through nomination, i'm going to phone a friend on that one. but ranell got out of committee
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and is waiting for a final vote on the senate floor. i believe he got out of committee several months back. so he's another one that should be on our list of those who has been waiting. the challenge that leader mcconnell faces, when they're not allowed to bring up for a voice vote, you have to go through cloture, you have to prioritize these. that's one more of our nominees that simply has been historically obstructed. reporter: this is part of the toxic nature going on for several years. the democrats are pushing back because the republicans, what are you doing to ease or water down that toxicity, what can you do? and secondly, explain to those who don't understand how it is at a minority party can hold the congress, when you hold the house and senate, how you're unable to get it through. that's what's hard for people to understand why you're complaining. marc: the reality is this is a senate process, not a house process. as you nominate the candidate to
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the senate for a personnel issue, the senate has the ability to go through the nomination process, the committee process. but it requires a supermajority to get past the motion to proceed. what the senate has done is basically said, we're going to require a cloture vote on these nominee, where historically, once out of committee they'd bring it to the senate floor and require an up or down vote. you say that's part of the toxicity that's been going on for some time, that's part of the point we're trying to make. this has not been the tradition of the united states, to do what they're doing right now under senator schumer. it's not happened. the numbers i went through, we face four times the number of cloture votes than the last 16 years of first term presidencies. this is not typical. it is a reflection of, for example, when obama was in office and republicans said they're going to make it their prime concern not to pass any
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legislation that obama favored. don't you see that as part of think problem? marc: i think part of the challenge is the american people got so frustrated with the way washington worked they elected an outside to help fix et. we're trying to shed light on the way the town works and the way the united states senate is broken. yes we are assigning that blame to senator shume and his team of democrats. in many cases, even fellow democrats are saying the level of this is getting absurd and presidentwe allow the to staff his administration. reporter: so the republicans don't share any plame blame? marc: i do think this will force pressure to continue to see rules changes in the senate. reporter: does the president feel, do you fell -- feel that rule 22 should be amended or eliminated to prevent what you're describing, which are national security ratifications. you have a number of positions that you are arguing are
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essential to the national security of the united states and you say that this is something the democrats are obstructing, the republicans have 51 votes what should happen? marc: i think the united states senate will continue to have internal conversations about potential rule changes. i think it's a fair question. i want to be respectful of having the white house determine what the united states senate rules should be but i think by continuing to highlight it and recognize the level of obstruction, i think it continues to put more pressure on the senate to address this internally. reporter: are you concerned that this obstruction will carry over to the nominee for secretary of state? marc:ling of the current director of the c.i.a. is somebody who is incredibly qualified, as people know. he graduated top of his class at west point. graduated top of his class at harvard law school. i think he's done a phenomenal job as director of the c.i.a. when he went through that process earned bipartisan
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support to be director of the cri c.i.a. we hope that considering 14 months 150rk senate democrats crossed over to support his nomination, that they'd also support his nomination to be secretary of state. likewise, we feel that geena has -- is uniquely qualified as somebody who has served in the c.i.a. for 33 years, has been the station chief in multiple localities, has been commended by democrats and republicans alike for those that she served under in previous administrations. i think that she has incredible qualities, we're very excited about her nomination. we're excited she would be the first female director of the c.i.a. and we would expect a very quick, we would expect a quick hearing and moving forward to vote because these are critical national security positions. reporter: has the president had any personal conversations with senator schumer about this obstruction, in your words, specifically he's been having conversation about
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infrastructure, heas had senate democrats and why don't we hear more from him talking about this? and do you believe, given the backlog here, how many more confirmation hearings can this senate withstand as it leads to other potential personnel that we may or may not be seing in oming days here? marc: i think the president has been vocal about this. i think maybe i'm a warmup act for him to come out and make his case to the american people that the obstruction has gotten ridiculous. reporter: is there the possibility the president could offer something, make a deal where not everyone gets what they want but has he offered anything to senator schumer to help get these through. marc: it's hard for me to understand what we should be offering when the american people elect a new administration and the expectation is they should be
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able to help that administration. why should we be offering making a deal on something that should be the normal prosofse the quites senate. for us that would be hard to understand. reporter: how about conversations about daca, we would make some concessions on daca if you let some of our nominations through? marc: on daca, the president wants to make a keel, put fwashed a rational proposal that provided a pathway to citizenship. i think we're frustrated that so far democrats don't want to come to the table they want to p lit size the issue. we stand ready to make a deal on that, but i reject the notion that this is something that should be offered for them doing their job. they should do the job for the american people. shouldn't be something we have to barter in order for them to do what they're supposed to do. >> is there room for a mauler -- smaller deal? are you working a smaller deal now? one that doesn't have all four
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parols of the omnibus? marc: the president has been open to continuing nominations on this. he's anxious to get a deal. he believes it's important to secure our border but he also believes passionately that these are people who have been in our country and working product ily and in order to get a daca permit have been obeying the law he wants to protect them. we're anxious to get a deal. reporter: just to be clear, the challenge of getting personnel cleared through the u.s. congress prevent the president from changing his cabinet right now if he wanted to marc: i believe the president always had the ability to make the change he is wants. i don't think that when he is ready to make a change, he'll do that. i'm not sure he's worried about what that process is. i think our challenge, our requirement is to put forth quality people. if you look at geena and director pompeo, they're incredibly qualified. we think they'll make enormous contributions to the administration and the american
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people. we hope the united states senate will confirm them quickly. >> yesterday, the house homeland security committee held a hearing with federal, state, and local officials on the lessons learned from 2017's natural disasters, including hurricanes harvey, irma, and maria. see that tonight starting at 8:00 eastern on c-span. also tonight, testimony from interior secretary ryan sinnkey on president trump's budget request for his department he feel spoke before the senate energy and natural resources committee and we'll air that tonight starting at 8:00 eastern n c-span2. >> this weekend on the c-span networks, saturday at 9:00 a.m. eastern, american history tv on c-span3 with day-long live coverage from ford's theater in washington, d.c. the annual abraham lincoln symposium. with anna holloway, co-author of "our little monitor" the
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greatest invention of the civil war. michael burr linggame. stanley harold, "lincoln and the abolitionists" and arthur starr, author of "stanton, lincoln's war secretary." book tv on c-span2 is live from the new museum they have bible in washington, d.c. discussing the bible's influence on literature and its impact on government, legal systems, education and human rights. with the museum's director, seth pollinger. we will also take your calls in the program. watch this weekend on the c-span networks. >> for the next hour and 40 minutes, an a.h. tv exclusive, our cities tour visits lynchburg, virginia. to learn more about its unique history and life. for seven years we have traveled to u.s. cities bringing the literary scene and historic sites to our viewers. you can watch more of our visits
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t >> i'm standing in front of perhaps one of the most famous courthouses in the united states. where realy nothing of significance happened. appomattox courthouse. confusing. like ouse is a building the one behind me. appomattox court house is the township. it was here they brought about the beginning of the end of the american civil war. this little town has a lot of history for its size. today we would like to talk a little bit about why appomattox courthouse is so famous and spend a little more time talking


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