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tv   Newsmakers Rep John Yarmuth  CSPAN  March 19, 2018 10:02am-10:36am EDT

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tour. governor kate brown will be a guest on the bus on "washington journal" and 9:00 a.m. eastern. c-span, the and on march for our lives, and rally calling for congressional action on gun violence in the face of mass shootings. much will be held on the national mall in washington, d.c. you can watch live coverage starting at noon eastern saturday on c-span. >> "newsmakers" is pleased to welcome this week congressman john yarmuth, the only democrat in the kentucky congressional delegation. he represents louisville and is the ranking democrat on the budget committee. congress has another deadline for spending which expires on march 23. negotiations are underway, and as folks who follow congress know, this is the fifth stopgap measure. we will find out what his from our twoare
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guests. kristina peterson from "the wall street journal" is up first. ms. peterson: how confident are you will see an omnibus spending bill passed next week? is there any chance of another short-term extension of our government shutdown. rep. yarmuth: well, i'm moderately confident, which is probably all you can be in this day and age. i think most of the problems are being resolved, but there's still some pretty significant outstanding issues, as i understand it. i think there is a possibility you could get a short-term continued resolution, maybe a week or so, what i think -- actually, it would not be a week because of easter break and passover and spring break, so it would probably be three weeks, but i do not think there is any threat of a government shutdown. ms. peterson: could you tell us a little bit about these last final sticking points and where you think those are headed? rep. yarmuth: most of these are really policy questions rather than funding questions. there are significant differences over some of the requests from republicans to
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bolster funding for ice agents and other interior immigration enforcement mechanisms. that is a sticking point. there are significant issues left with regard to women's reproductive rights that republicans want to defund -- planned parenthood and other related issues that have yet to be negotiated. there are some problems. we democrats would still like to have a daca fix for the dreamers. probably not going to happen, but these are negotiations that are taking place. the reason we have some leverage is because it's unlikely that republicans can muster 218 votes to pass these spending bills, so they will have to negotiate with democrats. again, i think a lot of progress has been made over the last few days, but there's still a way to go.
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mr. debonis: can i ask you -- last year into this year, democrats were saying they were going to use these spending bills as moments to force the president and republicans to take action on daca, take action on some of these democratic priorities that do have some bipartisan support. here we are pushing another deadline. you just said yourself it is unlikely to happen. what happened, and why were democrats not able to get any results on that? rep. yarmuth: the first time we tried to do it, the government was shut down for a few days, and i think everyone realized there was probably an equal amount of blame being spread around, and that would probably never be ineffective. what we did was start negotiating on other things, mostly the spending level, and the last deal we had -- at least my opinion was, and i think it was shared by most of the democratic caucus -- was that we
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got 80% of what we were trying to get, and if you cannot accept 80%, then the system cannot function. it hasn't solved the problem by any stretch of the imagination because we still have a number of dreamers who are hesitant to renew their applications because they don't want to go on the record as to where they are and subject themselves to deportation, assuming the courts do not reverse the president. it is a tough situation. i think we do have some breathing room. probably nine to 12 months. there will be other opportunities, but i don't want anyone to have the idea this is
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still not one of the top priorities of the democratic caucus in both the house and senate. this is something we care deeply about. mr. debonis: one other issue i want to raise that democrats have been talking deeply about another issue where there is some bipartisan consensus but no will to action on gun laws. next saturday, we will potentially have tens of thousands, perhaps more kids and parents and allies coming to washington to march for new gun laws. do you see any appetite among democrats to force any action as part of this bill, and what do you tell those kids who are coming to washington about the democratic resolved to force action here? rep. yarmuth: i think that we have done virtually everything that we know how to do, even in taking over the floor of the house in the summer of 2016 and trying to shut the place down in order just to get a vote.
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it has been very, very frustrating. we try to use our position and all the tools available to us. nothing has worked yet. i do not think that a spending bill is an appropriate place for that, but at some point, -- the reason daca became such an important issue with the spending bills was because we had deadlines. that is not true of gun violence legislation, but we are going to keep pushing for this. the caucus talks about it every week. this next week, i'm going to start wearing a button with a f on it, which represents my rating from the national rifle association.
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people understand we are proud of having those ratings. we think that is a badge of honor, and i hope a lot of my colleagues will wear them as well. it's very exasperating. i think, however, that these young people are going to make a difference because not only are they passionate and brilliant and articulate, but they are also not part of -- i think they have taken this debate out of the partisan environment, and that, ultimately, will make a difference. ms. peterson: do you think we will ever see a change in the dynamic around gun legislation unless there are electoral consequences for members of either party? do you see that happening in this year's midterms at all? rep. yarmuth: i actually talked to a group the other day because we going to have a march here in louisville on the 24th as well, and talking to the organizers of that march, a difference on this issue is going to come whatever millennials and whatever this generation now is called, when they start voting in the same
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percentages as older voters, up in the 45%, 50% to 60% range. there will be change because there will be electoral consequences. ms. peterson: do you think those consequences will favor democrats? rep. yarmuth: definitely they will favor democrats, but i think they will also favor significant changes to our gun violence agenda. mr. debonis: i thought we would move more into your legislative wheelhouse here and budget and the school matters. obviously, democrats are not in a position to pass a budget. you certainly have put forth priorities.
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based on what we have seen politically over the last few months and certainly in the last week in pennsylvania, i think there is a growing expectation that democrats may be in position to take back the house next year. if that is, in fact, the case, what do you see for the fiscal future for the federal budget? under a democratic house, what would a budget look like? would it balance, and how would it differ from the republican priorities we have seen over the past -- well, in the house now, several years. rep. yarmuth: thanks for that question. a couple of things i am very confident of -- one is you would see a lot more attention paid to the revenue side of the budget. we would look very carefully at the trillion dollars a year in tax expenditures, many of which provide no public benefit.
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i think we would review the new tax law, and it would be a significant number of changes there. we have already seen just in the last few days announcements from the treasury as to how much the deficit has increased just in the last couple of months, and it's largely due to a reduction in revenue. republicans while they have been in charge have looked exclusively not just at the expense side of the budget but pretty much just at the domestic expense side, and we would be looking, i think, much more carefully at the defense budget and things like the operations account, which is kind of a slush fund, and i think we would be looking very carefully at a lot of the programs that represent significant investments in our future economy on the education side in job training, in research, and
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in infrastructure. i think it would be a very different approach to what we have seen over the last six years. mr. debonis: correct me if i'm wrong, but you have then an advocate in the past particularly on health care, looking at a single-payer type program, a more aggressive national healthcare system. do you think that given the fiscal attacks that democrats have levied on republicans after their tax bill, that that could be done in a responsible and frankly not hypocritical manner now that democrats have been lambasting republicans for the deficit they created in their tax bill? rep. yarmuth: i think you will see over the next few months -- i would bet a significant majority of our democratic congressional candidates across the country will be talking about medicare for everyone. i think if we are able to take
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over the majority, we will see a series of hearings in the house to actually analyze the feasibility of medicare for everyone. one of the things i think is kind of crazy looking at what happened over the last few months is every time republicans do something to sabotage the affordable care act, they are basically making single-payer or medicare for everyone that much more inevitable and that much closer. if you eliminate, as they have done, the individual mandate -- there are proposals to eliminate the employer mandate -- they basically returned us almost as closely as possible to the situation prior to the four -- prior to the affordable care act, which was and will be a disaster and will absolutely ramp up the pressure for the only alternative there is to the
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affordable care act, and that is medicare for everyone. i do not think that is a horrible scenario. i would hate to see the pain inflicted on many people in my state and many others because of these a chance to sabotage the aca, but i think it will force us to consider a real option, and that is medicare for all. ms. peterson: can you mention cost-sharing reduction is these that these subsidies that were going to insurance companies to help low-income users afford coverage -- where is the thinking on renewing those now? president trump had ended them, and there was a discussion about putting them in the omnibus. is that something democrats want to do at this point? rep. yarmuth: i think democrats would love to see some measures taken to help shore up the exchanges and the individual insurance markets. i think it's critical and if republicans are willing to do that, they will have our support. i think we need to be convinced they are serious about that, and i think a few of them are, but
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you cannot let these insurance markets collapse because in many places, you are just going to dramatically increase the number of uninsured, and able then be going to hospitals who will treat them without any compensation. you will jeopardize the financial status of many of the rural hospitals in particular, and you will just precipitate significant ripples of crisis. personally, and i know our leadership feels the same way, we hope republicans are serious about trying to do some things, particularly cost-sharing reductions that would help shore up those markets. ms. peterson: it seems that has been a lot of debate on the hill recently about if abortion restrictions should be included in those subsidies. where do things stand on that front? rep. yarmuth: there is a law that prohibits taxpayer dollars from being spent for abortions,
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and i am really kind of exasperated with republican attempts to do something that will have no impact. i am primarily concerned about defunding planned parenthood because the vast majority of what planned parenthood does is to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and the potential need for an abortion, so i don't know what the thinking of republicans is. i know this is pretty much a messaging device, but it's frustrating they keep bringing this back up. i am a former board member of planned parenthood, and the vast majority of customers and patients of planned parenthood rely on planned parenthood as their only health care provider. they get screened for cervical cancer and breast cancer and also its of other potential problems. it is cruel and unwise, and they have tried this before. it would never pass the senate, so it's a silly attempt of theirs, and they ought to just
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get down to doing the things that will keep the government open for another five months, and then we can debate it again for fiscal year 2019. >> about 10 minutes left. mr. debonis: to turn to election year politics a little bit, you mentioned a lot of democratic candidates this year will be running on more progressive platforms, calling for things like medicare for all, but what we saw earlier this week in pennsylvania -- a lot of people are looking at the results and seeing the campaign that the democratic candidate ran and taking a lesson that democrats, at least in some of these districts, should be running more moderate campaigns, running more towards the center. what lessons do you take from what happened in pennsylvania and what sort of message do you
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think democrats will have success running on? rep. yarmuth: i think the lesson is donald trump is toxic and republicans are demoralized. the campaign that conor lamb ran -- i think it's amusing that people are saying he ran as a republican win a week ago, they were criticizing him for being a pelosi liberal. he criticized the republican tax plan, called for universal background checks on gun purchases. he said unabashedly he was pro-choice. he talked about preserving social security, medicare, medicaid, and resisting attempts to cut those. i think he ran on a pretty progressive agenda, but my personal position, and that are a lot of people who do not agree -- i don't know a lot of people who don't agree with me on this -- i think this campaign is
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going to be a very visceral campaign. i think this election will be very visceral in the sense that people are totally anxious and freaked out by everything happening with this administration. they want security. they want some kind of normalcy, and i think this election will not be decided on issues. mr. debonis: what parallels do you see with this election and the year you first were elected when george w. bush was very unpopular? do you see the same atmosphere or perhaps even more troublesome for the president? rep. yarmuth: i don't really see the same parallels. i don't think george w. bush was personally unpopular. his policies were. the war in afghanistan and iraq had turned sour. that was a very significant issue. the tax cuts the administration had passed in 2001 and 2003 had caused a significant deficit, and there were more policy implications there and fewer personal ones.
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to a certain extent, the country was still traumatized by 9/11 when we ran in 2006, and i think there was a national angst, but it's a little bit different than, i think, the atmosphere right now. what i see in all of these movements that have arisen, the indivisible movement, me too, black lives matter, the kids with the guns -- there is a common thread, and that is that people have decided that it is only through their energy that change is going to be effected. it is not going to be the calm tter-writing campaigns to the officials. they're taking to the streets in all these areas, and they had a common belief that the only way to effect change and get the policy they want is to change the majorities in congress or
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state legislatures or wherever it may be. i think the atmosphere is different than it was in 2006. ms. peterson: one of the more notable elements of the lamb campaign was that he directly said he opposed house minority leader nancy pelosi. do you think we will see that strategy replicated by more democrats across the country, and what does that mean for the minority leader's stature? does that weaken her in any way? rep. yarmuth: some candidates no doubt will. i do not think that issue has much traction anymore. it did not seem to move any voters, and it did not seem to energize any voters. while i think you will see some candidates try to distance themselves from leader pelosi, i do not think that will be an
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issue that is at all pivotal in this campaign. in terms of her future, we will see what happens.
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i think the election will be an overwhelming victory for democrats. the energy that i see, and i travel around kentucky a fair amount since i'm the only democrat, there are democrats who want to be engaged -- everywhere i go, every event i go to, there's a record crowd, and they say there are many, many new people coming to these events, and i seen the same thing across the river in indiana, and my colleagues have seen the same thing just about everywhere. i do not think the energy we are seeing on our side is going to dissipate between now and november, and i do not feel there is much on the republican side that will give them energy, so i'm very confident. mr. debonis: do you see yourself having any company in the
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kentucky delegation come january? i know there's a big push for congressman andy barr's seat. do you think those other seats are in play as well? rep. yarmuth: i think we are going to win the sixth district. we have three really good candidates, and i think the front runner is jim gray. the two-term mayor is very popular in that district. an air force pilot who made such a splash when she did her introductory video, and then reggie thomas, an african-american state senator, very high-quality candidate, so i think we are going to have a great competitive candidate in that district. there are some interesting possibilities. i think it's highly unlikely that any of the other districts will end up being competitive, but we've got some really interesting candidates. one in hal rogers' district, which is largely appalachian. he think there's a lot of
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self-proclaimed redneck, one of andsavviest politicians smartest people i've met. he think there's a lot of satisfaction to dissatisfaction with rogers, who has been there a long time. we have some pretty interesting candidate running against guthrie in the second district. that is pretty strong. that is a real long shot, but again, anything could happen this year. the dynamics in many places are kind of uncharted. we will see. i'm hopeful. i love company. [laughter] >> as we're taping this on friday morning, we have just gotten word that longtime democratic congresswoman louise slaughter passed away due to complications from a fall. you served with her for a long time. do you want to say anything? rep. yarmuth: i love louise. that saddens me greatly. we knew she had hit her head or something and was having some problems. i'm so sorry she has passed.
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she is a native kentuckyan. we share that can we share bourbon, we share most of the commonwealth and a love of congress. as a matter of fact, my chief of staff was her chief of staff. that's a tragic loss for the congress. she was a great, great member and a great american. >> the lead democrat on the house rules committee, a very familiar figure. both in committee and on the floor to c-span viewers. thank you for being our guest on "newsmakers" this week. felt a piece for "the post" that said democrats do not have the energy after the last standoff to be really an opposition to this spending bill. did pennsylvania 18 change that at all? mr. debonis: i don't think we're seeing that necessarily.
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the fights at this point -- they are looking to have those fights within the bounds of the spending bill on things like abortion and homeland security -- they're just does not seem to be the bandwidth or the strategic desire to try and get into another showdown over daca or guns or another issue, so i think democrats feel like this omnibus spending bill accomplishes a lot of their priorities. they get increases in funding for domestic agencies, a lot of programs they want funded. i think for the bulk of the democratic caucus, that is good enough, that is a win. they are willing to move on and fight the battles, go to the midterms knowing that they have an advantage and press that advantage, so i do not think that the election results necessarily change anything with the way the bill is going to play out. >> with the large spending
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increases in this budget plan that was proposed or passed a couple of weeks back, republicans, especially the is fiscally conservative ones, were pretty reckless about it, so how much are democrat votes needed to get the bill passed? ms. peterson: i think it's an unusual situation where everyone is pretty confident at the end of the day that this bill will pass, but it could be pretty close because i think you will have a lot of conservative republicans who say this is way too much spending and have democrats who are still unhappy that daca is not being resolved in it. i think it will come down to the whips getting a very exact count, and in the house, it could be very narrow. in the senate, i think it probably is not as tight. we saw senator rand paul create some dissent with the timing, and they did miss that deadline, so we could see some drama there, but ultimately, it will draw from the center of both parties. >> both of you have noted in
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your reporting this is the last major piece of legislation before the break. -- before the congressional election. how does that change the dynamic? mr. debonis: anyone who wants something done before november is trying to get it attached to this bill. that ranges from immigration and there is still a push to do daca, but it's things like fixes to the tax bill. there's a number of things that are in play. kristi noem from south dakota is trying to get an internet sales tax provision added. people are trying to get the xm -- ex-im bank operating again. all of these little fights that have sort of been playing out in the background. they are also out of engaged in trying to get the momentum to get it on this bill, and those are some of the things we will be watching in the next few days.
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ms. peterson: one caveat i would add is we always expect these to get sleepy on the hill before the midterms, but that has not happened since president trump took office. there's always the possibility of more cabinet shakeups. we have two nominees that need to be confirmed in the senate just from this week. it seems there's less legislation that we know is coming, but there's always an amount of unpredictability coming from this white house that could have repercussions on the hill. >> it has been an interesting year so far. as i said, only march. thank you so much for being here. the timetable now on the spending bill is what? it must pass by tuesday or they extend it for three weeks ? mr. debonis: by friday. >> three weeks because of a break? ms. peterson: they have a two-week recess. they need deadlines on capitol hill. they need that pressure to get anything done. they will be the first to tell
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you that. >> we will see what the week holds for us. thank you for being back. good to see you both. >> on capitol hill, both chambers of congress are back in session this week five days for current government funding runs out. lawmakers working on a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending measure to keep the government open. if congress does not pass legislation by friday night at midnight, the government will shut down. also in the house this week, a bill allowing patients to use drugs not approved by the fda, and another bill to loosen bank requirements put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. you can watch live coverage of the house floor on c-span, and over on c-span2, the senate starts the week working on sex trafficking legislation, working on the omnibus spending bill to keep the government open past friday. legislative work on government spending continues. we bring you for coverage on
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capitol hill and the white house on c-span and c-span2, online at, and on the free c-span radio app. cases available as a 30-minute podcast. find it each week wherever you subscribe to podcasts or on or the free c-span radio app. up on the c-span networks, discussion of president trump's plan meeting with north korean leader kim jong-un at the center for american progress, live at 12:30 p.m. eastern on our companion network, c-span2, and a look at the u.s. and international response to the civil war and humanitarian crisis in syria, live from the u.s. institute of peace at 2:00 p.m. eastern. over


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