Sen. Mitch Mc Connell R-KY and Roy Brownell The US Senate and the... CSPAN July 28, 2019 6:30am-7:19am EDT
we do one on tuesday, wednesday and thursday, all three of them are pretty well attended . so if you're selling and that's what i'm doing every week, i'm selling, trying to sell something, knockdown problems, tryingto figure out how to move forward . i have an opportunity to deal with all of them. i'll push all of them three days in a week whichhelps sell .
in the house, there's so many people they end up forming little caucuses. there's this caucus and that caucus and this caucusand you sign up with somebody of like mind . we have very little of that in the senate, it's almost nonexistent because there's just not that many people deal with so i find those three lunches really helpful. i believe the democrats have 2 tuesday and thursday. we have three and our row every week and i find it absolutely essential to selling what i'm trying to sell . and every week i'm trying to sell something so that's what that's for >> when you make a presentation to your membership about the advisability of a certain course of action, do members often make clear what they're going to say or is there sometimes sort of silence? is there dissent, how do you gauge that? >> well, they are rarely
silent . [laughter] imagine, think about this for a minute . you've got a bunch of class presidents, right? they've all got pretty big egos and pretty smart or they wouldn't have made it that far in the first place . and on any given day they could do this job betterthan me . so i think it's important to be a good listener and we have plenty of people that have something to say and those discussions get aired out during those meetings. also, we frequently have somebody, to talk to us. you've been following the iranian situation, all of you ? we had a person come up this week and talk about what was
the current issue of the day. so wefrequently do that sort of thing . technically the republicans call themselves a conference, not a caucus but everybody uses the term caucus to define members of your party in the senate or the house. >> could you talk a little bit as majority leader about how you would compare your situation and the way you're able to lead institutionally versus for example speaker. how are the differences between house leadership where the senate is essentially run and the house is essentially run. >> the house is more like a triangle and the speaker and chairman and rules committee are the top of it and the rules committee chair does whatever the speaker says.
and in order to get a bill on the floor in the house you have to go to the house rules committee which determines whether it's commendable or not and may even take the amendments that are allowed so the house is pretty much a top-down operation. the senate is more like a level playing field and the majority leader has a little more clout because you can pick whatyou're going to take up , but every senator has a lot more ability to influence the process for better or for worse than an individual house member. and if you think about 435 people, i guess the only way they can function is to have some kind of structure that shuts a lot of people out. so there are a lot of people, particularly people in the minority in the house who are pretty exasperated and it's disheartening, that much of an impact. in the senate you can have an
impact by simply saying i object. i won't mention any names but there's a number of people who do that routinely that i have to deal with every single week. simply by saying i object they make themselves a part of the conversation or better or for worse,usually for worse . >> when you have a member who stands up and objects to something you're trying to work on, how do you approach them? does it depend on context? do you go to them directly first where you have the wit go, or do you have a third-party go for do you maybe think over time that maybe they will come around given the popular report on the side of what you're advocating ? is it context? >> it depends on the issue and the person. some people are influenced by others, some are influenced
by what i might say, there are times if it's important i might say mister president, why don't you call so-and-so? it depends on who it is and what the issue is an ooh i think might have themost influence in getting where we're trying to go . it really varies but there's some people who are more into objecting than others, so i say. in other words, it's not all that unusual that it happens frequently. >> so at the beginning of the congress, you've started out as majority leader, when you start planning what you're going to try to do that next congress? right after the election when you have a sense of what the composition of the senate is going to be and then you sort of together a rough plan then , understanding that should things change or what is your decision changing? when does it begin for an upcoming congress?
>> what you're going to do depends on who wins the election and i can relate to you again how to plan the previous congress, it was 1:30 in the morning and to my amazement donald trump elected president of the united states. were any of you surprised? the first thing i thought was you know on my side, this doesn't happen all that often. you go back 100 years and republicans have only had the senate white house and house for 20 years. i said to myself this probably won't last very long and you all know this, it didn't. two years later the democrats got the house back so we better not waste any time. and so i began to think about the most important thing, it will surprise you to know the supreme court was at the top of the list, circuit courts close to the top of the list.
but there were other things like comprehensive tax reform and our view was the previous administration over regulated the economy and we wanted to do something to begin to move that into a different direction . on the last two years whether it was two supreme court justices or 30 circuit judges which is the fastest pace in history are comprehensive tax reform or deregulation, if you are like me and wanted the country right of center it was the best two years i've been there so i thought we took maximum advantage and sure enough, it didn't last very long and it hasn't. clinton lost the house and senate after two years, obama lost the house after two years and trump lost the house after two years so it's common for voters to be suffering some form of buyers remorse and you know, decide okay, let's try something different now so what
happened is because the trump administration was not all that unusual we had divided government again which we had more often or not since world war ii. >> can you talk a little bit about the difference between the leadership of the senate and the house, any talk about how the senate is distinct and sort of its role within constitutional structure and how it operates and how it should operate? do you have four of a, how is it different from the house the way the house operates and how does it relate with respect to the presidency ? >> it's really different. and it's even more different when it's controlled by a different party. so certainly to go back to my earlier point, who wins the election determines what the agenda is. going into this congress, i knew going in that there were not going to be any
consequential pieces of legislation either way. stuff they would pass, that wouldn't pass the senate, stuff we bought my past that wouldn't pass the house though the question to ask when the american people elect a new government is what are they expecting? here's what i think they're expecting. we know you have big differences. why don't you look for the things you can agree on and do those ? and i think we did a good job ofthat during the obama years .it's not yet clear how broad an area, areas of bipartisan agreement we're going to beable to reach in the current configuration . the, there are two big things that we really need to do for the country and i hope we can figure a way to do it . pass the us-mexico canada trade agreement and reach an
agreement on how much we're going to spend over the next 2 years. we've got a couple of meetings, one this past week with secretary mnuchin, the speaker, myself, mccarthy and schumer, the minority leader about reaching an agreement on how you're going to fund the government the next few years . and after that, i'm just not sure yet how much were going to be able to do. the speaker has a lot of challenges, he's got a very significant number of members , reminiscent of the freedom caucus when speaker ryan was in themajority . that was a totally different view about how to go forward to, he seems to me to be
suffering from trump arrangement syndrome and we're not going to do anything with that guy kind of mentality so he's got a lot of things the balance and clearly those are beating the drums for impeachment which she knows is not a smart thing for them to do because american people , even those who are not fans of the president understand the normal way to deal with that is an election and we have one next year as opposed to canceling the previous election which is what impeachment is about so she's got her hands full dealing with her own group. fortunately for us, we're in a personnel business. the house is not. so i've got 22 confirming judges, informing people in boards and commissions. but 1200 executive branch appointments for confirmation, most of them
are routinely handle on a voice vote. it's been harder to pullthat off the last two years , but it's not like we had to have a vote on every single one of them normally but we can say, stay busy doing personnel so i've got things to do even if we don't end up having a lot of bipartisan agreements on legislation. >> one final question if i could, this is a question that we were asked yesterday, what's your sense? there's a high degree of partisanship these days, people think it's the highest level we had in our history. could you talk about thatand address that as a final question ? >> everybody should relax, this is not the most contentious time in american history. i told students earlier today that anything you might have heard even in campaigns paled
in comparison to what jefferson and hamilton said about each other. usuallyusing pseudonyms . we haven't had a single incident where a congressman on south carolina came over and almost beat to death a senator from massachusetts . we've had robust political debate and occasionally included physical violence since the beginning of the country so everybody looks at the situation today that says this is not to be worse than ever, if not but it's different . what is different is 24 hour television and the internet and the number of people who are acting out with their twitter accounts, not to mention the biggest twitter got in the country. with 65 million followers. everybody's more involved than they typically are
it's like a perpetual campaign . i do worry about, i'll tell you one thing ido worry about . and we're on a college campus and i hope this is not the case here . i do worry about the unwillingness to listen to things i don't agree with. which i think is complete nonsense. college campuses have always been liberal, always been a place for debate. but the notion that i have to have a crime if i have somebody coming on campus is coming on campus that says something i might not agree with is nonsense going on across america. i don't see it here and don't believe that's not happening here but i do worry if you are socially right about
everything, you don't want to listen to another point of view, that's a dangerous place to be. when i was at school along time ago one year we had barry goldwater, the next year we had somebody you never heard of named norman thomas was the bernie sanders of that era. the socialists, rightly. i don't remember anybody saying i don't want listen. i'm offended by hearing something i might disagree with. so that's the only thinggoing on in america right now that i find troubling . the rest of it, and believeme we had a lot worse and nobody should feel like the countries in trouble . read easy. america's going to be just fine. thank you everyone. [applause] >> america's going to be just fine and you'd be fine if you follow my directions now . and consider getting yourself one of these books and digging in men and the history of the commonwealth
and the senate which i guarantee you don't know much about but those to do. so if everyone will hold still for just a few minutes, i'm going to ask representative mcconnell to make their way to the archives which is just up to the left. they will be there signing books and talking to you as you come over, so if you'd just all hold still for a moment and let them get over there and then we will dismiss, dismiss everyone. if you purchase the book where you want to meet them, and over to the archives. if not, thank you again for coming out. i know it's a sacrifice on a rainy day like this, i appreciate you being here. [applause]
>> reagan is an intellectual. he's an intellectual cop, he's comfortable with ideas. he understands the power of ideas and with that kind of foundation, that kind of intellectual foundation , a political leader can do all kinds of marvelous things. >> author and historian lee edwards will be our guest on in-depth sunday, august 4 from noon until 2 pm eastern. mister edwards is the author of just right was a collection of biographies of william f buckley, barry goldwater and ronald reagan. during our conversation with your phone calls, to and questions. watch in-depth with author lee edwards sunday, august 4 from noon until 2 pm eastern and be sure to watch our live coverage of the 20 19th national book festival on saturday august 31st on book tv on cspan2. here's a look at some authors featured on book tvs