tv Washington Journal Rep. Garret Graves R-LA CSPAN April 15, 2021 10:10am-10:43am EDT
optimistic because i think there is a way out of this. ask me in six months. >> all winning entries are available online at state of the unioncam.org. -- studentcam.org. up, we are jy congressman garret graves from the louisiana. he is also a member of the transportation and infrastructure committee and sits on the select committee on the climate crisis and took part in the discussions at the white house the other day with the president and members of the administration on the president's plan. congressman graves, good morning. guest: thank you for having us. host: you were in on the meeting at the white house. we see these gatherings of republicans and democrats,
bipartisan. did it feel productive or just for show? guest: i have to be honest, going in, i was somewhat skeptical based on how the coronavirus went down a few weeks ago, a bipartisan group of members went in and ended up railroading a partisan bill. the president said he wanted this to be different, he wanted this to be bipartisan. the president said he was open to negotiation on size, scope, definition of infrastructure. i could not have asked for anything different. the next step is where we will see how that ultimately unfolds. are they going to truly sit down with us and have these negotiations? the president sent his team over to meet with us. if they follow through, i will remain optimistic.
host: our conversation this morning centers largely on two issues -- we will get to infrastructure more in a minute. louisiana is an important energy state. the administration has made a number of different moves from the trump administration. to remind you and the audience about some of those the president has announced since he was sworn in on january 20, he has rejoined the paris climate agreement, he has revote the keystone -- accelerated the transmission of clean energy and conserving at least 30% of federal land and oceans, trying to double the offshore wind production by 2030. these announcements and decisions made so far by the president. what has been your reaction so far? guest: it is sort of a mixed
bag. some of the things to promote renewable energy, absolutely. some of the efforts to distort or intentionally sandbag our conventional energy resources is a big mistake. there is one country in the world that has reduced emissions more than the next 12 emission reducing countries combined. let me say that again. there is one country in the world that has reduced emissions more than the next 12 combined. it is the united states. we are the global leader in reducing emissions. it was continued under the obama administration, trump administration and hopefully continues today. if you are a global leader, is it time to say, we are doing a 180? president biden's strategy is not doubling and tripling down.
they are doing a 180. that will end up being a mistake. the paris climate accord led to a net increase in global emissions. folks do not understand that. you will have a net increase under the paris climate accord. china has increased under the paris climate accord and will continue increasing through 2030. why would you celebrate, why in the world would you celebrate signing on -- supposed to be addressing global climate issues and then do something that goes in the opposite direction. this is not anything to celebrate. we have to hold china accountable. justice we, they said they were a rival of the united states. under the paris accord, they try to slide under as a developing
nation. i support renewable energy technology when it makes sense as a part of our portfolio, but they do have restrictions and limitations. if we are going to move in this direction of aggressive renewable energy, who makes 90% of the solar energy -- china. who is refusing to produce domestically? the battery technology, they have it. we cannot play into china's hands, resulting in losing american jobs, increasing our trade deficit. have all sorts of limitations. the clear success and strategy we have had in the united states. host: you come to the energy issue with a lot of background at the national level, serving on capitol hill, and the local
level in louisiana. as the president came in, general motors announced their goal of changing over their entire fleet to alternative electrical vehicles by 2050. there were major energy companies sing we will reduce our carbon emissions. do you think that is driven more by business reality or the political reality and the change in the administration, it is better business for them to make those decisions now? guest: you have to let innovators innovate. all of these statistics about the united states reducing emissions, the china comparison, this was all done in the united states without a single restriction mandated. any type of government force or technology. this was allowing markets to do what they do, allowing innovators to do what they do. we do not need to have
government coming in and forcing solutions or picking technology. the government does not have a big track record with desperate i commend companies that continue to strive to have a cleaner environmental footprint. it is good to continue progressing with technology. i think in some cases, you have companies that are setting targets and goals without a technological basis to actually land there. it will be interesting when the current ceo is gone and the next ceo inherits some of these. i will absolutely commend any company that works to move in a cleaner direction, but i think it is important to have a technology strategy that actually supports that. since the united states spends more money on energy resource and development than every other country in the world combined, we have to make sure -- our
research and develop strategy in a way that helps realize some of these goals but are being set. host: congressman garret graves with us up until 8:30. we welcome your comments at (202) 748-8001 for republicans. democrats, it is (202) 748-8000. independents and others, (202) 748-8002. you serve as the ranking member to the select committee on the climate crisis. what is its purpose? guest: climate is such a crosscutting issue. transportation, energy, natural resources and science. this is designed to be a committee that transcends across all these jurisdictions and comes up with a comprehensive climate strategy that we then pass on to these other committees to implement portions relevant to the agenda. we have spent a good bit of time
looking at adaptation. today, we will be having a hearing on that, looking at research and development. where are there opportunities for us to build on to help transform america's clean energy future. based on america's resources, rather than playing into the hands of china. that is our main charge. we have been working together, trying to come up with some of those and we believe there is a good list of areas where we all agree we can becoming together, making financial sense, making environmental sense and not playing into the hands of china and other countries, sacrificing american jobs. host: on infrastructure, we will get the numbers in a minute. the meeting on monday with the president, i am going to play for our viewers some comments from the president on the structure and get your thoughts after. [video clip] pres. biden: the american jobs plan i put forward is dealing
with american manufacturing and securing our supply chance, investing in research and development as we used to in a healthy manner. it is also about more than that. it is about investing in infrastructure not through the 20th century but through the 21st century. it is not just roads and bridges, we are investing in water systems so americans can have clean water infrastructure. we are investing in high-speed rail infrastructure. we are building charging stations for america's electric vehicle future. and building out american supply chains so we never again are at the mercy of another country or any other nation for critical needs. that is what we mean by investing in infrastructure. we are investing in the more resilient grid. investing, as well, in asbestos
free schools for our kids. building a support system to take care of our elderly parents and kids with disabilities at home, so people can go to work. that is investing in infrastructure. these chips, batteries, broadband, it is all infrastructure. so, look, we need to build infrastructure today, not repair the one of yesterday. the plan i propose will create millions of jobs, rebuild america, protect our supply chains and revitalize american manufacturing. host: an extensive list, congressman graves. what do you think? guest: i think it is an expensive list. we passed the most expensive legislation in the history of congress -- $1.9 trillion.
it comes out to an average of $13,200 per taxpayer in the united states. we just dumped hundreds of billions of dollars on state and local governments. if i remember right, there was around $1.7 billion in state government revenue losses, yet we put $190 billion -- local municipal governments were up in excess of $29 billion, yet we dumped $130 million. in regard to the categories the president talked about, obviously, our schools, roads, bridges, these are things all americans are supportive of. we have to remember we have three different levels of government -- federal, state, local. all of these things are not federal government responsibilities.
why do we have a state or local government if the federal government is going to dump money and try to cover everything. the federal government is an awful partner in regard to federal infrastructure programs. think about your community. the project our ideas your parents and grandparents came up with. we are building a today. we are cutting ribbons and doing shovel ceremonies. this is ridiculous. this is america. we need to build projects that should be in place for 2030 and 2040 and not be as far behind as we are. why in the world are you expanding the federal role with trying to implement infrastructure? we have to focus on these core areas of infrastructure were the federal government has a responsibility and we have to get ahead. we have to build bridges for the future and be ready for that rather non-continuing to be
reactive and responding. -- rather than continuing to be reactive and responding. roads, schools do not do any good underwater. some of these core federal obligations, schools are a state and local responsibility. families are responsible for some of the infrastructure that the president laid out. you cannot add the term infrastructure to every single phrase and then suddenly it becomes a federal obligation, or a true infrastructure category. you have to remember, the federal government cannot be everything to everyone -- it certainly cannot be parents to children and take on these things. there are certain responsibilities for the federal government, there are certain responsibilities for state and local government and there are certain responsibilities for families to allow the united
states to be the greatest nation in the world and we cannot do these things that do not make sense. host: before get to mccall's, reminding -- before get to the calls, $621 billion proposed for bridges, roads and transportation, $580 billion -- $300 billion for drinking water improvement, broadband access, $300 billion for building retrofitting affordable housing. $400 billion for improved home health care for the elderly and disabled americans. congressman garret graves with us. we go first to leavenworth, kansas, and hear from margaret.
that's what the innovators do. america is the best country in the world at doing that. i think it's a mistake for us to come in and force vehicle technology go in one direction. you have the limitations on range that you do that plays into china's hands on the strategy and rare earth minerals required to run those cars. let me come back, i agree with you. we need to be working with the auto manufacturers. we need to make sure the research and development in the united states helps to address some of these restrictions or handicaps on the technology, but also helps to make sure that we develop that next breakthrough
technology whether it's hydrogen few cells or others that allow us to have cars that truly meet the needs of americans. host: your position may be bolstered by an opinion piece, editorial piece in the "washington post" this morning. with the headline, a risky climate bed. mr. biden sprawling spending package lacks crucial elements. the septre piece of the president's plan is a mandate. energy efficiency and clean electric standard, this would require utilities to derive increasing percentages of their electricity from nonemitting sources such as renewable and nuclear power, or meet ever lower targets for greenhouse gases. but the biden plan contains no economy wide spur to private companies and consumers to make greener choices. much of the spending is sorely needed, particular-l for research, transmission lines, and plugging old wells. but the government might invest massively in projects that flop. electric vehicle charging
infrastructure that's old by the time it's installed. they say the post writes this, i want to get your prnings the best answer is to price greenhouse gas emissions which is most efficiently done through a carbon tax. guest: let's break that down. number one, you saw what happened when the federal government tried to pick technology winners and losers. you saw hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxpayer funds given to a company to develop energy technologies that totally flopped. it was a complete fleecing of tax picks. number two, when you look at president obama he had set a clean power plan target. and he established a 32% reduction in emissions for clean power -- power companies. 32% reduction in emissions by 2030. do you know that during the trump administration, even though president trump withdrew the requirement, we hit the target for 2030 in 2019.
let me say that again. obama had an aggressive emission reduction target for green power. it was set for 2030. president trump withdrew the requirement but the target was still hit in 2019. this was done without mandates, without the government picking technological winners and losers and blew away the goal. the post has some really good points in there in that we've got to be very thoughtful and careful about how they are moving forward and setting these goals and objectives. i also think that you also -- we have been able to prove that you could have emissions reductions by letting innovators innovate. this concept that you can just turn in money and cause things to happen is incredibly flawed. in many cases dumping good money on top of bad. they made the same point i did about electric vehicle charging stations and technologies.
you got all kinds of challenges ahead of you. we are going to electrify the entire vehicle fleet, it's going to cause itself to generate triple, quadruple the amount of electricity we do today which is a very challenging task. the grid that's there can't handle it. why are we forcing these incredibly expensive and challenging technologies where there may be other technology that is are very promising which is why i'm going to go back to the united states spends more money on energy research and development than every other country in the world. let's recalibrate and be strategy about where we are investing those dollars to address some of these challenges before us now to allow the united states to continue to be the global leader in reducing emissions without resulting in sky-high energy prices, or car fueling prices, or heating and cooling of your home prices like this current white house strategy. host: back to calls. brentwood, maryland. richard on the democrats line.
caller: good morning, gentlemen. in listening to the congressman speak, republicans disparage everything that democrats have tried to do that are good things. things that they wave as trinkets before the people to gain power. they never complete the task. we jobs bill infrastructure in 2010 t never game came to pass. and biden is trying to recover america from being dependent as covid showed we are dependent on too many critical things from other countries. he's trying to consolidate that and get us back where we can have a better position. you're scared of people with calls socialism and all those other things that are just not true. no way ever america is going to be a socialist country. medicare, social security, all those elements of socialism.
we are already there where we need to be as it relates to social upkeep and benefit for people in the country. host: point to 2010 and the effort to get a jobs bill done then. try to get infrastructure done in the past. what's the chance of getting some sort of package done this time? guest: richard, thanks for your comments. i want to go back and highlight -- i keep talking about how i appreciated the comments that the president made in our meeting. i talked about the areas we agree. liken the need to build roads and bridges. i also came and pointed to facts i think are really important. you said republicans fail to produce a jobs bill and things along those lines. i remind you, the republican control of congress and republican white house we actually had some of the lowest unemployment rates in history, including lowest unemployment rates for women, for african-americans, asian americans, for hispanic americans, and many other categories. these are wins for all americans. this isn't something where you
are trying to do something a demographic or class of folks. this is something that benefits everyone. and no, we are not a socialist country. we are not even kind of one. if you look back in america's history and success, socialism played no role in our ability to become this exceptional nation we are today. yes, we have safety net programs like medicare and social security. those programs are programs that they are funded, you pay them. i have been paying since i was a teenager in the form of payroll taxes as a safety net. as a safety net program for when i'm a senior and have over 90% of my health care costs through the medicare program. those bills, over 90% come during the senior years. this is very different. that's not this broad concept of socialism that you are discussing. my comment -- made the point that the united states has -- republicans have forced us to
become dependent upon china and other countries, foreign nations. i remind you it is this administration that is laying out a climate strategy that entirely plays into china's hands. aim going to close it up and say number one, those areas where we agree with the president, with the white house, i'm onboard. bipartisan policy centers achievement award i received lastary because of the bipartisan work i do. aim not going to be ignorant to facts and data and evidence that shows if we are going to go in a certain direction and make mistakes that challenges america's future, i'm not onboard. i am going to fight that. host: he's a member of the transportation and infrastructure committee and also the select committee on the climate crisis. garrett graves, congressman from louisiana, thanks for being with us this morning. guest: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]