tv Senators Rob Portman Chris Murphy Debate Economy Foreign Policy Gun... CSPAN August 7, 2022 9:00pm-10:35pm EDT
live streams of floor proceedings, white house events, campaigns and more from the worlds of politics all at your fingertips. also stay current with the latest episodes of washington journal. plus a variety of compelling podcasts. c-span now is available for free today. c-span now, your front row seat to washington anytime, anywhere. >> next, senators rob portman of ohio and chris murphy of connecticut debated key issues facing the u.s. including the economy, immigration, and gun violence. it is part of the bipartisan senate project and hosted by george washington university in d.c.
night and hopefully tonight will be no exception. i want to welcome you to the jack morton auditorium on the campus of george washington university in our nation's capital. i am nikole killion. tonight's debate is the second in a series, part of the senate project which is a partnership between the bipartisan policy sector to her, the oran e hatch center, and the edward kennedy center. these organizations are giving senators a forum to debate the issues, exchange ideas, and where possible, together on some of the major issues of our time. the audience has promised remain silent. i will hold you to that, except for right now i would ask you to please welcome senator rob portman, republican from ohio, and senator chris murphy, democrat from connecticut. [applause] thank you both for being here this evening. this will be a true oxford style debate in the first half. the second will be a conversation and those questions will come from me. the guidelines are simple. after one senator presents his argument, the other will have free minute to respond.
then each of you will have another 90 seconds for rebuttal. we will follow the format with all four topics tonight. senator murphy won the coin toss, what he allowed senator portman to go first so we are starting in true bipartisan fashion. [laughter] senator portman, we will have you begin on the topic of inflation and the economy. sen. portman: thank you for moderating and i appreciate gw hosting this. i see some of our staff. i told my staff they had to be here. see some of our stuff out here, chris. my staff had to be here. [laughter] but, i also want to thank the hatch foundation and the kennedy institute for what they do to discourage partisanship and encourage finding common ground. warren was a dear friend of mine. i got to know it when i was in the bush administration.
finally, the bipartisan policy center which i worked closely with in professional legislation. chris and i worked with them on the retro count issues. i was asked by the bipartisan policy center do this. i said, maybe. they said, why don't we do to moderate democrats you know who they are. and they are friends of mine, and i said that would not be much fun. because it would be a love fest. so instead i recommended someone who was more progressive, with whom i have a lot of respect, but with whom i also disagree on policy issues. i'm looking for to tonight. inflation, now that i spent most of my time -- [laughter] the biggest topic, it is all about inflation and the economy in terms of it going into a recession. it is really inflation. it is clothes, everything.
my contention is we don't have to be here. we are already in a tough situation coming out of the first phase of covid it where you had on the supply side. but as the economic students know here, it is about the mismatch between demand and supply. we should be doing everything we can to loosen up the supply-side. which i would argue my administration has not done. but on the demand side, we blew it in march of last year. 15 months ago we passed the biggest spending bill in the history of congress of either side. that is -- the legislation said we would be providing a lot of stimulus when the economy was already picking up. the nonpartisan group we relied on had told us by june 30 we would be back to economic growth as it was a pre-pandemic which was pretty good as you recall. yet, the democrats and biden administration insisted on this package which was $1.9 trillion which caused a lot of the inflationary pressures we are
seeing, because it increased demand to the point were with the natural constriction in supply coming out of the first phase of covid, we cannot keep up. it wasn't just those of us on my side that would be a prop -- that said it would be a problem, but so did the former attorney secretary and the official in both the bush and obama white house is. economists looked at this, i noticed we were already beginning to improve. and now we see this reconciliation bill. i opposed it because of the tax revisions. it's a big mistake to raise taxes at a time when we're trying to get the economy on track and deal with these inflationary pressures. if you look at what we're talking about, this corporate minimal tax, the joint committee on taxes will tell us, tax is born by a lot of people, including workers, somewhere between a 30% and 70% of a corporate tax hike is taking out of wages and salaries based on the economic analysis out there.
second, prices will increase at a time where we are suffering from 9% plus inflation. for us to increase prices seems to be a huge mistake. manufacturers will be hit hardest. the national association of manufacturers said it will result in a loss of 218,000 jobs. not a good thing as we are going into these lower economic times. traditionally, the definition for session. we can argue whether it is really recession but i will tell you the boy no back home, lower middle income family,, it is already recession. it was one before we have these numbers. people are hurting. the economy is in trouble. inflation is too high and yet it seems like we're doing exactly the same thing we did 60 months ago. which is to say the government should be spending more taxing more, at a time where we should be getting help from under this inflationary and recessionary pressures. >> you made it right on time.
senator murphy. sen. murphy: first let me extend my thanks to you, nicole, for moderating this conversation and gw and the kennedy institute, the bipartisan policy center. i got the chance to serve with senator hatch but not senator kennedy. they were both spirited partisans. they had convictions that they held firm to, but they knew that their job was to argue their case and sit down and try to find a path forward. i'm glad that rob made the suggestion to bring me on the stage with him today. it is true. we have often very different ideologies, different approaches to problems. but we are often close collaborators. we have worked together on significant foreign policy matters. we have written legislation together on domestic manufacturing policies. i was proud to support his leadership in making the the
biggest -- the biggest commitment to infrastructure spending. i was proud to have him as a supporter in our recent effort to change america's gun laws and invest in mental health. i hope you will see both sides of the senate here today, spirited argument. but, also an effort to find common ground. on the economy, there are two sides of the story. this is an economy that is admittedly on fire. we have 3.6% unemployment, virtually unprecedented. we have wages growing, inequality shrinking. fewer kids in poverty, than in recent memory. on the other side, there is no doubt, costs are increasing, inflation has been a consequence of a fast-growing economy. the economy did not grow as fast, as it did last year, any time since 1984.
we need to recognize both sides of the story. but, it is also true, that inflation is not a uniquely american problem. so, inflation is global, because most of this is caused by a global supply chain crunch, as a result of our manufacturing sector, and are system distribution, it cannot keep up with demand coming back so fast after bottomed out during covid. so, if you look at a left-leaning government, like the united states, there's inflation, you look at a center government, like you see in france, you see a right-leaning government in britain, you see inflation. it does not mean we don't have an obligation to attack this problem, but it is evidence to the fact that some of this is dictated by global forces. but, as rob mentioned, this week we are going to take a piece of legislation that will address
this cost crunch for consumers, across the country. this is a piece of legislation that will dramatically reduce health care costs, for seniors, who will never pay more than $2000 out-of-pocket for drugs. this piece of legislation is investing in renewable energy. it can bring down energy prices for consumers by 10%. yes, we do ask, handful of the most affluent, profitable corporations to play at least -- pay at least 15% of their income in taxes to pay their fair share. but, that is what is necessary in order to deliver cost relief to the people that need it most. and it is also why, even though -- even the wall street journal came to the conclusion that this legislation will have a d inflationary impact -- deinflationary impact because it spends less money than it takes in, but also it is going to end
up putting money in the pockets of a lot of americans that desperately needed today. there was a cost crisis for americans before prices started rising. my hope is that we seek common ground here. we will not be able to get on the same page this week on the inflation reduction act. it is true, sooner rather than later we need to recognize that whether prices are increases by 8% year or 2% a year, there are a whole lot of americans that cannot afford to live or buy groceries, or medicine, therein lies the opportunity for bipartisan cooperation. sen. portman: a different analysis of the same bill. when you look at the economic study has said about this bill which was in the wall street journey -- journal today, does not decrease inflation. the next two years it increases inflation at a time when we should be doing just the opposite. . it is no wonder because it
provides some more stimulus, but also puts taxes on the economy. i talked about the fact that half of the taxes are going to be borne by manufacturers. we passes legislation, we tried to pass it called tips plus, tell pooh? u.s. manufacturers to be more competitive. if you look at the growth numbers, witty .9% reduction in economic -- we had a .9% reduction in economic growth. driven by a lack of investment, 13.5 percent decrease in investment in this country. that is exactly what this legislation will do, further decrease investment. companies wife taken advantage -- who have taken advantage of the tax reduction, meaning you can write off your equipment if you are a manufacturer, which is why half of the people are capital intensive industries. if anything we will try to find the bonus depreciation to encourage people to an invest to
be more competitive, including with china, who has more of tony 5% of the world's money fracturing in one country -- 25% of the world's money manufacturing in one country. hopefully we end up with a different bill than what is proposed because of these realities. tech companies as well, that rely on stock rather than salary sometimes are being told you can't take the full deduction, it discourages people from offering those kinds of plans. it will also have an effect on other industries as well to the point that 218,000 people lose their jobs. the manufacturing sector alone. congress is going to take a look at this week, we will have a debate. my hope is we will be able to pass some amendments to make this legislation more workable. sen. murphy: corporations across this country enjoyed this enormous windfall from the enormous tax breaks. they were not asking for a big
tax reduction as they got. but they ended up seeing a historic reduction in tax liability. the claim at the time was that this was going to stimulate the economy so much that the bill would end up bringing in more money than it cost the government. that did not turn out to be the case. it drove up just as it -- deficits. it created unfairness among the american public who saw their costs going up, but also saw the tax liability going down. there was a limited relief. the 200 most richest prophet of corporations were simply asking them to not pay v rate but to pay just a minimum of corporate tax. we are going to take some of that money and apply a debt reduction, $300 million of deficit reduction. $300 billion of deficit reduction but then we're going
to take the rest of the money and give it to consumers right now that are having trouble paying their bills. we are going to invest in seniors who are going bankrupt through prescription that spirals out of control. one third of seniors have to moderate their prescription drugs, have to have their pills, have to take less than what is prescribed because of what what it costs. investments in renewable energy to lower that bill as well. so, the targeted corporate tax increase is all about making sure the profitable companies at least pay something in tax. other people will support the bill because that money is being used to deliver relief to the pockets of people who needed. >> thank you, senator murphy. we will move onto the next topic, and safety. you have three minute -- gun safety. you have three minutes. sen. portman: i am grateful for
senator --sen. murphy: i am grateful for senator portman. it has been 30 years since congress has passed any legislation addressing the epidemic of gun violence in this nation. what we have learned is inescapable. no matter where you live, no matter what your zip code is, you can wake up and have your life fundamentally transformed by a mass shooting, by suicide, homicide, an accidental shooting . and it is not a coincidence that the rates of murder and mass shootings has increased in this country. as these dangerous weapons have proliferated, all over the nation. i have two kids, a fourth-grader, the same age as those young kids in uvalde. the fact that they need to worry about their safety and think about where they will run and hide when they walk into school every day, if a shooter were to
walk in those doors is heartbreaking. i am proud of what we did together. it is an example of a congress can do together but it is not enough. i don't understand why congress can't do the two things that the american public have achieved consensus on. first is universal background checks, make sure every single gun purchase go through a background check. to make sure the criminals, or seriously mentally ill, are not getting their hands on them. the studies show it is the most impactful in trying to reduce the rate of violence in this nation. second, get these weapons of war off the streets. these weapons that have become the weapon of choice for nasa shooters. an ar-15 is not essential if you want to hunt or protect your home. but it is essential if you're -- your intent is to kill two dozen
people in five minutes or less. to me, i would job is not done. i think the bill we passed will have an impact. more than anything else, shows the american public we have the capability to rise to the occasion. but, the fact that all we were able to do where these incremental changes. it shows you how much power the gun industry and lobbies still have in washington. it shows you how broken the institution still is around these basic issues of public safety. it shows you how much more work we have to do. the measure -- it can't be measured on the number of lives lost. every single child in this nation is going through a level of trauma and anxiety, especially those who grow up in more dangerous neighborhoods and places like cleveland or new haven, fearing for their lives every day they walked to school. we have an obligation to build upon the success of the bipartisan bill to take the next
steps necessary to keep our community and kit safer. -- kids safer. sen. portman: this is -- just to think chris, you can see he is passionate about this issue. they are heartbreaking. many of my colleagues have decided and are happy to have this issue debated and discussed, yet to find common ground is not their interest. i know senator murphy was under a lot of pressure because i talk to some of his colleagues who were unhappy with him because he was going to say, you know what, let's get something done here this time. that's one reason i joined the effort because i thought it was the right attitude and thought the policies would help to address the real issues out there. in doing so, he didn't get everything done. but more importantly, for a lot
of his colleagues, thought this is selling short of what we should be doing. i appreciate the way he handled that. i know was an easy. -- it wasn't easy. the most important part of the bill was the metal health revisions. we encourage red flag with due process. the amount of funding we have put in these community health centers for mental health is unprecedented. people probably did not recognize that because there were other aspects that had to do more directly with the gun issue. this is where so much of the problems arise. as i am sure many people in this room know, 54% of gun deaths are suicide. beyond that, each of these horrific mass shootings, there is a mental health component in every case.
people that are left out of the system and have not been in a position to get help or if they are in a position to get help they are not being required to get help. so, that is why the legislation is so important. not just a mental health funding and the community health centers and self for intervention. the other part of this that we do not talk about is what happens every night here in our nations capitol. chicago being famous, cleveland, we have one of the higher homicide rates in cleveland. columbus did a study of gun violence and it was a deep report, i found it fascinating. there are 17 gangs in columbus.
.05% of the city's population. they are suspected to be a part of 46% of homicides either as victims or perpetrators. this is the gun violence we do not hear about. obviously, this is where most people are dying from gun violence outside of suicide which is primarily cities, primarily gang violence, directly related to the drug trade which is so lucrative. that is a bigger issue that has to be addressed. sen. murphy: i was with the mayor of a big city in connecticut, and his entire career has been in law enforcement. he told me the story of illegal guns in connecticut.
it was a big deal when we picked up a gun in a traffic stop. 10 years ago, it started to be a regular occurrence. every week we would run into an illegal gun or two. he said today, we find them every single day. it shows how many more weapons are in circulation. so many of those are illegal weapons, weapons they get bought in states with looser background check laws, gun shows or online, and buck to states with tougher laws. -- brought to states with tougher laws. in order to get our hands wrapped around this full epidemic including violence in cities, you have to do something about this pipeline of guns, background checks. i thank rob for what he said, he took a risk as well. republicans have to go up against opposition to this bill.
i will leave you with this. i have mixed feelings about the inclusion of mental health spending in a bill about gun violence, because i worry, i imagine republicans have the same worry, because it creates there is a link between mental illness and violence. i think it's an important part of the bill, it will save lives, but i do think we have to be careful about making to direct a link at a time or we are trying to overcome the stigma that surrounds mental illness. sen. portman: the focus is on those perpetrators and getting them the care they need, again, it's undeniable, you look at mass shootings in every case, it goes back to someone who did not have either access to, or if they had access did not take
advantage of that. on the illegal guns and broader issue of crime, we have an explosion of crime in our cities. it has come along with covid. we have an explosion of overdoses coming from illegal drugs, primarily fentanyl which is the synthetic opioid coming from china for so long. about two thirds of the overdoses in ohio and around the country for the most recent year were fentanyl-related. cocaine, heroin, it's all out there, but increasingly, cartels are turning to fentanyl. it is so incredibly powerful. 200 times more powerful than heroin, a few specks of which can kill you. it is so lucrative for these
cartels and criminal organizations in this country associated with cartels, it is a lot to protect. this has led to a lot of this violence. that's a great segue to the border discussion which may come next. >> that is correct. you have three minutes. sen. murphy: well done. [laughter] sen. portman: we have an unprecedented number of people coming across the southern border seeking to come to the united states unlawfully, they come to the border, they are met by the border patrol, about half are turned away under title 42. the rest are allowed to come into the country, and the number of people encountered by the border patrol over the past three months has been unprecedented. 200,000 people.
along with that has come this absolute flood of drugs. if you look at seizures of drugs , they are unprecedented. in may alone, there was enough fentanyl seized to kill 200 million americans. it's coming across in two different ways. we are not doing the proper screening, only about 2% of cars and traffic is being screened at all. the bad guys know this. these criminal organizations are using that. if you have been to the border, as i have, written with the border patrol, talks to dozens of people responsible for protecting our country, it's
overwhelming, and the cartels are using decoys to move drugs across. one night when i was in el paso, we were listening to the radio, they said there is a group about the cross at one point, unfortunately, when they got to that point, the larger group came across one mile or two away, dressed in black, backpacks on. if you talk to the border patrol, they will tell you most drugs were not being seized. more and more was by people because the border is open now. it's a crisis. back in the obama administration, they called it a crisis. somehow this administration cannot call it a crisis. it's also one most americans
look at and shake their heads. we have an opportunity for people to come here illegally. we take 900,000 people a year. i am a big proponent of immigration. we can continue to have the lawless movement of people across the southern border. people who were locked into the back of a semi truck, unable to escape the summer heat. these numbers continue to grow. this year, they believe there will be 600 or 700 people who will die crossing the desert, one of these tracks or otherwise, even a couple of years ago it was in the tens, 30 people. it's not that it is just a massive movement of drugs across the borders, it's not just the other contraband including guns,
it is the fact that this is not a humane policy. it's taking advantage, exploiting them, and we need a legal system that works. sen. murphy: i think it's important to level set the conversation about migration, by talking about how the greatness of america is tied up in our willingness to bring people to this country fleeing persecution. we are almost all here, children of immigrants, immigrants ourselves, and the future greatness is wrapped up in our ability to continue that legacy. i know rob believes that as well. while i don't put senator portman in this category, i worry there are many people today inside the republican party who do not want to solve issues at the border, who don't really want to solve people here
without documentation, but want to keep this issue open as a political wedge, a rallying cry, a mechanism to make people fear those who look different. if you look at our ability keep up with the rise of china, there's no way to do that unless we bring the best hard-working people from all around the world. senator portman is also right that the numbers are high this year, there were also very high in 2019 when president trump was in office, they are higher today, that is in large part because of the title 42 process which turned people back around and sent them back across the border without prosecution or the chance to apply for asylum.
you have seen this quadrupling of the number of people coming back to the border for a second time, third time, fourth time. presentations are high, many are individuals who are coming over and over. it's also true, we are seizing more fentanyl and drugs at those ports of entry. that's because we are making investments, we are finally putting technology at ports of entry to catch these trafficers. the tragedy is for four years of the trump administration, president trump was so focused on building this wall which frankly did very little to capture the trafficking, making investments necessary, because the precincts, over 90% of the illegal drug trade is coming in through ports of entry, not through portions of the border that do not have any barriers.
we will continue to make those investments, but i take up senator portman's challenge wishes to impose a rules-based immigration system which is both fair and humane. that requires republicans coming to the table to talk about comprehensive immigration reform, not just building a wall, but figuring out a better way to help more people come here illegally, what to do with folks who are living in the shadows today. this debate can't be just about the threat immigrants pose to the country, it has to be about the opportunity. we have to size our immigration laws to be smarter about legal pathways. sen. portman: we found common ground tonight. i am interested in expanding legal immigration.
we find ourselves unable with visas, latest legislation, we put something in place that was stapled the green card for people in stem disciplines, and i think that is all good. we have to do something about this unlawful current system that is serving nobody except the traffickers. the administration made specific decisions, president trump had a lot of illegal entries coming in in 2019, he changed policies to the point where when the biden administration came in, the border was essentially secure. a small percentage of the current flow of people, drugs and contraband. the main change was dealing with the asylum policy. right now we have such a wide open policy that people can claim asylum, come for eight years, if they get appeals,
maybe six or eight years. the backlog is one point 5 million people in that system. it's no wonder people are staying. the administration has chosen not to deport people. removals have virtually ended. that is not a lawful system as well. president obama, those who entered unlawfully, removed about 65% of those. president biden, 5%. when the biden administration came in, there was 70%. these changes have consequences. i think it's good to have a comprehensive approach, but we have got to have a secure southern border. sen. murphy: i would argue that was covid.
not trump's border policies becoming effective, those numbers dropped off as soon as covid became the national emergency and title 42 was initially imposed. people just stopped moving. productively, presentations at the border fell. again, the center is right that the amount of time it takes to get through the asylum process is too long. that's why we put money in to start to clear that backlog. i will tell you, that is a fight republicans were not necessarily willing to put dollars into clearing that backlog. that's why president biden proposed a new way to process asylum-seekers, so they can get through that system faster, we can work together to speed up
the asylum process but we have to work together. the conditions in central america and mexico, i know there is belief that there are policies -- it's by and large the conditions in which people live. one of the worst decisions president trump ever made was cutting off help to central american nations to help them gain control of security. hopefully that is something we can agree on on a bipartisan basis. part of the policy should be assisting nations to keep their citizens at home. >> finally, senator murphy, we will conclude with our last topic of the evening. protecting individual liberties. you have three minutes. sen. murphy: i know this is a difficult and sensitive issue.
it's probably the topic most of my constituents in connecticut want to discuss with me right now. i thought to be honest it was important to put on the table today. the heart of what it means to be an american is this idea of liberty, personal freedom, that the government should not tell you what choices you should make, should not dictate to us about how we live our lives. the folks i represent in connecticut -- connecticut are really worried. the ethos on the supreme court that seeks to put government more and more in charge about our bodies, personal lives. the most personal choice we have to make is when to have a child. the issue of abortion is hotly
contested. i completely understand people who make the decision that they are morally opposed to abortion. but because it is so anchored in personal morality, it is the last subject government should be dictating to individuals. that question of whether to proceed with the pregnancy should be the choice of the individual, her family, and doctor. i worry this is the tip of the iceberg. in that dobbs decision, the court previewed that they may, very shortly, come after other protections that have been long in law, some more recent, whether it be the protection to have access to contraception, birth control, or marry whoever you love. regardless of sexual orientation. my belief is this is a time where we need to step up as a
body, for the basic idea of personal liberty and freedom, something republicans talk about a lot as well as democrats. that means i think we need to act with urgency in the united states senate to pass legislation that codifies ro. i'm glad to see bipartisan legislation introduced in the senate, bipartisan compromise. if that right back to families, make the decision for themselves. we have to act with similar speed to protect access to contraception and birth control, make sure states can't ban gay marriage. some say those are illusory threats, the supreme court has not acted, nothing to worry about. that is what we heard in the lead up to the dobbs decision. those justices said you do not have anything to worry about, precedent is important to us. now, half the states in the
nation, women can't receive the full range of services. this is a moment where we can come together and stand up for that basic unifying issue of personal freedom and liberty. sen. portman: personal freedom and liberty. republicans obviously value that, and many of my constituents were nervous with the gun safety legislation because they thought liberties are being affected. i would argue they were not, and i have heard this discussion with people back home who value the second amendment. i don't think it was abridged by that, i think it focused on this notion of keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and the mental health component. mandates, regulations, republicans are constantly fighting against the imposition upon our country and citizens, because we do believe personal liberty is very important.
in terms of abortion, it is an issue that's very emotional, people have strong views on both sides. one thing i have found interesting is since the decision, there is a sense that the american people are all on one side of this issue, that is simply not true. in fact, when you look at some of the data, it indicates from the planned parenthood research arm, 71% of americans support research on abortion. yes, they opposed reversing roe. when asked about the details, 49% believe abortion should be limited, 72% a 15 week limit. this is an issue that divides us as a nation. where should it be best place?
i believe among the elected representatives. the democrats in the senate with whom i have talked about the most recent decision on the epa were upset that a court was taking the role of the legislature, which is just the opposite. it should go back to the legislature. that was the point. the same here, for 200 years, the states to decide this issue. -- did decide this issue. some states will find themselves on one side of the spectrum and others, the other end. americans have mixed views on it. in terms of these other issues, i am a republican that cosponsors the respect for marriage act. i don't think these codification's are required because anything was said in the dobbs decision. senator murphy said the decision suggested these other rights
would be up for grabs, it's just the opposite. the opinion is self said the opposite. others, in a concurrence of judge kavanaugh, he went out of his way to specifically call out he does not believe -- i do not believe it's a high risk, i believe it's a low risk. it's appropriate to codify with the simple codification, a targeted codification, not what we see in the rope out of the case and. -- roe codification. sen. murphy: this is an issue that divides us.
everyone comes at this issue differently. there are those that believe the decision should be entirely left up to a woman, others believe there are no circumstances where an abortion is warranted, then there are many that believe there should be some limits. that is the case i am making. given how personal this issue is, there is really nothing more personal than this decision of when to proceed with the pregnancy. it should not be in the hands of government. republicans say well, the right place is not in the court, not the congress, but in state legislatures. for me, it does not belong in the hands of government, it should be up to families. i hope you are right, i hope we do not see follow on decisions, but i fear they are coming.
lastly, let me thank rob for his support for the respect for marriage act. i hope we will pass that in the next several weeks, or by the end of the session, that i hope there will be another moment where we see republicans and democrats come together to move this country forward. despite how broken this institution appears from the outside, when you put the gun bill, the potential for the marriage act, the infrastructure bill, the chips act, this is a pretty impressive list of bipartisan accomplishments. all of this, despite disagreements, gives me hope. sen. portman: coke. -- hope. i think there is some hope.
again, a powerful issue, there are so many strong views. and to justin, looking around the world -- it's interesting, 90% of laws -- countries have laws on the books that prohibit abortion because it is such a powerful issue and people feel so strongly about it. we ought to be able to have a dialogue in those states and come up with the best approach. with regard to the broader issue, how do we find a common ground, i do agree that we passed some pretty good legislation. it's never perfect. the infrastructure bill was not exactly how i would have written it, nor how chris would have written it. but we do have a responsibility
to serve the people, getting something down to help people, move the process forward. directionally, we have done some of this legislation to make the country more competitive, an opportunity to have our kids and grandkids enjoy what we enjoy, to be able to be in this great country, greatest country on the face of the earth. my hope is we have seen common ground tonight. hopefully we have laid the predicate that our job is not to throw the red meat, but help people we have represented. >> i want to thank you. this concludes the first half of this debate. we are going to take a short break to begin the q and a session, so we will ask that you allow us some time while the stagehands take away the party. in the meantime, take a look at this video for some background
on the senate project. [video clip] >> we have several goals for the center project. first and foremost to encourage civil debate between the right and left. that has disappeared, and the days of senator kennedy and hatch who are completely opposite human beings, politically, religiously, geographically, yet they worked together and created meaningful legislation and still influences the course of the country today. the symbolism of the relationship between ted kennedy and warren hatch is a norm us, particularly with the senate project. the likelihood of these people coming together to be this productive was not very high. these are two people who
together, past the care act, ada, medicare part d, on and on. our goal is to bring the senate together, respect each other's thought process, to derive results from cross colonization of ideas, and do with the senate -- what the senate has always done. the origins came out of a board meeting where two board members had just returned from a trip. they saw a body that was deeply divided that had no resemblance to the senate they knew, and felt they needed to do something to help heal the senate. the second goal is to demonstrate the influence -- we are in a unique position.
we have the only replica of the u.s. senate chamber in the world. obviously, there is only one other, that is in washington, d.c.. it is symbolic, making the senate as productive as humanly possible, to teach about the workings of the senate. what we want to do is be a part of the solution and demonstrate the power of the institution. like our mission itself, this effort as a partnership. it's a partnership. our focus continues to be providing civics education for young people. however, we have a big role. the company has changed, our problems are bigger, and it's up to us to do something.
we will move to the conversation portion of our debate, and i want to start this portion off with some of the breaking news we are learning about at this hour, president biden address the nation with respect to the counterterrorism operation that killed an al qaeda operative. i just want to know at this stage, what do you know about this drone attack? sen. murphy: we were in this gift together this evening. -- the skiff. we did not have a heads up. it's very important that these things remain totally confidential. our sense is this guy was not nearly as charismatic as osama bin laden, but he was directly
involved in carrying out attacks against us, our western allies and others. the administration is to be commended for continuing to go after these individuals who continue to try and kill our allies and citizens and soldiers. sen. murphy: al qaeda is a shell of what it once was, but unquestionably still a threat. i was a supporter of the decision to leave afghanistan. but, there was this question as to what our capabilities would be to go after al qaeda. we will get more information, hopefully it helps prove that
even without the kind of human intelligence, the presence of thousands of troops, we still have the ability to track networks and find those that are doing harm to the united states. >> not being said, this is someone who was the mastermind of 9/11. what does it say that it took more than 20 years to hunt him down? sen. murphy: it is significant how many al qaeda leaders we have apprehended and killed. that campaign has been effective in crippling project power, it's also true we have been routinely taking out the number two, number three, the operational
leaders itself. i don't think that's coincidental that there is a lower projection of threats to the united states than there was only started this project. >> i want to get a better sense, you mentioned this in terms of the president's decision to leave afghanistan. i wonder, senator portman, two you think that was a mistake? do you worry it could become a safe haven for terrorists, to either of you see a scenario where the u.s. may have to go back in? sen. portman: i was very critical the way the administration exited afghanistan. it was precipitous, hurried and dangerous. it resulted in the loss of lives.
13 service members including one from ohio. we did not have to do it that way. we have not lost anybody and i think 18 months. we had the ability to do it in an orderly way. the result was, once the air cover was gone, the afghans were not able to rely on it. they had not gotten to the point where they would be self-sufficient without that. it was a huge mistake. most people realized it. certainly, when there was the rush on the airport. we ended up taking people u.s. a result of the rushed nature had nothing to do with helping u.s. service members. yet, we are bringing them into the united states without proper
screening. we have over 100,000 people, many of whom if they were translators, drivers, absolutely deserved something better than what they got. they had no connection, there were a small number of national security threats, we left a lot of people behind. my friends who served are so distraught by that because they feel as though the e those of the military, not to leave any member behind was violated. i don't understand why it had to be so hurried and unplanned, and by we had to have such a disastrous exit.
my hope is we will not have to go back, because of the way we left. my concern with al qaeda, isis and others was they would come back into what they consider a terrorist haven. that's exactly what happened. economy, starvation. it's a very unfortunate situation. sen. murphy: we have different perspectives on this. i think president trump left president biden in an impossible situation. he is the one that signed the agreement with the taliban carrying -- guaranteeing the united states with leave. president biden extended that date.
if he had chosen to stay longer, his advisors were telling him he would have to send in thousands of additional troops because the taliban with start attacking us. what happened was, unexpectedly overnight, both the afghan government and military -- i don't know you help -- i do not know how you manage an evacuation of that size that does not involve some level of chaos, some level of danger. your partners pack up and disappear overnight. without warning, without notice. those themes -- scenes are heartbreaking, loss of life was heartbreaking, sometimes we set
up unrealistic expectations for political leaders, especially on questions of national security, given the circumstances of how the evacuation played out with the application of our partners, unfortunately the decision to leave had consensus on both sides of the aisle, i don't think there was a way to do that much cleaner than the way it turned out. i know there is disagreement on that. it's just my perspective. sen. portman: definitely. there was a way to do it in a way that was not as hurried and chaotic. it would not have been easy, and never is, but to this day i can't understand why president biden did not follow the advice of his military commanders who did predict some of this.
the question is, if you told the taliban, if you do attack us, we will use the government against you. i did think there was a way to do this. now, i don't have any choice but to continue the monitor the situation. i'm not suggesting we should go back in, we have to continue to pay careful attention. >> turning to asia. senator portman, senator murphy, you said any visit to taiwan should be purposeful. should they go, do you support
more members of congress going to taiwan or is it simply too risky? sen. murphy: speaker pelosi should do what she thinks is right. she has a much longer history than i do, and i'm glad the administration is supporting the decision she will make. today, we do not definitively know the decision. i think it's clear and apparent to everyone that the chinese are expediting plans to reintegrate taiwan into mainland china through any means necessary. they may tell us when we do these meetings that the preference is nonmilitary, but there is no doubt they are getting ready to use whatever means possible. our policy over the years is
whether or not we will come directly to the defense of taiwan. today, we have a policy of providing taiwan with what is necessary to defend themselves. i want to make sure that if we decide to change that policy and some would argue we should, that we do it purposefully, not accidentally. it requires a pretty dramatic increase in military spending. i want to have a conversation with my constituents with that kind of reorientation. to fall backwards into an implicit security guarantee i don't know is necessary, rob may have a different perspective on this. i think that question is
important. i think it's one we should engage in deep consultation with constituents before we lead ourselves onto a path that may ultimately result in certain, but with china. sen. portman: it's a dangerous part of the world because china has been increasingly aggressive, not just in the taiwan straight but the south taiwan c. -- sea. japan is worried, all of the countries are worried. the entire pacific rim, for good reason. china is flexing its muscle in doing so in an aggressive way, military expansion including taking a coral reef and turning it into a military base, the philippines would tell you that was illegal, but they do it. i think it's true there is a
danger in the region, and the united states can't be a police officer for the world. but we could be the sheriff, you get a posse together, that posse is the other countries in the region throughout slowly align with us. i was there in april, three months ago, visiting australia and japan, it was fascinating. the same thing is happening with nato. because of china's actions, our allies are closer together than ever. the quad which includes india as having very productive talks, we are closer than ever with australia and japan and india. that is the only silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud which is china's aggression. i thought the visit to taiwan was april.
we had good opportunities to talk about specifics, in terms of what kinds of military approaches we might take to protect ourselves, to act as a deterrent from china making a huge mistake in doing what russia has done in ukraine wishes to attack a sovereign, independent country. one would hope china would see this makes no sense, no logic. we also talk about other issues including semiconductors. the debate about semiconductors, the importance of this one product. semiconductors are in everything.
90% of the high-end semiconductors are made in one country. that is taiwan. we already have a vested interest in a country that turns to us, traits with us. it's a very important country. i hope speaker pelosi makes a decision she believes is best, but that she goes and does what we did three months ago, which in the face of china writing letters to my office, i guess to me, my office didn't show me the letter until i was on the plane.
the counteraction was some jets across the taiwan straight line. fighter jets, maybe eight of them. think about the alternative. we were supposed to go before our trip, this was a previously scheduled trip. our trip is very productive. she says, i'm not going to go because of these threats from china. our visit was consistent with both the taiwan relations act and the one china policy -- it
shows weakness, if you rattle the cage, the united states will respond by backing off. i suppose you can do a lot of this virtually. i think it will be a message to interpret it as the united states not being willing to do the normal course of diplomacy, much less be engaged in a deeper way in the region. >> the united states announced $550 million of security.
is there another supplemental package in the works, what would you like to see in it and you expect the same level of bipartisan support we saw earlier this spring? sen. portman: chris and i have been to ukraine together. it's expanding beyond that, we have stuck together, this is a country that has turned to the
west. in living color, we got to see it all on tv. i went there as an election monitor, by the way, everyone voted in the entire country. we would both agree it was really disheartening to see the russian buildup, we took the last delegation before the invasion, we were left surprised and the global community -- our military intelligence was quite good. intelligence did a good job to
analyze what was going on. something was going on. it was not just a military exercise. it was hard to imagine much was doing this, it made no sense. this was a neighbor that just wants to get along with neighbors including russia. it's extraordinary this has happened. now the question is, can the united states sustain help for ukraine? we are leading a group, it's not just us. we are leading that group. the uk's very active. this latest charged -- tranche announced today provides weapons for long-range artillery which are changing the battlefield, we
believe, finally. that is the only way you get russia to the table, to change the dynamic. it's important for us to continue the assistance because they are our friend and ally, and we have to stand up in this case. first time since world war ii we have seen a european country invaded. we have to respond. importantly, if we don't continue assistance, i don't think russia comes to the table. we saw the ships sail out of the harbor in odessa today, that was great news. by the same token, the russians continue to bombard these areas.
you can't make this up. i hope we will pass another bill. it will be harder. it's something we need to remind people, but the stakes are. >> happening and why. what is the rationale? i hope we continue to send the right equipment. we are finally getting to that point. i think we need to -- >> by the end of the year. sen. murphy: i think we will likely need another package by the end of the year at the rate we are drawing down. i give tremendous credit to rob.
they are very good. there is a risk. news outlets do not cover ukraine every night like they did, we start elevating other priorities. to the extent this is still a bipartisan priority, it's a large share due to the persistence on this. two additional thoughts. rob is probably the only senator who has been to ukraine more than i have. i used to go with john mccain. two additional points. president she -- xi is watching. his taste for moving earlier on taiwan is directly connected to if he sees russia pay a
long-term price. and thought he was going to roll straight into kyiv. people fight hard to defend their territory, especially when they have friends. our ability to continue to support ukraine is critical second, this town has a military lens and it's important to understand the long game. what they are seeking to do in part with the oil crisis is to weaken the appetite of the west, the europe and the united states, to stay in the fight, cut a deal with russia. rob and i worked to fill the government capability to spin back against russian propaganda. our efforts -- russia is in the
business trying to convince europe to give up. we can assist in telling the truth about >> happening -- what is happening. that's not about military assistance, its information assistance. a new capability that we started at the state department. >> i want to bring things back here at home very briefly. as you know, you have the bipartisan bill you both supported back in june to provide more health benefits to service members who have been exposed to toxic burn pits, now you are on opposite sides. senator for me, you and your
colleagues flipped. you have veterans outside the u.s. capitol. what is it going to take to get this done before the recess? sen. portman: i voted as i did a month ago, because i thought we allow an amendment process, the video earlier, the comment was made that the senate is not what it used to be. the blame goes to individuals for to partisan, but it is also our leadership and not allowing debate, not allowing what we are looking for which is the ability to introduce an amendment. >> is it worth holding up the bill over one of,? sen. portman: absolutely. we will resolve that and vote for the bill. i will vote for passage whether it passes or not. it's important -- $280 billion. when you look at the budget, it
can be another $350 billion that would be spent on nonveteran affairs matters, it's not about the veterans, they beget the same amount. i'll know what this means, i want to stand with my colleagues and have the opportunity to debate on this. i think we will. you will see the legislation passed. i talked this afternoon about it. i'm trying to encourage democratic leaders to allow a real amendment process. when those gentlemen were in their prime, the senate debated all the time. we reviewed as the world's greatest deliberative body. we have very few -- that goes
for democrats and republicans in charge. even on the of the structure bill, we wanted more amendment. any other bill in recent but it wasn't enough, we think people should be able to have their votes. i voted the same way last time, i voted against closures to we would have this amendment process. we supported final passage, this time i did the same thing. my colleagues were with me in doing that. the point is, i think, for can have the opportunity to have this one important amendment that we will end up voting for final passage in a big bipartisan way. sen. murphy: coming for having a more open amendment process -- count me in for having a more amendment process. senators change because power has been further consolidated in
leaders, both majority and minority leaders. it used to be the chairman of the committee worked of the bills, allowed for full and open amendments. if we can get back to that, it's a much better senate. i didn't know, rob's votes on this bill. i am glad to hear he was consistent. there are a lot of people, why there were 24 republican senators who voted on the bill and then change their vote the second time. the objection that senator toomey raised, i heard him talking about it the first time. it wasn't as if it was a mystery. so, why did 25 senators choose a different path when the same bell, with that same issue, that senator toomey raised was present at the second time? there's two excavations. -- explanations. there was a massive change of heart, which rarely happens in this place, in that kind of
number and scope. or it was a reaction to the announcement of climate change -- the climate change bill. if it was that i don't think the american public are going to tolerate that kind of gamesmanship. but, my hope is that we can get this done and resolved. >> and as we conclude tonight, i do want to leave with some parting thoughts on where there is common ground. so, because this is the fourth time in u.s. history that we have had a 50-50 senate, i'm curious to find out what lessons both of you have learned from this experience. i know a lot of people think, especially in an election year, it is hard to get things done. but, where do think you can find common ground before this session ends and beyond? sen. portman: i will start this
one. oh talk to about two lessons i have learned. coming off the bill in 60 years. the two things i learned to that process and through the, almost decade that i have been in the senate, i'm still fairly new to the place, one, is that relationships matter. i got to the senate after sandy hook, i was introducing myself to my colleagues at the same time i'll try to lobby them on a controversial bill. universal background checks. it does take time to build up trust. sen. murphy: for rob to get something done he had to have trust. for me to finally convince partners to work on the issue of guns you have to have trust. sometimes in today's senate, we have so little time to spend together, to get to know each other, we are running off to fundraisers or back to our district. we have to find a way to take the time to build that trust. the second thing is, try to not litigate everything, through social media.
color me guilty. often i am far too quick to run to my twitter feed to complain about something. the reason we got that gun bill done was that we didn't litigate our differences in public, we kept them private. in this age of immediate ability to communicate your thoughts, often that accrues to our detriment not our benefit. my hopes for a small but important thing that can get done is our next project, which is the electoral counteract, the law which governs how electors are chosen and counted, ambiguous, full of holes, that people can take advantage of if they are trying to put someone in the office who didn't win an election. we have been part of a bipartisan group was a proposal on the table that would fix that and make it a bit more certain that the winner of the election
has an expedited path to the white house next time around. that is on the docket i hope for passage by the end of the year. sen. portman: yeah. hope. you talked about it earlier. i think hope, in the next four months, we can get things done. i have four or five projects i hoped to have completed by the end of the year. one is on retirement security is an example. it is a bipartisan issue. senator cardin and i have legislation that can be bipartisan and be passed, and help with 401(k)s and those small businesses, and self-employed. that is an example that is very meaningful to my constituents that we have not been able to get done for the past for five years. i think we can now. the infrastructure experience was interesting because we started in the middle and it worked out, rather than, leadership tends to have more influence and power now. we kind of made a decision we were not going to either side,
starting with two of us in four of us in eight of us and moved out, in circles and found out it was actually a lot of consensus around taking the tax increases out and making it about infrastructure and making compromises. a dirty word for some. but that is what you have to do when you're behind closed doors negotiating. you have to find a way to move forward. the alternative was to spend another two decades without an infrastructure bill, that put the u.s. way behind in other countries in terms of our infrastructure and the ability to do with a whole range of issues, including resiliency, which is something we are experiencing with climate issues. anyway, that same group that formed the nucleus of that and chris is part of that group, is going on to work on several of the things together. one is the counteract, which, to put it simply would never allow
a january 6 moment to happen again. the vice's role becomes ministerial. it is possible to get some of the things done towards the end. i think the political season is upon us and that makes it challenging. i think both parties in the senate believe they can get to the majority, democrats can keep it, republicans can get it. in the house there is a more -- there's more of a sense the republicans will take the majority. the senate is interesting. we don't really know. i think on something like a reform effort to the rules of the senate that we were talking about or the rules of the congress in terms of the electrical -- electoral count act. so, in a way it makes it easier. you are flipping the coin. it could be us or could be used so let's do the right thing, why not? my hope is we will get some
stuff done and have the opportunity to show people we can work together. changing the rules in the senate to allow more debate is a good thing. the trust act -- it is not getting to know people, we can trust, who you can't, and to the media who are here, playing everything out in the media is almost as detrimental as playing it out in social media sometimes. your frustrated with me, i will not tell you but every negotiating moment because it is important to have that trust. before it's cooked, before it is ready, it is difficult to get there. that is my lesson that we learned. i hope we get things done. then, nicole for moderating us, you are keeping us from fighting each other. >> i want to thank you both -- for joining us. we want to give our huge thanks
to george washington university, the staff here at the jack moran center along with the reduction manager -- production manager. the next edit project -- the next descendant project debate will take place in utah. -- the next senate project debate will take place in utah. i am the congressional correspondent for cbs news. thank you again. and everyone have a good night. [applause] ♪
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its capt >> the senate has been in session all weekend working on a package offered by democrats to address climate change in perception drug costs. the legislation finally passed on partyline vote of 51-50 --51-50 with vice president -- with vice president harris casting the deciding vote. as always, you can follow the house live on c-span. >> c-span's "washington journal," every day we take your calls live on the air, on the news of the day, and we discuss policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning,
the military times deputy editor on the passage of the pact act which will expand health care veterans for -- benefits for veterans exposed to toxins during their service. and a former top economic adviser to former president trump discusses senate democrats health care and prescription drug proposal. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern monday morning on c-span, or c-span now, our free mobile app. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> listening to programs on c-span through c-span radio just got easier. tell your smart speaker, play c-span radio, and listen daily at 7 a.m. eastern and throughout the day. and weekdays at 5:00 p.m. at p.m. eastern. listen to c-span any time, just