600 KCOL Mornings, Cory Gardner, 8/09/2011

Station: KCOL

Show: 600 KCOL Mornings

Guest: Cory Gardner

Link: http://www.600kcol.com/main.html

Date: 8/9/2011

Topics: Budget, debt ceiling, economy.

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Fallen: Representative Corey Gardner held a townhall meeting which drew about 300 people to American Eagle Distributing in Loveland. The crowd, which seemed fairly evenly divided between political lines frequently shouted down people they disagreed with. One man said the nation was divided between producers and parasites, which drew applause from some and hoops from others and a rebuke from Representative Corey Gardner. In the anger is spilling over, isn’t Representative?

Gardner: There are a lot of people that are frustrated with our economy, with the stalemate in Washington overspending. I understand that and I am glad that we were able to hold a town meeting were people could come and really express their anger at times and hope that we could get to a point where we move beyond sort of chastising each other because there were a lot of people, like your said, shouting down each other and respecting each other’s opinions because those of the ways we are going to find solutions. Not by shouting each other down.

Fallen: Corey, the Denver Post reported this morning that there were approximately 70 Moveon.org members. Were they there just two rabble-rouser or did they actually give legitimate input?

Gardner: Like I said, you had people who were calling each other down. I don’t know who was there representing what organization. But the bottom line is when you have an opportunity that this country has,  to really cut spending and to grow our economy, put it back to health, we need to have conversations with each other that we can actually communicate and do so in a productive way instead of just going after each other.

Fallen: Seems to me this townhall meeting, Representative, based on the reports, was a microcosm of what’s going on in Washington DC and that we need to move beyond the finger-pointing, the name-calling and the blame game. We need to make that transition from blame to solutions.

Gardner: Yesterday there was talk about the S & P downgrade and I said that Republicans are blaming Democrats, Democrats are blaming Republicans and the White House is blaming Standard & Poor’s. You know what, it took everybody to get into the mess and it takes everybody to get out of the mess. And that is what we should be focusing on.

Malmberg: When you left the meeting, did you feel like you had accomplished something or did it add to  the frustration level?

Gardner: It was important to do. That was our 19th townhall meeting since January 5th— being sworn in. That was our 37th town meeting since November 2nd. It is important that we continue to do those and we will. Unfortunately townhall meetings have become a chance for a certain activist with their little flip cameras, there are at least ten of them in the room, to record people both asking questions and then the response, so that they can get you in some type of gatcha moment or splice it for 30 second campaign commercial in the election year. So it is unfortunate that that has taken place because it is one of the best ways to communicate directly with constituents and to get their feedback.

Fallen: An not to lapse into a gotcha moment, and that is certainly not my intent, but we’ve heard from some, as I am sure you have as well, most particularly at that townhall meeting yesterday, voters that were somwhat dismayed, displeased, disgruntled. OK, their hair is on fire with regards to your yes vote on the debt ceiling hike. Some say you rode the tea party wave into Washington based on smaller government and fiscal responsibility, asking why you voted yes. How would you address that question?

Gardner: Absolutely, the bill was not enough. It’s the first run to the latter, its not the whole way up the latter. But without people like the tea party, those cuts never would have happened. Back in January people were saying just a clean debt limit. Two months ago they were saying a tax increases. What happened? We actually are slowing the government. We have got to do more.  We are reducing spending. It puts in placing meaningful spending caps. The same kind of caps that worked to bring budget surpluses back in the early 1990s under Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton likes to take credit for them himself but these caps that went into law as the result of this agreement actually will work to reduce spending. It will force a vote in the House and in the Senate on a balanced budget amendment. And it will force future spending cuts, if additional spending cuts aren’t agreed to by the House and the Senate. It is not enough; I will be the first to admit it. But that is why the people like Mike Pence and Alan West voted yes. People like Paul Ryan voted yes. And the discretionary spending cuts that were achieved in that bill were almost two-thirds of the discretionary spending cuts that were passed out of the House budget just a couple months ago. So its a step. Not a jump, leap or sprint by any means and we’ve got to do a heck of a lot more.

Malmberg: Do you see a balanced budget amendment in your lifetime?

Gardner: I do. It is one of the most important things we could do. You want to answer Standard & Poor’s questions? Pass a balanced budget amendment. If you go back to 1995, the balanced budget amendment filed by one vote in the United States Senate. That’s it, by one vote. And we have another opportunity this year. Forty-nine other states in the country have a balanced budget amendment, why can’t the federal government?

Fallen: I wanted to ask you this Representative, there was a piece in this morning’s Denver Post, S & P downgrade more of a statement on the toxic political landscape in Washington than a comment on the nation’s ability to pay its bills. And I’ve been thinking about that comment because, as you have alluded to, Washington blaming S&P. If I’m not mistaking, the Senate is actually thinking about undertaking an investigation with the possibility of some legal action directed at S & P. Whether they can do that are not the remains to be seen. But it seems to me that that toxic environment, well that’s relative in terms, isn’t it? Politics by it’s very nature, divisive, very outspoken. When you have two sides of the aisle butting heads, it seems to me that the foundation of this nation is based on that of robust political debate. So how do we address that and turn it from a negative into a positive? Essentially changing the culture of Washington?

Gardner: There is always room for robust political debate and there should always be robust political debate. But it breaks down when that the take turns not into debate but instead just people ignoring one another and shouting each other down. Finger-pointing and then going on TV to do it, without actually trying to solve our nation’s greatest problems. So how do we get there? We are clearly in a spending driven debt crisis, there is no doubt about it. And to use this opportunity to cut spending, to pass something like a balanced budget amendment, to go back to look at the House budget and take from that and say, “hey, how can we do better, how can we put this country on the right path toward balancing the budget, reducing the deficit and getting our economy back in the health. You have seen the stock market tumble in the past few days. It needs that leadership from all of us in the United States to say enough is enough. Lets put in place those policies, like we have passed out of the House, to make sure that we are building a stronger future.

Fallen: The Federal Reserve meting later on today in an effort to calm the markets. In your opinion, what tools are in their toolkit?  What can they do?

Gardner: You have heard President Obama continue his talk about doing something but yet not come up with the plan of his own. I’ve heard mention of the second stimulus from the Federal Reserve. I have heard talk of QE3, which is a horrible idea. There are very fuel tools but there is opportunities to reduce regulations, to reduce the burdens on businesses and unleash the power of the private sector. That is what will grow or economy. That is what will get us back to economic health and create the jobs that we are desperately looking for. It’s not Washington driven solutions. Washington is the problem. So how can we put people before partisan politics?

Malmberg: What can we expect in the next session?

Gardner: Its going to be contining with the focus on reigning in regulations and to continue to focus on getting Washington out of the way of those job creators. Making sure that job destroying policies aren’t given the light of day.

Malmberg: If you could give us an inside look. There has to be a lot of frustration in the House when you look over at the Senate. They are not cooperating with what you in the House are trying to do. Give us an inside look of what is being said and what is being thought about the Senate.

Gardner: The House has passed bill after bill and it goes over to the Senate and Harry Reid will make an announcement automatically killing it. Saying no way, no how. If you look at what they have done, it’s been over 800 days since they passed a budget. We built the Pentagon in less time that it has taken them to pass a budget. We’ve got to cut through to the United States Senate. You know what, you’ve got to get to work too and not just sit there with no plans of your own. Lets work together to get out of this mess.