AM Colorado, Cory Gardner, March 28, 2013

Station:      KFKA, 1310 AM

Show:        AM Colorado, with Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz

Guests:      Gardner, C


Date:         March 28, 2013

Topics:      Balanced Budget, Senate Budget, House Budget, Economy, Jobs, Spending Cuts, Entitlement Reform,  Food Stamps, Keystone Pipeline,  Michael Bennet, Obamacare Implementation, Repeal Obamacare, IRS, Continuing Resolution, Medicare, President Barak Obama, Immigration Reform, Senator Marc Rubio, Representative Raul Labrador, Pathway to Citizenship

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HOST DEVON LENTZ  @21:33:  Do you want to start with the good news or the bad news out of Washington, and  is there a difference?

U.S. RERPRESENTATIVE CORY GARDNER:  Hey, the good news is the Senate finally passed a budget for first time in 4 years.  The bad news is  it never balances,  it increases taxes by 1.5 trillion, and never reduces spending.  So how’s that?  I guess that’s both!  Or did you have something?

LENTZ:  No, that’s kind of where I was going with it, too.  So, talk to us about the differences between Congress’ – and so the  House budget and Senate budget and why the two will not meet. 

GARDNER:  Well, you know the House budget balances in 10 years.  It does so by controlling spending, making sure we’re growing the economy, putting people back to work, more people making more money.  It does so by reforming our entitlement spending.  That will– those important social safety nets will be there for future generations, unlike the President’s plan where he actually raids from the Medicare fund.  The Senate [budget] will continue the plan of spending more money that we don’t have, continue putting the burden on our children and grandchildren.  You know, I was excited about some of the votes.  You know, the vast majority of senators voted to approve of the Keystone Pipeline.  But I read this morning where some Democratss, including CO’s Michael Bennet, that voted for it, they didn’t really support it even though they voted to support it.  So, there’s some argument whether that will actually have the intended effect now or not.

HOST TOM LUCERO:  […]Two budgets that can’t be reconciled,  what’s going to happen with federal spending?

GARDNER:  Well, now we’re going to be operating again under a — What looked like you’ll have to go through appropriations process without a budget, which is not the best way to govern because there’s no certainty in it.  There’s no overall numbers that would at least theoretically bind Congress to a spending number.   And that sets up the plan and the pathway again for future continuing resolutions which again, is not the way to govern.  This last continuing resolution that passed, we actually reduced spending for the first time in a generation.  The biggest spending– or, excuse me, the biggest spending reduction in a generation.  And we denied funding for the president’s healthcare bill to implement — , a billion dollars of implementation money, we denied the money to the IRS for hiring agents to go out and implement Obamacare.  But the bottom line is continuing resolutions are—it’s not the way our founding fathers intended for Congress to operate. 

LENTZ:  […] What are the Democrats saying about what the reality of Obamacare is, and to those of us trying to purchase health insurance and the costs are just going to go up and up and up?   Are they just kind of standing back and saying, “Oops, maybe we shouldn’t have done that!”  Are they even taking any responsibility, or are they just saying, “The public will figure it out?”

GARDNER:  I think there is a reluctant realization now that they’ve got a big mess on their hands, because you’ve got  actuaries across the United States saying insurance premiums are going to go up dramatically.  You’ve got device [?] taxes that could potentially put a 2.3% tax on your iPad if you download a medical software app to keep track of your blood sugar levels, for instance.  You’ve got the IPA [?] Board that has a veto super majority power over Congress, in terms of decision making.  And I think the implementation, the enrollment that is supposed to start in October, they realize that is not going to be on track. 

LENTZ:  [But they won’t repeal?]

GARDENER:  We’ll see what happens.  I’m holding out some glimmer of hope that they will recognize the disaster that they have created.  In fact, Nita Lowe [?]ranking member on Appropriations committee for House Democrats said, based on the continuing resolution that passed, that it will make it impossible to implement Obamacare.  And so, they now realize that they don’t have the funding to do it, because the costs continue to go up, and they’re not nearly prepared enough to do it. 

LUCERO:  Well, I guess there is some good news there.  […] [Keystone pipeline – the Senate took some votes of endorsement, but the reality is that Congress has no ability to force the President’s hand to move forward on Keystone Pipeline.  The ball is ultimately in the President’s court as to whether we’ll go ahead with the Keystone Pipeline.]

GARDENER:  That’s correct.  And you had a number of Senators that voted for it.  If the pipeline were to stop a foot short of the Canadian border, then the President wouldn’t have anything to do with it.  The pipeline would have been built all the way to Texas, jobs would have been created, and we would have realized North American energy security.   But, the fact that you have the pipeline crossing into Canada, it is all up to the President, and he can – he has, of course, vetoed it in the past.  I think he is going to approve it.  The Senators that voted for it this past week – three of the Democrats of the seventeen that voted for it, are now saying, “No, no, no.   It wasn’t an endorsement,”  So, I’m not quite sure.  I think they’re trying to start to have it a little bit both ways, saying they supported the vote but don’t endorse the pipeline.

LUCERO:  [ Immigration Reform Debate starting in the Senate]

GARDNER:  Well, there are a number of people working behind the scenes to try to come up with a bill that can pass both the House and the Senate.    You’ve got a group in the Senate that is working on language.  I just met with – and along with a group of us — Marco Rubio, last week, to talk about  some of his ideas.  I’ve been talking to others in the House, like Raul Labrador, and some of the ideas that  they are trying to put together.  And I think the bottom line is to create a fair system for people who want to be here legally, creating a guest worker program of some kind so that people who don’t want to stay here can travel back and forth in a way that we know who’s coming, a way that enforces our border security, anE-verify system that makes sure employers are hiring people legally eligible for employment in this nation.  But  I think When it comes to the issue of the 11-12 million people who are here illegally today,  I don’t think you can answer that question until we put all of the other pieces in place for the immigration system.  Because if you allow something else to happen, like a pathway to citizenship, is what people talk about, then we’re going to find ourselves back in this situation 20-30 years from now without having fixed the problem. 

LENTZ:  All right.  So, there’s no easy answer, then.  We’re going to deal with this immigration thing, except that, how do we also keep from advertising in countries like Mexico that when you come here, here’s how to get on the food stamps, here’s how you take advantage of this system, and get housing assistance, and food assistance.  How do we at least keep from advertising how to take advantage of our system. 

GARDENER:  Well, and those are questions that are being asked regularly to the administration about how they’re doing it, and what they’re doing, and how they’re marketing various programs, But I think we all recognize that the values that make this country great.  And those are the two values that I talk about that we have to balance in any Immigration reform.  And that is the first, balance the first value—that this country is and must remain a beacon of hope for the world.  And the second value, that we are a nation of laws. And so, any immigration policy must meet those two stated values.