Amy Oliver, Cory Gardner, 11/04/2011

Station KFKA

Show: Amy Oliver

Guest: Cory Gardner


Date: 11/04/2011

Topics: Jones Act, 2011 Election, Taxes, Proposition 103, Budget, Sequestration, EPA, Dust Regulations, Child Labor.

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OLIVER: Congressman, thanks so much for being on the show.

GARDNER: Thank you very much for having me. Amy I apologize, I was not expecting this vote and I sat down and an alarm vote went off and I though holy cow we are voting again.

OLIVER: What are you voting on?

GARDNER: We have about ten minutes left on the vote.  This is a bill grants wavers from the Jones Act for non-US vessels. Basically it is dealing with some Jones Act issues and sailing issues like that.

OLIVER: At some point I will have to learn exactly what that is.


OLIVER: Lets get to a couple of other things real quickly. Give me your take on the elections results in Colorado on Tuesday. The national story, Wall Street Journal did it, I did an article on Townhall, that Colorado was looked at as sending a message. We don’t want bigger government. If we are the preverbal swing state, and everyone seems to label us as that, is Washington D.C. getting the message don’t raise taxes?

GARDNER: No, I think that is a great observation. I think Colorado went 2-1 against almost every tax increase. There were some local issues that passed, but a $3 billion state-wide tax increase failed. And that really, I think, is a sign that says, “Look, we want government to be responsible with what they have.” It is not an anti-education vote. It simple says lets be more responsible with the money that we have already paid to government.

OLIVER: Yea, and the “it’s for the children” didn’t seem to work this time around. I think people said exactly that. You live within your current means.

GARDNER: That’s right. We saw it in many areas of Colorado where they shot down various tax hikes. And I was curious…morning on the Denver Post, they kind of had two sort of at odds editorials. One said it clearly recognized that Coloradans have no appetite for tax increases and they spoke very loud and clear about that. And in the other editorial they said that we hope Congress increases taxes. So I am very curious about what the Denver Post and the message they learned out of it.

OLIVER: You know what that says? We want taxes at the national level. And I don’t think that is what we said at all. But that is what the Denver Post is saying, I think they missed it.

GARDNER: That is exactly right. And look, taxes at the local level, taxes at the federal level, they are paid the same. And that is with hard earned money.

OLIVER: So what does this mean for the Super Committee? Last time I was reading a story this morning that there is a 75 percent chance that it is going to be deadlocked.

GARDNER: You know, I have moments of opportunism and moments of pessimism with the debt committee. The moment of pessimism is just what you said; that there are a lot of people who think there is gridlock. That its going to be very difficult for them to move forward. But the moments of optimism are simply this: the sequestration that would take place as a result of them failing to find $1.2 trillion in spending reductions would have very severe impacts on defense and some other areas that, quite frankly, I think would be ill advised. So I think that is what we are going to push them ultimately to a decision. Now I am not going to support tax increases; that is the message that Colorado sent. And so I think that is what my message back to the Supper Committee will be; lets be responsible, lets find savings, lets reduce the size of government. But don’t do it by increasing taxes on the backs of America’s working families.

OLIVER: Yea, I that is exactly what people ought to take away from Colorado and I think it was loud and clear. That thing just didn’t get beaten; it got beaten to a bloody pulp.

GARDNER: No, it did. Two-to-one, that is not a narrow margin of defeat.

OLIVER: You lost women, you lost independents, you lost working families. There is a base there that will always vote for a tax increase but you lost all of the other voters. And I think that is crucial and I am glad to see that you are taking that message and hopefully Congress will get it as well. Something else that the Republican’s in Congress have been doing is hammering on regulations. And including regulations especially when it relates to EPA. Now, Lisa Jackson, the Director of the EPA, said we don’t have anything really proposed for farm dust. But farm dust, I didn’t realize, is actually considered in the same category as coal dust.

GARDNER: It is a fascinating hearing that we had a week ago with the Assistant Administrator of the EPA Gina McCarthy. When I asked whether she regulated farm dust, the answer was no. When I asked if they regulate dust from farms, the answer was basically yes. So it’s a distinction without a difference and that is why there are so many people who are uncomfortable with the regulations in this country. Recognizing that we need good, smart regulations to protect health. But regulations that go too far like making a penalty of farmers for driving on a dirt road to their field just go too far.

OLIVER: So what can we do? Do you have to head this off before it gets worse?

GARDNER: Absolutely, and that is why I was a cosponsor of a bill to prohibit the EPA from banning farm dust. The EPA, we don’t know what their plans will be in the next 2-3 years. If there is lawsuits by groups that my try to push them in to regulating farm dust. To give certainty, not only to current generations of farmers and ranchers but to give certainty for the next generation of businessmen and women on the farm or the ranch, we said look, we are going to take away the power of the EPA to make dust on a farm, we are going to make sure that they can’t regulate that.

OLIVER: And what about this supposed regulation on farm kids. Kids who grew up on farms. Is there a regulation now? Are they looking at regulating child labor on farms?

GARDNER: There are regulations dealing with child labor, of course, and I think everybody supports child labor. Making sure that we don’t abuse child labor and that we are…

OLIVER: Thank god they don’t come into my house.

GARDNER: And to make sure that there are no abuses when it comes to child labor. So those exist now and those are a good thing. And there are efforts, at least discussions, taking place at the Department of Labor regarding the age of certain children and activities that they might pursue when it comes to farm activities. We’ve got to be very careful that you don’t turn around and have a labor law that passes that would prohibit someone who is 16 years old from working on a farm. So we are taking a very careful and close look at that.

OLIVER: Yea, because you know what, I’ve got to tell you, my kid works on a farm in the summers.

GARDNER: That’s right. Its good, hard work. Its an honest days living. And farmers certainly need the help.

OLIVER: Yea, that is exactly right. In fact, I was laughing because there was a bidding war for him with some other friends. And I’m laughing, seriously?

GARDNER: There are a lot of people I grew up with in high school who worked for the Decal [?] Seed Experiment Station where they went out and put plastic baggies over corn tassels. They did that all day.

OLIVER: Or late irrigation tubes or throw hay or do whatever. And it is great because you can make hours that work with teenage schedules and everything else. Last question for you Corey, and I am talking with Congressman Cory Gardner from the 4th Congressional district. Last question for you. The new jobs number came out and some 80,000 jobs. Unemployment now at…its still at 9 percent. It went from 9.1 percent and its 9 percent. I think the underemployment number is as high as 16 percent right now. I don’t know how many months in a row we are above 9 percent but the last stimulus package we were guaranteed that if we didn’t pass it, unemployment would go above 8 percent. Well, we are continually at 9 percent. Can we as Americans expect a 9 percent unemployment rate? Is that tolerable?

GARDNER: It is not tolerable. This is, I believe, the 33rd month in a row unemployment has exceeded 8 percent. It is roughly the 28th month in a row that unemployment has been at or above 9 percent. It is unacceptable. We have passed well over…we started with the “Forgotten 15” that the House of Representative passed to create jobs. It went over to the Senate but hasn’t moved in the Senate. Since then there has been several additional bills added to that. So 22 bills that are awaiting action in the United States Senate, many of which passed with strong bipartisan support in the House. They would create thousands and thousands of jobs if they were acted on by the Senate but they just won’t do it. It is unacceptable that we have 9 percent unemployment when we have bills that could create jobs, create American energy and get our economy moving waiting for action after bipartisan support in the US House.

OLIVER: I think one of the thing that frustrates Americans is we hear that the President is out and about. He has been in Colorado I think twice in the last month. Talking about it is all the Republicans, it is all the Republicans who don’t want to create jobs. And Americans at this point don’t care. We want jobs. Many of us realize that the best way to do that is to get government out of the way.


OLIVER: But this has been, I know it is not news to you, Congress’s approval rating lower than the Presidents even.

GARDNER: Yea. No, we have got to get to work and government is not going to be the solution to every job hire. It is going to be what allows businesses to hire more people because it gets the economy turned around through good policies that get back to allowing innovators and entrepreneurs to grow, to expand, to develop. So that is what is going to bring this economy back around and that is government policies that get out of the way and let businesses do what they do. That’s run their own businesses, grow and expand.

OLIVER: Congressman, thank you so much for being on the show. I know you had to go get a vote.

GARDNER: I’ve got a minute left. We’ll see if I can run over there.

OLIVER: Thanks Congressman for being on the show.