Amy Oliver, Cory Gardner, 5/10/2011

Station KFKA

Show: Amy Oliver

Guest: Cory Gardner


Date: 5/10/2011

Topics: Redistricting, Carbon, Greenhouse Gases, Obamacare, debt ceiling

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Oliver: Well, we’ve had to change up our schedule a little bit on our DC update – couldn’t get to it last Friday, but pleased to have fourth congressional Congressman on the phone with us – Cory Gardner. Welcome back to the show.

Gardner: Good morning, Amy. How are you?

Oliver: I’m good. It’s a beautiful day in northern Colorado. Sorry you’re back –

Gardner: Yeah it is.

Oliver: Are you here, or are you back in DC?

Gardner: I am – I am here for a couple more hours, and will be on an airplane shortly, but it seems like we kind of went front winter to summer, so missed the season.

Oliver: Yes, and it was – it happened fairly quickly, that’s for sure. But that’s okay. I’ll take the warm weather –

Gardner: That’s right. We need some rain.

Oliver: Ah, it is bone dry. It is absolutely bone dry. But I’ve got a bunch of things that I want to ask you real quickly about, because I know our time is limited. So, first of all, I want to get your take real quick, on – are you worried at all about the redistricting procedure here in Colorado? It’s been kind of comical to watch the Left sort of try and do – going through some mental gymnastics to try and explain breaking up the fourth congressional district. Somehow that southeastern Colorado really isn’t a community of interest with northeastern Colorado.

Gardner: Well, I have said all along that I’m hoping for a fair process, but unfortunately, what we’ve seen in many of the maps from – especially the Democrats – are maps that break up the Western Slope, maps that break up the Eastern Plains. They put the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site Expansion Area in with Colorado Springs. They destroyed the county lines – [unsure] the community lines in eastern Colorado in terms of Eastern Plains agriculture. It is interesting to see what’s happened. Now, I understand that this is a difficult process, but again – and it has been torturous to watch – as really rural Colorado has just been thrown to the back seat.

Oliver: Yeah, and explain how important that is in Congress – that, for instance, if you’re in the Western Slope. If you’re on the Western Slope, very difficult to be represented by somebody who doesn’t know, for instance, the business of tourism, how much land there might be owned federally, and that, putting Boulder, say, with Grand Junction, makes virtually no sense whatsoever. I mean, that’s important when you’re in Congress. You need somebody who knows your area.

Gardner: Well, who knows the area, we’ve got a lot of differences in row crop agriculture versus the Western Slope style of agriculture. We have tremendous differences when it comes to those timbers and [unsure] economies versus an agricultural-based economy. We have difference in public lands issues versus private lands issues. We have difference in surface water versus well water. I mean, the list goes on and on.

Oliver: And that’s why I look at this and I wonder, you know, what are they thinking. Why on Earth would you break up the Eastern Plains and somehow try to come up or state that somehow the Eastern Plains – all of Eastern Plains that’s not really a community of interest, all of the Western Slope – not a community of interest – really is torturous to watch, or to try and understand that logic.

Gardner: Well, I think it comes down to whether or not you’re drawing a map to try to have all of your members of Congress come from within 20 or 30 miles of Denver, or whether you’re going to allow rural Colorado, Wells County, Larimer County, to have their own representative.

Oliver: Yeah, I’ll be interested to see what happens. We have a couple of more days. I doubt that we’re going to come to any compromise in the state legislature. You’ve certainly seen this before, but we’ll see what happens. It may end up in the courts, but here’s to hoping the fourth congressional district remains pretty close to what it is right now – with a few minor adjustments based on population.

Gardner: Well, and again, that’s the matter of a fair process.

Oliver: I want to ask you a couple of things that have happened in Congress. Tell me about Congress in the House – the Republicans limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide, and really, trying to do it through the public purse.

Gardner: Well, I think what we’ve seen over the past several years in Congress, is an attempt by some to put Draconian limits on our ability to manufacture, our ability to do business by regulating and putting a cap-and-tax style system in place. And so, we have said, “Look, this has got to go. This is a congressional priority. The EPA shouldn’t be doing it through rules or regulatory processes, because Congress is the one that ought to be making these decisions.” And Congress has made these decisions. They have decided not to move on this kind of cap-and-trade proposal, and so the EPA’s now trying to do it by in-running Congress. And so we have not only passed legislation outright banning their ability to put us to cap-and-trade-style regulation in place, but also, trying to defund them from putting personnel towards it.

Oliver: Yeah, and I have to say, that’s probably, obviously, your strongest – your – certainly the most leverage that you have. And yet, still what we see is this – it’s almost – well, the executive branch, on a number of levels, trying to do an end run around Congress. It really threatens the separations of powers.

Gardner: Well, if you look at the continuing resolution that passed a couple of weeks ago that defunded four of the czars, and then the president signs a signing statement saying that he’s going to ignore that part of the continuing resolution.

Oliver: Nice. Yeah, here’s the president saying, “I don’t care what Congress does; I’m going to do this anyway.” All right – how about – go ahead —

Gardner: Well, and it’s better than when he agreed on it. I mean, this is the deal that he negotiated, then he went back on it. It is truly amazing to watch.

Oliver: And by the way, he also said during the campaign that he would not make signing statements. He had said that he wasn’t going to do it, and he goes ahead and he does it anyway. So that would be promise number 139 broken by this president. All right, how about defunding Obamacare? Recently, Congress – the Republicans in the House, and I believe you were a “yes” on this – to defund the grant that would essentially allow for these health exchanges, really trying to throw a wrench in the financial works of Obamacare.

Gardner: Well, actually, I actually carried the amendment to the HR-1 – the first – you know, the first funding resolution we had to defund the health care exchanges, and that actually passed and was adopted on HR-1. So, again, I think we’ve seen – not only from the chief actuary of Medicare, but from a number of studies – that the health care bill will do nothing to lower the cost of care or increase the opportunity for people to keep the health care insurance that they have if they want to. And those are the two primary promises made under the health care bill. If you look at the taxes that have increased as a result, and more coming on the way – and when 2014 gets here, we can see that what was promised will not be delivered. That’s why we’ve got to put real solutions in place, and that starts by defunding the entire package of health care –health care bill attached – and putting in place those solutions that actually work.

Oliver: What – how can we rein in the cost of health care?

Gardner: Well, there are a number of ways. We’ve seen it here in Colorado, where you can – things like telemedicine, things like allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, tort reform – meaningful tort reform that actually works. And so, there are a number of other ways that you can put in place to reduce the cost of care – allowing groups to pool together. That will reduce the cost without taking over our health care decisions.

Oliver: And speaking of government spending, there’s going to have to be a vote on the debt limit, although I’ve started calling it the debt illusion. It’s not really a limit, it’s not

Gardner: It’s more like a speed bump.

Oliver: Yeah. Exactly. We’ll slow you down momentarily, and make you think about what you have to do, and then we’ll just keep cruising along. Now Speaker Boehner, he suggested yesterday in a speech that, unless there were trillions – and he said it with an s, so that means at least more than $1 trillion – in budget cuts, there would be no approval of a raise in the debt ceiling. Do you agree with him?

Gardner: Well I – I got to tell you, I am very – I don’t know exactly what his plan, and where he’s going with this, but the fact that he said, “We’ve got to cut more than we spend,” he’s going down the right direction.

Oliver: Because, you know, you look at that government shutdown or – the compromise to keep government open, and it was supposedly $38 billion in cuts, and then when it turned out to be not really a ton – it really didn’t amount to $38 billion. I look at Speaker Boehner – and I have an enormous amount of respect for him – but this is also a guy who’s been part of Congress that has spent us into oblivion. I mean, at some point – I want to shake leadership and say, “No, you have to – I mean seriously reduce it – stop giving us lip service, and honest-to-God, actions will speak louder than words.”

Gardner: Well, and that’s true in all cases, and I’m excited to go to the conference meeting this week to hear what he’s going to say in terms of what he’s thinking on the debt limit, but the bottom line is, the debate over the continuing resolution was really about billions. He’s finally talking about trillions. This nation needs to realize that if we don’t start cutting trillions of dollars in spending, we will lose those valued safety nets. And so, this really is about the future of our country, and what we can do to grow our economy, and make sure that we’re on a fiscal, sound footing.

Oliver: One of the things that we’ve heard is that if you don’t raise this debt ceiling, it’s going to be catastrophic. So, I mean, it’s the “sky is falling,” all of the Chicken Littles are out, Republicans will be completely irresponsible, and especially many of these freshmen legislators, of which you are one. And they’ll say you guys don’t understand, you don’t know – we have to raise this limit. What would – what would it take to get a “yes” vote for you?

Gardner: You know, only Washington, DC does not spending more money become irresponsible. It makes no sense. That’s why Washington is so far out of control. The irresponsible thing to do would be allow what’s happening today to continue to future generations – that they continue to bear this unbearable debt to our children and grandchildren. That’s why we’ve got to act now, because it’s too late by 2013, 2014. And so – I want to see what the plan is, I want to see that trillions of dollars are being cut. I want to see that we’re putting ourselves on a path toward a balanced budget, so that future generations don’t have to find themselves in the position we’re in today.

Oliver: Last question for you, and I’m talking with Congressman Cory Gardner out of the fourth congressional district. He checks in with us once a month to give us an update on what’s happening with Capitol Hill. First of all, congratulations on that fabulous video – the exchange between you and the EPA official that went viral on YouTube. Fabulous.

Gardner: Thank you.

Oliver: That was – that was a classic. I had it posted, and folks, if you haven’t seen it, just go to YouTube, look up Cory Gardner and EPA, and you’ll see – you’ll see Congressman Gardner asking why they don’t consider jobs when they do economic modeling. It was absolutely brilliant. But speaking of energy and jobs, are you – one more question about you. You’ve got two congressmen here from Colorado – representatives Polis and DeGette – that are looking to severely regulate hydraulic fracturing. I’ve been on a frac job. Prepare to be completely underwhelmed. What are you doing to try and minimize the – the damage that these two can do with their – saying how horrible hydraulic fracturing is. I mean, if we allow them to severely regulate hydraulic fracturing, even more than it already is, we’re going to lose jobs here in Colorado. The price of natural gas will go up.

Gardner: Well, we have an obligation to make sure that we are accessing our resources responsibly. We’ve got to make sure that we are doing it in a way that – that is – that is not endangering health of current or future generations. And that’s why the state of Colorado regulates hydraulic fracturing. That’s why the state of Colorado has spent so much time and effort making sure that what is going forward is going to be done in a manner that doesn’t pose a danger to public health. And so, I think what my message to people who are concerned about this, my message is, “We’re doing it in Colorado. We’re watching out for those things, and that’s why you see people like Dave Neslin, the director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, talk about how serious is, and making sure that we’re being – we’re being environmentally responsible.”

Oliver: Well, and I look at that, and I think there – we have never had a problem of groundwater in Colorado being contaminated, and yet, they continue down this path of, “We’ve got to regulate this more.” It is already one of the most heavily-regulated industries. So, Congressman, thanks so much for being on the show. We’ll look forward to touching base with you next month.

Gardner: Great. Thank you so much for having me, Amy.

Oliver: Congressman Cory Gardner, out of the fourth congressional district. 9:23