Amy Oliver Show, Cory Gardner, January 8, 2013
Station: KFKA, 1310 AM
Show: Amy Oliver Show
Guests: C. Gardner
Date: January 8, 2013
Topics: Debt Ceiling, Fiscal Cliff, Speaker of the House, Election, John Boehner, U. S. Senate, President Barak Obama, Debt, Deficit, Spending, Gun Control, Second Amendment, Bill Ritter, Secretary of Energy, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Budget, Decrease the Rate of Increase, Debt Ceiling, Hydraulic Fracturing, “Fracking”, Natural Gas, Carbon emissions, Median Household Income, “Devil’s Advocate”, Job Creation, Energy Security, Rainbows and Cotton Candy, Severance Tax, General Accounting Office (GAO)
HOST AMY OLIVER: All right. We have Congressman Cory Gardner. Good morning, Congressman. Thank you so much for being on this show. I don’t know if you’ve got any comments about that New York State report on hydraulic fracturing that they kept under lock and key for a year, because it was so scary, because it said hydraulic fracturing could be conducted safely
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE CORY GARDNER: Look, I mean, there’s a concerted effort to try to stop hydraulic fracturing. There’s a movie out right now trying to scare people about it. But in addition to the report that you are citing, there’s information released saying that carbon emissions are now going to be lower than they were since 2007. And that’s credited to natural gas and hydraulic fracturing. And so, the fact is this has been successful far beyond anybody’s imagination, and because of that success, it scares environmentalists environmentalists who had hoped that our economy would be running on rainbows and cotton candy by now.
OLIVER: You know what, though? This is the thing that I find so disheartening about this whole conversation about hydraulic fracturing, at least in the state of Colorado. And I don’t know if you’ve seen it. Of course, you certainly come back to the district, and spend a great deal of time here, but being in D.C. I’m not certain if it’s gotten to the level of really sheer bullying and scare tactics and intimidation. If you support hydraulic fracturing and you have the courage to say it, I meanm, there are people who are coming after you, threatening you – I mean, I actually just recently did a TV show which can be seen – “Devil’s Advocate” where we show some of the video of what happens if you exercise your right to free speech, give your opinion—what happens is you know, you’re followed by a mob and they are threatening you.
GARDNER: Well, I’ve seen the video of the governor’s car being pounded when he left a meeting. I have seen and read the reports about a meeting with the Boulder County commissioners, where there was a—like you said, a mob and as well as the comments that were issued and shouted down speakers. Look, this country has always been home to passionate debates, and will always be home –thank the Lord—to passionate debates. But it’s when those debates, when the bullies—when people shout down other people and won’t even let the other view be entertained, when things have gone too far. And I think what’s happening on this fracking issue, we’re seeing some of the worst behavior we’ve ever seen when it comes to civil engagement. And it needs to stop for the good of the country – for the good of this argument. Because when people listen to the facts, they’re going to realize that we’ve actually done a good thing with our development of our resources, creating jobs and energy security.
OLIVER: [Reports saying increases in certain sectors of economy – including “natural resources”. And I just want to say, can we all just be honest and just call that “natural gas”?]
GARDNER: Well, there a — If you go back to the heart of Colorado’s recession, and the language that–and the reports put out by Colorado’s own economists saying that but for the development of natural gas in this state, the recession would have been much worse. And so that’s going back 5 years ago or so. The fact is, we have created jobs. Those severance tax dollars are going into state coffers. And for first time ever in our lifetimes, we see the real possibility of America gaining energy independence. But not if some of these groups have their way and put an end to the development.
OLIVER: Speaking of civil discourse, last week, the ‘Fiscal Cliff deal’, [had] bipartisan opposition in the state of Colorado. I read yesterday from the CBO report that was dumped on Friday night after the vote. And you’re – I mean, I agree with you on your vote. I don’t think there was anything in there that was a real deal for the American people. But they have said that this Fiscal Cliff deal will actually increase deficits more than they had originally thought, because it actually increases spending and while it may have a temporary effect of increasing GDP a little bit, overall, it’s actually going to be worse for the economy. What were your reasons for voting “no” on that bill?
GARDNER: This bill, the Fiscal Cliff bill, gave the government hundreds of bil – and I was a “no” on Plan B, as well, had that actually come to the floor. I had spent a lot of time in Speaker Boehner’s office explaining why I was not going to vote for his plan. I voted against this one because it gave the government hundreds of billions of dollars in more revenue without a single dime in spending cuts, restraint, deficit reduction plans. We don’t have a — you and I have talked about this many, many times before. The government has enough money. It gets plenty of money. We have a spending problem. And so this bill does nothing to address the spending. In fact, it actually kicks the spending cuts that congress was able to muster down the road a couple of months.
OLIVER: Right. So what happens now with the Debt Ceiling debate?
GARDNER: So the Debt Ceiling debate, I read in the paper this morning where that may be creeping up even sooner than we thought, around mid-February. I think you’re going to have a very serious fight by the US House of Representatives and this president, saying we can’t spend more money. We’ve got to stop spending. We’ve got to have real, meaningful cuts, not just decreases in the rates of increase, but a plan to reform entitlements, a plan to cut spending, and to get out of the mess that we’re in right now, the 16 trillion dollar debt. You know, Amy, in 1970–since 1970, the median household incomes of this country have increased 24%. Since 1970, spending in this country has increased 288%. That’s a pretty lopsided statistic.
OLIVER: Do you have – I realize Speaker Boehner was just re-elected as Speaker of the House. Do you have full faith in him and his leadership?
GARDNER: Look, I’m concerned about Plan B. No doubt about that. But I have faith that Republican conference will push this president to make sure that we don’t give him a blank check, that we will stand up and fight on spending. And I believe Speaker Boehner will be there. Quite frankly, he knows he needs to be.
OLIVER: […] Talking with Congressman Cory Gardner. We greatly appreciate him taking a few minutes out of his day to chat with everybody. Before we get to gun control and Bill Ritter being on the short list for Energy Secretary, I want to ask you Congressman, are you willing to vote no against a raise in the Debt Ceiling if it doesn’t include significant spending cuts? And to you, what would those significant spending cuts have to be?
GARDNER: Well, “Absolutely,” is the answer to that. And what they have to be, I think, is give us a clear path to how we’re going to get out of the mess that we’re in. And a clear path means that we can see how we draw ourselves out of the debt, how we start eliminating the deficits that we have. It’s not just a — if you look at the last time Congress cut spending – I mean now it’s delayed by two months, thanks to the Fiscal Cliff bill that passed. But that decreased spending by $1.2 trillion, while the debt still increases. And so, we’ve got to stop what Washington does with these things, which is simply calling a decrease in the rate of increase a cut. That’s not good enough! I think we also need entitlement reform. Two-thirds of the budget is spent on mandatory spending. And we know that by 2023, depending on what—if you’re looking at Treasury numbers or CBO numbers, that Medicare begins to go bankrupt. And we know that by 2033 Social Security is insolvement. The longer we wait for answers to these big problems, the tougher the solutions will be.
OLIVER: I want to ask you really quickly about gun control. That’s, of course, going to be emotional, rather than actually scientific of factual. But, are — do Second Amendment advocates in Congress have the – first of all, do they have the votes? And do they have the courage to stand up to the emotional argument that demands banning online sales for ammunition, or making illegal magazines over – what is it? Ten, ten—you know, magazines bigger than say, ten bullets, or ban on scary looking guns?
GARDNER: Yes, I believe there are people with courage who will do the right thing. And that’s having a conversation about where we can help, whether it’s mental health, but not where it won’t help, and that’s I believe that’s the wrong direction to go, and that’s gun control. And so, I think there are people who will vote to make sure that this government doesn’t react in a way which intrudes on the Second Amendment.
OLIVER: Now, last question for you. Give me your thoughts on – and I’m sure you’ve heard—you served with him when you were in Legislature and he was the governor of the state of Colorado, the idea that Governor Bill Ritter is on the short list for Energy Secretary.
GARDNER: [chuckles] Governor Ritter is a nice guy. And I’m sure, you know, he is somebody you’d love to have a beer with. I was never invited, I don’t think, [laughing] to have a beer with him, but if you were I’m sure he’d be a nice guy to have a beer with! But I don’t think he’s the right person for the Secretary of Energy. In fact, Energy Department is something we ought to look at and see whether or not they are actually justified to be there anyway. So, let’s have a conversation about what we can do to consolidate and eliminate some of these spending programs, especially programs that aren’t working because of Solyndras and other wasted program spending. And I don’t think Bill Ritter is the right one to lead that conversation.
OLIVER: And actually, what’s interesting about – it would be another job that is created for him, since he didn’t seek re-election in 2010. […] Let me ask you this, […] Is there ever any conversation about – I know that there isn’t the political will to eliminate the Department of Energy, even though I would love that. Is there ever any conversation about at least, not just reducing the amount of growth, but simply cutting a department’s budget?
GARDNER: That’s exactly what I meant by saying a decrease in the rate of increase isn’t enough. We have got to cut department spending, and I think that yes, if you look at the budget that we passed out of the House, we eliminated entire agencies and programs. Now, there were conversations early on last year about eliminating the Department of Commerce, or consolidating Department of Commerce with various functions. There are a number of things that can be done that would eliminate wasteful spending. The GAO issues a report that identifies– there’s hundreds of billions of dollars in spending in duplication and overlapping programs. I think I’ve talked about it before.
OLIVER: Actually, hey, Cory?
OLIVER: Do you have a few minutes?
GARDNER: Oh, sure!
OLIVER: Because we are up against a hard break. Great! We’ll have more in the second hour.