Big Morning Show, Cory Gardner, July 8, 2013

Station:     KFTM, 1400 AM

Show:        Big Morning Show, with John Waters

Guests:     Gardner, C. 


Date:         July 8, 2013         

Topics:     Farm Bill, Agricultural Producers, Elimination of Direct payments and Counter-Cyclical Payments, Free Market Crop Insurance, Revenue Insurance, Welfare Reform, Food Stamp Program, (SNAP), Harry Reid, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, E-Verify System, Border Security, Enforcement of Existing Laws, 1986 Immigration Law, Amnesty, Obamacare, “Train Wreck” , Max Bacchus, Healthcare Bill, Health Insurance Costs, Appropriations Bills, Department of Energy, Corps of Engineers, Debt Ceiling Limit, Student Loan Rate Doubles

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HOST JOHN WATERS:    And joining me as he does each month, and we certainly appreciate the time, US Representative Cory Gardner.  Good morning, Cory!  Are you there?  Well, hopefully we’re not having an issue, here.  [sound of buttons being pushed]  Cory, can you hear me? 


WATERS:   There we go.  I think we’ve got it back now.  As I talked to you about on the phone before we got started, here, you’re on your way back to Washington as the session gets back underway – back to the sanity of Washington, D.C., huh? 

GARDNER:  You know, I made the comment to you that I’m leaving a place where people get their work done, they’re common sense, they know what to do.  Heading out to Washington where it seems like somehow they lose that ability to think that way. 

WATERS:   Let’s start with the farm bill.  Of course, it’s been all over the news, the lack of a new farm bill and the dire conditions that may leave agricultural producers in. 

GARDNER:  One of the things that we know businesses need to be successful, to help grow their business –the bottom line,  is certainty.  And that’s one thing that the farm bill provides, is certainty.  And without knowing what’s going to happen with this commodity program or that commodity program, our farmer really are left without the certainty that they need to make the proper business decisions going into the new year and the next planting season.  And so, I supported the farm bill that cut $40 billion over the next ten years that made significant reforms to the subsidies by eliminating direct payments, eliminating counter-cyclical payments.  I think that’s a good decision, to move more toward a free market crop insurance, revenue insurance kind of program.  On the food stamps side of things, which is 80% of the farm bill, by the way, it made even more reforms.  It saved about $20 billion over the next ten years, put in various work requirements for some recipients, a pilot program to do that.  So, it made a good program, good steps at reform.  But unfortunately this bill did not pass.  Some people thought it went too far.

Some people thought it didn’t go far enough.  And so we lack the certainty that we need in rural America to make the best decisions for our farms and ranches.

WATERS:   Well, and as you mentioned, it did not pass the House, which was really, at least from my standpoint, quite a surprise. 

GARDNER:  It surprised everyone.  A bill came out of the House Ag committee, a strong bipartisan support, 36-10, both the Republicans and Democrats supporting it.  And then , on the House floor, apparently, there were some amendments that were added to welfare reform portions of the bill that went too far and that cost a lot of Democrat votes.  And the bill ended up failing. 

WATERS:   Yeah.  Well, and then, you mentioned the Food Stamp  program, or SNAP, and I know that ‘s a real – I guess, to use the term – a bone of contention as well, on both sides. 

GARDNER:  Well, it is.  You know, if you look at the farm bill, a lot of times you get – well, it’s called the farm bill, for Pete’s sake, and then you have people talking about farmers and ranchers and their participation, particularly on the farming side of things in the farm bill.  But the vast bulk of spending over the 10 year spending window of the bill is dealing with SNAP, or the welfare Food Stamp provisions – the food nutrition programs.  And so, there’s talk about whether or not people should split it into two bills, and that may be exactly what happens when we head back to Washington during the July work session. 

WATERS:   Well, then, of course, the other thing – and this isn’t just true of the farm bill.  It’s true of practically every bill, is that what happens on the House side, many times you hear Senate Leader Harry Reid say, “Well, that’s dead on arrival before it ever gets here.”  

GARDNER:  It is amazing to me that that happens so much of the time.  Because I constantly hear from people saying, “Well, the Senate has done this, why don’t you guys?”  But nobody seems to ask the Senate, saying, “Well the House has passed a student loan package bill.  The House passed a bill to deal with energy costs.  The House passed a bill,” and they don’t seem to give any kind of second thoughts to allowing Harry Reid an excuse to just say, “Well, it’s dead on arrival, and that’s that.”

WATERS:   Yeah.  It’s just very interesting times right now in Washington, D.C., and I’m sure even more so for you as you head back there.  It’s just got to be very, very frustrating at times. 

GARDNER:  Well, it is because you have to think –like the farm bill, that are good responsible pieces of legislation, and they don’t pass, and I think that’s bad policy for the American farmer when things like that can’t make it across the finish line.  But I’m committed to seeing that it gets done.  I have talked to the House leadership numerous times and pushed them to make sure that we get this bill put in place before we go home for the end of August work period. 

WATERS:   My guest is U.S. Representative Cory Gardner, this morning.  Let’s move on to another contentious issue, and that’s the issue of immigration.  And, wow, it seems like every day there’s more and more in the news about this coming off of Capitol Hill. 

GARDNER:  Immigration reform is one of the most difficult issues that this Congress will deal with, and is dealing with.  But it’s also one of the most important that we can deal with.  I think by all accounts we’ve seen our immigration system that’s broken, laws not being enforced.  That’s why I support an immigration reform bill that will put border security first, enforce our laws, and make sure those laws are enforced, and so, — before you can do anything else.  And once you know the borders are secure, once you know that we’ve enforced, and can enforce, existing laws, then we can move forward with other reforms.  But we need an e-verify system in place.  We need guest worker program in place.  But these are things we could do responsibly and we know we need to do  in a way that is to the best interests of a healthy American economy. 

WATERS:   Well, it seems like you have – I guess I’ll use the term “factions” diametrically opposed, when it comes to immigration, from those who say we need to just open up the borders, let everybody in, give them amnesty, and life will be great, to those on the other side that say, “We need to lock the borders down and keep track of every single person that tries to come across and make sure they come across legally.  And then, I guess, you probably have most of America that falls somewhere in between that. 

GARDNER:  Well, I believe we are a country that values immigration.  Heck! We are a nation of immigrants.  My family, as did most families, came into this country from somewhere else.  And so, recognizing that we are a nation of immigrants and also a nation of laws, we can put together a responsible reform package.  The immigrants today add a great deal to our communities – our healthy communities, our healthy economy, and the way that we live, work and our friends at school.  So, the fact that is, we can put together an immigration package that reflects those values, but do so in a way that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the 1986 law, which did result in an amnesty type of program.  Because right now, if we put something in place that thirty years from now we have to redo, then really we didn’t do the right thing.  So, how can we put a step by step plan in place that thirty years from today we look back on and say, “You know what?  It worked.  It secured the border.  We were able to enforce it.”  And as a result, the people who want to be in this country legally are able to do so. 

WATERS:   Yeah, absolutely.  Again, U.S. Representative Cory Gardner [is] with me.  We didn’t talk about this beforehand, Cory, but I wanted to touch on it a little bit and that is the Obamacare package and we’re seeing in the news now where parts of it are being delayed.  And there’s just – I guess in my estimation, there’s an awful lot of fish smell coming out of this. 

GARDNER:  Well, this is a sheer political calculation on behalf of the President.  He knows that this bill is actually growing less and less popular the we get closer and closer to implementation.  And their thought was that if they passed it, people would then start to like it.  But the American people are smarter than that.  They know this is a raw deal for the American public.  As a result, you’ve got an election coming up in 2014, the majority of the U.S. Senate is on the line, and the President decided he did not want this train wreck happening during the middle of an election.  And so, that’s exactly what he did.  He delayed it so it would be outside of an election.  This is purely political.  It’s a decision that he’s done so that he doesn‘t want to have the embarrassment of the Obamacare train wreck happening in the middle of an election that could risk the rest of his progressive agenda.

WATERS:   Well, and you mentioned that Americans are smarter than that and let’s hope that’s the case, and that it’s not a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. 

GARDNER:  Well, I think the American people have watched the news [and] read the newspapers enough to know that when Harry Reid and Max Bacchus, the two Democrat architects of the bill say that it is going to be – the healthcare bill, say that the healthcare bill is going to be a train wreck, that they recognize that.  Because they’ve gone through it.  They’ve gotten the letters saying that their health insurance costs are going to go up, or they found how difficult it can be to find affordable insurance.  And so, they know it.  They’ve seen it.  And I don’t think it’s going to be out of sight, because it’s going to be in the news more and more as that implementation comes up. 

WATERS:   Cory Gardner with me.  U.S. Representative.  Uh, there’s some appropriations bills coming up we needed to touch on this morning too, Cory.

GARDNER:  We’ve got the appropriations bills, which is the bills that fund government that are coming due.  The first one up, this week, will be Energy and Water Development.  That controls the funding for things like Department of Energy and of course a lot of Corps of Engineers projects– so, drinking water systems, water ways.  And then later on this month we’re dealing with the Ag Appropriations Bill.  But a lot of that will depend on the Farm Bill fares—how well the Farm Bill fares in the next couple of weeks, as well.  So, the Appropriations bills have got to be in place by September 30th, because that’s the day that the government’s fiscal year ends. 

WATERS:   But I’m sure, as with everything else right now — or it seems like everything else–there will be much contention between the two sides. 

GARDNER:  Well, there will be a little bit.  I think we’ve actually seen bipartisan support for a couple of the Appropriations bills, and I’m always hopeful that we’ll find more.  But the bottom line is, this country continues to have a spending problem and a government that is growing and growing and that needs to be brought back into a little bit of reality.  So, we’ve got to find those opportunities to reduce spending and here’s a good place for us to do it.

WATERS:   I guess you [could] use a more Biblical term, “Much wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

GARDNER:  [laughing] There will be some of that!

WATERS:   Uh, we also –coming up later on in the year, we might as well touch on it– we’re going to be up against the debt ceiling again and there’s always those budget issues. 

GARDNER:  It is.  And that’s a big part of the discussion too.  And so, what the debt ceiling is, of course, is the maximum that the United States can borrow.  Now, what’s unique about the debt ceiling is it’s not a debate about how much more you can borrow to spend new money.  It’s about how much you can borrow to pay for money that you’ve already spent.  And so, it’s money that has already been spent, and the US has to borrow it in order to keep up with it.  And so the debt ceiling limit, in that sense, — we’ve got to use this opportunity to reduce the size and scope of government, and how we can require opportunities to look for savings, look for cuts, and what we’re going to do to grow the economy through common sense tax reform.  I think there’s great opportunities for us to get back on track. 

WATERS:   Once again, U.S. Representative Cory Gardner with me, and I appreciate your time so much this morning, Cory.  Just one more thing we wanted to touch on,  that’s been on the news, that’s so important, and touches so many people.   And that is, student loans and the doubling of the rate – the interest rate on some student loans.

GARDNER:  That’s right.  So, if you’re getting a student loan, the student loan rate went from about 3.2% to over 6%.  It doubled overnight.  The House of Representatives has acted.  We took a proposal very similar to what the President was supporting in his budget – his 2013-2014 budget.  We took that idea, introduced it, passed it, and now we’re waiting for the Senate to act.  So, it’s unfortunate that the Senate is playing politics, but I hope that they will come to their senses and make sure that we provide relief on student loans because it is one of the growing areas of concern that we have:  the amount of debt that students are facing around this country.

WATERS:   Yeah.  Well, when you have students coming out of college before they ever get a job in their chosen career, owing tens and tens of thousands – sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, starting off in a huge hole, and then this just makes that hole that much bigger.

GARDNER:  You’re right.  So, I spoke to a couple.  They’re going to graduate school.  One of them is going to medical school.  Between the two of them, they owe over $600,000 in student loan debt.  And I don’t even — I can’t even imagine where to begin with that. 

WATERS:   Yeah.  Absolutely right.  Well, the session begins again today after the Fourth of July holiday.  So, hopefully, some good news will come out of Washington over the next days and weeks. 

GARDNER:  Well, the American people are watching and of course, we owe it to them to do what’s right.

WATERS:   Yeah.  U.S. Representative Cory Gardner, how can folks get a hold of you, Cory?

GARDNER:  Always love to hear from everybody!  You can send me an email me at  Give us a holler at 202-225-4676, or on Facebook, Twitter.  It’s always great to hear from the people of eastern Colorado.  I look forward to hearing from them. 

WATERS:   Again, U.S. Representative Cory Gardner, as always we appreciate your time and your willingness to visit with us, Cory. 

GARDNER:  Hey, thanks a lot!  Thanks for having me.  And everyone have a safe harvest.

WATERS:   All right.  Thank you very much! 

GARDNER:  Thanks.

WATERS:   Bye-bye.