Business for Breakfast, Cory Gardner, February 28, 2018

Station:   KDMT, 1690 AM

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:        Feburary 28, 2018

Topics:     Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Wage Growth, Employee Benefits, Minimum Wage Increase, Individual Tax Cuts, Permanent vs. Temporary, Inflation, Immigration Reform, DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Visa Lottery System, Chain Migration, Border Security, the wall, Congress, Reconciliation,

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HOST JIMMY SENGENBERGER:  So, right now in Washington D.C., there are a great many different issues — pressing issues — facing Colorado and the United States of America on the whole. And of course there are some progress points being made in Congress, from taxes to other legislative achievements, and other achievements from the President himself through some endeavors with regards to Obamacare and more. So, let’s talk about some of these topics going on in D.C. — or that have gone on in D.C., like taxes — with U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, of the great state of Colorado. Senator, welcome back to Business for Breakfast!

U.S. SENATOR FROM COLORADO, CORY GARDNER: [00:00:35] Well, good morning! Thanks for having me!

SENGENBERGER: [00:00:37] Great to have you here. So, let’s start by talking about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, because we’re already seeing some real progress, with all these bonuses being given out. I know Nancy Pelosi likes to call them crumbs. But, nevertheless, they’re meaningful to most people. And also, you’ve got wages growing up.

GARDNER: [00:00:54] We do. We are starting to see wage growth, and that’s what we knew this tax cut could mean for the American people. Over 4 million people have already benefited — benefited from the tax cut legislation — in the form of either minimum wage increases, higher wage, bonuses, or benefit package increases, improvements. Hundreds of businesses are investing new capital, new dollars, hiring more people. This is — this number is only going to continue to grow as people start to see the real benefit of being able to keep more of their hard earned money in their own pockets.

SENGENBERGER: [00:01:24] I know that there are some folks who are concerned that this means that inflation’s on the horizon. I tend to think that it’s a good thing on the whole when people have more money in their pockets.

GARDNER:  [00:01:33] It is a very good thing when people have more money in their pockets. In fact, I saw somebody complaining that — somebody who opposed the tax cuts last year — they were complaining. Well, the reason they opposed the tax cuts is because they thought it should have been bigger. Well, you know what? Let’s — let’s — I’d like to see it bigger. Maybe they’d vote for something even more. But why oppose the legislation that we passed, which was the most significant tax cut in over 30 years? And we can do more. This is a good opportunity for us.

SENGENBERGER: [00:02:00] So, when it comes to the taxes — tax law, one of the things that was noteworthy was the absence of permanency for the individual side of the tax changes. Whereas the business side was rendered permanent. There is a movement afoot, it seems, among members of Congres, to potentially make the tax cuts permanent for the individual side. What do you make of that? Any movement going on there? And any thoughts on it?

GARDNER:  [00:02:25] You bet. Well, I strongly support that. Obviously, I think this is a great opportunity for us to make these permanent and perhaps even do more when it comes to easing the pressure of Washington D.C. on the backs of American families. This would be a very good opportunity for us to make it permanent, and I hope people will support that. So, I know there’s been legislation that’s been introduced to make them permanent. I support that legislative effort. And I look forward to voting on something that makes it permanent.

SENGENBERGER: [00:02:52] Do you think that that can get through, with Congress being — you know, with the Republicans having just a slim majority in the Senate? Or is it something that could be done through reconciliation? I wouldn’t think so.

GARDNER:  [00:03:02] Well, I would — you know, it’s — I guess it could be done by reconciliation. That would require a bit more process than we have already in place: you know, passage of a budget and some other things that would set the path for reconciliation. I would hope that there’d be majority votes for making them permanent. The other day I heard Senator Sanders say that he didn’t like the tax cuts because it wasn’t permanent. So, maybe he would support legislation like this, making it permanent. Maybe others would. I hope that they would, because the other answer is to increase taxes on people. And I hope that people don’t support increasing taxes.

SENGENBERGER: [00:03:36] Senator Gardner, one effort a couple of weeks ago that was unsuccessful that you had partnered with Senator Michael Bennet –our other Senator here in Colorado — on, was addressing immigration and DACA. Where do things stand on that issue? And is anything going to get done?

GARDNER:  [00:03:51] Well, we had a significant change in the — sort of — the immigration debate this week, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a lower court decision on the President’s actions when it comes to DACA. So, what it basically means is, this March 5th deadline has gone away in many respects and it will take a little bit longer for the lower courts to work that process of the hearings through [to] the Supreme Court, if that’s where it goes. So, you know, that has taken a little bit of the deadline pressure off, and people who are in DACA will continue to be able to have that protection because of that court case. But you know, I think we have to — we have to provide certainty. I support the President’s efforts to — whether it’s border security, yes! I support that! We should have border security. But I also support what the president said about finding a solution for DREAMers. I think that’s important. We should do that.

SENGENBERGER: [00:04:51] So, if we get something through, what might it look like? Because it seems like the Democrats aren’t very interested in the wall. And of course, the chain migration issue and the visa lottery system seems to be hang ups as well.

GARDNER:  [00:05:03] There’s a lot of pieces of this that are very complicated, that are big — not just little — issues. If people are serious about finding a solution for DREAMers, if they’re serious about finding a solution on DACA, then I think they’ll come to an agreement with the President on border security and other measures that he has talked about needing in order to support it. So, you know, my role in this has been to try to find a solution that the Senate can pass, that can pass the House, that can be signed by the President. It’s not just a matter of getting something out of the Senate. The president also has to sign it. And if he doesn’t, then there has been no solution. So, those are all things that we’ll continue to work on, and hopefully address over the coming weeks. I hope it’s done sooner rather than later.

SENGENBERGER: [00:05:44] Senator Cory Gardner, our guest here on the program. One issue that obviously has sucked up a lot of oxygen in the room — and understandably so — has been the issue of guns in our society and what’s going on there with regards to the mass shootings that we have seen and so forth. [I’m] wondering what your thought is on, first of all, what we saw take place — that tragic incident, you know, just horrible — in Florida, and also moving forward in this gun debate.

GARDNER:  [00:06:14] Well, you said it very well. This was a horrible, horrible tragedy done by a person of evil. And there is no person in this country that thinks that what happened is something that shouldn’t be discussed, talked about, or ways figure out how to prevent this from happening again. We have to come together as a society; not be divided, not let the loudest voices try to divide us, but to come together on ways that we can stop this from happening again. And it’s not by hurting people’s rights. It’s by making sure that we respect people’s rights. It’s about making sure that law enforcement can communicate with schools, can communicate with mental health officials to have the resources they need to address somebody when they have the kinds of problems that this perpetrator — this evil actor — seemed to have. You know, why –. There are still answers that we have to get. Where, in the police investigations, did they go wrong, contacting the sheriff’s office over 40 times? You know, the cyberstalking that this guy –. There was an article in The Miami Herald yesterday that said he should have been you know in jail and he should have been already behind bars. This is the kind of thing that we have to figure out. But I hope that over the coming days that this discussion leads to a solution that protects innocent, law-abiding people: those people in harm’s way, and those people who respect the rights that they have in our Constitution.

SENGENBERGER: [00:07:45] You know, it’s just interesting to me that we see this debate focus on the issue of guns and so forth, when there seems to have been so many failures on the part of law enforcement — which is rare! It’s not a common thing for law enforcement to not follow up and do their job diligently. But that seems to have been the case, here. And yet, we’re focused on the gun issue. We’re focused on raising the age to buy a rifle. We’re focused on bump stocks, and a number of other issues, as opposed to some of the things you were talking about.

GARDNER:  [00:08:14] Well, and I think, again, where we have to go is, “How do we protect our schools? How do we — how do we make sure –“? I mean, the comment made yesterday by one analyst on TV said you have a lot of protection at an airport, We don’t have the same protection at a school. And what can we do to provide protections for our schools, the most vulnerable, most precious in our in our society? What can we be doing to to provide the resources that –. Let’s say that the sheriff’s office, you know, did respond, and did take this gentleman — not gentleman, this horrific individual — into custody. What then? Was he going to be released, or was there a mental health system in place that could have provided the treatment and custodian efforts that would have prevented this person from happening — this person carrying out this evil act. This has got to be something that is more than just — more than just political division, here, but something that brings America together for solutions to prevent this from happening, wherever. We’ve seen far too many of this in Colorado. And we’ve got to do what we can to prevent it from happening elsewhere.

SENGENBERGER: [00:09:26] You know, Senator Gardner, [I] would certainly love to dissect that issue more. But we’re just about out of time with you, and I want to ask you about North Korea, the sanctions that have developed. You’ve been a leading voice on the issue of North Korea. What do you make of the sanctions that the Trump administration is slapping [on North Korea and their economic allies] and where things are at the present?

GARDNER:  [00:09:44] I was pleased that the President, last week, announced a significant step up in sanctions against a lot of shipping companies and trading companies that are allowing North Korean vessels to skirt United Nations sanctions and U.S. sanctions, basically calling out a number of ships by their name, their flagged vessel countries, individuals in Taiwan and beyond, to sanction them, to say, “Hey! The fact that you’re smuggling illicit goods, the fact that you’re doing international water-open transfers of crude, petroleum products that are that are outlawed by international law–international sanctions, excuse me — those are good steps the President made, making it more and more difficult for Kim Jong Un to continue his tyrannical oppression of his people and the development of a nuclear weapons program that is forbidden by international law. So, I hope that these sanctions will continue to increase. We need to maximize the pressure. A lot of this has been done under legislation — under the authority of legislation — that passed last Congress — that I carried and passed. And so, I’m pleased that we’re starting to see — and from my reports, whether it’s the CIA briefings that I’ve had, or other briefings with the Defense Department or the State Department, we’re starting to see the effects of these sanctions actually hurt the Kim Jong Un regime, now. So, we’re starting to see the progress that we’ve been — that we’ve been looking for.

SENGENBERGER: [00:11:05] Are you impressed or pleased with the way the Trump administration has been handling, and especially vis-a-vis the prior administration.

GARDNER:  [00:11:12] Well, as I mentioned, I mean, the sanctions last week the President made, I certainly was very pleased with them. This President has moved to North Korea from the eighth most sanctioned nation on earth to the fourth or so [most] sanctioned nation on Earth. He’s doing the right things, and putting more and more pressure on this administration. Like I said, it’s starting to work. And so, you know, this is a ‘maximum pressure doctrine’ that this administration has has put in place: maximum pressure on economic, diplomatic security. The previous administration had a policy of ‘strategic patience,’ which basically just means that you sit back, let it happen, and watch as they grow their nuclear program. That was unacceptable. This is a much, much better, — much, much more effective approach.

SENGENBERGER: [00:11:57] Senator Cory Gardner, always a pleasure. Never enough time. Thanks for joining us this morning!

GARDNER:  [00:12:01] Thanks, Jimmy! Thanks so much.

SENGENBERGER: [00:12:02] All right, once again, Senator Cory Gardner, here on Business for Breakfast at KDMT, Denver’s Money Talks 1690 A.M.. You know, you’ll notice that — at least, in the in the course of that conversation in the guns portion — he wasn’t emphasizing the gun control aspect of this debate, but much more about school safety and security and so forth. I found that encouraging to hear, because that, I think, is where the debate really needs to be focused on. Obviously, he’s pretty bullish on taxes. But he seems not to really have — to have a specific idea as to where the DACA issue is going to head. And I think that that is kind of an intellectually honest position, in a sense, to basically say that there’s — we’ve got to keep working at the solution to figure something out. Congress will do something. It’s a matter of what that will look like, and when that will take place. You know, in my estimation, it would be kind of misleading for somebody to say, “Here is exactly what is going to happen in this debate, what the end is going to be.” And of course, it’s it’s a very important issue that is facing the United States right now, when we’re talking about the immigration topic of conversation.