Business for Breakfast, Cory Gardner, September 12, 2017

Station:    KDMT, 1690 am

Show:       Business for Breakfast

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:        September 12, 2017

Topics:      North Korea, Sanctions, United Nations Security Council, China, Financial Institutins, Bank of China, Tax Reform, Debt Ceiling, Immigration Reform, DACA, Dream Act, Bridge Act, E-verify, Border Security

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HOST JIMMY SENGENBERGER: Jimmy Sengenberger, back with you here with Business for Breakfast on KDMT, Denver’s Money Talk 1690 a.m. Thanks so much for joining us and being a part of the program. It is, as always, a pleasure and a privilege to be with you here on again Business for Breakfast. I want to go to the phones now. We have US Senator Cory Gardner. It’s always a pleasure to have him on the program. I want to go straight to him to talk about some of the key issues of the day, from North Korea to the Dream Act and everything else we can fit in between into our time with him. Senator Gardner, welcome back to the show. Good morning!


SENGENBERGER: Hey, it’s great to have you here. I want to go talk about an issue, for starters, that we discussed earlier in the program, which is North Korea. I know this is an issue that is something you have been following very closely in the United States Senate. What do you make of the sanctions that were placed by the UN Security Council yesterday upon North Korea, and do you think they’re going to have any effect?

GARDNER:  Well, again, I think you every bit of pressure that we add to North Korea is a step in the right direction. But there needs to be a significant degree more than what United Nations Security Council resolution is going to accomplish. Look, we know that there’s a couple things that could really make a big impact: number one, petroleum; number two, denying access to the US financial systems [for] anyone who chooses to do business with North Korea. Those two changes alone would have a dramatic impact on the regime’s ability to continue its nuclear program. And so, if we’re going to have serious progress, those are the two serious steps that need to be taken. And unfortunately, the United Nations Security Council resolution does not address the petroleum issue, and the United States is the one that has to address the financial access — the system access. So, if we are serious about this, then let’s actually make North Korea the most sanctioned nation on earth.

SENGENBERGER: Now, earlier we were talking with somebody I consider to be a leading expert on this issue, and that is Gordon Chang. And he suggests repeatedly that we really need to be focusing on financial institutions in China and squeezing the Bank of China and other such institutions to put pressure on that country, to put added pressure itself on North Korea. What do you make of what we might need to be doing to squeeze China, especially along those lines as the financial system?

GARDNER:  Well, that’s exactly right. That’s why I say we need to deny access to the US financial systems of anyone who does business with North Korea. That’s going to be a lot of banks, for instance, that do business with North Korea, have dummy accounts for North Korea, help wash money back through a variety of different accounts or mechanisms to North Korea. If we deny them access to the US financial system, that is going to be an incredible strain on their book of business. I mean, this is — the United States is the largest economy in the world, and they need to be given a choice: You can do business with North Korea, or you can do business with the largest economy in the United States, but you cannot do both. And so that’s where we’re focused on. And that’s what we have to do. I think that we have reports of over 5000 businesses in China that are doing business with North Korea. Some of these businesses have offices in the United States. They need to be sanctioned. They need to be named. And they need to realize that they cannot do business with United States, as a result.

SENGENBERGER: Now, one more question on North Korea. Why should folks be so concerned about this issue? I mean, is he really going to, say, pull the trigger, or something along those lines? There are a lot of folks who say, “You know, this is just bluster that were getting. We don’t really need to worry all that much about North Korea.”

GARDNER:  Well, you know, we’ve been at war in the [Korean] Peninsula — in 1953, the end of the conflict with the armistice. But we still haven’t had a final conclusion to that. We are a Mutual Defense Treaty ally with South Korea. Three hundred thousand Americans live in South Korea, 30,000 men and women in uniform in South Korea and Japan and others in the region are our greatest allies. And so, we have got to make sure that we are protecting ourselves and we have the commitments there that we have to stand up to carry out, should that be necessary. But you know, Colorado is in the front line of defense. If there is a rocket from North Korea, the first response is out of NorthComm, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And so, you know, this is something that our men and women in uniform in Colorado were all too familiar with, because we are the first ones to stand up for the defense of the homeland and that’s why this is so important.

SENGENBERGER: Shifting gears to a more domestic related issue, Sen. Gardner, last week, President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. And in the wake of that decision, both you and Senator Michael Bennett came out in favor of the Dream Act of 2017. I’m wondering two questions. Number one, what is your position on that, kind of in more detail? Why did you take that stand? And number two, do you think that at this point the Dream Act itself actually does have some legs behind it– or underneath it? Or is maybe something like the Bridge Act — that Congressman Coffman had earlier proposed — a little bit more, you know, likely to take place?

GARDNER:  Well, I think, to be clear, we’re in this situation because Pres. Obama chose to go around Congress. He chose to end run Congress and issue an executive order, and even Democrats alike Sen. Dianne Feinstein has said his executive order is on shaky legal ground. And so, the rightful debate for this conversation — the rightful place for this debate — is in Congress. And Congress is the one that is going to have to fix our broken immigration system. People on the left and the right believe that children who were brought here through no fault of their own at a very young age are going to find relief in immigration reform. Just like we don’t charge a four-year-old with trespass for walking across our neighbor’s lawn, we can bring a similar solution to children who were brought here very, very young. And so, that’s what this effort is about. Now, is it the Dream Act — the language, itself — that passes? Is it the Bridge Act that passes, that Congressman Coffman is working on? There is going to be negotiation over the next several weeks and months to finalize what I believe will be a bipartisan approach and you know, it may contain border security. That’s been part of the debate here. But the bottom line is I believe we need to start addressing a broken immigration system. We can start with this, we can start with other pieces that have bipartisan support. But we can’t sit around and do nothing. We have to get this accomplished — something accomplished – that we’ve actually said is one of the greatest challenges this country faces.

SENGENBERGER: You just mentioned border security, Senator Gardner. And there are, of course, a lot of Republicans and conservatives who are very concerned about that issue.  President Trump has made building the wall a centerpiece of his administration. A two-part question for you on this issue:  What is your take on the wall, and border security, more broadly? And then also, what about the notion of E-Verify and including that type of a provision to make sure that folks that are working in this country are doing so legally.

GARDNER:  Well, there is a lot of different provisions of immigration reform that need to be need to be put in place. I mean, making sure that we have a workforce that legally verified is an important step, making sure that we have a labor system that actually works.  And, you know, I think those are all parts of it. E-Verify is a solution that could work. I think, when it comes to border security and things like a wall, there are walls already on the border. And where it makes sense, we should put that in place. Where it doesn’t — where something like electronic systems and monitors would work better, where personnel would work better on the border, then we need to do that. So, this is one of those ideas, I think, where we do what works right for the need, the environment, and the security purpose, and we are able to finance and fund it accordingly.

SENGENBERGER: Now, if a Dream Act were to pass, or the Bridge Act, or something along those lines that provides legal status or permanent legal status to these children of illegal immigrants — the so-called Dreamers – do you think President Trump might sign something like that?

GARDNER:  You know, I think he would. He has said he would. You know, he is — just today, there’s an article: he is not demanding any kind of wall funding to go along with any kind of reform for these kids. So, I think that was in one of the papers I read today. He has said that – or at least alluded to — he would sign something. So, [this is] a bipartisan opportunity for us to start fixing our broken immigration system.

SENGENBERGER: I want to take a turn – we’ve just got a few minutes left with our guest, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, here.  Steve Mnuchin today,  — the Treasury Secretar– was part of a panel discussion on CNBC, and at a conference at CNBC that Institutional Investor had this morning and is ongoing today, where he was talking about two things. Number one is that he’s very optimistic that we’ll be able to get some form of tax relief done before the end of the year, and also is looking at backdating it or making it retroactive for January 1. What do you think we’re likely to get, if anything, before the end of the year?

GARDNER:  Well, I think tax reform is incredibly important. Tax relief is incredibly important – and why? Because we need to grow job — we need to grow jobs and the economy. We need to have those jobs grow in their wages, so that the American people are taking more money home with them and actually start seeing real wage growth in this country, the first time in a very long time. I’m going to be meeting with Secretary Mnuchin, here, in a couple of hours, today, as well, to talk about that tax reform. I’d like to see this done sooner rather than later. I don’t know that we should put a timeframe on it, but I think the sooner we get it done, the better we are. If it’s retroactive, that will help us, I think, create even more economic growth opportunities. And — but I’d like to see this done, and certainly something that we cannot fail when it comes to getting it — getting tax reform.

SENGENBERGER: How elaborate or expansive do you think this tax reform issue might be?  We’ve talked about this before, and it seems like tax relief is probably, at the very least, what is going to happen. And maybe we’ll get some sort of tax reform down the line.

GARDNER:  Well, I think if you’re cutting taxes, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. If you address the issue of overseas earnings and bring that money back into the United States, that’s going to create an economic jumpstart, and all the sudden you’re relieving individual burdens, as well.  Because that that’s going to matter when it comes to pass-through corporations like LLCs and S-corporations. And that’s, you know, the majority of our small businesses. And that money is going to then go through that company. They’re going to turn around and pay their workers more. They’re going to hire more people. They are going to invest in more equipment and perhaps more hiring. And we’re going to start to see that economic growth. And for every 1% GDP growth, we know we have hundreds of billions of dollars in new dollars coming back to the federal government, in terms of tax receipts. And we see hundreds of thousands of people will be employed as a result that 1% uptick in GDP growth. So, you know, the reforms are necessary to make it simpler, easier and better to understand. And, Jimmy, I don’t know if we’ve talked about this before or not, but the United States spends the equivalent of the GDP of New Zealand just to fill out our tax forms every year, collectively in this country. It’s just ridiculous. So, that kind of tax reform — cutting taxes — would bring a lot of common sense to what certainly needs it.

SENGENBERGER: [I] just have to ask you really quickly about the debt ceiling deal that was reached. You voted in favor of it. Did you think that it was the right amount of time –three months? Or should it have been longer?

GARDNER:  You know, look. I think there were opportunities that were missed, that could’ve provided more certainty, that could’ve been a little bit longer. But it’s something that helped to address the needs in Texas and the upcoming hurricane in Florida. And it’s something that gives us the time to work out a longer-term solution. So, while I think there could’ve been something better in place, I don’t know that it was the – an outrageous moment that some people are calling it.

SENGENBERGER: All right. We are out of time with US Senator Cory Gardner, our guest.  Sir, it is always a pleasure!. Thanks for taking the time to join us today!

GARDNER:  Hey, thanks for having me, Jimmy! Thanks!

SENGENBERGER: Once again, Senator Cory Gardner, here on Business for Breakfast. He got a lot of ground in there. He certainly is pretty optimistic about tax reform. He does believe that we really need to put the financial squeeze on financial institutions in China when it comes to North Korea, underscoring the importance of that issue — that it really is something serious, especially for us in Colorado. He noted that they missile defense. The first response would come from, nor, here in Colorado in Colorado Springs and that that certainly puts our men and women in uniform here in Colorado, particularly, on the lookout for anything that might take place. He also talked about the debt ceiling increase and how he would’ve liked to have some more time. But it wasn’t so outrageous, in his view. And when it comes to immigration, he thinks that we should have at least some form of legal status for those Dreamers, as they’re called. [He] wasn’t too committed to necessarily the Dream Act as its proposed, or the Bridge Act. But he did indicate support for some version of those proposals. Also, he talked about E-Verify — being supportive of E-Verify — as an initiative for making sure that the folks that are working in this country are legal and are legally working in the nation. And [he] also did talk about border security, building a wall where necessary, or if it’s fitting, elsewhere using electronic surveillance and electronic means of border security and so forth. So, [he’s] kind of looking at a more holistic package, in that regard. So, [we] covered a lot of ground in about 10 minutes or so with Senator Gardner, here on Business for Breakfast. And always a pleasure getting his take on what’s going on with the key issues of the day. So there you go. We will post up that interview on our website. Go to You can listen to the podcast and share it. Or you can also go to the 1690 KDMT app on your smart phone as well. Be sure to check that out. It’s a great tool. It’s like a financial advisor in your pocket, at times, so be sure to check that out.