Colorado’s Morning News, Mike Coffman, July 26, 2018

Station:    KOA, 850 am

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News

Guests:    Coffman, Mike


Date:        July 26, 2018

Topics:    Partisan bickering, U.S. House of Represenatives Rules, Gavel Amendment, Election of the Speaker of the House, Immigration Reform, Health Care, Robert Wilkie, Veterans Administration, VA, Director of Construction and Facilities Management, Army Corps of Engineers, Clean House,

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HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH: [00:00:03] Did you know Congressman Mike Coffman is on the House Problem Solvers Caucus? Did you know there was such a thing? Well, one big problem of late has been a lack of bipartisanship, certainly. And Congressman Coffman says he wants to change that. He joins us live to talk more about what he’s proposing. Good morning.


ZESBAUGH: [00:00:18] First off, you’ve been in office for several terms. Has the partisan bickering gotten worse in that time?

COFFMAN: [00:00:23] Oh, I think it’s been bad — it’s been bad for a while. And it has just got to change. I mean, historically, obviously, things are — things have been very polarized in Washington for a long time. There’s been gridlock. The American people are frustrated that things aren’t getting done. And so there’s a group of Republicans and Democrats that have come together to try to bridge the partisan divide in Washington D.C.

HOST MARTY LENZ: [00:00:47] How exactly are you go about doing that, Congressman?

COFFMAN: [00:00:49] Well, we’re going to change the rules. I think right now there are — there is way too much power concentrated in way too few hands. And this is sort of akin to what Colorado did back in 1988, when when they passed the Gavel Amendment: give a vote to every legislator. It was a Constitutional amendment, and it dramatically changed the political environment in our state legislature. And we’ve never had a reform like that in the Congress of the United States. And so, what this will do is it will open up the process. It will say, “Hey, if there is a certain level of support for a bill that leadership from either party cannot block it from coming to the floor for a vote. And so, we’ve got reforms like that are important. I think that this — the stars are sort of lined up, I think — whether Republicans or Democrats control the House, I think it’s going to be fairly close after the next election. And there will be a vote for the Speaker of the House. And those of us that believe in these reforms are pledging that we will not support a Speaker — from whatever party — until we get these reforms enacted.

ZESBAUGH: [00:02:06] Will it give the party not in power more of a voice?

COFFMAN: [00:02:09] It will. But it will also give members like myself a voice. It’s frustrating for me to be at the mercy of a committee chairman, to be at the mercy of the Speaker of the House when you have — when there are solutions out there, like on immigration reform, like on health care, that maybe you’re not going to get a good partisan solution, but there’s a good bipartisan solution out there.

LENZ: [00:02:33] Speaking of trying to fix things, you’ve been very vociferous in sometimes your frustration with the V.A.. You were out here last week for the ribbon cutting. You’re holding Robert Wilkie’s feet to the fire. Any progress on that, on getting some of those changes taking place?

COFFMAN: [00:02:44] Well, we’re going to meet. And I’m going to certainly relay to him, in no uncertain terms, that for senior leaders like the individual who was responsible for this fiasco that is still at the V.A., that was thrown off the project by the Army Corps of Engineers when I led that effort to get them on, and that we stripped the Army Corps of Engineers of their — I mean, I’m sorry [correcting himself] we stripped the V.A. of their construction management authority to ever build another hospital again without using a third party like the Army Corps of Engineers. Yet that person, that’s the Director of Construction and Facilities Management for the Department of Veterans Affairs is still there. He’s got to clean house at the top. People like that — if we have documented failures — need to go, across the board. And if he’s not going to do that, no matter what he says, no matter what he does, he will fail. And this administration will fail. This president will fail to meet his promises to the men and women who serve this country in uniform.


ZESBAUGH: [00:03:45] All right, Congressman Coffman, we’ll run with that. Thanks for the few minutes. As always, we appreciate it.


COFFMAN: [00:03:49] Thank you I appreciate it.