Dan Caplis Show, Cory Gardner, December 19, 2017

Station:    KNUS, 710 am

Show:       Dan Caplis Show

Guests:    Gardner, Cory

Link:       http://dancaplis.podbean.com/

Date:        December 19, 2017


Click Here for Audio

HOST DAN CAPLIS:  [It’s] a real privilege go to the VIP line and welcome Sen. Cory Gardner back to the show. Senator, congrats on a big day!


CAPLIS:  It must feel like morning to you, because the whole calendars is upside-down, there. Isn’t it?

GARDNER:  [chuckling] It is. We’ve got a lot of work to do and hours of debate left ahead.

CAPLIS:  Yeah, tell us what’s going on with the schedule.

GARDNER:  So, right now, we basically are in the 10-hour debate period for final vote on the Conference Report, which is the tax relief package. And sometime later this evening hopefully, –you know, maybe around 8 o’clock, Colorado time – we’ll have a final vote on this in the Senate.

CAPLIS:  Wow, that is exciting! And then, — now, there was a procedural glitch. It has to go back to the House for a rubberstamp. Is that right?

GARDNER:  That’s right. So, tonight’s passage in the Senate will be followed by a pretty – I guess – a formality and the House will vote on the bill again and pass it. And that’s when we’ll send it to the President’s desk.

CAPLIS:  And when will the signing ceremony be, all those festivities?

GARDNER:  You know, I don’t even know if that’s been worked out yet

CAPLIS:  Oh, okay. Okay.

GARDNER:  I hope as soon as possible, because obviously, a lot of work has to get done to prepare next year’s the tax codes, forms, and reports. And that’s something that I’m looking forward to, making sure that the American people understand that this is going to be a real benefit to their bottom line.

CAPLIS:  Right. And the reason I ask about the signing ceremony is, I think this victory – and the optics from this victory and everything else — I think this is enormous in so many ways, even beyond this particular policy. But, you tell us — you know much better than I do – what is in the final version of this thing? How do you feel about this tax package, now that we are down — almost down – to a final version?

GARDNER:  Well, you know, I feel very confident that this is going to be good for the American people, that if you’re a single parent and you earn $41,000 a year, next year you’ll be paying close to $75,000 – [correcting himself] excuse me, 75% less in taxes next year than you are this year. If you’re a median household income family of four in this country, you’re going to be paying nearly 60% less in taxes next year than you are this year.  So, this is something that is going to put more money in people’s pockets. And it’s also something is going to grow wages. You know, The Denver Post this morning talked about the fact that in Colorado we have very low unemployment but we haven’t seen real wage growth.

CAPLIS:  Right!

GARDNER:  And that’s what I think this will help spur.

CAPLIS:  Right. No, and that is so enormous, I mean in real life. So you think about a) what’s best for people, obviously. But then you look at the impact. You look at the political consequences, and it seems to me that by doing all these good things this just sets things up perfectly for ’18.

GARDNER:  And it does. And I think what’s more important than anything is the American people will see that Congress fulfilled a promise to go throughout all four corners of the country and make sure that we have an innovation agenda, that we have a country where opportunity once again flourishes, and we’ve taken this country that had the least competitive tax code — around the globe! — and now made it one of the most competitive tax codes around the globe. And that’s going to bring more investment from overseas into the United States. It’s going to keep more dollars in the United States from leaving the United States. And this is something that every American is going to benefit from.

CAPLIS:  Well, I get excited about stuff that can really change the arc. And it seems like this has the potential to change the ark, and it’s absolutely worth trying.  I understand –and I’d like to know if you think this is legit — you know, that there are reasonable concerns about whether this will add to the deficit. But it seems to me that rather than increasing the deficit for a sugar high, this could really change the ark in the way you just described, when it comes to know of attracting jobs, creating jobs, etc.

GARDNER:  Well, in many of the estimates that came out of some of the congressional analysis that was done, they didn’t even take into account the amount of foreign direct investment that would come into the United States as a result of us lowering this tax code.

CAPLIS:  Right.

GARDNER:  So they just – they don’t even calculate that other people may decide that the US is more lucrative now, to invest in. How do you leave that out of the equation?

CAPLIS:  Why wouldn’t you include that? Yeah!

GARDNER:  Exactly right.

CAPLIS:  How could you not include that? Because isn’t that the first thought? Wouldn’t most people rather be here than there. The only reason they’re there is they’re getting a much bigger break in their taxes. How did they leave that element out?

GARDNER:  It’s pretty remarkable. And the, the fact that you have this dynamic growth — that I believe will occur — and you have other congressional entities saying that we’re going to be stuck with this sort of “secular stagnation.” That’s a fancy Washington way of saying, “The economy has been bad so you had better get used to it.” You know, we don’t have to get used it.  We ought not to get used to it

CAPLIS:  Right! Right.

GARDNER:  We ought to be better than that. And so, that’s what I think this growth is going to lead to. It’s going to show that America can win again. It’s going to show that we can innovate, that we can flourish, and that we don’t have to set settle for second-best.

CAPLIS:  Amen to that! And the President ran on that. And I expect that’s going to be a theme of the midterm elections as well for GOP candidates. And that resonates with Americans, because truly, who — across party lines — you know, aspires to be mediocre?

GARDNER:  That’s right. And if you look at the complaints against the bill, — I mean, the initial opposition to the bill came in people who don’t like to cut taxes. They opposed it because it cut taxes. The next step, they said, it will kill thousands of people — the tax cuts will kill thousands of people. Then the third alarm bell they rang was, “This will be the end of times, as we know it!”

CAPLIS:  [laughs]

GARDNER:  Nancy Pelosi saying this is the worst piece of legislation ever to cross the Senate floor. You know, forgetting apparently about the Indian Removal Act and the Alien Sedition Act and other atrocities that Congress has seen over the history of this country. But that kind of overreach, I think, and hyperbole is going to do one thing: in February and March, in July of next year, when Americans see their paycheck and they’re earning more money as a result of this tax cut, I think they’re going to realize that we did a good thing for this country.

CAPLIS:  Amen to that! Sen. Cory Gardner, our guest. If you don’t mind switching gears for second, you talked to Rex Tillerson yesterday—obviously, Secretary of State. Fill us in on that.

GARDNER:  Yeah, it was a conversation about many of the reforms that he’s trying to undertake at the Department of State. This is that one of the great tragedies – er, travesties — of Washington, where you have an entire department that hasn’t been reauthorized for over two decades. And when that happens, it means that those, — sort of, the nuts and bolts of the agency haven’t really been investigated, studied, and made sure that it’s all working as it should. And so that’s what this administration is trying to do, is to make sure that they get this program aligned in a way that makes sense for modern-day diplomacy. And he was sharing it with a bipartisan [group of] members of the Committee on Foreign Relations. And so that’s what he’s working on. We also had a conversation, obviously, about terrorism, North Korea, and many of the other concerns around the around the globe.

CAPLIS:  Yeah, and listen, you’ve been four or five steps ahead on North Korea for years and years and years. So, what is your take on where we’re at right now, and what’s likely to happen in ’18?

GARDNER:  Well, this morning I met with the ambassador, Yun. And Ambassador Yun is the United States envoy — North Korean envoy — who is basically tasked at the State Department with addressing the North Korea challenge. And you know, here’s where we are: North Korea is belligerent. They have decided they don’t want to talk to the United States. They want to continue their nuclear program, putting their pedal to the metal, so to speak, in terms of developing their nuclear abilities and capabilities. And that is a danger for the United States. And so while they’re refusing to talk and negotiate, they’re ramping up their efforts on development. And so, we’ve got to – including, you know – get our neighbors, including China and others – to push forward on a full embargo of North Korea, cut off their crude oil supplies, make sure that were stopping the enablers of North Korea to – you know, from continuing their work. Siberia has 30 to 40,000 North Korean slave laborers, basically, that are sending money back to North Korea to prop up the regime. That’s got to stop. We got to be doing more as a globe, and we have to have the full commitment from China to start doing this.

CAPLIS:  Hey, do you have two more minutes?

GARDNER:  I do. Yes.

CAPLIS:  Yeah, you’ve been generous with your time. I’ll want to apportion that time. First, a quick follow-up on that:  timing. Do you think North Korea is going to have full capability sometime in 2018 — meaning both the nukes and the ballistic missiles — to deliver them to Denver?

GARDNER:  You know, I think we can only assume, based on their most recent to ballistic missile success, that they now have the ability to bring into range the entire US Homeland. That’s based on the altitude and the trajectory of their most recent ballistic missile experience. Now, whether they have the ability to place a miniaturized nuclear warhead on top of that, that can survive reentry, I don’t think we know that now. But the problem is, if we find out about it, it may be too late. And that’s an unacceptable risk. And so that’s why we don’t have time to dillydally on this. We don’t have time to wait around. We’ve got to figure out how to ramp up pressure on the regime, using our neighbors and our allies to do the same, to put enough pressure on the regime to force them to the table.

CAPLIS:  Last couple of questions. I think you’re serving the state and the nation tremendously well. And in part, that’s in your capacity as head of the Republican Senatorial Committee, going out there and trying to get all these other Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate in ’18. So with that in mind, how do you feel about the outcome last week in Alabama, and where do you see the ‘18 midterms going now for Republican Senatorial candidates?

GARDNER:  You know, I think Pres. Trump had said it in a tweet the day after the Alabama election, that he was right, that he was concerned that Roy Moore couldn’t win Alabama. That’s what Pres. Trump said. That’s why he supported Luther Strange. I think Alabama was a rejection of the candidate, not a rejection of a conservative agenda. And if people think that Huntsville turned into Hollywood overnight, and the blue wave begins in Alabama, then there’s probably an iceberg in Texas for somebody. And so, so this is I think a rejection of the candidate, but it shows why we have to do everything we can around the country to put forward good candidates, candidates who can run on conservative principles and get the job done for this country. And I think that’s the message from Alabama, is you know, this wasn’t a person that Alabamans wanted, and they spoke.

CAPLIS:  And finally, I thought one of the sweetest moments and in the last year was the left — I think I was watching CNN mocking you for saying, “Hey, Doug Jones! Come and vote with the GOP!” And then two days later Doug Jones is talking about, “No, no! Trump shouldn’t be removed from office!”, etc.

GARDNER:  [laughs]

CAPLIS:  So, what do you see shaping up there? How often do you think he’’ll be able to get Doug Jones to go with the a caucus?

GARDNER:  Well, I think if you look at a state like Alabama where it is a significantly, you know, a vast percentage conservative state, that he’s going to vote Republican, more often than not on big issues. And if he is representing Alabama, that’s what will happen. So I think the left may not like. The mainstream media may not like. But Alabama, like I said, is not California, it’s not New York. It’s Alabama. And if he is going to represent that state, then I think he has to be somebody in the line of Richard Shelby or Jeff sessions to do that job.

CAPLIS:  Well, hey, congrats in the big tax reform victory and [I] appreciate the time tonight.

GARDNER:  Hey, thank you very much for having me, Dan. Thanks!