Kelley & Co, Cory Gardner, 11/22/2011

Station: 710 KNUS
Show: Kelley & Co.
Guest: Gardner
Date: 11/22/2011
Topics: Super Committee, Sequestration, Healthcare Costs, Part-Time Congress, Insider Trading, STOCK Act.
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KELLY: What was your expectation Congressman on this debt reduction committee?

GARDNER: Early on over the past month or two I had sort of moments of optimism and pessimism. The pessimism was obvious in terms of reading the papers and hearing the nightly news about how far apart the various camps were in these talks. But the optimism came in the fact that we’ve got a job to do, to reduce spending by $1.2 trillion because if you don’t the automatic spending reductions are going to come from 50 percent defense and that could impact negatively our national security. And that is why I thought they would get the job done. I certainly am disappointed.

KELLY: Was it enough of an impetus though? Do you think because whatever it is, it’s going to happen after the election when these triggers go into effect?

GARDNER: Not only are these sequestrations going to take place in 2013, but it is still $1.2 trillion over 10 years out of our $15 trillion current problem. It is not enough even when it gets into effect.

KELLY: When do you think and how is thins going to resolve itself?

GARDNER: Again, I am very concerned that there are a number of people in Congress that somehow think 42 cents of every dollar is spending on borrowed money isn’t a problem. I was on the House floor on Friday and I had a simple question: What part of broke don’t you understand? This country has a major crisis its facing and I certainly hope its not an ultimate or extreme meltdown of our economy even more so that we are already suffering though it takes to get peoples attention.

KELLY: When you are on the floor and you are saying that, that sounds great. But it’s just got to be bouncing off everybody.

GARDNER: It appears to bounce off people and I followed that up with a question about what part of borrowing 42 cents of every dollar that we don’t understand. If the American people continued to do this they would be out in the streets. And Congress doesn’t pay; the United States Government doesn’t pay an overdraft fee. When they write a check that is more money than they have, they just fire up the printing press. Everyday America, everyday businesses, they pay an overdraft fee when they spend more money than they have and they have to pay it back at some point. The United States government has to realize that it’s got to start paying back and reducing its spending ways.

KELLY: You have heard the difference between simple and easy. The idea is simple what needs to be done. But it is not easy. Why not?

GARDNER: There are a lot of people who are protecting their turf or protecting their pet programs. And you have president Obama who a year ago said the number one driver of our costs are healthcare. And yet he hasn’t come up with a single plan to reduce those healthcare costs. That will do so in a meaningful way to get out country on a long-term stable footing.

KELLY: A lot of people and the pundits are saying who is this going to effect? Who is this going to hurt politically? Who is getting the best spin and the most advantage out of this? Or who is going to be hurt more? I could care less. It’s us that is getting hurt. You have a nine percent, and I speak generally, not you, but you are part of a body that has a nine percent approval rate. How does that make you feel?

GARDNER: Again, I think they probably polled my mom and dad and other parents of members of Congress to even get that high. It is disgusting the American people have to sit through this and watch because if you could put a group of ordinary Americans into a room I am sure they could come up with some ways to cut spending.

KELLY: What do you think of Rick Perry’s idea of a part-time Congress?

GARDNER: I have long been a fan of reforming the way Congress does their job. I think when Congress isn’t in session this country might be at its safest point. In the state legislature I supported legislation that would go to an off-year, on-year two-year biannual budgeting process where you are there longer one year than you are the next. Congress ought to take a look at that and seriously consider whether or not it needs to be legislating 365 days a year.

KELLY: Yea that might be too far down the road in terms of that. Lets real it back to this super committee. Well, lets get off the super committee for a minute here. Lets talk about this approval rating a little bit more. You have this report that comes out and are you familiar with HR 1148, the STOCK Act?

GARDNER: Yes I am. In fact, I am hopefully will be on as a cosponsor of that bill later today.

KELLY: Well that’s some news right there. Congressman Cory Gardner here with us on Kelly and Company. HR 1148 is what is referred to as the STOCK Act.

GARDNER: Correct, it’s a bill that actually got a hearing, I believe, next week in the Financial Services Committee.

KELLY: Its Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge. That’s an acronym for STOCK. Insider information not…that results in trading. And people are guilty on both sides. You’re new in Congress, does this shock you?

GARDNER: It certainly does shock me. And I think that it’s something that needs to change. If you are a CEO of a publically traded business and this happens, you are going to be subject to insider trading laws. A lot of members of Congress are exposed to very valuable information from a business standpoint. When people come in and talk about what is going on in their companies or legislation and the impact it will have on various plans the company may have, and if they are trading on that knowledge I don’t see how that is any different than an insider trading act that a CEO would take.

KELLY: Well it cant be in one sense but let me ask you this: Have you in your time so far, its got to be very tempting, have you been privy to information where you have said to yourself wow, I could probably make some money off this information?

GARDNER: When you are looking at a company that comes in and visits in Northern Colorado, whether they are talking about an agricultural enterprise or a renewable energy enterprise, and you think, gee maybe this is a great company to invest in. But when you do that, that again makes you…how is that different than some kind of an insider trading rule that applies to a CEO. The answer is no, I have never traded, never purchased on any of that information.

KELLY: No, I’d just say it would be very tempting, it would seem to me, to say I’ve got this information, this is likely to happen. Who knows the time frame. A lot of insider information at least as it relates to the SEC is time sensitive. They know that something is going to happen in the very immediate future and they trade based on that info. I don’t know if you have that direct of an impact.

GARDNER: Usually I time my stock and buy at the peak and somehow it doesn’t work out that well.

KELLY: Like the rest of us.