Peter Boyles Show, Ken Buck, May 25, 2015

Station:   KNUS, 710 AM

Show:      Peter Boyles Show

Guests:    Buck


Date:       May 25, 2015

Topics:    Export/Import Bank, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade Pact Authority (TPA), Patriot Act, U.S. Freedom Act, Nancy Pelosi, Obamacare, Extension, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Charter, Capital Cronyism, Corruption, Indictments, Freedom Caucus, Republican Study Group, Meta-Data, National Security Administration (NSA), Edward Snowden, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Evolve, Evolved, Mitch McConnell, Wayne Allard, Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman

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GUEST CO-HOST CHUCK BONNIWELL:  Thanks for coming on, Congressman Buck.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE (CD-4) KEN BUCK:  It’s my pleasure. Happy Memorial Day.

GUEST CO-HOST JULIE HAYDEN:  To you, too! To you, too.

BONNIWELL:  Got to meet you during your Senate Campaign at your headquarters on Speer – it was a spirited campaign – didn’t turn out the way you might have wanted – but it was very close.  You got to Washington anyway.

BUCK:  I did. And it’s a great honor. It’s a great job.

BONNIWELL:  Well, let’s talk – there are three things that are coming before the House, that are kind of big, coming up, and I want to get your opinions on each of the three.  The first is the Export/Import Bank, and I think I know a little of what you think because there’s a YouTube of you on the House floor describing some of your sentiments. Uh, then the extension of the Patriot Act, should we just extend it totally as is, which is what Mitch McConnell wants, or is it the U.S. Freedom Act that the House passed with 338 votes, and I think one of yours.  And also, this free trade, or give the President authority to negotiate treaties, can only be up or down. And extraordinary to me that the president who we say abused the—his powers and won’t listen to Congress, we just can’t wait to shove as much power his way we want to go.  But let’s start with the Export/Import. What are your thoughts on that?

BUCK:  Well, first, I’ll answer all three questions:  No, Yes, No.


BUCK:  The Export/Import Bank, in my view, is an example of crony Capitalism. It is a bank that is funded by the federal government. The loans are guaranteed by the federal government. And it is a bank that is able to pick winners and losers.  It is open to corruption in a lot of different ways.

BONNIWELL:  And has been!  There have been various indictments, have there not?

BUCK:  There have been indictments, but not only that, there has been criminal corruption. But there has also been political corruption, where donors to certain campaigns will get loans from this bank. And, you know, it’s based on who knows who.  The — I think it’s 65-70% of the loans are made to 6 or 7 different major American corporations, all of whom who have supported President Obama, and in the past, all of whom have supported Republican Presidents.  It’s really their –

BONNIWELL:  Piggy bank.

BUCK:  –way of playing the game. And it’s just not right. And if we’re going to get serious about reducing the unemployment benefits for individuals who refuse to work, or if we’re going to get serious about requiring work for those on welfare, we’ve got to cut the capital cronyism – the benefits to the high end income bracket before we start looking at the other areas of waste.

BONNIWELL:  Well, the argument against it is, they always say, “oh, we’ll lose allo these job unless the Export/Import – it causes — it creates so many jobs out in your communities on the suppliers to the big boys, etc, etc. What do you say to that?

BUCK:  Yeah, it’s nonsense. We – you know, we’re able to export many products from this country without the help of the Export/Import Bank. One of the arguments is: “Well, other countries do it, so we have to do it.” And that’s never been a country.  Just give us a level playing field, let the American worker compete, and we will win every time in the international market place. The Bank plays a small role in the overall exports of this country.

BONNIWELL:  Well, I don’t quite understand the argument saying, “Well, it’s making money!”  You kind of go, “If it’s making money, the private enterprise loves to make money, so you don’t need it.”  If it’s losing money, maybe you’d need it.  But if it’s making all this money, then why in the world do we need it?

BUCK:  Right. No, I – it is something that should go.  The Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy has said that he wants it to go. There are a number of people on record. And the great thing, usually, when Congress does nothing, there’s a problem. In this case, the bank charter expires at the end of June if Congress does nothing. And so, it’s really a win-win and good for Congress just to say, “It’s time that we moved away from this form of capital cronyism,” and let the charter expire.

BONNIWELL:  What’s your prognostication on it?

BUCK:  Oh, boy!  I’ve been there all of five months, now.  I’m not a very good prognosticator when it comes to guessing the things that happen in that building. But I will say that, uh, there is a movement – All the Democrats will vote for it.  Or at least, ninety percent of the Democrats will vote for it. So they don’t need that many Republican votes to get it done. But there will be a fierce battle within the Republican Party, and it’s a very close battle, at this point.

BONNIWELL:  It’s amazing.  I understand that the study group has come out against it, along with the Freedom Caucus.  Are you part of either or both of those?

BUCK:  I am a part of the Freedom Caucus, yes.

BONNIWELL:  And so, you know, that’s about 30 people – or thirty Congresspeople, as I understand it.  But it used to be that as the Republican Study Group did, but then they got so big that they became virtually part of the leadership.

BUCK:  It is, it’s a huge group. The Freedom Caucus is forty-four members –comprised of forty-four members and it’s by invitation only. So, anybody can join the Study Committee and many of the people who do join are not Conservatives, and they have elected leadership in the past that has not been very conservative. So, the Freedom Caucus sort of grew out of a frustration that the Study Committee really wasn’t developing free market alternatives and really trying to rein in federal government.

BONNIWELL:  Let’s turn to the Patriot Act – my favorite misnamed Act, if there ever was on, other than ‘free trade’.  The Patriot Act is up for renewal, or it too, I guess, will expire unless it gets the – some positive action.  I understand that 338 votes – which is amazing, in the House – for something called the U.S. Freedom Act, which would modify some of the programs, which only got exposed because of [Edward] Snowden.  Uh, good, bad, or indifferent, he did expose what the NSA was doing.  Now I understand the lying – you can’t call it anything else, that people like Clapper who eventually said, “Well, I didn’t lie, I just told the least untruthful statement.”  But, Mitch McConnell is fighting very much against the U.S. Freedom Act, and what do you think – what is going on there?

BUCK:  Well, the Freedom Act restricts the broad collection of information on American citizens that was allowed under the Patriot Act. So, the Freedom Act prohibits the NSA from collecting what we call meta-data, or all the phone records of Americans and emails of Americans and other communications. And Mitch Mc Connell is arguing that that would put the country at risk. The House believes that it – the phone companies can maintain those records and on a case by case basis, when there is probable cause, the government can go to a court, get permission to get those records. It’s really a balance between privacy interests in this country and security. It’s one of the few times that I have voted with Nancy Pelosi — on anything!

HAYDEN and BONNIWELL:  [laughter]

BUCK:  And in this case, there are a lot of Democrats, a lot of Republicans, who believe that the line needs to move more towards privacy and away from security. That’s not the view in the Senate. Uh, and again—

HAYDEN:  Well, how do you look at it, then?  What –

BONNIWELL:  He voted for the Freedom Act, as I understand it.

BUCK: Yes, I voted for the Freedom Act. I believe we need to collect less data – less meta-data from American citizens and we will maintain our security in that situation.

HAYDEN:  Well, let me ask you, Ken, because as a former prosecutor you have a little bit of experience – you know, it’s not just theoretical to you, I would imagine.  I mean, to me, that would seem that that would work, if there was sort of probable cause, then you can go in and get a warrant and actually look at the information, rather than sort of screening. I mean, and some people would say, “No, that’s not good enough.”  But again, as a prosecutor, what – I mean, it worked for you guys, I would imagine, when it needed to.

BUCK:  Yeah, although we aren’t in the business typically of preventing crimes. And that’s what the NSA is doing. The NSA is trying to prevent the next terrorist act, and so they want instant access to information. Prosecutors typically are in the business of building a historical case –

HAYDEN:  Okay.

BUCK:  A crime has occurred and now we’re trying to prove who committed that crime and gather evidence to that.

BONNIWELL:  Well, what I’m always amazed, quite frankly, is how few people in America, in some ways, don’t get the old Churchill saying  that, you know, if you trade essential liberty in order for some security, you’ll get neither security nor essential liberty.  And it’s amazing how people kind of go, “Well, it may stop something!” You know?  It may, but then you’ve traded a lot of your freedom away just for that, and it’s not worth it.  It’s not worth it, in some cases. And this seems like a good compromise.  Um, but, who knows?  It sounds like the House is going to stand strong.  So, what Mitch McConnell does, one way or the other, up in the Senate — it doesn’t really matter, it seems.

BUCK:  Oh! It matters a great deal.


BUCK:  If the Senate does not pass a bill and the Patriot Act expires, I think Democrats across this country will say, “See? We were right! Republicans can’t govern.” And we need to make sure that – you know, the House has spoken overwhelmingly, and in a bipartisan way.  And Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, and many others in the Republican Party, as well as most of the Democrats in the Senate are in favor of this Freedom Act.  And I think that it’s time that Mitch McConnell and the moderate Republicans – what people on the Hill call the “hawks” – start to compromise and recognize that this is a good balance.

BONNIWELL:  Well, you know, it’s always amazing, the moderate part of the Republican Party – no matter what it is, whether it’s the Export/Import Bank, whether it’s the Patriot Act, they just want bigger government.  I mean, it’s just bigger government.  Don’t get rid of an agency like Export/Import [Bank].  You would think – you know, back in the long ago days, when more moderate people were kind of for less government, the liberals of the Republican Party seemed to love big, big government, more the better, never get rid of anything.

BUCK:  Yeah. You know, [it’s] hard for me. I’m sitting among a group of people who ran, as I did, to reduce the size of government, balance the budget, make sure that we are protecting the homeland, and at the same time, don’t overextend ourselves around the world. And when I look at the votes of many of my Republican colleagues, I don’t see those things reflected. We passed a budget I voted against. But we passed a budget this year that will never balance. And it’s just amazing to me that we can’t get a better grip on the things that we’re doing there.

BONNIWELL:  How did you manage not to get swallowed up by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?  You know, Cory Gardner — we used to have Cory Gardner on back in 2010, 2011, when we were on Brand X.  Boy, there couldn’t have been a more Tea Party guy.  And today, you couldn’t have a more left wing Republican if you tried.  He spends all of his time trying to do – reaching across the aisle with Michael Bennet for this, or for that, or for everything else. And Mike Coffman is also owned by the U.S. Chamber and he is going to be our next, apparently, Republican candidate unless somebody comes up and fights him.  And hopefully, we’ll have a primary this time and he just — and one person won’t just be elected. And I was one of those who wondered whether you were going to get sucked up into the U.S. Chamber and become “evolved’—evolve into something nicely squishy and moderate.  How did you avoid that?

BUCK:  Well –

HAYDEN:  Not to ask you a double-edged question, there!  [laughter]

BUCK:  You know, I’ve got to disagree with part of your narrative, but to answer the question that you ask, and that is, I’m going to D.C. to do a job. And the job is to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. If I – if the Chamber decides to put a bunch of money in and run somebody against me this next time, you know, that’s fine.  I will come back here.  I will spend more time with my family. I will look my grandchildren in the eye when they’re born.  I hope my son or daughter are listening.

HAYDEN & BONNIWELL: [laughter]

BUCK:  And tell them that, you know, I did the very best I could to make this country stronger. But I’m not going there to compromise or to get reelected.  I have no interest in being a Chairman or being in leadership or anything else in the House. And so, I know where my core is, and what my direction is. But I disagree with you. You know, in order to win a state-wide race in Colorado, Cory Gardner has reached out in a lot of different directions. But 95% of his votes are the same votes I that take in the House and the same votes that other Conservatives take in the House. And so, it’s one thing to say, you know, you’ve got to remain pure. It’s another thing to say, if we’re not in the majority, Nancy Pelosi runs the House and Nancy Pelosi passes Obamacare, and passes Dodd-Frank, and passes the horrible legislation that we are now stuck with.  And so, –I –

BONNIWELL:  Well, for lots of us, being owned by the Chamber is no better than Nancy Pelosi.  And Gardner is owned by the Chamber.  When he came to Washington to work for Wayne Allard, he watched Wayne Allard, and watched how Wayne Allard made himself wealthy by staying in Washington.  And he figured that one out.  And he’s going to end up wealthy when he leaves here, and he really – for someone I used to admire, I must admit, he’s more than disappointing. He’s revolting.  But we’ll agree to disagree.

HAYDEN:  — agree to disagree.

BONNIWELL:  What about the free trade authority to the President.  McConnell did get that through.  Once again, a strange – you know, politics makes strange bedfellows.  Obama and McConnell working hard to overcome the Democrats so they can give more power to Obama.

BUCK:  Yeah. I think it’s a mistake. I haven’t read the bill that’s come out of the Senate yet, and so I’m not saying I’m a 100% against it. But, here’s a president who has negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran that’s an absolute disaster. And we send his negotiating team in to negotiate with several countries in the Pacific Rim to have a trade treaty. We’re basically saying to the president, “You don’t need to get the approval of Congress. We need to find a way to override your veto—to override – you know, to get two-thirds of the votes in both the House and the Senate to pass a resolution that would disapprove of this trade treaty. So, I think that it’s written in a way that promotes free trade and allows the President to play games with various parts of his agenda, such as unions, such as Second Amendment, such as—

BONNIWELL:  Immigration—

BUCK:  –climate change, and I’m worried that he will start inserting those things into a trade agreement.

BONNIWELL: Well, the only way to read it, I understand, is actually go in some secret room.  You can’t bring your aides, you can’t bring anybody else, and then you get to try and figure out all the minutiae that a bill like that is written.  I mean, it’s not exactly–

BUCK:  Well, the bill actually just gives the president the authority—the TPA. The TPP is the actual treaty that has been negotiated and we can see the most recent draft.  And we do have to go into a secure room, can’t take notes, can’t leave with notes, can’t – you can just read and try to memorize.  And some of the members have done that from the Freedom Caucus, and there was a lively discussion going on now – and I want to go read that when I get back, so that I have a chance to understand what the implications of the trade treaty are.

HAYDEN:  Let me – maybe one more question and then we can let you go.  On the whole situation in Iraq, um, you know, things seem to be – ISIS seems to be getting stronger and stronger there, the Iraqi army seems to be not standing up to them.  What are your thoughts on that? I mean, in terms of what we should do.

BUCK: Well, yeah, again, it’s a — The Iraqi army – and this is according to the Secretary of Defense, who has the best information about what’s going on on the ground – does not have the will to fight.

HAYDEN:  Right

BUCK:  And we can give them weapons, we can give them training, we can give them, you know, satellite intelligence and other intelligence in formation.  [If] they don’t have the will to fight, they’re not going to win a way. And ISIS are extremists, and they’re ideologues, and they have the will to fight and they’ve been winning. And for the President to say that his strategy is working —

HAYDEN & BONNIWELL: [laughter]

BONNIWELL:  delusional

BUCK:  –is an absolute mischaracterization. And so, the, –you know, at some point and time, we have to get together with countries like Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, and Egypt and other countries that have a vested interest in making sure that kind of extremism doesn’t penetrate their countries and overthrow their governments. And we’re going to have to put more resources into defeating ISIS, and hopefully do it without spending billions of dollars and the lives of our young men and women. And that’s the reality.

BONNIWELL:  Well, what is the chance that you’d be willing to take on a rematch against Michael Bennet?

BUCK:  Um, slim to none

HAYDEN & BONNIWELL:  [laughter]

HAYDEN:  Cuz it was so much fun the last time, right?

BONNIWELL:  Enjoyed it so much before, huh?

BUCK: You know, I love what I’m doing.

JH:  Yeah.

BUCK:  And while I’m one of 435 voices as opposed to one of 100 voices, right now, I am learning a lot about the legislative process. I’m making some very good relationships in D.C. that are supporting the conservative values that I have and I’ve got my hands full. And I really appreciate the staff that I’ve got, and the work that I have. And so, I think it’s somebody else’s battle, this time.

BONNIWELL: Well, on behalf of the grassroots Republicans, I want to thank you for not evolving.


BONNIWELL: I appreciate that you came to Washington to do a job, not become a lobbyist after you retire.  And I just want to — Keep up the good work!

BUCK:  Well, thank you very much. It’s great to be on with you guys. And Happy Memorial Day.