Ross Kaminsky Show, Cory Gardner, December 15, 2017

Station:    KHOW, 630 am

Show:       Ross Kaminsky Show

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:        December 15, 2017


Click Here for Audio

HOST ROSS KAMINSKY: [00:00:02] When we come back, Senator Cory Gardner joins the show to talk tax reform and much more.

KAMINSKY: [00:00:22] […] All right! It’s kind of ironic for the last little ad in that break to say something like, “Tax Reform can benefit the economy and boost wages.” Indeed, it can. So joining us to talk about — among other things — whether we’re actually going to get tax reform that will, then, do those things is my friend Senator Cory Gardner from right here in Colorado who also happens to be president of the NRSC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee. So, Cory also has responsibilities to get senators — Republican senators — elected to the Senate around the country. Good morning, Cory. And are we going to get tax reform through the Senate?

UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM COLORADO AND PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIALCOMMITTEE, CORY GARDNER: [00:01:02] Good morning. Yes. I think that could be one of the most powerful tools of American growth. And what a great Christmas celebration across the country, as we pass a bill that would grow wages, cut taxes, and get this country competitive again.

KAMINSKY: [00:01:15] We see some noises, Marco Rubio and a couple other folks saying, you know, they might be a ‘no’ on the bill — Jeff Flake and some of the other usual suspects. Do you see that mostly as political posturing or do you think some of these people really might vote ‘no’? Is Marco Rubio crazy enough to be the guy who torpedoes a tax reform bill because it doesn’t expand the welfare state?

GARDNER: [00:01:39] I think Senator Rubio has a legitimate concern over what’s happening with child tax credits. He’s done an incredible job working to double it already, to 2000 dollars. And so he’s trying to get a little bit different policy, going forward. At the end of the day, I do not think he would bring down a significant tax relief. Look, if you’re a family — a single mother with a child in the house, earning forty one thousand dollars a year, you’re going to see a 75 percent reduction in your taxes next year over what you paid this year. I don’t think anybody’s going to stand in the way of that.

KAMINSKY: [00:02:09] And just to clarify, I thought that the final bill — I think you’re right, that Rubio was trying to raise the the child tax credit to 2000 but the final bill doesn’t go to 2000. I think it goes to $1100, or something.

GARDNER: [00:02:22] Well, there’s a refundability of eleven hundred. The tax credit goes up even higher than that. It’s a refundable tax credit — fully refundable tax credit — of up to 1100 dollars.

KAMINSKY: [00:02:29] Gotcha!

GARDNER: [00:02:29] At least, that’s what it was in the conversations we’re hearing. So, he’s had a significant impact on this tax bill and obviously he’s going to fight to the end for what he believes is right. But I also think that he knows it’s right to grow this economy, to unleash the private sector and families whose median household income could see a 60 percent decrease in their taxes next year.

KAMINSKY: [00:02:50] So separately from your, you know, being a senator here from Colorado, as I mentioned, you’ve got the NRSC responsibilities. Do you see this tax reform bill as an absolute political necessity for Republicans going into the 2018 elections?

GARDNER: [00:03:11] We said when we got elected that we would work to grow the economy, that we would take this country that has the highest statutory tax rates in the corporate world and drop it. And we did. And we — this is what this bill does. But we also said we’d work to grow wages for American workers. This is the most important thing in this bill. Main Streets across Colorado were [sic] going to see wage and economic growth as a result of this tax bill. In fact, the Tax Foundation — a nonpartisan tax bill [sic] — says it could increase the net income — after tax wages for a household — by over 3000 dollars. That’s what we promised to the American people. So, you know, if politics is about upholding your promises, that’s a very important thing to do.

KAMINSKY: [00:03:49] One of the key things I think you and I both have been frustrated with for years is that even when the GOP is on the right side of the issue, the public doesn’t seem to understand it that well. And the tax bill, for example, it doesn’t poll nearly as well as I think it should. And I wonder what you think Republicans, conservatives can do to improve the public understanding, to turn a positive economic thing into also a positive political thing.

GARDNER: [00:04:18] You know, over the ten day course of the tax bill debate it went from being “some people opposed to it because they thought they didn’t like tax cuts” to “this is going to kill thousands of people” to “this is the biblical end of times and the rapture is just around the corner”. I think those kinds of hyperbole and rhetoric have gone completely over the top. And when, next year, when American workers are starting to see tax relief in their home, in their household, when they start to see their child tax credit, when people — the first 24000 dollars of their income is not taxed because — [for] a married couple — the doubling of the standard deduction, I mean, they’re going to see significant opportunities through this tax bill. And the fear of, you know, the Biblical times is simply not going to materialize.

KAMINSKY: [00:05:01] All right. Let me switch gears. I know I only have you for a few minutes. Yesterday I had your friend Ron Johnson from Wisconsin on the show. And we talked just very briefly about what happened in Alabama, and one of the things that he said, that he took away from that is the idea that really we should do a lot more of just leaving the primary process and who comes out of that to people in that state, and not have so much involvement from outside organizations. And other listeners have emailed me and asked me to ask you, how involved was the NRSC in the primary process in Alabama, and in particular in opposing Mo Brooks early in the process?

GARDNER: [00:05:43] Well, if you look at what the committee did, it supported Senator Luther Strange. The Senatorial Committee is a committee that is composed of the members of the Senate Republican majority and Luther Strange is a member of that. So, the Senatorial Committee supported Luther Strange. And after that, we didn’t do anything. And so, if you if you look at that, we simply did not involve ourselves. And Senator Johnson is correct. We did not get involved. We did not support or oppose any candidate in the general election.

KAMINSKY: [00:06:10] OK. And do you agree with the principle that Senator Johnson mentioned that, you know, maybe the Republi– well, political parties, generally, and the quote/unquote “establishment” might not be doing themselves too many favors by getting involved in the primary part of a campaign?

GARDNER: [00:06:29] Yeah. And look, I want to correct what I just said, too, because I mean, I certainly did not support Roy Moore. I thought he was unfit to serve and I think the people of Alabama –.

KAMINSKY: [00:06:35] Yes, you were very aggressive about that.

GARDNER: [00:06:37] Yeah. Yeah, I think the people of Alabama made that clear. So look, I don’t think anybody voted in Alabama based on what somebody in Washington D.C. thinks or doesn’t think. But what I thought was important is that I stand up for the values that we hold and that’s something I’m going to continue to do. Look, I know people want to take this result in Alabama and say that this is the beginning of a blue tide in Alabama, a blue wave, “the Democrats are now going to win because all of a sudden Alabama went liberal overnight.” Look, I don’t think Huntsville turned into Hollywood overnight in Alabama. This is a case where a candidate — a lot of Republicans, a lot of conservatives, a lot of value-oriented conservatives said, “I can’t vote for Roy Moore because of what happened.” And that’s the decision they made. And I hope that Doug Jones will vote to represent the vast majority of Alabamans who are Republicans.

KAMINSKY: [00:07:22] Yeah, he won’t though. [laughing] I’m glad you hope that, but he won’t and he’ll be out in three years and he’ll have been replaced by — or he’ll be replaced by a Republican in three years. My very last Alabama question — maybe ever, to anyone, because I’m kind of over it — but do you think that Republicans, broadly speaking, should actually be breathing a sigh of relief that Roy Moore lost?

GARDNER: [00:07:43] I –. Look, I think this is something that we have to recognize, that this was an unfit candidat. And the people of Alabama knew that. President Trump knew that. President Trump said that. That’s why he supported Luther Strange. And so I hope, going forward, we look at, you know, stopping the bad candidates who may get access to office and get behind candidates who have solid conservative credentials, who can win, that we can be proud of, who can grow this Republican majority. I think that’s important.

KAMINSKY: [00:08:10] All right. Let me try to get two more topics in with you, very quickly. Any thoughts on the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality yesterday?

GARDNER: [00:08:16] Everybody’s interested in making sure we have a free and open Internet. There’s no doubt about it. This has been the most powerful tool of democracy this world has ever seen. But I don’t think a 1920s-, 1930s-style utility regulation ought to be the direction that we take with a free and open Internet. I mean, my gosh! we were using crank telephones back then — crank wall telephones back then. [incredulously] And they want to use that to regulate the Internet? Look, I think what we ought to do is now, have a bipartisan opportunity to come together in Congress, to have a debate about how we protect an open and free internet. That’s in the best interests of all of us.

KAMINSKY: [00:08:51] My very last question I want to ask you about something that you have focused on more than any other senator I know. And it has been off the front pages a little bit lately, with a lot of other domestic stuff going on. But what are your thoughts about North Korea right now?

GARDNER: [00:09:08] Well clearly their advancements in this most recent ballistic missile test show great alarm. This is a missile test that basically puts the entire homeland of the United States in a nuclear shadow. We don’t know the exact results of its capacity or its reentry abilities, but it is a significant step forward. And we have to not hesitate in our actions to ramp up the complete diplomatic isolation — pressure economically, as well — on North Korea and its enablers. We need China to shut off petroleum. We need a full embargo of the North Korean regime. We have to identify those who are breaking and violating sanctions. C4ADS, this great think tank, just came out with a new study showing how financial sanctions will work if we can shut them all off. In fact, we know that North Korea used a U.S. bank account to hide money that was going back to the regime. We should use every tool possible to stop those avenues of dollars going back to the regime. If not, we could see very catastrophic conditions occur on the Korean peninsula. It’s my goal for peaceful denuclearization. That’s what we have to achieve.

KAMINSKY: [00:10:10] Corey, you and Jamie all the kids have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. Thanks for your time, as always.

GARDNER: [00:10:16] Thanks Ross! And Merry Christmas, every–! Thank you. Thanks

KAMINSKY: [00:10:19] So, Senator Cory Gardner got a excellent got a lot of stuff in there in a short amount a short amount of time. I did ask him that Alabama stuff a little bit challenging a lot of people pretty mad at the NRSC see and really at the at the RNC in particular people jumping in to Alabama there are a lot of people think that this guy Mo Brooks former congressman who is sort of as Ann Coulter put it the most Trumpy of the candidates among the Republicans in that primary. A lot of people think that he’s going to come back as the guy in 2020 when that particular Alabama seat comes up for election. Again a lot of people think he’s going to be the guy who comes back and and ends up being the Republican nominee and then ends up beating Doug Jones and taking that seat back for the Republicans. And that would be that would be fine with me. Alabama should not be represented by a Democrat. I appreciate Cory Gardner trying to urge Doug Jones to vote with the Republicans but Doug Jones knows that he’s got close to zero chance of winning re-election in 2020. I guess you could say he would have the tiniest sliver of a chance in the sense that. Yeah. Lol just throw out one scenario for you. If Donald Trump does run for re-election and for the record I still think he won’t. Even though nobody else out there is predicting that. I’ve been I’ve been predicting since Donald Trump won his first election that he would not run for re-election I still think he won’t run.

[00:11:51] But in any case if he does run and he remains as unpopular as he is right now you could see a wave election in 2020. And you could see a wave election in 2018 before that against Republicans Newt Gingrich is already warning against that warning about that right now and that would be maybe the one situation in which Doug Jones would have a chance. But even there I don’t think so because Alabama is so red. I think that if Alabama puts up anyone other than Roy Moore basically as the Republican candidate for Senate at that time in 2020. Jones Yeah and Jones knows this. Jones knows he’s a senator for three years. He’s got no incentive at all to move to the center. He’s got no incentive at all because just doing the right thing and representing your state is not really what most politicians do anymore. Even senators mostly they represent the people who write checks to their campaigns you know just to some degree they’ll represent their state when it when it lines up with their own personal interests whole there’s a whole section of political economic theory political political economy called public choice theory and one short way to describe it. And a couple of guys Buchanan and James you Ken and Gordon Tullock won a Nobel Prize for this. Basically what they said was the way that you can predict what politicians will do. And I’m paraphrasing here I’m I’m really dumbing it down like the way you can predict what politicians will do is by thinking of them as self interested human beings rather than as selfless public servants.