tv Newsmakers CSPAN May 1, 2016 10:00am-10:32am EDT
>> here on c-span this morning, newsmakers as next with congressman raul grijalva. then house speaker paul ryan speaks about the republican agenda to an audience of young adults gathered at georgetown university. later on communicators, sam talks about the tv content ratings system. susan: "newsmakers" is pleased to welcome this week congressman raul grijalva, a democrat representing arizona three. he is the cochair of the progressive caucus in the house of representatives and a longtime member of the hispanic caucus and the senior democrat on the national resources natural resources committee. thanks a lot for being with us this week. rep. grijalva: thank you. appreciate the invite. susan: on the political level, you are among the very first
members of congress to endorse bernie sanders in his presidential campaign as well. rep. grijalva: that's true. susan: let me introduce the two reporters who will be asking questions this week. jason dick, "cq roll call" deputy editor, and mike debonis, "washington post" congressional reporter. mike, you are up first. mike: thanks, susan. congressman as susan mentioned, , you are among the first supporters of bernie sanders in congress. we are at a point now in the campaign were we are looking at where the voters have been. right now, senator sanders has just -- he has not had a good showing the last few weeks. he is down in the delegate count. do you see any hope for bernie sanders? is this over at this point? does he still have a path that in the nomination? rep. grijalva: it is a path. there is a path there. there is a path that involves flipping superdelegates that are either uncommitted or pledged and trying to get them to flip. i think it will be hard with elected superdelegates. they have their own platform to from which they can talk. they make endorsements. that is a difficult one. there is quite a number.
we are going to do well as we finish out this rest of the primary, ending up in california. math being what it is, we understand we have a tough road ahead, but there is a commitment , and i agree with bernie that we have to let every vote count all the way through. this movement, this campaign began with total underestimation of what was possible. we have now established that there is a significant block of democrats on the left and all on the progressive side of the agenda. i think it behooves our party to understand that, but overall, i think we need to finish it out. i think there are seems to be made, issues to continue to propagate and to fold up the , tent is not about an individual as bernie has said. it is about the message of the issues we have raised, and they deserve their day. mike: what would you consider
and what would senator sanders consider at the end of the day for lack of a better term a consolation prize? is it a platform that is going to be put together in philadelphia? is it what hillary clinton is going to be talking about perhaps if she does secure the nomination? what is bernie sanders if he is not the nominee going to want to see come out of this? rep. grijalva: i think the platform is critical. i think based on the percentages of voters and delegates that have been won that we will have a road and the ability to bring things to the floor. i think issues like the minimum wage, $15, the climate change issue that bernie has been very strong about, financial regulation and how we control the concentration of that in the hands of very few institutions, income inequality, which deals with the $15 hour minimum wage. i think those will all be points
that we feel that the people that have supported bernie, the people that have felt strong about that, college affordability, all of those issues, immigration reform as well, and undoing some of the things that were done in 1996 that created this enforcement only mentality we have been on, all of those things are part of a platform. i think if the party is to accommodate the message, not necessarily the messenger, the message, and like i said there is a significant block now of the progressive side of this party of ours that needs to be respected in that process so the platform obviously is going to be an area which we need to influence what we stand for as a party. jason: last night in california at a donald trump rally, some protests started out peaceful, got progressively uglier.
passions are running very high on both sides of both contests. are you concerned as we go into the fall campaign and gear up for the conventions that some of this violence might be -- we might be seeing more of this? how concerned are you? rep. grijalva: i am concerned about it. i think that what happened in california outside of trump's rally -- i think his actions and his words are enough to rally up the opposition and the opposition needs to be expressed at the ballot box. any protests have to be nonviolent. i think anytime the violence erupts, i think you begin to feed a narrative to donald trump that he can use every very effectively in terms of not only rallying the people he has, but making himself out to be a victim, and i don't think he is a victim by any stretch of the imagination. so yes, i was concerned about it for a, the violence, and b, the
narrative that it caused. mike: one other thing while we are on the political subject. if hillary clinton secures the nomination, we are talking about the veepstakes so to speak, who she might share a ticket with. is there someone out there, maybe raul grijalva, who she might pick that is going to be able to bridge the divide that has emerged in the party between the clinton supporters and the sanders supporters? rep. grijalva: that would be her process. i think it is almost impossible to interject yourself into that process and say it must be so in and so to satisfy us or satisfy this train of thought in the political sense. i think there are candidates that can be bridge builders, but that has been a discretion in
the past. i think it will be a discussion in this convention to the nominee. but it behooves, as i said earlier, to understand that there is a significant block, 40%, 42% at this point, of voters who have gone with bernie and independents were where independents are allowed to vote. that is another issue, their ability to participate is a huge issue for the campaign. that need to be looked at him and need to be accommodated. is that a personality that does that? maybe, but i think the content of the platform does that with more substance. susan: while you are talking about open primaries, another issue that has been important to the campaign in revisiting is the concept of eliminating the superdelegates. do you see pushing that in philadelphia? rep. grijalva: yes. when i mentioned superdelegates, i think that there is the
question of proportionality, winner take all, how the whole process works has to be discussed. the superdelegates were put in there to try to keep extremes from dominating. well, the fact of the matter is it plays now a role way out of proportion to any navigating that it was intended to do at the beginning, political navigating. superdelegates, unelected, appointed by the party structure, appointed by state parties, appointed by national parties. i don't think they have earned the ability to make those kinds of decisions in the sense that everybody else has to go through a process. i am a superdelegate. i would be glad to have that be a contested issue down the road because if we are going to make our party more democratic, we have to take that spectre out, reform that spectre, change how
it is applied. i don't know the exact outcome, but superdelegates, their role, the number of them that exists, i think it is all open for change. jason: as a native arizonan i , i have been hearing for 20 years or so that democrats are really focusing on trying to turn arizona into a purple state, into a swing state. is a trump nomination for the republican party, is that something that can be a tipping point in arizona? rep. grijalva: i think it can be. i think it can be in arizona. it can reestablish the party in new mexico. it can be decisive in colorado, florida. specifically among latino voters, registration has gone up tremendously. turnout will be high. i told people that a lot of strategies for turnout will have to go out the window if trump is
the nominee, which he appears he is going to be. that would help in arizona because the underperforming among latino voters in arizona has been what has hurt statewide races and in some congressional areas. and state legislative races. you raise that performance, these are new voters that have not voted before. they don't have alliances to anything. they are new voters going in motivated by a need to defend their existence in this country. they can play a huge role, a huge role. mike: looking at some of the other races we have seen, as a cochair of the progressive caucus, you have seen one of your members, donna edwards ran for a senate seat. she was not able to prevail over chris van hollen in maryland. in pennsylvania, we had a similar dynamic in the senate race there.
john federman, who is a sanders endorser, was not able to get through there. what do you make of these races where progressives have tried to take on so to speak the establishment democrats and have not quite made it? are there any lessons from these races? do you think progressives are getting support from the party to make a difference? rep. grijalva: i think that ties into your question about the convention. it ties into your question about state parties, county parties, their infrastructure, the ir political infrastructure, and the national parties. the fact that it is -- the coziness of how decisions are made, who is anointed and who is not, kind of precludes the kind of competitive races you need to have in order for this party to establish its identity. that is what is going on with
the democratic party and maybe politics as a whole in this country defining who we are as a nation, politically. i think for our party, i think those races are healthy. they are necessary. the fact is some prevailed and others didn't. i don't think it was as clear. i think in the van hollen-edwards race, van hollen had some cred on progressive a lot of progressive issues and was able to talk about that. he had some cred among immigration advocates that he was able to talk about and get support on. it was not as clearly defined. i would suggest that as we go forward, you are going to see particularly at the legislative level and lower down the ticket and local races more and more progressives jumping into the races, feeling now that they have an opportunity and hopefully the party structure and that infrastructure will begin to recognize that this is a healthy process as opposed to trying to suppress that effort.
i think a clean race -- i have seen it in arizona. young people are running with very progressive agendas and various legislatures and city councils and doing well. are they winning all the time? no, but it is an evolution. people are kind of flexing their ability. for many years, you kind of felt isolated. i am the only one thinking this or i should be careful what i say or not say it at all. now you are seeing because of bernie's campaign, an explosion where people feel a comfort zone politically in electoral politics that they did not have before. mike: if we are done with the political portion of the questions, you are involved in some serious policy and legislative issues right now. first off as ranking member of the house of natural resources committee, you are in the thick of the debate right now over what should be done about puerto
rico's debt crisis. we have a bill that was put forth earlier this month, it is it seems to be stuck in the committee. i am hoping you can give us an update on where that legislation is and where you see the prognosis at this point. rep. grijalva: i wish i could give you a prognosis that says we will miss the deadline may 1 but somehow before july we will steer puerto rico back to a billion dollar hit down the road in terms of defaulting on that part of it. i am not sure because i think what is happening in terms of the republican leadership and their caucus, they are trying to thread it through a needle through their caucus and getting a majority of the majority, which they have not been able to do. as it tilts more and more to a different direction because we have raised our concerns, we don't think it should be given over to the commonwealth, the refuge, the 3000 acre refuge.
it is a bad precedent. we have seen a big effort on the part of my colleagues on the other side to try to turn federal land and parts over to states and counties. this will be a precedent that all of us are aware of. the issue of diversifying the energy production on the island. then you go to the other things, the minimum wage issue. here we have democrats carrying the flag for raising the minimum wage to $15, and now we are being asked to vote on something that would cap it for people under 25 at $4.50. protecting pensions, letting them be at the same place in the line with the hedge funds in order to make at least part of their retirement whole for those workers. overtime rules and the structuring of the oversight. we have raised these concerns over and over. if it is to get done, it to is going to require a
significant number of democratic votes. the leadership, speaker ryan, the chairman of the committee have to understand that there has to be some accommodation to democrats in order to pass this that requires them to take some of their messaging ideological points out of it and deal with the fiscal reality because very soon what we are talking about now is a fiscal crisis. we will be talking about a humanitarian crisis of huge proportions on the island. what are we going to do? provide no relief to 3.5 million american citizens living in puerto rico? of course not. i think my colleagues are being foolish in not dealing with this and allowing -- the import, export bank is a good example. 170 democrats, 60 republicans. you passed it. nobody is complaining about it now. i think we are at the same point
right now where ryan will have to deal with this hastert rule and make his caucus understand that this can continue to mushroom into a deeper and deeper humanitarian crisis on this island, and it is a sad situation for the people of puerto rico. jason: just to give our viewers an idea, on monday, there is the first debt load of $422 million due that may be the beginning of a default. mike and i spend way too many hours at the capitol each week, and i certainly did not see much of a priority being given to any kind of negotiations. it did not seem like there was a lot going on of outreach from one party to another. everything seemed very underground.
rep. grijalva: you have a take that is necessary to get this done so we can read some compromises is not occurring. the negotiations seem to be within the republican caucus and then to some extent treasury. there is some point where that give-and-take will create something that is passable, but we have not reached that. i have facetiously said that the latino people are sometimes stereotyped and accused of being the manana people, we will get to it tomorrow. i have not seen that kind of urgency at all in the republican caucus through this whole thing. they're just does not seem to be the depth of understanding about what this can mushroom into, and that is what worries me the most. jason: is there any outrage at outreach at all from the republicans? rep. grijalva: discussions are occurring from staff to staff on individual members to individual members, but where that has fundamentally changed the content of that draft bill that was presented five weeks ago? no.
mike: my conversations with chairman bishop, he seems to think that if he negotiates this with treasury, if the administration signs off on it, democrats are going to fall in line. is he mistaken on that? if the treasury gives thumbs up to whatever he works on that out that democratic lawmakers will follow suit? rep. grijalva: not necessarily. that has not happened in the past. it did not happen with tpp an fast-track and a couple other items. we have heard consistently from the white house. i do know if that has changed. we have heard from senate leaders that over time, nonstarters and minimum wage, nonstarters. this is not a new objection that we have interjected into this process. this objection was clear and obvious to the republican leadership months and months ago. mike: there has been quite a bit of outside advocacy on this
issue and has been mainly from people who are characterizing this as a bailout who oppose the bill. there is a widespread belief on capitol hill that this is the influence of bondholders or a subset of bondholders that don't want a deal to get done because that means they will retain their privilege in a default. my question is do you think that there needs to be a counter campaign from its advocates to get through to members, especially these republicans who are now laboring under the impression that this is a bailout that this is in fact the best path forward? rep. grijalva: i think there has to be a higher profile on the part of all advocates for a reasonable and just deal, a humane deal for the people of puerto rico. yes. i am confounded all the time of by the fact that we know that this is serious, we know that
the hedge funds want to be at the front of the line and make it as whole is possible at the expense of everything else, we know who is paying for the ads on television. six months ago, we had an understanding. hedge fund lobbyists came in, stopped that particular deal, and now they are trying to torpedo this one. they want to be the first ones on default. they want to be the first ones at the beginning of the line, and in the process, this crisis that a few mentioning that we are all going to be talking about in four or five weeks, the humanitarian impact in puerto rico will be huge. one out of four people in puerto rico are susceptible to the zika virus. what initiatives are we going to take to deal with that? kids are out of schools. schools are being closed. unemployment rates are through the roof. nutrition issues are coming up. public health issues are coming up. here we are. mike: of course, the migration issue, too.
the residents of puerto ricans are u.s. citizens who can come to the mainland at any moment. rep. grijalva: exactly. you are a kid under 25 of puerto in puerto rico, you are working at arby's, and arby's because of the new deal says we will pay you $4.50 an hour. new york city, they are paying $12, $13. what are you going to do? jason: do you think that the unions we are seeing are starting to get involved with some messaging? is that the most natural sort of ally for democrats and some of their priorities with the bill or are there other outside groups that you expect to counter the message from some of these conservative groups? rep. grijalva: i think the bondholders that have indicated their support for something reasonable, something other than what we are seeing, i think they need to be louder on this thing. the fiscal managers of those, and we have had them testify and say it is a good deal. you just need to remove some of these. we don't need that. the energy sector from all sides needs to be part of it. i think you have to get that
business economic voice heard. the labor and union voices going is going to be heard, and it is already being heard. most democrats are respectful and responsive to that voice. there is another voice that my republican colleagues have to hear, and that is the economic cliff that they are setting up not just for puerto rico, but in a sense, for a lot of other things. mike: in particular, this issue with pensioners. does more need to be done to make sure that pensioners are not left hung out to dry in this process beyond what was previously done? rep. grijalva: equitably treated through this process. that is what being asked. that they not be left out of the process, which is what is being asked now entirely, and is
everybody going to be 100% whole at the end of this? no. that is the process of a default. that is the process of restructuring. but to eliminate a group so that that particular resource can be used in another area to pay off a hedge fund, i think that is what we are talking about, a fairness issue. mike: are you confident the treasury department has those interests at heart in their negotiations? rep. grijalva: at least my conversation with the secretary, yes. susan: sorry to interrupt. do you have a final question or a final issue? jason: i do have one. congressman you are the top , democrat on natural resources. but also, we are coming to the end of president obama's term. he has probably a full agenda. what would you like to see from your perspective be part of his environmental legacy as he prepares for his final executive
actions in orders? rep. grijalva: antiquities act. to use it and use it effectively and to use it in areas that are iconic, important, vital not only for issues of environment, but issues of water and protection. grand canyon i think needs to be protected. i would hope that he would look at that. susan: that is it for our time. thank you for being our guest this week. rep. grijalva: you are welcome. susan: after our conversation grijalva, the lead democrat on the natural resources recovery ground in both areas. lester witlet's start with politics. i wonder what you are picking up as senator sanders's longer-term influence on progressives in the house and state and local races as well.
>> i think that is interesting. the sanders campaign is starting to wind down. he is laying off staffers. the delegate count for hillary clinton is insurmountable for all intents and purposes. but i think there is something to the encouragement that he offers a lot of a new generation of politics of people who may not have thought about running for city council at that lower level. george mcgovern for as modern as , the also1972 inspired an entire generation of democrats to enter the field. and itnext year in 1974, was helped out by the watergate democrats took law hold of the house in a new coalition mcgovern helped build. you don't always have to win something like this in order to win long-term, and i think there may be something to people feeling a little encouraged now.
i think it is clear that the democratic party wants to take advantage of this energy and this movement that he has built as much as possible. the big question is, is bernie sanders going to be a good democrat going forward? keep in mind, he has not been a democrat for his entire political career. to the extent that he is willing to play the part of a team now, he will get a lot of cooperation from democrats who are eager to tap the influence he now has, but it will be a two-way street obviously. you heard that in wahhabist and grab all the -- you heard that in what congressman grijalva said. this could be a very happy relationship going forward, but at this point, that is not at all certain. susan: his becomes more
important. the social media campaigns may be able to influence? jason: i am skeptical. we have seen senators i can claim social media support or congressional support. to influence the process but not in a way that i would consider significant in terms of how the leadership structures and he priorities it goes toward. i feel like we cannot emphasize enough that the real value in a bernie sanders campaign from the democratic party's perspective is their bench is really thin right now. their leadership is down for a long time. they are really starting to run out of people at the lower levels that they can start promoting on intellectual basis
across the country -- on an electoral basis across the country. susan: puerto rico reaches another deadline in the debt crisis. can you help people understand the context of the discussion you are having with congressman grijalva? mike: oh boy. where to begin. puerto rico i-72 billion dollars in debt to bondholders. the debt service is swallowing the territorial revenues. they need some relief to that if they are to provide their services, police, schools, fire, etc. the territorial legislature has declared a moratorium that they are not going to make payments going forward. they haven' an even bigger payment in july. something's got to give. has been put forward by speaker ryan, by democrats, by
the chairman of the natural resources committee, and by mr. grijalva. is this going to be a chaotic process? this is what happens without for more restructuring? will we have an orderly bankruptcy process where a judge describes who comes first, who comes last and works through this in an orderly manner? we don't know where we will end up. susan: does the senate have a legal responsibility or is it a moral one? jason: it is a little bit of both. a lot of this debt is not guaranteed by the federal government or any government entity. a lot of it is privately held bonds. it is structured in a way that there are so many different types of structures of death in puerto rico. it is mind-boggling how complicated it can be. debt in puerto rico.
it is mind-boggling how complicated kennedy. how do you let something like this happened? huddy let the government to get to a place where it may not be able to function and a humanitarian crisis where you do not have firefighters, police officers, teachers, anyway of takin keeping what we take for granted in society. congress has complete autonomy over what they can do. there are a lot of republicans that leave congress should not go and retroactively changed contracts, which is what these bonds are so the agreements get changed. in particular, the bondholders who thought they had the full faith and credit of the territory securing their debt and what they are owed now being consumed by congress as well. that is a big part of the debate right now. jason: it is important to note that it is not just hedge funds