tv Washington Journal John Yarmuth CSPAN February 25, 2021 2:48am-3:21am EST
continues. host: congressman john yarmuth, the chair of the budget committee, democrat from kentucky, joining us to talk about the one $9 trillion covid relief will headed for a vote in the house friday. chairman yarmuth, mitt romney, republican of utah writes that this $1.9 trillion land is a clunker, he says this in the
wall street journal. he writes that the congressional budget office recent analysis of the plan found more than a third of the proposed funding, $700 billion, would not be spent until 2022 or later undermining claims that the massive price tag is justified for urgent pandemic related needs. your response? rep. yarmuth: good, greta, good to be with you. we certainly disagree with that. a lot of the money when you are talking about spending money at the federal level there is a trail that takes a little while to get moving and certainly some of the things we are doing like paying to make schools safer students to return, getting the money for the pipeline to get through. we are in a serious situation, when you think about the economic impact on families throughout the country, the
money we are allocating for that $1400 to every adult and every child, other's income levels that's about $400 billion of total, that will provide immediate economic relief that a lot of people are struggling with. obviously the money for vaccinations and contact tracing and testing, that will be spent fairly rapidly. there is no question that part of this bill is designed to save the economy through a. -- through a period of months. we don't know what's going to happen with the coronavirus and the recovery. we are only guessing. we are looking at three or four months -- turned out not to be the case. we are in uncharted territory.
this is a program that the president campaigned on. it's something people everywhere from goldman sachs to jerome powell has said is equal to the need in the crisis we are in. everybody is entitled to talk about whether it's the appropriate amount or its targeted well enough or not and that's what this process is all about. host: there is a high-stakes meeting according to rollcall today between senators and the senate parliamentarian about whether or not a minimum wage increase is the rule as allowed under the reconciliation process. what does your gut tell you about the ruling. will it be allowed under the so-called byrd rule? rep. yarmuth: i'm going to leave it to the senate parliamentarians. from the beginning the minimum wage is problematic with the bird rule but there have been a
lot of provisions that have been accepted in the past. the parliamentarian uses might decide that's appropriate. the byrd rule is designed to make sure that the only -- that everything in the proposal, the legislation impacts the budget directly in the cbo has said this clearly does. it also says he can't increase the deficit past the 10 year budget window. in this case it would be raising the minimum wage increases the deficit debt beyond 2031, that was disqualified under the byrd rule. you could make a strong case that by 2031 no one is going to be making less than $15 an hour
in the united states and i suspect that is what she is going to have to weigh when she is making the decision. host: democratic senator joe mansion of west virginia wants to raise it to $11. what would happen if that were to be approved in the package? what would happen next? rep. yarmuth: i doubt any democrat is going to vote against the package with minimum wage going to $15 not in it. we want it very much. bernie sanders has been a strong advocate of it and he's the chair of the budget committee in the senate. i think it's appropriate. if that's what the senate is doing and they passed that and it comes back to us -- i suspect they will pass the house and we will move to a stand-alone bill to raise it to $15. host: you are featured in roll
call, picture of you with the headline "house democrats press changes to coronavirus relief." they report prior to the manager's amendment from you which the rules committee is expected to incorporate into the base tax the congressional budget office said the existing 592 page draft bill was over its 1.8 9 trillion combined ceiling under the fiscal 2021 budget resolution. how will you get with your changes this package to not violate the rule that you just outlined? >> there will have to be a curative amendment in the process. the way this was constructed is 12 different committees were tasked with coming up with a spending plan to spend certain amounts of money. in the process of doing that they made some adjustments in the various committees that in toto took it over the $1.9 trillion.
we can fix that decently and we solved that. host: minimum wage would bring the total amount in excess of $67 billion or your changes would and that is the same amount of the cost of the minimum wage. would it be easier to eliminate the minimum wage increase? >> what we need to do first is we have our priorities and many of us think that $15 minimum wage is a priority. we will see what the parliamentarian says about that and adjust accordingly. host: i want to invite our viewers to join in. republicans, (202) 748-8001. democrats (202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 748-8002. text us at (202) 748-8003 with your first name, city, and state. rollcall also writes that in the amendment text drafted by you
there is also additional spending from foreign affairs, natural resources totaling 11.8 alien dollars. the largest allotment in three committees add-on package is 8.7 billion dollars to combat the pandemic overseas with three 18 billion dollars reserve for hiv-aids programs. $3 billion to the u.s. agents -- and emergency food needs and -- how and why is this necessary to put into this package? rep. yarmuth: clearly when you are talking about fighting the covid virus you are talking about not just a domestic effort , there is certainly an international element to combating the virus. i think it's important that we take steps that will help other countries including creating new
variants. i think you can argue whether they are appropriate for this package. we have an opportunity because of reconciliation to do a number of things that are important i think to this administration and this administration's agenda. not everything is directly covid relief, but all of it is justifiable on the merits. this is the american rescue plan, that's what it's called. it has a lot of elements to it and some like fade family leave may not seem like it's directly connected to the virus but of course it is because so many people are having trouble going back to work or dealing with their children that would otherwise be in daycare. you could make a strong case i think for every element of this bill. host: let's get to the calls. doug is up from newport news, virginia. democratic caller. caller: i'm curious about the
bill that they are putting in their, the reason they have all these ties -- it should be one bill, one vote on the bill. the other thing is, why don't you have congress pay for that fence and the people around outside when there is no national threat to us. they have a fence around the congress but they want to open our borders and cause more problems. i don't understand why we are spending our money like this. host: chairman yarmuth? rep. yarmuth: i'm not sure i understand the question. the first part of the question i would say we are doing it this way because there is a 60 vote rule in the senate the required 60 votes to get anything past and we have yet to get any republican participation or cooperation in responding to the many needs that we have is a country right now. this is one process that we have available to us once every year
to pass something with a simple majority to avoid the filibuster. that is the explanation as to why we are doing it this way. i would love to see the senate abandon the filibuster. what it has ended up being in modern times has been basically a veto for the minority. and that is true when democrats were in the majority -- minority as well as when the republicans were in the minority. we should not have a system of government that depends on getting a super majority. particularly in this highly polarized environment area i hope the senate will consider doing that. . i think if there's a way to eliminate filibusters and provide ample opportunities and have significant amounts -- the filibusters --
modern history shows the filibuster does not encourage bipartisanship. host: ray is next in indiana, independent. caller: my question is twofold. first of all, why is the public not have all the information that is included in this relief package. my understanding is that part of this money is going to be for abortions. they are going to call it women's health care and stuff like that and some of it is going to the united states and some of it is going overseas. if that is true, why is that not released to the public? i saw biden on tv the other day and was talking about the 500,000 deaths from covid.
that is very sad, but however many human lives are being destroyed each day from abortions. i would like to know is that included and why, once again, is not everything brought to the public. everything that's inclusive in this package. host: chairman? rep. yarmuth: it is about a 600 page piece of legislation and there are an awful lot of elements that are all available to the public. it's not something the public is going to be interested in listening to hours and hours of one sitting here reading it. this was an agenda that the president campaigned on in 2020. it is highly popular and polling shows that about 70 or 74% of americans support this plan, almost 50% of republicans support it. i think overall this is something that the american people have recognized as an
important response to the crisis , both the health crisis and the economic crisis that so many people are facing right now. that is the way democracy works. i think the question of abortion and i don't want to get into the abortion issue, there is nothing in this bill that gives money for abortion. there are health care dollars in the bill, and i think what some people have grasped on is that this doesn't, the money in here is not subject to the hyde amendment which is a law that prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. that doesn't mean this money will be used for abortions. quite to the contrary i think the way this money will be directed is not used for anything remotely close to abortions. host: ted from cleveland, ohio. republican. caller: hi. the more i keep trying to understand this package, i'm a
small business owner and i am trying to finish up what i have put up with here and it's rough. for some reason i just don't trust what they think they are trying to spend money on. i don't believe there is enough going to covid. i think more of it is going towards a lot of things that just don't represent what the problems exist. they want to spend their way into all kinds of other slush fund's or whatever you want to call them. i will wait for your answer. thank you so much. rep. yarmuth: will give you the same answer. i hope the indians are going to be good this year. i'm a big cleveland indians fan. i think that the american people who have heard about this plan who understand what's inside the bill overwhelmingly supported. in this day and age you are
likely to get -- lucky to get 50% of people who support any particular initiative. this is 70% or higher. that's the only answer i can give you. i think a lot of people recognize that individuals need financials work. the costs to families in this country of this pandemic is enormous. we know there are other elements of it like state and local governments and i know republicans like to say -- there are red states that are hurting every bit as much as blue states through this pandemic, lost revenues, and added costs and harmed their economy. louisville, kentucky is heavily dependent on tourism. we had a thriving what we call tourism income under street -- thanks to bourbon. that has disappeared and that's
in a norma source of revenue not just for the government but also businesses throughout our community and state. those funds while you may say, some people say it's just a bailout for the states for poorly run states. talk to the conference of mayor or republican governors in west virginia or arkansas and they will tell you they are hurting and need help from the federal government. you can take issue with any element of this bill, but they are all i think important policies that will help the american people. host: the washington post headline reads moderate senate democrats target relief hills, state aid. 350 billion for states in this package. if the moderate democrats are not on board with this money and they don't get republicans votes like you didn't in the house in the budget committee, what is
your prediction for that money for states? rep. yarmuth: the concerns that they've raised, one is that the money should be diverted to providing infrastructure, particularly with broadband. broadband of course has a direct impact on this pandemic primarily through education but also through telehealth. i think that is certainly something to consider. it's money that's going to end up going generally to the same purpose if you diverted it to infrastructure. on the other hand a lot of these moderate say it's a lot of money. we have democrats who are concerned about the debt and deficit. we all think about that. most every economist who has looked at this including jerome powell, chairman of the fed,
republican said this is the path -- this is the time to make a significant investment in the country i was -- the u.s. chamber of commerce and the business roundtable. and a lot of conservative groups are saying this is justified. host: mike from buffalo, new york sends a text related to your answer there. he says, will the chairman discussed budget plans after covid? will democrats focus on an infrastructure package after seeing what happened in texas and other parts of the country spurred by storms and climate change? rep. yarmuth: i think that's going to probably be the next major initiative. i know the administration is committed to that. we have another opportunity to use the reconciliation process and that is one of the things that's being considered for that purpose.
i think it would be wonderful if republicans would join us, historically this has been bipartisan -- infrastructure spending has been a bipartisan issue and should be, red states and blue states and drivers don't drive on blue streets or red streets, they drive on the same streets. i think that's the way we should approach it area if we are not able to get republican support or cooperation i think we use the same process for infrastructure. host: su in waiting, new jersey with this text. what does data show about previous stimulus? does it have the desired effect? government wants us to spend to stimulate the economy but does that make sense or should we payoff bills? so much uncertainty, she writes it's a towing cost -- she writes it's a coin toss. rep. yarmuth: we all see the economy and the budget through our own frame of reference.
our own frame of reference is our household or our small business or if you are a mayor or governor three or governmental entity. those governments can't use their own money, they have to do -- deal with money they get from the u.s. government. we have a sovereign currency and we borrow and spend money in our own currency. we have been doing that for a fair amount of time. we can afford, we have what is called the physical space to spend this money. i mean we can inject this much money in the economy without having significant inflation. there are some economists like larry summers and others who think that's a problem. jerome powell at the fed is in charge of our money supply. i would say everyone has to make their own individual choices as to what they should do with their money. --
the second payment on that $2000 that we said we wanted former president trump said he wanted, number of republican senators wanted. people say they will spend that. they payoff bills with it and if they save it then it will be stimulative. this is not a stimulus bill. this bill is named the american rescue plan for a reason because we are trying to get the american economy, the american people through the worst part of this pandemic. host: chelsea from tennessee, you are on the chair with the -- you are on the phone with the chair of the budget committee john yarmuth. caller: i have a thorn in my side about social security recipients. for decades and decades it's like we were left out no
increases and when you have lost a widow or you are a widower -- they calculated when you increase the medicare, it's not much, it's like we are an underdog. also, i would, in my opinion vote for an increase in salary for 11 to $12 a person because this economy inflation, they need it, they work hard. host: let's have the chair jump in and talk about social security. rep. yarmuth: that's a great point. there is no question that we have to look at our retirement security problem very closely.
a third of americans over 65 rely on social security for their sole source of income. about two thirds rely on it for more than half of their income. it's not adequate. you can't live off of a social security payment. that is one thing hopefully this $2000 will help with our seniors of which i am one. there is a proposal now that was introduced in the house by john larson of connecticut who dramatically reformed the social security system to provide additional benefits and to stabilize the social security trust fund. this will come as a shock to some more conservative voters.
we can pass comprehensive immigration reform, which will be a great help to social security, because you will have millions of people paying into the social security trust fund, but not using the benefits for 10, 20, 30 years. social security is a very complicated issue and we need to spend a lot of time as i congress looking at it. i empathize with your situation and so many are in the same place. host: mike is a republican in north carolina, good morning to you. caller: i have two points. one on the corona relief hill that says america rescue plan, but all this money is going out of america. if you take the $400 -- $1400 check away -- people are blinded by the money. why is the train line in california and silicon valley, what does that have to do with
the coronavirus? one other thing, i see the capital has a fence and the police around it, but most democrats don't like the police and they don't want a fence on our borders to keep the immigrants out. explain that one. rep. yarmuth: too many to get into there. host: one about the train line in california and also the bridge to canada which news reports have said is being pushed by senator -- the majority leader senator schumer. is that appropriate to include in this package? 4 this -- rep. yarmuth: this is an opportunity we have to not just deal with the virus but also to get relief that is desperately needed. we can use this process once a year, if republicans were cooperative with us we could have come up with a very different package and we could
have debated some of these things initially. they walked away from the table and in order to get anything done we had to use the reconciliation process. the process to a certain extent has dictated some of the items that are in this bill. no question about it. caller: i would like to address a couple of things. like giving money overseas -- they gave $726 billion. that is more than enough money. this is buried in it. disadvantage farmers, they want to give them 120% of what they owe. this is black farmers and hispanics, but white's may not apply. biden wants to give a $3600 to people who have kids under six years old. i am sorry.
a rebate at the end of the year when they filed taxes. i'm not interested -- most of these people are getting their kid's interest paid for. if you cannot afford them, do not have them. i see helping people who need help, but this welfare state we have, i am sorry, i am not for that. host: chairman yarmuth. guest: you said 700 something billion dollars going overseas, it is probably millions of dollars. $720 billion was the rough amount that we created in the stimulus package back in 2008 and it is almost half of what we are proposing now and only $2 billion are going overseas in this package. it is to help combat the covid
virus overseas so we can protect ourselves from different variants. host: when you expect the to take place on friday? guest: we are going to use martial law, so i suspect it will be sometime late afternoon on friday, that is the goal. when we passed a bill in december, that provided some relief, providing an extension of unemployment insurance, that was done to expire on march 14. we have 11 million unemployed people in this country who depend on this unemployment insurance. there are a couple of other -- that expire in march. we are trying to get this done by march 14th so that those millions of people who are out of work do not lose their