tv House Agriculture Chair Former U.S. Trade Rep on Tax and Trade Policy CSPAN July 18, 2018 12:31am-1:07am EDT
what is the worst thing that ever happened during one of these? >> when you are the mayor, people say all kinds of things to you. but as you said earlier the best part of it is to find every kind of platform but you have to interact with your constituents. >> and what is a survival type? stanek minus to have a sense of humor. if you can't have a sense of humor, don't get on twitter because particularly when people know you, they want to see the personality and not just a politician and hopefully my best are always the ones where i show a littlshowed a little bit of m. >> [inaudible] thank you very much for the great conversation. [applause] >> thank you for that message. we appreciate it very much. our next guest is mr. chairman
of a number of great committees including the chair of the ethics can be and now chairman of the house agriculture committee. it's our honor to welcome chairman mike conaway of texas. welcome back. [applause] thanks for coming. we appreciate it. so, as we look beyond the beltway, you just spent some time in alabama. what did you learn in alabama that we are not going to learn inside the beltway? >> a couple of things. one, agriculture has suffered a 50% drop the last five years bankruptcy is up 39%. it's hard times and folks are starting to note a prospect of the price is getting any better in the near term that is what they live and die on is a commodity prices. i've got this requirement issued
and the cornerstone is this idea that you spend $20 a week volunteering or training to get one of those good paying jobs than a year mentioned a second ago and somehow that is a terrible thing to be doing and folks outside of the beltway don't understand why that's a problem inside. why we can't get that done and particularly the folks in the senate arguing it should be a part of the farm bill. it's hard times. trade is a big deal and turmoil whether it is renegotiating that are trying to force china to agree by wha what they've got ad reopening the markets in europe, dealing with tpp and the bilateral deals that have to get done. all of that has to be settled. >> we will give the state of play on the farm bill. so, passed the house on my birthday. your nickname around the house is landslide because it's past to 13-11.
>> here's the rationale. we work on these numbers will find a. take one vote and i got two of them come i got double. >> doubled the number of votes necessary. >> the senate passed 86 to 11. a little more cushion and you made a reference to the difference in the senate and the house bill and that is the work requirements for food stamps and supplemental nutrition assistant program, the requirement that you were looking awewere lookin0 weeks of work or training and goes up to 25. speaker pelosi said that this was cruel and destructive. why does she say that? >> i have no idea. it's a bit blunt, but i don't know. when i talk to farmers and ranchers can i talk about a 20 hour workweek they look at me like we get that done in the first two days of the week. that's our second or third job we are maintaining to keep this
farm in a state of business. so i'm not sure. >> that you dbut you do know the objections to it. what is the funnest to answer, what is the objection to it that is the hardest for you to explain? >> i can't get myself into their head into thinking that it's cool and affordable, ideological strict or whatever words they use. it doesn't make sense to me. we don't cut out the snap. we talk about the working capable individuals 18 to 59 who are not a caregiver, who you would expect to be workers. 10 million americans who don't report any earned income and in this environment, in this economy, that doesn't make a lot of sense quite frankly. we have a booming economy by most accounts. we have jobs being created,
6.7 million jobs open, 6.4 million of the unemployed that look for a job. so it seems to me that it's a perfect time to come to grips with this. hunger is a symptom from homelessness is a symptom. the root cause in that person's life and yet we are taking the money that doesn't get spent on people who shouldn't be on snap and we put it back into state-run, state-based education and workforce programs and case management and supervisory officers, subsidized employment, volunteers, each state will come up with the money they have considerable taxpayer dollars to be able to address these issues to try to get people the kind of skills they need and tools they need in order to get over the ladder of success. i don't understand the harsh
push back that we are getting from that. at the 20 hour work week is already long, thus we are doing some major issues and other things to say people have to work and are going to be on public assistance. >> to pull back a little bit on the farm bill, you were involved in the formula for weight and when i was asking what you were going to do this summer and they were hidden and to come back up you said you were going to pass the farm belt. so it goes back to 1933, the great depression, the dunstable and now at "the new york times" he says the farm bill despite its name is one of the most politically sensitive bills and he says this year's bill has become something of an mri into the soul of the republican party. you're going to start your conference project and process this week or next. what is the outlook for getting the farm bill done before the expiration of september 30?
>> typically you are optimistic in the desert, i'm optimistic i'm going to get it done. it's the right thing to do. if a person wants to get it done on time. i mentioned earlier all the turmoil going on whether it is the farm bill, trade, commodity prices, all those things going on. one thing congress can do is to get this farm bill done on time. we have difficult decisions to make and priorities. but none of us will be any smarter in october than we are now and so there's no reason. we are adults and there is no reason not to get this done on time and make those decisions because there is an alias of tht people do with its next five years safety net looks like and i want to get that done. i cannot unveil the waters on trade i can get this farm bill done and that would save a little bit of the pressure off
of these hard-working men and women that produce the safest and most abundant and affordab affordable. that's why we need a safety net. the farm bill was a little different, commodity prices have a couple of years of yield. so do we need a safety net clinics fast forward to the 50% drop in income there is no question that we need a safety net to keep the producers because you and i., everyone of us ea eat everyday and look arod the room it looks like most of us, we get the deal. everything we could to the grocery store or restaurant. we don't know we are getting a deal and we don't know why. part of my job is to tell you the next time you go someplace you've got a deal you didn't know about it is because hard-working men and women around the country spent an incredible amount of hours going to work to take incredible risk against mother nature in all
these things going on so yo youd i as consumers can and joy that affordable food and supply. here's what's important. the top 20% of economic food chain in this world and america stands more on food than the bottom 20% may in disposable income. i'm not too worried about the top group. they spend what they've got to spend, go get it. they are buying it from some good farmers. i worry about the bottom half of the chain the food budget is where they flex. if something unexpected comes up we are the market that comes out of the food budget. i don't want to make that mom and dad struggling to keep their job any harder raising the cost of food because of not being able to get this farm bill done redoing things to the safety net where [inaudible] to make sure farmers can stay in
the fight. >> nobody has touched on this so help yourself. what in the conference process will happen next and what is going to take to resolve the differences in the senate by september? >> the senate passed hr two and stripped out all of the language in stock the language in. the next as for the house to say no we disagree and we want to go with what is a conference. that was scheduled for this week we have able issue because he needs to be here when we do that so tomorrow night or next monday the house will do that. i'm told the senate will be reactive pretty quick to turn it around and create the conference committee where we will begin to put this together. quite frankly just unabashedly i need to 70% of democrats and those polled believe the work requirements are proper and 90% of republicans who think that it's improper to tell the
senator 33 of them right away to tell their folks it makes a lot of sense outside of the beltway. it makes sense here where we live every single day so i need that so they can tell their senator or house member you don't want to be the person who goes home and tries to campaign and i stop the farm bill or i stop that issue because i thought work was a terrible thing for someone to be asked to do to get public assistance. >> today you are leaving with an award because in all the time te we've been doing this you are the first who has ever used the word senate and quicke quick ine same sentence. [laughter] it's because it doesn't happen now, but i think that they were quick to turn around the conference and get that done. we will appoint conferees and
"-begin-double-quotes this. >> what is the percentage of chance you are done by september 30? >> percentages are based on whatever. we've got to get it done. we are going to get it done. i have a countdown calendar on my clock. 75 days left and it's on my phone. i should have thought about here to show you that i am thrilled to get this done. >> the hometowns of america are hurting. what are you going to do about that? what do you hear about that as you travel the country? >> the folks that are directly involved, they'll bankers and all those guys are pretty straightforward but you can't have a vibrant rural economy without a strong agricultural economy. for my personal opinion, those
values have created and sustained for 42 years are in safe keeping in rural america because that is where they reside so it's important to make that happen. you heard the secretary mentioned broadband. innovation and farming has a lot to do with big data being able to have positioned farming. precision farming one way to think about it is they put underground tape on the grand so that you don't waste the water with abortion. you need to know where that tape thithattayves and plants acrossp of the tape every single time. and so having a gp gps satellite setup and having broadband to be old to do that is important. so, the single biggest infrastructure issue for rural america would be broadband. the other thing is you're not going to get kids to go home to small-town america if they don't have the connectivity. they are just not going to do it. that's all they've known all their lives, they've got it.
they are not going home and not being able to do the couple things they wanted to do without broadband so that is the other piece. >> the ultimate question, back in texas you start a business with president george w. bush 43. what did you learn about running a business? or what did he learn from? >> it's hard. i wish i would have been partners with him on the baseball team. i would have made more money. [laughter] but it's hard. the chief financial officer and he was the ceo and we were responsible for making sure we made payable. folks came to work and assumed they were going to get paid. he and i knew that this wasn't the case and we had to catch the ideals and make sure the money was in the bank on payday and everybody got paid. starting a business and being successful is hard. it's rewarding to be able to have done that. and then just to say i have a good friend whose name is rich
w. bush as a badge of honor as well. he's a great guy. >> did you know that he was a secret painter? >> note. after the white house, another good friend of his said our friend is taking up painting and i said the painting? is war o laura making him painte house backs >> he said no, fine art. and last question, on your wall you have a photo of the odessa high school class of 1966. you are on the state championship football team and that's giving you a story to tell. >> it's been a billion years since then, but it's friday night light lights, books, the d a 30 year run is exemplary in texas altogether it started the
fight was the actual state championship i graduated in 66 but we were the first state championship team and they have a 30 around where they dominated texas football and in the course of the book and the movie and tv show could have kept it alive. >> what would you say the spirit or the secret sauce of permian high school in the championship football team? >> after our junior year we were 4-6, you be the best prepared team out there, you do everything you possibly can to get ready to go fight. you just know you're going to get knocked down. that is in the essence of whether or not you are successful. it's whether you get back up and find the next player and knock him down. them down. so every single play just be better prepared than anybody else on the team. >> thinks fothanks for a great conversation.
plus good luck with your countdown clock. i will see you september 30. our next guest is the mayor of dallas and was the u.s. trade representative of the first african-american to either of the office and now senior counsel at gibson. this is going to be fun. he has a million stories. welcome from ambassador ron kirk. [applause] why are you wearing a tie if they told me you were not. [laughter] ambassador kirk, what is the big thing is different in texa thats and dc? >> you can square. [laughter] no luck, everybody needs their vernacular at home is more honest and different. i do think that being in the middle of the country does give
-- it's kind of like being the middle child. you do get to see both perspectives, and i am a good strong democrat, but i love reminding my friends in new york and california that the democratic party is going to have resurgence. it isn't going to be because of new york, california. it's going to be places like texas, missouri and the western states. i do find it interesting for this conversation you've had the current mayor from tennessee, former mayor from texas, governor from perdue that is now a congressman. we are all sort of southwestern. but i think that we bring an earnestness and sort of a no-nonsense approach. >> mr. ambassador we will have some fun in a moment with a serious subject for the effective agricultural community in the united states trade representative's president
obama, you're very involved in this issue and you know the community. what are you hearing about the effect on the current plan? >> well, you heard from the secretary of that culture, the chairman. whether we like it or not, they could news is we are ridiculously the most proficient agricultural economy in the world. and i tell people if you want to understand all you want to know about agriculture, just go grow something in your backyard because everybody thinks they want to be a hometown farmer. go grow some tomatoes. when you finally get them to do something, then you spend the rest of your time going down the street talking on doors and curtains because her neighbors say here comes m-mike with those tomatoes again because you have so many more than you can consume so the reality is agriculture, u.s. agriculture is the most dependable or the other markets because we are just so efficient and so you hear from all of us depending on the
cross, one third t to a quartero a half of what we produce lethal to the world. that's a good thing. the downside is that makes agriculture that this beer in the stores because no matter the country, whether it's china over steel or britain over cars, they tend to retaliate against agriculture so i feel for the farmers because they pay the price for this foolishness. >> and mr. ambassador, you say this foolishness, why? >> i want to be clear i'm proud to sit before you as the first u.s. trade representative under the obama administration, but i always remind people i was acquainted tradecraft by a man who was elected president if you go back to the 2008 primary over a pledge to sort of redo nafta in the same way that secretary clinton did and it is a tough
issue for a lot of us. >> host: you call it the capital city. >> i was elected mayor in 95 after it has gone into effect i does the secretary of state. we believe in nafta but i told him we have to be for nafta. now this is one of those cities that for years so that lamented the fact. we didn't have financial resources and i love our city. i would welcome people without telling them you can keep looking that you are not going to see them, but we are a great place to live. we have the dfw airport and by my rough mathematical equation, that put us in the largest free trade in the world. from the airport you are three and a half hours from every commercial center of north america. >> it sounds like amazon. >> i would like for us to and what does he get them or not, my approach as the mayor is anytime
somebody else is credentialing dallas as a place you want to be, if you were a global business that is better than hearing that from the mayor. we would love to have them. what makes sense for them, but a lot of times when we talk with these tech companies, i will be honest, they don't want to be anyplacina place that they haveo compete with texas instruments and systems for jobs. so frankly they might -- it wouldn't surprise me if they go someplace like the no disrespect, but they stayed with great public education but not a lot of jobs. it wouldn't surprise me if they don't end up in kansas or tennessee or somewhere that they can harvest all that talent and not have to compete with other companies. >> when we are thinking about agriculture and farmers and hometowns, a little quiz for you. 95% of the world is what? >> 95% of the world's consumers
live outside of the united states. >> so the lesson for our producers and farmers is what? >> selling people food that they never worry about the safety of their children consuming is a huge plus. and i would say people ask me what i learned and i hope this doesn't sound too old town, but the words made in america really are the greatest brand in the world. so if people have access -- >> the words made in america -- >> it's still the greatest brand in the world. consumers around the world who look to us within the end kind of want to live a lifestyle like we do never, no mother, no father ever worries about putting food on the table if it's been raised by our state because they believe that we have some standards for health and safety and cleanliness. so that is a huge value added
proposition for any exporter. but particularly for our farmers. >> when you were the united states trade representative with your staff before a tyrant and there was a particular phrase that you banned. >> i banned the words free-tra free-trade. that's because when i came into office in 2008 p6 and americans have always been a little anxious about trade and part of the problem, the benefits are too good. everyone of you benefits from trade so much you don't think about it. you never think about the fact when you go online and order a new personal device or food that it's cheaper or innovative because the government has gotten out of the way between you and what you want to buy. that's a good thing. the bad thing, the pain is very upfront. my bride is from detroit and all of her in-laws, not some but all are either retired, the autoworkers are still.
i couldn't convince them all of those factories even though most of them closed well before nafta went into effect. so, one of my challenges was to get my staffgive my staff, whics talented and committed. there's only 250 people in the ustr, to give up on convincing people free trade is good because their eyes are all over. and it's been demonized. but if you tell people, it's like the affordable care act. if you tell people what if we could have a trade agreement that forced north korea to buy cars the way that we buy theirs and people said yes. what if we made our partners open up their markets as freely as we have opened up hour ours e put in the disciplines to protect the intellectual property so they can stop pirating our songs and books and everybody says yeah and what if we did this we wrote the rules? if you tell people that say that they are all going to play by rules and that is counterintuitive as it is, one way we create the jobs come and
i loved you having the mayor on, the job jobs that people are ans about, so more of our stuff around the world coming and people in greece that. so i had to get the team to get off of our sort of intellectual commitments to trade and understand we still have to make a case that made sense to the american public. >> and what is it you think about this, what is the biggest mistake that hometowns make in an effort to bring prosperity to the mean streets of america? >> i think that hometowns each -- forgive me, i was chatting with the mayor of chattanooga and my wife says i'm still suffering from a case, but our cities get more right than washington. one, you have to play to your strengths. if you are in the middle of the country you can't just decide we are going to be in the next biotech center because you've got to have some place like mit
or california. look at what you have, make sure you have an educated workforce and a well functioning city. make sure the tax structures are appropriate and then you have to sell and build on the particular strength. >> one of the most political figures of my lifetime from any state, any office, any party is governor ann richards of texas who appointed you the secretary of state, and for zack and other people who were not london, this is the person who used to refer to george bush as poor george. he was born with a silver foot in his mouth. what is one of the lessons you learned about life and politics -- >> i met her when i was 14-years-old, and she was the chief of staff to the young man, and speaking to the young people
here. chief of staff to a young lawyer state legislator who at 28-years-old argued the case before the supreme court on behalf of a woman named marla in way versus road. she got my first job as an intern and drug me into politics as secretary of state. i learned everything. one, i have two daughters. my daughters were three and one and a half when i became secretary of state. she said no matter what, never forget girls get self-esteem from their father. tell them you love them every day but then she would also seey wildly funny stuff. we would talk about tax cuts and this candidate and one of the favorites was to say i keep telling you all the rich are not like us. so, i learned everything from ann richards, but mostly if you are privileged to serve in public office, bring your
>> be honest for somebody who is is comfortable talking as i am. >> do you know what the press wants to talk about? say what you want to talked about and when is your deadline? that will tell you more about their motive than anything that i had a wonderful press secretary who came from and richards for neck killer if you don't say stupid stuff they won't have anything to print. [laughter] >> thank you to c-span this