“I’ve come to the conclusion, this conclusion about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer when it comes to Corona virus relief. I think they are so obsessed with defeating President Trump that they are going to block any and all bipartisan aid to American people until after the presidential election. I really believe that we know that it’s coming right from the top because of over 100 Democrat members of the House publicly said to Speaker Pelosi, hey, stop stonewalling these. Allow us to vote on targeted relief. She refused to listen. So that’s where we are today. The Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer, they have to think it’s smart politics to block any help for the American people. But I say it’s no time for political games. Families need the help. And the obstruction by the Democrats continues to be hurting people. And I believe they must be held accountable.”
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Full Transcript Below:
Guy Benson: The guy Benson show back live on the program, Guy Benson broadcasting from my home. Vladik, you’re listening. Wherever you are live or on our podcast, which is always free. Joined now by U.S. Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming. He’s the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. Also a medical doctor. Senator, welcome back.
Senator Barrasso: Great to be back with you guys. Thank you.
Guy Benson: I want to get to this issue of the Kobe to relief bill that we’ll get a procedural vote tomorrow. I’ve been following that very closely over the last couple days. Before we get to that issue. I have to ask you about the big news of the day politically. This Bob Woodward book, Rage and the Audio. He’s on the record interviews he did with President Trump over the course of the last few months. And now it seems that the president has said that he downplayed Corona virus to avoid panic. But he also had tweeted along the way that this was sort of similar to a flu or tried to use comparisons to a normal flu, even though he was telling Bob Woodward in their private conversations that are now a public record, there’s recordings of them that he knew Corona virus, even back in early February, was much more deadly than even a bad flu. So your reaction as you hear this, do you think this could be a game changer about how the American public views the response of the president, his administration to this pandemic, which already based on the polling, was pretty shaky?
Senator Barrasso: Well, yes, I think the president acted boldly, incorrectly when he shut down air travel from China very early on and he realized then this year the potential serious nature of this flu. This is at a time when you had the mayor of New York saying, hey, come on out in New York, and he had Nancy Pelosi in Chinatown saying, come on out. So I think the president was ahead on that. Certainly, you never want to panic the public. And I think the president was right to not want to panic the public. But we have made remarkable progress to the point that it is now approaching with the new medications and everything, a point where it’s like a bad case of the flu. And we want to get it to the point where it’s like a mild case of the flu and that’s where we’re heading with the vaccine. So we’ve come a long way. We still have a long way to go. But the economy is opening up. The country is moving forward. We need to get corona virus behind us.
Guy Benson: Yeah, I think that those are all fair points. I guess of the one follow up is this. If you have President Trump talking to a reporter on the record, but with an embargo, a lid in early February saying it travels through the air. Speaking of the virus, it’s very easily transmitted. It’s much more deadly than even a strenuous flu. That’s February 7th and then March 9th. The presence, tweeting, comparing corona virus to a normal flu season. Isn’t there a problem there?
Senator Barrasso: Well, people were ultimately make a decision about the president’s full record as president of the United States. I’m sure the Democrats will try to have a field day with this. And this will be a big story with the book for this period of time. And then something else will. We’ll develop. We have we know this is a presidential election year and everything that the president does one way or the other is going to be tried to be used politically, either for or against him. And it does seem that the mainstream press and others are trying to use everything they can against him.
Guy Benson: Earlier today, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, the Senate majority leader, came to the floor and announced that there will be a procedural vote tomorrow on a covered 19 relief bill. This is sort of round four negotiations have gone nowhere. The Democrats have their crazy bill that has no chance of becoming law. It’s just three point four trillion is ludicrous. And so this is a much more focused, pared down version that the Republicans are going to try to advance. Here’s what McConnell said earlier. Cut 36. Listen.
AUDIO CLIP: It will be a procedural vote. It’s not a vote to pass our bill tomorrow. Precisely as written. It’s a vote for senators to say whether they want to move forward toward huge amounts of relief for kids, for jobs, for health care, or whether they are happy or doing absolutely nothing. That is what every single senator will decide tomorrow. Do you want to do something, something, or do you want to do nothing?
Guy Benson: So, Senator Barrasso, before we get to the politics of this, let’s talk about the policy. For a while, it seemed like your conference was having trouble getting on the same page, even gets a 51 votes in favor of a round four. It seems clear now McConnell doesn’t do this type of thing unless he’s confident that there are the votes there, at least theoretically, a simple majority to advance this bill. What’s in it? What are the what are the elements of this legislation that you think make it worthy of discussion and at least something close to it passage?
Senator Barrasso: Well, you’re right. It is a targeted, focused Republican plan to help finish this fight against Corona virus. And to me, that’s three elements. It’s getting people back to work safely and that’s targeted paycheck protection loans so that small businesses can stay open.
Guy Benson: It’s just to jump in. That’s more PPP This is another round of the PPP program specific.
Senator Barrasso: And you want to get into the details. It specifically for small businesses, businesses, less than 300 of them, 300 employees. It’s it’s getting kids back to school safely. And there’s a school choice component to this because you have some schools that won’t open. And you that are public schools and private schools in the same area that are open its funding for elementary and secondary schools and colleges, and then is putting the disease behind us with many more tests and treatment and vaccines. And this, you know, the vaccine in operation warp speed in the Shark Tank work for testing. I mean, we heard at lunch today and, you know, I chair the Republican conference reports there was a hearing this morning, all of which is pointing to the fact that we may be able to do 60 million tests a month, two million a day, added tests. So we’re at the point where testing is no longer going to be a problem, that people can get tested. And when you can add the vaccine on top of that, it’s really going to make a big difference between putting this in the rearview mirror. So as people back to work, kids back to school safely and the disease behind us.
Guy Benson: And it looks like there’s also some elements in there about the supply chain and China for a number of different things, including pharmaceuticals, including crucial minerals. There are a number of different provisions in there. The unemployment provision as well would basically take what the president has done by executive order and codify that by and large, into law. That’s at least the proposal. So we heard there from Senator McConnell, Leader McConnell today saying tomorrow when the Senate gets together and has this vote, it’s not going to be a vote saying yes or no. This is this is now passed out of the Senate. This is a vote procedurally to move onto the bill, as they say in D.C., to have a debate about it, to have amendments to go back and forth in and discuss the elements, maybe make some alterations and then get to that next level where you would consider passage. What, Senator, would be the explanation from the Democrats should they decide to filibuster this and block even getting onto the bill? I look, I wouldn’t be stunned. They’ve done it already on Covid 19 and round one of the Carers Act. When Nancy Pelosi decides she want to gum up the works for a while, they did it with police reform not long ago where they demanded a bill and then filibustered even debating the bill and then complain that the situation hasn’t gotten better. It seems like this is their M.O. now to block, block, block using a filibuster while they, by the way, say that they want to get rid of the filibuster if they get power back. What’s the explanation that they might give? And maybe that’s that’s premature. Do you get the sense that that is the path they’re going to go a filibuster tomorrow?
Senator Barrasso: I think you have a perfect assessment of this. I’ve come to the conclusion, this conclusion about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer when it comes to Corona virus relief. I think they are so obsessed with defeating President Trump that they are going to block any and all bipartisan aid to American people until after the presidential election. I really believe that we know that it’s coming right from the top because of over 100 Democrat members of the House publicly said to Speaker Pelosi, hey, stop stonewalling these. Allow us to vote on targeted relief. She refused to listen. So that’s where we are today. The Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer, they have to think it’s smart politics to block any help for the American people. But I say it’s no time for political games. Families need the help. And the obstruction by the Democrats continues to be hurting people. And I believe they must be held accountable.
Guy Benson: One of the arguments that Speaker Pelosi has made when she’s not out there trashing Tim Scott as being complicit in the murder of George Floyd are saying that Senate Republicans and the president are enemies of the state or getting off the books, illegal blowouts in San Francisco and blaming the. Well, who blew the whistle on that hypocrisy? She’s she’s up to a lot of things these days when she’s not doing that. She’s making the argument. Now we have to pass our huge partizan Democratic bill, three point four trillion dollars, even though billions haven’t been spent it from the spent rather from the first round. We need to do three point four trillion more dollars or, you know, I’m willing to come all the way down to two something trillion dollars. And it has to be this big comprehensive thing. It cannot be piecemeal legislation. That’s unacceptable. Except, Senator, two points. This bill that’s going to be introduced tomorrow for the procedural vote. It’s not a piecemeal bill. It is comprehensive, just more pared down and sort of skinnier by D.C. standards. The point one point two, unless I have been dreaming for the last month, I’m pretty sure the Democrats came back from their recess in the House to vote on a piecemeal bill about something recently, did they not?
Senator Barrasso: Well, you got it right again. They came back to do an emergency postal bill. And you’re right that the bill that we’ve introduced is focused on jobs on kids in the disease. The bill that I told him talking about as Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Fantasy Island, remember that The New York Times said that that bill that the House passed months ago, that this is the quote from the New York the liberal New York Times. The bill was more a messaging document than a viable piece of legislation. And he already has a bill said the bill marks a long list, a long wish list from before for Democrats. So it is it’s not serious or legitimate legislation. It shouldn’t be treated as such. I don’t treat it as such. And now there Nancy Pelosi holds it up like it’s the Ten Commandments. And that’s not the case at all. This is this is all politics by Schumer and Pelosi. And Pelosi is really running the show. Chuck Schumer is is her lieutenant on this. Her deputy doing what she wants to be done. And this speaks to just how bad it’s going to be if we find in November that Nancy Pelosi is the speaker, that the Chuck Schumer is the majority leader, and that somebody other than Donald Trump is in the White House. It’s damn the torpedoes. They’re going full speed ahead. The far, far left with raising taxes with basically Biden said he’d shut down the economy again, defunding the police instead of defending it, which was what Republicans want to do. We got to we got to be worried about our own liberties in terms of freedom of speech and religion and and our Second Amendment right. So I’ll tell you this, all politics for them. And I’m very concerned to make sure that for the future of the country, we make sure that President Trump is reelected. We have a Republican Senate to help him continue to confirm conservative judges. But, boy, it is all on the line come November. And we’re seeing the Democrats obsession with defeating President Trump in play tomorrow on the floor of the Senate.
Guy Benson: Yeah. And I think if you if you set aside their obsession with defeating Trump, let’s say they check that box and the election happiness, they’ve beaten him. Then the obsession will turn to passing everything that they possibly can, which might entail. They’re now openly discussing blowing up the very tool of the minority that they are using repeatedly to thwart even common sense conversations about things like police reform and Cauvin relief. They would end the filibuster. They’re talking about doing that to just ram Roe, ramrod through railroad, through this left wing agenda. And that’s why I feel like at least having one brake on that process with the Senate majority is such an important piece of this election for right of center and even centrist voters who might be uncomfortable with the president but aren’t interested in seeing Nancy Pelosi dominate the entire agenda and be able to actually implement it. And so I guess that’s that’s my question that I keep coming back to, at least for tomorrow. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi confer and they say, OK, this this bill has all these poison pills, they keep using that term, fine. Well, let’s talk about. You know, school choice. Maybe they want that stuff out because they’re in favor of teachers unions and all that. They can come to the table and say that’s a little too hot for our liking. Let’s strike certain pieces of this. Let’s change some of the verbiage. Let’s make alterations. They could do those things right. If they got onto the bill, what would be the reason?
Senator Barrasso: Aside from pure politics to say we’re not even going to entertain a conversation or a debate, there’s no reasonable or responsible reason for them to not get on the bill. But I think it’s I think it’s all politics. I think it is all politics was with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
Guy Benson: So hang on. So just just Senator, just to make it clear then, is it your expectation that there will be a Democratic filibuster tomorrow?
Senator Barrasso: That’s what I’m expecting. We’re going to have over 50 Republicans voting for this movement forward on kids jobs and fighting the disease. And I think the Democrats will in lockstep block getting on the bill for further discussion and giving help to the people around the country who really need it. And and we should be helping.
Guy Benson: There might be a handful of Democrats who might join the GOP on this, but you’d need 60 votes. And I guess Schumer probably feels like he can get to 41 to to pull off and facilitate this filibuster. He’s done so successfully on other, you know, hot potatoes, including covert relief, as I mentioned, including police reform, as I mentioned. Is there just a sense, Senator, that on the Democratic side, this election is so much about Donald Trump that they can sort of do whatever they want to do and it won’t really capture the attention of the American voter like I would, you know, looking at this from from my perspective, if I were a member of a political party in the U.S. Senate and I had a choice between debating a desperately needed relief bill during a pandemic and filibustering it on the filibuster side for partizan reasons, I would be worried about that, not just the outcomes for the American people, but also for my own political rear end. Will voters be very unhappy if it looks like we’re being obstructionists? Is there calculation that people won’t know or won’t care?
Senator Barrasso: I think Chuck Schumer’s calculation is with the Senate in play and 23 Republicans up and 12 Democrats up, that he is already calling the shots to his Senate candidates around the country to label the Republicans as unable to get things done. And he believes that by obstructing and allowing nothing to be done in any bipartisan way between now and Election Day, he thinks that helps in his life ambition, which is to become the majority leader of the United States Senate.
Guy Benson: Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, a doctor. He is my guest here on the show. We’ve got to take a break. Senator, we so appreciate your time.
Senator Barrasso: Hey, thanks, guy.
Guy Benson: President Trump is speaking at the White House. We will keep an eye on that. We’ll take a break. We might dip in when we return. It’s the guy Benson Show. Stay tuned.
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