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Senator Lamar Alexander on New Life for Obamacare Reform

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The audio:

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The transcript:

HH: Joined now by United States Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. He’s served in the Senate since 2003. Prior to that, he was two-term governor of Tennessee, former Secretary of Education. Right now, he is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee of the United States Senate. And in a couple of hours, he’s holding a hearing with a bunch of governors, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Bill Haslam of the great state of Tennessee, Gary Herbert of Utah, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Steve Bullock of Montana, and I think that’s three Republicans and two Democrats. Senator Alexander, good morning, good to have you.

LA: Good morning, Hugh.

HH: Let me begin before I talk about the hearing today and the health care fix, the debt limit deal that was struck yesterday between President Trump and Minority Leader Schumer and House Minority Leader Pelosi – are you in disbelief? Are you dumbstruck? Because if I watch the news media, it appears that Republicans are concussed by this. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but what do you think?

LA: I was glad to see them agree on something. You know, the three big issues there, one is Harvey, all the people in Texas who have been devastated by that, two is the debt limit, three is keep the government funding so we can do our job. There are different ways to do that, but if they can do all three of those things at once and we can get on to tax reform, so much the better for me.

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Our Precarious Position

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The eruption that has occurred about DACA strongly indicates that for many in the country Trump can do no right and Obama could do no wrong.  It is not about legal or illegal, it’s about Donald Trump and Barack Obama.  Hillary Clinton did not lose because people disagreed with her policies, but because she was a woman.  Apparently the election was not about the direction of the country, but about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  The mayor has declared Chicago a “Trump-free zone.”  There are sanctuary cities and states that have legalized marijuana in defiance of federal law.  (There is a delicious irony in effectively claiming states rights when we are busy tearing down confederate statues.)  There is no right or wrong, legal or illegal, better or worse.  There is only me vs you, him vs her, us vs them.  Post-modernism has us by the throat.

Why is the press coverage of the Trump presidency as it is?  If there are no values, there is only the personal.  There is only my view and your view, there is nothing to compare our views against to determine which is better.  Everything is reduced to a popularity contest.  We like DACA – it’s “nice;” who cares if it is illegal.  We don’t like trying to fix this illegality because that’s “mean.”  We are one small step short of mob rule, but due to post-modernism we think mob rule is somehow democratic and law is an antiquated concept designed merely to encode the desire of the mob.  Now that we have the internet where our opinions can be instantly made public and counted, who needs such things as law?

The saddest thing about this mournful state of affairs is the role modern American Christianity has played in its development.

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House Ways and Means Chairman, Kevin Brady

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The audio:
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The transcript:

HH: Joined now by the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady, who represents Texas’ 8th Congressional District. Let’s begin, Congressman, welcome, good morning. How are things in the 8th District a week after Harvey?

KB: So Hugh, thanks for having me, so still pretty tough. There’s still, our district, the water has receded, but we’ve got so much damage, and a lot of people in shelters, and so we’re really about how we relieve the folks who are still in crisis and then how we begin to recover. But there are other districts where the water is still six, seven feet deep. And so we’ve got a challenge going forward. I couldn’t, look, this was really a test about Texas and how we respond to this. And it was remarkable recovery, but I have to tell you, you know, but for the help of so many Americans who came down and send us food and supplies and boats and all that, you know, this would be a much different story. So we’re grateful.

HH: We continue to work with Save the Children. I know that people like Team Rubicon are still down there, and the Save the Children button is over at Hughhewitt.com. It just seems to me that with Irma looming, the danger is that we’ll lose focus on what the devastation in Texas is, even as Puerto Rico ends up in the sights.

KB: Yeah, boy, this hurricane Irma really is frightening, just the size and shape of it already. And so yeah, look, we’re just going to have to handle all this. I know the Florida delegation and others, Puerto Rico delegation is already scrambling to make sure they’re prepared correctly for this. But you know, we’re going to handle these, and I’m pleased today the House is going to move on an emergency funding bill just to make sure there’s money in the pipeline for FEMA, for not just for the immediate needs, but also to make sure that pipeline is full for the full year. And then we’ll move to listening to our communities about what they need to rebuild.

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Senator Lindsey Graham Responds to Rep. Gutierrez “Slander” of John Kelly

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The audio:

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The transcript:

HH: I am so pleased to begin this hour with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Senator Graham, good morning, as always, thank you for joining me.

LG: Thank you. Game of Thrones theme music is a good way to start today.

HH: Well, I want to begin with, this is a very troubling story. Yesterday, Luis Gutierrez of Chicago said, and I quote, “General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear. He has no honor, and he should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President’s actions by ‘just following orders’”, which of course is a reference to the Nazi defense at Nuremburg.

LG: Right.

HH: General Kelly served 46 years. He’s a Gold Star father. His son, Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in action in the war. What is wrong with people?

LG: Well, you’re giving his criticism more weight than it deserves. You know, I know him, and he’s very emotional about immigration reform. What he said about General Kelly is just completely wrong, and quite frankly, deplorable. Here’s where we are. We’re a nation of laws. It was clear to me that DACA would not meet a Constitutional test in court. DAPA, the executive action for the parents of the Dream Act kids fell in court. The ten attorneys general, Republican attorneys general, were going to sue that DACA was unconstitutional. They were going to win. And the President made a good decision by saying I’m going to end the program, but I’m going to give Congress six months to fix the problem. So what I would say to Mr. Gutierrez, sit down with a Republican in the House and try to find a solution instead of slandering General Kelly.

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