Full Transcript Below:
Guy Benson: Back on the show. Thank you for listening. I'm Guy Benson. Love this song. Probably the best song by The Boss in my opinion. Glory days. Here's a couple other ones that are up there. This one always makes me happy. Appreciate you being here and joining me now is Senator Mike Lee, a Republican of Utah. He has a book out: "Our Lost Declaration: America's Fight Against Tyranny from King George to the Deep State." You can follow him on Twitter @SenMikeLee and Senator it is great to have you back on the show.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Thank you very much Guy. In fact I've just decided that Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" is the theme song to our lost declaration. I think it goes well.
Guy Benson: All right. I like that. And hopefully there's sort of a wistfulness about that song even though it's upbeat and sort of a guy talking about how he kind of peaked in high school so I think our goal collectively as a country should not be to have peaked too early. Right. We've got to get back to. Go ahead.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): No that's a great point and I should have thought of that before identified. I was just thinking I like the sound of the song. I didn't think through the words. You're probably right. I have to think of another theme song. I'll come back next time I'm on your show with a better theme song.
Guy Benson: Although I think it probably works though because kind of what you're you're warning against us looking maybe 100 years from now back to previous errors of the country and saying OK those are the glory days and we've gone downhill. And that's part of what you've written about in the book sort of learning from history. We're going to return to the book later in our chat here. I do want to just start with the news of the day. The president within the last couple hours disavowing the chant from some of his supporters at a rally last night... "Send her back," talking about Ilhan Omar. The president said he was disappointed in that, he does not agree with that and doesn't want to hear that more or less is what he said in the future. Just your overall take on that particular turn of events but this entire highly racially charged massive fight that's been playing out over the last week or so in Washington.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Well first of all I applaud and commend him for the fact that he disavowed that sentiment and pointed out now that he doesn't literally want her to go back to the country where she was born. I think that's helpful. Maybe it's helpful any time we can separate out our policy disagreements from personal attacks and especially from anything that could be construed as racially divisive. And so I applaud him for making that clarification.
Guy Benson: It seems like that is good counsel on your part but Congresswoman Omar, who is the target of that ugly-- and I think really inappropriate chant from last night, she has not taken that to heart. She has doubled down in some ways on her anti-Semitic tropes. She, this week, refused to apologize for her dual loyalty smear against Jewish Americans and in fact she's announced that she's going to introduce a resolution on BDS for the U.S. government to punish the state of Israel our ally in Israel targeting and singling out the only Jewish country in the world. And I'm gonna have much more to say about that in the next hour but you know it does seem like there is some legitimate criticism and I've made it of the president in the media. A lot of the media much less willing to call out very clearly what Omar has done. And I think that there's a double standard there that frustrates a lot of Trump supporters who are then reticent and reluctant to ever apologize for anything, or say yes that did go too far because when the other side goes too far the media treatment of those excesses feels very different.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): No that's exactly right. I think there is something of a double standard there and I think that's unfortunate. I think the BDS movement itself if we peel it back we can look at the fact that it deals with whether or not certain people of a certain religion and a certain heritage may live in a certain area that we call Judea and Samaria or that other people call the West Bank. I think that the more troubling to us is and I think many of her comments need to be concerning to a lot of people if they really look at what they're saying.
Guy Benson: And we're going to explore that in detail coming up in the next hour on this show. Senator I want to ask you about a policy dispute right now involving one of your allies or at least frequently an ally on certain issues Senator Rand Paul is in a war of words over the 9/11 first responders health bill. Here is what Senator Paul said in terms of offsets and paying for the costs of that bill cut 24.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KT)(SOUND BITE): Any new spending that we are approaching any new program that's going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable. We need at the very least to have this debate. I will be offering up an amendment this bill should come to the floor. But until then I will object.
Guy Benson: Meanwhile Jon Stewart, the former host of The Daily Show, who's been really doing I think yeoman's work on behalf of these first responders many of whom need our help with their health care given what they went through and what they were subjected to at Ground Zero. He was deeply unimpressed with that response from Senator Paul shooting back with cut 25.
Jon Stewart: (SOUND BITE) It's absolutely outrageous and you'll pardon me if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue signalling. Rand Paul presented tissue paper avoidance of the one point five trillion dollar tax cut that added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit. And now he stands up at the last minute after 15 years of blood sweat and tears from the 9/11 community to say that it's all over now. Now we're going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.
Guy Benson: Senator what's your take on this? What do you think should happen here?
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): It's completely unfair. First of all I support Senator Rand Paul. I tend to vote for his amendment and I support him I support all of my colleagues for that matter when they want to get a vote, especially a vote on something like what he wants. All he's saying is we should have to prioritize. We've identified this as a priority, let's make it a priority and let's prioritize this spending above other spending. I also support my amendment which simply would say let's identify how much money it is that we're spending. The language that Senator Gillibrand has proposed just reauthorizes the program to 2092 and authorizes the expenditure of such sums as may be necessary. My amendment would simply say let's estimate what it's going to cost, what CBO itself says is going to cost and authorize that amount of money. When Congress operates that way, in the way my amendment contemplates-- and Rand Paul's amendment contemplates, we make sure that the benefits flow to the actual beneficiaries, rather than strengthening government bureaucrats and fostering corruption. The American people deserve nothing more-- and I think it's really a shame that some people have tried to demagogue this issue and suggest that anyone who wants to make a moderate, modest improvement to this bill is somehow hostile toward those who suffered through 9/11. It's absurd.
Guy Benson: So you support extending these benefits, you just want to take a breath and make sure that the dollars and cents makes sense and that the dollars will indeed flow to the people who need the help.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Yes exactly. That's what I want, and that's what Rand Paul wants.
Guy Benson: Is there a way to expedite that? Senator, just sorry to jump back in, but I think maybe the frustration that Stewart has and I share some of it is it does seem like a lot of spending happens in Washington willy-nilly and to hold up this particular item when there's concern maybe that the money could run out. I've heard some of that rhetoric. I understand why people are saying why have a fight over this. This seems like a consensus issue. What's your response when people say that.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Guy, I want to vote on this right now. I just came from the Senate floor, where I tried to get a vote on this, right now. Rand Paul is ready to vote on this right now. Some of our colleagues couldn't be bothered to vote on a Thursday afternoon. And so we did lock in a vote that's going to occur between now and Wednesday at an unspecified time between now and then. But unfortunately some of my colleagues in the Senate couldn't be bothered to vote on this which is quite ironic because many of these same people, who today refused to vote on it, yesterday were saying that this was a crisis, that this was an emergency, that it couldn't wait even 12 hours course to take another vote. It's quite disingenuous. And shame on them frankly.
Guy Benson: We're seeing on TV right now, on Fox News Channel, the banner says that there is a deal that has been reached to pass the 9/11 funding bill. Can you talk about that deal?
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Yes, Yes. The deal involves a vote that will be casting some time between now and Wednesday the 24th of July, this upcoming Wednesday, at a time to be scheduled by the majority leader in which we will vote on Senator Gillibrand's bill on the 9/11 Victims Bill. We will also have a vote on my amendment which again simply specifies the amount of money we will be spending and Rand Paul's amendment which would prioritize this spending over other spending. They've known for several days the types of amendments we wanted. They've had our amendments in hand as currently written since yesterday. Today we told them that we were ready to vote today and they declined to do that. And so they were they felt fine about demagoguing this issue to death and attacking us personally yesterday accusing us of inhumanity. And then today they didn't agree to vote on it today that they ought to be embarrassed.
Guy Benson: Senator Lee another question, in the clip we played from Jon Stewart he mentioned the tax reform law. And this is a talking point I've seen a lot from the left on this issue saying oh they don't want to give money for these 9/11 first responders who need health care even though it's unanimous basically-- everyone wants to have that happen, but they were willing to give huge tax cuts to the rich, to millionaires, which took a lot of money and you know added to deficits and that sort of thing. I just want to highlight something that I did yesterday on the show which is the IRS data that has been now synthesized by the Tax Foundation, nonpartisan organization, talking about how on average, every single income group in the country got a tax cut in 2018 because of this law except for those making over a million dollars. It's the opposite of what the Democrats have been saying. And I saw that you and Senator Rubio put out a joint statement about another piece of this IRS data showing that one of the things that you fought for in that law namely an expansion of the child tax credit has really had an impact if you would talk about that piece of what you and Senator Rubio were able to accomplish and how that's affecting families.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Sure. This is something that I along with Senator Rubio and the bulk of Trump have been working on for years. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 at our insistence double the child tax credit from a thousand dollars to two thousand dollars and it expanded eligibility and increased the refund ability of the child tax credit from eleven hundred dollars to fourteen hundred. And the data from the 2018 tax returns makes clear the benefit to this effort, the number of people who receive that child tax credit and doubled delivering immediate and significant tax relief to the Americans who need it most which are working moms and dads. That twice as many parents took the credit in 2018 as those who did before reforms and families in every income bracket below the super rich saw the value of the child tax credit more than double. And the greatest beneficiaries were middle class families. So this was a great bill. And this was a feature that I'm particularly proud to have played a part in.
Guy Benson: And I just find it so interesting that so much of the rhetoric, to this day, Senator about the tax bill pretends that these benefits and these tax cuts didn't go to the middle class and only went to millionaires. And the actual data shows that is absolutely not the case. This is a myth that persists. The Democrats have hammered and hammered away at it you know. Is there a way to just highlight beyond speeches and press releases that everything that they're saying is basically incorrect and the reality the lived reality for people is quite positive?
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): The data don't lie and the impact that people feel on this is unmistakable. What progressives might not like this because they don't like it when we're not expanding government, when we're not increasing taxes in the aggregate. But the fact is we made the American people better off as a result of this. And nowhere is that more clear than among America's hardworking families. Moms and dads who need this child tax credit and have received it due to this bill.
Guy Benson: Senator Lee, last week I had you on TV when I was filling in for Kennedy on Fox Business we talked about a quote from Larry Kudlow, a guy that I really like, but he's working with the president right now. So he said look the deficits are trillion dollars but I'm not too concerned about that at this moment. Something that I don't think he would have said necessarily in the past and a lot of Republicans seem to be sort of chill about the debt and the deficits these days because it's Trump but it's not Obama any more so the talking point has withered on the vine for a lot of people. Rush Limbaugh, a very influential talk show host, saying that whole fiscal conservatism thing the libertarian debt stuff that's that's over, no one really cares about that. I wonder what your response is when you hear that type of rhetoric coming from conservatives.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): It scares me and one of the reasons it scares me is because things like this are easy to ignore. When our treasury yield rates the rate at which we've had to pay interest on our national debt is at an all time historic low. The reason why our interest payment right now is is not that different than it was 20 years ago, when our national debt was one sixth to one seventh of its current size. This part is not gonna last forever, Guy. Sooner or later, the Treasury yield rates are going to creep up to their historic average and as soon as that happens we'll be paying a trillion a year in interest in a very short period of time. The difference between what we're paying now and what we'll be paying then is more than our defense budget. That's scary.
Guy Benson: Yeah, no it is. It's frightening.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Especially that America's poor middle class and that to everyone that conservatives and otherwise.
Guy Benson: It is unsustainable. And again, the data and the math, it's-- you know you can't, it's just reality whether you want to kick it down the pike a little further or not it is reality. Senator, 30 seconds left. Elevator Pitch, tell us about "Our Lost Declaration," your book.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): I wrote "Our Lost Declaration" because so many young people today don't have a basic understanding of how this country was founded. The deep state is just the latest example of how a group of large unelected people can control our lives and our choices. America was born out of this fight against the massive unaccountable central government. The Boston Tea Party was after all a fight against unfair and overly punitive taxation and that fight still goes on today. I tell the stories of how this happened and the miracle that occurred in 1776 in our lost declaration. It makes a great gift for anyone wanting to share this story with their children or their grandchildren.
Guy Benson: "Our Lost Declaration: America's Fight Against Tyranny from King George to the Deep State." Senator Mike Lee is the author and my guest here on the Guy Benson Show. We love having you and we look forward to next time.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): You're the best. Thanks so much.
Guy Benson: Thank you Senator. And we'll be right back.