Note from Bill Goodman: KET just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., for a series of One to One interviews that begin airing tonight at 6:30 ET. My colleague Renee Shaw provides the highlights of tonight’s interview with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell.
First Up on One to One: Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Last week, about a dozen KET production crew braved the pace of the Beltway to learn more about the work of our federal delegation in Washington. In a series of special One to One programs with Bill Goodman that begin tonight at 6:30 pm ET on KET, Bill talks with our six congressmen and two senators about the pressing national issues of immigration, gun control, deficit reduction, industrial hemp, and even the freedom to fish.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the Senate, talks with Bill tonight about his unwavering position to hold the line on the debt limit unless attached to legislation to reduce the federal deficit. McConnell says the move is not unprecedented as it dates back to the 1950’s as presidential requests to increase the debt ceiling have accompanied significant legislation.
He cites the Congressional Review Act, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, the 1997 Bill Clinton and Republican Congress Deficit Reduction Proposal and the August 2011 Budget Control Act. McConnell proclaims it irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without addressing the debt. Of the debt, he says, “the size of our debt looks a lot like a western European country. This is the biggest issue confronting the country.” McConnell adds, “It would be wonderful if the President would lead on this rather than us having to drag him to the table.”
The Republican leader also talks about his effort to pass the “Coal Jobs Protection Act” in response to what he deems hostile regulations by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) targeting the coal industry under President Obama. He says the measure addresses two types of permits that have to be granted in order to mine coal and would force the EPA to issue more timely decisions even if they result in rejection.
When asked whether the legislation would be a boon for coal production that’s now at the lowest level since the mid-1960’s, McConnell says, “it might not, they (EPA) might decide to say ‘no,’ but at least it eliminates the uncertainty.”
That lament by McConnell gave way to this wider criticism of the Obama administration. He adds, “in fact, the administration across the board, whether it’s health care, financial services… have gotten an army of regulators whose bias is ‘if you’re making a profit, you’re up to no good.’” He denounces enhanced regulation as “a huge wet blanket over the economy and it makes it very difficult for us to come out of this very deep recession.”
McConnell decries the federal health care reform law (Obamacare) that’s ramping up for implementation as “a calamity that can’t possibly work.” He and Bill discuss immigration, the “Freedom to Fish Act,” and the balancing of his duties as minority leader with the rigors of defending his seat in the 2014 election.
Watch the entire interview with Mitch McConnell tonight at 6:30 ET on KET. Tomorrow night is Bill’s interview with junior U.S. Senator Rand Paul.