On this regional public affairs program, MPR’s Rich Dietman interviews Senator David Durenberger, who discusses adjusting to his new role as U.S. senator. Topics include the filibuster, energy, transportation, BWCA, and federal budget.
Durenberger also answers questions from various MPR reporters, reporters in other news media, and from listeners in a statewide call-in program.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
And the time is 7 minutes now passed at 10 and I'm pleased to say that Senator David durenberger is now in there are Saint Paul studios here for a special Statewide call in Program Center to glad to have you with us. It's nice to finally be able to get over there. Okay, what we're going to do this morning is going to hear from NPR reporters around the network. And then we're going to hear from listeners as well. But I guess I think what I'd like to do as you catch your breath there is before we get to the hard-hitting questions of the morning. I'd like I'd like to ask you what it's been like these past six or eight weeks. What's it like to go from private citizen durenberger to u.s. Senator dirnberger. I guess it's been an exciting kind of an opportunity for me yet. I still don't fully appreciate what it is to be United States Senator. A lot of my time has been spent in constituent services and hiring staff in the start-up of the session.Working on my committee assignments that make sure I get the Committees that I want and it'll do the most good back here in Minnesota, but we haven't started the process of passing legislation yet and until you get to that stage, you don't fully appreciate the the the office the national public radio correspondent for the network was here a couple days ago and she was saying that at least some Congress members when they first get to Washington land with a short of a thud they they are leaving one sphere of life where they have been the very prominent than when their freshman senators or members of the house. They often get the smallest offices and that the committee assignments that nobody else. Nobody else wants to run into things like that. I think rich is stuff in the house. There are 435 members are only as many committees is there are in the setup is only as much legislation is there is in the Senate but it's there forHalf times as many people so it's much more difficult to work your way up to the good committees or two sub committee chairmanships and it is in the Senate to I don't think you'll see that problem at all on the sentence. I die. I asked for the three toughest committees Finance governmental Affairs and the intelligence committee and I got them principally because of my seniority in the freshman class in the large size of the of the freshman class. So those are three jobs that normally would have to be there the better part of a full-term in order to get on those those committees though. I really haven't had any any problem in getting into those areas where I feel I can start making a contribution right off the bat. Okay, very good. Well, let's start off our questions from reporters from around the region. And first, let's go to KL SE Teri Keith in Rochester Terrier you with us this morning.Hi, Terry Fator. I believe that you told members of, I said that he hasn't made up his mind yet. And can you elaborate on your position on that issue different elements of what we commonly called the filibuster in the one is the the process leading up to a cloture vote. One is the emotion on culture itself a culture being the process by which you cut off the filibuster and then the third is what's come to be called post culture filibustering and that's a rather recent phenomenon made most famous by Jim abourezk and Howard metzenbaum in connection with the the energy bill which tied up the whole senate for almost a month at the end of September and October.What I have said, is it the I oppose any effort to the cutoff for the the rights of a filibuster because I thin and free culture because I think it's a it's a protection for the minority. It's been reduced from two-thirds vote to go to cut off a filibuster down to 60% boat by think. That's that's fairly appropriate at that at that point. Now the post closure the one that really ties things up and that that's the address metzenbaum experience. That's the one where I think most of us feel that some changes out to be made and that we are negotiating those changes and we're going to try to limit the time that's permitted for that than I personally objected that part of the night would go along and I'm sure with a number of the recommendations of bird is makingOkay, thank you. Thank you Terry. Let's next go to our station in Worthington. Krsw where Mark style is standing by Mark. Good morning Senator. You said you favor the research and development of gasohol as an attractive alternate energy source. Do you have any ethical reservations about converting food into fuel for automobiles in in light of Real Food problems? No, or at least not at this point we have we have the the anomaly, I guess of a of a surplus of food and yet we have somewhere between 400 and 800 million people who who are undernourished and some people who have very serious nutrition problems. And I think before it becomes an ethical problem with regard to a gasohol, we need to move that that the Surplus that under production that were encouraging here in this country to the point where we can meet the needs of the 400 to 800 million people and that's why it's it's so necessary to continue our efforts at the feed food for peace program to get that trade agreement signed so that we can do more exporting of our of our food products. But until we get to the point where we've even affect taking advantage of our ability to produce in this country rather than a me. Policies of limiting production I'm going to be able to push both greater exports of food and the conversion of certain types of the grain to the gas. Okay. Thanks Bree Martin very much for you? We're going to go now to NPR station KC cm in Moorhead were John it still standing by the morning John. I figured I would like phone update on the the answer that you just gave too much style. You're saying that we need to produce more and take advantage of our ability to produce in denial. This is great Heartland of America a problem that than any Farmers here than facing now for the past year and a couple of years is that they can't get through the grains Market. There's a shortage of real cars and the shortage of locomotive and I know that's in a month or so of Transportation Brock Adams is going to be our plans to deregulate railroads and somehow make this a transportation system more efficient. However, it may happen would be a Rural Road Branch lines and the people in this area are bit uneasy about what's going to happen with the transportation system. I wonder if you have any feeling or ideas about what we can do to make our our railroads more more efficient than to help farmers in this area get their products to Market. Let me tell you one of the reasons why is it that you people all have the ability to tie Hollow all of these issues together very logically much more logically than they do in Washington anytime and pointing out Transportation as a as a key element in this whole business of the Agricultural Commodities production and getting them to Market is that is really important. One of our problems though is we don't have a national Transportation policies of any kind that railroads truckers a barge lines. Anybody can can operate under him and and get some predictability into this process. Not a problem. Railroads is that they need some predictability in terms of when you're going to need so many cars and saw in such and such a place to get from from here to there. I don't think that the dying as we did last year or a fuel tax to the building of Lock and Dam 26 or economic deregulation of trucking or the deregulation of the railroads taken alone or in a vacuum is going to get us to solve the transportation problems of this country. We need the ability to look out ahead 20 and say this is a kind of a balance system that we need. I personally believe that the two abandoned rail at this point is a horrible mistake and protector to go beyond abandoned them give up right away. Cuz I'm I'm convinced that if sometime in the future we're going to be much like you're up or going to be more heavily depended upon the surface Transportation rail Transportation. We're going to wish we had all of those Who's back in place until give Adams comes down and you know with an overall plan to tie all four of these these modes of transportation together. Then we can start making better decisions about price deregulation the and really introduce him some decent competition into the system into those lines to keep them going at least for the foreseeable future. I think that's very appropriate that you've got to have some minimum maintenance even on the lines that you're not that you're not using and if you measure the cost of the it's a small cost today to do that against of the very large cost 10 or 20 years from now to go back in and develop new line John. Thanks very much for for your question. We're going to go now to NPR station wcsd in Duluth. Where Dick Dale you standing by a good morning dick. Good morning gentlemen, how are you? I hate that. I have a general question in there in a specific that relates to its senator of you. Of course favored a strong Pro Wilderness Bill legislation for The Boundary Waters canoe area. That's become law. I'm wondering first of all Jen really how you feel about two more Wilderness preservation here on the northern part of the state. Where is you know, it's such a very controversial issue and people are now concerned about a whole variety of other programs both state and federal that would take more land off the tax rolls or or restrictive further the use of public lands. Okay. Thanks for that question. As far as my position. The campaign is concerned first. I I didn't take a position on the on the bwca built specifically because I I felt it in case it didn't pass. I wanted to be the person in the Senate to who could bring the opposing sides and back together, but I did make my position on particularly on the preservation of Natural Resources. For outdoor recreation quite clear and and here again. It's it's a matter of recognizing the fact that were no longer a frontier Society. There is a limit to the land that's available to us for the various demands that we make on make on land and I guess what I see is essential perfectly for us here in Minnesota is to stop making our natural resources used decisions on a crises or or a political basis. I think we have to answer the question for a lot of people how much is enough when it comes to the preservation of Natural Resources for outdoor recreation. We have to balance the interests of of the use of Natural Resources for the wood products of the Forest Products that we need the for a variety of the reason against of the increasing demand for for outdoor recreation that we've got to look at the country as a whole and And balance these kinds of Interest throughout the whole country. No further lands, at least at this time be put in the rare to program near oldest area designation. Yes, I am and I looked and looked through every every one of the states. Of course. I know that the the recommendations that got to the top of the secretaries list for Minnesota. We're all designated non non Wilderness. In other words don't convert from from the forest to use to the Wilderness. Now, whether any of those were appropriate or not, I suspect there was some you know, some some political concern reflected him some of those decisions following the Boundary Waters decision exactly an end. I guess. What I'm anxious to do is take the politics out of it then and the only way you're going to do that in one of the things I've found in, Kentucky. Both sides of everybody for their Bowl opponents are proponents of these processes are conservationists. They all come from this from the same point of view, but when they're only faced with the with the differing solutions to a problem and never sit down to talk about the problem itself, it becomes very difficult to get the to get a good decision in this process and the tub that recommendation by the forest service will need Congressional scrutiny. So I guess you'll have a chance to examine it in more detail and I hope it doesn't get too involved with horns that the natural resources committee is going to spend the, you know, I tried to get on the natural resource and energy committee and I found it all the Western States senators and including Ted Stevens from Alaska who gave up a lot of seniority to do it all jumped on the natural resource of energy Committee just to protect some of the public lands in the west from from a media to conversion. So I'm I'm afraid we're headed into another political conversion. Let's go Have more heat than light. Thank you Senator. Thank you Jack. Thanks for the question. Will the time is 21 minutes now past 10 and we're talking to Senator David durenberger of Minnesota. And if you'd like to call up and ask him a question about the first few weeks of Congress you can do so by giving us a call at 2 to 11550 at 2 to 11550. If you live in the Twin Cities area, if you live outside the Twin Cities, but in the state of Minnesota, you can call us toll-free at one 800-652-9700. That's a toll-free watch line number. I'll give it again. It's 1 800-652-9700 in the Twin Cities number again is 221-1550 and Senator understand we have several questionnaires on the line already. So we'll go to the first one now. Good morning. You're on the air. Yes. Good morning. Can you tell us where you're calling from? Please go ahead with your question. imitation to Shakopee convention and that's the very timely very timely question and I think it reflects the fact that Congress has really not paid attention to some of these issues and use the the preferable process which is a congressional proposal by resolution of an amendment to the current one that's making its way around the course is the era Amendment to The Listener of appropriately points out the three of the other proposals that I guess the the one that has the best chance of I'm going through the alternative process which is of the below 36 State Legislature is the tax limitation Amendment personally and I have very I have a substantial amount of difficulty with the concept of the Constitutional Convention particularly at this point in time when because of the insensitivity of the political process and a lot of politician if we've seen the development of a lot of strong special interest groups in this country, and I have a concern that it's it's these Special interest would dominate a convention and that the general public would not be as well represented as as they should be but again, you know of the people who have preceded mean to the Congress and other public officials who have been insensitive to the needs of people have to have to pay the burden. I'm willing to I'm willing to look at a fat a Constitutional Convention of the amendment process is a preferable alternative to the extent that certain of these subjects should be in the Constitution. I have very strong feelings in favor of a human life Amendment than that. I'm not sure that there are two thirds of the vote in the Senate to pass this session, but I would I'm circling and and preparing to the proposed one on tax limitation. My commitment is to get the Congress by legislation to time. I spent federal spending to a percentage of my gross national product 19 20% whatever it maybe I have concerns because of Changes in the economy of the makeup of the country the makeup of the world. I have real concerns about putting that into the Constitution of the United States, but I feel very strongly that this session the Congress must commit itself the tying our federal spending to a percentage either of the gross national product or personal income in this country for what's your colleagues feelings are about a constitutional convention. Will it to get the Middlebury I guess most of them would prefer not seeing a constitutional convention because it's ineffective substitute for the Congressional process by which the Constitution originally provided to respond to people's needs and yet I don't blame a lot of people faced with an insensitive Congress for for wanting the the alternative so so my job is a freshman and I've discussed this with the other members of the The Freshman group. I said luck. We've got to tell these guys that have been around here for a while what's going on out there in the real world and the This is a very real demand from the people of this country to be heard in the Congress. And if we if they can't. They're their want to be heard in convention. So you've got to start you guys would have been here for 10 20 years. I'm pretending problems are going to go away. You're going to have to start listening to the people and providing them with answer. Let's go to another listener question. Good morning. You're on the air and tell us where you're calling from and I attended as you probably are aware President Carter recently nominated a lieutenant general George signius as a head of the arms control and disarmament agency my purse we have doubts as to whether or not we should have a a military official in that position, but I'm especially questioning whether or not this was tenants igneous to be the head of the arms control and disarmament agency because they know that Gary Hawkins views in the past and he's been associated with a group called The Coalition for peace through strength, which has its as its basic purpose to oppose disarmament, and I was wondering If you're aware of this nominee and what your position is on whether or not this nominee should be confirmed. I am aware of being aware of some of his background. I have not yet made a judgment on his qualifications that one of the reasons that I sought the membership on the Senate intelligence committee is that I have a strong feeling that the that the salt II Treaty is going to be one of the more significant discussions of foreign policy and military defense that we've gone through in this country a long long time. I also feel that a lot of the decision have to be premised on accurate information. I think it's inappropriate for us to make our decisions based on the fact that they were getting a lot of testimony from people that have been around for 20 30 years in effect grinding just one one particular egg. So I get to the point where I am very concerned about truth and and and how we find how we find the truth out of all of the very kind of contraries sets of information that are being that are being provided us. So I guess I would I'd like to see you in that position somebody who comes in then honestly fairly trying to provide and present alternative not somebody who comes with any sort of a preconceived notion about that where we ought to be going in in arms limitation. Okay. Thanks very much. Let's go to another listener now. Good morning. You're on the air tell us where you're calling from. I'm calling from Minneapolis. I have for the past two days. I have been completely destroyed by think. I have any emotional issue but I don't think people get too excited about it. And they they almost treat their children worse than they do a root an animal or a car. If you read the papers at all. You read about that little nine year old girl that we put in a closet and the whole thing made me actually physically else and you talk about human rights and yet we disregard children's rights to have a life. I don't know what what you know about the children's Rights bill and it was brought out in 1968 and it was Cheryl that's always shelled. Do we consider children less than what are they property of the parents to do what they wish and we talked about with the crimes against children and yet they're punished by Seether approach. Probation or three years and in California that the two from Paramount California was convicted last month of child endangering or the concealment and deprivations my God concealment and deprivation. That's what they charged with if they had done this to an adult and would have been given paraffin to do a judge in Maryland who gave this couple who had their children locked in the closet 44 years and Prejudice by the time you get out you will not be able to have children to do this to us. Again, he was the first judge I have ever seen give a sentence that fit the crime become almost hysterical when I see a child treated like this. When are we going to have a federal law? Telling parents. You cannot do this to your children. We have this thing about the family keeping the family together and yet when a little boy who is suffering from leukemia his parents caring for him and wanting to love him when they were accused of kidnapping their own child because we love him so much now do you get the inequities in this and I don't understand it. Would you explain it to me? And why can't we have a children's rights bill? I think we can and then there is no good rationale for the for the inequities accepted. We're operating off of some some very old tradition that has been written into the law that I agree with you is very very inappropriate. I don't think that the parents should have some of the automatic rights that are presumed by by some very old laws in young children. And then it's one of the reason that one of the first things I did man, by the way, when I when I got into them to Washington was to have someone pull out that 19, I think it was either 68 or 69 proposal. In my work as a trustee of Children's Health Center and then Minneapolis. I have become very concerned over the last few years about the the whole area of the mental and physical health of children and the concerns for the family environment and we've we've done in that institution some some very wonderful thing to try to educate parents operating not just on under a federal mandate, but they're trying to reach out to two parents as individuals and end to to do more in the area of education. But I agree with you that there are there are so many abuses that there is an appropriate role for the federal government to to play both in defining the rights of children in the obligations of parents. And that's why I'm going to be working on that piece of Senator Bill Petrosky, who is the state government correspondent for the Rochester Post Bulletin is on the line now with us and he has a question for you Bill. Good morning. First of all, I'd like to know if you have any specific for proposals for legislation related to agriculture that you're planning to put in the hopper and text me at like to know if you intend to get involved on this issue of nitrates being used as an additive to bake and that's a course of a big concern any hog Farmers near as well as Austin. Yeah, there are I guess I've got several several proposals last year and pulled out because of the problems that he ran into it which puts get some flexibility into the into the set aside program and makes it a little easier for Farmers to use the use the set aside the program. Yeah II is in the area of trade. I guess one of the reasons that I chose the finance committee. Is that the my feelings at the future of agriculture in this country lies more in maximizing resin minimizing production in the only way you're going to do that is to to get out the problems that I I referred to earlier in this program regarding the nutritional problems of a lot of people in the world. So that exports become a very key part of the future of Agriculture and the trade agreement hopefully is going to move us farther in the direction of the Agricultural exports of the night raw salmon. The problem is is one again, which sometimes can be reduced to the Simplicity of trading off botulism for cancer, but they obviously that's too simple for people that don't they want to die from either one of them the concerns that everyone has of course is is trying to find that that thin line that some people will say it isn't all that then Can I try some of the down to add to that kind of level where it it won't be any more dangerous than the same kind of and I try some of that you're going to get from radishes and and a variety of other Foods in your diet. I don't think that anyone has yet proved other than the rat test that they've conducted that the levels that they're working their way down toward will cause cancer in humans and and but because of our need for an art our total Reliance particularly, I guess if you start looking at ethnic foods in this country, there's such a tremendous Reliance on the front porch that day. I think we need to find the answer that's going to preserve the pork industry. The last bill that I'm introducing the Israelites to Alternative Energy particularly the the conversion of a various grains and animal ways to the Apple alcohol and and in the gasohol and we've supported strongly The agricultural agriculture Department Appropriations or grants to a couple of plants here in Minnesota went out of renvela and the other a much larger proposal up in the Crookston. I don't think that with a small amount of money. They're going to be able to get the grants this time, but I was very interested to find out the private money market isn't is interested in what they're doing and the one of the other those projects may be able to go ahead without the Federal grant money. Okay, Bill. Thanks for your question. We're going to go to another listener now. Good morning where you calling is from please anything about giving a credit for college tuition and how he thinks it should be administered. Thanks for your question. I am I have favored to wishon tax credits principally because it doesn't take a great deal of administration. You make your own decision. If you are paying for your own tuition, or you're paying for the tuition of the son or daughter, you just make the decision to pay the tuition and there's a relatively simple entry on your income tax form, which makes it possible for you to take a deduction against your rub against your taxable income. It does not require you to make out a labret to applications and does not require the creation of a new federal or state bureaucracy to process a lot of papers and decide how qualified you may or may not be. So I strongly favored the tuition tax-credit. I know that it's going to be a proposal in my Committee in the finance committee. I know the bill friends old is going to carry the bills on the outside again through the Ways and Means Committee and I have every hope that it's going to Okay, thanks for thanks for your question this morning. Let's go to another listen to good morning. You're on the air and to take to restrain deathly. Thanks for the question. I I haven't taken a position on the boycott the principally because I hoped to be in a position to to resolve that problem along the lines. I've been discussing earlier in the program relative to nutrition and the trade agreement greater variety of export the exported more appropriate foods. And so I think you will you will you will see where I am on this issue as we enter in into the actual Trade Agreement discussions. Once there were presented with the the agreement in the Senate and I'd like to know if you have any feelings about the weather or not. You think that's the Set the infant formula is it that some people are saying that is manufactured by Nestle. He's another people is possibly but doing more harm than good in some of the third world countries. Is that a concern? I think it's it's a concern of mine principally because of people like your call or have have the talk to me about it. So frequently at the state fair, for example of a wide variety of people that I brought it up not just people who might be part of an organized a boycott effort but lots of other people so yes, I I have asked my staff person is going to be working with me on this on the the whole issue of Health to examine that is an issue that I will have in hand as we approached the the trade discussions of a joke a very good. Let's go to another listen to good morning. You're on the air. Hearing that has been scheduled to take place on the 5th of February in the Russell Senate Office Building. As you know, there have been Everton recent years to train address this problem with little success and because of lack of the direction leadership of coordination, and this is a meeting that we're hoping will provide a forum for sale 350 for sale for a new Honda Si to ask questions about some experts who will be present and about this particular problem. It's also hope that out of this meeting with should be a non-emotional ever that there will be some attempt be made as to what role the government should play in addressing this issue. There are many people here in Minnesota that are terribly concerned about this for two reasons in the past that session of Congress are reduced to My homework reading sympathetic to the parents who have been struggling with his problem. One of those Congressman was Congressman Ryan. And of course he paid for this very dearly. The other congressmen was Congressman Frazier. And he also we feel has it is being made to pay for his interest in her problem because of the fact that is from Minnesota and has been so terribly active in this movement up until this moment in time to new Senators personally hopefully will be represented at this meeting and I was just wondering if you have yet to have this crush your desperate you are aware of it process of picking Minnesota because everybody like you stays very close and and I was contacted immediately after the primary by a number of people who failed to Don Frazier. This was one of the few people that was really looking seriously at this whole problem and people ask me what my concern was and I said at that point that I was a long way behind on trailer in my knowledge of the problem, but I committed to them to the watch their interest than and the care for them as much as much as he did. And then since that time we've had staff people working on the issue. I know I talked to Bob Dole about it. Bob is one of the sponsors of the meeting that that you referred to and we are going to be represented at that meeting because I know there are many people here in Minnesota that are concerned about it directly affected by it. I know what it is done to some families and and that you can you can count on us to be right on top of it. Okay. The time is 18 minutes now before 11 and you're listening to a live phone in program with our guest today David durenberger US senator from Minnesota. If you'd like to address your question to the senator you can do so by calling us at 2 to 11550 in the Twin Cities area. If you live outside the Twin Cities within the state of Minnesota, you can call us toll-free at one 800-652-9700 and we have another listener on the line. Good morning. Tell us where you're calling from, please I am Elizabeth Clark educator Preparing People for professional nurse. My concern is about the veto of the bill that would provide financial aid to people seeking this kind of professional preparation. And I would like to first of all emphasize that nursing is an interpersonal relationship. It's not just giving shots and these other tasks that windows with their hands. It is a relationship with people to hopefully support people in system and getting to a state that they can enjoy. And sometimes there is so many of these state jobs to be done that there isn't the time to indulge and in to incorporate this interpersonal relationship simply because there aren't enough nurses to do this and being a nursing education. I'm just vitally concerned about the importance of providing people who can't financially system cells enough to get this kind of preparation help the needs in this country is one of the foremost leaves and nursing plays a vital role in enabling people to enjoy and to participate in an active living and it's through this interpersonal relationship that nurses can assist and help educate and do the test at the same time, and I'm wondering What's the senator is views are what his insides are in relation to this is because I have I have a younger sister whose profession is nursing. And as I indicated earlier, I've been very involved with Children's Health Center in the the Innovative kinds of healthcare. They're trying to provide their in which state the nursing profession big plays a very vital role. I was disappointed by The Beatles of the nursing preparation Bill. The question gets down to be who's going to bear the cost to get the best people into the profession. If you rely totally on the individual to Bear those cost a month of May find it difficult to get some of the better people to get into the educational into the educational process. If you rely on the institutions to carry more of the cost and you're raising the cost of the healthcare at a time when everyone objects doing it, and it may well be most appropriate. For the government to continue at least in part gets help for for nurses training and that might be the least expensive way in the long run to accomplish it be active which are to have the best people the most qualified people working in this very vital part of the Healthcare System Worthington Globe in Southwestern, Minnesota Paul. Good morning. Run you were talking with people in Moorhead about the rail transportation and expressing your beliefs and its future for us as practical matter at The Observer people out here at least in the Southwest Highway and that's where the political pressure is. A Highway 60 is a big issue out here and there's well organized effort to see this upgraded then my question in front of a player is what is practical matter. Do you suggest that the federal government where they weather practical for ground shipping and other major uses Transportation uses and then Expenditures to a percentage of the gross national product and I just wondered how Carter's new budget measures up to your expectations in that regard on the first issue. Let me just start out at least think I don't have the answers today for how you balance the two systems. I I'm just so anxious that a process begins that will analyze those answers and then we'll will present us with some cost. There was a reason that we would become so reliant on On Truckin and the pressure for four more substantial. I have your load and highways is that they it's not been economical for railroads to keep all of these Branch lines going. The state has a program that was authorized I think about 3 years ago at the move in the direction of of some minimal maintenance to preserve certain Branch lines in certain areas of the state night. I can recall at Southwestern Minnesota is one of those areas in which Proposals have been made under the under the state plan. I think what I bought all I can say on the subject right now is it that we need we need a minimum maintenance, even though we aren't using some of these lines you don't have to use them all at any one time in order to in order to maintain them. But I am saying that some minimum maintenance needs to be accomplished. It's probably has to be subsidized or under written in some way by the state or federal government has an insurance against future upgrading of those facilities on the on your question spending. I think Carter appoint with some pride to the fact that he's moving his proposals would move the part of the spending side of the budget as a percentage of gross national product down from its presence 22 + percent down to 21.319 eighty and then down to a little over 20% in 1981, and then he projects on out to about three years with Download presumably fallacious assumption to about 19 Nor 19 and a half percent. So he has he is setting those kinds of objective, which is very laudable. I I trust of the Congress will come right back and it behind them in and confirm those kinds of objectives in legislation. The real issue though is going to be where you take your spending cuts and where you spend your money so that you can actually get to that percentage of the gross national product the issue being simply some kind of spending is going to cause more inflation which is going to impact adversely on your gross national product and on this racial so you've got to be very careful not to deal Justin percentages just in in billion dollar deficits and so forth. The real issue is where you spend the money not just how much in total has been. Okay, very good that question from Paul ruko, who's in editor at the Worthington Globe in Worthington. Let's go to another listener. Now. The lines are all that up. Good morning around me are questioned Republican presidential candidates have been in the news during last two weeks and that John Conlee threw his hat in the ring and Ronald Reagan recently visit Washington for other than sightseeing purposes. Are you actively supporting a republican candidate for president at this time? I'm supporting all of them and I don't know what that number is right. Now. I had dinner with the governor Reagan when he was in Washington that Tuesday night advance to the State of the Union message to find him as I have for the 12 years that I've known him to some degree to be a very impressive on us the forthright to kind of an individual. I've met with former Governor, whatever we call him. Secretary Conley whatever his latest title was then. I'm working as you know with Howard Baker in minority leader who just a fantastic person Bob Dole ran for vice president 76 may be interested. But no, I I guess I am I am more concerned to spend my time responding to lose the people of Minnesota. The more immediate needs in the legislative needs of the people in and I do not have an Express preference for the nominee. What did you talk about dinner with Reagan? We talked to both about issues and the Practical process of getting endorsed. I think one of the things that those of us a couple of us had where there were freshmen that were most concerned about was his sensitivity to the electric are feeling has been than what's happening in the country now is is incorrectly being labeled as conservatives in the sense that there's nobody wants any government that all in or minimal government. What What In fact people are saying is that they want better government at less cost more at a controllable car so that they can pull the string when they're not getting the kind of quality service that they feel they deserve and that's the real issue in the net can't be characterized as conservative or liberal that's its seeds should be characterized as being responsive as being sensitive to leave as being flexible being able to change from year to year and so our questions were were aimed at his sensitivity for that, is he a meat ax person who would want to go into in the government and just cut it up regardless of whether or not he might be depriving people above needed Human Services, is he the kind of person who can look back to us as individuals and our private institutions to deliver some services or does he just busy just say anti-government we got to get rid of all, he's not he is a he is a sensitive has been and go in the state government California one of the toughest States the government For eight years and I think he think he has a good feel for the balance between government and then the appropriateness of government's role not as a as a be-all and end-all and then he has a good feel I think for for relying on individuals to the meet their needs some support from your let's take another question from Alistair. Good morning realistic for your question. Hello. I'm from Minneapolis Senator. I've known you for many years and I know you've been interested in this particular problem and I sent you a letter which is Anya that's been Washington out its concerns a proposal to increase the federal credit for State death taxes so that there will be no inheritance taxes on any individual the only taxes that will be will be the federal tax in the state will get in my proposal 80% of it. I know you've been interested in this proposition. Taking advantage of this program by calling you now so that you will be able to expose your views or expound your views. I should say to the people of the state of Minnesota. I'm sure you're in favor of the proposition that more of the estate of a dead person should go to his family and thanks for the for the question who took this position early in the campaign because I I learned from so many people all over this state that the the the dramatic impact the taxes death taxes were having on the family and because I feel so strongly about the family. I have made of a whole variety of of proposal that would change and in some cases eliminate the taxes on death and then the simple theory that we already taxed in so many ways as we develop the value of our assets. During our lifetime but it seems very inappropriate to retox all of that. Then on death. Now with certain all of this is with certain limitations to people who are leaving substantial states to a person's with not participate in any way in in the crewing those estate. There is a role for taxation there. But when you talk about the family fireman the small business in the average person who's leading in the state to a to a widow or two children, I think generally that we we go over for it and both are estate taxes. Okay? Very good. Duke skorich is on the line with us now from kbgr television in Duluth. He's an anchor there an assistant news director. Good morning Duke. There was a report of the Environmental Protection Agency. They would have a significant deterioration on The Boundary Waters canoe area and environment and the second question. I want to know your feelings on that air quality treaty with Canada. And then much of Duluth in northern. Minnesota has been designated as a non-attainment areas for the Clean Air Act of 1982 Provisions. I want to know your position on the announcement Yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency module. Okay, thanks. I hope I can do this quickly in the studio with me by the name of Larry Cole. It was around about 10 years ago. When we first started addressing the issue of the environment in northern Minnesota in the bath time, Larry and I and Harold Harold and when he was governor propose that we have to start working with Canada and with the other states around the Great Lakes on this whole issue of of environment both water and air pollution at that time. Some of these so-called environmental is laughed at us. They thought we were trying to dodge the issue and I think right now it's it's very very clear to you and everybody else. If you can't do any of these things in a vacuum, I've talked to the vice president about his negotiations discussions with the Canadiens on this issue and he was smart enough to to see this sort of thing coming and I'm sure that we've got to work our way towards this an international Joint Commission approach to resolving these dishes we have that same problem between Duluth and Superior Duluth isn't on attainment area for air quality. But who controls the winds that blow from the blow a grain dust from Wisconsin into Duluth, which which create the problems in Wisconsin has lesser in a lesser air quality standards in Duluth has and that becomes of becomes a real problem in that area so much for anyone in any one time and they said a certain standard and the in the process of applying for a permit to construct a new building or a new Factory or something like that that might contaminate the air you have to be able to show that you're doing something in your community to reduce the particulate in the air to a certain degree in order to permit you to to get you a permit to another building that might add to it. I see a very good we have time for one more question is 2 minutes before 11. If you can keep your question short will will take it from me. Good morning. And I'm calling you guys to the fiscal year 1980 budget was President Carter submitted to Congress this week and my question relates to the different priorities reflect in the budget on one hand President Carter's called for major increases in the fence side another hand. He called for cuts across the board. It mean domestic programs such as jobs health Urban Development senior citizens and Other domestic problems which helped the people my question is, how do you view this increase in the military and cuts and domestic spending I look at them is not an either-or proposition, and I think that that's what we all have to do it. I can't tell you whether I support 126 billion dollar defense budget when I know that within that there's an awful lot of what you might be called might be called waste. I think you read just yesterday that that the defense department overrule the Navy Department. They're going to they're Canadian affect waste an extra 37 million dollars by retrofitting an aircraft carrier up in Philadelphia to fulfill a campaign promise rather than doing it down more cheaply down in Newport News. There's all kinds of that stuff in the defense Budget on The Human Side the disappointment I guess in Carter's budget. Is it all he's doing is cutting old 15 year old program what I'm going to be doing and I think some of the other Congress when we doing his thing we can meet those same human needs at Alessa rate of Financing and with with better quality programs if we if we going to start working on new program rather than just a dealing with the budget cuts on Old 15 year old program. That's all the time we have this morning. Thanks very much for being here with us and thanks to the highway patrol for getting you here this morning to incidentally you were your Minneapolis office phone number I would imagine if people can call that if they want to get 725-6111. That's 725-6111. If you didn't get a question in this morning that you you want to get to get to Senator dirnberger. The time is 11 and this is Minnesota Public Radio a listener supported service.