Paul Wellstone, Minnesota U.S. senator (D), discusses the Senate. Topics include cuts, balanced budget amendment, social programs, and endowments. Wellstone also answers listener questions.
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Remember all those stories. We used to hear comparing the president and the Congress the all-powerful executive running roughshod over the faceless House and Senate. Well, if those stories ever were very accurate, they don't appear to be this year. This has turned out to be one of the most interesting Congressional sessions in memory. Most of the attention has focused on the republican-controlled house, but with its contract with America, but the Senate may eventually turn out to be even more interesting. The Senate of course is wrestling with the same issues about the outcome is far less certain Minnesota Democratic. Senator Paul wellstone despite there being in the minority finds himself right in the middle of all the action in the Senate and Senator wellstone to stop by today to discuss some of the issues that the Senate has wrestling with and to take your questions. The people already on the line Senator lot of questions. What's more rewarding?Being in the majority or being in the minority know cuz you seem like that kind of a feisty guy who might actually enjoy the the the role of the minority perhaps a little more. Well first being in the majority because I mean I tried to be in the middle of the action, you know for several years now Carrie and I liked it better when you know in markup and committees with amendments writing legislation passing things. I mean, I really love public policy in that sense and I would far prefer the Democrats be in the majority from the point of view what I believe in but I'm also love my work even being in the manari. I mean, you know, I can't feel sorry for myself. This is like as big an opportunity as anybody could ever have in their life to be a senator from Minnesota. And as a lot of people upset in the Democratic party, a lot of Republicans say apparently in some of their caucus meetings. I'm sort of someone that they have to contend with because I'm used to going against the grain. I'm on the floor, you know.Ready to take people on that with hay or bitterness but you know ready to fight for a hardened and I think it was saying that you're not going to see this agenda just ramrod it through at all, and I certainly feel like this is a very historic moment in our country and some major major debate over the heart and soul of America and where we go over the next decade into the next Century in and I'm very proud to be there in and plan to kind of stay very true to what I believe in centigrams said the day he expects the balanced budget amendment will pass the Senate within the next 10 days what's easy to make a prediction of the time. It was a date certain boat. It's it's February 28th. So, I mean, they'll be a vote on February 28th. That's public knowledge.I think something very close. I think it's going to be very close. I'm really I think most people are saying it's going to pass by a couple of Oats. I'm not yet ready to say that I just don't know for certain and I'm going to working very hard in opposition to it because I think it's a huge mistake for the country and a huge mistake for Minnesota politically very popular. What's wrong with balancing the budget at some point the nation does have to do that absolutely in and I'm all for continuing the deficit reduction and balancing the budget sometime but there are a number of ways in which this is I think fundamentally flawed especially when you're talkin about amending the Constitution first, there was an amendment last week that was defeated that would have separated the capital budget from the operating budget, you know, I don't know about you but I don't chill and I don't cash flow our mortgage and we don't use by our home. I mean that's an investment for the Future No, ever keep saying balance your budget like a family willWhen it comes to our kids going to college in in and what we pay for a car or a home that's a capital investment investment in the future. We pay for it over. Of time not right away, but and Minnesota doesn't budget accept by separating that out the capital investment Park, but in this you don't that's a huge flaw. The second thing is I am very very suspicious of this failure. And I'm the one that's been forcing this but the vote on this to specify where you're going to make the cuts. Look I've had him and saying we should be clear where we make the cut. So Minnesota's know that was voted down we had in Memphis TN Social Security trust money should be considered after reduction that was voted down had Amendment saying don't do anything to create more hunger and homelessness among children that was voted down Russ Feingold and I had to rush my and go join the same. How about 425 billion dollars the tax loopholes deductions and sometimes tax Dodges in 1 year to large corporations and financial institutions. Let's at least consider that that was voted down soap. And then in the meantime you got people talking.More tax cuts. I'm opposed to broad-based tax cuts when your time to deficit-reduction and raising the Pentagon budget. I asked you I asked anybody how you going to cut 1.3 trillion dollars between now and 2002 there's been silenced on that and the reason is going to be deep Cuts in higher Edge in Medicare and Medicaid nutrition programs. Whereas those people have the most political cloud or not going to be asked to tighten their belts, isn't it? True that critics suggest that the problem with lift the man to specify to cut is that really what you're trying to do here is just mobilize the special interests. The people that would be affected by those cuts in and essentially block the amendment as opposed to a more forthright approach to this forthright is being willing to make the choices. I mean forthright as being willing to Aunt tube to to be honest with people about where you're going to going to make the cuts and make those choices upfront. You know, what are called special interest. It's a sort of a surprise as me.It seems to me that when older people in Minnesota senior citizens or children or educators are worried about where these Cuts going to take place and and wonder why there aren't Cuts military contractors. I wonder why or wonder why you're not willing to go after these loopholes and deductions and wonder why you're not going to have health care reform that would really contain costs have every reason to do that. Why would they speak for themselves? There sure are a whole lot of other people in Washington that represent themselves. I don't agree with that at all. I am very prepared to vote on any budget. I'm prepared to be accountable. I think you have to balance the budget eventually but this is flawed doesn't separate capital from operating doesn't specify where the cuts are going to take place and and therefore, I mean, it's fundamentally flawed.When assuming it passes the Congress and comes down to the States, what would be your advice to the legislators in Minnesota? Should they vote for this for against the cement on the basis of how much money is involved for Minnesota and other words how much money we have lose or on the principle of the need to balance the budget? Well, let me first of all just ask people that are listening to consider this proposition. I mean do you think that we should be voting I've said this on the floor of the Senate we don't even know what we're voting on. We have no budgets for the budget committee. Nothing specified as to how we're going to cut 1/4. How do I know what the choices are if these tax subsidies for large corporations were considered if we weren't going to have these tax cuts and raising the Pentagon budget and cutting another as I might be Fort Wright. How do I know how to vote when I don't even know where the cuts are going to take place that's outrageous and then the argument is well, but you know what?Specify cuz then a lot of people wouldn't vote to the argument is a lot of senators and representatives would vote for balanced budget amendment. If you specified where the cuts were going to take place is that an argument for not being straightforward. I asked you at the state level live as the legislative leadership to set up a task force and look at the impact and legislators are going to have to decide for themselves. I am prepared to say that they're going to be without a doubt. There's no question about it. The evidence is irreducible and irrefutable. There will be deep deep Cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and higher education and some veterans programs and Child Nutrition program, which will have a very severe impact on our state and either minnesotans will walk away from children walk away from senior citizens walk away from education or guess what we'll end up having to pay for it in Minnesota. And then those other states that don't pay for it. Okay, especially with the poor citizens. You'll probably want to come to Minnesota. I think this is got some real serious serious consequences that people have not been straightforward.So, I think it would be a mistake from Minnesota to ratify. This Our Guest today is a Minnesota senator Paul wellstone from Minneapolis Frank. Go ahead going to be our lecture at the at the First Unitarian Society. Thank you for the invitation, and we have followed your exploits in the sentence with great anticipation. We know that you're fighting for the middle class in the little man. We were grateful for that. My question is what would you please comment on NAFTA Gat and the Mexican bailout President Clinton was for it. I have a felt that it was for the wealthy Rose in the middle class or the poor. Would you please comment on it? Thank you.I'll do it really briefly cuz there's so many questions coming in there were reasons why the number of reasons why I post nap too and the general agreement on trade and tariffs but I sent a reason was that I really believe that was trade agreements. There should be a linkage to Human Rights, especially child labor conditions some of the child labor conditions. In other countries are just so deplorable such exploitation that I think we should insist on other countries that we do business with hearing to some decent standards when it comes to the children. So I voted know there were other reasons as well. But that's a central core issue today. And on the bailout. I think it should have come to the Congress. I I said, so I I've heard the arguments both ways, but I had many many questions about who exactly was being bailed out what percentage of this were folks that did the investment based upon an overvalued Pace. I wouldn't do it who really benefits. I didn't feel like there was a real answer to those questions and and I would have beenHard-pressed supported gyms on the line for St. Louis Park Lancer service in liberals who think about the matter are very concerned. I know I was very concerned that someone like Michael Huffington could buy his nomination and then almost won the senate seat because he had so much money to spend right now here in Minnesota. You may actually benefit by the fact that I have respect for you to buy shirts, but I think I should be other competitors and yet I'm already told by many people no one else will have the money to be able to get the nomination. Rudy boschwitz. What do you think about the idea of the cutting off all organizational contributions and not allow and allowing only individual contributions from people who vote in an election that is any individual can contribute in Minnesota certain amount and then anyone in the congressional district could could contribute and that would be the only contributions allowed.Another was not you meant not. Vote but you meant just for minnesotans. Yeah, because there's a difference. It'd be pretty hard to have to put it in on your proposal would run into a buzzsaw gym. If you said. Got it, if you don't vote you can't contribute. Well, let me let me let me try and give this some contacts. First of all, I really do whatever we disagree on. I think we agree on this question of of campaign Finance reform. I'm going through it right now in gym, I'm running and and for years and years I had many many amendments fought for not years and years, but for the time I've been in there for campaign Finance reform and now I'm trying to figure out how to do it. Here's what I'm hoping for. I'm hoping that there will be a greeman whether it be with Rudy boschwitz with Rudy boschwitz her someone else that we could agree on some overall limit, you know, there's no reason why people need to raise 8 9 million dollars or whatever for a race at, Minnesota.That we could agree as to how we raise the money and and you know, maybe that would that would be in agreement. For example, no Pac money you talked about special interest. And in addition in exchange for that we would agree to in the media has to play its part. It seems to me to make democracy work that there would be a debates in each congressional district and they would be widely covered and people would know about it and in exchange for that we would not do any of the one thing you didn't mention was just a vicious personal.Attack ads that are just manipulative that cost a lot of money and they don't add one damn thing to anybody's knowledge about the candidates or about public affairs. Minnesota would be the talk of the country if we could reach some agreement like that and that's what I'm going to be proposing to Rudy boschwitz or or if it's somebody else and I'd really like to do it that way. It's real hard about whether everything should be just come from within Minnesota. You have to have an agreement on a real love spending limit which would be fine with me. If you could get such an agreement. If not, then then, you know, you do raise money from outside the state I will tell you one thing that you know, certainly that the majority vast majority. My money will come from Minnesota, but I I I'll raise money from citizens around the country as well at least right now because that sort of the rules that we're living with him, but I would love dearly love to get a handle on this.Have you are and I hope that's okay with I mean, I hope that meets with the least part of your approval gym because we could be the Talk of the Nation if we did man this next campaign differently and I'd like for Minnesota to be a model if you got any reading from that Rudy boschwitz, whether he go along with that too. Program, well, he's talked about it a limit of $200 for this year. But as I've said, but that's just this year. And then this question what can you contribute out of your own pocket? I think we have to have a limit their I'm going to be making some suggestions to him very soon. And and I'm hoping that we can reach some agreement and and it would be good. If frankly both parties would agree. You know, I think Rudy boschwitz has a good strong Head Start. He's very active you'll be a very very difficult opponent But ultimately you don't know and so it'd be good. If you could get the parties to make some agreement, that would be great. What is what would be the problem with the federal government passing a law which would forbid campaign contributions from anyone other than those people who would be represented by the person being elected you could do you could doBut I mean in the apps that I wouldn't be posted at the wrong person that would bring you collecting money. Nationwide would be people running for president never cross should be in there you could do it but in the absence of doing it then here's the problem you could do it. But but such a law hasn't been past you could certainly would have some requirement that overall percentages that's another way of doing it. But if you do Gary then there's a couple things I think would have happened as well one would be good to have to have a lower limit on expenditures and you really have to get television agree to some debates and have much more of a focus on that. And finally you got to make sure that it's fair to the Challenger. I'm in, but I say it that way because quite often the incumbent has the advantage of Name ID and all the rest and you got to make sure that the challengers got some way if you have real low limit really getting the exposure and again that's depending on a media that will cover the issue some cover the campaign, but that'd be fine me right now. I raise it raise individual.Majority of Minnesota but also from people in other states everybody does because we're stuck within the system. Although as I said, I'm going to be laying out some proposals that I think would make Minnesota model David is trying to line up for Minneapolis for the next question go ahead and have lots of experience and went to a good school and everything and I work primarily as an engineering technicians technician build breadboards and did low-level design and things like that. And I also worked as is a line Tech in all those jobs have been replaced by computers any line text, you know, where your debugging product at the end of the assembly line are virtually no longer there because all those boards are being debugged and everything by a computer what I used to do it. You don't need bread boards anymore. That's all done a computer by the engineer and and prototypes and everything andThe designs go direct to another computer which lays out the chip replacing the draftsman that used to do that job. And we're with all the computerization of so many High-Tech high skilled jobs that are there being done by computer machine as seen a lot of those jobs being done by computer me takes a guy to load the thing but there are fewer and fewer jobs as a result where the jobs in the future going to be. Yeah, I think David that I don't want to be glib and I think it's a real thoughtful question. And and I don't think I can answer it fully. I think that that the jobs will be first of all still they will be kind of jobs a high-value labor and high-value products and some of that does have have to do with you know, technology and Technology policy in our country even give him what you said. I think that's going to be part of where jobs are going to be even givenThe problems that you've identified second of all, I think that there are certain, you know, really? Promising opportunities in Minnesota that are much more to small business sector which I like because it means that the decisions that get made, you know about Kaplan vestment. Our communities aren't made halfway across the world or halfway across the country and if we would be willing to do a better job by way of access of capital for small business people. We got some real possibilities take Minnesota biomass to electricity some of the things we're now doing an agriculture that add value to our products third of all and I think frankly this technology that you were talking about enables people to really have a real shot at it at the small business level. I'm if we're willing to create a Level Playing Field third of all, I do believe that eventually We're going to have to make people investments in certain decisive areas of life. Like what we do with our children and what we're doing in our communities and Healthcare and and jobs and education. I think I think we're going to eventually have to do more community-based programs. And I think there will always be a real need for men and women that that work in that area. But I mean, I think you raised a real you raised a deep question and that answer wasn't glib because I don't want to be glib but it was not satisfactory X callers from Michigan curious about the administration's support for privatization of the FAA and I've the report that I heard on the radio just a little while ago said it would seem to suggest that procurement and Personnel procedures were one of the major problems. Well if their problem for the FAA, aren't they a problem in general for federal agencies and is privatization of the federal government piece-by-piece the best way to deal with it finally what input will the Senate and the house have in this whole process of privatization and I'll hang up and listen. I did catch it beginning for gas, Michigan Jeff. I can't give you a sort of Up-to-date analysis of of where things are at with FAA, you know, sometimes what happened in Senate is like, you know, you're kind of other things are staring you in the face and I and I again don't want to over generalize in general. I think the sort of push for privatization, you know, you ask what's going to happen will be looked at very very carefully in the Senate. There are many of us who believe it is quite one thing to talk about, you know, too much centralization and too much bureaucracy. I think that was a fair criticism. I think that's very much the blue piece in the country and I accept that I think it's I think it's valid but there's a difference between saying that and just simply saying that we're going to privatize so much of what we've been doing in the public sector when that that privatizing can in fact be less protective of consumers less protective of safety where the bottom line becomes the only lining and I can just tell you I'm going to be Fun Center that's going to look at that very very carefully. I'm not at all persuaded by some of this push your record FAA included Eric your next. Good. I actually have a couple of questions. First one is in the new Republic. I was reading an editorial about the balanced budget amendment that we would be abdicating. The Congress would be abdicating the power to not only cut spending but also to raise taxes to the courts. I was wondering what you're feeling is on that with the feeling in general among among congress's on that. And also what you're what you're feeling is about right now about the funding for Public Broadcasting in for the National Endowment for the Arts and how that's going to fare on your side. I mean, we I think we are going to happen in the house. But what's going to happen now, hang up and listen. Well listen on first of our kind of balanced budget amendment and again, I'm going to try and be brief cuz of all the calls coming in. So I'm not doing Justice to a particular question. They're all really good. You know look without trying to ingratiate myself with minnesotans are being self-righteous. It is politically unpopular position to be opposed the balanced budget minute. I can tell you A lot of people that are up for re-election. The cycle are very nervous about being against it. But this is a very big thing we're about to do, you know, you don't take this lightly and above and beyond some of the issues that I raised earlier about this. I think there are some very very very serious constitutional questions serious constitutional questions or having to do with the role of the Judiciary having to do with what the supermajority vote or how this is all going to be done. No question about it shouldn't be taken lightly at all and I don't take it lightly and I'm going to oppose it. I told people Minnesota time opposed to it even with the poll showing tremendous support that when you break it down to specific people aren't so sure on the endowment. And the you know, the the money spent on the Endowment for the Arts is equivalent to two post stamps per year. That's what people getting taxed. That's what they're spending and I'll just tell you coming from a state that ranks about number anywhere from number three to number six or seven in the United States of America in terms of some federal money that come in here and leverage wonderful Arts programs that are tied to kids tied to community and tied to richness of life. I'm I'm very big supporter. It's just an outrageous attack in my opinion and then what the argument is all well, you know, but what about hungry children? That's not the trade-off. That's what they're doing. That's what I was I was meeting with older people today. They're sort of like you're older people and you care about Medicare you don't care about children. Those are not the only choices finally on National Public Radio work Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I think that the proposed the argument that this is all just sort of a Sandbox for the rich is outrageous. It's valued. I'm a father and a grandfather the children programs on Commercial TV. Let me just be blunt or by and large crap. They're horrible. This is the one place where you got these and children programs in rural areas. If you just simply pull the plug a lot of these stations aren't going to be able to survive and it's real important to of information and finally get some peace and public affairs. You know, we have this call in at Subs in the knot 10 seconds. Soundbite. I just think it's all out ideological attack and it just goes too far. What do you think is going to happen in the well, I think in the Senate, I mean, I think it's not going to be although Senator Dole on this one including with something called independent television service, which is a couple years I've You know sounds like bragging have been able to do a good job of keeping this going. It's wonderful. It's located here in our state. They're going to it's going to be real tough for them. That's an offshoot where you do a lot more Multicultural programming Centerville has been really on this one. It's not just Newt Gingrich and he's not been you know, he's been a very strong supporter, but I I don't think it's going to be a limitation on my fear is that there's going to be such severe cuts of funding that it won't be defective elimination, but in the rule areas, you take Appleton where I visited with Pioneer public television, it won't be defective elimination, but the cuts in the funds will be so severe. That when they that they would just won't be able to keep going and that's I think the real problem and you talk to people in Greater Minnesota. You ask them what they think about public TV or public radio and it's real important to him. Paul is on the line now from Blaine with our next question. Go ahead sir at the State Fair couple of times. I working out State Community Mental Health and I'd like to come in the senator and his wife for his work in regards to the PTSD work that we in paper and and Sheila's work in the area of domestic violence. She has that the pleasure of joining us up in more of this coming month and speaking about domestic violence. I really appreciate your passion and the deeds in your efforts. I have a two-part question if I can in regards to the Constitutional question, I believe that you're actually a conservative constitutional legislator if we look back from 1980 forward, I believe your record supports a constitutional amendment in regards to the ER a but if we look at the Reagan Republican hero of 1984 word I'd like you to please comment on the number of Constitutional Amendments that the Republicans have offered in in amending our Constitution and I appreciate your conservative perspective on the Constitutional questions that are being raised. My second part question. What is the number, you know the number for prayer life budget amendment perhaps, you know more what committees and what what aspects of government are open for public viewing and how would we meet yourself or representative looser out in Washington DC and I'll hang up right? I'm going to take the question reverse. I think if you just call the office here in Minnesota, and I forget the Greater Minnesota number right now I should have it but they are office at 612-645-0323 and talk to Marsha Kelly or just give us advance notice and it's just great to see people I am I love it. So and I'm sure that Congressman Luther or for that matter any any senator represent a Republican or Democrat bring gifts to your walleye walleye walleye the second thing is The other really effective way by the way a meeting with people from the delegation people. Like I wish people would do more of it back home. I think there can be real good sessions back home since DC such an expensive airplane trip away. And I think there should be more accountability sessions back in her own State on the Constitutional Amendments you are right in the sense that that I do think that there has to be a very very strict standard before you move in this kind of Direction and while I don't agree with Robert Byrd on all issues. I do think that sort of he's going to go down in history for some of the statements some of the speeches. He's given on the floor of the senate in the last several weeks raising these very very questions that you raised. And then finally, I've got a mention on post-traumatic since PTSD was mentioned and I really really thank you and I didn't get a name. Sheila was really looking forward to come in tomorrow and we'll work on Family Violence, but I wish everybody a Minnesota new what post-traumatic stress syndrome really is all about and it can come Gary from you know, something awful. Tapped a woman has been raped Horry earthquake, but in particular yesterday, we were the VA Center. We got some additional funding for treatment for veterans not just Vietnam Vets though many come from Vietnam. And so many that's a color office that say they're they're homeless and have a place to go. They suffer from PTSD. It affects them. It affects their families effects of community. I've had people call the office and talk about, you know, taking their life and it's really, you know, it's people who really deeply scarred by War and really struggling in and we really do have to do a better job of reaching out and provide some support just to clarify that by the way, we were only joking about the gifts that you have to bring the center than I think everybody wasn't joking about the wall. I high I teach at 10 Minneapolis Edison High School, and we've been discussing welfare reform in class and number of my students have asked how is welfare reform might affect Refugee families particularly fan. That may not have the education or the English proficiency to get jobs that can support their families. Would there a be cut off after a number of years? I hope not first of all, I thank you for your work as a teacher II. First of all, you know one proposal in the in the quote personal responsibility act which is the welfare reform Act is too pissed to essentially end. So what I meant about sort of where we're heading all support for legal, I didn't say you legal legal immigrants big issue. I'm sitting here right now in st. Paul, you know, Southeast Asian Community. I mean a lot of these illegal immigrants are going to you know, they're just going to get cut off and and I think there's going to be very very serious problems. And again either we pick it up at our local level City level or we just walk away from people so I can't answer the question yet as to what's going to happen. I'm opposed to those kinds of cuts. I think I think it's just unconscionable cruel and unconscionable and a lot of the older people and never going to be able to learn the language to the point where they're going to become citizen the second thing on welfare reform Carol, you didn't ask, but just to mention two students. Almost everybody. I know it's for welfare reform the key issue is to make sure it's before man. Reformatory. It's reform if with a single parent for talk about Aid to families with dependent children almost always a woman and not 12 children, but the typical families to Children if if she's able to go for welfare-to-work fair and that means a job that she can support herself on and there's some family child care me and you know, you have small children what happens to them to some piece of portable childcare and you don't lose your health care coverage while you're making the transition, it's great. I mean that most most women that I know on welfare want to be independent that since the problem is I don't see any commitment of resources to do in this and so if it's just two years in you're out and there's no job training no literacy training no affordable family child care, which is not just an issue for welfare mothers, but for many many families in in our state of Minnesota long waiting list right now, then it becomes punitive and degrading and who gets hurt. The children do that's what I meant. When I said reforma not Reformatory, but of course, this is welfare bashing. It's easy to do the great hot-button issue and Welfare mothers are not exactly the people who have all the money to get on CBS and NBC and ABC and and represent themselves with advertisements Republicans have been criticized for being overly harsh and punitive. What what about the Democrats in Congress though? Because their plan is not substantially different ones. I've heard of people that's hot button issue and you know her these reports about how when people talk about we need what we need is more workfare unless welfare and you know, it just goes right off the chart and turns it help people but we have had in our state, you know, we have the work opportunities program. We've had some good welfare before and I've met with County Commissioners from Hennepin County. I met from people the league of cities who talked about we got some really good welfare reform proposals here in Minnesota. But I'll tell you something right now. There isn't one commissioner you talk to or one local government person or room for that matter mother who wants a look you got to do the job training is got to be a transition to work and you got to have some fordable childcare. We know you can do it, but that's not what they're talking about. How do I get bogged down on this too much, but if you provide people with those opportunities chance to get a job and they don't take advantage of it. What are you doing? Well, that's a different issue. I mean then I think we got here in our States and pretty stringent requirements of me and then you really then I think if people don't don't live up to the contract and people have had the opportunity make this transition, then you're faced with a tough situation of of what you do on welfare benefits going to thing I can say is I don't think it can be a blank check. I don't think you can say to people you just get it in perpetuity, but you got to be careful that somehow you don't end up hurting children, but you can hold people accountable. I tell you one thing no guarantee that hypothetical that you just raised. Believe it or not will not be much of a problem because the vast vast vast majority of single parents who are women trying to raise children and work would like nothing better than to be able to make this transition. They really want to it's not true that you got all these Slackers and cheaters and all the rest. It won't happen. It'll hardly happen at all. But a lot of the stuff is punitive and degrading and I'm going to oppose it and I think democrats should have more courage and you know what, my name is alternative will be a family child care bill, but not just for welfare mothers. I look at Minnesota. I know what the waiting lists are affordable child care going up to at least moderate working income families, you ask young families whether or not parents whether or not affordable child care is a big huge huge huge issue and problem for them Marge your question for Senator wellstone place. Yes my question. In the area of what I consider to be an oppressive on a federal agency whose regulations have just become a little bit overblown. And so the agency isn't really serving us and I'm just wondering maybe what's your perspective is and if you have any ideas as to where we can go for some help on it. I'm going to condominium associations. Whereby just a couple months ago. We were refused our FHA recertification because it's claimed that we don't follow step one, two, three, four five of their of the local offices formula for becoming certified and we've tried to call them and talk to them and explain that we think that we're being fiscally responsible and that we have a property appraiser plans, but they still refuse to consider us and word that you know, the only recourse that we know have is to try and maybe talk to some some of our Representatives. Well, I have any ideas. What district where do you live Marsh a couple of things I want is, you know, you should call our office and talk to Diana King. I mean, we you know, we get hundreds of calls a day and we try to you know, I don't want to over-promise but we are always willing to to listen and when we can make calls that can be helpful with people having trouble with different bureaucracies we do so so do call Diana King and also call, you know, I think you can call your Congressman as well. The second thing I want to mention to you is you know, it's interesting hearing what you said the truth of the matter is I think almost everybody in Minnesota and has had an experience has been pretty unpleasant with a bureaucracy and that's with him. I want to just make it crystal clear that you know, when people say things have become too centralized and too many of these decisions are away from people that live in communities. I think they're right. And and I think that there was a lot of anger last election and I think people had a right to be angry. What I don't like is the bait-and-switch. We're in the name of making things more decentralized. We actually don't make them that much more decentralized because we stopped we don't really get it to the community level but it becomes bait-and-switch because really what we're doing in the name of making things more decentralized as we remove a lot of the funding that came at the federal level. If you remove the funding, then you put the responsibility back on State and local communities for funding indecisive areas, like healthcare for example, or housing and all of the rest where we can't do it because it becomes our property tax system, which is very regressive. That's what I think is so wrong about what's going on right now at Scholars from Hopkins now, being straightforward and honest about tax cuts You know where? All that money went and if there was any irresponsible spending, are you going to take responsibility for it? I mean if you want to be straightforward and honest where did all that money go? And Keeping with the budget. Republicans are going to take control of the budget. From the Democrats and the Democrats been blaming Reagan and Bush for all these high deficits and running up. Well, we are. At midnight a couple points out. First of all, what I said was on on the tax cuts was that I think the sort of notion of and you and I might agree on this is sort of notion of right now advocating broad-based tax cuts politically popular, but you know, it's very difficult. It's a huge contradiction. That's a production at the same time. You talked about reducing the deficit you're talking about massive tax cuts 200 billion over the next five years and and then really much more in the future that doesn't make a lot of sense. It's just not fiscally responsible. Do I take responsibility for every single government program all over the United States of America know I do my best on budgets and vote accordingly and try and do my best to hold the government accountable. But I mean, it's a little Tippy a big claim for me to say that I know everything that's happening everywhere in the United States of America on every single federal government program. And then finally as to who is responsible look why don't we just say this play? I blame to pass around as opposed to going back and forth on the part of something and then I think the challenge right now for some the domestic level is to deal with two deficits. I tried to make consistent about this the budget deficit which people talk about a lot but also the investment deficit I will tell you right now if we don't do better by way of our children and we don't do more investment in some of these kids in this country right now. We're going to pay the price over and over and over again and I'm big I'll continue to say that these areas of children education and Healthcare areas that cannot be ignored. What's your reading on President Clinton's budget. Do you think they've been charges he's actually is. I walked away from any meaningful effort to control the deficit fact the deficit grows up a little bit in the proposed all the cuts. Did I just say? Yeah, I mean, it's I mean it's there's two points to be made one is I think you're not going to get a handle on on the really to entitlement programs that have really exploded Medicaid and Medicare unless you ration deeply which is about the direction. We're heading in right now, unless you do Health Care reform serious health care reform and I see no evidence. That's really what the Republican contract doesn't have a word about it nor does it have a word about corporate welfare and and I think a standard of fairness I think President Clinton has decided that given all this attack and given all of this. So there's certain amount of sort of disingenuous to sort of say we're going to make all these cuts and not specify he's essentially saying to the Republicans you spell it out and that is a few sedative. The movie. Yeah, they're both and that's exactly what's going on right now who's going to step up to the plate and spell it out? Jim your question for Senator wellstone in our country where we have coverage for every American and every Americans covered no matter what the health history does this mean that we will be dismantling the medical part of the VA as we know it. I don't think so because I mean there are some who have argued that we should do so that it would be the most if you will rational way. I was over at the Medical Center yesterday show and I were over there yesterday afternoon Jim and I feel pretty strongly that veterans just consider the VA medical system to be a part of a sacred contract, you know, they view it as an earned entitlement since we're using the word entitlement and I think it will be kept separate and I think it should be kept separate. But then the challenge will be to make sure that it does have the adequate funding this Medical Center here is a an oasis compared to much of what I've seen around the country and that's a whole other story. But in many many ways anybody who thinks that the veterans across United States of America or you know with are getting kind of healthcare treatment that they need and deserve a wrong. I mean in some in many many cases that's not happening Russell's on the line for Minneapolis with a question for Senator wellstone Center. Do I do have a comment? I'd like to make on welfare reform in the last decade. We seen this spread between rich and poor grow astronomically in the state of Minnesota. We seen tax policy I think by more people into poverty than Turn lack of jobs. We we shifted taxes off of their back onto the backs of the lowest lowest Grinders in the form of regressive tax and sales taxes on property taxes, and now they want to reform welfare and make sure that these people go to go to work in the summer. I think it was will still not support them. So I think this is a real demagoguery. Well the welfare benefits, especially if we're really talking about afdc and something called supplementary security income which is for older people and disabled people amounts to 1% of the federal budget. So it is a bit there is a you're right about the bashing part Russell. The one thing I want to mention since you mention the business Community there have been people like Jim being around others here in Minnesota from the business Community. I'm kind of proud of the business community in Minnesota on the Children's issues because they have been very forthright and have said Manny Jackson and others that from the point of view of the business community in Minnesota. It's very very important not to abandon children some of these you know what we call prevention programs in the crime Bill some of the early childhood development programs and really provide the kids with some support to a growing up in real difficult circumstances business Community. Minnesota has been pretty supportive of that and I'm really appreciative of it. So you Rodger your next calling from noon. You got it. Yes, sir. I wish to start off by thanking you for the good job. You've been doing for us all on current issues. Thank you for welfare and health care. I have a question. Why is the u.s. Immigration service legally empowered to harass US citizens and accompanying for a national legally entering the US your Minnesota office. Tried was powerless to help resolve the problem involving a member of my own family. And this was a boy. I don't know the specifics and I'm sorry for that. But I do know that sometimes immigration service can have a very heavy hand and this is a good example of I'm not to take cheap shots out of butt is a good example. What you say is a good example of what I've said at least three times on the show today, which is it's not surprising that people get pretty angry at the federal government and some of these agencies because they're they're all too often is a lot of insensitivity and we deal Rodger was talking about we deal with these kind of situations a lot. I'm just really sorry to hear him say that we weren't able to help on this really really am Richfield. Go ahead. I like to thank senator wellstone for making single-payer healthcare part of the debate. It seemed like they try not to do that and I've been to Canada if you want to take the people love it up there. Play my question was the interest on the national debt at just got to me and comprehensible that the corporate world. What do these people got over at 2 or two or three quick answers one on the appreciate your bringing up the whole issue of Peace quote tax expenditures and and part of that is pharmaceutical company breaks in Puerto. Rico has a nice ring to it. You know, it sounds like well if we can get just get rid of this waste of government and so on so if it what Actually, yeah, you can't you can't get rid of it's interesting because that's actually what I was so help me going to say which is that it's 425 billion. This is Joint tax Committee of of essentially loopholes deductions you-name-it many of which by the way over half of which were in effect for 1950 not all of them. You were I would want to get rid of for example to the deduction on interest on mortgage payments. I think that if people feel like that's a really good middle-class program, but you could make very very significant Cuts in this area be talking about big money. Here's what's interesting. Now, I challenge you would you give me this inquiry and journalist look is not just a speech on your call-in show Derek Russ Feingold. So reasonable the wording of our Amendment just said, this just said this I would have gotten your vote. It said did I say send it should at least vote that when the budget committee looks at where we're going to make the cut. All of this if you will corporate welfare will at least be considered that we will at least consider Some Cuts in this area. We didn't even specify where that was voted down. That's my point. That's where you get to the whole issue of who you're asking to tighten their belts and who are you not asking that's really the point. I'm trying to make you know, I would tell you there's huge amounts of money. I mean maybe what we should do is a as you know, you say well for 2 years and you're off maybe we should take two years and all this God, but you see I think that's a little bit too across the board. But there is a significant amount of money that were talking about that should be considered when we're talkin about deficit reduction or how we fund I need a program. I would have had to go with me both Direction on single-payer. It's not going to happen this session. I appreciate there is, I am going to introduce the number of initiatives that I hope cover children cover women expecting children full deduction for self-employed people Homebase care, which is so important for older people people with disability and finally insurance company reform so they can't deny coverage two people be Condition or illness bits and pieces forward or just run out of time. So I got to run down to the run down the list here. Okay crime bill or is the Seneca to do pass something that the presents can be able to sign. I hope so I think some of the I think some of the attack on the prevention programs. It's just outrageous and frankly this some other things that are pretty outrageous that are going to be tough for me cuz they're popular but they're just not right on habeas corpus and exclusionary rule. This gets to be more technical someday. We'll talk about it. But you know, we do have a constitution was supposed to live by Surgeon General nominee Henry Foster what's going to happen with him? I think it's going to be I think the support for him is really starting to build battle. Go before the committee that I'm on labor in Human Resources committee, and I don't know what the boat will be yet. But I think it's I think you're starting to see a real change in terms of the mood of the country. Do you get the sense that the opposition to him is largely principled opposition people who are genuinely concerned. What about his qualifications or is he the subject of a hatchet job? I don't want to call anybody on principle cuz it's too broad. You know, it's too broad a sweep. In other words. I think there's some people who are opposed to him and the principal I also think it has been on the part of some a hatchet job. What happened to Pamela Alexander who you would recommend it to be a federal judge. Why why did she eat with drawer have to withdraw when I think it was twofold number one a tremendous amount of delay, which is been a problem with this process across the board not just here in Minnesota of which I just over and over and over again was on the phone saying what are you going to move and second of all a a some you noticed a change in political climate in a party and the sort of I think people are getting very timid and washed and I think you're so Pam just said I'm not going to wait any longer. I mean two years is long enough. I have to tell you she handled herself with more grace and more dignity at the end and she did at the beginning. I believe in her more than I ever did before. And I'm very sad that it did not happen and it was cheap what she does in the community as a judge is just absolutely magnificent. Very very few. People can match it anywhere in the United States expected from you. Very soon. Very soon in charge card bring will go through and we'll have another recommendation very soon. Thank you Paul wellstone. Thanks so much to all of you been listening through the hours specially those of you tried to call him.