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A conversation with former Republican Congressmen Mike Rogers and David Camp

A conversation with former Republican Congressmen Mike Rogers and David Camp


>>I’m Susan Collins, the Joan and Sanford Wilde Dean of the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy and I’m delighted to see all of you here with us this afternoon. It’s a particular pleasure to see so many familiar faces and I’m also very honored to be able to give a special welcome to some people who are here with us today. We have the US Representative, Debbie Dingell. We’re delighted to have you here. [Applause] We also are joined by Regent Emeritus, Neil Nelson [applause]. Great to have you here. And we have the University of Michigan’s Vice President for Government Relations, Cynthia Wilbanks. Welcome Cynthia. [Applause]. I’d like to Tom Abaco and the close-up team for sponsoring today’s policy talks event, we’re very grateful to them as well. Well, while this event is the last in our policy talk series for this semester, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that we’re ending on a very high note, we do have a number of exciting events that are planned for winter term. And so we hope to see many of you back here with us for some of those events as well. Well, today’s event will be a conversation style discussion that is hosted by our very own faculty member, Congressman, Joe Schwartz. Congressman Schwartz is a US Navy veteran who also served with the CIA in Laos and Vietnam. After serving in the Michigan Senate from 1987 till 2002 he represented Michigan in the US House of Representatives from 2005 to 2007. And now in addition to his medical practice in Battle Creek, he lectures on Congress and state legislatures here at the Ford School. Thank you Joe for all you do here for us. [Applause]. Yeah. Well, Congressman Schwartz will delve more deeply into our guests experiences while they were in office shortly, but I would like to share a very quick word about each of their distinguished service before we get started. After serving two terms in the Michigan Senate, Congressman Rogers was elected as a Republican from Michigan’s Eighth District to the US House of Representatives in 2000. He served on the Energy Committee and in 2011 he became chairman of the House intelligence Committee, a position that he held until his retirement from public office earlier this year. Reflecting on Chairman Rogers tenure, former Speaker of the House, John Boehner said, “By being tough, but fair he has navigated the toughest issues we face while commanding the respect of colleagues and the intelligence community.” Congressman Camp was first elected to public office as a member of the Michigan House in 1989 and then in 1991 he was elected to the U.S. House where he served as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee from 2011 to 2015. He introduced one of our country’s most comprehensive tax reform proposals, the Tax Reform Act of 2014, which is many of you know is also known as the Camp Tax Reform Act and while the Camp plan did not pass, it is considered by many to be an invaluable guide to our country’s future tax reform efforts, and I think is well known to many who are here in this room. Chairman Rogers and Chairman Camp, thank you both for your service and for traveling to Ann Arbor to join us for this conversation today. We’re delighted to welcome both of you here.>>Thank you very much. [Applause].>>So just a quick note about today’s format. Beginning around 4:40 p.m. our staff will start collecting cards. You should have received them when you came into the room today. And then together Professor Rick Hall, together with Ford school student Teresa Emphee and John Lynn will facilitate the question and answer session. For those who you who are watching on line, please tweet your questions into us and use the hashtag policy talks. So with no further ado, it is my pleasure to turn the floor over to Congressman Joe Schwartz.>>Thank you Dean. It really is a great pleasure and an honor, and it’s a lot of fun to be back with Mike Rogers, an old buddy – I won’t recount any of our escapades in Lansing, but nevertheless, and Washington. But nevertheless, we been friends for many years. The same with Dave Camp, a distinguished member of the U.S. House, whose office in the Canden [phonic] building when I was there was just around the corner. And Mike’s was just up the hall and on the same floor I think in Canden building, as I recall. So they are good friends, they’re good guys, they were distinguished and productive members of the U.S. House. So at that I would like to start with – it’s not necessarily a question, but I would like you to observe, both of you the happenings in the United States House of Representatives. Let’s say, in the last 10 months since you left how it has affected the House. How it has affected the ability of the House to get the job done. How it is affected the ability of the House to choose its leaders, and how it is affected the view of the House, shall we say, that the American people have, in other words, in the House, is the House still an effective legislative body? Dave.>>Well, thanks for that easy question, [laughs]. Yeah, it’s certainly been a challenging few months for them. Let me just say that, you know, a group of people figured out that with 29 votes the majority is no longer the majority. And normally those issues are resolved in caucus. You vote for your leaders in caucus, then you link arms and go forward because you have the opposition. But they took this fight really potentially to the floor, and when this happened over the summer I was looking on that. And I thought, “Why doesn’t the Speaker just bring that to a vote and vote it down. That’s how you deal with something like that. Well, clearly there was a reason why it didn’t come to a vote because it might not have been voted down. And this sort of set out there all of August and then ultimately I think the threat of a potential government shutdown really caused him, the Speaker, the current – the former Speaker to do the right thing, which was to resign and thereby open the way for this two year budget agreement that really has sort of taken some of these issues off the table. But it is a very I think a destructive thing and I think it would have been very unfortunate for the Republican brand, if you will, to have had that government shutdown, which would’ve impacted not only the Senate, U.S. Senate races, but also the presidential campaign. So, you know, that is just a very different model than certainly when I first started there where there’s, you know, certainly a greater deference to the leadership that was elected. And also to the committee process and the committee chairs, but having said that and many members of the freedom caucus I’ve met with individually on tax reform. They’re very interested in doing tax reform and I think in other – when we had the majority the other time when I was in Congress, it was also a challenging time, but we, you know, we always felt like we were kinda doing big things and I think this sense that nothing’s happening and nothing’s moving forward is building up this incredible, not only frustration in the Congress, but clearly with voters. And so I do think that you’re going to see an attempt at articulating an agenda and trying to work toward that agenda. And I to, you know, Paul Ryan said, “We want to go from the opposition party to the proposition party.” And I think that really the power of ideas are what members are wanting to do. And I saw this as I worked on tax reform with Senator Baucus, who was my Democrat counterpart at that time on the Senate Finance Committee. And we had a lot of meetings with both senators and House members on and off our respective committees. There’s this incredible desire to legislate from both parties and a very huge frustration because there’s a sense that that isn’t happening. And so I do think that you’re going to see a shift to, you know, the committees working even harder and trying to do more. So I think that this brinksmanship where it’s all about is it debt limit or is it, you know, funding the government. I think there are also other ideas that need to be, you know, brought forward and debated and vetted, and I am hopeful that we’re sort of moving into another phase and hopefully they’ve stared into the abyss and seeing that that isn’t necessarily a productive way. It doesn’t necessarily help you move issues forward, but there are sincere views that we’re not doing enough about our debt and deficit among some members. And that’s where I think this is really being driven so.>>Michael.>>I mean I think it’s been toxic and it’s probably not good for the country as a whole and I don’t think it’s just Republicans adding to that recipe. But if you looked around the world and I’ve traveled around the world. I know Dave has and I know you did a lot as a member as well. It doesn’t reflect well on our democracy. We are supposed to be the leading democracy in the world and that dysfunction I think is not helpful. So it starts there and it certainly gets closer to home. And parties we have to remember, are coalitions. Both parties are made up of coalitions. There’s no monolithic individual that you would find in either party and sometimes those coalitions rise up to different views and opinions and positions in, again, in both parties. And I think what we found was and what shocked me I think most about the last 10 months is when they came out with the list of demands, this 29 members that Congressman Camp was talking about. It wasn’t about an issue, it wasn’t about debt, it was about a process question, which tells me that they didn’t like the way the Speaker negotiated the deal. All right. If you’re a legislator and you don’t think you’re going to negotiate a deal, you probably should not be a legislator. That’s exactly what the duty calls for you to do. All right, you have to sit down with somebody you likely disagree with and come to some conclusion to move something forward. That’s the whole nature of being a legislature, and that’s what I think shocked me and I think that was adding to the acrimony of it is because if you were never happy with any solution. If you got 80% of what you want, would you take the deal? No Ninety percent of what you want? No. Ninety five percent of what you want? No. Right. That’s not healthy to democracy and I don’t think it’s healthy to the legislative branch. I guess I’m a Reagan Republican in that, where he said “I’ll take the 80% deal any day and I’ll get up tomorrow and work for the other 20.” All right. That’s just the way you push forward the things that you believe in and that part was missing. And I’m very hopeful with the new Speaker, candidly, that we can get rid of some of that acrimony. He comes in with none of that baggage of all of the old fights and all of the old disagreements. I think he’ll have a fresh face and a fresh start. He’s wickedly smart and I think he likes the idea of the notion of trying to bring people who disagree to come to a conclusion to get something done. So I am an optimist, but in politics you pretty much have to be an optimist [laughs] these days if you’re going to survive. The Republicans have a 23, 24 vote margin over the Democrats in the U.S. House now. Election coming up next year, who knows if they’re going to hold that, how much of it they’re going to hold, how big it’s going to be. The bigger question is, do you think that this Congress and its members, both Democrat and Republican are going to be able to kinda retrain themselves, reset, and be able to work across the aisle on some issues that really need to be looked at. Things like taxation problems that need to be solved, defense budget, things of that nature that really are going to need some work, but it’s going to take a bipartisan effort. Is that possible, Dave?>>Well, you know, I think it is. But, you know, I think as we talk about sort of the deal, I think the way you build consensus though is to actually have the committees do their work, where you actually have people come in, in a public forum and testify, [inaudible] issues and deal with issues. And then you’re ready to do the compromising, but you can’t I think just jump to the end game without having sort of all this background work. And a big differences there’s really a relatively new Congress. I mean, there’s a lot of newer members in terms of not necessarily young in terms of age, but in terms of time in Congress, both in the House and Senate. And I think one of the things that is going to be important going forward is that they actually do reinvigorate that and then I think I am encouraged if they do that, then you’ll have to find a way, because, look, nothing big gets done I think very well without the best ideas from both parties. And I tried to incorporate ideas that Democrats had in the tax reform draft that I used. Obviously we had working groups and bipartisan meetings and things of that nature to try to do that, because, you know, nobody has a corner on all the good ideas. You know, we like to think we do, but that’s how you get through a process where there’s divided government where, you know, yes, there’s a Republican House, but they don’t have 60 votes in the Senate, so you’re going to need Democrat support to move anything in the Senate. And there’s a Democrat president, so you’re going to need to find ways to do that. And there are opportunities. I’ve I felt very good about the direction Max Baucus and I were trying to go. You know, they promoted him to be ambassador to China and that kind of ended sort of the partnership in terms of moving that forward on tax reform, but a lot of groundwork’s been done. They’re going to do more and I think the new Speaker is going to really empower the committees. So while 16, I don’t see a lot of legislating getting done in terms of presidential signature. I do see important background work being done on a number of issues that then can be a foundation going forward, because they really will defer the candidates once we turn the corner on the first of the year. And because of the change in leadership, I think the rest of this year is going to be all they can do to sort of finish this highway funding and finish the Appropriations Bill, whether it’s a omnibus or whether it’s a continuing resolution. I think those are going to be the things that finish this year, but next year I think we’re actually be a very active year at this sort of, not necessarily the, you know, the press release level, but at the committee level.>>Mike.>>Yeah, I agree with that completely. You may have some one-off issues that you can get at in a bipartisan way in both the House and the Senate, but there’ll be smaller issues, rather than the big issues that face the country and I completely agree with Dave. If hopefully we serve next year to put those folks in a room and start working through really hard, difficult issues, you’re never going to solve the Social Security issue without putting everybody, all the players in a room, not – you don’t want to put all 400 in a room, that’s always a bad idea [laughs]. But you are going to want to have those folks in a room starting to work through their problem. So it’s always best by the end of the first months if you can identify where your differences are, so you can start bridging those differences. And it takes a long time. It sounds easy, it’s a complicated thing, so I agree – completely agree with Dave. Small issues that will happen next year, the big major issues we’re not going to see anything. I don’t even think it make it to the president’s desk.>>Mike, this one’s for you and you know it’s coming.>>Oh, oh.>>You were the expert and the Chair on matters of intelligence, the U.S. intelligence establishment the last four to six to eight years that you are in the Congress and chaired the Select Committee on Intelligence for four years. We read a lot and we see a lot about our intelligence community. I was a proud member of that committee so many years ago, you don’t even want to count them. But, nevertheless, I’m proud of that service. But we see a lot of things about Chinese intelligence service the Russian intelligence service. We work with the intelligence services of our allies, the UK, the French immediately come to mind, the Canadians. Without doing anything that would be considered breaking the vow to not divulge any classified information, could you give kind of a view from 20,000 feet of what you think the condition of the American Intelligence community vis a vis other countries intelligence communities might be?>>I think the biggest change I saw in the ten years that I was engaged in those issues in Congress was the capabilities of our adversaries were increasing. And in the last five years increasing exponentially. So their capabilities, meaning, how can they pull off an operation to steal a secret from the United States, either a business or a government secret, their operations got much better. And I will tell you that and I think most people find this shocking. They are overwhelming us with numbers. So we have more now SVR or which you would know as the KGB agents operating in the United States than we did at the height of the Cold War. We have more Chinese espionage operations being conducted in the United States than we have ever seen in history. And we weren’t used to having two large adversaries operating at the same time. And so the one thing – I think our capabilities are great. I think the patriots who signed up and do this really hard and difficult and sometimes slow work are phenomenal. I think the people coming into the intelligence services are really remarkable. But our problem is are we configured to do a what is now a two-front war, if you will, on intelligence by sheer volume. And then you add to that the capabilities of countries like Iran getting much, much better. And there are – even North Korea we see some activities that five years ago if you would have told me that North Korea could pull off a successful cyber-attack and take down, almost take down an American company I would have snickered. You know, it’s still a country with about a third of their people get electricity seven days a week, 24 hours a day was able to do that. The rapid change in all of that is really quiet concerning. Again, capability is good. I think our efforts are good. It’s now how do you deal with the sheer volume of effort targeted against the United States.>>Very quickly, which countries would you say – the intelligence services of which countries would you say are the strongest and most reliable allies of the United States?>>I think you have to go right to the five I countries, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. They’ve been with us forever. We have – operate jointly. We have complete visibility and transparency from what they do to a very large degree. I’m sure everybody keeps a little bit in the drawer, as they say in intelligence business. But we have this really robust sharing and it’s important if you want to be able to – we don’t have the resources. We need our allies to step in with their resources. I would argue those are our strongest, most reliable allies.>>Thank you. David.>>Your specialty, taxation and all of the things that surround it. Would you care to comment on the whole phenomenon that we’re seeing now of offshoring and how that’s affecting the American economy, American tax receipts, et cetera, et cetera.>>Well, we’re really out of step with the rest of the world when it comes to our tax policy, and particularly with regard to our system of taxation. We’re the only large economy left with what we call this worldwide system. Which means in order for profits turned overseas to come back, there’s a double tax paid. No other nation, really large economy does that. And it’s been a change over the last several years. We’re also the highest statutory rate in the world and the second highest effective tax rate in the world. So what really has been happening is not so much inversions or, you know, profit shifting, but foreign companies have been buying US companies. We’re a takeover target because it’s a pretty dramatic change. Other nations have been very aggressive about changing their tax laws and now we face this challenge from the OECD BEP. So I think we really do have to make a change here. You know, our business tax code was changed in ’86 under President Reagan, but the international tax laws basically date back to the ’60s. Clearly the ability for ideas and people and money to move around the world in a moment’s notice have changed dramatically since that time. There are many other viable countries to invest in besides the United States. And what the concern is, is in the future, not so much that all of Silicon Valley will be uprooted and placed in some European country, but that the innovation, the growth is going to take place outside the United States. And that is actually a big concern. So what you really want is US companies that are platformed here in the United States, that do business around the world are able to do so on an even playing field. And right now we are at a significant disadvantage. So that has actually caused some bipartisanship to break out in the Congress. Senator Hatch, the chairman of the Finance Committee in the Senate created a working group on International Taxation with Senator Schumer from New York and Senator Portman from Ohio and they issued a joint report where they basically both agreed that we needed to change to what we call a dividend exemption taxation system and find a way to have this money that’s stranded overseas because of the double tax. More than two trillion dollars has a way to regularly come back to the United States to be invested here. You know, it’s a challenging time for that sort of bipartisanship. I know Senator Schumer got some criticism on it. I know Senator Portman did. But clearly they’ve seen a path forward. That was in also HR 1, we needed to that and it was great to see that there’s some of that coming out of the Senate as well. It’ very important that we move forward on that.>>Here’s one I would really like to hear your opinions on.>>Are you sure?>>[Laughs] I think I would. Citizens United. Repeal or not repeal? Mike.>>You know, I think that transparency is important. I worry and I oppose the original law that got us to that in the first place. And I got a lot of heck for that in the beginning because I was very worried about the money that is in politics creeping to outside groups, of which you have no idea who they are. And whoever comes up with the most clever Judas name wins, right, because that’s what’s left on your answering machine. And you have no way of really getting in and finding out who is that. So, you know, maybe I’m a little old fashioned in that way, but when I saw a Republican ad and it said, “Paid for by the Republicans,” at least the viewer can go, nah, you know, it’s the Republicans, I get that. Or the same with the Democrats. We took a lot of money away from the party system and put it into these third party groups. I think at the least we should do is reform this thing, and I do think transparency helps. You should know who is giving money to these organizations that are impacting and influencing politics. I’m not big on the saying you can only give X, Y or Z, but transparency to me is the best cleaner in all of this and I think it cleans it up. So I’m a little worried about where it is. I think we can reform it, add some transparency in. Just make these groups accountable. Where did that money come from, what is their interest in mind, so that when I see that ad, I can make up my own mind if I think that that was undue influence by that particular group, or at least I might want to do some extra checking. Right now you have no way of knowing, I think.>>David.>>Yeah. I mean, I would agree with what Mike has said. The parties have been weakened, because the money doesn’t go to the parties anymore. So there isn’t sort of the control that they had in years past and it has moved to outside organizations and groups and we’re seeing the result of that. I don’t like the idea that donors are anonymous and that groups are anonymous. I think we got to find a way to bring the light, shine the sunshine on that. I think it was Oliver Wendell Holmes that said, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” I think that’s important. And there is just – it’s very expensive. There’s a lot of money, I think in politics and it is a bigger part of the effort to stay in office and run for office. I don’t know how you sort of fix that, but I think if the parties had more control and there was more disclosure and transparency, I think it would be certainly an improvement on the system that we got now. I don’t know how you get around the fact that, you know, dollars are speech and the courts have ruled that pretty consistently. So I think the way to do it is to make sure we know who is funding what, and in what amounts.>>Well, we know that anytime that anybody fights Citizens United or anything like it that people start bringing up emanations from the penumbra of the First Amendment and there you go. So that being the case, we know it’s happening. We know how much dark money there is out there and it’s millions and millions, and millions, perhaps billions. Are there any things that we could do to really control, like, really bring it in. Not fiddle around with Citizens United a little bit, but say as the UK does limit the time and elections a campaign can take place. Limit campaigns to 90 days. Something of that nature. Or absolutely positively limit the amount of money that can be given to a campaign And if you reach that level, no more money to the campaign or is that all just nonsense and everything’s got to be First Amendment and there will be no limits to anything, even as much as we’d like to see those limits. Michael?>>I think that’s like fixing the carbonator with a hammer. I don’t know if they’ll ever get there because it causes so much political discontent along the way. I do think the first thing you can do is transparency. Make it transparent. I think that is the first fix that you can find bipartisan agreement. Hey, we need to make sure we understand who this is and where this money is coming from. I think if you start putting limits, you know, and our system is different than the UK system. As you know it’s a parliamentary system. You vote for slates. That 90-day thing kind of makes sense. We don’t do that. We vote on the individual running for that office. And I think it would be really hard to try to stick it in that form of a restricted time frame in the United States. But I do think the easy thing to do is transparency. Then you can have discussions later on. And I think the Supreme Court upheld the limits on individual contributions. So if you like those limits, that’s one way to do that to make sure about that. But then even that we had to fix, because they had to go back and say we have to have a millionaire exemption because what if a millionaire runs? Now, you’re only raising 2,000 dollars a throw and they can put in millions of dollars overnight. So you have to have a millionaire exemption. So I worry about trying – you get in there to tinker with it and you find more problems than you can fit.>>Don’t get too cute is what you’re saying.>>Yes.>>Yeah.>>Exactly.>>Okay. And I don’t necessarily disagree with that. Dave, what do you think?>>Well, yeah, I think it’s very hard to put time limits, because if somebody has a job and they want to run for state rep and they can only work campaign on weekends. I mean, are you going to say they can only do it for 90 days? I just think there is a personal freedom issue there. I think that’s going to be hard in this country to adopt that. Obviously, they’ve done that in other countries and it seems to work. I just don’t think that fits our background and our model here. So I would agree with much of what Mike has said.>>Would you agree that probably the best thing for the United States is just complete transparency?>>Yeah, especially in political dollars. If it’s there to influence an election, I think we should have complete transparency of that dollar.>>Okay. Great. How about a couple of issues that have both national and another one that has a lot of state implications? The first would be the rather obvious in a lot of states, including Michigan gerrymandering of Congressional district boundaries. And it has made a difference in a lot of States. Michigan is a good example. President Obama won Michigan by half a million votes. In 2012, but our congressional delegation is 9 Republicans and 5 Democrats. Go figure. So should we look at that? Should we do? Should we draw our congressional districts differently? Should we do a California bipartisan redistricting commission? Other States are starting to do it now. Arizona is. Iowa says they are. It’s not such a hard core system. But should we be thinking of that when we look at — Florida is just doing it now too, in fact. Should we think of some way to non-gerrymander or better put, to draw our congressional district lines to make the districts a little more competitive. Dave?>>Well, having represented the district that President Obama was –>>Your district was no way you can gerrymander that thing. There’s no way.>>President Clinton won twice. It never felt like it was just a gimme all the time. But, you know, Michigan actually has state laws that really govern redistricting in a way that some other states don’t have and that there’s a limit on sort of the county breaks that you can have and they have zones of interest as well that the legislature has taken into account. So as a result, if you look at a district map of Michigan, it isn’t the sort of, you know, creative artwork that you see in some of these other states. So I don’t know that in this particular state we have as much of a problem as you see around the rest of the country on that. And, you know, also we’re a swing state. I mean, you know, my view is if you aren’t doing the job except for – you’re not going to be there. So, you know, but I know other states are experimenting with it. My concern is you’re never going to get the politics out of politics. And so this so called non-partisan commissions and these other states aren’t necessarily free of the political influence. So at least with a legislature. there’s a vote in the legislature, there is some public accountability. The legislators face the voters themselves. I just think this sort of appointed board becomes more anonymous and in some ways less transparent and less accountable. But I do think the protocols that have been established in Michigan have really resulted in, you know, a pretty fair plan. Now, you know, certainly when you try and make the district exactly equal in population you do get some, you know, very on the margins you get some problems there. But I think for the most part we’ve got pretty good districts.>>Except the 14th in Michigan and the 5th in Florida. Take a look at those when you go home. Michael.>>Well, and the one thing in the State system here is about how many breaks and lines. So they’re trying to avoid that kind of creative salamander looking thing. And I think that’s a better system. And if you look at the states that are running into problems, they don’t have any of those restrictions. I completely agree with Dave. Where they have done these so called independent commissions, they are never independent commissions. I mean, how do you find anyone to serve on that commission that doesn’t have a political objective? Good luck. I don’t think you find it. So at least in a legislative body, if you put the right restrictions on about breaking lines, you can’t separate certain populations, which is a lot of what we do here in Michigan, you get to a better map and it’s more accountable. Politics is politics. If you’re the Republicans in this state, you think it works great. If you are the Democrats right now, you think it’s awful. I guarantee if that flipped there would be — we would feel it was awful and the Democrats would feel it was fine. The one part of that is you have accountability in your legislature. And I worry that if you give that away to an independent commission, you’ve done more harm than you’ve done good.>>Yeah. I mean, one of the redistrictings I went through was drawn by a court. And I felt like there was very little accountability there. I mean, there was no ability to sort of — I mean, there was testimony and they had a trial and all that, but the judge basically drew the lines. And I think that is a break down in the legislative process. So when you have that happen I think you actually get a worse result.>>Yeah, I think it’s going to be an issue for the next six, eight, ten years to see how actually we draw these lines and we’ll see where it goes. One final question before we take questions from the audience. I want to talk for just a minute or two and ask both of you for just a minute or two about the US military. How big should it be, how expensive should it be? Should the Navy be bigger, have more ships? Should the Marine core be larger? Should the Army not be cut the way it’s being cut right now, and so forth and so on? I believe the number for FY16 was 602 billion dollars, which is a lot of money, obviously. But what are the responsibilities of our military? Should we be thinking about boots on the ground and places halfway around the world? Should we be the go to military for virtually every free country in the world? It’s a question that the Congress is going to have to ask, because there are only so many dollars out there. There’s only so much in the way of resources and how big, how well equipped, how spread out worldwide should our military be. And you can give me the 20,000 foot answer to that one too.>>Well, you’re an expert in this more than I am.>>I don’t know that I’m an expert.>>I mean, I have some strong opinions. One of the things that I think happens and I think we take this out of the equation. The US military has been one of the most stabilizing forces in the world in our history. And when you start removing our ability to respond to places, and I’m an old Army guy, I believe that you have an Army so as hopefully you’ll never have to use it. And as George Washington said, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” And we – I have somehow managed to lose that edge or at least our adversaries don’t believe we have that edge and people will take advantage of it. And I think you see that happening all around the world. I mean, we have readiness problems which we should just not have, because we’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul. Readiness meaning, if you have ten aircrafts, can all ten of them show up and fly when they need to fly, get where they need to go and come back? Well, the answer is candidly, no, not toady. We have 11 carrier groups. Get all 11 carrier groups steam up and get where they need to go and get back? The answer today is no. And here’s what I worry about these arbitrary military size cuts, which sounds great. We’re going to save all this money. We are wearing our military kid’s families out. I mean, wearing them out. So when you shrink, unless you’re willing to say we’re going to absolutely contract our ability to show up places in the world, you’re going to ask them to do more. They’ll have to do more. The deployment, the average deployment time and length is really astounding. And these kids, I’m telling you, we’re wearing them out. You look what it’s doing to their families, it’s really quiet troubling. And when you cut 40,000 people out of the United States Army, and by the way a week later Russia announced 40,000 troops, I’m sure the number was coincidental going to the arctic, right? They are sending a signal, they reacted to our signal. And what that means is those deployments get more frequent and more often with less people. I think that’s a mistake. So the first thing we ought to do is stop all of that. We ought to make sure that we have deployment cycles that will at least allow these kids to be able to, and I say kids, a lot of them are in their 20s and they’re married and they have families, that they are not deployed on these long cycles for short periods. It used to be you go for 15 months, you would never have to get deployed again for another 15 months. That’s gone. They go for ten months, back for three, back on for ten. It’s – this is not healthy and it’s not right that we ask these people to do that. And so I believe we got to right size it. We’ve got to upgrade our nuclear arsenal, which we haven’t done. We’ve neglected that. Why is that important? Pakistan this next year will be the fourth largest holder of nuclear weapons. Iran is continuing its ballistic missile program. Russia is now, according to public reports, talking about abandoning the INF, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which is the short term nuclear missiles. Big problem for all of us including Europe. All of those things we’re going to have to step back and say, we’re going to get ourselves back in shape militarily. And if you want to stop problems, I argue you have a good robust military that’s best trained, best equipped, can show up anywhere in the world. And by the way, can go two places at once because we’re going to be engaged. If you look at what China expansion activities have been, what Russia is up to, we’re going to have to be in two places or at least show up. And right now we’re making it much more difficult for our military commanders to do that. And I think that’s a big mistake that we’ll pay a price for down the road.>>David.>>Well, I mean, that was a great answer. I would just add to that. I do think that we have not put enough pressure on some of our allies. We have very robust strong economies to have their own militaries and not rely on the United States and therefore they zero out their military budgets and we’re left as being the only nation. But clearly if the commitments are there, the resources as you very articulately stated need to be there for them. But I just think and, you know, Germany and Japan come to mind and other countries that have really pulled back. They need to step up and be a part of that solution as well.>>Can I give you a bit of good news on that front? I think you mentioned Japan. I happen to be in a conference with Japan and Australia on the rising Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and the Pacific Rim. And Japan is changing the constitution. It has caused a bit of a political turmoil there to allow them to engage –>>Right.>>– in overseas activities. Meaning patrols and other things. That is really critically important. And to that end will help our financial commitments. They’ll be able to offset a lot of our costs in policing. Remember, we did that to them, right? We told them to do it. They did it. They adopted it as a political philosophy. We ought to encourage them to do this. That helps with that equation that Dave was talking.>>Yeah, that was a long time ago and the Australians as well.>>Yes.>>Whether it’s the Middle East or the Arctic or the [inaudible] and the [inaudible] in the South China Sea, we really do need our military and I am happy to see that Mike and David are concerned about what’s being done, which I believe is short sighted. Doesn’t make us whoremongers, just makes us very, very careful Americans that we want to be able to defend ourselves and also help defend and fight with our allies when we need to. So with that, John, want to start the questions?>>Hello Congressman Rogers. Shorts and Camp. Thank you very much for being here talking to us today.>>Put the mic right here.>>Can you hear us now? There you go. Okay. So my name is Tre Sempi and I’m a first year MPP student and a lifetime resident of Michigan. So thank you very much for your service to our great state. Our first question today is, as surveillance technology becomes more pervasive, what are your thoughts about the tradeoffs between privacy and security for American citizens?>>Well, look at the time. [Laughs] I think this is going to be one of the biggest issues we face moving forward here about how we look at our national security vis a vis the explosion of technology in our lives. And I think that you don’t have to have an either or. And I don’t even buy the conversation that you have to sacrifice a little to one to get a little more of the other and you just have to, you know, suck it up. I don’t buy that at all. And I don’t think that’s an accurate portrayal of the protections that we have in place and the technology that exists. Here’s the problem. If you, and this has always been my pet peeve, and of course as chairman of the Intelligence Committee I got all of that. Lived through the NSA contractor leak events. It’s a year of my life I’d like back, by the way. And what we found was, this is fascinating. What people believe our government was doing is based on their connection to technology, a private sector company is doing. Right. The amount of information that the private sector, a company like Google or Amazon or others collects on you every single day is staggering, right? And I would say that a good offense, this will get me in big trouble, but I’m not elected anymore so I can say this. [Laughs] A good offense is a good defense. The amount of — and they’re coming out saying we’re the only ones for privacy and we’re not even going to answer a legal warrant from the National Security Agency or the FBI after it’s gone to a judge and then adjudicated, issued a warrant. They’re not even going to respond to it, because they care about your privacy. Have you ever stopped and thought why they’d do that? Why would they basically say we’re not going to abide by a legal warrant from a federal judge on a terrorism case? Why? Because they’re collecting more stuff, they know more about you than you can possibly ever imagine. By the way, the NSA would dream to have a database like that. And so we’re going to have to shake ourselves out of this in a real hurry. We are — United States is in a cyber-war. Most Americans don’t know it, and by the way we’re not winning. Eighty five percent of the networks in America are private sector networks. They are getting killed. They’re getting killed by Chinese economic espionage. Now the Russians have changed their plan. We found them on our financial markets, again, according to public reports. Recently people are asking why would they be there? Crash the markets maybe? I don’t want to find out. Anybody in here want to find out? Right. We are losing this fight because we can’t get over this privacy versus security hangover. And candidly, and I’ve told this and I’m not telling a tale out of school. I have talked to Google and Amazon and others and said you’re killing you position here, but we got to get out of this in a hurry. You can do both. You can have both. But the longer this goes, the worse we’re going to be. And they’re finding new ways. Let me tell you how bad it is just real quick as an example. A concrete example you can kind of go, yup, that must be bad. So now they figured out ways. They being nation states and intelligent services to get into our uplinks on our satellites and downlinks. So everybody has the app to get to the Starbucks, right? Imagine if that didn’t work during the day, huh, at about four or five in the morning when you’re needing a little caffeine. Well, imagine our technological advantage in the world is technology. One sixth of our economy is tied to a commercial internet. Right? This is something we should protect. This is something we should be concerned about. Well, they got into those uplinks and imagine all of our smart weapons, one of our strategic advantages in the world, we have really smart weapons. What if that carrier group doesn’t know where it’s at located in the world and it’s missile systems don’t know where it’s at or where they’re pointed? We have a big problem, right? So here’s what the navy decided they’re going to do. They have a new piece of technology to try to deal with what is a real possibility that those uplinks and downlinks get hacked. Remember they have already given up on the fact that your private networks are getting hacked. The Russians, the Iranians, the Chinese, they’re on your private networks. I got bad news for you. So what is the Navy doing? Every new naval officer that graduates by 2017 has to be trained in a sextant. I wish I were kidding. It was designed by Sir Isaac Newton, right. Put in place in about 1727 as the premier global navigation tool. And they’re so worried about this problem they are teaching – they haven’t used this thing in I don’t know, decades. But they realized what happens if they’re successful? So if the United States Navy is worried about hacking, shouldn’t we be worried about hacking, right? And most Americans just aren’t worried about it. And I think they’re worried about the NSA when they really should be worried about the Russians, the Iranians, and the Chinese, who are on our networks. The NSA is not on our networks or if they are there they’re doing it illegally. And so I am passionate about this, because I am very worried about the state of our A, ability to defend ourselves. Remember, there was a report about five years ago now that had the Chinese had code on our electric grids. Now they weren’t there to flip the switch. We think they were rational actors. But why were they there? Its’ called prepping the battle field. If they want to invade Taiwan, what’s the best way to keep us distracted? Turn off the lights on the Eastern sea board. They had the capability. That was a public reports called the Mandiant report, if anyone is interested. And if you’re techy I highly recommend you read it. It’s really good and scary and you’ll stay up all night. My argument is if I can’t sleep at night, why should you, by the way. [Laughs] So I think we’ve got to kind of get ourselves off of this hangover about what we think is happening versus what is happening, and if we get there, you can have security and you can have privacy.>>David.>>Well, I think I may want to go to another question because that was a pretty complete answer. No. I mean, it was very good.>>Okay. John.>>Thank you all for coming today. My name is John Lynn. I’m a fourth year in the Law and Public Policy program here and I’m a lifelong Michigander with an interest in public service. This question asks whether you can talk about the internal politics of the House Republican Conference? Specifically it asks about so called Hastert rule and whether or not it is actually applied or should be applied in internal caucus conference liberations.>>Yeah. The Hastert rule is that nothing would come to the floor that didn’t at least have a majority of the majority. So it was a way of sort of making sure there was some consensus. Clearly, that has not been the case on some of the big issues in terms of, you know, raising the debt limit and other very controversial items. I don’t know that the new speaker is going to subscribe to that rule. It’s an informal rule. It’s not really a house rule. So it’s not something that really came in really when speaker Hastert took the speakership. But I think what is important is the house is really sort of a winner take all. And at some point, you know as Mike said earlier, even in the Congress it’s a coalition. And there are different views within the Republican majority and at some point you have to decide are you going to govern with that majority or not. And that means that you’re not going to necessarily get your way all the time. But yet if you aren’t the majority then who is? And so I think that what you’re going to see hopefully going forward is their attempt to build consensus. You saw this highway bills. Debbie can probably say just how many hundreds of votes there were on that bill on the house floor. So I think there is an attempt to really build consensus in a way that had not been the case previously. And I think the only way they are going to be able to manage it, because you’re just not going to be able to do it in a way that was being done in the past where either deals were sort of done and then presented to the Congress or very few amendments were allowed. You really do want the Congress to work its will and to the extent that you can do that and you’re not operating with your back up against the wall on a deadline.>>In 2012 the VA estimated the 22 veterans commit suicide every day. What role should policy makers play and what precisely should be done to solve this pressing issue?>>Yeah. There’s been some great efforts I think to get after, but it’s just been slow and slow to get there. And part of the problem was an overwhelming number came back at a time that I don’t think that they were configured correctly. They being the VA to try to handle it, nor was there an effort to really focus on mental health issues when they came back. And so what they’re finding, by the way, is some of those cases where they had problems before they went. And so one of the things that they are doing now, which I think is great, is trying to identify those problems before they go. Or in some cases say maybe if you fit this certain mental health issue profile, maybe we’re going to find something else for you to do in a way to try to help them through their problems. So it’s not. You can’t look at it without a holistic approach. And then the folks that come back, what they’ve done now and it’s probably still not completely enough, is try to catch them before they go out and give them the opportunity to get connected and take away the stigma of mental health counseling. You know, some people need a very little bit of it. But they need a little bit of it. And some people will need more longer duration treatment care and access to mental health care. And so I think the VA is probably still working through all of that. But I think at least now I feel a little better as a former veteran myself that they’ve got this notion about identifying problems early, identifying problems why you’re there, and then giving them the opportunity and taking away the stigma when you get home. The folks that you see now unfortunately didn’t get that kind of care. So they’re trying to catch up on the people that you see unfortunately taking their own lives, which we need to stop.>>There’s a new clinic, relatively new clinic at Bethesda that I had an opportunity to tour just before I left office. And it is actually dedicated to this exact problem. And they bring veterans in for intense therapy and intense counseling. And it didn’t happen right away. I mean, this is something that certainly has been recognized. The entire issue of mental health never gets enough attention. And certainly mental health issues with veterans. You know, and years ago I remember beginning work on PTSD and it was sort of a, you know, this new area of understanding. But there clearly is a huge need there. They’ve made some real progress, at least in terms of trying to identify those veterans who are returning, who need that assistance. And it really is a condition that needs treatment. And just as there is certainly a lot of physical treatment that needs to occur with many veterans that are returning, there certainly a lot of mental health treatment as well.>>[Inaudible].>>I’m very impressed with the people in that clinic and the work that they were doing.>>As a member of the investigatory group that was appointed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to look into the situation in the military hospitals, as to whether reasonably an appropriate mental health care was being given, this is especially so at Walter Reed. The old Walter Reed,. Walter Reed now is the Bethesda grounds. As you know it was a problem then, which was eight years ago. It is still a huge problem. And I can only wish, I can’t do anything about it, but I can only wish as a physician and as a veteran that as much emphasis as possible is put. And as much – let’s put it this way, appropriation should be appropriate to take care of the mental health needs of our active duty service people and those who have left the service, but still have tremendous number of stigmata, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, et cetera, and there’s a lot of work to be done.>>So this next question comes to us from Twitter. As public servants from Michigan and then in Washington, what was the most memorable aspect of your leap from state politics in Lansing to national politics in DC?>>Just the size and scope I think.>>Yeah.>>It’s sort of like trying to take a sip of water out of an open fire hydrant. In that sense it’s also very rewarding and enriching because so much is coming at you, but it’s also the biggest challenge to face. It’s just an array of issues, concerns, problems. The scope is huge. But that also means that the days go by very, very quickly [laughs].>>When will we see the next iteration of the Camp tax reform plan? What are the most likely changes in the next version?>>Well, the tax reform proposals really shifted to some of the presidential candidates. And I think it’s really exciting to see the number of detailed plans that have been put out there already. I mean, mine was a legislative document and obviously these are campaign documents. But a number of them are, you know, surprising in their details. So I think you’re going to see the shift there. I know that the new chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady of Texas, I’ve talked to him. He is going to continue to work on this effort. I know that new Speaker, Paul Ryan wants to continue see this effort. So I think you’ll see some continued work done on the committee level as well and in the Congress and certainly in the Senate. I know that Senator Hatch is also and there’s these bipartisan group he is working with over there. And I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it. And I think part of the reason tax reform is really being presented is, you know, there is this tremendous unhappiness with what is going on in the country and particularly Congresses lack of response. And I think part of it is the fact that we haven’t seen the kind of recovery we want to see. I mean, still way too many people have left the workforce. Median incomes have been declining since 2008 or flat and, you know, it’s very hard for people to get a job and get started or if they lose a job to find employment again. Some of that is being voiced through this issue of, you know, sort of income inequality. Others are talking about, you know, how we need job creation. One way, not the only way, but one way to do it is through pro-growth tax reform that can actually grow our economy and create jobs. And I think you’re going to continue to see this be one of the key issues in this election, because I think the economy is going to be one of the big issues. I think this is going to be an economy jobs election. I could be wrong but and I think one way to address it is to deal with our out of date – look, everybody knows it’s broken. We need to fix it. And I think that you’re going to see more ideas on how to do that. And if that becomes one of the key issues in this presidential campaign, then you’ll have somebody elected who really thinks that this is something that ought to be one of their top two or three issues. And the concern is if we don’t do it, we’re going to continue to see our tax base erode as companies are merged and become Irish based companies or companies located around the world. Even though they’ll have some presence here, the growth will be in other places. So it’s encouraging. There are different approaches. Some are sort of doing this lower rate broader based approach. Others are doing more of a consumption or fair tax approach. So there’s actually different structures that are going to be debated, I think hopefully in more detail. Tonight there is a Republican debate on a business channel. So maybe we’ll actually have a question about the economy and what solutions candidates might offer. That would certainly be novel. [Applause] So, we’ll see.>>So this question could take some time, but the consensus is that Congress is quote, broken. How did we get here and what can we do to fix it?>>[Laughs] Well, if I had an answer maybe I’ll be the Speaker. [Laughs] No. I think that issues have to be developed. And I think they got to get back to work and they got to propose things that, you know, you might think it’s going to cause some controversy, but you got to step up and do it. I mean, I had senators call me and say, “Oh, don’t put out a detailed bill. Everyone is going to be, you know, about all the things that you address.” But what I – the response that I got was, at least you’re trying to do something. So I think it’s done through, you know, ideas coming to the Congress from voters, from people and then, you know, vetting those through the hearings and the committees. It’s not glamorous work, but it’s the work that legislatures do, get back to that, and then actually have ways to bring them to the floor. Not wait and just operate crisis by crisis where it’s just, you know, make sure we fund the government for the next year at the last minute or let’s, you know, address this debt ceiling problem, but let’s try to find ways of addressing these through that vehicle. And I think if we do that and cast the votes and they cast the votes out there, I think that well, yeah, it may cause some controversy. But I think people want to hear you explain why then you did that. And if you can justify it and give a good reason, my experience over 12 terms in Congress was that they still may not vote for you, but they’ll accept that you’re actually trying to do something and you have a sincere legitimate point of view. So I think I would agree in Paul Ryan probably said it in the best way. We need to start proposing things and we need to find out what people think works. And I can tell you when you put an idea out there as I did with HR 1, you certainly find out about the people who don’t like what your proposal was. But that’s a very valuable part of the process and then you can change it and try to find a political consensus to move it forward.>>Yeah. And my whole thing is there’s just a class of kind of celebrity politicians that get in. I don’t think that they’re there for the right reason. Being a legislature isn’t glamorous. If you want to be famous and be that guy that’s going to change X or Y, not likely you’re going to do it in a body of 435 people. You have to go and sit down and meet with people you don’t agree with. That part of Congress got broken somewhere over the last, I don’t know, ten years really.>>Yeah. And we got to get back to that. Here’s the sad part. This is the most depressing thing I’m going to tell you all day. Are you ready? Congress is a lot like America, right. We are sending those people there and they’re acting, they’re reflecting their districts in a pretty important way and we lose sight of that sometimes. And so that dysfunction is exactly where voters are all across America. They’re frustrated about different things for different reasons and we’re not telling legislators, go and try to bridge the differences. We’re telling them go up there and fight and stand your ground and don’t agree to anything. Right. That’s what I want in the member of Congress. Well, if you want that, you get what you get. All right. That’s what you get. You get a place that does not function. So I think it’s a combination of voters, realizing this is a legislative body that legislates and you’re not going to get everything you want. I argue you can move the ball in your direction. If you’re a good negotiator you sit down and you can work with people, you can get where you want to go. Takes a long time to get there. So we’re going to have to do I think on both ends of that and try to get the place functioning again as Dave said through the committee process, have the hearings. Like you said, it can be sometimes absolutely horrifically monotonous. Imagine a Ways and Means Committee for eight hours on the tax code. God bless you, sir. [Laughs] I don’t know if I could have done it.>>Well, when I put the bill out we had – I went through it line by line with Republicans, Democrats on the committee. it took two weeks. It was excruciating, but we did it. But it’s a kind of thing you have to do. You absolutely do. And look, we know there are fundamental differences in the approach. I mean, we’ve never resolved as a country how much money the government should have and how much it should spend and how it should spend it. I mean, so there and on what? So there’s a legitimate difference of opinion. There’s a group of people, very sincere, who believe the government doesn’t spend enough and do enough and invest in human capital and things. And there’s a group feel just as strongly that think, you know, our debt is going to, you know, bankrupt this country and if we don’t stop scaling back now, you know, the world is going to end. And I often say to people try raising some of these issues at a family reunion and just see how far you get. I know in my family we don’t get consensus, trust me. But given that, if you continue to work at it you’ve got to find a way forward. And I know it isn’t in fashion, but ultimately these issues are resolved in America by compromise. And that does mean you don’t get everything you want. And I think that is really where we have to ultimately end up and it’s not an easy thing to do, because you’ll have a whole bunch of people who say why did you give away the store on whatever issue it is?>>What are popular misconceptions about your former job? What should voters know about the legislation that they do not?>>I think the biggest misconception to me is the fact that every member of Congress is a self-serving, you know, felon. [Laughs] I never quite saw that. I mean, there’s bad people in everything, but the most people I met, even the ones I passionately angrily disagreed with, I always thought were there for what they believe was the right decision. So I think to me that is the biggest misconception. And given the voters opportunity to let people do their work and have some disagreements, I think the place would be a much better place. And again, the people who are doing that, I mean, these are not the brutality of going through an election is pretty awful experience. And really everyone should experience it [laughs]. It’s just a brutal thing and members do it constantly. And I think the view of what the average member of Congress or who that person is completely just distorted, because they’re basing it on the one congressman they see on TV that they don’t like. That’s not everybody that’s there. There is a lot of people sitting there probably right now. I know Debbie Dingle is not here, was one of them, is always trying to put people in a room to try to get something done. Great. That doesn’t make the news. That’s not on the cable outlets. That’s not on CBS News. And I think that misconception is probably harmful, equally as harmful or at least contributing harmful to the fact that people have a – they don’t like people who are there or they think on general. They don’t trust them. They don’t like them. And they don’t do anything and then it’s dysfunction and then why do I care? Well, forget it. I’m not getting engaged. I think that cycle, we have to break that cycle. But I think that to me is the biggest misperception about members of Congress and what happens there.>>Yeah, I mean, yeah, I would just say that I’ve run into some of my colleagues that I used to serve with in. I’ve been saying to them, you know, you’re actually working a lot harder than you realize. And you don’t realize the effort until you stop. I mean, to do the job right is really a challenge. Certainly very rewarding. But it isn’t all about, you know, getting that award in front of a group of people applauding. Sometimes it’s that delayed flight that you’ve had for the third week in a row and, you know, missing some important family event because you’re still there voting when you thought you’d be out. And so there are a lot of challenges. I think probably the biggest misconception is just the sort of multiple pressures and dealing with that on an on-going basis. It’s so important to have the support of people that you represent, and I always felt very fortunate in the Fourth District that people – I’d come back and always feel reinvigorated every weekend when I came home. And then I was able to go back in and, you know, fight for them when I was in these meetings and, you know, so I think that part just sort of being stretched. You always sort of had this feeling that you were never in the right place. Like, when I was in Washington I always felt like I should be in Michigan. When I was in Michigan I always felt like I should be in, you know, Washington doing my work. So one of the things I noticed about leaving is wherever I am, I am in the right place now. So I mean, that I think is probably one of the biggest challenges you face. The sense of you’re never quite giving enough time or you’re never quite there enough because you got to go on to the next thing.>>There are some superb people in Congress. They work hard. They don’t care if their names ever get in the newspaper. They do their jobs. They represent their districts wherever those districts may be. And I would say that’s a majority of the members of the US House as opposed to a small plurality. The media gets involved, an issue gets out there that gets people on edge, and Congress gets a black eye. And sometimes Congress deserves a black eye, but I think if on this question and what Dave and Mike have said and what I would like to chime in on, there are a lot of awful good members of Congress who work awfully hard and really don’t care if they ever get their name in the newspaper. They’re just doing their job. There aren’t as many as there used to be, but there are plenty of really good folks down there.>>There’s a couple of bad ones. They’re in the federal penitentiary that’s how we know them [laughs].>>I’m not talking about them. [Laughs] I ran into one who went to the federal pen. I won’t mention their name. I ran into one who went to the federal penitentiary in an airport. Actually in Newark, New Jersey about two years ago and I was talking the guy and I was talking to the people behind me and the guy goes, “How do you know all that?” And I said, “Well, you know, one time I was a member of Congress.” And this guy in front of me turns around and says, “Well, I was a member of Congress once.” and I looked at him and I said, “Do I know you? When were you there?” And he told me it was the same time I was there. Okay. It was Bob Nay.>>Continued his federal service.>>He did continue his federal service. [Laughs] But I didn’t recognize him, because he lost about 70 pounds [laughs]. But, Mike, you’re right. Occasionally somebody sneaks off into the federal correctional system. Not too many though.>>All right.>>So would either of you consider re-entering public service or is that part of your past life?>>No for me.>>It depended. Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t [inaudible] I am.>>I would consider it under the right circumstances.>>This is the last question we have time for. So for many of us in this generation public service is seen as kind of a thankless job. It’s not really a career you think, yes, I want to – most of us. So what would you say to kind of inspire our generation to say, you know, this is really a career that is wonderful to be in [laughs]. For most think it is wonderful.>>Public service or this career?>>Public service as general being a Congressman — office.>>Well, first of all I’d say go volunteer on a campaign to sort of get a sense of it. And there are non partisan. If you don’t know which party you’re in, try a non-partisan race. My first race was helping one of my partners run for judge in Michigan in non-partisan. You know, I learned a lot and saw some things too. I would just say try things as a volunteer and then I think it’s incredibly rewarding. I mean, first of all, you have an opportunity to impact people in a very positive way. And even in a campaign sense. I mean, people who selflessly come up and help you put your yard signs out or donate to your campaign or come to your hotdog roast or whatever and certainly vote for you. It’s pretty humbling. And then you have an opportunity to really be involved in issues of the day and obviously in Congress some of its constituent service and you can – sometimes people would come to me completely exasperated, couldn’t get anything done and I was able to help them resolve their issue. You can’t fix them all and I would always say I can’t promise a result, but I promise you I’ll work as hard as I can to fix it. So there are some times when you can really help families. And then sometimes as much as there’s a wedding in another country and they forgot they needed passports and it’s in two days. And sometimes it’s things of that nature that aren’t necessarily life would still go on, but they’re pretty important at the time. Others are more critical in terms of having someone make sure they’re getting the benefit that they deserve and things of that kind. But I think it’s incredibly rewarding. I would recommend to anybody to certainly take a look at it and maybe intern in an office or volunteer in an office and just see if something that might fit with your personality. And it’s a challenge to master the issues. It’s a challenge to keep up on everything and I think it’s an incredible experience. And I would recommend it to really anybody. It doesn’t mean there aren’t moments, but you know every job has it’s downsides. And I always say whatever job you have, find the positives and focus on them. And there are many positives obviously in public service.>>You know, I was in public service for 27 years before I got out with my Army and FBI. I Look at all of that as the same kind of public service. And the one thing that struck me in all that, and I’ll tell a very quick story, if I may. Because to me I found this particular story impactful in every public service job that I had. And there are other ways. You don’t have to be a Congressman to be involved in public service or politics and have an impact, first of all. I think that’s really important. You don’t have to be that guy. You can be staff in an incredibly important role. Involved in campaigns is an important role. When I was a young FBI agent there was a – and I’ll cut the story down, but there was a young lady who ran away from home. She gets to Chicago. I was working in the organized crime squad at the time. Sophomore, excuse me, junior in high school. She runs away, gets there, they have spotters at the bus stops, right. And so they get her. She’s a young, attractive young lady. They bring her into their fold. They take her around and kind of socialize her in the city. Say, “Isn’t this great, it’s a great way of life. Oh by the way everybody is doing drugs. You need to do some drugs.” And over about the period of 40 days got her as a stone cold heroine junkie, right, in 40 days. And a mother called and talked to an agent, happen to be me, and said, “I think my daughter is in this certain place but I – it’s not a federal crime, it’s a runaway, as you know.” So I thought on my own time I’m going to go do this. Fast forward a few years. So the organized crime had gotten this young lady. Got her hooked on heroine. Got her with a pimp. That pimp had a coral of girls that he would bring to these houses of prostitution at night, protected by the police in a town outside of Chicago called Cicero, Illinois. So we finally get her out. Fast forward, get her out and she’s in that car and we had some counselors on the other end, but we had to drive them there to get there. And I’ll never forget this. So she gets out, she had track marks on her fingers. She had track marks under her arm. She was a mess. And she had only been there for probably a little less than two years. I mean, a really sad story. So she gets in the car, dead quiet. She’s not under arrest. We’re trying to get her help. And she’s just staring out the window and I was chatting with the fellow agent. And out of the blue this little quiet voice she said, “You know why I didn’t kill myself? Because I knew somebody cared enough to show up. Somebody cared enough to find me and get me out.” And I thought I don’t care what public service job you have. If it has an element of that, and I don’t know a public service job that doesn’t have an element of that, that you have to care more than the person sitting next to you about somebody who is probably been abandoned or neglected or the whole world thinks that – or they think the whole world has forgotten about them. That to me optimizes what public service is. You can do it for a year or two years. You can volunteer. You can make it a career. I think there are people’s lives that you touch that you will never know, you will never get to know. In a public service job that has that kind of impact. So I argue everybody ought to have that. At least the opportunity in their life to find some public service activity. And again, doesn’t have to be full time. You can even volunteer. But you will impact a life like that. And if everybody did that in the country, I think we’d be a hell lot of a better place. And I think we would be a little kinder to each other along the way.>>Absolutely. [Applause]>>Amen to that, Mike. David and Michael, good friends, just utterly superb and distinguished public servants. Thank you for coming to the Ford School. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on a number of issues with us this afternoon. All the best to you in the future. Thank all of you for coming and go blue.>>Thanks.>>Thanks [Applause]>>Thank you.>>Good night, Mike.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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