Live from Virginia Friday morning on The John Fredericks Show – weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream – host Fredericks welcomed Virginia’s first district Congressman Robert Wittman to the show to discuss why and who is holding up a bill getting passed in the wake of COVID as Americans continue to struggle.
Fredericks: Joining us now Rob Wittman. Congressman first district Virginia. That’s the northern neck up through Fredericksburg and the Stanton area. He’s with us now Congressman Wittman great to have you, sir.
Wittman: John great to be back with you this morning.
Fredericks: 18 days before the election. your opponent, man I read some of those tweets. I know you’re doing an ad on it. But I read some of those Twitter posts he had. I mean are you kidding me, Congressman? Are you serious this guy’s running for congress? what is up with that?
Wittman: Well listen it’s a reflection on uh how he feels about issues that I think are extraordinarily important. You know when he talks about uh the increase in military spending that goes to pay our members of the military. Gives them a raise. Goes to modernizing our military to keep up with our adversaries and the threats from China and the threats from Russia. When he says that those increases are massive and unnecessary it just tells me he does not support the united states military.
He doesn’t support us having the military capable of deterring China and deterring Russia and therefore keeping the world safe. I mean it just it’s just mind-boggling to me how he could look at where we are today with the growing threats and somehow believe that the dollars that we spend on the military and again giving raises to our men and women in uniform is massive and unnecessary. I think it just speaks to the complete separation from reality that he has on where we are today with the United States military. I mean it’s just unbelievable.
Fredericks: You’re going to win this race. I mean nobody’s going to vote for somebody that says we need to not have a military or whatever. I mean he said some crazy things not even worth my time on air. But look you got to get out there. you got to vote. Can’t take anything for granted. Got to run like you’re behind. We get that. Congressman what’s going on now the talks between Pelosi and the Republicans trying to get a deal done with Mnuchin on COVID-19?
Trump offered a 1.8 trillion Pelosi wants 2.2 trillion the other guess 400 billion dollars whatever the difference is going to bail out estates and municipalities with my tax dollars because they mismanaged their cities and states. The president doesn’t want to do that. She also wants a bailout for her big donors with McMansions with the salt tax. Trump doesn’t want to do that. But we’re only 400 billion dollars apart. Why can’t we get a deal?
Wittman: Well John we need to get a deal. I tell you as I travel across the district and talk to folks there are businesses out there that are still hurting. There are still places where people are doing everything they can to get back to work but need just that little bit of help. They just need that hand up to be able to help them through this time. And we want to make sure that our economy gets back to where it can be. To get these businesses back on track.
To make sure we get folks uh back uh working again. Those things are incredibly important. There shouldn’t be that that big a difference. Listen there’s a bill that could pass today John. You know we put forth a discharge petition. And the discharge petition essentially is this. If 218 members of Congress say we want the bill to come to the floor, then the speaker can’t stop it. And this is a bill that that was put together by 25 Democrats 25 Republicans which means if you get 25 Democrats to vote for it and every other democrat votes against it and all Republicans vote for it the bill passes.
And it’s 1.5 trillion dollars. And it focuses on the payroll protection program which is incredibly important. And it focuses on those businesses that are continuing to lose money. Not businesses that are making their way back, but businesses that continue to lose money. And then making sure too that we are helping families that still need help in order to get get back on their feet.
And that 1.5 trillion dollar piece of legislation could pass tomorrow if the speaker would bring it to the floor. Yet the two bills that she’s brought to the floor have been those bills that are just full of partisan pieces of legislation unrelated spending. I mean one federalizes the election system. One provides benefits to uh folks that are here illegally. I mean those things are just antithetical to what needs to be done in order to address the issues that we have before us.
And they aren’t even serious efforts to legislate. In fact, the last effort was actually a bipartisan bill in opposition because there were 17 Democrats that voted against the bill. Not a single Republican that voted for it. So it was actually bipartisan in opposition to what the speaker proposes. So there’s just so many things that need to be done. Unfortunately, you know this is now 100 percent political.
If the speaker was really focusing on helping the American people this would have been done. But that’s not what her focus is. Her focus is 100 percent political. It’s about what can I do to try to gain political advantage with this. And I would suggest that this actually hurts her, and it hurts her majority in the House because I think folks see it for what it is. And that is this is no action, and no action hurts the American people.
And I think they look at it and go, why won’t you get something done? Because if you don’t get something done it’s negatively affecting communities and businesses and families. And I think you look at this and have to ask the question. Does the speaker really care about those people that are hurting? And if she did she would bring a bill to the floor.
But it’s obvious to me that she doesn’t, and even members of her own party and members of her own caucus want her to bring a bill to the floor. And yet she won’t. You know that she was interviewed the other day on CNN and had this ridiculous explanation that somehow because she was asked a tough question about why wasn’t this brought to the floor…
Wittman: Especially when she has her own members that wanted to pass. (Fredericks chuckles) And then she called the questioner a Republican apologist. You know I just it’s like it wasn’t even a serious conversation about what she was trying to do to fix the problem. This was all about politics. Which is really regretful when people are hurting, and she knows what needs to be done. It could be done tomorrow but and again she’s unwilling to do it.
Fredericks: Congressman Wittman, let me ask you a point-blank. Is Nancy Pelosi sabotaging the COVID-19 negotiations because she doesn’t want to give trump a victory and therefore let the American people suffer for power?
Wittman: I think her motives are political. I mean that’s the only thing that I can say about it because if her motives were to actually help the American people it would have been done a long time ago. So I believe their political motive is behind it. Now as to what her political motives are there are probably many of them. But I just think it’s boiled down to all politics now. And I think the American people are sick of it.
I know when I talk to folks in my district they’re sick of it. They’re saying you know why would the speaker let a bill come to the floor? Why won’t she allow something to get done? Why won’t she allow the members in the House, who tomorrow if she brought the bill that 25 Republicans 25 Democrats put together if she brought that to the floor, John, it would pass overwhelmingly? And then you’d have something to go to the Senate with and I think there’s a fair chance that it would pass past the Senate.
Fredericks: Do you have enough votes? I mean you mentioned that 25 democrats moderates that wanted this thing out aligned with the Republicans on this. Do you have enough to get a discharge or are Democrats not going to go against their leader?
Wittman: Well I think the vast majority if not all Republicans have signed on to to the discharge petition. I don’t know whether any Democrats have signed on to it. It’s certainly the 25 that have proposed a bill I would hope would sign on to it. If they did if they do then the bill would automatically come from the floor. But I suspect that they’re probably getting a lot of pressure from the speakers saying you know don’t sign on to it.
And before we went back to the districts you know we voted on this the second version of what they call the Heroes Act which is anything but that. And again it was bipartisan in opposition. 17 Democrats voted against it so it wasn’t even a serious attempt to do that. As I said that bill could pass tomorrow. And I know she’s putting pressure to make sure that the necessary number of Democrats don’t sign a discharge petition. But if they do the bill would be on the floor you know almost immediately based on the procedures of the House.
Listen to the full show here:
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