Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Congressman David Kustoff (R-TN-08) to the newsmaker line to discuss the highlights of Thursday night’s Congressional Baseball Game and the mess on the floor of Congress.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line now Congressman David Kustoff, representing the eighth congressional district. Good morning, Congressman Kustoff.
Kustoff: Good morning, sir. Thanks for having me on this morning.
Leahy: Well, the big news, of course, the big news. Did you go to the Congressional Baseball Game?
Kustoff: I was there and it was pretty exciting. Great weather, great win. As you know, in Washington, it’s pretty contentious, especially right now. And staying in my office till about 11:00 p.m. last night, waiting for a vote that never happened.
But that’s one of the few times the Republicans and Democrats actually come together. We have fun. And that baseball game it’s played every year is done for a good cause because it raises money for the area’s charities. So it was a win-win-win all the way around. And I’m proud of my Republican colleagues.
Leahy: It was played t the Washington Nationals Mason League ballpark, right?
Kustoff: That’s right. They played there in the major league park for the last next number of years. This is now my eighth year as a congressman.
And every single year, except for last year with COVID, that’s where it’s been played and the play for a bunch of guys who don’t play Major League Baseball. That’s a pretty big thrill to be able to play in a major league stadium and have fans come out. So it’s a neat atmosphere.
Leahy: Did you know what the final score was?
Kustoff: We won. Republicans won 13 to 12
Leahy: I note that the Republicans were wearing red uniforms and the Democrats were wearing blue. (Laughter)
Kustoff: It really was a lot of fun and it’s good to be around colleagues and be able to share the love of a game that’s been around for a long time and at least at one time was our national pastime.
I’m not sure it’s not college football or NFL football now. But it really is a good time. And I’m not on the Republican team, but our guys and I guess the Democrats do it, too, they practice every morning, like around 6:00 a.m. before we’ve got to be at work.
Of course, I am normally at work by 6:00 a.m., but they’re out there hustling and bustling every day on the baseball diamond, practicing and getting ready.
So it’s good. And they usually also play in June. It’s kind of a rarity to play it in September, but I think it worked out really well.
Leahy: What I noticed is, did you see this? This was something I watched in the clip of this. Congressman Greg Stube from Florida. He steps up.
He’s a Republican. The Democrats are up, eight to five. He steps up and in a major league ballpark and hits a home run over the fences. First time in 40 years.
Kustoff: Yeah, it was really neat. It was an out-of-the-park home run. Greg looked like a major leaguer. It was massive and a lot of people were really excited about it.
I even think the Democrats were excited about it because like you say, that just doesn’t happen, especially in a game where you got a bunch of amateur congressmen playing baseball.
Leahy: I suppose the only reason that I would ever consider running for Congress is to be able to play in that game. (Laughs)
Kustoff: One thing that’s interesting is that you do have to be a congressman to play. And there are some senators to play. But the coaches, not all the coaches are congressmen.
They work in and around Washington, or maybe at one time they did. That kind of adds to the camaraderie also.
Leahy: I think that’s good. Well, you’ve got camaraderie on the field, but oh, my goodness, on the floor of the House, it looks like a mess. Tell us what’s going on.
Kustoff: Well, it is a mess. You got a lot of moving parts here. One is that today is October 1. It is the first day of the government’s fiscal year. When the government starts over again. It ended yesterday.
The funding was going to run out yesterday. A lot of times in the last x number of years the Congress, the government passes what’s called a continuing resolution. If you don’t have all the funding bills passed, which Congress didn’t have them passed, and you extend the existing funding to a certain date.
First of all, we shouldn’t be in that situation. Pelosi put us in that situation because the spending bills that she proposed were all way over last year’s funding limits. And she stripped out. And you know about this.
I think people listening know about the Hyde Amendment that’s named Dr. Henry Hyde, who, of course, was the congressman from Illinois. That goes back to 1976. And it’s a protection that says that no federal funding is used for abortions.
No taxpayer money is used for abortion. Well, this year and all these spinning bills, Pelosi stripped that out of the Hyde Amendment. She took it completely out, which meant that if it were to pass, the taxpayer money could be used to pay for abortion.
So that means that no Republican wants to vote for this stuff. My point is even the continuing resolution got tough, and they added in a bunch of stuff that doesn’t pertain the government funding.
So you’ve got those issues. And now you’ve got two really big bills. We were supposed to vote on one or both of them yesterday. One is the infrastructure bill that passed the Senate. And the Democrats are trying to tie that $1.1 trillion bill to $3.5 trillion what they call human infrastructure, whatever that means.
Human infrastructure bill, which is a lot of spending. My point is they didn’t get it done because they’re fighting against themselves as kind of a circular firing squad right now.
Yesterday we thought that we were going to vote on at least the $1.1 huge trillion infrastructure bill. But the Democrats couldn’t agree on that. So I left the capitol last night at about 11:00 pm. And supposedly we’re going to vote, presumably on that bill today if they can get the votes.
Leahy: Let me ask you something. Speaker Pelosi has just totally blown up the concept of regular order when it comes to any kind of legislation, which is kind of what Congress is all about. What sort of interaction do you, as one of 435 members of Congress with Speaker Pelosi whatsoever?
Kustoff: Very, very little. Really to me, that’s really on her because if you set the stage and you talk about regular order, which for everybody listening, it’s the way things should be done where bills and legislation go through the committee system and we have ample debate before there’s a vote scheduled.
And she’s really taking that process off the table. They rushed off with very little debate a lot of times, not going through the proper and respective committees. But the kind of flying over it at 30,000ft of what you asked me, the United States Senate has 50 Republican senators, 50 Democratic senators don’t get any closer than that.
House of Representatives, the Dems have a three-vote margin over Republicans. Very tight. And so I set the table that way to say that the Democrats who are in charge of everything, the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, they should reach out to Republicans and say, look, what can we do to try to make this bill something that is good for the American people that everybody can vote for?
They don’t do that. They haven’t done that from the get-go since Biden put his hand on the Bible on January 20th. And the blame for that rests with Pelosi, at least in the House of Representatives.
Leahy: Last question. Is Nancy Pelosi all there or has she lost her fastball?
Kustoff: Yeah. I really don’t know. I can just tell you that she runs things in a way that if Republicans were in charge, we wouldn’t do right or wrong, we wouldn’t do to them what they do to us. And I think the good thing is that after this term coming to the next election, this is it for her one way or the other.
Leahy: You bet. Congressman David Kustoff, thanks so much for joining us. Always entertaining. Come in the studio sometime.
Kustoff: Thank you. Thanks for having me on. I sure do appreciate it.
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