Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe Answers the Question of the Day, What Is Infrastructure?

Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe Answers the Question of the Day, What Is Infrastructure?

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday 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. – guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the infrastructure spending, budget reconciliation, and the filibuster.

Cunningham: Neil McCabe, who is the Washington correspondent for Star Media and probably the most connected person in Washington, D.C., is on the line with us. Neil, good morning.

McCabe: Hey. Fantastic to be with you. I hope you had a good, long weekend.

Cunningham: We did. We did. Al Gore was in town, so it was cold. (McCabe laughs) So, unfortunately, we had a cold weekend, but I actually got in the water. I stayed in about 30 seconds, and then I got out. All right, Neil, we’re going to ask you the question of the day here. What is infrastructure? (Laughter)

McCabe: What isn’t infrastructure. (Laughter)

Henry: That’s the answer.

Cunningham: What can you tell us about the huge package? I mean, he announced this week the package where he throws everything into this thing but the kitchen sink. How is this thing going to fare? Are Republicans going to stand up at all, or are they just going to pass this thing via reconciliation and it’s going to be over quickly?

McCabe: There are a number of different Republican senators that have made their way to the White House to try to cut deals, and all of them are sort of the usual suspects that you would expect, like Mitt Romney.

But also, you know, John Cornyn, I think the person to really watch is Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia. She is a full-on Trump hater. This, of course, was after the election, and she sort of played nice with Trump during his presidency. But once the results were sort of put in stone, she has come out as a full-on Trump hater.

She’s also someone who uses Paul Ryan’s fundraiser. And I wrote about this for The Tennessee Star. She is completely linked in to this GOP resistance that’s being run by Paul Ryan. And this crowd is trying to push for an infrastructure bill. And who knows what’s even in it. Republicans are saying 900 billion. And that’s, like, their compromise.

Cunningham: Yeah, thanks a lot.

McCabe: But what’s even in it, right. The only thing we know that’s not in it is a wall on the Mexican border, which was, frankly, even throughout the campaign, that’s like, the biggest applause line Trump ever had.

And so what they’re going to do is the Biden White House needs to get this thing done. And they’ve told the Republicans that they have a week to sort of get their act together. And if they want to participate in this thing, the translation is the Biden and Democrats say we’re going to pass this.

And if you want your pork projects, if you want your swimming pools, your bridges, and all this stuff for your districts and your states. If you want all your goodies and Christmas presents put into this bill, you have to get on board now.

And they think they can pass it. They might be able to do a reconciliation, but they might not. The Senate is not lock solid. It’s a 50-50 Senate. And there are Democrats who are in trouble.

Cunningham: Has Manchin come out one way or the other on the whole budget?

McCabe: Manchin is a stoic vote for the Democrats. But what he won’t do is he will not go along with the filibuster and he may not go along with reconciliation. Now they may do reconciliation with the permission of the Parliamentarian. This reconciliation rule basically makes the budget exempt from a filibuster.

And the idea is you can’t to stop the government from being shut down by a filibuster. And so you’re only supposed to have one budget a year hence, you can use reconciliation one time. And you can only use reconciliation when it deals with taxes or something connected to the budget.

This is why sometimes a tax bill can go through with reconciliation. But we saw in 2017, you can’t do a lot. It has to be kind of revenue-neutral. And so Manchin may or may not go along with this. My feeling is that Manchin will vote with the Democrats on their bills like this one.

He will not try to disrupt the rules of the Senate. You’re looking at in Arizona, you have Sinema and Mark Kelly, who may be no votes. Obviously, Hassan in New Hampshire is looking at Chris Sununu.

And you have this specter of inflation, which was like something people were whispering about. They were whispering about it six months ago, three months ago, two months ago.

Cunningham: Now it’s real.

McCabe: Now people are saying, holy mackerel, we are going to blow up this economy with inflation. And the idea that Biden just announced another six trillion dollar bill. And people are like, whoa, guy, what are you doing?

Carmichael: Neil, let me ask you a quick question. Didn’t the COVID bill the Democrats passed, didn’t they pass that with reconciliation?

McCabe: I’m not sure if they use reconciliation.

Carmichael: Well they had to because no Republicans voted for it.

McCabe: So if they did, that was their one-off. The Parliamentarian rules that you can use reconciliation twice, then basically it’s game over. Then the filibuster is over. But the specter of inflation is becoming very, very real. And for the first time, the Republicans are getting political traction against the spending, not because of the debt, but because of this inflation.

Carmichael: Neil, let me ask a question. I’m going to make a statement, and you can correct me. I was under the impression that reconciliation could be used for taxes and spending.

But if you are going to pass another bill, for example, the ProAct or the Senate version of the HR1 that requires 60 votes, but the taxes and spending did not require 60 votes that you can pass that with a majority. Am I wrong about taxes and spending?

McCabe: No, you’re absolutely right. The reason why you have this reconciliation allows for one privileged motion a year in the Senate that is not subject to filibuster. But that’s because of the need to get the budget done.

You can’t change the voting age. You can’t regulate guns or de-regulate. You can’t do gun legislation. You can’t make Puerto Rico estate using reconciliation. If it’s connected to the budget, you can use reconciliation.

But even then, there’s not a lot you can do because you have to be relatively budget neutral or revenue-neutral, which is why the 2017 tax bill was passed with reconciliation. But it couldn’t go to the far extremes, which is why they had the House bill repealing the estate tax, and Republicans put the state or death tax back in. Specifically, Mike Rounds from South Dakota, personally put the estate tax back in.

But the excuse was that we needed to push revenue back in so we can get this bill passed. Biden’s in trouble. Let me just say. And I’ve said it over and again. Biden is in trouble and he’s losing control of the Senate, but he’s also losing control of the House.

And whatever he doesn’t get done by July 4 will not get done. We’ve already crossed Memorial Day. They know that they have between now and July 4 to get something done.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davidson County Metro Council Member-at-Large Steve Glover on Nashville’s Budget Handover and Fiscal Irresponsiblity

Davidson County Metro Council Member-at-Large Steve Glover on Nashville’s Budget Handover and Fiscal Irresponsiblity

 

Live from Music Row Monday 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 Metro Nashville’s City Council Member-at-Large Steve Glover to discuss Nashville’s budget timing and pointed out a recent Wall Street Journal article signaling Nashville’s fiscal trouble.

Leahy: In studio with us, Metro Council member at large, Steve Glover. But Scooter has a weather update for us. Lots going on out there. Scooter, Speaking of troubled weather and storms, there’s a fiscal storm going on in Nashville. It has for some time. We’re talking about that here with Steve Glover, Metro Council member at large, The Wall Street Journal pointed it out in a devastating article that is entirely counter to the way that Mayor Cooper presented the State of Metro on Thursday.

Glover: The sad part is, is the way that the State of Metro was presented. Then Friday, the joke of the way the budget was presented.

Leahy: Let’s stop and talk about it. Let’s be clear about how this works so our audience can understand. On Thursday, it was a press conference. Yackety yack.

Glover: Thursday was the State of Metro right at that point. And I’ve not known this to be the case that once the Mayor hands the budget over it’s the council’s budget.

Leahy: Got it.

Glover: And I didn’t see it handled that way number one.

Leahy: Part of the State of Metro is to present the budget. Correct?

Glover: Well, you don’t know. Not necessarily. Normally, once the State of Metro is completed, then they come in with the budget. But they waited a day and just said there wasn’t enough space. That’s malarky. Malarky. They could have adjourned upstairs, come down to the Davidson Ballroom, or whatever where desks were already set up for the Metro Council.

And they could have done a budget and a Council meeting and gone ahead and done it. They just chose not to. It’s just another way the legislative body just keeps giving up more and more power to the executive branch. And The Wall Street Journal article that you first started talking about in this segment is exactly right. And this is why we’re in the predicament we are in right now because the executive branch does whatever the heck it wants to. And the legislative branch says okay.

Leahy: Where’s my rubber stamp?

Glover: Doh dee-doh dee-doh… And they can get mad at me all they want to. I don’t care, because, you know, the thing that drives me the craziest is we are elected by the people who represent the people, and they have abdicated that to one office downstairs in the executive branch. The legislative branch, our forefathers had a great reason for the way they set up our Constitution and the way our government is supposed to work in America.

The Wall Street Journal article talking about Nashville being one of the five worst cities fiscally it should have been, and I think the article pointed it out, we should have been literally at the crest of being the best because we had every opportunity in the world.

Leahy: Nashville has everything going for it except for a very bad, reckless Metro government.

Glover: Yep. And as I said on Tucker Carlson about six months ago, whatever it was, it’s a lack of leadership. That’s our problem in Nashville. A lack of leadership. And whenever you have that kind of void, this is what happens. Oh, well, just like you’re talking about the American whatever, blah, blah, blah. They give them all these names and whatever.

They’re going to throw all kinds of money at things. And they’re not going to fix anything. And that’s been our problem. We keep throwing money, throwing money, throwing money. And we’ll talk about some of this as we go forward here on where I think we’re throwing money in all the wrong places.

Leahy: Wasting money.

Glover: In my opinion, it’s beyond wasting. And we’re not really focusing on where we need to be spending the money. The Wall Street Journal was exactly right. They come out last week and they said, oh, no, we fixed it. Everything’s golden. No, it’s not. Don’t think it is. And I’m not saying the sky is falling, the sky is falling. I’m saying that it’s raining pretty hard outside and you better get a frigging umbrella.

Leahy: And it’s mostly it’s largely these unfunded health care liabilities for retirees.

Glover: Well, the op-ed. So what they’ll talk about on that is that they fixed that and they’ve removed one point one billion dollars off of the financial sheets because they’re going to shift everything to this Medicare advantage thing. So we’re going to move it from the local government to the federal government. Yeah, that will fix it.

Leahy: That’s a joke.

Glover: So way to go, Metro. Oh, my gosh. You guys are just tremendous.

Leahy: This is very much how Liberal Democrats pretend two ‘solve problems.’ They just move the accounting for it from one side to another side or try to.

Glover: Let’s make sure we give credit do where it’s supposed to all be given. Don’t forget now and I think it was last hour or whatever you were talking about the George W. Bush thing.

Leahy: Oh, yeah.

Glover: He’s the one who did the Medicare Part D. And Clinton gave us Medicare Part C, which is Medicare Advantage. And then George W. gave us Medicare Part D, which is prescription drugs and has been a fiasco ever since. And so what we’re doing in Metro, apparently and I haven’t read the whole thing so it’s hard for me to tell you exactly what it looks like right now.

If you’re 65 plus, you have to go on Medicare Advantage. That means now you will have to take Medicare Part B, which is 136 or 140 or whatever it is a month that you’ll be required to pay. And so what my question is, well, okay, if you’re doing that and how much are you still going to have to pay off the insurance? I know people grind the axe on the Council members, but you got to talk about the retirees. We’re talking about folks who gave years about years upon years upon years of service.

Leahy: And there’s unfunded healthcare liability for those retirees.

Glover: Yes. And there is across the entire country. It’s not anything unique only to Metro.

Leahy: It’s just worse here apparently.

Glover: It is.

Leahy: Like, by a lot.

Glover: Well, it’s because we like to buy new, shiny toys every Christmas, as opposed to buying one toy every Christmas and making sure the toys we bought in the previous Christmases are kept operational, functional, and serving the purpose.

Leahy: This budget document you’re talking about that was not presented along with the State of Metro address, but was delivered separately.

Glover: Friday. It always is. That’s the way the bill is always filed on Friday.

Leahy: So it was delivered on Friday. And this is for what budget period?

Glover: Well, it will be for the FY ’22.

Leahy: And when does that begin?

Glover: July one.

Leahy: July one of this coming year?

Glover: Yes. July 21 of 2021.

Leahy: Until June 30th of 2022.

Glover: Correct.

Leahy: Now, how many pages is this budget?

Glover: I don’t know the number on the orders.

Leahy: A lot?

Glover: You got to look at the budget book. The ordinance only spells out the legalities.

Leahy: The budget then.

Glover: The budget book typically is about 1,000 pages.

Leahy: Are you going to read every page of that?

Glover: Pretty much.

Leahy: You’re kidding me?

Glover: No.

Leahy: That’s a lot of work.

Glover: I always do that. That’s what I do.

Leahy: You always do it. How many Metro Council members read the 1,000-page budget book?

Glover: I don’t know. I mean, you could ask each one of them. They could tell you whatever.

Leahy: So after the Mayor submits the budget, it goes to a committee in Metro?

Glover: It goes to the whole Council. The Budget and Finance Committee, which I’m a member of, we will take it, and we pretty much so do what’s going to be the hearings. But what I found most interesting is this year our chair, and look, she’s a nice person. Nothing personal here. It’s just the fact that only going to be one substitute. You can do amendments, blah, blah. Once again, we’re abdicating our responsibilities.

Leahy: So let me ask you this. The Budget and Finance Committee of Metro is very important. And you’re a Metro Council Member-At-Large.

Glover: Correct. I represent the whole city.

Leahy: But you’re not the chair of the committee.

Glover: No, I’ll never be the chair. If I was the chair, we’d start fixing things.

Leahy: You’re not the chair of the committee because…

Glover: I’m a Republican.

Leahy: Who picks the chair, the vice Mayor, the Vice Mayor. And how many people are on the committee?

Glover: I think there’s 13, 14, 15 of us.

Leahy: Wow, that’s a big committee.

Glover: That’s a huge committee.

Leahy: I think you’re having a meeting today?

Glover: Yes. At four o’clock. Four or four-thirty. Something like that.

Leahy: Tell us what is going to happen in that meeting.

Glover: Well, you’ll go through this week’s agenda and that’s what we’ll talk about. But we’re going to be convening this coming Thursday to talk about the budget. So here we are one week later, and we’re gonna start talking about the budget. We won’t be talking about it today or tomorrow. We’re going to wait until Thursday because no need to talk about something that’s kind of spinning out of control.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davidson County City Council Member and Republican Steve Glover Reacts to Nashville Mention in WSJ Article and State of Metro Address

Davidson County City Council Member and Republican Steve Glover Reacts to Nashville Mention in WSJ Article and State of Metro Address

 

Live from Music Row Monday 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 Metro Nashville’s City Council Member-at-Large Steve Glover to weigh in on Mayor John Cooper’s State of the Metro Address and recent Wall Street Journal article which highlighted the fiscal issues facing the city of Nashville.

Leahy: We are joined in studio with Metro Council member Steve Glover. Good morning, Steve.

Glover: Good morning, sir. How are you?

Leahy: Before we get to the two hours of Steve Glover’s view of the world, (Glover laughs) which I can’t wait to hear, we’re going to be joined. We want to get a weather update from Scooter. What’s going on weatherwise Scooter?

Scooter: We’re watching these storms right now that it’s kind of a light show in the borough at this moment. No warnings with any of this. This was the earlier cell that did prompt a tornado warning for Maury and Marshall County, but that is no longer in effect. And that is good news. But there is still a little kind of broad circulation with the storm.

So the winds are going to pick up, but there are no warnings with it. It’s a little bit like I said of a light show. And the back edge of this, at least for now, about to enter the Western half of Davidson County. It’s going to be a wet ride for this hour. But maybe as we get into the seven o’clock hour, we get a little break in the rain. The heavier rain as you get into Nashville from the West. But don’t worry, there are more storms on the way.

Leahy: All right Scooter, thanks for that weather update. Now, two things I want to get your reaction to Steve Glover, Metro Council member-at-large.

Glover: I’m getting larger over the last 12 months. Gained a little weight here buddy. (Laughter)

Leahy: Aren’t we all? So two things. Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran a detailed article on the five most fiscally irresponsible cities in America. Nashville was in that list number one. Number two, Mayor John Cooper delivered a State of Metro address last week. Give me your reaction to both of those.

Glover: Let’s go backward. Let’s do the State of Metro first and then back into The Wall Street Journal. So the State of Metro, according to what the Mayor said, he’s done a phenomenal job. If you don’t believe me, just ask him. He has told us he has gotten us back to stability, et cetera. What I will tell you is the people of Nashville, and the 34 to 37 percent property tax increase is what got us back to stability because this Mayor is not doing anything to cut expenses.

In fact, he’s adding and adding. Now there’s a couple of areas I agree with wholeheartedly he’s adding 40 firefighters, 20 EMTs, and he’s adding 40 police officers.  I get kind of deep in the weeds sometimes.

Leahy: He’s adding 40 firefighters.

Glover: 20 EMTs. And 40 police officers. What he said about Southeast Nashville is we’re gonna be opening up this new precinct. So he’s gonna put in 40 new police officers over there to take care of that take 66 minimum to run a new precinct. So we’re still going to be behind in Nashville. This is what they do all the time.

They get on there because they have the microphone so often and they brag about how great they are. And by the way, when they did the video presentation of the budget on Friday versus sitting down with the Council live. I’ve never seen this before. Last year, under the COVID thing, they had that cover.

That cover is gone. That cover is now gone. And so why we didn’t do it in person I don’t know. But we’re gonna do it this coming Thursday. We’re gonna start getting really serious about it. And then they’ll want us to pass this thing.

Leahy: Immediately. Without looking at it.

Glover: Yes. So The Wall Street Journal, let’s go back to that one. The things I said are the right things. As far as I’m concerned, public safety should be that education should be your number one thing. And we’re going to talk about teachers. We’re going to top up the pay increases and all that other stuff. The other things Mayor did there was added, added, added just put on more layers of expense. And for them to say that we have fewer employees than we did. Well, that’s true.

But it’s not the whole truth. And they didn’t Paul Harvey on it. Because now we’re going to talk about the rest of the story today as we’re here. The Wall Street Journal article is exactly right. If you go back and you start looking at 11,12, I kind of warned us, but ’12, ’13, ’13, ’14, ’15. And right on down.

Leahy: We’re talking about budget years.

Glover: I started warning us many years ago, almost a decade ago, if not a decade ago, that if we did not stop spending and this massive, massive capital outlay and continuing to grow our debt level, then we were gonna be in big trouble.

Leahy: We’re in big trouble now.

Glover: I did something really crazy. I looked at the numbers.

Leahy: Yeah, well, you can’t do that. You can’t do that.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.