Live from Music Row Thursday 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 Tennessee State Representative (R), Chris Todd of Jackson, to the studio to talk about a bill he is currently sponsoring that would instill term limits to the U.S. Congress via the Constitution’s Article Five Convention.
Leahy: We’re talking in studio with our good friend, State Representative Chris Todd. Chris, we’re talking about where we’ve taken a bill to the point where you’re on the floor of the House, and the bill that you use sponsored is about to be voted on. Obviously, an important day for you. What happens when you had one bill just recently.
Todd: This Monday night, a number one on the docket. And a couple of weeks ago, I actually rolled this bill for two weeks. I was the first on the docket.
Leahy: When you say rolled this bill, tell us what you mean.
Todd: I requested to re-calendar it a couple of weeks later.
Leahy: There you go.
Todd: So I felt like I might not have the votes on the floor. And so I wanted to work at some more. And I had several folks helping me because this was the one that called for term limits on Congress. It had actually requested Congress to set a time in a place for an Article Five Convention of the states to discuss amendments to the U.S. Constitution involving term limits only.
Leahy: Specifically limited to term limits.
Leahy: Now, of course, everybody, a lot of people support term limits, but not everybody is a big fan of the Article Five Convention, correct. It’s in the Constitution. It’s never been used, but it’s right there in the Constitution.
Todd: Yes. James Madison wrote it in knowing that there would be a day when Congress would not respond to the people and the state should have a mechanism for amending the Constitution. So that’s all this did. It was a resolution so it wasn’t passing a law or anything.
Leahy: So you’re number one up.
Todd: Monday night.
Leahy: So everybody’s sitting in their seat?
Todd: Well partially. There’s a lot of milling around it.
Leahy: They’re on the floor either milling around?
Todd: Yes, like the ones that like myself that have a bill up we’re still going around and getting support. We’re talking to folks about. Hey, are you still good with me? Do you know of anything I need to do or whatever? You’re still working the bills as much as you can.
Leahy: There are 99 members of the House of Representatives. You need 50 votes to get it passed in the House.
Todd: Yes. So I spent 30 minutes in the well. That’s at the podium.
Leahy: When you say in the well, describe the Chamber because there’s, like every 99 seats out in the Chamber. But where is the well and what are you supposed to do there?
Todd: So it’s a big room. You have a gallery on each side, which is a balcony area where visitors and staff can sit and watch and observe. The Speaker is at the head of the room up on a podium. And the well, the podium where the members would speak is down on the floor in front of that. So you’re called upon, there’s a motion made a second to hear your bill, and then you’re able to describe it. And you have the certain legal language you have to say to start with to get it in the proper form. And then you can talk about your bill and actually tell what it does, and then you renew your motion and you wait for questions.
Leahy: Ah ha!
Todd: Sometimes there are questions and sometimes there are not.
Leahy: So tell us about this. So you go and you talk about your bill, what happened?
Todd: So when the Speaker then says, are there any discussions on the bill and he will call on individual members to stand and speak and they address the chair. Mr. Speaker, I’d like to know about this particular bill. I’ve got a comment or a question about the bill. And then when they’re finished, he will call on me again as the sponsor of the bill to respond to that.
You don’t have to respond. You can just say I renew my motion or you can have an explanation of why that comment is accurate or inaccurate. And then it goes to someone else. As long as people stand up and want to speak or comment or question your bill that goes on up to a certain point.
Leahy: I hear you had a couple of lively questions.
Todd: I had several lively questions and several just lively comments.
Leahy: And even from friends.
Todd: Oh, it was absolutely there were friends.
Leahy: That disagree with you on this bill.
Todd: Staunch conservatives that are a couple of those and Democrats as well that spoke against it that gave their opinion about it. And then I would try to refute their comments and show how, in the historical record, they were inaccurate. I pulled up quotes of my founders and all kinds of things that I had at my disposal there.
Leahy: So they don’t say like you are an absolute idiot for proposing this bill. They say, my good friend, there is an error on this.
Leahy: And then when you respond, you don’t say you are absolutely a crazy person, right?
Leahy: You say my good friend.
Leahy: Even though you may be, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but if it were me, I would say my good friend. But I might be thinking something different.
Todd: It’s difficult. You have to have a lot of control because sometimes things get a little heated, but we still have to practice decorum. We still have to practice respect. And that is critical to things on the House floor. And so I spent 30 minutes doing that back and forth, back and forth. And then one member who was actually on the other side of the aisle stood up and called for the previous questions.
Leahy: That means they’re going to vote on it.
Todd: That is a motion that can be voted on to stop debate and vote on it.
Leahy: Stop debate.
Todd: If there’s no objection to previous question, then we go to vote on it.
Leahy: So what happened?
Todd: No one opposed it because everybody was tired of listening to this.
Leahy: Okay. So then what happens?
Todd: They call for a vote.
Leahy: Who calls for a vote?
Todd: The Speaker calls for the vote.
Leahy: Cameron Sexton. So he calls for the vote. What happens then?
Todd: Then the board starts lighting up. There’s a board on each side of the room of the chamber.
Leahy: So do you go back to your seat and press a button?
Todd: I walk back to my seat. Now, usually, our clerk will place your vote for you. If you’re presenting a bill, he knows you’re for the bill so that before you even get back to your seat. Because none of the seats are quite a ways off if you are sitting in the back of the room.
Leahy: Are there, red buttons or green buttons? What buttons do you Press?
Todd: So the green button would be an aye. A red button would be a no. A blue button is present, not voting. It’s like a roll call vote. And it says I’m here but I’m not voting on this. It’s kind of a no with a hug is what some people would call it.
Leahy: So how long does this roll call take place?
Todd: Literally seconds.
Todd: Maybe 10 or 15 seconds.
Leahy: Okay, so there you are and you’re thinking, is this thing gonna pass? Did you kind of know what the final vote would be?
Todd: I knew what our prediction was.
Leahy: What was your prediction?
Todd: We had commitments in the mid 50?
Leahy: And what was the final vote?
Todd: And we had five members that were supportive. We felt like we’re supported that were out that were absent. So it ended up 53 to 34.
Leahy: So it passed?
Todd: Yes, it passed.
Leahy: Now what happens?
Todd: Then the Senate has to pass the same thing.
Leahy: Did you messenger it to the Senate?
Todd: Well, that particular one I think it will go to them as a message and then they can accept that and go through their process. They’ve already had something running on that. But I’m not sure exactly how far it’s gone.
Leahy: So the odds that this becomes a law?
Todd: It’s a resolution that would be sent to Congress.
Leahy: All they have to do is they have to sign it.
Leahy: What are the odds that Senate?
Todd: I think it’s decent. It depends on what the committee gets to.
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.
Live from Music Row Thursday 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 (R) David Kustoff to the newsmakers line to weigh in on Nancy Pelosi’s iron grip on Washington D.C., HR1 legislation, and a path forward for Republicans.
Leahy: Tennessee, joined on our newspaper line by Congressman David Kustoff, a Republican who represents the Eighth Congressional District in Tennessee, which stretches all the way from a little bit West of Nashville, all the way down to Shelby County, the Memphis area. Welcome, Congressman Kustoff.
Kustoff: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Leahy: How are you holding up in the crazy land of out-of-control Nancy Pelosi?
Kustoff: Well, I think you really summed up pretty well. Pelosi has made Washington help to create this toxic atmosphere. And you look at the priorities that she said, starting with the election bill, that you’ve been talking about, that federalize elections across the nation and it’s really scary. The power that the federal government is trying to implement on state and local governments all over and it emanates from Pelosi, the progressives, and the left side.
When you look at what she’s trying to do with elections, we’ve talked a lot and we’ve heard a lot about what’s going on in Georgia. It may not matter. If Pelosi’s election bill, which the bill number of anybody is following it is HR1, which means in her world, this is the most important bill that Congress is going to consider over these two years, it’s a complete domination of the election process by federal officials.
Leahy: In my view, it’s also unconstitutional. I like the name that I think speak former Speaker Newt Gingrich came up with for it. The Corrupt Politicians Act. Tell us about some of these.
Kustoff: (Chuckles) Well, that’s a good lead-in because it’s very broad. It’s very comprehensive. I think Speaker Gingrich is exactly right because I look at Tennessee in my area of Tennessee and I think that that we handle elections and we administer elections very fairly. People have plenty of opportunities to vote that one time. They’ve got several weeks of early voting. Extended hours. We make it pretty easy.
One thing that we require, which I think is exactly right, is voter identification. Just like when I go to the airport to fly to Washington every week, I’m showing the TSA official my driver’s license to show that I am who I am. Nothing unreasonable about it. Pelosi’s election bill gets rid of that voter ID requirement. And so it doesn’t matter what Tennessee’s law is as it relates to voter ID or any other state, it would be nullified.
It mandates the mail-in ballots. It mandates the drop boxes. But going back to your question with Speaker Gingrich, and this is incredible. I want people to really try to wrap their arms around this because it’s hard. It would create this bill, a six to one federal political donation match for all donations under $200. So picture this.
If Joe Smith gives Bernie Sanders a $200 donation, the federal government is going to chip in $1,200 to the Bernie Sanders reelection campaign. Now, that really makes no sense. And by the way, that would be funded with a tax increase. So you can see it’s a complete domination of elections by federal authorities. And it injects corruption into the process just as Speaker Gingrich says.
Leahy: Well, next time you’re meeting with Speaker Pelosi, I’m sure she regularly schedules meetings with the Republican members of the House. Not. But I have a message for her from Tennessee, direct from Tennessee. If the Senate passes the Corrupt Politicians Act and if the House then approves a conference committee, whatever it is, if it’s signed into law, she can take that law, and we’re not going to comply with it here in Tennessee. The state of Tennessee is going to push back. That I can guarantee you.
Kustoff: Well, I think that to your point a little bit earlier, I think that there are a lot of state attorney generals around the nation, the would challenge the authority and the constitutionality of this law to overstep and override their own state laws. And that would be appropriate. It’s a complete overreach. You just talked jokingly about sitting down with Pelosi. Here’s the stage right now.
The majority in the House of Representatives, there are 435 Congressmen and women, the magic number is 218. Now you’ve got some vacancies. You’ve got a Democratic congressman who passed away the other day. Right now, the count in the House is 218 Democrat Congressmen. And as of next week, there’ll be 212 Republican Congressman. And there are a few vacancies. So my point is that it is very very tight. It can’t be any tighter in the Senate.
50 Republicans, 50 Democrats. You would think at this point in time that Pelosi would reach out to Republicans and say, look, we don’t have the numbers to try to cram stuff down your throat and down the American people’s throat. Let’s see where we can find some common ground. Let’s get some stuff done for the American people and let’s get things going. But that’s not her strategy. That’s not her tactics. That’s not who she is. And that’s why until November of 2022, we’re going to have to fight like heck for our country.
Leahy: Now, let me ask you this question. Those 218 Democratic members of the House of Representatives, is there any single one of them that you’ve met who has the courage and convictions to stand against the lies of Nancy Pelosi? I mean, really. And when it comes down to it, will anyone stand for America on the Democratic side, or are they all in fear of Nancy Pelosi’s wrath and just going in lockstep with this attempt to destroy our constitutional Republic?
Kustoff: Well, believe it or not, the answer is both. There are some Democrat congressman who want to do the right thing and who think that she overreaches and think that the Democratic Party is moving and has moved too far to the left. But at the same time, they know her power and they know what she can do to them.
And seen some moderates get totally wiped out and get primaried by people to their left and to their progressive side because they don’t cow-tow to where the Democratic Party is today. You’ve seen them wiped off the board the last two and four years, and that’s really too bad. So there are a number of them who get it. But at the same time, she wields a lot of power.
And to her credit, she’s a terrific vote counter. And so she’s not going to put a bill on the floor of the House of Representatives unless she’s absolutely sure that she’s got the votes to pass it. And so that’s the real rub. To me, we talked about this election bill that Pelosi named HR1. You didn’t see Democrats fighting against it, arguing against it, or voting against it. And that’s because of the tremendous control that she has.
Leahy: They are afraid of her.
Kustoff: I really do think a number of them are. And believe it or not, they may be as scared of somebody like an AOC as they are Pelosi.
Leahy: Jim Cooper here is about to be challenged by Nashville’s version of AOC, Odessa Kelly, who if elected, would be the first Black lesbian member of Congress from Tennessee. And she’s all-in in terms of the left-wing agenda of AOC. That is I guess is one thing that they may be concerned about. Final thoughts from Congressman David Kustoff.
Kustoff: Yeah, well, it’s a tough time in our nation’s history. We’ll get past it. I really feel very good that we’re going to get the House back in Republican hands in November of 2022. But it is going to be a real fight, and I’m going to continue to make that fight.
Leahy: From your lips to God’s ear.
Listen to the full second hour:
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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.
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. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to breakdown what he see’s going on in Washington as House and Senate members and leaders show signs of wear and tear.
Leahy: We are joined as we almost always are every Wednesday at 7:15 by our Washington correspondent, Neil McCabe, the best Washington correspondent in the country in my view. Neil, good morning.
McCabe: Yeah, almost always, Mike. (Leahy laughs) That’s pretty good.
Leahy: Well, Washington is crazy. (McCabe chuckles) And the House of Representatives and Senate, they’re crazy. When last we talked here last week, you said there’s a possibility that the very narrow margin by which the Democrats control the House of Representatives is perhaps fraying a bit. There are four special elections going on right now. One in Louisiana, one in New Mexico, one in Texas, one in Ohio. One of those seats was occupied by a Republican, three by a Democrat. Do you see any of those outcomes having an impact that could change the narrow majority Democrats have in the House?
McCabe: I don’t see much changing in those because the people who control the appointments for the Biden administration were very careful to pick people from very safe districts. And that’s one of the reasons why you didn’t see a lot of senators joining the Biden administration. But what I think you’re going to start seeing as you already saw with that the way that Pelosi was challenging the election in Iowa, you saw that there were House Democrats who are like, going, whoa, that’s a step too far.
We already know that after the 2020 election there was that conference call with the House Democrats where you had a number of House Democrats who barely won their seats saying that this socialism and defunding the police almost put me out of business. We’ve got to stop. And so the fissures are there. It’s just, can it be exploited? And the biggest thing that Nancy Pelosi has going for her is that Kevin McCarthy is being more reactive.
He’s waiting for Pelosi to do something and then he’s criticizing it. He’s not coming forward with his own sort of agenda. And remember, there was a rebellion with Liz Cheney and others voting to impeach President Trump, and Kevin McCarthy has done nothing to punish them. And you must feel it, Mike.
I’m sure people listening feel it. The Republican House leadership as a press conference and Liz Cheney is the one giving statements on behalf. Mccarthy still continues to put Liz Cheney out front as a spokeswoman for the party, and it just confuses people. So it’s really McCarthy’s game to lose and he could lose it. But having said that, five seats are very tight. And there’s a lot of people who don’t want to go down with the Pelosi ship.
Leahy: Shifting gears to the United States Senate for a moment, so the Corrupt Politicians Act, which would codify the ability of Democrats to cheat in elections and would attempt unconstitutionally, in my view, to nationalize elections, where does that stand? Is it likely to pass? What’s the status of that?
McCabe: Well, I think it’s interesting that Joe Manchin has said that it’s a problem for him. I think that you’re going to see a Sinema from Arizona, she’s a Democrat, but she’s kind of wavering a little bit. And I think you’re going to see Mark Kelly get a little crazy. Mark Kelly won his race was with barely 50 percent of the vote. And he was running against maybe the worst Senate candidate in American history.
Leahy: Martha McSally, a nice person, but a bad candidate.
McCabe: She’s so bad. I think she might be the only senator to lose two senate races in less than two years. (Leahy chuckles) She was appointed twice and lost twice, which is incredible in confidence.
Carmichael: Are there some good candidates in Arizona running for the opportunity to run against Mark Kelly in ’22?
McCabe: I haven’t seen anything really emerge yet. But I mean, that’s right for the picking, because this midterm the institutionalized cycle, is that this midterm is going to be bad for whoever the president’s party is. And so I think people are sort of licking their chops. I think Rick Scott as head of the National Senate Republican Committee was a very good choice. He’s a very, very solid guy.
He doesn’t get along with the DeSantis very well, but he raises money and he is tough. And people who thought that they could take him down in Florida learned very quickly in two tough governor races and a tough, tough Senate race. Rick Scott is tough. And he visited Trump and kissed the ring. And so I think that the Republicans are in good shape on the Senate side.
And as I said before, there are five of those Senate Democrats who won with less than 52 percent of the vote. I think that there’s a very good chance that Governor Chris Sununu the governor of New Hampshire, he runs. And that’s a pickup that nobody was really counting on. And again, the Senate Democrats are going to get a little squeamish. Remember that the Biden administration opted for what’s called in marketing a soft opening.
The grand opening of your administration is your first address to Congress. The guy never launched his first address to Congress. There’s a ton of cabinet positions whereas four years ago, Trump had problems getting people confirmed. He hasn’t even nominated a lot of people. We still don’t have branch secretaries. We still haven’t nominated one director. I said, like three weeks ago, the wheels were falling off.
Leahy: Neil McCabe, look into your Neil McCabe Crystal ball and tell us in the next 30 days, what is the likelihood the Senate, which is 50/50 right now with Kamala Harris, VP, the tiebreaker, what is the likelihood they jam through in some form this Corrupt Politicians Act that would codify the cheating that Democrats do and nationalize elections unconstitutionally?
McCabe: I think they chicken out. They’re going to be cowards, and they’re not going to do it.
Carmichael: Neil, and what about the infrastructure and the pro bill?
McCabe: Oh, that goes through. That goes through. And remember, everybody was looking at the filibuster. They don’t need the filibuster, because the Parliamentarian is going to give them they’re going to be able to do reconciliation forever instead of one budget bill a year that basically the Parliamentarian said they could do budget bills whenever they want. So the filibuster is no longer even an issue anymore for spending bill.
Leahy: On spending bills. Neil, That’s a very good point. I saw that decision by the Parliamentarian, and I said, uh oh, they’re going to jam all this stuff through using the reconciliation process, which is an obscure process in the United States Senate. Neil McCabe, thank you so much for joining us today, and you’ll come back next Wednesday with more.
McCabe: Be good guys. Take care.
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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.