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 U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) to the newsmaker line to discuss China’s illicit global behavior, SEC regulations, the Biden family, and reconciliation.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by our friend, the United States junior senator from Tennessee, Bill Hagerty. Good morning, Senator Hagerty.
Hagerty: Good morning. Great to be back with you.
Leahy: Senator Hagerty, China is on my mind this morning, and I’m thinking it’s on your mind as well. What’s going on with China? You’ve been making some news in that area of late.
Hagerty: China persists in its malign behavior all around the world. And if you think about what we’re dealing with now in any aspect of the news, whether it’s the coronavirus pandemic that they unquestionably unleashed on the planet, their reluctance to do anything, to cooperate, to help us deal with that.
Their actions in the Taiwan Strait, which threaten yet another free nation and one of our allies, where we are spending a great deal of time and effort right now. Certainly in my office contemplating our approach and our push back on that.
To what they’re doing in the realm of military diplomacy and every other aspect of global life to try to undercut and project themselves and very often at the expense of America.
Leahy: You were quoted in a story yesterday at CNBC. This is an area of great interest to me, and I learned something about your position in the Senate, where you are influential. You are a member of the Banking Committee, which is a very influential committee.
Here’s the headline of the story. SEC Officials Says US Listed Chinese Companies Must Disclose Government Interference Risk. And your quote on that topic was, I think on point. You said, “U.S. regulators must ensure that American investors and workers are protected from the sort of non-market behavior that is leaving American investors.” That’s what you said.
Leahy: You said it on the Senate banking committee. How are the Chinese companies that are listed on American stock exchanges engaging in nonmarket behavior?
Hagerty: Several days ago, I made those remarks because I witnessed what happened with the listing of the major ride-hailing company. It’s a copycat of Uber here in America. It’s called DiDi. And they came and use the New York Stock Exchange to list their company.
I’ve spent a lot of time and a big portion of my life in the financial markets – a servant on the board of directors of New York Stock Exchange-listed companies. I know the rules. DiDi lists here in America raise billions of dollars.
And just a couple of days later, the Chinese Communist Party basically pulled down their data, pulls their app offline, and destroys the business model. This is after they’ve collected again billions of dollars of American investors’ hard-earned money.
Leahy: Where did that money go?
Hagerty: It’s in the hands of a Chinese company and perhaps in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
Leahy: How do we let that happen?
Hagerty: We allowed them to list. And again, I put a lot of pressure on the SEC. You cannot allow these Chinese companies to list and not follow precisely the same set of rules. The companies that I’ve worked with, that I’ve sat on the boards on, and that I’ve invested in – that you invest in, American companies have followed the rules.
If we had an American company that didn’t list a major risk like this, they would be delisted.
Instead, we had this happen with the Chinese company and we’ve got to step up. No more looking the other way. The Biden administration seems too often willing to appease and not step up and stand up for the rights of Americans.
Leahy: What sort of concrete, specific actions can be undertaken by the United States government to make sure that these kinds of market irregularities, this disruption, this perversion of our American financial markets by the Chinese, to their benefit, don’t occur again?
Hagerty: We need to make certain that they fully comply with all of the accounting standards that American companies have to comply with.
I think it’s a shock to many American investors to learn that Chinese companies have been given waivers on the American stock exchanges when they don’t comply with the same sort of accounting requirements, the same accounting standards that we do. That’s got to come to an end.
Leahy: But didn’t the Biden administration just double down on granting those waivers? Or do I have that wrong?
Hagerty: They have got to come back and look at the law and enforce it as written. And they’re not doing this time and time again. They’re looking the other way. They’re not enforcing the laws that are on the books against companies that don’t and countries –
And certainly, the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t have our best interests at heart. Yet they’re willing to double down on American companies all day long. We are the enemy. The economy here in America is under attack on a daily basis by the Biden administration.
Yet, if you look at their appeasement around the world and it’s not just China, they’re trying to appease Iran. They killed the Keystone XL pipeline. What a gift to China and Iran. They are collapsing our southern border. That’s a gift to the cartels down in Mexico.
And Vladimir Putin is laughing all the way to the bank now that they granted him a license to go ahead and complete Nord Stream too. Again, great for the old business over there in Russia while they’re trying to kill the old gas business here in America.
Leahy: There’s a principle of philosophy called Ockham’s razor and that is basically the most likely explanation for an occurrence – is probably the correct one. So I look at this, Senator Hagerty and I look at the Biden Justice Department refusing to prosecute a couple of Chinese spies and military members who lied about their resumes to get influential jobs with American universities.
They’ve decided they’re not going to prosecute them. To me that says this is an example of how compromised Joe Biden and the Biden administration are on the issue of China. What have I got wrong there?
Hagerty: I think you’ve got it right. And if you think about the close financial ties that the Biden family has with China. We don’t have to go back very far to remember who the big guy is and Hunter’s activities in China bringing – what was it?
A billion and a half dollars back from a trip that Hunter took when his father was the vice president. There is obviously something going on here, and we’ve got to continue to press to get to the bottom of it.
Leahy: What are the odds that an anonymous Chinese Communist Party member is going to spend half a million dollars to buy the supposed artwork of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden? (Chuckles)
Hagerty: This is yet another example of the Biden regime and the Biden family operation cashing in on the father’s position. And this is wholly un-American and something I think the world should be very concerned about.
I should say America should be very concerned about it. The world is looking at this and perhaps a low-cost entry point to influence here in America. And it’s un-American as it can be.
Leahy: You’ve got a very busy schedule yourself, and we really appreciate you coming to the program to tell us what you’re up to. What are your priorities for the next week? What are some of the most important things you’ll be doing?
Hagerty: We are trying to make it clear to the public the inflationary implications of what Biden and the Democrats are talking about with this massive spending spree that they have in the tank. They’re saying it’s a $3.5 trillion package to go alongside this “bipartisan” infrastructure deal.
All the projections that I’ve seen say that the $3.5 trillion partisan package, and again, they’re planning to pass this on a 50 vote margin in the Senate. We have a 50/50 Senate and the only way they can break the ties is by bringing the vice president to do it.
That’s their plan. The $3.5 trillion actually maps out to be more than $5 trillion. This is at a time when inflation has taken off. If you look at the numbers between May and June of this year and you annualize the inflation just between those last two months, it annualizes to a 12 percent annual inflation rate. The target for the Fed is two percent.
They’ve talked about maybe slightly overshooting that. This isn’t a slight overshoot. This is a massive overshoot. And we’ve got to step back and say, do we want to introduce this type of inflation throughout the economy?
Those of us that are old enough to remember the Jimmy Carter years know where this will lead. And we are pushing back as hard as we possibly can on this.
Leahy: Here’s a question for you. The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked for advice from the parliamentarian on the capability of using reconciliation to jam through all sorts of bills – illegal immigration, et cetera – under the guise of reconciliation.
The parliamentarian said, well, maybe once you can do it, maybe twice. Do you think the parliamentarian is going to rule on these attempts that will constrain the use of reconciliation? Or will it be a free for all?
Hagerty: We’ll see what they put in. But my guess is that even though Chuck Schumer may know things will not pass the test to be included in this reconciliation bill. And again, I want to clarify the word reconciliation.
What you would think and what I would think is reconciliation is some sort of coming together, some meeting of minds to address or fix something. This is not reconciliation. This is a 100-percent partisan, reckless spending spree that they’re on. Will they use this process to message, will they put things in that won’t fit and rely on the parliamentarian to take them out? I wouldn’t put it past them at all.
They’ll probably use anything that the parliamentarian takes out yet again as their argument to do away with the filibuster and turn this Senate process that over the years has been historically a bipartisan organization into something that is completely partisan again. And if they destroy the filibuster they’ll be able to fulfill the rest of their socialist wishlist.
Leahy: Senator Bill Hagerty, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to our listeners here. I really appreciate it. I hope you have a great week. Thanks for joining us.
Hagerty: Thank you. Good to be with you.
Listen to the 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 TN (R) U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the illegal immigrant minors being flown into Chattanooga, Tennessee, and his proposed legislation to prevent this from continuing.
Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by United States senator from Tennessee, Bill Hagerty. Senator Hagerty, welcome back.
Hagerty: Great to be back with you. Thanks.
Leahy: Well, lots going on in terms of what the Biden administration is doing with flying illegal alien migrant children into Tennessee. The governor says he doesn’t want them, but the Biden administration is doing it. You’re going to do something about that. Tell us what your plan is.
Hagerty: Senator Blackburn, Representative Fleishman and I introduced new legislation yesterday called the Migrant Resettlement Transparency Act that’s going to prevent this from happening again.
We’ve got to ensure that Biden administration is transparent with us, that Secretary of HHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security consult with state and state local officials or any jurisdiction that’s going to be impacted by something like this.
And what they’re doing right now is flying these folks in under the cover of darkness. fAnd they’ve got to be able to tell us exactly how many people they intend to bring in to transport or relocate. Are these people being tested?
Do they have COVID or other health crises or illnesses? How many people because our schools, our hospitals, our law enforcement are going to have to deal with all of this. Our schools are going to be overwhelmed by what could be happening.
So we have an incredibly important right to know. And for them to be behaving in this manner is doing exactly what you’re not talked about before Michael. They’re turning every town in America into a border town.
Leahy: Senator Hagerty, I don’t know if you saw this. So Peter Ducey of Fox News was at a press conference yesterday with Jen Psaki, the press Secretary of President Biden, and he asked, well, the governor said we don’t want them in Tennessee.
And she said, well, they’re really just passing through. Passing through at 1:30 a.m. I don’t know. That doesn’t seem very credible to me or transparent.
Hagerty: It doesn’t. It doesn’t to me. And if you hold on a second, Michael, I’m going to read you a text that one of my friends sent me just the other day. He was flying on a commercial flight from Dallas to Chattanooga.
He talked with the escort on the flight, the adult that was escorting these young people. The guy spoke to him in English and he said that he was bringing these young people, again on a commercial flight.
This is not the fourth that was filmed in Chattanooga by the news station there. This is a different flight. But my friend said there were eight to 10 young unaccompanied minors. Let me just read you what he texted me when he saw it.
Good morning. My wife and I were on a flight from Dallas to Chattanooga last Tuesday. We landed in Chattanooga around 1:15 p.m. At the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, I spoke in the adult males that were escorting eight to 10 unaccompanied minor males that were on the flight. He told me he was taking them to a shelter in Chattanooga.
Leahy: That’s where you go. That’s not exactly passing through, is it Senator Hagerty?
Hagerty: It’s not exactly passing through. And we’ve been hearing rumor after rumor about this Temple dormitory facility there that know that’s been rented. It’s being set up. They’re running advertisements for bilingual people.
It certainly seems that that is a location where they’re housing these folks. And they’re not being transparent whatsoever with the local community or with Governor Lee, obviously. And we have demanded the right to know what’s happening.
Leahy: Senator Hagerty, what’s going to happen with your legislation? What committee does it go before? And what are the odds of passing?
Hagerty: We’re pushing it through right now. Again, its committees with jurisdiction over Homeland Security and HHS. I think there are a lot of senators that are concerned about this. Tennessee is the first to uncover it.
But the crisis is one that the Biden administration has caused because they caused our borders to collapse. This is going to put more pressure on them and I intend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on them to address the border situation.
Now, you know, we talked about this. I flew down to Guatemala and Mexico City just a couple of weeks ago to meet with the President of Guatemala, to meet with a foreign Minister in Mexico.
I met with a foreign Economic Minister to let them know this is a matter of utmost urgency to us. The Senate controls the power of the purse here in the United States of America. And I let them know loud and clear that we need this border crisis fixed now.
We need it fixed urgently because what it’s doing is not only increasing the flow of these migrant children, other migrant adults across the border. But it’s increasing illicit drug trafficking in Tennessee.
You talk to any sheriff, they’ll tell you that overdoses are up. Death from fentanyl is up since the borders collapse. We’ve got human trafficking in our state. This is precipitating crime throughout America, and we’ve got to bring it to an end.
Leahy: But Senator Haggerty, the President to Biden has said that Vice President Kamala Harris is right on the job. She’s been doing it for more than 45 days, I guess, is in charge of solving the border crisis. Has she done has she gone to any of these countries? Has she gone to the border? I don’t think so.
Hagerty: She’s scheduled to follow my footsteps next month.
Leahy: Next month.
Hagerty: I am a full month ahead of her. And I led the very first official delegation from the United States Senate since the Pandemic shut everything down. I don’t know why the White House has not been able to have a greater sense of urgency.
Leahy: I’ll give you one possible hypothesis to explain it. They want this crisis. They don’t want to solve it. They want it to continue. That’s my hypothesis.
Hagerty: I think your hypothesis has a high probability of being correct.
Leahy: (Laughs) Said with great caution, but accuracy by Senator Hagerty. (Hagerty chuckles) What does Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer say about your legislation?
Hagerty: Schumer is going to be under pressure from his members. Think about Mark Kelly, who’s in Arizona. He’s going to be up this cycle. He’s already criticized President Biden for his treatment of the border situation.
We need to make more and more senators understand that just like Chattanooga towns and their jurisdictions are going to turn into a border town too. They’re going to be overwhelmed the same way we are. Does their school have the capacity?
Do their hospitals have the capacity or will they be overwhelmed again? Law enforcement certainly wants to know what’s happening on a local basis. So everyone is going to be affected across the nation.
I predicted this when Biden let the border-collapse. We’ve got to go back to the policies that we’re working under the Trump administration. We’ve got to secure our border first, and then we can look at the longer term, the medium-term issues that are causing problems in those countries. But we cannot deal with that as long as this border is open.
Leahy: Have you asked Democrat Senator Mark Kelly from Arizona, to co-sponsor your bill?
Hagerty: We just put the bill out last night. Senator Blackburn and I did. And I think that is a great suggestion. Our teams are working right now to get co-sponsors today.
Leahy: Have your office let us know.
Hagerty: We’ll do it.
Leahy: He’s up for reelection in 2,022, isn’t he?
Hagerty: He is. And I think this is going to be a real issue for the people of Arizona. They’ve seen it manifest at the border. But now we’re seeing it manifest right here in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Leahy: Do you see perhaps Kristen Sinema, another Democrat Senator from Arizona, have you talked to her about possibly supporting those?
Hagerty: I talked with her last night. She is one of the people who tend to see things more as we do from time to time. Joe Manchin similarly. We get a couple of those Democrats sentence those who have voters more like our voters in Tennessee.
We may be able to get the type of bipartisan support that we need. But just as a matter of principle, as a matter of fairness, the administration shouldn’t be operating this clandestine transit operation under the stealth of night.
These people are entering our country illegally, and it’s not that Tennesseeans don’t have a heart. It’s not that we don’t care for people, but we need our laws followed. We don’t want to encourage illegal activity.
And by doing this and by continuing to make the border work like a turn style and resettle people in the interior of our nation, we’re just putting a big magnet at our Southern border, attracting more and more of these illegal activities to continue.
Leahy: When you talked last night with Senator Sinema, the Democratic Senator from Arizona about this, bill, what did she say?
Hagerty: She didn’t commit, but she was interested in hearing about it. What’s happening in Chattanooga is what I think has got a lot of people’s ears perked.
Leahy: That sounds like Senator Sinema. She’s very smart but very cautious. And she’s a Democrat. She didn’t commit, but she listened. I would be very curious to see what Senator Sinema says in the future and Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona. Are there any other Democrats you think might support this bill?
Hagerty: It’s going to depend on how the situation evolves over the next week or two. But what we’re seeing in Chattanooga has sensitized the rest of America to what can happen.
And I’ve got to believe that this is not the only situation. So as this unfolds I’m going to be aggressively reaching out to those senators that are affected, just like we are in Tennessee.
Leahy: Senator Bill Hagerty, I think this is a great bill that you’re introducing. Thanks so much for joining us today and talking about it. And please come back again and talk about what you’re doing up there in Washington.
Hagerty: Certainly. All the best. Thank you.
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.