>> "business matters" starts now.
Hey, good evening.
We are at part two, three members of congress at this beautiful st.
I love this audience.
You are great.
Let's hear it for this audience.
Thank you for your service and interest.
It's been a great half.
Now we have audience questions.
I'll start with this one, what are we going to do to make our education even for all urban schools?
Anyone want to jump on that?
>>> that's one of the issues i'm most passionate about it.
I talked about it during my campaign.
We have af a severely distressed district.
Since getting to congress and becoming part of the labor committee, i pretty much had my pick of committees and number one was labor for that reason.
The things we have -- brown v.
Board of education was decided 50 years ago.
We still have the most -- more, segregated schools than we had at that time.
We have to do something about equalizing education across the board regardless of zip code.
>> particularly urban schools?
>> everywhere, yes.
>> anyone else have a priority on that one?
>> eternally a priority.
It's a top priority.
I believe the correct amount of funding must be in place but we also need smart plans.
There is a question of school choice, vouchers, charter schools -- competition tends to make things better.
Common ground can be found.
We need the right plan in place because frankly, over the last 20 years, a lot of money has been put in and increased and things have not necessarily gotten better.
Things haven't necessarily gotten worse -- >> it's not just an investment in dollars but a plan to improve.
Tom, how can congress pass legislation to take away our guns while the constitution guarantees us the right to bear arms?
>> it can't.
We are not passing legislation to take away guns.
We passed a bill which gun owners support, universal background checks.
If you purchase a weapon in the united states, you shouldn't be able to purchase it if y you have committed a crime or you are an abuser or someone that demonstrated that you shouldn't have that ability.
The vast majority of democrats and republicans agree that we should have done that.
>> the pro gun group says that's the first step to more restriction.
Thoughts on that?
You do hear that so no movement is what happens.
>> we have a supreme court decision that was clear in terms of where the line is.
The government can't take away people's guns that the nra spends 10s of millions of dollars to tell us that the government is going to take away your guns.
It's against the constitution.
The court said there can be background checks.
There are classes, you can't buy hand grenades and bazookas.
The vast majority of americans want us to take sensible steps to keep the kids safe in school.
>> does everyone agree?
>> we regulate every dangerous activity in this country.
There are all kinds of things we do that ensure other people's safety including driving a car.
The idea that we -- that democrats want to take away people's guns, if that was something democrats wanted to do, it would have happened in the obama administration, quite candidly.
That's not what this is about.
This is making sure parents can extend kids to school and not be terrified for their lives, that everyone can go to a concert or movie theater without strategically thinking about where the exits are.
>> guns are regulated.
You can't carry a gun in washington d.c.
That's some of the highest murder rates and gun violence in the country.
We need to be smart about what we are trying to solve.
The second amendment exists and needs to continue.
You can't prohibit law-abiding citizens rights to bear arms. background checks, absolutely.
Pennsylvania has a program when it comes to background check.
We have to focus on protecting our schools.
We need flagging.
That individual has to be put through due process.
Weapons in the home should be taken away.
There are smart answers.
>> from your perspective, you are where we should be?
>> no, we should protect schools better and we can do a better job.
>> you're watching "business matters."
If it's business, it matters.
>> hire's one real quickly.
With so many important issues, we are spending so much time investigating the president.
The question is, should we move on or do you have a responsibility relative to what just happened to continue what -- in a sense the mueller report said, it's now in congress' hands.
Anyone want to talk about that?
Do you want to touch that?
>> we can't evade it.
All of us would rather talk about infrastructure and healthcare, but you can't avoid the facts.
Let me put it this way for what i assume is a bipartisan audience.
Imagine hilary clinton won the presidency and we found out during her campaign she was secretly working on a real estate deal in iran working with the supreme leader of the country lying about it to the american people and most of her campaign leaders were persecuted for ties to iran and she fired the fbi director to stop the investigation into what happened and then ordered former members of her administration to refuse legally binding subpoenas by the congress to talk about it.
I don't think my republican colleagues would say move on and focus on healthcare.
>> there are a lot of committees in congress.
The oversight committee performs important roles.
I'm not on that committee.
I'm not on any of the committees of jurisdiction with whatever you are talking about, but we can't forget that the russians interfered with our election process.
That is something that should concern every single person in the room and in this country.
That, we really, really have to make sure that never happens again.
To me, that's the most important oversight role we can perform.
>> i agree with that.
That has nothing to do with the mueller report.
Congressman -- >> are you saying that's a whole separate issue?
>> it is a whole separate issue and needs to be dealt with and during the obama administration cyber security was reduced in funding and since president trump's been in office, it's been increased.
The reality, fbi director comey was fired because he falsified an approach to the fiza judges to get a warrant based upon phony documents in order to gain access to surveillance of the trump campaign.
That's what occurred here.
What the backlash is going to be now that mueller -- yesterday stepped down with a couple of parting shots.
Outside of that -- he said there were no more inquiries, no more indictments, no more investigations necessary.
It was a $32 million report as deep a dive on any human being perhaps in history but certainly in the history of the united states, so now we are at that point.
Now we are find thag ing that we want to say how did this start?
That's the new investigation.
Frankly, when mueller left yesterday he stated he didn't want to testify before congress.
Guess who wants him there now?
The dossier came from russian agents, purchased by the hilary clinton foundation.
Those are facts.
>> i'm happy to hear that republicans want robert mueller to testify.
We can agree on something.
>> there you go.
You know, people love the inside scoop.
Is this a tough spot for speaker pelosi?
>> we have interaction with speaker pelosi every day.
I will say that -- >> i get the fact she's more tempered -- at least in her approach.
>> she has a lot of people to manage.
It's a large bucket.
Each one of us have a more concentrated role which is representing the people of our respective districts.
What she has to do and what she has to manage is entirely different from what i think about on a daily basis that you or dan or tom, it's a different job.
Would it be -- tom, is it over stated that the amount of pressure she's getting from are the new -- people term "the far left" freshman congress coming in?
>> i think that's overstated.
If you look at the legislative agenda we are pursuing.
Healthcare, not single payer healthcare.
We are not pursuing the green new deal.
We are not under any pressure.
>> tom, is that an example of the press taking that and running with it, more important on the scale of things than it is?
>> the press likes conflict.
There is real conflict, but there's also imagined conflict.
I think it's been exaggerated.
>> you are watching "business matters."
If it's business, it matters.
>> i would be remiss if we didn't talk infrastructure.
These important to everyone here.
We have traveled nationally.
Compared to other countries, airports, roads, we need an investment to grow.
A lot of people go back and forth to new york.
I want to ask from a new jersey perspective, your thought on infrastructure?
>> we live and die on infrastructure in new jersey.
Our economy depends on goods getting around.
There are millions of small needs and a g g g huge product of bridges that barely function and will collapse in the next 10 to 15 years if we don't replace them.
It's expensive, but our economy in the eastern seaboard depends on the transportation link going and the federal government committed to pay for half of it which has to be kept.
>> i want to ask this question.
I'm thinking china, but i want to talk in a broader sense.
Are foreign policy, are you happy with it?
Are in fact we gaining support from confidence from our allies?
We are taking on iran and china, what we call in a broad sense, bad actors.
Your thought on foreign policy where we are now?
>> sins of the past are being worked on in an urgent matter particularly on trade.
You hear how the president is taking on allies.
No, they's trying to correct trade agreements in the eu that existed since 1946 putting us at great disadvantage same with china and the southeast.
Hopefully pelosi will bring to the floor for my district and pennsylvania.
Isis, two and a half years ago was the largest threat facing our country.
Isis has been virtually eliminated.
Maybe not completely, but virtually eliminated.
We are working better with saudi arabia, the syrian situation is a mess.
That began in the obama administration allowing putin to play in the sandbox, no pun intended.
I think we have a plan in place that is working, and the allies that i speak to from ambassadors of other nations appreciate the leadership america is providing.
>> anyone on this side, thought and concerns on public policy?
>> i think we are speaking to different ambassadors.
The ones i have spoken to have expressed dismay about a d dee tearuation with allies and concerns about relationships with dictators.
I think or often the president's philosophies or goals are not counter to what i think or people in the country think.
It's a difference of opinion with him about strategy.
You can't pull out of syria.
You can't -- destroy isis and then leave the area in hope that it doesn't come back.
There are make-shift prisons containing some of the terrorists.
There is no strategy for what we are going to do to make sure they don't have a resurgence.
Strategy seems to be lacking.
When it comes to trade, the tariffs -- i have not talked to anyone on the manufacturing side or consumer side that think it's a good idea.
Nafta needs to go away.
No question about that.
I think there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm for passing the enabling legislation.
I along with other people campaigned on premise of reducing precipitation drug prices.
One of the problems is that it bolsters prescription drug prices rather than reducing them.
That to me is a real concern.
>> i want to ask you that.
Are we too disruptive with iran and china, or did we have to get them back in line?
>> those are two different issues both complicated.
We are living in a dangerous moment.
We have great power.
Iran is a pitiful middle sized power.
Russia and china are challenging the system we have built since world war ii, mostly american led, a system of rules, based on institution, common values, respect for human rights and democracy.
Our allies perceive that this administration is on the side of our former adversaries.
We are falling in love with kim jong un and won't shake hands with angela merkel whose troops bleed and fight with ours in afghanistan and iraq, and people don't understand it.
What i get from european allies, tom, please reassure me america will be back when this is over.
I'm optimistic enough to tell them, i think we'll be back.
>> the secretary of nato spoke to a joint session of congress.
He laid out how nato was being strengthened and praised the president for shoring up nato and funding.
There is one example of improvements on an international scale.
>> he is a good diplomat.
>> no, he tells the truth, tom.
>> he is a president with a single tweet can pull us out of nato and didn't because republicans and democrats in the congress have consistently stood on the right side of this.
On this issue, we are in a good place in congress.
The congress said you can't lift sanctions on russia.
The congress said, no you can't do that.
I was with lindsey graham when that happened.
If i was to quote him, i would use words i couldn't use here.
>> the general said it was the truth.
I will send you images of the president shaking hands with andrea merkel.
That's an overstatement.
>> i would love to see that.
I have asked, have you heard the president use praise and love that he used for angela merkel as the language he uses for kim jong un.
He said, well, yes, maybe privately.
>> not more than the iranian leadership that got $120 billion package a few years ago we are trying to correct.
>> >> now, back to tony iannelli.
>> it is a complex world.
I respect what you do.
It's not easy.
It's not for the feint of heart.
Where do you think we can go from here?
We have an election coming up that will make life crazy interesting.
We are in the next several years in terms of serving the public.
Where do you think we can go that will -- in terms of a positive momentum, besides infrastructure.
Everyone wants to improve airports and roads and infrastructure in general.
What else can we work on?
>> i think workforce development.
There are republicans and democrats that would across the board benefit from that, and it would lift up people in our society who need to be lifted up.
I think that's something we can work on.
>> and the middle class.
>> absolutely, the middle class.
I think you are right.
We are going into what is going to be a difficult election year.
We all know one democrat that won't enter the race.
>> there goes that whole campaign down the tubes.
>> i think american voters need to demand that their politicians, their elected officials show decency and courtesy and thoughtful reflective policymaking.
I think that's what people want.
You -- all of you watching this, need to demand that of your elected officials.
If they are not acting that way, you need to do something about it.
>> good point.
>> on the same note, our president at times is off color, but policies that damage families in my district is far more important to me and what is better for our country -- >> what is an example?
High cost of obama care and the lack of legislation on reducing prices for prescription drugs.
Transparency, bringing the drug countries under control.
Illegal immigration has gone nowhere.
As i stated at the beginning, we could engage in comprehensive illegal immigration reform.
We could make tax cuts permanent to provide security and consistency for the middle class.
Those are items that make a difference.
There is no reason over the next 12 months we can't engage in them.
Whew since you can't run for the presidency, who do you think on the "d" side emerges?
[laughter ] >> i don't blame you.
I took a shot.
>> my answer is, i don't know.
Like everybody else, i'll be watching the field of candidates closely to see who emerges as the one i think best positioned for the office.
I will say here what i have said consistently, every candidate for president better show up in the lehigh valley because if they are not, they are missing a golden opportunity.
>> can you get them to do "business matters" for us?
>> i have said i will not endorse anybody before the nomination, but i will appear with any candidate who wants to come to the district, wants to appear before people, wants to be introduced to people.
I'm happy to do that.
It shouldn't be construed as an endorsement, but pennsylvania is key state.
Anyone that doesn't come to the district is missing it.
>> we are almost out of time.
We always give you parting thoughts.
We'll start with you.
Gives your parting thoughts.
We'll thank you and say goodbye.
>> the idea of socialist democrats, every member, every person running for president on the democratic side is seeking the endorsement of aoc.
That should bring a bit of caution.
Look, i'm honored to be in congress.
I am working hard for my constituents.
I think there is going to be -- there is a lot that can be done, legislation done past last year will be helpful to the veterans.
Coming into the day, there is a lot of common ground up here.
That is what i think -- maybe even today will help us come together more so on.
I'm open to finding a compromise is not a bad word to me, nor is negotiation.
Let's get things done.
>> down to 30 seconds.
>> there is not a person up here you see on a regular basis on cable news.
There are 435 members of congress, not three or four.
The people there by and large are laboring, working hard every single day for everybody -- all of the people in the room and those viewing this.
That's what i want people to take away from this.
Congress can't be reduced to three or four personalities.
>> tom, close us out.
>> there is a majority in the house of representatives and the senate for pragmatic things you have heard us talking about.
We disagree on something.
That's the point of politics, infrastructure, investing in training, moving toward a clean energy future.
We could pass things if we could get some of the politics out of it that would make this country better, not transform us, but make us better.
>> these are three bright people.
Thank god for them.
We'll see you next week!