Cathy McMorris Rodgers ~ CPAC 2013 and beyond

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers spoke on the closing day of CPAC 2013:

After her CPAC speech, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream  interviewed the Congresswomen for America’s News Headquarters – which was broadcast 3/17/13.  Shannon introduced the segment by saying: “She’s one of the lawmakers who met behind closed doors with President Obama. But did GOP Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is also Chair of the House Republican Conference, think it was worthwhile? I asked her right after her speech at CPAC:”


SB: [implied as above] “Was the ‘behind closed doors’ meeting with President Obama worthwhile?”

CMR: “Well, we’ll see.  I think it’s important to open the lines of communication which hasn’t been happening in recent years if we’re going to having a dialogue about these issues…whether it’s the budget and balancing the budget, or energy policy, or even how we grow the economy. It starts by having a conversation. So I thought it was a good sign that he came and he met with us. We’ll see…we’ll see what follows.

SB: “I understand that there was some discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline, and where we are in the process of whether or not that’s going to be approved by the administration.  The White House says that it is up to the State Department, but certainly we know the administration, even from the White House,  there’s got to be some influence or input from there. What did you make of that? The President gave a speech in Chicago this week on energy issues. Where do you feel he is on that?”

CMR: “Well, he didn’t hint either way. He basically said that he was going to be making a decision shortly, and he just went through the basic considerations. But we need this pipeline. We need to say yes to American energy, North American energy. It’s one of the best ways that we can get our economy growing, get people back to work is by actually committing to a national energy policy that would make us energy independent. So, I’m hopeful that he’ll say yes. Boy, across the board people have been making the case to him, they’ve changed the route, they’ve done everything that he’s asked them to do in order to say ‘YES’ to this project.”

SB:  “I don’t know if you had a chance to look at a lot of what he said this week in Chicago, but he talked about creating this two billion dollar sort of trust fund to use royalties that the government gets from drilling leases and those kinds of things – to use the money towards alternate energy sources.  What role do you think that that plays in lessening our dependence on foreign oil?

CMR: “Well, It is..we’ve long said, and I’ve said, we need an ‘all of the above’ energy plan. But it also needs to take into consideration economic realities. We need to do more exploration here in this country. We know that we have oil reserves, we know that we have coal reserves. So we need to say yes. What’s going on with natural gas is just phenomenal and the prices of natural gas have come down. It is opening up all kinds of new opportunities in getting our economy growing. North Dakota has three percent unemployment for example. But also there’s some real opportunities with the alternative energy sources. We need to be exploring them but we shouldn’t be excluding these other energy sources in exchange.”

SB:  “You are one of the only women in leadership in the House GOP. You talked about that in your CPAC speech, about how the GOP didn’t do well with women the last time around. Where do you think there was a disconnect, and can the party turn that around?”

CMR: “Well, like I said today, we need to be speaking to both our heads and our hearts, and I think for too long the Republicans have been talking like bookkeepers, rather than really painting this vision…being leaders for the country, and showing  America where we want to take the country. So that is my hope moving forward in that women understand having to balance budgets, for example sitting around the kitchen table, making ends meet. And, we need to talk in terms – whether you’re a woman or a man – but that you can relate to what we are talking about, in that you understand how it’s going to impact your pocketbook, your future, your children, your household, and that’s what I think is the disconnect and we can do a better job.”

SB:  “And part of that discussion, of course, about the fiscal health of this country,, you’re busy. Everybody on the Hill is busy dealing with CR and Sequester.  Entitlement reform, if there is at least discussion of it, and I understand that was part of the discussion this week with the President, do you think there is any common ground there?”

CMR: ” Well there’s common ground when it comes to recognizing that we need to grow the economy. And, that is what needs to be at the top of the list, because we continue to have high unemployment.  There’s still twelve million Americans that are out of work.  So wee need to focus on policies that are going to get our economy growing.  What we tried to impress upon the President when he visited with the Republicans, was that we’d like to find some common ground on the budget, recognizing that the deficits, the debt that we’ve taken right now on is a damper on our economy. ‘Mr. President, is there a date certain that we could agree to balance the budget?‘ He wasn’t willing to say that. He wasn’t willing to say that we even needed to have a goal of balancing the budget, so that was very disappointing. We’re going to continue to make the case as to getting our fiscal house in order, balancing budgets, which will also get our economy growing.