Brad Byrd sits down with Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon to talk about the hot topics on Capitol Hill, including the Mueller Probe, Net Neutrality, immigration and his plans for re-election in 2020.
Brad Byrd: Welcome to In Depth. If Indiana Eighth District Congressman Larry Bucshon wins re-election in 2020, he would be serving his sixth term on Capitol Hill. Following 2018 though, for the first-time Congressman Bucshon is now facing a House Chamber now controlled by the Democrats. Congressman Bucshon joins us tonight. And welcome Dr. Bucshon.
Dr. Larry Bucshon: Thank you for having me on tonight, Brad. I appreciate that.
Brad Byrd: You have left the door open and you’ve left the door closed. Not about 2020, you’re running for re-election, but 2022 you left the door ajar a bit and that’s sparking conversation
Dr. Larry Bucshon: Yea, it has.
Brad Byrd: Are you going to hang up the spurs after 2022?
Dr. Larry Bucshon: I think it’s presumptuous to assume and announce you’re going to run in 2022 when the 2020 election hasn’t even happened. You know the way I look at it - every two year cycle, I have to prove to my constituents why I’m the best person to represent them and then after that election, then the next term then have a conversation about whether or not I’ll run for the next time. I don’t try to be presumptuous that I’ll stay in Congress, like I’m planning to be there. I want to make sure in 2020 I run for reelection and I prove to my constituents that I’m the right person to represent them.
Brad Byrd: How’s your life changed on Capitol Hill since the Democrats assumed control?
Dr. Larry Bucshon: Well, it’s much different since the Democrats control the House floor and they control all the committees. Committee hearing are decided by them and what the subject matter is, and who the witnesses are. The minority gets one witness out of four that was different before and then the legislation that comes to the House floor is determined by Mrs. Pelosi and her leadership team versus our leadership team.
Brad Byrd: The big cloud over, not only the House chamber, but the Senate floor is the Mueller Probe, the redacted report is scheduled to be released Thursday by the Justice Department. With that being said, Democrats are on Capitol Hill in the House, are trying to get as many hearings scheduled, not only to take a second look at the probe, but that seems to be dominating the news since that was announced.
Dr. Larry Bucshon: First thing, I voted in the House to release the Mueller report. I think it’s of public interest to the American people, and the Mueller report should be released as much as can be released. There’s some grand jury testimony that you don’t release because there could be people’s names in there who aren’t charged that could affect their life adversely and then there’s some other things that are methods that intelligence agencies may have used, to obtain information. I’m hopeful as much as possible will be released, but there will be some redactions out of necessity. I do think the House Democrats honestly need to move on because the Mueller report is not gonna show anything more than we’ve heard from AG Barr. And I’m hopeful that we can move on and start talking about things that really impact the American people, I want to get past this.
Brad Byrd: Basically, President Trump has said it totally exonerated him as far as collusion with the Russians.
Dr. Larry Bucshon: I think on that point that’s true.
Brad Byrd: But the Mueller report indicates that a decision could not be made about Obstruction of Justice and that has a few people troubled.
Dr. Larry Bucshon: Realize that’s not the role of the Mueller probe. The Mueller probe, when it comes to obstruction of justice, is to turn over the evidence to the DOJ and they analyze that as it relates to obstruction. That wasn’t the goal and that’s not what prosecutors do. They press charges against people and the President wasn’t charged with obstruction of justice by the DOJ.
Brad Byrd: And what’s your response to Democrats saying that Bill Barr is not putting this on a level playing field.
Dr. Larry Bucshon: He was confirmed by unanimous consent on a voice vote when he was George HW Bush’s AG and he has broad respect across party lines in Washington amongst the legal professionals. I think they need to move on and let’s get the report out as much as I can – it is an interest to the American people, and we need to move on to things that are actually affecting the American people’s daily lives.
Brad Byrd: The immigration policy seems to be dominating – border wall funding, where do you stand on that now?
Dr. Larry Bucshon: First of all, we need broad immigration reform. Sometimes people trying to get here legally, it takes a decade to get here. That said, we take about a million people a year legally, more than most other countries in the world all together combined. So, we are a country of immigrants, but we also have to control our borders. We’re a sovereign country and right now we need to change some immigration laws as it relates to asylum and as it relates to some other loop holes that are being exploited by the Cartels, and human traffickers on the southern border, encouraging family units to come to the border because of our lax laws that need to be changed.
Brad Byrd: What about the president’s suggestion that he could be sending immigrants to the sanctuary cities?
Bucshon - Well, I'm not a lawyer in the administration, so I don't know what the law says. But from a public policy stand point, at this point, all of our detention centers are full, so we're literally releasing thousands of people everyday into the country and so they have to have a place to go. So, I think, you know, sanctuary cities have said they're not going to cooperate with the federal government and ICE, and I think that's why the president made that comment. But I'm really not in a position to make a judgement on the legality on that.
Brad Byrd - Net neutrality. You voted against that, but there's a majority of Americans right now who are concerned about what is in front of them on those computers, their smartphones, as far as thier own security, especially in the social media realm. How do you reconcile that?
Larry Bucshon - Well, those are two different issues. What we're talking here on the privacy side on social media and net neutrality are actually two separate issues. I think a misnomer, net neutrality, the Obama administration in 2015 put in what I would call heavy handed rules using Title 2 regulations from the 1930s that are used to regulate telephones that are unnecessary. So, we've gone back to the pre-2015 regulatory scheme, so to speak, with the FCC. And you know, prior to 2015, nobody had any concerns about it. What this is about, in my opinion is about government control of the internet. My concern is with Title 2 regulation, you're gonna open the internet up to taxation for example, at the local, state, or federal level. You're going to have the government have more control over the internet which I think should be open to innovation and technological advances. So, it's really a misnomer. It's really not net neutrality. This is about government regulation under Title 2 and that's the beef because I support legislation that prevents for example, paid prioritization, where people pay more and they get more access. Or throttling, or blocking access to the internet. I support legislation that prevents all of those things.
Brad Byrd - This landscape in DC is going to be changing and changing. We'll get into bipartisanship on our next conversation. I appreciate you coming by tonight.
(This story was originally published on April 16, 2019)
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