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Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., joined ‘Fox News Sunday’ to discuss Democrats accusing the GOP of trying to cut social security and key issues for voters ahead of November.
This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on October 16, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.
Just 23 days from now, Americans will tell us who they want to run Washington.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are better positioned than any other major economy in the world.
BREAM: President Biden on a West Coast swing to tout his work on the economy despite a series of negative reports this week, and has this message for voters.
BIDEN: If Republican wins, inflation is going to get worse. It’s that simple.
BREAM: While brand new FOX News polls show Americans are feeling the squeeze of inflation.
We’ll ask White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein about the administration’s plans to combat rising prices.
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): The American people are looking for a new direction and House Republicans have a plan.
BREAM: Congressional Republicans say they are bullish on their chances to take the House in November.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): We’re going to fire Nancy Pelosi.
BREAM: But are they succeeding in making their case to voters?
We’ll show you what our polls say.
And we’ll speak live with the number two Republican in the House, Congressman Steve Scalise, about his party’s plans should they take the majority.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): This investigation is not about politics.
BREAM: The committee investigating the January 6th riot at the Capitol votes to subpoena former President Trump, just ahead of the midterms.
We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the 11th hour move and whether Trump would comply.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These artifacts have actually never been on display before here at CIA Museum.
BREAM: One of the most secretive buildings in the country opens up and our Jennifer Griffin takes you there to tour its treasures.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”
BREAM (on camera): And hello from FOX News in Washington.
Voters are weeks away from speaking their minds in the 2022 midterms. Top lines from our brand new FOX poll show presidential approval will be critical for Democrats. And right now, it stands at 46 percent. That’s actually up 6 points from June.
But Democrats still face serious headwinds. Check it out, 79 percent are extremely or very concerned about crime, while fewer, 71 percent say the same about abortion policy. But a whopping 89 percent say they’re extremely or very concerned about inflation. In a moment, we will speak live with Jared Bernstein of the White House Council of Economic Advisers about the crushing new inflation numbers out just this week.
But, first, a look at how these issues are animating the country’s biggest races, starting with abortion.
TUDOR DIXON (R), MICHIGAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: The governor doesn’t have the choice to go around a judge or a constitutional amendment.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: A governor will absolutely impact these rights.
BREAM (voice-over): The debate over a Michigan ballot measure that would enshrine the right to abortion is taking a center stage in this week’s gubernatorial debates. Democrats pin their hopes on angry voters coming out in droves after the end of Roe v. Wade.
But our brand new FOX polls show only 50 percent of registered voters say Democrats handle the issues better. And there are other measures issues dogging candidates like crime.
DR. MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENTE CANDIDATE: It seems to a lot of voters inside Philadelphia that the criminals are being valued more than the innocent.
JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: I’m actually effective on crime and I believe in second chances. And I’ve run on that record.
BREAM: As the Pennsylvania Senate race tightens, voters who say crime is their top concern favor Republicans, 52-34 percent. And polls show the economy remains a major concern, putting Democratic Senate candidates like Ohio’s Tim Ryan on defense over how President Biden is handling inflation.
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): The problem we’re having now with inflation is our supply chains went to China. And guys like him made a lot of money off that.
J.D. VANCE (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: China’s problems are exacerbated by our own leadership’s failures. Those failures go back 20 years to when Tim Ryan started in Congress.
BREAM: Joining us now, White House Council of Economic Advisers member, Jared Bernstein.
Welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
JARED BERNSTEIN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Thanks for inviting me. Great to see you again.
BREAM: You, too.
OK. Let’s start here. The headline in “The Wall Street Journal” this morning says: economists are putting the probability of a recession in the next 12 months at 63 percent. That’s up from 49 percent in July’s survey. Soft landing will likely remain a mythical outcome.
Over at “The New York Times”, they say it’s not going well. Underlying inflation trends are headed in the wrong direction.
Now, September numbers were worse than forecast. August and September helped a little by gas prices going down.
BREAM: They seem to be moving in the wrong direction right now.
Is it time to admit the massive federal spending under this administration is not only not helping Americans, it may be hurting them?
BERNSTEIN: Let’s start right there, Shannon. I think it’s a really important to get this number $1.4 trillion into the discussion right now. That’s the amount of deficit reduction in fiscal year ’22, okay? That comes on top of about $350 billion in deficit reduction in the year before that. So, this —
BREAM: As we talked about, that comes off of massive COVID spending.
BERNSTEIN: Well, actually, part of it is unwinding of COVID spending, you’re right about that.
But in percent terms, the bigger contributor to that decline in deficit spending is receipts, receipts coming into the Treasury, and that’s because of how strong the economy has been.
And that also gets to the question you just raised and this issue of recession. We have an unemployment rate that’s 3.5 percent, okay? There is no recession that would prevail with that kind of unemployment rate. We’re obviously adding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month.
We have consumers who still have pretty strong balance sheets. We have job vacancies that are quite elevated. So, there’s a lot of talent in the economy, a lot of strength.
And when President Biden just said on the tape you played that the U.S. is uniquely positioned to do two things, to ease the price pressures we face which are very real, you correctly referenced them right out of the gate. We called them like they are, squeezing family budgets, while maintaining these economic gains.
That’s our mission. We believe we can accomplish that. We actually think the probability for a soft landing is good.
BREAM: OK. In that “Wall Street Journal” piece, they also talk about predictions for Q1, Q2 next year to also be negative territory. Would you concede then? Because a lot of people do use the definition two bad quarters, negative action, equals recession. You’re saying we’re not there right now.
BREAM: But if we went through continued negative quarters through the first half of ’23, would you then admit we’re in a recession?
BERNSTEIN: First of all, it is not up to the White House to call recession. That’s called by an economic group of —
BREAM: But you, Jared Bernstein.
BERNSTEIN: Yeah, what I — I would look at the following variables, happens to be the same ones that the group I was just talking about — retail sales, payroll employment, consumer spending, industrial production, all of those have not been flashing red. All of those are not in recessionary territory.
Now, if you ask me to look around the corner and say where the economy is going to be, I got to tell you that everybody’s crystal ball is a bit cracked right now.
BREAM: That’s — yes.
BERNSTEIN: The uncertainty out there makes it tough.
But let’s talk about energy which is so key here, okay? You just mentioned it yourself. In this consumer price report, where prices were, no question, elevated to a point that family budgets are squeezed, gas was down 5 percent.
And, in fact, the price of gas fell about a third in the third quarter of this year. Now, remember, it peaked out north of $5 a gallon, last seen, it was $3.89. I know because I checked this morning.
BREAM: So did I.
BERNSTEIN: And there are 14 states with price of gas at $3.50 or below.
So, that’s some progress and it relates to President Biden’s release of oil from the Strategic Reserves.
BREAM: OK. How long can we do that?
BERNSTEIN: Good question.
BREAM: If we’re doing millions of barrels at a time, there is a bottom to that.
BERNSTEIN: So I knew you’d ask me that because I know you’re very interested in the Strategic Reserve and its capacity.
BREAM: As all Americans should be.
BERNSTEIN: Yeah, as all — on Sunday morning, what else are we thinking about than SPR capacity?
BERNSTEIN: OK. There is — there are still 400 million barrels of oil in the Strategic Reserve. It is more than half full.
I think people don’t quite have the capacity number in their head. We’ve never done a draw that’s of that magnitude. And the largest draw that we’ve ever done that President Biden presided over in March is 180 million barrels.
So, the fact is there is capacity to use the SPR to deal with some of the energy shocks we’re seeing in the world. But I’m not saying we will. That’s up to the president to decide, he hasn’t made that decision yet.
But if you look at unconscionable action of Putin, weaponizing energy, amplified by the short-sighted and misguided decision by OPEC Plus recently, then sure, having the SPR there for potential release is an important —
BERNSTEIN: — important tool.
BREAM: And when those prices move in the right direction, that is a good thing, to ripple to the other issues that show up in the CPI.
BREAM: But let’s talk about this. When President Biden took office, you know, inflation was about 3 percent. Gas prices were about $2.39 I think a gallon. So, we can’t possibly say that things have gotten better or anywhere near where they were two years ago.
Let’s talk about the realities for folks. Groceries up 13 percent last month — year to year eggs more than 30 percent, milk more than 15 percent.
Our new polling shows that 71 percent of Americans say they are having to cut back just to afford necessities, not anything fun or luxurious.
BREAM: And also, they say that compared to the situation two years ago, they are worse off, majority of them. So, what do you say to those numbers though? This has happened in your watch.
BERNSTEIN: Yeah. So, here’s — let me speak to them directly, which is all those facts are facts of which we are acutely aware.
And when President Biden came out to talk about this last inflation where he started by talking about exactly that, the squeeze on family budgets. And I think you have to ask yourself, is this administration doing what we need to do to help ease those pressures?
Now, remember, these are global price pressures. All of the statistics you just cited — they’re actually worse in Europe and the UK. Inflation is higher there in part because they’re —
BREAM: Not necessarily.
BERNSTEIN: Well, they’re more —
BREAM: Not in France, for example.
BERNSTEIN: OK. But in the E.U., in general, I know inflation is double digits there, and the U.K. as well. And the reason is because they’re more exposed to energy. And we just went through some of the energy numbers.
But I think what you have to ask yourself, Shannon, more importantly what people that you’re talking to have to ask, do we have the policy set and is the Fed doing what it needs to do to ease these price pressures.
Now, you know the Inflation Reduction Act passed. This is a — this is a measure that lowers prescription drug costs, that lowers the cost of insulin, that lowers the cost of medical care. There are 13 million families who’ll be paying $800 less per year. If you are paying $10,000, if you’re someone on Medicare, on your prescription drugs, you’re going to save $8,000 under the IRA.
So, these measures are in effect and Republicans have said they want to take them away. So, if you are paying hundreds of dollars on insulin per month and now you get to pay $35 starting in January, they want to take that away. That to me is a recipe for more inflation, higher costs, not easing the pressures that you just took us through.
BREAM: OK. I will ask Steve Scalise, the congressman is going to be with us in just minutes, we’ll ask him about that.
In the meantime, let’s talk mortgages because we talked about this a little bit before we got started. Let’s use the example of a median home price, about $390,000, 20 percent down, back when insurance — or excuse me, inflation rate was about 3.05 percent, that would have been $1,000 — $1,324 a month, okay?
So, let’s fast forward that to now because mortgage rates have more than doubled this year alone. So, if you took that same house at 6.92 mortgage, $2,000 a month, it’s $735 more each month. That’s thousands and thousands of dollars for an average family if they want to get into a home price now.
The Fed is expected to hike rates November, December. We’ll see how that far goes on. But the Fed chair has actually said there will be some pain, those are his words, with these hikes.
How painful is it going to get?
BERNSTEIN: Well, I think you have to distinguish between people who are buying homes now and the vast majority of mortgage holders who locked in rates that are much lower than that.
You’re definitely right that, you know, at that margin, the price of financing a mortgage, of course, goes up with the interest rate and with the mortgage rate. But again I think this gets to the question of are we implementing — by we, I mean not just the federal government, but in this case the Federal Reserve as well — are we implementing the necessary policies to ease inflationary pressures?
I would say the answer is unequivocally yes. Now, we’re not going to get into the Feds knitting, because we respect an independent Federal Reserve. But the president has very much approved of rate hiking campaign because they’re the first and foremost inflation fighter.
Now, one of the first sectors that experiences the impact of rate hikes is housing and the housing sector is cooling. Now, that doesn’t find its way into the price index for a while. It comes in with a lag.
But if you look at rents, rents have come down significantly. They’re still highly elevated in terms of year over year change. But they come down 4, 5 percentage points. That’s going to take a while to feed into the CPI, but it is moving the right direction.
And so, that’s what I’m trying to get across here. That whether it’s Inflation Reduction Act, whether it’s our work in ports, whether it is our work with energy and the release of oil from reserves, we are doing all we can to ease inflationary pressures and we see results.
It’s going to take time for those results to get into the price. We would like to see that happen a whole lot faster. We’re going to try to work to make that happen.
BREAM: Yeah —
BERNSTEIN: But we are engaged in the appropriate policies (INAUDIBLE).
BREAM: OK. So, let me put up these poll numbers then because the American people are confused about that. They don’t think your policies are working.
When it comes to how the president is doing on the economy and the inflation, he is upside down by a wide margin in our latest polling.
So, why aren’t they getting the message? I mean, clearly, people don’t feel like this is working for them yet at home.
BERNSTEIN: I think because so much what’s going on inflation gets just down to the trip to the supermarket —
BERNSTEIN: — and the trip to the gas station.
I think if you ask people how they feel about paying over $5 of gas in mid June, and well under $4 now, I think it’s about $3.89 nationally, $3.50 in 14 states, including Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. So, some significant population there, they tell you they feel pretty good about that.
And I think it’s unequivocal that the president’s fingerprints are on that decline in part because of the release of oil from the reserves. We’re doing what we can in the food space.
I think that another reason — another answer to your question, Shannon, is that some of what happens is getting back to normal, which consumers don’t always recognize. So shelves are now stocked basically as they were pre- pandemic. People don’t see containers going in and out of ports, but, in fact, the through put of containers getting through ports is back to where it was. In fact, it’s ahead of where it was pre-pandemic.
BREAM: But back to normal, like $2.39 for gas, are we going to get back to that normal?
BERNSTEIN: I’m sorry?
BREAM: Two thirty-nine a gallon —
BERNSTEIN: Yeah, I don’t —
BREAM: — when the president took office?
BERNSTEIN: Certainly don’t — it’s very hard to look around the corner and see where gas prices are going that far ahead. As I noted, they’ve come down significantly.
Most recently, they started ticking back down again, just a few cents in the past few days, and it has to do with refineries coming on line in the Midwest and in California.
I think the key story there is that is this administration doing as much as we can to help increase the energy supply? And I think the answer is unequivocally yes.
BREAM: Well, I don’t know, because a lot of folks would say if you’re not — you know, helping with permitting and drilling, and encouraging domestic production, you’re not doing everything.
BERNSTEIN: So, let me read you a headline I just saw. This is from “The Sierra Club” the other day, just article that just came out.
For all of its good, the new climate legislation also mandates oil and gas drilling on public land.
So, that’s “The Sierra Club” complaining about aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act that open up new lands for leasing. Now, the Inflation Reduction Act also invests $370 billion in hastening this very urgent transition to clean energy.
So this is a walk and chew gum moment. I don’t think that anyone can, based on the facts, accuse this administration of not fulfilling both of those obligations right now.
BREAM: Well, a lot of refiners say they’re having trouble managing the threat they took from the administration during the campaign that we’re going to get rid of fossil fuel, toiling (ph) up for green and now trying to toil back for crude.
BERNSTEIN: Wait a second, Shannon. We have American oil producers about to produce next year a record number of barrels per day. So we have a highly productive system in that regard. We’re the largest oil producer in the land, in natural gas where — I’m sorry, in the world. Natural gas, we’re also way far ahead of competitors in that regard.
So I think whether it’s permitting or whether it’s American oil production, that’s just a red herring. We’re doing a lot there. We’re producing a lot of energy.
I think the key thing that we need to learn from this lesson, and it’s a geopolitical lesson, is that we need to do both. We need to make sure we’re helping consumers at the pump today while we urgently transition to clean energy.
BREAM: OK. Jared Bernstein, it is always great to have you in with us for discussion on Sunday. Thank you for coming in.
BERNSTEIN: My pleasure. Thank you, Shannon.
BREAM: All right. Up next, we’re going to get reaction from the second ranking Republican in the House and we’ll get those brand new FOX News polls know about the GOP agenda or don’t know. That’s next.
BREAM: House Republicans making a big push in recent weeks to sell voters on their post-midterm plans. They call it “Commitment to America”. But is it catching on?
Joining us now, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
Congressman, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday.”
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Good morning, Shannon. Great to be with you.
BREAM: OK. Let’s start here. Democrats are pointing to your own documents to tell Americans that you are preparing to cut entitlements.
Here’s what the headline is: House GOP decides slashing is the new saving. This year’s Republican Study Committee’s fiscal year 2023 budget openly calls for slashing and privatizing Social Security, raising the retirement age to 70, and ending Medicare as we know it.
Now, I got a tweet from a viewer this week who says, he’s a Republican, he’s very worried about you cutting his Medicare. He says it’s a deal breaker and betrayal by the GOP.
So, what’s your answer?
SCALISE: Well, the answer is that’s a typical red herring by Democrats and it’s not something we proposed. In fact, we proposed strengthening, and shoring up Medicare and Social Security, which are both, by the way, headed for bankruptcy if we do nothing.
Democrats want to make that worse. Democrats actually recently passed a bill to raid money out of Social Security.
So, instead of making those programs less stable, what we want to do is shore them up.
And, by the way, one of the ways you shore them up is get more people back to work paying into those programs right now. And one of the things Democrats did on day one when they came in taking over the House, Senate and the White House, is to start paying people not to work, to see more of the welfare programs where you used to have work requirements in place.
So you would have a real safety net which we believe in. But why should we be paying people to sit at home when there are companies everywhere looking for workers?
Everywhere you go, you go to a restaurant, you’re waiting an hour for a table, and you’re seeing a third of them empty because the government started paying people not to work. That drains programs like Social Security and Medicare.
So, let’s strengthen those programs, and stop them from going bankrupt. And let’s also, by the way, stop the government getting in this business of paying people not to work when everybody is looking for workers right now.
BREAM: But fair to say that pointing to your own documents, there are some changes to these programs that would happen.
SCALISE: There’s not anything that we propose in Commitment to America. In fact, the Commitment to America, we talk specifically about —
BREAM: In the fiscal year that the Democrats are referring to.
SCALISE: No, in the Commitment to America, we talk — well, they didn’t do a budget this year. You know, if you look at what they’ve done, they pass bills to increase taxes.
I know your previous guest, Mr. Bernstein, talked about a bill they passed to raise over $730 billion in new taxes, and, by the way, more than double the size of the IRS, sending 87,000 agents after hardworking families, and, in fact, even the Joint Committee on Taxation confirmed they’re going after people making less than $200,000 a year, which is a violation of the White House’s own promise.
BREAM: OK, but —
SCALISE: President Biden said he wouldn’t do that.
We’re shoring up — we want to shore up Social Security and Medicare.
BREAM: Just to be clear, the Republican Study Committee’s budget. So, that’s something you signed on to, that’s what Democrats are pointing to to say there will be changes to these programs, if — if your budget passed.
SCALISE: Well, first of all, that — yeah, that budget talks about shoring up and strengthening Social Security. That’s not cutting Social Security. That’s making sure for people that are on Social Security today, if nothing happens, there would be automatic cuts in law.
We don’t want that to happen. And so, we’ve brought forward legislation to stave off cuts to Medicare. We want to stave off cuts to Social Security.
Democrats haven’t supported any of that. They want the programs to go bankrupt. That’s not a good thing.
We don’t want Medicare and Social Security to go bust like the Democrats right now have us on a track to do.
BREAM: OK. Let’s talk about some polling. These are some interesting new numbers just out this morning, where we asked people about who they prefer as congressional candidate. There is a three point advantage there to Democrats.
And when asked about how they felt about the House Republicans’ Commitment to America, majority of them said they were totally unfamiliar with the program.
Do Republicans have a messaging problem in the midterms?
SCALISE: In fact, we just rolled this out. And I’ve been to a lot of districts in the last few weeks since we rolled it out in Pittsburgh, and I tell you what, people are responding very positive to it.
Number one, we’ve got phenomenal candidates, and we’re going to win races in a lot of places you haven’t seen. I was in the Northwest, Washington state, Oregon, where we’re going to flip seats.
I was a few weeks ago in the Northeast, up in Maine, all the way down to Florida where on the Eastern Seaboard, we’re going to be flipping a lot of seats from Democrats to Republican.
You know what they tell me, Shannon, they are furious with Biden and Pelosi’s far-left socialist agenda that’s led to increased spending, increased inflation, just the cost of everything you buy when you go to the grocery store, if you can afford to put gas in your car when you get there.
And look, the White House and Jared Bernstein just before me, they’re talking, bragging as if gas prices are lower. Gas prices are about 60 percent higher today than when Joe Biden took office, and he shut off American energy production. That’s why it happened.
He’s allowed OPEC, foreign countries. He’s begged — Biden’s begged Russia, he’s begged Iran, Venezuela, and other countries to produce oil when we should be producing it in America.
We do it cleaner than anywhere else. And by the way, if we produce more energy in America, we would be lowering energy costs like we had two years ago.
People are furious about all that. They’re furious also about rising crime because Democrats embraced not only the defund the police movement, one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard. But now, they’re going cashless bail, letting criminals on the streets after they committed violent crimes against families. And that’s one of the reasons crime is out of control, and people are furious about that, too.
And so, they want a check and balance on this far left agenda.
BREAM: OK. So, let’s talk about the crime issue because that is one of the areas that polling shows us, the voters give Republicans a distinct advantage. They think that you are better equipped to handle that.
But critics say that you’re scare-mongering about what’s actually happening. They say some of these ads from Republicans on the issue of crime have racial undertones.
Here’s something from “The Washington Post”, an opinion piece. It says: violent crime is not soaring. In fact, it might be declining. Most violent crime is committed by White people and violent crime is generally worse in Republican-run states.
SCALISE: Well, first of all, violent crime is out of control in most big cities. And that’s what we have been focusing on. So, I guess they’re admitting that their policies have failed.
But it’s the Democrats who started this about two years ago when they embraced the defund the police movement.
And I think, by the way, voters on all spectrums, whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Black, White, doesn’t matter, you don’t want to defund the police. Criminals want to defund the police, but that’s who the Democrats sided with.
And when they found out the public really hated that idea, they started going to cashless bail, where you literally just have some D.A.s and prosecutors in communities letting criminals walk out on the streets right after committing violent crimes.
I mean, we saw it in New York. You know, Lee Zeldin, our candidate for governor, somebody tried to take his life on stage at a political rally, and the guy was let out the next day. That’s what’s going on that people are furious about. That’s why it’s a major issue in a lot of these races, and Democrats won’t walk away from their defund the police and cashless bail approach that has failed so many cities across America.
BREAM: You know the words they use to describe your agenda. They call it extreme MAGA agenda. This is what Speaker Pelosi says about the issue of abortion.
She says: 166 House Republicans, including GOP Whip Scalise, have co- sponsored a “Life Begins at Conception” bill that would criminalize all abortion after the moment of fertilization with absolutely no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the woman.
That position does not poll well with voters. So, how do you defend it?
SCALISE: Well, I’m not a co-sponsor of that bill. The bill I’m a co- sponsor of is the Born Alive Act, which says that if a baby is born alive outside the womb, you can’t murder that baby and call it abortion, which, by the way, that’s legal in right now in states like New York. There are states where they still would allow you to kill the baby after it’s born alive.
And I think most Americans, including people who identify as pro-choice think that’s radically extreme, don’t want that to be the case. Yet that’s where Democrats are right now. And, by the way, they also want those abortions paid for by taxpayers, which is also an extreme position.
So, they’re the ones extreme on this. They keep trying to talk about it. It’s back firing on them.
And, by the way, people are talking high cost of everything. They’re not — they’re not looking at the Democrats’ agenda, saying they want more of it. They’re saying they’re fed up with the far left shift that both Biden and Pelosi have taken us, not down a liberal road but down a socialist road.
SCALISE: That’s what people are rejecting.
BREAM: I want to be —
SCALISE: That’s what we’re proposing an alternative to with the Commitment to America.
BREAM: I want to be clear, though, did you sign onto as a co-sponsor of “Life Begins at Conception”, that act? Did the speaker get (ph) that wrong?
SCALISE: No, I’m on the Born Alive — I’m on the Born Alive Act.
BREAM: OK, I want to —
SCALISE: And go look up the Born Alive Act. Again, it says if a baby is born alive outside the womb, you can’t murder that baby and call it abortion. Not a single Democrat in Washington supports that bill. That’s how radical they are.
And so, that’s the kind of thing that we’re talking about.
BREAM: All right. Congressman, I want to be sure to ask. We are more than five years out from a shooting by a gunman — list of lawmakers, clearly had a very political viewpoint for why he came after you and your colleagues at that congressional baseball practice. How are you doing five years later, and how worried are you about heated political rhetoric whether it’s on the left or the right?
SCALISE: Yes, Shannon, I appreciate that. I – I continue to get better. I still do physical therapy once a week. And, look, I’m – I’m lucky to be alive. A hero saved my life. Police saved my life that were there that day. Brad Winstrup, my colleague, saved my life. So, there’s a lot of heroes that were involved in – in me being alive.
And, you know, look, We always speak out against political violence. There’s no place for it. This is the United States of America. And one of our strengths is that we can disagree and we don’t — the other side isn’t the demon or the enemy if they’re having a different viewpoint. You know, you try to debate. You try to go make your case and – and ultimately persuade people to your side. But political violence is never an answer to resolve our disputes.
BREAM: Well, Congressman, we know there are a lot of weighty problems to tackle on The Hill and we hope and pray that the two sides can find some common ground.
Thank you very much for your time this morning.
SCALISE: God bless. Thanks, Shannon.
BREAM: You too.
Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group on what happens next now that a House committee has voted unanimously to subpoena former President Trump. We’ll tell you what he’s says about whether he would actually show up and testify.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was able to bring gasoline down well over $1.60 (ph), but it’s – it’s inching up because of what the Russians and – and the Saudis just did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: President Biden focusing blame outside the U.S. for the high gas prices we’ve been seeing in recent weeks.
It is time now for our Sunday group. Senior politics reporter for “Axios,” Josh Kraushaar, editor-in-chief of “The Federalist,” Mollie Hemingway, Fox News contributor Richard Fouler, and president of The Heritage Foundation, Kevin Robert.
Welcome to all of you.
Let’s start there on this gas price issue.
“The Wall Street Journal” opinion piece on Thursday says blaming Saudi Arabia or OPEC Plus or Vladimir Putin for an energy crisis that results from a policy of switching from carbon fuels to clean energy is disingenuous. The oil prices U.S. consumers pay are due to choices their leaders made.
Kevin, you heard Jared Bernstein with me earlier in the show. He said they are ramping up production. We’re doing great on the U.S. production side.
KEVIN ROBERT, PRESIDENT, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Jared Bernstein’s a nice guy but he’s dead wrong. If you talk to Americans that know that gas prices are going up, at the same time they hear the president of the United States giving fist bump to leader of Saudi Arabia and also telling us that the solution is to buy energy efficient coffee makers. The way back to controlling inflation and American independence is going back to where we were just in 2019, Shannon, when America was a net oil exporter, that’s beneficial for every American, even Americans who think that wind and solar production is a sweet thing.
BREAM: And don’t mess with the coffee makers. I think everybody’s going to agree, Americans, you’re going to have to settle them on that.
Meantime, the president has also said this week, if you elect Republicans, if you give the GOP control, you just watch inflation, it’s going to get terrible. This is the headline over at your place, “The Federalist.” Molly, they say, get ready for Democrats’ new strategy blaming future Biden inflation on a GOP Congress. We’ve seen that pretty uniformly this week.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “THE FEDERALIST” AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it’s a fascinating strategy to try to blame Republicans when Democrats control the White House, both houses of Congress. And we have seen that American voters very much are aware of inflation, rising costs, problems with the economy. And that’s actually one of the issues that they say is motivating them to vote.
And you look at, you know, all these polls that are out there that show that on the issues that American voters care about, whether it’s inflation, the economy, crime, you know, these – these types of issues, they’re tending to say that they think Republicans will do a better job. So, they can try that messaging but I don’t know how much sway it’s going to have with the voter.
BREAM: I want to make sure we also get to the January 6th committee. We think this week was the last hearing, although they are saying it’s not set in stone. There could be more things to come. But as part of this, at the end of the hearing, they voted unanimously to subpoena President Trump.
Professor Jonathan Turley, a law professor we have on quite a bit, said this about waiting to the last minute of the last that we know of hearing to do the subpoena. He says the delay undermines the credibility of the effort from the first day the J6 committee said Trump was central to its investigation.
So, Richard, did they risk this looking like political theater because they’ve waited till the last minute to drop this bomb?
RICHARD FOWLER, FORBES CONTRIBUTING WRITER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think that’s going to be in the minds of the viewers – mind of the voters that go to the polls. But I think it’s worth pointing out here that from the beginning of this committee, and even if you talk to folks in Trump’s camp, they – he wanted more Republicans on the committee, and it was – it was Kevin McCarthy who said no to that. And I think, as we sit here now and we watch some of the harrowing (ph) behind the scenes footage that we saw Speaker Pelosi and pictures of Vice President Mike Pence scrambling to try to save the United States Capitol, who’s missing from that picture is former President Donald Trump, which we find – which we saw last March. A federal judge said that he’s most likely one of the causes for this.
So, I think this subpoena, while we – I like — I doubt that we’ll see Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, I think this subpoena speaks to where the January 6th riot started and how we got here.
HEMINGWAY: I just have to correct really quickly. It’s not true that Kevin McCarthy is responsible for no Republicans being on the committee.
FOWLER: No, no, no. Well –
HEMINGWAY: He actually did appoint members to that committee. Nancy Pelosi refused to seat them. Which has never happened in the history of congressional investigations or congressional committees. And so it’s not that this lost credibility at this point, it actually never had credibility because there was not a single Republican appointed member on that committee, so it always looked partisan. And it also always looked —
BREAM: But (INAUDIBLE) say he then – he then pulled everybody. McCarthy then pulled –
HEMINGWAY: Well, but – but because Nancy Pelosi removed his top two members. That’s never happened in the history of Congress.
FOWLER: But, Mollie, it’s also worth pointing out, what you see throughout – what you’re seeing through every hearing is you’ve seen high-level, high- ranking Trump officials testifying, showing that the president was not active on January 6th.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, so there was no due process on the committee and I think –
FOWLER: We also showed — they also showed evidence that – that he – he didn’t have – he didn’t protect the Capitol on January 6th. We also show evidence —
BREAM: I did –
HEMINGWAY: What I think this shows is that – it shows that Democrats are very focused on this while the American voter is worried about how they’re going to pay for their groceries, how they’re going to pay for gas, and that this is their final closing message. I think it’s going to go as poorly for Democrats this year as it went for Republicans in 1998.
BREAM: So, one of the key players in this has been Republican Liz Cheney, who, obviously, lost her primary and she’s not going to be returning to Congress, but this is what she said about this waiting to the last minute for the subpoena.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think we have felt it’s very important that the investigation be conducted in a way that is rigorous and disciplined and responsible.
Collecting evidence from all those around the central figure in January 6th before we issued a subpoena for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So, Josh, she says this was just the natural progression of their investigation.
JOSH KRAUSHAAR, SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER, “AXIOS”: Well, the bigger challenge for Cheney and the Democrats on the January 6th committee is that if Republicans take back the House, they could just withdraw the subpoena. So, this becomes – I mean, really, this is coming down to the – the political reality as much as the substantive revelations we learned from the hearings.
And as Mollie was saying, Republicans and Democrats alike are not focused on January 6th. Two percent – just 2 percent of the advertisements from Republicans and Democrats are focused on January 6th. Crime, the economy, immigration even rank much higher when you look at the messaging across all these big battleground states.
So, I think Cheney – I mean the hearings were very important and demonstrated what actually happened on January 6th. But most voters are looking forward and they’re not paying attention to the hearings, they’re paying attention to their pocketbooks.
BREAM: Well, I think something that would make people pay attention is if the former president decided to show up. And he’s like, yes, I’ll do it. Let’s bring it on. But he wants it to be live and he wants to make a lot of points that he wants to make.
Kevin, in any universe, does any of that happen?
ROBERT: I don’t think so. I mean, ultimately, I think the president and his team know that the January 6th committee is a sham. The very first thing that Leader McCarthy needs to do when he’s speaker is end it. And he ought to let Harriet Hagaman, who thankfully beat Liz Cheney in Wyoming, author the resolution. That would make Americans happy.
BREAM: All right. Well, we’ll see as it proceeds. The report is still forthcoming.
In the meantime, stay with us because we’ve got a lot more to talk about.
Up next, we’re going to take you to Georgia for this week’s must watch Senate debate with a look at what became its biggest viral moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): One thing I have not done, I’ve never pretended to be a police officer and – and – and I’ve never — I’ve never threatened a shootout with the police.
HERSCHEL WALKER (R), SENATE CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA: You know what’s so funny, I am – work with many police officers. And at the same time, have – have —
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Walker. Mr. Walker.
WALKER: No, no, no, no, no, when he said a problem with the truth –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Walker – Mr. Walker, excuse me, Mr. Walker.
WALKER: When he said a problem with the truth, the truth is – is here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, out of respect, I – I – I need to let you know, Mr. Walker –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are very well aware of the rules tonight.
WALKER: Yes. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you have a prop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is not allowed, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: No badges allowed. OK, that was Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and his opponent, Republican Herschel Walker, in one of the most shared exchanges from their heated Friday debate over the badge. Both candidates went on offense, trading shots on each other’s records, as well as on health care costs and abortion.
All right, we are back with the panel now.
So, we need to talk about the issue of abortion. It obviously came up with personal respect to Herschel Walker. He continues to say it is a lie, that he funded an abortion for a past girlfriend who has made that claim. But there was also this exchange from the two on the issue of abortion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARNOCK: The patient’s room is too narrow and small and cramped of space for a woman, her doctor, and the United States government.
WALKER: He’s a neat (ph) talker, but did he not mention that there’s a baby in that room as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: OK, so, Josh, they talked more broadly about it, but they talked about the personal accusations and his denials on this issue too.
KRAUSHAAR: Yes, I mean, there’s the personal aspect with Walker allegedly paying for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion, and then there’s the policy debate over whether, you know, Georgia voters are pro-choice or pro-life. Republicans hope this is a race that comes down to the environment, right? They’re hoping that Georgia voters are going to want to check the Democratic power. And that was the — Walker did a pretty good job. Like, if that — if the goal was to say I’m not like Warnock, I’m going to vote with Republicans, and that’s why you should support Herschel Walker, then he was successful. But if it’s about baggage, personal issues, about the candidates themselves, that’s what Democrats are hoping prevails in Georgia. They think Warnock is a stronger candidate and voters are going to vote not just on the issues but on the candidates’ personal strengths.
BREAM: I mean Walker is one of the candidates that has given the GOP some adjeda (ph), a bit of a headache. This is a headline, “The Washington Post” opinion this week, McConnell admits it, the GOP’s Senate candidates are liabilities.
And now, Mollie, it’s coming down to a handful of races where there have been some very difficult things that have popped up for GOP candidates and how they handle those issues.
HEMINGWAY: It’s also just true, though, that Americans are dissatisfied with how Washington, D.C., is doing things. So, Republican voters did nominate a bunch of outsider candidates. Whether you view that as a liability, if you’re someone like McConnell, or a strength, because you’re hoping to make some very significant changes to how – how things operate in this country is up for – is up for debate.
But I think, you know, one thing that was interesting last night’s debate, we’d been told that Walker was a very bad candidate. In fact, he did a really interesting and impressive performance in his debate on that abortion question. He didn’t just point out that the unborn child is left out of a lot of these discussions, he also pointed out that Raphael Warnock wants everyone to pay for abortions, taxpayers to be forced to pay for abortions. So he said, he’s talking about having the government outside of the bedroom, but here he’s actually bringing us all back into that bedroom by forcing us to pay for something that, you know, a lot of Americans do not want to pay for.
BREAM: Yes, that’s clearly one of the big issues on the campaign trail.
Let’s talk about some more of our Fox News polls.
When asked who they prefer for, generically, a congressional seat, the Democrats are at a three point advantage. But that’s all registered voters. When we dug a little deeper, those who feel certain to vote, they give a one point advantage to Republicans.
Kevin, why is this so tight if Republicans had had this, you know, representation there was going to be a red tsunami, well now it’s a ripple, where – you know, what do Republicans do, how have they kind of bungled what was a lead for them at one point?
ROBERTS: Actually those numbers, if you look at the history of polls last 60 or 70 years, indicate that the Republicans are doing well. I happen to think they could be doing even better if they had an even more robust policy agenda that focused on restoring self-governance to the American people. But, ultimately, just to get to the political science of it, Shannon, when Republicans on the generic ballot are within two or three points of the Democrats on – on generic preference, they win. And so I think the Republicans are going to outperform, probably pick up 30 to 40 seats.
BREAM: OK, what about the Senate?
ROBERTS: I’m also predicting a Republican senate, 51, 52, 53 Senate seats. And you know why? Because the election will turn on what voters care about, the economy and the rule of law, both the border security or the lack thereof, and the — just tremendous increase in crime. The president and all of the people running on his party are messaging on the wrong things and ultimately it’s too late for them to turn the corner.
BREAM: So, you talk about top issues. We have some of this in our Fox News polling as well. Now, out of the 12 concerns, we ask people to say how they were mot concerned. Two of the top ones, inflation and crime, 89 percent, 79 percent. Voters said that they trust Republicans more than Democrats to handle both by double digits, Richard.
FOWLER: Look, don’t get me wrong, I think this is going to be a tight election. I’m not going to make any predictions. But I think where Kevin is right is where the Republicans struggle here is that they don’t seem to have a clear, distinct message of what they will do if given the gavel and given control of the Capitol.
If you talk to folks in the Stacey Abrams campaign, if you talk to folks in Wisconsin on the lieutenant – on Mandela Barnes’ campaign, I talked to them this week, they’re saying this, we see an expanded electorate, in Georgia specifically. Since 2018, there’s been one million new voters added to the voting rolls. So they’re going after these new voters.
And even in a world where Herschel Walker or Mehmet Oz outperforms their opponent in a debate, herein lies the problem, they’re trying to convince a very small group of independents that they are the right close. Whereas in for Democrats, they’re working to expand their electorate and they’re also working on talking to the folks who aren’t part of the Trump wing of the Republican Party, who have already made the decision that they’re not going to vote for Republicans in this election.
BREAM: Well, and going into the home stretch, there are heavy hitters that are heading back out now. Former President Obama. There had been talk about whether he would show up. In some of the tight races that you mentioned, Josh, he is going to be there. Can it be a difference maker?
KRAUSHAAR: Well, look, Democrats don’t have a lot of surrogates that they can use that are popular in swing states. So, President Biden’s numbers in these swing states are very low. He was in Oregon. That’s about as – that’s about the battleground map for the president because you can’t go to Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, some of these true battlegrounds. Obama is the one surrogate that might be able to make a difference, especially when it comes to turning out the base. Wisconsin, such a big race for the Senate map. He’s going to Georgia also for Senator Warnock. Those are going to be tests and see whether Obama and whether the Democratic voter base can get excited about some of their candidates.
BREAM: OK, so this week the debate – I think we’re all going to pop our popcorn and watch – is the Fetterman/Oz debate in Pennsylvania. What are you going to look for, Mollie?
HEMINGWAY: Well, one think that’s interesting about that race is that it has been not focused on issues prior to this point because of personality issues, whether it’s Fetterman’s stroke or Mehmet Oz’s, you know, some of the ways he’s been focused on issues that aren’t important to Pennsylvania. Now the issues really are coming into play. And so I think this debate, we’ll actually see where they differ. You know, Fetterman is known for being someone who, as lieutenant governor, has helped some criminals out. That’s become a major issue. Crime is becoming a major issues for Americans nationwide. And so I think we’ll actually start to see where those – where they differ.
BREAM: OK, maybe we’ll have a watch party. We’ll all get together. Snacks. OK, sign up sheet right afterwards.
All right, thank you We’ll see you next Sunday, panel.
Up next, the CIA opens its doors for a rare glimpse inside. We’ll take a look at items from some of the agency’s most top secret missions.
BREAM: The Central Intelligence Agency is marking 75 years by opening up, well, just a little bit. But, for one day only, reporters were allowed into its newly renovated museum to hear the stories behind the CIA’s most prized possessions.
Fox News chief national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin, who has covered these stories from the outside, now takes us inside.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At CIA headquarters, you don’t need a clearance to see its new renovated museum.
JANELLE NEISES, CIA MUSEUM DEPUTY DIRECTOR: It’s pretty much unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else.
GRIFFIN: Filled with declassified gadgets, like this powder compact with coded messages embedded in its mirror. A dragonfly that served as the first UAV, or drone. Or this pipe.
NEISES: The idea here is that you would bite down on the pipe, and it would be able to send signals through your cavity right through here.
GRIFFIN: Janelle Neises is the deputy director of the new CIA museum.
NEISES: These artifacts have actually never been on display before here at CIA Museum. They’re related to our ARGO mission.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to help me make a fake movie.
GRIFFIN: The covert extraction on which the 2012 Ben Affleck movie was based. Six Americans rescued in Tehran, one of the agency’s most daring missions.
NEISES: So, we actually had a studio set up in L.A., Studio 6. We went so far as to have a script reading and invite the press. This artwork is one of my favorite artifacts in the whole museum, and it was done by Jack Kirby of the Marvel Universe.
GRIFFIN: Jack Kirby had no idea he was working for the CIA when he drew it.
NEISES: It’s very possible that until ARGO got declassified that he had no idea.
GRIFFIN: There are newly declassified items from Project Azorian, the famous Glomar mission which used millionaire Howard Hughes’ drilling company as a cover to recover a sunken K-129 Russian sub.
NEISES: CIA engineers had to create a capture vessel to actually go to the bottom of the ocean, 11 and a half Empire State Buildings down, grab a multi ton sub and then bring it back up.
GRIFFIN: There are examples of real life dead drops, like this crumbled milk carton.
NEISES: We want to make it so that it is something that blends in with its surrounding or is disgusting and no one would ever pick up.
GRIFFIN: Like this rat.
NEISES: We would treat the rat, hollow it out, you could put a camera in there, a micro dot reader, money, film, you sew it up and place it and then you could come pick it up. Problem during testing though was cats started stealing our dead drops.
And you would rub it with either tobacco sauce or wormwood oil, anything that was an animal deterrent.
GRIFFIN: There is a section devoted to post 9/11 operations.
NEISES: This is the actual model that was used to brief President Biden on the Zawahiri mission.
This case honors our first teams into Afghanistan after 9/11. So, our first team was in country 15 days after the attacks.
GRIFFIN: These stars, like the 139 currently on the memorial wall at Langley, hung at the CIA basin in Afghanistan to honor the seven officers hunting bin Laden, killed by a suicide bomber in Chost (ph).
NEISES: When we left Afghanistan, we made sure to bring this memorial back with us.
GRIFFIN: Nick Reynolds, author of “Need to Know,” was the CIA Museum’s historian until 2013.
NICHOLAS REYNOLDS, AUTHOR AND FORMER CIA HISTORIAN: I like the outlier. I like the people who stood up for themselves, didn’t necessarily have the stamp of approval of the establishment.
GRIFFIN: World War II spies, like Virginia Hall, shown here receiving the intelligence cross at a secret White House ceremony from the first head of the OSS. Her amputated leg cost her a job at the State Department, so she volunteered to drive an ambulance in France, eventually running 1,500 French resistance forces, becoming the first paramilitary officer the CIA hired in 1947.
NEISES: She lasted, in France, behind enemy lines, running assets and agents, she was getting downed pilots back out of the country and back into the U.K. She got people out of prison who were very important to the resistance without a single shot being fired.
GRIFFIN: For Janelle Neises, her favorite piece in the exhibit are these boots, worn by an actual CIA officer, Dave, the teammate of Medal of Honor recipient, Mike Span, the first U.S. casualty on the ground in Afghanistan killed during a prison riot in Mazar-i-Sharif.
NEISES: While getting to Mike, he completely ran out of ammunition. He was firing to get to Mike to try to save him. He took Mike’s weapon, used it to get to safety.
GRIFFIN: Dave’s seven-year-old son started calling them daddy’s lucky boots, realizing for the first time just how dangerous his dad’s job was, not knowing where his father really worked.
NEISES: I really think they talk about the silent sacrifice this organization makes on a daily basis. We’re very small. We’re very agile. We’re very good with very little.
GRIFFIN: And we are proud to honor that sacrifice which often goes unrecognized.
That was Jennifer Griffin reporting from the CIA’s Langley headquarters.
And now this programming note. You can join my colleague, Dana Perino, tonight for a deep dive into November’s midterms. It’s called “The Big Midterms Show.” Dana will bring in a high-powered roundtable for a conversation about the issues and how the candidates are aiming to drive turnout. That is tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, on Fox News Channel.
That is it for us this Sunday morning. We thank you for joining us. I’m Shannon Bream. Have a great week. We will see you next “FOX NEWS SUNDAY.”
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