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Sen. Daschle Makes Address on the Economy

Aired January 4, 2002 - 12:20   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to interrupt you and go right to that speech here in Washington, Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, making what he's calling a major address on the economy.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Thank you, Bob, for those overly generous words. And thank you all for inviting me to join you today. It's quite an honor.

It's also quite an honor to be introduced by Bob Rubin. Bob is a dear friend and someone whose judgment and economic advice I rely upon very heavily. I expect history will record him as one of America's most distinguished secretaries of the Treasury, of the same caliber of another great New Yorker, Alexander Hamilton.

You may remember a cover story in Time magazine during the 1997 Asian economic crisis. The story was about how U.S. economic leadership helped prevent that regional crisis from touching off a worldwide recession. The cover showed a picture of Bob Rubin, Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers. The headline called them the Committee to Save the World.

That may be a slight exaggeration, to say that Bob Rubin has saved the world, but it is certainly no exaggeration that he's saved me many times with his wise and patient counsel, and I'm very grateful to him for being here today.

Now, if I could just get him to advise me on my stock portfolio, I'd be in great shape.


I also want to thank my good friend Leon Panetta. How can anyone go through as many tough budget battles as Leon has and still keep that wonderful laugh, is one of the great mysteries of Washington. He's a role model for all of us. He was a great chairman of the House Budget Committee, a distinguished OMB director and White House chief of staff, and he's doing an outstanding job as chair of the CNP.

And I want to acknowledge, speaking of directors, Mo Steinbruner's incredible leadership at CNP. Under her direction, the Center for National Policy has become a real force for thoughtful discussion on America's economic and foreign policy. We're all indebted to her for that as well, and I thank her so much for the opportunity to be here today.

As we begin this year, our nation is engaged in two great battles. One is literally about life and death, and that is our battle against global terrorism. Our other battle will determine how great a deal about how we live, and what kind of future we leave to our children. And that's the battle to deal with the economic challenges facing our nation, both in the short term and the long term.

In the first battle, the battle against terrorism, President Bush and his national security team are doing a superb job. They've united our nation and virtually the entire world in the defense of freedom and civilization, and they deserve our support and our praise.

Our men and women in uniform have been nothing short of heroic. They took on an assignment that some said was unwinnable and they're winning. Not only are they bringing justice to the killers, they're helping bring the people of Afghanistan their first real chance for peace in nearly a quarter-century. They're making our world safer and making us all very proud.

Next week I'm going to be visiting some of the troops stationed in Central Asia, and I'm looking forward to it.

When it comes to our second battle, our economic battle, I think most Americans would probably agree that the news hasn't been so good lately.

But there's no reason we can't win both of our battles. Americans are the most productive, most innovative workers in the world. We have the most advanced technology. We are the people who pioneer new ideas and break new ground.

If we can root out a network of terrorists half a world away, we can solve the problems in our own economy too. After all, unlike the war on terrorism, the economic battle is a battle that we have fought many times before and won. The way we've won it has always been the same: by keeping our fiscal house in order and by relying on comprehensive plans to keep our economy growing.

Today I would like to make a case for a return to fiscal responsibility and a comprehensive new plan for economic growth.

We don't have to look back too far to see a template. A decade ago, our economy was shrinking as we struggled to emerge from a recession. We were running record annual budget deficits with no end in sight. From 1980 to 1992, our national debt had quadrupled. Some people feared we'd never get out of that fiscal hole.

But we did. And we did it the old-fashioned way. In 1993, we made a decision. No more living beyond our means, no more borrow and spend and piling up mountains of debt to leave our children and grandchildren. From that point on, we decided we'd do everything we had to to fit into a new framework of fiscal discipline.

Fiscal discipline lowered our long-term interest rates and increased business confidence, which helped spark new investment, which produced strong economic growth, which lowered the deficits even more, which reduced long-term interest rates even further, which created more jobs and stronger economic growth.

By embracing fiscal discipline, investing in people and technology and opening up new markets abroad, we helped lay a foundation for a new growth economy.

Over the next eight years, we achieved broad-based economic growth. Business boomed and people benefited. Corporate profits and so did family incomes. And not just at the top. We created more millionaires and billionaires in the '90s than at any time in our nation's history, while creating a boom that raised family incomes across the board.

More companies were started, more people went to college, and more Americans owned their own home in the last decade than ever before in our nation's history.

At this time last year, unemployment, inflation and long-term interest rates were all lower than they had been in a generation. We disproved the old idea that you can't have low unemployment and low inflation at the same time.

While we were laying the foundation for a prosperous future, we were also paying off the mistakes of the past. In 1993, our economy was saddled with a record $290 billion deficit, and that deficit was projected to grow substantially for years.

By 2000, not only was the deficit gone, we had a record $236 billion surplus. And that surplus was expected to increase dramatically for years.

We also paid down more than $400 billion of the trillions of dollars in debt the federal government had run up during the 1980s and early '90s, and we were on a path to pay off the full debt.

For the first time in years, the challenge of the baby boomers' retirement, while still formidable, no longer seemed insurmountable. For the first time in a generation, both our short-term and our long- term economic positions appeared strong.

Then the inevitable happened: Our economy started to cool. By last March, we now know the expansion was officially over, and a recession had begun.

Every economic boom eventually slows down. When that happens, the question is not who is to blame, but what do we do to get the economy growing again. How we answer that question is critical, because it will determine to a large extent how deep the recession will be, how long it will last and how strong the recovery will be.

Unfortunately, last spring Republicans chose exactly the wrong solution. They made a huge tax cut their number one priority, ahead of everything else, and discarded the framework of fiscal responsibility. They said their tax cut costs $1.3 trillion. It is actually $1.7 trillion, when you include the interest costs.

And many experts believe the true costs are even more dramatic. The IMF, for instance, estimates the cost of the tax cut at $2.5 trillion, nearly a trillion dollars more than advertised.

Supporters of the tax cut said the surplus was so massive and so certain that we could do everything. We could have a huge tax cut, increase spending on education and the military and provide prescription drug coverage. We could protect the Social Security surplus, we could pay off the entire federal debt in a decade, and still have enough money left over to get us through any unforeseen disasters.

What we got instead was the most dramatic fiscal deterioration in our nation's history. Instead of the record surpluses we expected, the president's own budget director now says the federal government will run deficits at least until 2004. Instead of continuing to pay down the debt, the president's treasury secretary just sent Congress a letter, just after Thanksgiving, asking us to approve raising the nation's debt limit.

There are those who say the reason the surplus deteriorated so quickly is the attacks on America and the war against terrorism. Well, clearly September 11 was a blow to our economy. And to some industries, it's been devastating, especially travel and tourism, which is hugely important to my home state. But September 11 and the war aren't the only reasons the surplus is nearly gone. They're not even the biggest reason.

The biggest reason is the tax cut. In May, the Congressional Budget Office reported a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion. By the end of the year, $3.7 trillion of that was gone.

Nearly half of that was a direct result of the tax cut. The tax cut was by far the largest factor.

The rapidly disappearing surplus is a key reason long-term interest rates have barely budged. This despite the fact that the Federal Reserve cut the short-term federal funds rate a record 11 times last year. Altogether, the federal funds rate dropped nearly 5 percentage points last year, yet the 10-year treasury rate ended the year almost exactly where it had begun.

Investors understand that the dwindling surplus means the federal government may have to borrow money soon, or at the very least won't be paying down nearly as much of the debt as had been expected. That is keeping long-term interest rates higher than they would have been, and the continued high interest rates, and the adverse impact on investor confidence in turn, leads to less investment, less consumption, more job loss and bigger deficits. That's the hidden tax of the current fiscal policy.

So not only did the tax cut fail to prevent a recession, as its supporters said it would, it probably made the recession worse.

It also put us in an unnecessary fiscal bind at the worst possible time. At a time when we need to fight both a war and a recession, when our nation has urgent needs on all fronts, the tax cut has taken away our flexibility and left us with only two choices, both of them bad: We can shortchange critical needs, such as homeland defense, or we can raid the Social Security surplus and even run deficits to pay for those critical needs.

We should not be in this position. A year ago, we had the resources and the flexibility to make virtually any urgent investments we needed. We don't have that flexibility or those resources today, because the Republicans chose ideology over experience.

Experience showed that fiscal responsibility works. Ideology dictated that tax cuts, no matter what the circumstances.

I know a lot of good, fiscally conservative Republicans in South Dakota. A majority of my state is Republican. They are hardworking and fiscally conservative as you'll ever find.

But the Republican agenda in Washington today is being written by a wing of the Republican Party that isn't interested in fiscal discipline. They have one unchanging, unyielding solution that they offer for every problem: tax cuts that go disproportionately to the most affluent.

Democrats see things differently. We support tax cuts that work. We want to make sure that any tax cut we pass doesn't threaten Social Security or Medicare reserves, or crowd out other critical investments, or drive us deeper into debt.

President Bush deserves great praise for the way he is leading our armed forces. He's shown real leadership by setting aside partisan criticism of America's necessary involvement in multilateral military action and nation-building. And he's demonstrated real statesmanship by re-engaging in the difficult work of the Middle East peace process where American engagement is essential.

President Bush is absolutely right to use every tool at our disposal to fight the war on terrorism: diplomatic, military, financial, humanitarian. But we also have to use every tool at our disposal, including the right kind of tax cuts, in our battle to strengthen the economy.

America's greatest strength is our resolve and our unity in times of challenge.

The world saw that again on September 11 and in the months that have followed. If we can come through a tragedy as terrible as that, I have no doubt that we can solve the economic challenges facing us too.

We can restore fiscal integrity, keep America on the cutting edge of technology and help Americans seize the extraordinary opportunities this new global information economy affords. We can go back to paying off our debt, rather than risk running up the deficit. The first step, the first step is to get our economy on track by passing a real economic stimulus plan. In putting together a plan, we talked to business leaders in high tech and manufacturing, finance and other key industries. We consulted with Bob Rubin and Alan Greenspan, two of the chief architects of the economic success of the 1990s. On the basis of those discussions, we proposed a plan designed to increase consumer demand and spur business investment.

Nearly 2 million Americans lost their job just last year. New figures out this morning show the unemployment rate in December rose to 5.8 percent -- the highest in six years. We included unemployment and health care benefits for laid-off workers in our plan because any objective economist will tell you it's one of the most effective ways to boost demand and pump money into the economy quickly. But it's also the right thing to do.

To spur business investment and job creation, we proposed allowing businesses to write off a larger share of their investment immediately. Our Republican friends like to describe the economic stimulus debate as a choice between Republican tax cuts and Democratic spending. The fact is both of our economic stimulus proposals are more than 75 percent tax cuts.

The real difference is, our tax cuts will keep people at work and keep the economy growing by stimulating economic activity right now. Their tax cuts have very little to do with sparking economic recovery. Sixty percent of their stimulus plan's five-year cost occurs after the year 2002. It occurs after the administration and most economists believe the recovery will be well on its way.

They also want to eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax. Even if you think that's good economic policy -- and I don't -- it's not a stimulus.

Let me be clear about what I think needs to be done to stimulate the economy right now. We should move quickly to pass a bill that boosts demand, encourages investment and creates jobs. It should consist entirely of one-year measures that promote economic activity now, when our economy needs it, and it should include nothing that will run up long-term deficits or drive up long-term interest rates. This adheres to the bipartisan principles established last fall.

Today, I am proposing two new ideas to try to get the economic stimulus debate back on track. First, we should pass a new jobs creation tax credit. This tax cut would be available to every business in America. It says simply that if you increase your payroll, if you hire new people, restore hours that have been cut or give your workers a raise, you'll be reimbursed for all of the extra payroll tax.

In addition, we know that many companies are deferring investments right now. Providing a robust depreciation bonus gives companies an incentive to make investments now, when the economy needs a boost. So today I'm proposing that we allow 40 percent bonus depreciation for the first six months and 20 percent for the next six months. If you want to know whether this will work, just look at what's happened with car sales these last three months. When consumers were told that they'd be able to purchase a car with 0 percent interest rates, they shelved their financial uncertainty and purchased cars in record numbers. We want businesses to do the same thing when it comes to purchasing new equipment and new technology. I hope President Bush and our Republican colleagues will work with us in the spirit of compromise to pass an economic stimulus plan early this year and put America back to work.

Second, in addition to the predictable costs like Social Security, we now have the new and urgent costs of homeland security. If people don't feel safe about getting on an airplane, going about their business and living their lives, our efforts to stimulate the economy simply are not going to work. We made a start last year with new airline security measures, emergency assistance to help rebuild New York and the Pentagon, and more funds for antibiotics and vaccines for anthrax and other kinds of bioterrorism, but that's only a small fraction of what we need to do if we're going to better protect against terrorist attacks and the economic damage that they cause.

Consider just a few facts. Right now, out of every 100 cargo containers that enter U.S. ports each day, only two are inspected. Canadian intelligence sources estimate that 50 terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda and Hamas, operate within their borders. Yet we have only 300 agents working the 100 ports of entry along the 3,000- mile U.S.-Canadian border.

Russia cannot account for some of its highly enriched uranium, and there have been 14 confirmed cases of trafficking in fissile material in that country.

Our public health system is dangerously under-prepared for the possibility of future biological attack, like the anthrax attack on my office. Eighty percent of our cities and counties have no bioterror response plan. Some of our nation's best scientists are working in obsolete labs. A couple of years ago, a movie crew that was working on a film called "Outbreak" asked to shoot some scenes at the CDC labs.

But the labs were so decrepit, the crew decided no one would believe that America's best public health scientists actually worked there. So they built a set instead.

In addition, we've done practically nothing since September 11 to improve cyber-security, rail security or security at America's nuclear and chemical plants. These gaps in our homeland security are unacceptable. We ought to be pursuing homeland security with as much vigor as we are pursuing the war in Afghanistan.

Take, for example, the way we help protect Russia's nuclear material and know-how. If we're serious about homeland security, we shouldn't be cutting the programs that safeguard weapons of mass destruction and that support the experts who know how to make them. We should be expanding them. The highly successful Nunn-Lugar program should be extended to India and Pakistan. It should be broadened to keep Russia's biological and chemical weapons materials and know-how from falling into the wrong hands.

Next week, I plan to visit what is known as the world's largest anthrax burial ground, a site in Uzbekistan where Soviet scientists devised, tested and then abandoned some of the deadliest biological and chemical weapons imaginable. We are rightly helping the Uzbeks decontaminate the site, but we can and should be doing more to ensure that Russian scientists and their skills are not misused.

Democrats worked hard last year to include $15 billion in emergency homeland security investments as part of an economic stimulus measure. When that effort was blocked by the other party, we tried to include the homeland security in the defense appropriations bill. Again, we were prevented from doing so.

It has since been reported that Governor Ridge will request $15 billion in homeland security funding at some point now this year. While we welcome this news, we're puzzled by the timing. If Republicans had supported our proposal last month instead of blocking it, that money would already be available. As it stands, the money won't be available now for several months.

Homeland security will provide economic stimulus because it will increase confidence and spur spending.

The federal government can't ignore the need for homeland security and it can't push it off on the states. They're already looking at combined budget shortfalls of at least $40 billion this year.

So today we're asking our Republican friends to work with us to protect Americans from terrorism. The firefighters and police officers and other heroes are doing their jobs. Let us work together to do ours.

Passing a real economic stimulus plan and strengthening our homeland security are two things that we must now do to get our economy back on track, but we can't stop there. We don't just need an economic stimulus plan, we need a comprehensive plan for economic growth.

As part of any plan for economic growth, a third and most important thing we should do, as Leon Panetta noted, is to restore long-term fiscal integrity to our budget so we can bring long-term interest rates down again.

When interest rates fall by two points, the average family with a $100,000 mortgage saves $2,000 a year. In a real sense, low interest rates are the best possible tax cut. They help families afford college, buy cars, purchase homes and pay off credit card debt.

Monetary policy alone can't bring down long-term interest rates if our long-term budget outlook remains so precarious. We know that. The federal government needs to show the markets that it has not abandoned fiscal discipline but it still committed to it.

That is why I am asking the president today to submit to Congress not simply a one-year budget proposal but a long-term plan to restore economic growth.

We need a plan to return to fiscal discipline, protect the Social Security and Medicare surpluses in the long term and make essential investments in critical areas including defense, homeland security and education. It needs to be a real plan, not one that relies on rosy scenarios or accounting gimmicks.

Fourth, we should invest in education, training and technology to promote job creation and economic growth. One of the keys to our economic success in the 1990s was a productivity revolution driven by information technology.

In the last couple of years, the technology sector has gone through a serious shake-out, but it's poised to grow again. It's essential that the federal government continue to be a good partner, so that American tech companies can continue to lead the world.

Again, targeted tax cuts are part of the solution, but only part.

Right now we're importing hundreds of thousands of workers because our system cannot provide companies with educated workers that they need. Close that gap and everyone benefits: Companies get the skilled workers they need, workers get better jobs at better wages, and our economy becomes more innovative and more productive. Closing that gap will require us to improve our entire system of education and training, so that kids can come to school ready to learn and leave college and trade school ready to work.

Before Congress adjourned, we sent the president a new bipartisan bill to strengthen America's public schools. The No Children Left Behind Act continues our bipartisan efforts to increase investment in educational quality. Schools are getting better. More people are going to college because of steps we took in the '90s to make college more affordable. But there is still a big gap between the skills of Americans who want to work and the skills that many jobs require.

In 1998, we worked together to craft a new training system to better respond to labor market needs. We now need to help that system meet the challenge of rising unemployment by renewing our commitment to training and to lifelong learning.

We should also authorize our bipartisan welfare reform laws this year to ensure that people who have made the transition from welfare to work can remain in the work force and not slide back into dependency.

In addition, we should act to make the research and development tax credit permanent; the sooner the better. Democrats included the permanent R&D tax credit plan we offered last year, but Republicans rejected it. Obviously, this is an expensive proposal, but the R&D tax credit is one of the most effective mechanisms to encourage innovation, increase business investment and keep the economy growing. We should work together to make it permanent.

High-speed broadband Internet access has become an indispensable tool for businesses, schools, libraries and hospitals, and access to this service is fast becoming the line between the haves and have-nots in the information age. We should create tax credits, grants and loans to make broadband service as universal tomorrow as telephone access is today.

Over the past century, federal investments and research have helped split the atom, sequenced the genome, invent the microchip, the laser and the Internet, and help create millions of jobs. In this century, nanotechnology, robotics, advanced energy technologies like fuel cells and solid state lighting, and biotechnologies like gene therapy have the potential to do the same. We should double civilian R&D funding including the funding for the National Science Foundation. And we should fully fund the Advanced Technology Program to speed these innovations to market.

It's critical that the Congress provide funding for a balanced research portfolio. Increasing the NIH budget is important, but it should not be the sole objective of U.S. science and technology policy. Expanded investments in areas such as physics, computer science, mathematics and electrical engineering are essential to maintaining America's economic and technological leadership in the 21st century.

Fifth, we must open new markets and help workers who are hurt by trade. No country is better situated to thrive in this global information economy than the United States of America. That is why I support fast track, and intend to bring it up for a vote in the full Senate early this year. In the Finance Committee, we passed a bill that addresses critical labor and environmental issues. Our society as a whole benefits from greater trade and globalization, but we need to recognize that not everyone benefits; some workers are displaced. We can't afford to leave those people behind, for our sake or for theirs. We need everyone's skills and contributions.

That is why, as part of our consideration of fast track, Senate Democrats are proposing to expand trade adjustment assistance. We believe that we should expand assistance to all workers who are hurt by global production shifts. That includes people who work for the suppliers and contractors of trade affected companies, and it also includes farmers. We should help those workers...

WOODRUFF: We have been listening to Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, deliver what he was billing as a major economic address here in Washington, basically started out praising the president for the way he's conducted the war on terrorism, saying he and his administration have done a superb job when it comes to fighting that war, but when it comes to battling the war with regard to the economy, the recession the United States is in, he says it is a different story, and he blames the Republican-touted tax cuts that were passed earlier last year for helping to bring the economy, as he put it, into even a worse recession.

Karen Hughes, who is one of the principle advisers to President Bush, commented on what Senator Daschle would say. She spoke shortly before his address from Texas, where the president is right now. Let's hear what Karen Hughes had to say.


KAREN HUGHES, BUSH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I do think we are making some progress, because he went home over the Christmas recess and listened to people, and the package I understand he is coming out with today has the elements of what the president feels are very important, including things like trade, energy, security, so I am hoping that Senator Daschle went home over the holidays, listened to the people, and decided that President Bush may be right with the need for an economic security package.


WOODRUFF: Karen Hughes talking just before Senator Daschle spoke.

We want to bring in now some Republican comment on this, and for that we go to Congressman J.C. Watts. He's part of the important Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

Representative Watts, I know you've been listening to Senator Daschle's comments. And not only is he -- as I just mentioned a moment ago, he's giving the president a great deal of credit for carrying out the war on terrorism, but he's saying significant mistakes were made when it came to the economy and, in particular, the tax cuts, which he said have turned out to be much larger than the administration billed.

How do you respond?

REP. J.C. WATTS (R-OK), REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN: Well, Judy, I'm going to have to send Tom a memo and tell him that he does a great infomercial. I did get a chance to listen to much of his presentation, and I think that he's right.

I think Karen Hughes makes a good point in saying that Senator Daschle obviously has travelled around the country and he is saying that we do need an economic security/stimulus package.

And I've got before me here many of the things that Senator Daschle is proposing. And of the nine things that he's talked about, seven of them are currently on his desk: an energy bill, a trade bill, a tax bill that, kind of, encourages investment and growth and helps to sustain the current jobs that we already have.

So again, much of what he's talked about today he's taken out of the packages that we passed in the House and he's calling them the Tom Daschle package. So -- but that's fine. I think it's important that we do an economic security package to get the economy going and get people back to work.

WOODRUFF: Congressman, what do you say to his charge that what those tax cuts did, among other things, was leave the country with two bad choices: either raid the Social Security surplus or shortchange critical needs like homeland security?

WATTS: Well, you know, Judy, if you live in a glass house, you shouldn't throw stones. And Senator Daschle -- you know, the Democrats were in charge for over 40 years and they spent the Social Security surplus. That's how they paid the bills.

I think the tax cut -- I've never known it to be bad. You can go back and look at any economy, any president -- John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush -- I've never known it to be bad to give people some of their money back so they can buy their kids school clothes or buy food or spend it on education or make their car payments. That's not a bad thing.

When 68 percent of the economy is driven by consumer spending, it's good to give people their money back so they can spend it. That is not a bad thing.

And I think history will show, the tax relief package that was passed back in March, that 12 of the Democrat senators under Mr. Daschle's leadership voted for, history will show that that's a good thing. That's not going to be a bad thing.

WOODRUFF: But just to be specific, Congressman, on these tax cuts, we heard Senator Daschle say -- he said both the Democratic and the Republican economic stimulus plans -- both of them he said consisted of more than 75 percent tax cuts. But he said it was the Democratic plan that had targeted tax cuts and proposals that would have led to stimulating the economy right now. And he talked about how much of the stimulus in the Republican plan -- 60 percent I believe he said -- would have come after 2002, when many people -- many economists say, the recession will be coming -- we'll be coming out of it.

WATTS: Well, Judy, that's a contradiction. If Mr. Daschle is saying that the tax cuts are going to come after 2002, how is it that the tax cuts have caused this recession? That's a contradiction.

And I would also ask Mr. Daschle, who are his tax cuts targeted to, who are they targeted to?

I think you have to do two things: One, you have to be concerned about people that's lost their jobs, that need unemployment benefits, need health care benefits. We've addressed that. But you also have to be concerned about allowing money to stay with those small businesses, those people out there who are creating the jobs, either to sustain their current employment base or to try and create jobs.

So I think Mr. Daschle -- we have already passed legislation in the House. We've sent it to Mr. Daschle not once, but we've sent it to him twice, that would do those things. And so, I'm encouraged by his presentation, because I believe that we do have a chance to get those 700,000 -- a little over 700,000 people that lost their jobs, we have a chance to get them back to work.

But again, we don't need, you know, speeches, we need action. And we need the House and the Senate to work together to get that done.

WOODRUFF: All right, Congressman J.C. Watts, much more to talk about. And I guess if we had all afternoon, there are many more questions I know I'd like to ask you. But we appreciate you joining us, Representative.

WATTS: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Thank you. And happy new year to you.

WATTS: Thank you. You too.


Representative Watts joining us from Norman, Oklahoma, this afternoon.




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