AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The political headlines seem to be changing by the hour recently. From the Biden presidency and his agenda to the fallout from the January 6th attack on the Capitol, and the next steps for the Republican party, there is plenty happening in DC. Congressman Jody Hice of Georgia’s 10th District joins The Means Report to tackle all of those issues and more.
Brad Means: Congressman Hice, thank you so much for joining us from Washington today. We appreciate it.
Rep. Jody Hice: Well, thanks, Brad. It’s always great to be with you. Thanks for all you do.
Brad Means: Absolutely, well, congressman, the election is over. The nation still feels so divided. Is America gonna be okay?
Rep. Jody Hice: Well, sure. You know, I think the short answer to your question is yes absolutely, America’s resilient. We have been through many, many difficult days in our past and I’m sure there will be many difficult days yet to experience in our future. But that being said, we are a resilient people who gather around certain principles that regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on that we agree with certain things pertaining to liberty and justice and freedom and opportunity, the American dream. Some of these types of things are deeply embedded in the heart and soul of every one of us, our religious liberties. And so we’re going to keep those things focused. And as long as we do that, sure, America is going to move forward. But no question, the overarching issues that we’re facing make these very serious days and we need to be very careful with our rhetoric and the things we say and the attitudes we carry. And let’s try to keep the main thing and that is those which we cherish the most surrounding our freedom, the uniqueness of this great country.
Brad Means: I tell the viewers a lot of times that we record “The Means Report” just a couple of days before it actually airs. And that’s what we’re doing right now. And right now, as we go on the air, Georgia Congressman Marjorie Greene has been stripped of her committee assignments. That happened the day before we recorded this actually. And based on what you just said, it sounds like, I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, do you agree with the stripping of her committee assignments? Was that the right thing to do because of her past rhetoric?
Rep. Jody Hice: No, I don’t believe that was the right thing to do. I supported her through this. Look, the comments that she made, number one, she has disavowed. She has made a couple of powerful speeches both to the Republican conference as well as to the entire House of Representatives. And for that matter, the nation. And she has a tremendous pass as being a an incredible business woman, very successful. And a couple of years ago, she was introduced to QAnon and her story, how she started asking questions about it and this, that, and the other. And she posted some things that she should not have posted. And she’s regretted that, she’s disavowed it. But look if any of us start being stripped of our committees based on things that we said or did prior to coming to Congress, there would be no one serving on any committees. I have, in fact right here before me, I’ve got a list of like four pages of incredibly discouraging hate-filled rhetoric coming from acting Democrats right now towards other members of Congress. And they have zero accountability for their own members who have said outrageous things while serving in Congress.
Brad Means: Let me ask you this then if you all ever get Marjorie back, you think you’ll strip people of their committee assignments as payback?
Rep. Jody Hice: There’s no question that that talk is floating around. I mean, how possibly can you have this thing one sided? And again, some of the things that Marjorie has said were years ago before she was even a candidate, let alone a a member of Congress. And yet we have tons of vile statements that have been made by various members of Congress against other members of Congress literally inciting, I mean you look at Bernie Sanders, the fellow who shot Steve Scalise on the baseball field literally said he was inspired to do that action because of Bernie Sanders. And yet, was there any accountability? Was there any punishment or any, no, not a thing said so this thing must go two ways. There’s gotta be accountability on both sides. And I strongly disagree with what they did to Marjorie Greene. It’s to the zenith of hypocrisy and injustice.
Brad Means: Real quickly, what happens when you don’t have committees? Do you just vote on things and go home? That’s about all you get to do as a Congresswoman?
Rep. Jody Hice: Yeah, you know, she is a type of personality, she’s still gonna be very active, there’s no question. But yeah I mean when you don’t have committees, you lose a lot of input on those various committees in terms of trying to shape legislation that would be coming forth from those committees and the hearing assignments that we have. So there’s no doubt it’s a very significant and unprecedented action that the Democrats took against her. But knowing her, she is an individual who is going to rise above that. And she will find a way still to be effective both as a member of Congress and a spokesperson for conservative values. She’s strongly pro-life and pro-freedom and limited government and responsible spending. And I’m sure she’s gonna keep those items the forefront as she moves forward.
Brad Means: Congressman Hice, some Democrats say that you need to be expelled from Congress because you tried to overturn the results of the elections. I won’t ask you how you feel about that. I’m sure you think it’s ridiculous. But let me ask you, if you think the election was stolen from Donald Trump still, do you still hold onto those beliefs?
Rep. Jody Hice: I believe the election was filled with fraud whether it was enough to overturn the election is why we need to investigate it. That’s why we need audits, genuine audits and genuine investigations not just a hearsay, things that try to pacify the crowd. But look, we had our, right here in our own state of Georgia, we had the Secretary of State by his own initiative, which he has no initiative or authority to do, but he changed our election laws by sending applications for absentee ballots to every one on our voter registration file. He has no authority to do that. So right out of the gate, we have a problem. Particularly when you know that about 10% of our voter registration file is inaccurate. When you have 7 million voters that means up to about 700,000 illegal voters were sent an application to receive a live ballot in the State of Georgia. That’s a problem. And I would like to know how many of those 700,000 actually voted. They were given an absentee ballot opportunity and we in Georgia with this last election we have no voter ID required for absentee ballots. So once the applications went out, it was kind of a green light for those individuals to receive live ballots. That’s problematic. And then you have the signature verifications which were very weak. I mean, there are multiple problems. And so I believe we need to investigate those things
Brad Means: Well, do you think the investigation can take place quickly? We have a big election coming around the bend in 2022, in two years, the midterms, excuse me. How much faith do you have in George’s voting system for that and for anything else going forward?
Rep. Jody Hice: Well, I have confidence in our legislature. There is no doubt they were caught unprepared I believe with this past election. I am totally confident both with the members of our state legislature that I’ve spoken with personally as well as articles and things I’m reading and seeing. They are tackling the issue right now in this session. I know there are at least eight bills in the Senate and that many in the State House as well to deal with election reform in our state. And so I’m very confident that they are taking this very seriously. And with that, I feel good as we come around the corner to the next midterm election. I think it will be much different from what we just experienced. And hopefully the potential loopholes for fraudulent activities will have been closed. And Georgia will be back to a position of having good elections that we can all count on and be assured that they are accurate.
Brad Means: Congressman Hice, you’ve never been afraid to talk about your personal feelings here on “The Means Report” or otherwise. And I just wanna ask you how you come to these points of view whether it is questioning the election results or whether it is standing behind President Trump no matter what, are these your personal beliefs or the people back home in the 10th telling you to think this way and to feel this way and to take these stands or is it a combination?
Rep. Jody Hice: No, listen, I mean, there’s no way you can please everyone when you have 800,000 people in your district. Anything you say or believe is gonna be challenged and disagreed with by a significant number. You just simply cannot please that many people but as you know I’m an individual deep religious faith. And that certainly is the number one guiding principle in my life, the values of, and I’m, you know, I take time every day to reach scripture and try to take it in my life and and to be guided by those biblical values. And, you know, and then I’m up here in Washington and doing all I can to stand for those values that I ran on, the values that the people at the 10th district entrusted with me. They agreed with the values that I hold for the most part and they’ve sent me here to stand for those values. So that’s what I do. And obviously that pleases a lot of people, at the same time it upsets a lot of people. And so one thing that we do, I stand very strongly on my principles when it comes to votes and that type of thing. But also it is absolutely meaningless to us what party an individual is affiliated with when it comes to our constituent services. Our doors are open to anyone, everyone who has an issue with the federal government. And we roll out the red carpet and our offices do everything we possibly can to resolve those issues to everyone. And I think that’s helped. And just lay a good level of trust within the people of the 10th district. They were not here trying to push a political agenda when it comes to serving the people of the 10th district
Brad Means: Well, that’s appreciated by all, I’m sure. We have so much to talk about with Congressman Jody Hice, folks. We know that you wanna find out about the pandemic. What sort of relief package might be coming down the pipe? And we will discuss that with him. What happens with this virus going forward as we get into this new year, Jody Hice’s our special guest on “The Means Report”, stay with us.
Brad Means: Welcome back to “The Means Report”. Congressman Jody Hice of the 10th district of Georgia is our special guest today. Talking about all the goings on not only in our nation’s Capitol but right here at home. Congressman Hice, I do want to move on to the pandemic and talk about what’s happening there. While we were asleep recently, the Senate met to push through along party lines a plan that is going to make it a lot easier for them to push through the democratic version of the next relief package. What do you think about that partisanship and what do you think about what the next package will hold?
Rep. Jody Hice: Yeah, we’re looking at nearly $2 trillion of additional spending. We’ve already had about four major relief packages. I think we’re now totaling in the ballpark hovering around $6 trillion that is gone out as a result of the pandemic. And listen, we all need to be safe but we can walk and chew gum at the same time. And I’m very grateful for the leadership in Georgia, which has recognized that. And Georgia still remains a state that’s doing extremely well economically as well as dealing with the pandemic as a whole in terms of getting the vaccine out and all those types of things. We’re moving in a good, solid direction. Look, here’s the problem that I have. It doesn’t matter if you send out checks of $600 or 1,000 or 1400 or 2000, goodness 5,000, you named the number, none of those checks can replace livelihoods. The way you deal with this economy, the way you deal with livelihoods is to open the economy. We simply do not have the money to continue sending out checks to everyone in this country month after month. We are creating a scenario that is bankrupting our country. And we’ve got to understand that we just can’t, this is unsustainable. And it ultimately is doing nothing other than putting a temporary bandaid on individual’s lives. What we need to focus on is how to safety open the economy. That is the issue. And that is something that I personally I’ve been pushing for for months. And we’ll continue to push for it.
Brad Means: Do you get the impression when the cameras are turned off and it’s just you and your fellow lawmakers, do you get the impression that Democrats care what you say or think at all? Republicans, you know, by you I mean Republicans. Or do they just say, look, we have the majority in both chambers. We’re pushing this through just like they did with this latest plan for COVID relief. Do you feel like you have a voice at all?
Rep. Jody Hice: No, not really, unfortunately we don’t. When they have the House, the Senate and the White House in particular, listen we’re not even, we’re being treated like this in hearings as well as on the floor. We’re not even seeing what this type of legislation is until they put it on the floor to vote on it. And this particular one’s over 5,000 pages. We didn’t have time to read it and have time to make amendments. This didn’t come through committees. It’s just kind of dropped on the floor without any time to deal with it. And this is not what a representative government is all about. We are here, I and my other colleagues are here to represent our districts and to look at legislation and to debate it and to offer amendments and to try to do what we think may improve it or whatever the case may be. And those types of privileges are absolutely being denied us for the most part right now. And it’s really a frightening thing quite frankly to witness what we’re experiencing.
Brad Means: We appreciate that insight. Let me ask you this. I was gonna say real quickly but I know it’ll be tough to tackle this succinctly but let’s try. Where were you January 6th? Were you scared?
Rep. Jody Hice: I was in my office in the Cannon Building and no to be very honest with you the Capitol police, I thought did an outstanding job. There was not one minute that I felt threatened or fearful for my life. And I’m very grateful for the incredible job they did. That being said-
Brad Means: How close is that office in the Cannon Building to where all the unrest took place?
Rep. Jody Hice: Yeah, I mean, that’s a good point because I make that statement saying I never felt threatened. But that being said I never realized I was not aware of what really was taking place either. That was a day that we were making the electoral votes. We were having the elections and the approval or disapproval of the electoral votes. I of course was the spokesperson for Georgia. So I was focused personally on getting my thoughts together and making sure I said and did everything according to proper protocol and all this type of thing. And it is not uncommon at all for us to evacuate during weeks, this area of Capitol Hill or that area. It’s common for there to be alerts coming from the Capitol police about activity here or there or wherever. So we started getting some of those alerts and totally it just rolled off my mind like they all do-
Brad Means: But then all of a sudden you hear everything?
Rep. Jody Hice: Yeah, we could hear people outside chanting and that type of thing. But again, that’s not really unusual. There are protests up here on a regular basis. I mean, you always hear people outside chanting this, that and the other but what made the difference is when the Capitol police started coming up and down the halls, banging on the doors, making sure everyone in the hallway were under their attention and they were directing us out. And, you know, then obviously we became increasingly aware that there was a potential serious situation going on. And then of course, we started watching TV and getting more information as to what was happening. But prior to that, to be very honest with you I was totally off the radar.
Brad Means: Who were these people, do you think it was just some crazy people who were gonna do this no matter what or do you think they were paid to go there and do all this just to make President Trump look even worse?
Rep. Jody Hice: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, again, this is a type of thing we need to have some serious investigation on. But look even prior to it, we had watched months across our country where rioting was taking place in various cities and businesses destroyed and burned and people assaulted even police killed. And so we had had months and months and months of riots take place in various places in the country. And that was increasingly becoming more aggressive. And I think as more information comes out as to the events of September 6th, the more clear the reality that this was a coordinated effort. It was not a spontaneous response by people who were there in the crowd listening to the President speak. But there was involved in that movement, a coordinated effort to create chaos. And again I think more will come available as investigations continue. But it seems as though that is the reality the more information that comes out day after day.
Brad Means: I know it’s still early but Congressman Hice, have you had a chance to talk to or be in the same room with Vice President Harris or President Biden, any sort of exchanges with them yet?
Rep. Jody Hice: No, I haven’t not yet. And you know, we’ll see still but to be honest with you, Capitol Hill here is still very much under guard. The presence of the National Guard is very strong. There are gates and fences and razor wire all around the various buildings even my office building here in Cannon. And all throughout the place security is still extremely high in my opinion, quite frankly too much so. Certainly does not exhibit freedom and what Washington DC should represent to the world. But nonetheless, that is what we’re living on under extremely high security.
Brad Means: We probably just have time for this last question and answer and it’s this, what do you think life will look like on a day-to-day basis under President Biden versus the way it looked under President Trump? And do you see any hope in the future of things truly settling down in our nation?
Rep. Jody Hice: I hope we could do settle down and get back to the country that we all have known and loved and cherish and want to continue to pass on to our children and our grandchildren. That’s the goal, isn’t it, for all of us. And so that is what we’re pushing for. That’s what we’re praying for. That’s what we’re gonna continue working for. With that being said, I will also say very honestly that the democratic party up here right now is extremely aggressive, pushing their agenda, a very radical agenda on both us as Congress and as a result the American people. And they are able to do that right now in a rather unencumbered way because they have the House, the Senate and the White House. So they really don’t need to negotiate or work with any of us right now. And so they are taking advantage of it and go through executive orders from the White House as well as legislation that they’re passing without any input from Republicans to speak of at all. So I’m a little concerned that they continue pushing down that path, it’s going to be problematic. And I certainly hope that they will change some of that. But you have 75 million people who voted for President Trump and they want America first type policies. They wanna maintain just liberties and so forth. And unfortunately, a lot of that is unraveling right now and I hope it does not become a problem in our country.
Brad Means: Well, Congressman, I cannot thank you enough for taking this time to be with us. I know you’re very busy. All the lawmakers up there, super busy right now. And as always, we’re grateful to you. Thank you so much, sir, and be safe and healthy.
Rep. Jody Hice: My pleasure, Brad, same to you, thank you.
Brad Means: Yes, sir. Congressman Jody Hice of Georgia’s 10th district.