AUGUSTA, GA (WJBF) Rick Allen takes a break from Capitol Hill to come back to the 12th District of Georgia. He is our guest on The Means Report. Congressman Allen talks about the war in Ukraine, the U.S. banking system, and our farmers. Watch our interview and join us for The Means Report, Monday afternoons at 12:30 on NewsChannel 6.
today we are going to talk about the key issues facing this country and this world. We're going to tackle those issues with Georgia's 12th District Congressman Rick Allen, welcoming him back to the Means Report. He will let us know what's going on in our country. Kind of take us behind the scenes as he always does, and helps give us a feel for what to expect going forward from a political perspective. And we'll wrap up the Means Report as we always do, with ways for you to stay in touch and help shape future additions. But first, let's do officially welcome back Congressman Allen to the 12th District. Glad you're here in person. >>Glad we're not.... >>Thank you. >>Zooming this time or Skyping. Listen, Congressman, since we last talked, the Republicans gained the majority in the House of Representatives. How has that affected you? Have any of your committee roles changed? >>Yes, and Brad, it's always good to be with you and it's good to be home. >>Definitely. >>Yes, it has changed. I was asked to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is an A committee. I served on two B committees, Education and Workforce and Agriculture. Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over about 80% of the economy. >>Wow. >>So, it is a lot going on there. And obviously that first week, and I also am am still on Education and Workforce. Got a number of pieces of legislation over there that we will get through the House now that we have the majority, and hopefully the Senate, and then get the President on board with it. But, yeah, it's been a bit of a learning curve in the new committee. But it is a great committee, and I'm just very pleased to serve on that committee and look after the interest of the 12th District of Georgia, which obviously it governs cyber, all digital, all tech, you know, energy, healthcare, you name it. >>So, can you, by your presence on that Energy and Commerce Committee, will that put you in a better position to direct money and/or projects back to the district? >>Yeah. Policy. >>And policy? >>And policy. And obviously, you know, we've got Augusta University here, the medical school of the state of Georgia. We've got Plant Vogtle, which those reactors are coming on, and three and four. And then we also have Fort Gordon and the Cyber Center of Excellence. Obviously the Savannah River site, where about 40% of the folks in my district work over there. So, yeah, it has jurisdiction over all those. >>All right, Congressman, let me just, and I'm going off on a tangent here. We could spend the whole show on this. But let's say that you do pass something through the House, something that would be beneficial to us here in Georgia. What are the chances of it making it through the Senate after that? >>Well, we've just recently passed a bill overriding a rule that the City Council of the DC District put into effect. Basically if you steal a car, armed, robbery, steal a car, it's a misdemeanor. And so we revoked that rule in the House, and it was bipartisan. And it went to the Senate. It passed the Senate. And I understand the President says he's gonna sign it. >>You know, it's funny, the bipartisan things don't get a lot of media attention a lot of times, do they? >>Well, if you saw the mayor's race in Chicago, I think people are done with crime. I mean, and these lenient sentences and that sort of thing. And the problem is these people are committing the same crimes over and over and over again. And, you know, the only way to stop that is to, you know, incarcerate 'em and make sure that hopefully they can, we can rehabilitate 'em. >>You have been working on the Parents' Bill of Rights Act. And I wanted to talk to you about that 'cause I know it's important to you. Education and Workforce has been a committee you've been on since day one, I think. The Parents' Bill of Rights. How does this impact mom and dad and caregiver's role when it comes to their child's education? >>Well, obviously, Covid exposed what a lot of the schools were teaching our children. And parents, it was revealed to them, and they said, I, you know I don't want my child. I want, you know, reading, writing, and arithmetic, is what we should be teaching our children. >>Not all these.... >>Yeah, what's an extra thing. >>Social issues that you, that you know, that kids are dealing with today. I mean, you know, gender is a big issue out there. Mental health is a big issue out there of our children. A lot of that's perpetrated by social media. And also there are dangers of children being exposed to certain things on social media that are creating most of these problems. >>Let me ask you this real quick. I know that the Parents' Bill of Rights Act is a national effort, obviously it's coming out of Congress. Do you hear anything from parents here in Georgia saying I don't like what my child's being taught? >>You better believe it. Yes, I've attended meetings with the Board of Education, with parents, and, you know, the problem is the federal government funds Georgia's education system K-12 about 11%. But they dictate what has to be taught in those schools. And, what I mean by that is that if a parent says I want my child to be exposed to this, or the Federal Education Authority says you have to teach this, you have to teach that, but the parent says, no, I don't want my child involved in that, then you have this conflict. Which, you know, again, what we're seeing is a lot, and I tell parents this, I said, you know, as far as public education is concerned, tell the federal government, you know, just don't take their funding. Because they're the ones that are requiring a lot of these like certain books in the library that talk about genders, sexual promiscuity, and those kind of things. I mean, it's in those libraries, and by federal law, you can't remove it. >>So with this Bill of Rights Act, would we see a situation where a parent could impact the curriculum and say, don't teach this to my child, if they have enough parents on board then that part of the curriculum is deleted? Or is it more, I don't like what your school is teaching, I'm gonna switch schools. >>Yeah, well, obviously what we want is school choice. Ultimately. We don't want a child in a failing school. We don't wanna lose a child. You know, if you're not reading at to third grade level when you finish the third grade, you're likely not gonna graduate from high school. If you don't graduate from high school in this country, you're likely going to the streets to make a living. That never ends well. That's why crime and these other things are a problem. And we've gotta fix those things. I mean, you've got 50 some odd schools in Chicago where none of the children are proficient in reading, writing. None of the children in arithmetic. Because those schools obviously were closed during Covid and they didn't have the appropriate tools to make sure those kids continued to learn. >>So you're still seeing a learning gap, even as we try to put the pandemic behind us. You're still seeing kids who are way behind. >>It's gonna set this country behind. And again, we don't have that problem in the state of Georgia. Georgia was one of the first states to open up. You know, yes, we did close schools early in May as a result of Covid. But all of our schools in the state of Georgia were open, and the 12th district were open the next fall. Now granted, we got a lot of criticism for that. But guess what? We pulled together and we got through it, and our children, you know, benefited from it. >>Let me ask you this, I'm gonna read it off my notes 'cause I'm gonna need you to walk me through it. It's not my area of expertise. The US Department of Labor has announced the final rule to remove barriers when it comes to plan investments. Barriers, environmental factors, social factors, governance factors, these are ESG factors, when it comes to investing in 401k, retirement plans. What is it, tell me why you are leading the effort to nullify this rule. First of all, explain what it does and then why you hate it. >>Well, what it does is the government is perpetrating this. The Biden administration is perpetrating this on our financial institutions. And what we've just seen with Silicon Valley Bank is that whole process has been exposed. You know, in the business world, you choose talent based on ability. And what we have, for example, Silicon Valley Bank was the most woke, most diverse, most inclusive, most equity bank in the country. It was their whole marketing scheme. That's why their deposits grew from 40 billion to over 200 billion under the Biden administration. >>Do you see other banks failing? Should we be scared? >>Well, obviously, you know, what we're looking at is, you know, the regulators, you know, where were they? All the banks pay premiums into the FDIC. >>Right, and I thought we were all covered up to a certain amount. >>Yeah, we're all covered. Now I will say this, no depositor in this country has lost money. A depositor. Not a shareholder and not a bank officer. But no depositor has lost money in this country since the Great Depression, 1933. >>Because of the FDIC. >>Yeah, and those insurance premiums. Well, I, you know, I went through 2008, I was on the board of a local bank here. We went through that process. We were a well run bank. We had to help, we paid our premiums, we got through it. But at the same time, you know, we did make whole a lot of banks in the state of Georgia and a lot of banks survived that. Our whole system is based on confidence. If you lose that confidence and you have a run on deposits, plus those deposits finance 70%, those deposits are used to securitize through Treasury federal debt. >>All right. We're gonna.... >>70% of it. >>We're gonna continue to keep an eye on the financial situation as it relates to our banks. I know a lot of people were fearful of a run on the banks recently, and we didn't see that, thank goodness. When we come back, more of the nation's big issues that Congressman Rick Allen and the rest of the lawmakers in Washington DC are trying to tackle these days, on the Means Report.
Welcome back to the Means Report. We’re talking to Congressman Rick Allen today about all of the big issues facing our country. ESG was the topic we were talking about before we went to break. It involves environmental, social, and governance factors when it comes to investments in this country. Plan investments in this country. What did you want to add about ESG?
Yeah, well, we have filed legislation. In fact, there is legislation that’s going to the President’s desk that’s passed through the Senate. Fiduciaries are hired to maintain an investment portfolio. And of course they’re hired based on return. What the Biden administration says is we want you to invest more in ESG. In other words, again, these companies, you know, whatever the administration’s pushing, they tend to, you know, line up. Which we saw in California and what we saw in New York. And the administration has no business in economic policy in this country. I mean, no business pushing, there’s a war on fossil fuel, for example. So we had to go and make, Andy Barr and I had to pass this rule. We’ve got another rule that says, hey fiduciaries, you must consider the return on investment before anything else.
All right, we’re gonna continue to monitor that and see if you all are able to nullify that rule and where things go from there. Staying on the financial side of things, real quick, Congressman Allen, interest rates continue to go up. What do you see in the future in that regard? And do you think it’s helping our economy?
Well, the problem is, you know, right now we’ve got 10 million people not in the workforce. Now this President is boasting about he’s the greatest job creator ever. That’s not true. What what we’re doing is we’re trying to get back to where we were prior to Covid. Now Georgia’s back. But the rest of the nation, many states are not. So, you know, what’s happening with that is, you know, frankly, until you get supply, it means workforce, that means no war on fossil fuel, you unleash the economy. Until you increase supply, you’re not gonna bring down inflation. You can’t have your break on the economy and demand where it is today. And then the government pouring money into the economy, which increases demand. You know, when demand exceeds supply, you have what? Inflation.
But how much longer can these rate hikes, they’re making our credit card bills too high to pay. They’re making, you know, it impacts so many things in a common man or woman’s life. And I just wonder how much longer it’ll continue.
Like I said, there are two sides. So, what the fed is doing is trying to reduce demand. In other words, if you raise rates it slows the economy. It slows the demand, for housing and other big ticket items particularly. But I mean, it’s affecting us at the grocery store. Everywhere.
The grocery store.
But you have to get, I mean since Ronald Reagan, our inflation rate has been around between 1.2 and 1.4% increase. We did that by supply side economics or trickle down economics. Which again, some of my colleagues don’t like that policy. But the bottom line is you have to unleash your economy. You have to get your workforce back to work. Got 10 million job openings out there. Everywhere I go, people need work. You increase supply and then you maintain demand. Plus, when people are working, they don’t buy as much. So demand, demand goes, that’s just the way our economy works, and it’s built the greatest economy in the world. Yet the government is trying to change that. The Biden administration is trying to change that. This Build Back Better, I call it Build Back Broke. It’s not working, folks. It’ll never work.
I have several more topics to get to. I know we won’t hit them all, but I wanted you to talk to me about the waters of the United States issue. I think this is fascinating, and I think we talked about it a while back, where you are trying to get rid of certain regulations when it comes to waters of the United States. Is this that thing that says that a puddle on somebody’s farm is a waterway?
Navigable waterway. Wow.
What are you trying to do there? Trying to reclassify what a waterway is?
You know, like I said, this is another one of those ideologies, and really it’s just common sense, folks. But, you know, what they can do, they can GPS, they can look at, on a farm, they can look at a, like I said, you have a rain and then you have a little mud puddle of water. They can GPS that and say, okay, this is a navigable waterway. Basically, this now cannot be used to grow crops. Or you can’t build a house on it. You can’t develop it. You can’t fill in the mud puddle.
I would think you would have support on both sides of the aisle to kinda redefine that.
No, ’cause the Obama administration was the initial perpetrator of this. And now the Biden administration has picked it back up, and said, okay. In other words, it’s all about control, Brad. You know, let me tell you, what has made this country what it is today is the right to own property and the right to protect it. And right now, that is a battle with this administration. They wanna control your property and they wanna control what you do with it. The regulations, we’ve never seen anything like it. Our farmers have struggled dealing with everything that EPA is doing to them as far as, you know, their ability to get the yields that we need to feed this country.
Are y’all still having to write checks to the farmers to give them subsidies to buy up their extra food? Is that still happening like it was in the pandemic?
Well, we have a safety net program. We, in fact, we’re gonna work on the Farm Bill in this session. It comes up for reauthorization this next year. And we are in the process of doing that. We’re working with farmers to make sure that, you know, what we have in the Farm Bill is working for them. But frankly, it just depends on the commodity markets. Because the farmers have no control over that. I mean, the farming’s a tough business. I mean, you spend a lot of money up front. You grow the crop, yet you don’t know exactly what you’re gonna get for that crop until you harvest it. And those markets can be, and particularly in this situation where we’ve got some financial issues in the country, financial institutions, things like that, they become very volatile. And you know, all of a sudden we have farmers that actually can’t, you know, they can’t get the funds to put the crops in the ground the next year. I mean, it is a national security issue. We have to, you know, we have to feed this country. We can’t depend on other countries. Ask Sri Lanka about it.
Well, and it’s not to mention the factors beyond a farmer’s control, like the weather. You know, the hard freeze in December. We had a recent freeze right before this recording of the Means Report. So, no, they’re up against the wall in a lot of cases.
Yeah, and there are safety nets involved in that. And we work through those. But there’s no free rides. I mean, it’s all based on production. But let me tell you, our farmers do an amazing job. They’re our greatest environmentalists. They’re our greatest conservationists. Because they depend on the land.
They do, and you don’t hear a lot about those environmental concerns .
And guess what? All of these woke corporations are trying to buy carbon credits from ’em.
Let me ask you about the war in Ukraine. What do you think about the situation in Ukraine and when it might end, but really more importantly, how do you feel about the United States’ role in that war?
Well, it should have never started in the first place. What happened is this administration told, I mean, during the campaign, he told the young lady, look into my eyes. I am gonna end fossil fuel in this country as we know it. Well that sent a signal to the rest of the world, particularly Russia. And so what happens is there’s a war on our fossil fuel. So, and let me tell you, we’re we’re shipping LAG to Europe.
Do you think we should stop…?
To keep them from buying Russian oil. All of a sudden we are buying, we are buying Russian oil, or Big Oil’s buying it.
Should we stop sending relief, money, equipment to Ukraine?
Here’s the problem that we’re dealing with, Brad. We had an agreement after World War II to denuclearize Ukraine between the United States and Russia. And they agreed to it. And of course if they had nuclear weapons, Russia wouldn’t be in there. But at the same time, we don’t want, you know, every country out there to have nuclear, I mean weapons. We’ve got the problem with Iran as well, with their nuclear program. But the bottom line is it is a difficult call. And what we need is a president that says, okay, we’re gonna stop this and we’re gonna negotiate some type of a peace agreement. Somebody that has the leadership to do that, and demand, and entire NATO needs to demand, that Putin sit at the table and let’s try to come to some agreement on this whole issue. That agreement might say, okay, we agree that Ukraine will not be part of NATO, if that’s what you’ve got a problem with. But nobody, nobody is demanding. You know, we could squeeze Russia economically more than we’re doing. Don’t, you know, all nations, don’t buy their oil. Europe is cooperating. NATO’s cooperating with us on this. But you can’t just sit there and let this thing just go along and people are dying. What it’s done to that country is just demoralizing. And in fact, you know, if it wasn’t for their leadership, you know, they would not be able to defend that country as well as they have. I do have people there that I know. We were involved in mission work in Moldova and that area. I have friends that have been on mission doing mission work in that area of Europe, and they’re good people. But how we deal with this, it’s just gonna take leadership and the world saying, hey, we have to stop this.
Well, Congressman Allen, I know your schedule is tight. And I can’t thank you enough for spending these 22 or so minutes with us today. Thanks for your insight.
Yeah, well, glad to be with, Brad.
Congressman Rick Allen from Georgia’s 12th District.