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Republican watch -- in congress.
The -- with the task of getting to the bottom of many of the issues I just spoke about Republican congressman Darrell -- of California.
The chairman of the house committee on oversight and government reform congressman welcome to the show great -- -- -- Jerry -- great to be back on with you and and good for you to cover these two issues certainly the attorney general -- trading is now a year old and more.
And in candidly tomorrow's hearing where we're going to look at the deep fundamental constitutional issue of the First Amendment as it relates to.
Free exercise of religion and conscience.
-- want to talk about that because.
The question keeps recurring to -- it is -- First Amendment issue to be sure but -- always concerned with the money here at the Willis report.
Why is it that the government should mandate that women get free birth control.
But certainly an issue that I think is part of obamacare and a broader issue of of how -- you you implement them where the government's interest is.
And we've seen that in other states that mandate all kinds of things.
I think in this case it's much narrower than that and tomorrow's hearings going to be about.
-- religion and conscience whether or not the First Amendment gives a clear and -- -- birth to both individuals and groups.
And one -- Jerry I want everyone to have to sort of focus on a little bit.
We all understand that in times of war -- such a thing as a conscientious objector.
That's one person saying I won't kill somebody I won't fight even though -- -- loyal American for moral reasons.
We recognize that individual religious right.
And now we're saying we won't recognize a church school or a -- church that's funding if you will health -- And we're gonna tell them they have to do it.
It's it's it's unheard of -- to mandate.
Moral decisions by moral.
Isn't -- said.
Of the government is the government going beyond their mandate do they have any business in this arena.
They have no business having and we dealt with this and other areas you know transfusions for people who -- religious objections.
Quite frankly if you -- if you told orthodox Jews to work to mix milk and -- they'd -- I can't do it.
This is one of those odd situations where it isn't necessary.
Government doesn't need to do this even if Obama -- comes in.
Why is it that they have to tell.
Religious people to make an accommodation for government rather than government recognizing it should make an accommodation under the constitution.
For people of faith.
And their organizations.
Now had to be fair here the administration says that they back pedal that they've changed their policy that they're not overstepping their bounds now.
And some people criticizing you on the web saying that your grandstanding here what do you say.
Well tomorrow it's not about.
My committee is not about -- members of my committee and certainly not about myself.
It's about the clerics in the late people who are coming in these these people of faith who are coming in to say how it affects.
Catholic university here in Washington how -- -- And we'll have a rabbi there -- we're gonna have a Lutheran minister we're gonna have -- there talking specifically about how this will affect them.
-- and candidly where there to listen about how the First Amendment and how the limits of government.
Need to be affected there.
And let's understand the president made -- an offer for compromise and and just to put in perspective.
This would be like saying that it's we're not telling -- they can't during prohibition use wind for the Sacramento we're simply telling.
Didn't telling people no one can produce alcohol so the idea that you're shifting it -- If you health care insurance companies base the whole question of somebody's gonna pay for it that's for darn sure.
Somebody's gonna pay for -- and quite frankly when you look at an awful lot of Christian and non Christian charities -- self insurer to what they're really saying is that side of your organizations could be forced to do it not the other side.
You can't make people break their conscience under our constitution from the puritans on we've we recognize this separation.
Of government ordering religious faith.
Congressman -- that's some fast -- questions here recent along letter to attorney general Eric Holder asking him criticizing him for dragging his feet you've been trying to get information.
From him in this scandal in this investigation.
Have you -- any response.
Well we've gotten a request for a little more time and you know we've tried to explain that our patience does have limits.
And that we expect to have more not less and sooner not later we are in the process of preparing the documents for content.
We've made no bones about it I told the the attorney general -- before committee and I -- -- that's the first and only time he's been before the investigative committee of congress.
He always like to -- had six appearances but he -- going before the appropriators to talk about a budget doesn't quite count as fast and furious oversight.
We've made it clear that we're running out of patience and particularly when you consider that fourteen out of the 22 areas we've asked for information on.
Including just the basics.
Who authorized this program.
Is where they're stonewalling.
And of course as you know Patrick Cunningham a high ranking official injustices is recently said if we called before congress -- take the theft.
We can't accept that we can't accept people taking the fifth.
Denial of of the legitimate oversight of congress particularly when they give 80000 pages their -- IG and tell us at six -- all we're gonna see.
Well what can you -- running out of -- but what can you do to force some kind of answer some kind of real response -- -- you can hold them in contempt of congress you've -- the paperwork to do that will you pursue it.
We will -- we're doing it reluctantly I've trying to exhaust all other remedies but at the end of the day.
We have to hold the executive branch accountable to.
If we have to vote in turn over to the US attorney.
And to the president the responsibility to dismiss the attorney general for failure to comply with a lawful order of congress.
We'll do so if.
People call you cynical.
That you are -- shifts in going after these folks.
What do you say to them.
Well this morning we had a very bipartisan hearing one in which we were talking about government oversight and government reform talking about reorganizing government to make it more efficient.
With senator Warner.
You know that the fact is.
We want to do the proactive work that's the primary duty of our our committees.
We do have to look into how Brian Terry was gunned down on the streets in Arizona.
How in fact by -- of better -- was murdered in Mexico.
We do have an obligation -- obligation to their families and we have an obligation to the American people so do we do those things also yes we do.
My predecessors both Republicans and Democrats did this is what is the -- -- committee's work is oversight and reform we take both very seriously.
Congressman I -- thanks for coming on tonight comebacks anytime.