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AL Congressman commends cooperation between Trump and Ryan

Congressman Gary Palmer sat down with Yellowhammer Radio co-hosts, Andrea Tice and Scott Chambers to discuss a recent town meeting in Hoover, AL and rumors of cooperation between President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan.

The full conversation with Congressman Palmer can be heard on the Yellowhammer Radio podcast or in the video above, and a lightly edited transcript of his interview with Yellowhammer’s Andrea Tice and Scott Chambers can be read below.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Podcast on iTunes.


Scott Chambers:

Welcome back into Yellowhammer Radio. Superstation 101.1 WYDE. You can tweet the program at @yhnradio for you Yellowhammer Nation out there. This segment is brought to you by our friends at Hoover Tactical Firearms. Give them a call today. Go by and see them if you’re looking for a gun. You better go see our friends at Hoover Tactical Firearms located 1561 Montgomery Highway in Hoover. Give them a call and visit them online today HooverTactical.com. Andrea Tice welcome back in. As we come back we are joined right now by the Honorable Gary Palmer. Congressman Palmer thanks for being on the program today how are you sir?

Gary Palmer:

Glad to be on. How are y’all?

Andrea Tice:

We’re doing great. Congressman Palmer now that you’ve gotten some time and distance from this last town hall in Hoover what are your thoughts looking back on it with some time to consider the whole thing. Are you glad you did it? Are you thinking you there are other things you could have seen happening and prepared for? What are your thoughts?

Gary Palmer:

Well, I’m glad I did it. I’ve said all along that I’m available to people, I do not want to be an absentee representative. I come home every weekend and try to spend as much time out in the district meeting with people stuff. It’s just part of what I do.

Scott Chambers:

Absolutely, it was a great thing. You were out there. There were some detractors there let’s make no mistakes about it but you handle that with grace. Just a few you, sir. You handled it with grace and that’s what you were elected to do. I’m absolutely appreciative and I know your constituents are appreciative as well that you handled it the way you did. I think it was fantastic.

Gary Palmer:

I know y’all get this that coming from a faith perspective Romans 12:18 says “whenever possible as much as it is possible for you be at with all people” and that’s what I try to do.

Andrea Tice:

Did you notice a change from your perspective after the, what was it an hour hour-and-a-half meeting, did you notice any visible changes in the way people were responding to you or the way they left the meeting?

Gary Palmer:

Not really. I will say this I think people left the meeting not agreeing with me on any of my positions and not particularly liking the answers that I gave them but I think they left respecting me for being willing to be with them and realizing that maybe not everyone is willing to listen to them. I think part of what made that possible, a big part of it was how they conducted themselves. And I felt like for most part they were respectful. It certainly was nothing like what’s happening around the country and it’s like I told them, Andrea. I know how they feel and I felt that way after Bill Clinton got elected, I felt that way after Barack Obama got elected. I had the same concern for the future of the country, the same sense of loss but I got up the next morning and went back to work and started trying to change it.

Andrea Tice:

Well, I guess that’s about all you can do is just find the common ground of where they are, where they’re feeling and you offered answers to their questions whether they take them and apply it and have a change in their position i guess it’s up to them but we’re glad that you stuck with it in and did what was kind and proper.

Gary Palmer:

I’m not going to pander to anyone. I ran on some things that were my priorities some of the things they ask about are not by priorities. It doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about them but I’ve got things that I’m committed to and one of them is getting the economy growing again, getting our fiscal house in order so that the country doesn’t go bankrupt. We’re on a very dangerous path right now and that’s one of the reasons I’m on the Budget Committee. I’ve been in a bunch of meetings today and it’s my primary focus. And the healthcare, trying to put ideas on table to get us the kind of healthcare reform that we need and contrary to what people believe I’m not trying to get rid of all regulations or close the EPA or any that. I’m trying to get it down to the regulations that we need show that the economy can grow so people can get a job and get a good paying job.

Scott Chambers:

And that’s very important. I think a lot of people miss that. I was looking at some of the video, I unfortunately was not out there on Saturday but some of the video I heard people chanting you know, “Make America Sick Again”, I don’t think a lot of people realize that that’s not what you’re doing. You’re trying to make America work again and help America get back to work with some of the things that’s being done.

Gary Palmer:

First of all, on the “Make America Sick Again”, I find that interesting because over the last eight years for the first time in decades life expectancy has declined. So I think they might want to reconsider that chant. In terms of what I tell people is the best thing you do for individual or families health is a good paying job with benefits and what’s happened over the last eight years you can absolutely devastating to the economy. Part of 2008 there were a hundred thousand businesses starting up than we’re closing. By 2014 according to a Gallup poll it changed to 70,000 businesses closing than starting up. Principally small business and they’re the economic and employment engine of the country so the policy the last eight years have had a devastating impact. We’re spending 1.9 Trillion on regulations that’s almost $15,000 per household and it’s a huge burden on lower income families. What I’ve been trying to tell folks is we’re going to have regulations but they need to be regulations that fit a 21st century economy. We need to get rid of the obsolete regs, duplications and the contradictions. Get it down to the regulations we need to keep and simplify them so that anyone trying to start a business or expanding a business knows exactly what the walls are.

Andrea Tice:

Congressman, you mentioned that the economy and healthcare are your two top priorities. When the people coming to the town hall were asking questions did they focus on that or were they coming out of nowhere with other concerns that kind of took you by surprise?

Gary Palmer:

I don’t expect people to come and talk to me about my priorities necessarily. I take responsibility for communicating that and you know getting the economy going again, healthcare and fiscal policy so that we don’t go bankrupt. They want to talk about the Trump Administration. They’re frightened by Trump, they want to talk about Planned Parenthood and some of those issues. They want to talk about the environment, they’re claiming I’m a climate denier. Obviously I believe that we have climate change just I think it’s through natural variation and there’s a lot of science that backs that up.

Scott Chambers:

Absolutely and I didn’t mean to interrupt you there Congressman but you were talking about the Planned Parenthood thing and as I was watching back over the video I believe I heard a question. Did a woman at the event on Saturday ask you if you personally experienced a miscarriage? Did I hear that correctly?

Gary Palmer:

That’s how the question came across but I understood what she was asking and I hope she wasn’t asking that in a condescending manner. She was very emotional and very passionate about it and it was very evident to me that she had gone through a very traumatic experience. But my response was that Ann and I had gone through that and went through a period of infertility afterwards that was extremely painful for us. You know how a couple gets married and they’ve been married for five years and people start ribbing them about when you got to start a family or have a baby. And there will be a gap when someone asks when you’re going to have that next baby? That was happening to us and I swore then I would never again ask anybody that because we so desperately wanted another child and we had lost that one through miscarriage and we couldn’t get pregnant and it hurt. I understand what she was saying.

Scott Chambers:

I appreciate you clarifying that because that’s the way I took it personally but if not being in the room you know I can’t really say. I think you handled that event with grace Congressman Palmer and it’s great that you go out and talk to people. I’m really thrilled that you did that and handled that well. Tonight there’s a big event going on there in Washington DC as Donald Trump set to deliver his first joint address to Congress and I would like to talk more about that. Are you able to stay with us for a few more minutes or are you gonna have to go?

Gary Palmer:

Yeah they’re supposed to call votes here in about three minutes so they’ll buzz me when it’s time to go down.

Scott Chambers:

Ok what can we expect out of the president tonight, Congressman?

Gary Palmer:

Well I think he’s going to talk about health care for one thing and how he’s going to present his vision. From what I’ve heard most conservatives will be pleased about what they hear. I think the left might not be but my understanding is this is going to be a well-crafted vision for the next four years. I’m looking forward to hearing it and particularly the administration is on the repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Andrea Tice:

Congressman Palmer, we hear rumors and of course we have to consider the source of the stories about always kind of implying that maybe House Speaker Paul Ryan is going to break from Trump or they’re going to have a conflict especially when it comes to the budget or health care. What is your assessment from your perspective of where those two guys are when it comes to the agenda that’s about to be presented tonight?

Gary Palmer:

I actually think Speaker Ryan and President Trump are working very closely together. They’re talking everyday. I think some of the House leadership staff are now advising the President so I think they have a good working relationship.

Andrea Tice:

Well if they’re meeting every day then this idea that Ryan is about to bolt or really break ranks with Trump is just all a bunch of hoopla.

Scott Chambers:

I see that as a refreshing thing. We didn’t see that in the last eight years. No one was communicating with the President. Don’t you find that refreshing that we’re seeing this type of communication with this new President?

Gary Palmer:

I tell you what I find refreshing is having somebody in the White House that will sign what we pass. There was very little to have a conversation about over the past eight years, of course I was only here for two of it. But back to speaker Ryan, you know he is the speaker for 434 other members of Congress counting the Democrats but particularly the leader of our conference and there are 241 of us. He trying to herd cats in many respects but he has been working very closely with the Trump Administration and his influence will be seen in some of what Trump says tonight. There’s a lot of people out there that they want to assume the worst so right now everybody’s trying to work together. But the other thing that people need to know if that Trump doesn’t have his team in place. He still has 4-5 cabinet secretaries who haven’t been confirmed, there are under secretary positions that have yet to be confirmed. It was just a little over a week and a half ago that we got Mick Mulvaney as Budget Director and and then two people below him that have to go through the confirmation process so it’s really slowed things down because we haven’t had a Trump Administration people to work with because a lot of the administration positions are still being staffed by Obama people.

Andrea Tice:

Right and I know it’s totally unfair the comparisons that are being made as to what he’s accomplished so far when he doesn’t have a full team compared to what you know Obama or Clinton or anybody else did with a full team.

Gary Palmer:

Well if we stay on the same timetable that we have been on for all the other confirmations it will be compared to others the longest in history. I’m hoping that this is going to speed up after we get through these high-level positions and then course in March they’re going to take Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Andrea Tice:

That’s exciting. We can’t wait. March is going to be a interesting month ahead of us, for both healthcare I would assume and the Supreme Court.

Gary Palmer:

And the other thing is that people want us to act rapidly on these issues and rapid is never good when you’re doing with legislation. I prefer that we take the time to do it right and and a lot of people know worked in a think tank for 24 years, 25 years. I worked in engineering used to joke that there was never time to do it right but there’s always time to do it over. Especially in Congress, you don’t want to have to do it over.

Scott Chambers:

Absolutely. Now that’s a great point there. Congressman I know you’re about to have to go to a vote there were going to let you go but before we do I understand there’s an event coming up Friday in Selma and that you’ll be out there as well on Friday so we look forward to you getting your feet back on the ground here in Alabama again this weekend. Appreciate you joining us here on Yellowhammer Radio today.

Andrea Tice:

Yes and it was very interesting to hear the behind the scenes noises that you’ve experienced in your office office there.

Gary Palmer:

Well where I’m sitting right now there’s not a clock but usually there’s a clock and it’s got these little lights on it and as they go out that tells you how much time you got left to get over to the Capitol. You guys should come up here sometime and witness it firsthand.

Scott Chambers:

I would love to. Hopefully if we’re in DC will come by and say hello to you but if I had to do with that buzzing every day, I mean if a smoke alarm went off at my house I would just be like, “It’s time for a vote” and sleep right through it.

Gary Palmer:

I’m not sitting in the office but I turned it off.

Scott Chambers:

Congressman Gary Palmer, thank you so much for joining us today on Yellowhammer Radio and we look forward to meeting in person very soon.