Dave Reichert talks pot, Obamacare, and IRS targeting

By Neal McNamara | March 23, 2014
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Congressman Dave Reichert is the closest Seattle gets to a Republican.

Reichert, who helped catch Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway as a King County detective, represents a district that includes Bellevue, and won election in 2004 while the rest of that district was voting for John Kerry. Reichert took time out from banning welfare recipients from using their handouts to buy pot to talk to KTTH host David Boze about the ongoing IRS investigation, Obamacare, and legalized marijuana.

LISTEN: DAVID BOZE INTERVIEWS CONGRESSMAN REICHERT

David Boze: I’ve heard some of your fellow congressmen say Congress is slightly more popular than the bubonic plague. What for you is the single toughest challenge as a congressman in dealing with the public? What is it that most people don’t know about congressional approval?

Dave Reichert: Any time you have divided government, the purpose of the minority is to make their voices hear on behalf of the people they represent. So, we’re speaking up every day with passing legislation that we believe is the right legislation to pass. There is a roadblock there because the Democrats don’t believe that our legislation is worthy of consideration. The president never sees our legislation, so he never has to worry about any controversial legislation reaching his desk because they will block that from happening. If we had a Republican Senate and House together, those bills would be passed and the president would be in the hot seat.

Boze: In the Wall Street Journal, there’s a story about how the jobs numbers are not telling the full story. That we’re having a reduction in the number of hours worked, that more and more people are working are stuck with part time jobs. This is why people still feel we’re in a recession. The president recently released his 2015 budget. You issued a response saying that it wasn’t up to the task. What’s missing?

Reichert: On unemployment, part of the reason hours are being cut is to avoid certain aspects of the Obamacare law. The other piece of the unemployment picture is that a lot of people have given up looking for work. So, the unemployment rate is actually much higher than 6.7 percent. As far as the president’s budget, it’s the same old story. It’s the same old line that let’s increase taxes. But they don’t say how in some cases. We have to get this government under control so that we begin to reduce this deficit and the trend of spending more money than we make.

Boze: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently stated that the administration has had to rewrite portions of the Affordable Care Act to get it to work. It’s been that rewriting that has some Americans up in arms saying that the administration is pushing this too far and infringing on the legislative authority in terms of the scope of the ACA. Where do you come down on that?

Reichert: I don’t like to call it the affordable health care law. I think we could label it Obamacare. It’s a failure. There have been 37 executive orders since the implementation of the bill. Essentially, they told us we have to read it after it was passed. As the Obama administration begins to read it, they have to produce these executive orders to delay the different aspects of the law. I asked Secretary Sebelius at a hearing, can you keep the promise that there will be no further changes? Her answer was that they’ll continue to adjust the law as they see fit in order to have a smooth implementation. Republicans and Democrats have agreed on eight separate occasions that legislation should be passed to address specific issues in the health care law, and the president has signed each one of these eight pieces into law.

Boze: It seems like it’s been forever, but the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service continues. The official that broke the story, Lois Lerner, has again stepped forward to plead her Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to testify. What were your thoughts on that and the continuing investigation of the political targeting that the IRS put upon conservative groups that the president says there’s not even a smidgen of political corruption involved and it’s all a distraction.

Reichert: As an old detective, any time someone pleads the fifth, that’s their right under the Constitution, but that sort of makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up a little bit and you wonder if there could be any violation of any laws behind any claim to keep information to yourself. It would be much easier if Lois Lerner testified and told us what she knew. She’s afraid she’d implicate herself and reveal that she may have violated federal law. I know that people feel like this is a slow moving investigation or that it’s come to a standstill. It’s because there are hundreds of thousands of documents we’ve asked for.

Boze: Has the idea of immunity for Lois Lerner come up?

Reichert: People have talked about that. I think that right now we have so much to look at; it may be a mistake to offer that right now. Why give her immunity if we can find evidence she has committed some crime while she held her office? If we go through all that information and find that we may be a little thin on probable cause or anything that may result in charges, there may be a time where immunity may be offered.

Boze: There’s been an increased movement in the United States in terms of legalizing pot. Why is it and how is it that the federal Department of Justice, where the intake of marijuana is still illegal, how they can make it impossible for banks and other things to deal with the money involved in this?

Reichert: I think that again the president gave an executive order saying that these businesses could use these banks allowing the banks to go ahead and take money from these businesses as recreational pot stores. I have no problem at all with medical marijuana as long as it’s regulated  and prescribed by a doctor and you can buy it at a pharmacy like other drugs we provide to people that help the conditions they might have. I think that the law in Washington, if people really sat down and took a look at it, it’s not a very well thought out law. I think you can see that in the way it’s being unrolled in a very slow, methodical, and careful way because there are a lot of unknowns in this law and I think there are a lot of hidden costs in this law, which you and I have gone over before. I have a lot of concerns about how it affects first responders and how they’re going to monitor how long the chemical stays in your system.

comments powered by Disqus
Top stories

KTTH-Gun-Control-Debate-300x150


Don't miss

Don't miss

Real Estate Corner
  • Robin's Real Estate Reality Talk
    Robin's Real Estate Reality Talk We are in a very unique market. Right now our area is showing signs of recovery. We are moving in a positive direction and gaining equity though are ways off from where we were in 2006 and 2007.