SYLACAUGA, Ala. – On Monday, Congressman Mike Rogers visited the RadioAlabama studios, as he often does when home in Alabama, and we took the opportunity to ask a few questions in his role as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and the Committee on Homeland Security, and senior member of the Agriculture Committee.
Excerpts from our interview:
1. BORDER SECURITY: THOUSANDS APPROACHING THE SOUTHERN BORDER
“It’s a messaging stunt, I mean, obviously, I think that the liberal pro-immigration groups in this country have instigated this as a way, right before the election, to animate their supporters in the country, thinking that this is a winning issue for them. I personally think it’s one of the best things that could happen for our side, because it is this Democrat majority that does not want the wall built that is, in my view, behind this, and all it’s doing is reminding Americans why we have to have border security. You can’t have masses of people just coming across our border because they want to be here for whatever reason. We have to have some legal methodology for people to come in.”
2. SPACE FORCE: THE PROPOSED SIXTH BRANCH OF THE ARMED FORCES
“Well, since it came out of my subcommittee that I chair, I’m obviously a big proponent. We spent three years studying this, trying to figure out how we could better position ourselves in this new warfighting domain, and space is now a warfighting domain … that our principal adversaries China and Russia have become our peers in that domain, and that’s not acceptable. A rule that we’ve always adhered to in the Armed Services Committee in my six years is that we want to make sure that if we ever get in a fight with another country, it’s not a fair fight. We don’t want peers, we want to be dominant, and we’ve allowed that dominance to get away from us over the last 20 years, and we’ve got to retake that position, which is why Donald Trump has endorsed what had already come out of the Congress the previous year – that is the call for the Space Force. Now I do want to your listeners to know that we’re not talking about Star Trek kind of stuff here. People poke fun at the President thinking he just pulled this out of thin air when in fact this was studied extensively by the House of Representatives and called for months before he had ever embraced it.”
3. THE FARM BILL
“It is a very big deal. Most people don’t realize it’s 42% of Alabama’s economy, and most people don’t realize what the Farm Bill is. It’s a five-year plan. We have to do this every five years, and it’s the rules of the game for agriculture for five years. Agriculture is already a very volatile business to begin with – a lot of factors farmers can’t control. I had been hopeful that we would have that passed on time before we left for the elections. We were moving along at a pretty nice clip. I serve on the House Agriculture Committee, and we had passed our version of the bill, the Senate had passed their version – they were different, as they always are – and so we went into conference committee to resolve those differences, and I’m one of the conferees in that conference committee. I thought we’d get it done, but politics got into the middle of this and, frankly, the Democrats didn’t want Trump to have another win before the election so they would not agree to the compromises that we needed to get it done before the election. Having said that, I’m confident that we’re going to get the Farm Bill after the election, once they can no longer play politics with it.”
4. THE ECONOMY, THE DEFICIT, THE DEBT
“Obviously the economy and national debt are very connected. The fact is the last time that we grew ourselves out of the deficit was after Ronald Reagan cut taxes in the 80s, and we saw the economy start to take off, and it was layered – another layer on top of that was the tech boom happened in the early 90s. So the economy was just on fire, and we got rid of the deficit. The economy grew so much, there was so much money coming into the Treasury, that we got rid of the deficit. Politicians are always smart to take advantage of good things and claim they did it, you know, Bill Clinton claims it was his policies that got rid of the deficit, but it wasn’t, it was the economy and the tech boom that got rid of it. We’re hopeful that this dramatically improving economy that we have now as a result of the deregulatory policies of this Congress and this President, and the tax structure, are going to help get us into a position where we can start growing that deficit down. And until we get rid of the deficit, we can’t start paying down any of the debt.”
Watch and listen to the complete interview, including the Congressman’s additional thoughts on disaster response, Senator Doug Jones, and the upcoming election.
Rogers has represented Alabama’s Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2002.