Tags: Gary Herbert | C-SPAN | Washington | Governor

Republican Governor Challenges Washington

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 10:21 AM


With the latest congressional recess about to end, the nation’s governors are in Washington for their semi-annual conference, and Governor Gary Herbert, R.-Utah, appeared on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program in his capacity as Vice Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) to discuss current policy issues of interest to governors.

With the Republicans controlling 31 governorships, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus working assiduously to build Republican organizations at the state level, governors are an important power center, as demonstrated when 26 of them recently obtained a temporary injunction against the implementation of the administration’s immigration policy.

In a discussion moderated by C-SPAN host Susan Swain, Herbert was interviewed by reporters James Hohmann, National Correspondent for Politico, and Reid Wilson, staff writer on state politics for the Washington Post.

Herbert is slated to move up to chairman this summer and has announced that the theme of his chairmanship will be federalism. Swain asked him what this means, and the governor responded that the federal and state governments are supposed to be equal partners in governing the country. Thus the states are not supposed to be subservient, yet Herbert sees continuing encroachment by the federal government into the responsibilities of the states, and he asserts that this view is shared by governors regardless of party.

As a follow up, Wilson noted that the federal government owns a lot of the land in Western states, and he asked what challenges result from the fact that state governments don’t control a lot of the land within their borders.

Herbert responded that in Utah the figure is nearly 70 percent and that sometimes the state agrees with the directives of the Bureau of Land Management (Department of the Interior), and sometimes it doesn’t.

The land is supposed to be available for “multiple use,” such as by farmers and ranchers, but Herbert stressed that resource extraction and tourism should be among the permitted uses.

He added that for optimal use, some public lands should be protected while others should be developed, and he sees the federal government and the East as “sometimes out of touch” with the need for energy development, and some disputes have persisted for 25 years.

Hohmann asked about a trend of Republican governors seeking to expand Medicaid while their Republican legislatures “seemed diametrically opposed” and blocked these initiatives.

Herbert said that governors have to take a broader view. In Utah the state is generally opposed to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Herbert has helped to lead the opposition, and the state has sued but lost when the Supreme Court ruled the ACA to be a permissible form of taxation.

As for Medicaid, the program is voluntary, but the taxes to support it are mandatory. Utah and other states have established variations of Medicaid such as “Healthy Utah.”

Hohmann asked whether Herbert thinks the federal government is “good for the money” to fund this program.

Herbert responded that Utah manages its money more responsibly than Washington, and the state program is considered a “pilot program” that will be eliminated if it isn’t federally funded.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
With the latest congressional recess about to end, the nation's governors are in Washington for their semi-annual conference, and Governor Gary Herbert, R.-Utah, appeared on C-SPAN's Newsmakers program in his capacity as Vice Chair of the National Governors Association...
Gary Herbert, C-SPAN, Washington, Governor
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2015-21-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 10:21 AM
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