Interview: Cramer Expects Current Congress To “Kick The Can” To Next Congress On Fiscal Issues

kevincramer

I interviewed North Dakota Rep.-elect Kevin Cramer yesterday about his election victory over Democrat Pam Gulleson, how one can compromise without compromising principles, what problems he thinks the current Congress will leave for the next Congress and what it’s like being a new member of Congress.

Cramer has always been seen as a very consistent and outspoken conservative, yet when many talk about what they’d like to see out of a member of Congress, the word “compromise” comes up a lot. I asked Cramer how you compromise while remaining principled.

He said a mistake many members of Congress make is trying to find out what the public wants and then being what they want. Cramer says his approach is to campaign on what he believes and if the voters elect him to take what he believes into Congress. He said that remaining principled, and consistent, can make many decisions in Congress easier. “It’s so helpful, as a practical matter, to have a bedrock set of principles on which to stand,” he told me. “They help you make decisions easier in the future.”

I also asked him about the ideological disparity in the outcomes on the North Dakota ballot. Even as North Dakotans gave him a wide margin of victory over Democrat Pam Gulleson they also gave a narrow victory to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp who in many ways is the opposite of Cramer in terms of ideology. Cramer explained it by saying voters sometimes have other priorities.

“Personalities matter,” he told me. “It’s not always philosophy or ideology.”

Speaking about the current Congress and the “fiscal cliff,” Cramer says he doesn’t expect much in the way of solutions. “Congress is going to kick the can down the road,” he said. “A short term fix with the hope that the next Congress will deal with it in the long term.”

Asked what solutions for the nation’s fiscal problems he might support, Cramer said “comprehensive tax reform.” When I asked him what that terms mean to him, he said a simpler tax code.

“I support a flatter tax code,” he said. “I don’t think tax fairness means the richest 2% pays way more.” Cramer expressed support for tax reform that includes a broader tax base, but lower overall taxes.

Asked what it was like going to Congress for the first time, and he said that the experience can be “overwhelming” but that, again, it’s made easier for someone with consistent principles. Cramer said he’s already voted on leadership, and is very interested in lobbying for appointments to influential committees. He said House leadership has said that no freshmen will be appointed to high-profile committees, which is in contrast to the last Congress which appointed several freshmen to influential committees including North Dakota’s Rep. Rick Berg who is finishing a term on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Guest

    Video is private.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Hmm, I signed out of my YouTube and it’s working just fine for me.

      • Guest

        Working now, thanks!

  • OldConserv2011

    I wouldn’t expect Kevin to get any of the influential committee appointments. He’s far too conservative for the Republican leadership and probably scares the pee-waddling out of them. I’ll be happy if he does, but will be surprised if he does.

  • Harold

    Not enough politicians with guts left anymore thats why the can gets kicked down the road all the time. We elect pussy’s and pansy’s now days.

  • Mel

    They’d be fools not to leverage his extensive knowledge in the area of energy, but then most of them are.

  • jimmypop

    it will be fun to watch what he can get done.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I think Cramer is going to make an excellent Congressman.

  • Lynn Bergman

    Definition: Compromise
    Determine what both sides agree on and scrap the rest.
    “No legislation” is far preferable to “flawed legislation” from both fringes.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Obviously, there are times when it’s appropriate to compromise, but we get far too caught up in this idea that compromise is in and of itself a worthy goal.

      It depends on what is being compromised.

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