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Minutes of Y's Men Meeting of April 18, 2017

Congressman Jim Hines

Born in Lima Peru and moved to the US at age 10. Attended Harvard and Oxford with studies focused on Latin America. His experience in Peru gave him a unique insight to Latin America and the US position in the world. He worked at Goldman Sachs before running for office.  Jim is in his third term and holds important committee assignments and is ranking member of some.

He addressed the overall tone in DC and Congress given the impact of the recent election. He is somewhat optimistic that Pres. Trump will learn that other than the military the office is structured as a weak presidency. Given the results of the travel ban and health care he is learning that he cannot operate as a CEO and must work with Congress. He noted that our system works as health care did not get out of the house even with the Republicans in control.  He feel that there is bi-partisan opportunity in the areas of infrastructure (as the Pres. is a builder he will want to get things he can put his name on) and Tax reform. Hines’ position is that he will work with the administration to get things done and will not vote no because of party affiliation.

His biggest worry is national security-middle east and North Korea.  Difficult nuanced issues that cannot be resolved by military actions. Watching Syria from his position on the house intelligence committee he commented that the situation is more than complicated with many parties involved and US troops on the ground. Russia-vexing; interfered in the presidential election, wants to weaken the West and NATO. Although it is a weak nation and operating from a weak position we must make a strong response (not military). Discussed cyber warfare but recognizes that it could turn into a tit-for-tat.

Representative Himes than took questions from the floor.

Is Pres. Trump learning? Getting better-wants to do great things and look good

Status of tax reform? Currently an Xmass tree of special interests. Must be fair to all and revenue neutral.  If we want lower rates will have to give up some deductions e.g. home mtg interest, or state taxes.  Need for give and take.

What is chance of single payer system? We will have to go through a learning process as it is very complicated.  Tried in VT but did not work out.

What are our options re: North Korea? First get consensus on what direction and for what reason our carrier is sailing.  Not many. Trump’s unpredictability upsetting China and North Korea. May lead to problems. China does not want NK to fail.  War not viable. Very vexing.

What is going on in Intelligence Committee?  Concerned that we spend $80billion on intelligence but cannot talk about it. Feels that it pushes constitutional limits. Nunes created a bit mess and made a big political error. Russian hacking raises question if Russia have anything on Trump.

Will there be a draft? No

State Dept. funding? Concern about reduced funding.  Military recognizes value of State as it enhances stability.

Why did we allow Russia to take actions in Crimea and Ukraine?  Was not in our national interest to start a war over it.

How to overturn executive orders?  Elect a new President.  Impeachment not viable.