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Connect to Congress: Gallagher on North Korea, tax reform, anthem protests

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-8th District, speaks in a Connect to Congress interview, Oct. 11, 2017. (WLUK image)

(WLUK) -- U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-8th District, joined FOX 11 News Anchor Mike Murad for a Connect to Congress interview on Oct. 11, 2017.

The interview touched on a wide range of topics:

Experiences as a freshman congressman

Gallagher said while he is impressed with congressional newcomers, he is frustrated overall with the slow pace of activity in Congress. He called for representatives to focus on substantive issues rather than "political theater."

That's why I and a bunch of new members have been such strong proponents of congressional reform: things like term limits, things like nonpartisan redistricting, things like not allowing Congress to go on recess and take a vacation until we actually restore a normal and coherent budgeting process.

North Korea

Gallagher said the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was just one of a range of foreign policy concerns. He said investment in the military is important to facing the threat.

The greatest enemy in this regard has been ourselves, through defense sequester and the Budget Control Act, we have, to quote (Defense Secretary James Mattis), done more damage to our military than any enemy in the field could have hoped to do.

He said that besides military and economic tactics, there are other avenues he would like to see tried.


I would like us to pursue a third track, which we're not doing right now, which is to figure out ways in which we can do information operations against the North Korean regime, perhaps increase the reward for North Korean military defectors, really create an atmosphere of instability beneath Kim Jong Un and force him to question. At the end of the day, to resolve this peacefully, we need to convince him that pursuing a nuclear weapon will result in his regime's destruction.

Gallagher said he doesn't focus on President Donald Trump's prolific use of Twitter and war of words with the North Korean dictator; rather on the administration's actions.

If you actually look at the administration's policy with respect to North Korea in particular, and Asia in general, it's been quite good.

Infighting involving Trump and members of Congress

I wish everyone would stay focused on substance and avoid the personal back-and-forth, because I worry that that will hurt our ability to get stuff done.

Gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting

Gallagher said authorities should focus on enforcing current gun laws. He also said he would be open to banning "bump stocks," which shooter Stephen Paddock apparently used.

It makes sense to me to regulate that in the same way that you would regulate an automatic weapon.

Tax reform

Gallagher said he is still waiting to see what tax reform legislation will look like, but that the idea of tax reform is urgent.

I support the principle of lowering the corporate rate to make us competitive with other (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, with simplifying the seven brackets into three, with taking all that money that's overseas -- by some estimates, $3 trillion -- and repatriating it back so it can be invested in the U.S., so we can invest in wages, because real wages haven't gone up in 30 years.

National anthem protests

Gallagher said he attended a recent Green Bay Packers game at which some players remained seated during the playing of the national anthem.

In a way that I didn't anticipate going into it, I was affected and I was angered. I don't know if it was because I'm a veteran, but I think there's one thing that unites our country right now, and that's a near-universal respect for the sacrifices of the young men and women, many of whom are from our own communities, that right now are deployed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, putting their lives on the line so we can even have the privilege of watching football on a Sunday.

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