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Congressman Rob Bishop talks spending, North Korea, Russia, school safety

Congressman Rob Bishop talks spending, North Korea, Russia, school safety (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill last week, a bill Utah’s entire delegation save Senator Orrin Hatch-- voted against.

Today Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) sat down with 2News reporter Heidi Hatch in this week’s Connect To Congress to explain his "no" vote.

SPENDING BILL: THE GOOD AND THE BAD

“I could have voted yes for the military spending approach to it,” says Bishop.

Military spending was the one bright spot for Bishop who says he was “happy for the first time” that “in a bicameral way we realized we had to change what was happening.” For the last decade he explains, there have been cuts in infrastructure and manpower. The omnibus brings back military spending that will bring power to Utah’s Hill Air Force Base tasked with keeping American fighter jets in the air.

This bill recognized that need says Bishop and “that was a plus” everything else he says was a “loss for the West and that is why you saw most Westerners voting no.”

Bishop is not happy that a provision to protect our Nations forests from the threat of wildfire was killed from the spending bill.

“We spent the money to fight the fires but did very little to make the forest healthy.” Bishop believes the lack of foresight will leave blazes like Utah’s Brian Head Fire as a real and continuing threat

The west lost, Bishop says “because Easterners basically didn’t understand what it took to stop forest fires in the first place. I’d love to have a forest fire in the New Jersey tunnel to help (Senator) Schumer understand what he is talking about next time.”

Before the next spending bill, Bishop wants a redo on how the sausage is made. “I know people don’t like to talk process, but the process has to be reformed or we will continue having these problems.” For Bishop, that means no more closed-door meetings, 2200 page documents presented in the 11th hour or decisions made in a Senate that must in the future make Filibuster free decisions.

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NORTH KOREA

On North Korea, Bishop sees a chance for meaningful talks of de-nuclearization.

After Kim Jong Un’s surprise diplomatic trip to China, he sees hope for a solution.

“Anything that moves us towards negotiations is a good sign,” Bishop said. Peace on Korean Peninsula has local meaning beyond world peace. Bishop reminds us that Utah’s “388th is over in Okinawa right now which would be involved in anything that takes place if something were to happen militarily in North Korea.”

Whether it was tough talk from President Trump or the idea of looking good at the Olympics or both, Bishop believes it is all positive.

“As bombastic as Kim is - he still understands he wants to control the dynasty he has and stay in power and you can’t tick off the United States and do that.”

RUSSIA

As for tumultuous times with Russia and the threat of meddling in the midterm elections, Bishop says “it is wrong and it is bad.” With that said, “in the end, America will survive those kinds of meddlings.” America, he believes will always be a target. “We have had foreign countries playing around with our elections since the 1800’s actually France tried to influence the election of 1800.”

SCHOOL SAFETY

Watch the full interview and hear his thoughts on school safety, gun control, and other issues in Utah’s first Congressional District.

On Friday Rep. Bishop will host over 100 students from many Utah high schools including Box Elder, Freemont, Layton, Clearfield, Altamont, and the Utah Military Academy as they gather at Utah’s State Capitol Complex for Congressman Bishop’s 2018 Annual Education Conference.

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