Abercrombie Discusses A Democratic Dominated Capitol Hill

Rep. Neil Abercrombie
Rep. Neil Abercrombie

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Democrats are still celebrating their enormous collective victory on Tuesday.

The triumph most likely means more influence on Capitol Hill for Hawaii's congressional delegation, US Representative, Neil Abercrombie, who spoke to KHNL News Eight Thursday morning.

Marvin: Now that the congressional landscape is starting to finally settle, what can you tell us about any new role you may have on Capitol Hill?

Congressman Abercrombie: Well in the armed services committee, I'll probably be chairing the air, land committee, that I've served on. I'll be working with Senators Akaka and Inouye, respectively on armed services and defense appropriations, so I think we'll be in a pretty key position to be making decisions there.

Marvin: Just a few minutes ago, we talked about your rookie years, if you will. It's been 12 years since democrats controlled the house, as well as kind of have an edge in the senate. to give it some context, for you Congressman, KHNL News eight wasn't even around 12 years ago, one of our producers was a 6th grader. Now with this power shift, what first, big, bold move can we expect out of the US House?

Congressman Abercrombie: Well I think the first thing to do is move on the Iraq war. We already see that well the president was saying there was no plan from the democrats. Obviously, he was planning to make a change at the top, in the department of defense. So they brought in Mr. Gates as the new defense secretary. I hope he's going be a realist, I hope that we'll begin withdrawing the troops as soon a possible. The occupation of iraq only provokes violence. It doesn't promote anything in the way of stability

Marvin: President George Bush made that announcement yesterday, about Donald Rumsfeld stepping-down as Secretary of Defense. Congressman, what is your reaction to the resignation?

Congressman Abercrombie: Well I just hope the president recognizes that he needs to do a little reflection and not be quite so arrogant. It's as a result of his policies in Iraq that we're facing the difficulties that we have.

Marvin: Well the president, as you heard yesterday, appeared rattled at some points, somewhat out of his element. With this new congress, should he be worried?

Congressman Abercrombie: well I think what we're going to do in congress is try to get back to the priorities that we should have. Over and above the war in Iraq, we need to be dealing with prescription drugs, we need to be dealing with raising the minimum wage, we need to be dealing with promoting the 9/11 commission recommendations, here in hawaii, we need to be working on our rail transit.

Marvin: you just mentioned rail transit, I need to ask, what's next for that. We're talking about a 4.6 billion dollar price tag, what's the hope over on Capitol Hill.

Congressman Abercrombie: All you have to do is take a look at what Danielle Tucker just showed you, about all the jam ups all over this island, you can see why we need to have rail transit, we'll be pushing that in the house, Senator Inouye will be in a good position in the senate, with the commerce and transportation committee, we need to move forward, the council needs to make a decision to move from Kapolei to Manoa to Waikiki, and we'll get to work leveraging in the federal dollars, and the private dollars, and this whole thing will work out, you can believe that.