The 2019 Ideas Conference


CAP Ideas Conference.>>Please welcome Winnie
Stachelberg, CAP’s EVP for external affairs.
(Applause.)>>Good morning, everyone. Good
morning. I’m Winnie Stachelberg, and I serve as the executive vice president for External
Affairs at the Center for American Progress. And while I hope you’ve enjoyed your breakfast, it’s time to
start making your way to your seats. I want to remind everyone, on the
back of your badges, you can find today’s
WiFi information, along with instructions for joining the
conversation on social media. In just a few moments, we’ll
hear from leaders standing at the
forefront of today’s progressive movement. This is a movement
that has swept the nation, electing more women to Congress
than ever before— (Applause.) This is a movement that is
resisting, and this is a movement that is making
progress. This is a movement that will
reclaim our country on behalf of the
values we hold so dear. And so whether you’re fighting to reform our criminal justice
system, to make high-quality education affordable and
accessible for all Americans, or to lift more families out of
poverty, our fight is a constant one, and
today, during each panel, each keynote,
and each conversation, we’ll be
reminded that the resistance is fueled by
persistence, and that we’ll need bold ideas to make lives better
for all Americans. That is what we do here at the
Center for American Progress. I am so proud of CAP and each
and every one of you. So get ready, get ready to take
the energy you’ll absorb today back to your own communities,
your communities across this nation. Please consider this your
five-minute warning. Thanks, everyone, and get ready
for an amazing day. Thank you all so very much.
(Applause. )>>Good morning, everyone.
Please welcome Neera Tanden, president and CEO for Center for American
Progress. (Applause.)
>>Good morning, everyone. Good morning! OK, good, you’re
awake. And welcome to the 2019 CAP
Ideas Conference. Over the course of today, we’ll hear from an incredible lineup of
elected officials, policy experts, and
grassroots activists. Together they are shaping a
positive agenda that stands as an
alternative to everything the current administration events, that stands up for
women’s rights, and encourages a truly
inclusive economy. We are having a rich policy
debate about moving our country forward, and CAP is thrilled to help drive
that conversation through our work every day and through
today’s event. I believe that these kinds of debates are more
important than ever. Now, I know that some believe
that thoughtful policies founded on
research and rationality are no longer in
fashion and no longer matter. After all, our current president
often appears untethered to the facts or any sense of
rationality at all. But the truth is that the public
is still moved by ideas and solutions which focus on
addressing the real challenges they face. And recent events should remind
us that ideas, bold yet realistic,
far-reaching and impactful, still have the
powerful potential to improve people’s lives.
We saw the enduring strength of these ideas during last
November’s midterm elections, and we’re continuing to see
their strength during the ongoing presidential primaries. In fact, the new Democratically controlled House has already
passed one landmark bill after another. And I’m proud to say that CAP
has done its fair share to lay the groundwork for this
progress. Let me give you just one example
of our impact. In 2014, many years ago now, CAP
released a major report that outlined a plan to end discrimination
against LGBTQ people across all of our society, from the housing
market to the workplace to our country’s public facilities.
Then in the five years that followed, we worked alongside a
host of other progressive organizations and leaders to
rally support for this proposal. And just last week, the House
passed the Equality Act, a historic
piece of civil rights legislation that championed (Applause.)
Over the last few years, we’ve the same ideas we put forward in
2014. also put the issue of political
reform at the forefront of the progressive policy discussion,
and congressional candidates throughout the nation embraced
these ideas last November. Their energy and these proposals
helped reform democracy through voting rights and curbing special interests in
the government. The For the People Act was the
first introduced this year. I’ll have the privilege sitting
down later with a great leader and
the person most responsible for passing
these efforts in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
(Applause.) Now, we all know that America is currently in the midst of
presidential primaries that feature a remarkably deep and
diverse selection of candidates. All 23 or 2,300 of them.
(Laughter.) Fantastic ideas are at the heart
of the debate that’s unfolding about the future of our country, and CAP’s policy
solutions are also playing a role in setting the terms of
this debate. That includes proposals to enact universal health care, to ensure
quality child health care for all, policy that is focused on
protecting democratic values here and around the world, and
to significantly raise the salaries of America’s teachers. But while the 2020 race will
continue to dominate the headlines, it is
vital for us all to remember that there’s
incredibly important work to be done all across the progressive
movement right now. That’s why this conference will
showcase inspirational voices who are leading the charge on
every front, from mayor’s offices to governor’s
offices to the halls of Congress. Today, with nearly 18 months
remaining until November 2020, it can feel
like we’re in the eye of the storm. But this is not the moment to be
overwhelmed or immobilized. Not when our government is on the
brink of a constitutional crisis
between the Congress and president because
he’s obstructing all oversight,
undermining democratic institutions and supporting
foreign dictators, supporting Trump’s tariffs, which take a toll on all of us,
and not when hundreds of migrant
children remain separated from their parents.
The stakes have never been higher in my lifetime. We have immense responsibility
to rally Americans in every corner of this country to help
defend and advance the fundamental values of our
democracy. And we can accomplish that mission with ideas. Ideas that can and will produce
meaningful change in people’s lives. Lasting change. Change
for the better. And change for all.
Fighting for change and for progress from one generation to the next
has been the defining story of our country since our founding. And I believe that even in this darkest of
moments, we are planting the seeds of ideas that can forge a stronger, fairer,
and far better America for generations to come. That is
what today is about. That is what the work of the
Center for American Progress is about every single day.
Thank you. (Applause. ) Now, I have the great pleasure
of introducing our next speaker, a
true trailblazer and fighter who has
always understood the stakes. Stacey Abrams.
(Applause. ) African American—
(Laughter.) (Applause.)
Come on up! Stacey is the first woman and the first
African American woman to ever serve as leader of the Georgia General
Assembly, and she became the first black
woman in American history to win a major
party’s nomination for governor. She really needs no
introduction. But she’s now the founder of Fair Fight, an
organization devoted to mobilizing voters across Georgia
and to ensure test test test test test test
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program is about to resume. Please take your seats. The
program is about to resume. Thank you. .
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. .>>Everyone, please take your
seats, and welcome Representative Hakeem Jeffries!
(Applause.)>>Morning, everyone.
It’s an honor and a privilege to be here at the CAP Ideas
Conference, and certainly thankful to Neera
Tanden for her tremendous leadership. She’s a voice for
the voiceless and a defender of the disenfranchised
and an all-around force of nature. On behalf of the rest of the
causes that we all hold dear, I want to thank each and every one of you for
your tremendous involvement over the last few years, in
particular, beginning to turn things around, or begin the
process, of course, of turning things around here in this great
country. It’s my understanding that after I speak, Adam Schiff
is next, so I’m really just his warmup act.
(Laughter.) So I’ve decided I’m going to
follow what I refer to as the B rule of public speaking. Be
brief. Be bright. And be gone. (Laughter.)
But I do want to share a few thoughts about the House Democratic
agenda. I’m so honored and privileged to
serve as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, a
responsibility that I assumed at the beginning of this Congress. My first act as chair
of the House Democratic Caucus was to place the name of Nancy
Pelosi in nomination as our next speaker. And isn’t she doing a
great job? (Applause.)
She’s doing a great job. Donald Trump has no idea what to do
with her. (Laughter.)
I mean, he can’t even come up with a nickname. He just calls
her Nancy. (Laughter.)
She’s doing a tremendous job, and we’re so proud of her. My
first responsibility was to place her name in nomination. A
few days before that, I was in my living room thinking through
my remarks, and my youngest son, Joshua, who
is 14, said, “Dad, what are you doing?” I said, “as the incoming
chair of the House Democratic caucus, it’s my duty to nominate
Nancy Pelosi. She’s going to be our next
Speaker on January 3. Do you have any advice for your father?” Without missing a beat, he said,
“Dad, don’t blow the moment.” (Laughter.)
I want to say that we recognize as House Democrats that this is
a critical moment. And we have a responsibility
both to deliver on the kitchen table,
pocketbook issues that we talk to the
American people about in advance of the midterm election, with a
focus on lowering health care costs and increasing
pay for everyday Americans. But we also recognize, of
course, and Adam will talk about this, that we have a responsibility as a separate and co-
equal branch of government. We don’t work for Donald Trump. We work for the American people. (Applause.) And we have a constitutional
responsibility to serve as a check and balance to and out of
control—we will never bend a knee to Donald J. Trump, the
first of his name. (Laughter.)
This is a democracy, and we recognize the moment that we are
in. The beautiful thing about the House Democratic Caucus is
that we are the most diverse legislative caucus
in the history of the republic. Democrat, Republican, 20th
century, 21st century, House, Senate, the most diverse
legislative caucus in the history of the republic. More
women serving in the House than ever before. Over 100.
(Applause.) More African Americans. More
Latinos. More Native Americans. More members of the LGBT
community. So we authentically represent
the American people. And we, as a House Democratic
Caucus, recognize that diversity is a
strength. It is not a weakness. We are a nation of immigrants. Some voluntary, others
involuntary, but as Dr. King once observed, we may have
come over on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat
now. We are a gorgeous mosaic of
people from all over the world. We are white, we are Latino, we
are Asian, we are Native American. We are Christian, Hindu, Muslim,
gay, straight, young, older, women,
men, citizens, DREAMers. Out of many we are one. That is what
makes our country a great country.
(Applause.) No matter what xenophobic
behavior is coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, no one is going to take that away from us, not now, not
ever. (Applause.)
With an understanding of our values, diversity and unity which
makes us strong. Understanding that these are very challenging
times, we want to move the country forward. They want to
turn back the clock. We want to bring people
together. They are trying to tear us
apart. We are fighting for the people. They are fighting for
the privileged few. We’re trying to stand up for the least, the
lost, and the left behind. They’re standing up for the
wealthy, the well-off, and the well-connected.
We believe in the public interest. They’re all about the
special interests. We want to protect Social
Security and Medicare. They’re trying to take it away. We believe in unions and the
right to collectively bargain. They want to destroy our freedom
to negotiate the stakes to negotiate. The stakes are
incredibly high. But we’re proceeding, anchored
in our values, understanding that we believe in a country
that provides for the poor, works for working families,
makes sense for the middle class and stands up for senior
citizens. We believe in a country with liberty and justice
for all. Equal protection under the law. Government of the
people by the people and for the people. And so we clearly have laid out
our “for the people” agenda. And a connection with that And
in connection with that, we have made clear to the American
people that we are going to fight and work hard to lower
health care costs, protect people with preexisting
conditions. Deal with the high cost of life saving prescription drugs. Strengthen the Affordable Care
Act. Increase pay for everyday Americans. Enact a plan to address the gun
crisis and end the era of voter suppression once for all. That’s the House Democratic for
the people agenda. (Applause.)
And we have already begun to do a lot in that regard. In the first 100 or so days, we
passed H.R. 8, comprehensive universal criminal background
check legislation. We passed the Paycheck Fairness
Act, because we believe in equal pay
for equal work. We passed the Equality Act,
because we believe that love does not discriminate based on gender identity,
identity or sexual sexual orientation, and
neither should the law. And of course we worked to lower health care costs and protect people
with preexisting conditions in the
face of an onslaught from this administration.
What is clear is that this administration wants to take to
take away health care from tens of millions of Americans. We’re
not going to let that happen. This administration wants to
impose an age tax on people between 50 and
64, because that is what will happen
if you take away the Affordable Care Act, and that will dramatically increase premiums, co-pays, and
deductibles for those Americans. We will not let that happen. This administration wants to
take away protections for preexisting conditions. That would impact more than 100
million Americans, perhaps one of the most significant
accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act.
And we’re going to stand to defend that. In many ways, we believe that is
what 2018 midterm election was about. We recognize as House Democrats
that there are millions of Americans
who are battling cancer. That’s a preexisting condition.
There are millions of Americans struggling through heart
disease. That’s a preexisting condition.
Millions of Americans, including children in neighborhoods like
those I represent and others all across the country, particularly
in low-income communities, dealing with with
asthma in part because of the impact of environmental racism,
that’s a preexisting condition. Over 10 million Americans
struggling through an opioid addiction. That’s a preexisting condition. And more than 100 million
Americans have either diabetes or prediabetes.
That is a preexisting condition. The stakes are incredibly high,
and we understand the moment that we’re
in. We also have made clear to the
American people that in addition to strengthening the Affordable
Care Act, we want to drive down the high cost of life-saving
prescription drugs. Because there is no reason in
the world that here in America, we should pay more for
live-saving medication than any other nation in the world. It is a direct result of the
special tr the special interest power of big pharma in this
town, and we are determined to break it.
(Applause.) And we believe that in order to
do that, there are several things that we are working on, and I’ll only
outline a small few. We believe that Medicare should
have the ability to use its bulk
price purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices for
the American people. (Applause.)
And we are determined to make that happen.
Medicaid has the ability. The veterans administration has
the ability. There is no reason in the world
why Medicare shouldn’t have that ability. It would result in lower drug
prices for tens of millions of Americans. We will not rest until that
occurs. (Applause.) We also want to break up the
racket that exists in so many ways between
the brand-name companies and their
desire to maintain monopolistic type
control over the pricing that the American people pay. The FDA has said that brand-name
drugs and generic drugs have the same
therapeutic medicinal impact. The same impact. . But over time, generic drugs
cost 80 to 85% less than their
brand-name counterparts. That’s the reason why we want to
break up the monopolistic racket in a
few different ways. One of them is outlawing the
practice that’s known as “pay for delay”. That when the brand-name drug is
about to come off patent, there have
been pharmaceutical companies who will actually pay pay the generic
companies not to put the generic drugs on the market in order to
delay the onset of competition that will result and
lower drug prices for the American people.
We in the House judiciary committee and the energy and
commerce committee have already passed legislation that would make the pay for delay practice
illegal under law, and we are determined to get it through the
House. (Applause.)
And outlaw that outrageous practice.
We also are dealing with something called citizen
petition abuse under the current law. The FDA has a mechanism by which
a brand-name drug is getting ready to come off patent, anybody in America
can file a petition with the FDA to
express concerns about the soon coming
availability of the generic drugs. But what we’ve learned is that
while citizens may or may not be filing petitions, and that is their
right, the pharmaceutical companies have actually been stepping in and filing
petitions to stop the availability of the
generic drugs. Baseless, sham petitions that
are ultimately dismissed by the FDA, but delay the availability
of generic drugs by months or sometimes years,
costing the American consumer hundreds of millions of dollars in lost
savings. We are determined to break the
back of big pharma and dramatically lower the high cost
of life-saving prescription drugs.
So we’re proceeding essentially along three principles. That we believe that America,
the wealthiest country in the history of the world, that no one should ever
have to choose between putting food on the table, paying the
rent, or getting access to the life-saving medication that they
need in order to live their life with the dignity and grace that
they deserve. We believe that in America, the
wealthiest country in the history of the world, that
health care is not simply a privilege. It is a right. And we want to bring that right
into reality for every single American. And we believe that in the
wealthiest country in the history of the world, every single American should
have access to high-quality life-saving
affordable health care, and that is the position that is shared
by every single one of the 239 Democrats in the
House of Representatives. (Applause.)
And we want to make sure that that principle becomes the law
of the land. In closing, let me simply say,
some of have said, well, that’s an
ambitious agenda. You’re dealing with an obstinate Senate, the grim
reaper, self-described, on the other side, and of course a
president who is out of control. How do you expect that we can
bring all of this into fruition? Some of those ideas we hope to
enact during the 116th Congress, and
others we’ll lay a foundation to move them forward. But
ultimately, I’m confident that we will succeed. Let me quote the words of our
great president, Barack Obama.
(Applause.) (Laughter.)
Our great president, Barack Some of y’all were getting
nervous on me. Obama, when he said: Yes we can.
Democrats can be successful. Because we always have gotten
things done on behalf of the American people. Democrats are the party that
gave this country Social Security,
Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, a living
wage, the Civil Rights Act, the vote the
voting rights Act, the Fair Sentencing Act, the Affordable
Care Act. Democrats and Barack Obama saved our economy.
Democrats saved the automobile industry. And together, Democrats will
save our democracy. God bless you. God bless CAP. God bless
the United States of America. (Applause. )>>Thank you, Congressman
Jeffries. There’s an an expansive agenda. I want to
thank you for your remarks on health care. I wanted to ask a
question or two about some other elements. On issues that have been very
divisive in the past. A good example is the House
passed legislation that promotes re
reentering the Paris accords. Climate was previously an issue
that has created divisions. We’ve seen regional differences
in the caucus, or, actually, in the country. Could you talk a little bit
about what it was like to pass that bill? And how united the caucus was
doing that? And how do you see that issue as a front line on
the issue of climate?>>Thank you for the question. That was an important first step
in the foundation for what I expect that we will continue to
do to address the climate crisis that we face here
in the country and of course throughout the world. Our first legislative act on day
1, we enacted a rules package that included as a feature the Constitution the
constitution of a select committee on the climate crisis
that the Speaker indicated would be a focus on how we move forward, led by Kathy
Caster from Florida. The first piece of legislation in that
regard was legislation that would express a resolution of
disapproval in connection with the effort to exit the Paris
climate accord, and we’re going to pursue legislative and
appropriations remedies designed to prohibit the use the use of
funds do anything other than make sure we keep our commitment
in that regard. And explore the other legislative options that we can do in a bold
fashion to confront the enormity of the
problem. Under the legislative mandate,
the select committee on the climate crisis has to report
back to the energy and commerce committee on its recommendations
for legislative proposals by early next year. Their work
could come sooner than that. But we want to hear from a wide
variety of stakeholders on the thoughts that people have as to
how we can proceed boldly and aggressively.
>>And one last question. I wanted last question I wanted
to ask on another issue that people have seen as divisive in the past, but had
a pretty significant victory in the House, was background checks
and gun safety legislation. Can you talk a little bit about how
much of that, why that was a priority? And how you see that playing out
in the future?>>This is an incredibly
important distinction between the last time Democrats were in
the majority — I wasn’t in the Congress at the time — and the
current moment. There was a decision in the
prior majority not to address the issue of gun violence in a
comprehensive way, in part because many of the members of that new
Democratic majority came from rural states
and districts where those members felt at least they could not address
this issue. Things have changed
significantly and every member of the House Democratic caucus
is of the view that we have to do something meaningful to deal
with the gun violence epidemic. We started with universal
criminal background check legislation. It did receive some Republican
support on the floor of the House of Representatives. We
know that the overwhelming majority of gun owners and NRA members
support the notion that no individual, particularly one
where there’s reason to believe could do harm to others, should
be able to access a gun without background checks. And so we’re
going to continue to aggressively push that and other
issues forward, and keep the pressure
on the Senate so that Mitch McConnell either does his job
and allows these bills to come to a vote, or we vote them all
out of office, and we have a new Senate majority in 2020.
(Applause.)>>That’s a great ending! Thank
you. Let’s give another round of
applause for for Representative Hakeem Jeffries.
(Applause.) Now we all understand that one
of the fundamental roles of Congress is to serve as a check
on the potential abuses of power performed by the
executive branch. I don’t know why we have
“potential” in there, but we have potential.
At the same time, it’s become abundantly clear that the Perezcy of that
the presidency of Donald Trump
presents an existential threat to democratic norms in our
government. With everything at stake in this
particular moment, we’re thrilled to have a discussion about, I
assume, many topics — the Muller findings, democracy,
oversight in general. I’m thrilled to have the pleasure of turning things over to Ari
Melber, an attorney and journalist and MSNBC host who
will moderate our next conversation with the chair of
the intelligence committee, Adam Schiff. (Applause. )
>>Good morning! Great to be here, and great to be here with
Congressman Schiff. You have a mic right there. We’ll have a
whole rip-roaring conversation, and then take questions from all
of you. We’re not on TV, so we don’t have to be as formal.
Your committee is making news, Congressman Schiff, as everyone
knows, is the chair of the intelligence committee and
former federal prosecutor among other things.
You have a breakthrough with the Justice Department this morning.
What is it?>>Well, we had a series of
negotiations over getting the underlying materials, the
documents behind the Muller report, and in many respects,
those materials are more important than the mere
redactions in the report, because they they go to what
witnesses said, the details of the investigative tactics that
were used. The particular interest we have
is in counterintelligence and foreign
intelligence information. It began not as a criminal
probe, but a counter intelligence probe to determine if Trump and other agents were
willingly or unwillingly acting as agents
for a foreign power. There was information that we
wanted identified in the report. None of them are privileged in
any way. All of these involve counter
intelligence information. Provide these or we’ll go to
enforcement action. This was a test of whether they were acting
in good faith or without any faith. Close to midnight last night,
they finally agreed, okay, we’ll provide those documents as the
initial set of what we hope will be a rolling production.
So that’s a positive step.>>You haven’t publicly
identified what they are.>>We have not.
>>But your description suggests it’s, for example, presumably
not grand jury material, but could be other underlying
evidence that informed the intelligence parts of the probe?
>>Yes. You know, if you look at any
number of the incidents that are reflected in the report, there’s
intelligence behind them that goes into far more detail. And,
you know, just to give you illustrations of the kind of
thing, without saying whether this is implicated in these
documents or not, we know that Manafort was giving
polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence. We know
very little about that –>>Is that a totally normal
thing? (Laughter.)
>>This>>In this campaign, the answer
would be yes, apparently. And targeting the Midwest and
whatnot. A lot of the chapters, or
really, subchapters in the report are not fleshed out
beyond very summary descriptions and conclusions. So what we’re predominantly
interested in is where did the counter intelligence
investigation lead? We don’t know at this point
whether it’s still ongoing or whether it was closed at some point, but we
know periodically FBI agents who were embedded in the Muller team
would send findings back to headquarters. There are two
categories: Those that directly related to Russia and the
election, and another category of things that didn’t relate to
the election, but nonetheless could compromise our country. To give you the paramount
example of a counter intelligence issue, which is
discussed in the report, seasoned that is the effort by Trump to build
Moscow Trump Tower during the campaign, the lies about it, and
the fact that they sought the Kremlin’s help to
make it happen. This is kind of astonishing. A
year later when it’s disclosed that even though the president
has been saying no deals with Russia, no businesses, in fact
he’s been seeking to make the most lucrative deal of his life
and seeking Kremlin help. When that becomes clear a year
later when they contacted someone
close to Putin in the Kremlin, he issued a statement saying we
never followed up on these inquiries. That’s a lie. So we have members of the
Kremlin lying to protect the president of the United States.
You can understand what kind of counterintelligence Kearns that
kind of thing raises.>>In a room like this, people
are familiar with what’s happening in Washington, what
the story lines are. Most of the story lines in the relationship
between the new Democratic House of Representatives and the White House are of stone walling,
alleged obstruction, people blowing
through even typical oversight hearings, defying subpoenas,
refusing to testify. Why, today, are you making news with your committee getting what
looks to be progress from the Justice Department? Is there
something you’re doing right? Are your underlying statutes
stronger? Or are you at risk of being
played by the Attorney General? What is your view?>>We have no idea whether this
kind of last-minute decision to comply is tactical, or whether this is
indicative of thinking of the Justice Department that
ultimately they’re going to lose on these issues. It may be a result, for example,
may be influenced by the Maiser court
opinion earlier in the week, which not only rejected a lot of the same arguments that the
Justice Department and Trump administration has been making,
that there’s no legislative purpose or it somehow has to be
sent specifically what bill you have to introduce as a result of
the oversight. That’s a completely false reading of our
oversight authorities. So it may be a result of the
major court saying basically the legal equivalent of: Get out of
my court. . That argument makes no sense
whatsoever.>>Let me push you on that. If that’s door number 1, that
DOJ is adjusting to an adverse court ruling, why then only give ground to the
intelligence committee and not the judiciary committee?>>My hope is they will give
ground in all of these economies. What these
committees. We’ve made clear that this does
not obviate our other requests. This is just the first. And it doesn’t mean that other
requests haven’t gone forward and should. None of our committees are
mitigated by compliance with a different issue.
We have different statutory authorities. The national security Act
provides that counter intelligence and foreign
intelligence information must be given to our committee on
request. In that respect, the the
statutes for our committee look a lot like the statutes for the
ways and means committee regarding the president’s tax
returns. Does the fact that we have a
solid legal basis for our committee mean they’re going to
comply with the request? Maybe not.
>>Tell us how it works with your fellow chairs. I mean, we’re hearing this
morning that that you’re getting more
breakthrough on some of the same underlying evidence than chairman Hadler. Are you
comparing notes? Barr called me, back, but not
me? He was snity to you, but to me,
he didn’t say anything? (Laughter.)
We’re in a town where people make too much of personalities,
but right now, it seems that you’re on that you’re
on better terms with the Justice Department than the judiciary committee.
>>I don’t know if we’re on better terms or not, but to answer your
question about whether the committees are cooperating, chairwoman waters
the chairs meet constantly. We meet with our leadership
constantly so we keep abreast of what we’re
hearing so we’re not played off each other, our legal strategies
are harmonized, we’re consistent in court. For example, the Maiser’s
accounting case is an oversight committee
case, but it’s very similar to the case we’re making along with financial
services for the Deutsche Bank records, which
is being heard right now. We’re obviously making the judge
— different judge than the other case, about what the court has ruled
in that case. We’re arguing the same
accelerated time table. So we’re making sure we have a harmonized
legal strategy as well as political strategy, and having
the same lawyer, the same office of general counsel counsel handling all
this litigation, helps that.>>One ways that you talk is
through the caucus meetings. There’s one this morning. Speaker Pelosi will be here be
here at CAP later. Do you walk out of that meeting this morning
feeling that Democrats are closer to impeachment
proceedings or not?>>Obviously I don’t want to go
into the discussions in caucus. But, look, I think our members
are, you know, much like where the
American people are on impeachment, and
that is that there’s a variety of opinions, whether now is the time, whether
we need more oversight work, what the
repercussions would be of going forward with impeachment, what the
result would be in the Senate. There is unanimity on this,
though, that the administration is engaged in a
wholesale cover-up.>>We’ve covered that. But is
there a situation where Pelosi launches a probe, in your view,
as a chair?>>I don’t know if I would
characterize it as reconsidering. I see it as, we
need to do oversight work, and if we get to the point where we
develop a factual record where that makes sense, we go forward. We have to keep in mind that we
have to do what makes sense for the whole country. What she’s
weighing is, knowing where this would end up, do we put the
country through a divisive experience of
an impeachment? Is that the best thing for the country? And she
is weighing against that the whole set of priorities that
Hakeem just talked to you about. What does that mean in terms of
our health care care agenda? In terms of prescription drugs and
infrastructure and the other things we’re working on? That’s
what we want our Speaker to be weighing.>>One more more piece on that,
and then moving on. By a show of hands here, how many people in
this room have worked on advocacy or legislation that you
didn’t think ultimately was likely to
happen? Likely to pass? Likely to become law? Then there’s a few people who
don’t have their hands up who are just super effective, only
do winning things. (Laughter.) Either those are the DJ Khaled
people in the room, all they do is win, or they’ve never worked
on something else. (Laughter.)
I see you with your hands down. I don’t believe you.
(Laughter.) I’m asking what a prosecutor
would call a leading question, but I’m
asking for a reason. There’s a legitimate argument
against proceeding to impeachment. We’ve laid that
out. But there’s another argument that you’ve gestured
towards and certainly the Speaker has said, which is,
well, if it’s not going to have the outcome that you would
support if you were for impeachment in the Senate, then
why do it? And I think the answer would obviously be what
we saw in the room. That this town, and social
change, and movements in politics, is full of things that
start out unlikely, like, say, a reality star real estate
developer running for president, being laughed out of the room,
and becoming elected. Do you give any credence to the
argument, that the argument against doing it is not to win
over Senate Republicans? Or do you have another argument?
>>Obviously, I don’t think the analogy of whether you try to
offer a bill and you have to be certain it’s
going to pass before you do is a particularly good analogy.
(Applause.) You might –>>Just briefly, when one person
with a JD tells another that it’s a bad (Laughter.)
Go on. analogy, that is a withering
rejection.>>But I have another analogy
that other people have taken issue with, and it’s also
imperfect. How many of you are former prosecutors who indicted
someone with the knowledge that you would be unsuccessful in
trying to prove the case to a jury? Probably none of you.
Indeed, one of the things Muller points out in his report is, on
the issue of conspiracy, the Justice Department guidelines
required him only to move forward, and even then not fully
move forward, if he felt he could prove all the elements
beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury. I do think that notwithstanding
all of that, there is a valid argument to be made that if you fail to bring
an impoech an impeachment, what does does
that say about this president’s conduct and whether he is fit
for office? (Applause.)
So I do think that has to be weighed, though, against the
other concern, which is what does an acquittal say? Because then you have an
adjudication that this conduct is not an impeachable offense.
And that is the dilemma that we’re stuck between. Both are equally unpalatable. And, you know, I think that we
do a disservice to each other if we diminish the significance of
this debate. And there are good and and valid
points. One of the ones that has resonated with me, of the pro proimpeachment
arguments, is, if they continue to completely obstruct the
Congress the way they obstructed the investigation, that really raises the ante. And then
maybe we need the most vigorous response to that, even if it ultimately doesn’t prevail.
(Applause.) I’m not there yet. But I don’t want I don’t want to
exclude the possibility, either, if they continue continue this
kind of lawlessness. (Applause. )>>I believe you drew applause
for both sides of the nuanced argument.
(Laughter.) Which is very Talmudic.
>>As they say in my line of work, I have friends on both
sides of this issue, and I stand firmly with my friends.
(Laughter.). (Laughter.)
>>Sew that’s where>>That’s where your committee
is making news. There’s a lot else that you’re
working on that I want to talk about. Turning the page. When
did you first learn that the president was seriously
considering pardoning more than one convicted war criminal, a story that broke in
the New York Times recently?>>Probably like most folks,
when it broke in the New York Times.
>>What was your first reaction?>>My first reaction is that
this is classic Donald Trump thinking, that this would score
political points, but at a cost of sending a message that disregarding orders, murdering
people in violation of the laws of conflict, is something that can be excused if
it’s politically advantageous. And the damage that would do in
terms of our standing in the world, the damage it would do in
terms of the ability to maintain discipline among forces
if they believe they can ignore the
rules of engagement, ignore the morality
that, yes, is challenging in combat. The damage it would do, I think,
would be incalculable. It’s one thing if you were to decide as
the president of the United States that someone that had
been brought up, even on a war crime charge, had been
for some reason, after vetting by the Department of Justice and thorough
examination, deserving of a reprieve, that is not apparently
what’s happening here. What’s happening here is a
wholesale view of whether we should
simply, and for the most transparently political reasons, pardon anyone who has
been accused of some of the most serious wartime offenses.>>Do you think it sends a
message to enlisted officers and soldiers that, as the Trump White House has
suggested, or allies have suggested, that they will be
thought of, quote-unquote, protected no matter what? Or do
you think it sends a message that undercuts U.S. national
security?>>Well, I think it certainly
undercuts U.S. national security. Imagine the reaction
around the world if the president pardons people
who have committed murder in the way that they were charged. What
that would mean to, for example, if these offenses were committed
in Iraq, what that would mean in terms of our relationship with
the Iraqi government, the Iraqi people.
And also, what it means — again, this is like the argument
against torture — what it means in terms of
American service members, and the
military forces of other countries.
So there’s no, I think, good way to look at this. And of course, it is not
happening in isolation either, because it’s taking place when
the president is pardoning people for other obviously
political reasons, such as, they’re
conservative and they wrote a book talking about how great
Trump is. Or they’re a sheriff who was
part of the birther conspiracy, and
stuck with Trump. This is basically our president’s
message about everything. If you say nice things about me, if you
have my back, I will have yours. The law be damned.
And it is just part and parcel of the most serious attack on the rule
of law in our democracy, certainly in my lifetime.>>What do you do with the
riddle that, on the one hand, the pardon power, like other
national security powers of the commander in chief, is — it’s
not completely unreviewable, but I think we would agree it’s
close. It’s a completely powerful
unitary option. And yet we have a president who is so responsive
to the media, to public pressure, to, as you just
alluded to, his own general vanity, if you
want to call it that, that the fact that this leak in the Times then sparks a
debate about, not to oversimplify, is
that quote-unquote pro-military or
not, may actually be the thing that prevents him from doing it? Obviously you have a very
serious security role. But how do you and your
colleagues use that lever to prevent — because you’re
certainly not going to prevent or override that pardon once
it’s issued?>>Well, the pardon power, like
any power in the Constitution, is not absolute. You see the absolutist argument
in many conterkt contexts. You see the — I hate to call
him the Attorney General, I think he
serves as the personal attorney for the president.
>>What do you mean by that. You don’t think he deserves the
title anymore?>>No.
(Applause.) I think I think Bill Barr has all the
duplicity of Rudy Giuliani without the
good looks. (Laughter.)
And I think he says he can make the investigation go away if he
says it’s unfair. Which means, by the way, the 14 other investigations farmed out to
other offices he can also make go away. But also if you want to fire the
director because he’s not going easy, not doing what you want to do,
might incriminate you, you can do it.
The fact that the president has the right to fire an FBI
director doesn’t mean he has the right to fire one for an
improper reason. Any more than a an employer with an at-will
employee with employee can fire them
because they reject sexual advances towards them. That’s
not how the law works. And the fact that he would instruct
others to violate the law on his behalf and say, don’t worry, if
you get arrested, I will simply pardon you. To paraphrase one of our
justices: The Constitution is not a suicide pact. To interpret
it this way would be self-defeating. It would mean
the president is above the law, that we are no longer a system
of checks and balances. So there are ways that we can
uniquely constrain abuse of it. I’ve introduced a bill which
would require that if the president pardons someone in a
case in which he is a witness, target, or subject, or his
family is, the entire investigative files will be
provided to the Congress. That may not prevent the
issuance of that pardon, but it will deter its abuse.
And there are other steps like that that we can take to chill its abuse. But I do think that like every
other power in the Constitution, there
are limits to it, and the abuse of it is unlawful, and the abuse
of it can also, if we have a Congress that is
beholden and dutiful to the Constitution
and not simply to the person who is the president, can remove
that president from office for violating those standards.
>>A couple other topics before we go to questions from the
audience. Iran and your role, including
the intelligence you see that we don’t. Number 1, factually, how grave
of a security threat is Iran to the United States and its allies, which is
sort of, what should we know? The second, which often gets
collapsed into that. Given your voou your view of the threat,
what is the right way to contain is right now, and what is your
view of the administration’s approach?
>>I have to say, and there’s been a lot of discussion about
what does the intelligence show about the Iranian threat? In many respects — not your
question — but I think that question is the wrong question.
I think that the more important –>>I’m a television news anchor.
I do that all the time. It’s like a specialty.
(Laughter.)>>I think that the more
important question is, how did we get here? Because the steps that have been
taken over the last two years that began with a president who refused to keep
certifying that Iran was in compliance with the agreement,
even though Iran was in compliance with the dreams.
>>Let me push you. Because I want to hear that, but I’m asking about the facts precisely
because many people who have sat where you sat have said, oh,
gosh, there’s a lot here. If you put the thumb on the
scale of 0, Canada, to 10, what should we know about the actual
threat? And then, yes, let’s hear your view of what they’re
doing.>>Well, the threat from Iran is
increased over what it was a month ago. Which is increased
over what it was a year ago and two years ago.
Now, I think some of the steps we’re taking and have taken are
increasing the risk, not decreasing it. And this, to me, is the most
important point. And that is, if you take actions
over time that you know the result of
which will be to increase the likelihood of hostilities, then
why should you be surprised that the intelligence now shows you
there’s an increased chance of hostilities? You should be surprised if if it
were otherwise.>>Do you think there are people
in the Trump administration who actually want to make it worse to drive it
towards a clash that they’re pursuing?
>>I don’t know if it’s the case that this is a deliberate march
to war of people who are eager for an all out conflict with raun with Iran, or
if this is simple a product of people like Mr. Pompeo and others who think that belligerence is a value in
itself, not what the end goal of it is
except in a dreamlike way. Because I’ve never gotten an
adequate answer to the question, how would leaving the agreement
or forcing Europe or Iran to leave the agreement
and go back to enriching improve our
national security? What is a realistic expectation
of where this leads other than to
conflict or a nuclear, armed Iran? I’ve never gotten an
answer to the question. I think the the reason is there
is no good answer to that question, except a philosophical
belief that if you act tough and sound tough, that maybe good
things will follow. But the idea that this maximum
pressure campaign, which I more aptly
describe as a maximum belligerence belligerence
campaign is going to cause them to say,
okay, you got us, let’s renegotiate the
agreement that we complied with and you reneged on, that’s so
pie in the sky that proceeding down that path with no expectation of success means
that we’re just proceeding down the path where the likelihood of
conflict is that much greater. I think that’s where we are.
>>The final thing I want to ask you about before we go to
questions relates to trying to get ahead of the
efforts to use propaganda propaganda to sow
discord or disrupt our deliberative
process in America. Some of these efforts are more
sophisticated than ever, and your committee has been looking
at that, which is very interesting. One way to do this — I’m just
curious, because I wasn’t very familiar with this in scanning
your hearing schedule — how many people in the room have
heard of this term “deep face”?
Reading Pretty good room, and that’s
still a minority, and yet part of what you’re arguing is that
precisely that learning about this and having some
attitude inoculation may help us.
So what are deep fakes? What should we do it about we do
about it? And what should policy makers in
the room know?>>If I could make one last
point about Iran, the fact that this has been the wrong path for
us to leave the agreement and take these other steps, doesn’t
mean that there wasn’t another way to be tough on Iran. There
was, and there is, that would have made much more sense. Iran is a malignant, malevolent
actor, a danger to the region and to
the region and ultimately us. But if we had stayed in the
agreement and focused on their sponsorship of terror, terror proxies, and the
develop of their missile program, we would have been in unity with Europe in
containing the missile threat. But the effect of this is that
we are at odds with our allies, not
Iran. If you ask intelligence agencies
whether this was predictable, I think that’s a very important
question. If you ask them, are we safer
today than we were a year ago or two years ago, that is an
important question. And maybe a more important question than
does the intelligence tell us now we at a heightened risk of
conflict? In terms of deep fakes, back in
2016 when we were watching the Russians interfere were in real time and
dumping stolen documents, my concern was that they would dump fakes between in the
real documents, that they would take
e-mails between two Clinton people and add a fake suggesting they were
engaged in illegality. Once they were leaked to the
social media system, you would
corroborate that these two people were real people and in touch with these people, and
much of the substance of the e-mail could be
corroborated, adding credence to the fake part of the e-mail
suggesting illegality. That was my biggest fear going up to the
election. Going into the new election,
there’s this new technology called deep
fake technology that allows you to produce, very inexpensively, highly
realistic, almost indistinguishable from
real, fake audio and fake video. Which means at any time, the
Russians or anyone else could insert into
the social media ecosystem, at multiple times in multiple
places with fairly good anone anone anonomyzation, showing Joe Biden
or or Beto O’Rourke saying something they didn’t say. And you can see a video of Joe
Biden being released, and you can see
experts on TV saying, if you run this
indicia or that, this is not how Joe Biden speaks, or he’s blinking the wrong
percentage of times, or whatever, and Fox
News, they’d be saying, this is definitely
real. And then there’s the problem of
calling real news fake, which the president is already doing,
and we live in a world now where the truth is so difficult to
ascertain that people just fall back on their tribe and their political
party, and it it doesn’t matter if
something is real real anymore. There’s nothing more corrosive
to our democracy.>>That does sound terrible. Does it make you want to retire
to a beach? (Laughter.)>>No, but here’s a story of
levity. I was in your hometown last week visiting my daughter, walking in
the Upper West Side. I was wearing blue jeans and
sunglasses, and I felt unrecognizable. But I kept
getting stopped, which was irritating to my daughter.
(Laughter.) Especially when someone asked
her to hold a beer while we took a picture. She was like, what am
I, the beer holder now? After the third time I was
stopped, I turned to her and said, Alexa, I’m shocked that
people recognize me like this. Without missing a beat, she
said, well, (Laughter.) you know, dad, it’s the pencil
neck neck.>>Well, your family keeps you
grounded, always. (Applause.)
We have braef We have brief time to take
questions. Please state your name, afail
yigs affiliation, and a good rule of thumb is if it ends with
a question mark, it’s a question.
(Laughter.) Right here.
>>Congressman, thank you for your service. I’m Diane, and I started a group
called Lawyers United to support the legal groups working on the
rule of law in the country. I heard you say that you thought
that some of the progress you made this morning might have
been due to an adverse court ruling and the administration
changing their stance. I understand that you feel that
if the administration defies
Congressional subpoenas, the stakes may go up.
Do you have the sense that they would defy a court ruling, and
what would happen then?>>That’s a good question. We had a debate a week or two
ago whether or not we’re in a constitutional crisis. I think we’re at the precipice
of one. We would be in a full blown
crisis if the court pressured them to disclose documents, make witnesses
available, and the administration refused. It’s one thing pending appeal if
the court stays the ruling. But after a ruling, it violates
a court order, much like they’re
violating the constitutional obligation to Congress. They’d be now ignoring another
branch of the government. Then you have a full blown crisis.
Because how does that get resolved?
I do think those circumstances would certainly be another
grounds for impeachment. But at the end of the day, it
still leaves us asking, where is
Howard Baker? Now, to give credit, Justin Justin Demarche has more integrity than
any other GOP member in Congress. I was talking about why doesn’t
any GOP member feel the need to act like
John McCain in the House or Senate? And they said to me, if you keep
talking like that, they’ll call you chairman. I think it was brave for Justin
Demarche to do. Whether you agree or don’t agree, the fact that he was willing to risk
his seat shows a lot of courage of that conviction. And that’s
in very short supply. We all have known, I think
intwistively intuitively, that courage is
contagious. But so is cowardice. There’s been a contagion of
cowardice. If Congress won’t stand for its
power of the purse in the face of the bogus claim of emergency,
what’s the chance that we’ll defend any of the other
institutions? So I’m grateful for what Justin
Demarche has done. I hope others will find their
vois find their voice. Because what really has the
republic trembling right now is not just
the lack of character of the president of the United States
and the lack of democratic inclinations, but the fact that
one party has made itself a cult of his personality, unwilling to
stand up to him. That’s really what has our
democracy trembling.>>I want to come to the middle
here.>>Hi. I’m Mark from Philadelphia. On
the courage theme, could you give us some insights to what happened
to Rod Rosen, who seemed to be somewhat independent and courageous, and
folded. And in that theme, are similar things in your
perspective happening in the southern district or other
places where there are supposedly investigations going
on?>>It’s a very good question. During the last session of
Congress, the Republicans in Congress
sought documents in the Clinton e-mail investigation. And documents in the Muller
investigation. And they subpoenaed the Justice
Department. And the Justice Department ended up providing
over a million documents. By June of last year they sent me a letter saying that to date they
had provided 880,000 documents. That’s the same Justice
Department led by Rod Rosenstein who refused to
send the documents up until last night. When they turned over the they
refused to turn over the materials last
session, I said that. You’re setting a precedent they turned over the materials
last session, I said you’re setting a
precedent here. You can’t turn over a million
documents to a Republican Congress and then to a
Democratic Congress, cite privacy and privilege. But
that’s what he’s done? What does that mean for a career
official? James Comey came to an accurate
critique of Rosensstein, I think: He just
wasn’t strong enough. Power doesn’t corrupt. It
reveals. It reveals who you are. And I think for Bill Barr, it
has revealed who he is. For Rod Rosens terksstein, I
think it revealed who he really is. I think he wanted his job too
much, and he was willing to make accommodations to keep that job. I think in Bill Barr, when he
was serving with George Herbert
Walker Bush, when he was serving a president with character and decency, it kept
him tethered. But serving with this unethical president, he’s become
completely unat the timered untethered.>>On that, he was directly
involved in the removal of James Comey, that
was a fact witness in that part of the
probe, so soon after the report was attacking James Comey, who he helped
oversee the removal of, was that inappropriate to you when the Congress hadn’t
even finished its review of the issues?
>>I think what I found most inappropriate was that someone
who participated in one of the most important vignettes that
the special counsel wrote about might constitute the crime of
obstruction. In writing the memo that was
used as a pretext for the firing of Comey,
that he would participate in the whitewashing of the instruction,
that he would participate in Bill Barr’s
decision to say there was no obstruction here, that he would stand behind Bill Barr at that
press conference. That to me was the most
offensive and obstructive of the rule of law.>>Do you think Congress should
subpoena Mr. Rosenstein about the memo that
started the probe in a way?>>I think he should come before
our committee and the judiciary committee and we’re taking steps
in that regard.>>Now I have to ask, what are
those steps? Are you telling us today that you have requested that Rosenstein
testify before the committee?>>I’m not prepared to comment
where we are in terms of specific witnesses.
>>I feel like you kind of did. (Laughter.)
>>Well, our ordinary course of action is we request voluntary
compliance of documents and appearance. That’s forthcoming.
We’d have to subpoena.>>My last one. I don’t want to
turn it into a deposition. It’s an ideas conference.
(Laughter.) Would it be reasonable to infer
you’ve already requested a vol a
voluntary review with Mr. Rosenstein?
(Laughter.)>>This does feel like a
deposition. I do feel it’s appropriate for
him to testify before Congress and explain what are the
circumstances, among other things, under which you wrote
that memo that was used as a pretext for the firing of James
Comey? Did you know that when you were asked to write that
memo that Comey was going to be fired? Did you know when you
were asked to write that memo that Comey was going to be fired
for a reason different than the one you set out in the memo? Why
is it that you fement is it that you felt it didn’t require your
recusal from the obstruction of justice?
Did you seek ethics for an opinion? Did you follow that
opinion?>>Didn’t the report state that
he knew Trump was going to fire him and
Russia was going to do what you wanted,
and and he knew that but wrote the memo anyway?>>Well, let’s have Rosens terks
stein come before Congress and the American people and
articulate what happened, whether he disagrees
with the Muller report conclusions, disagrees with
them, and why he felt the country should have confidence
in his judgment on an issue in which he was a very important
witness.>>All very interesting forth
right answers. I see 0s here, and I want to
confirm, does that mean we’re out? I’m getting a correct from
stage right. (Laughter.)
If you’re like me, you can listen for even longer to chairman Schiff
explain much of these difficult issues around the world and the
United States with nuance. We’re out of time. I want to be respectful of the
time of the next speebs the next speakers. Join me in thanking the
Congressman for coming today.>>Thank you.
(Applause. )>>Please welcome to the stage
CAP board member Donald Sussman. (Applause.)
Joop>>Good morning, and welcome. I
have the distinct pleasure of introducing Jon Tester, the
senior senator from Montana, who distinguished
himself as being one of only three organic farmers in Congress and still drives his
own tractor and still won reelection
when Trump won his state by 20 points. I welcome Jon Tester.
(Applause.)>>Well, thank you, Donald
Sussman, for the introduction. It’s an honor to be with you all
today. As John pointed out, I am indeed
a farmer, could get in trouble for this, but it’s the truth.
The only working farmer in the United States Senate.
My wife and I — and I literally mean my wife and I — run an 1800-acre
farm in north central Montana, outside a
small town population 600. It’s the same land my
grandparents home steaded a little over a century ago, the same land my folks farmed for 35
years. Both those generations were FDR
Democrats, because they knew that without the policies of FDR,
their grandson and son, myself, would
never have had the opportunity to take that farm over. My wife and I have been married
for some — it will be 42 years this year, actually.
(Applause.) And we’ve been on the farm for
41 of those. And
And we’ve raised some pretty good commodities — I’d rather
call it food, but these particular days, commodities are better, things like peas,
wheat, oil seeds, and even children.
(Laughter.) But with our kids and grandkids
quickly becoming scattered across the
United States, it’s just the two of us. No hired men. My wife is
a hell of a woman. She can do everything that I do, and she’s
doing that now as I’m in Washington, DC.
It is planting season. We’re wrapping that up. We’ve been
racing to get the seeds in the ground between the wet
weather and the service of the United States Senate.
During planting season, we think a lot about the phrase “you reap
what you sow.” It’s a phrase that Democrats looking to connect with rural America
would be smart to heed. We hear a lot of pundits talk about
rural America and what folks in towns like Big Sandy, Montana expect
from their elected leaders. I am no pundit, but I am a
product of rural America. While my flat top hair cut or
the even number of fingers on my left-hand — the fact of the
matter is… I live by the values of rural
America. But make no mistake about it.
Those values sell in both rural America and urban America, and
it is why I believe that Montana has reelected me in
2018 after Trump won the presidential election in 2016. So what should Democrats be
sowing in rural America? My parents always said you have two
ears and one mouth, act accordingly. Politicians are
great at telling people what they should be doing. But in
rural America, you should start by listening. If you can meet
people where they are and listen, that’s a good start. Folks in rural America think
that the Democratic Party has stopped listening to them. And I can tell you there are
political consultants, maybe some in this room, that have
already pulled rural America after the electoral map. I think
that’s a huge mistake. (Applause.) And because of those things, I
think rural voters believe that all politicians, all politicians
aren’t fighting for their families or their way of life,
and they’re not listening to them. But the truth is, rural
America’s values are things like accessible health care and good paying jobs, affordable
education. Those are our values. And quite
frankly they are progressive values. They’re exactly the
values that we all need to fight for. And they’re exactly the
values that this administration has attacked time and time
again. Take health care. Number one issue in the 2018
campaign as far as concerns in rural voters’ minds across
Montana. This administration’s singular
focus has been dismantling the ACA,
dismantling rural hospitals, rolling back Medicaid expansion, which
has affected 90,000 Montanans, which
may not seem like a lot, but it’s nearly 10% of the people in
the state. I talked about my grandparents
my parents pacting the land. 50 years after that, in 1965,
the first hospital was built. Now, 50 years after the hospital
was built, the hospital faces closure because of the policies going on
in Washington, DC and this administration. There are
opportunities out there, folks, for Democrats, for progressives,
if you want to talk about health care in rural America.
Education, I would just say this. I don’t need to tell you
guys. Nothing has done more to make this country the leader of
the world than public education. (Applause.)
It is the great equalizer. It is the thing that gives everyone a
shot at the American dream. Yet this administration has done
everything within their power to try to privatize public
education. Voucherize it. Send it off and charterize it.
Do whatever you need to do. But the fact of the matter is,
instead of working to build education
and make education what it needs to be, this administration is
tearing it apart. There’s an opportunity in education in
rural America if you’ve got the right message.
College affordability. Look, my grandmother and grandfather, and I’ll put it on my
grandmother, they had four kids. Three of them were girls. One
was a boy. All three of those girls in the 1930s went to
college and got a college degree. In the 1930s.
(Applause.) Okay? They did it partially
because they thought it was really important, and they could
do it. They could afford to get off to
school. They knew how important college education was.
I went to school and the folks pretty much paid for my college
education. They had the ability that in the
1960s and ’70s they could use the
money from the farm to put myself and my brother through
school. In the 2000s, in four years, my
grand kids are going to college and my kids are going to have a
problem paying for much of that. If we’re going to have a next
generation of well trained entrepreneurs that drive this economy forward, we need to
have education that’s affordable. It’s critically
important. The other thing, and you don’t
hear a lot of Democrats talk about this, but I think it’s
important in rural America is the debt. We’re pushing $22
trillion of debt. Fiscal responsibility is important. And
we will be the first generation to inherit from our parents and
borrow from our kids. That’s not something that’s good.
We can deal with the debt. . You don’t need to be a nuclear
physicist to do it. Let me give you a couple
examples. This has no impact on working
families or small businesses. A couple months ago I was in
McAllen, Texas, getting a chance to look at the border wall on
the southern border. A border wall that’s going to
spend 24-32000000 dollars a mile, a mall that would — and I
would debate anybody on — create more problems than it’s
going to solve. A border wall that’s going to
provide security to no one.
And something that we could do with technology for literally
pennies on the dollar. So let’s start there if you you
want to start addressing some debt issues.
Let’s talk about that tax bill that was passed a while back that added
$1. 5 trillion in debt and in debt.
That’s what we should be doing. That’s smart politics, by the
way, and it’s smart politics for rural
America. Another thing thing my parents
taught me is your handshake means
something, and your word is your bond.
Trump’s handshake means nothing. He’s quick to make a promise,
even quicker to break it. 20 years ago, bankers saw him
for what he was and quit doing business with him. Over the years we’ve seen
trading partners and allies say no more. We want no more to do
anything with this dude. I think the American people will
start to see that soon too. They’ve started to see to see
the impacts of the trade war we’re
in, of ripping health care away from rural communities, and the
attempts to be tough on China just impacting
folks like me. Commodity prices are do you know
down. Folks are filing for bankruptcy
at an alarming rate. And those who make a money off the land are seeing money disappear. I will tell you in 1978, I went
over to my neighbor’s house — that’s when we took over the farm — and I said
I I have a little wheat to sell for
$3.50 for a while. Should I sell it? He said, if you need the money,
sell it. I sold it for $3.50 a bushel. A month later, I called the I called to see what it was
worth. It was $4 a bushel.
If these administrations policies continue on as they
have in the past, this is what we are up against.
I could talk about climate change, which has had amazing
impacts on my farm. But the truth is — and in administration and this
administration has completely written it off, and if we don’t
start doing something about that, you want to talk about draco
draconan actions that our kids’ generations are going to have to
take, it’s not going to be pretty.
Republicans have gone after schools and health care in rural
communities. That’s killer. You lose schools, lose health
care, it’s not if. It’s when. Your community is gone.
Progressives understand that. We have initiatives, often
bipartisan plans to drive down the prices of prescription drugs, get teachers
in schools. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep. That’s true in
rural America. Rural Americans appreciate hard
work and talking truth. Unrealistic promises like
totally free college, jobs for everyone,
don’t make sense in rural America, because you got to
figure out how to get it done, not just with words.
In my family, it’s more important to show up and be
yourself, and not be a rubber stamp. I’ll tell you that when I ran,
Trump came to my state four times. Pence came three times. . They came came so many times I
thought they were running for governor in my state.
(Laughter.) that. We talked about what’s
important in rural America. We But I didn’t waver from what
I’ve done the two terms before talked about health care. We talked about #ed indication
about education, infrastructure, even climate change.
I’ll tell you, in the end, when people went to the ballot box,
they said, you know what? We know who Jon Tester is, and
that’s who they voted for. (Applause. )
In conclusion, I would just say Democrats don’t need to call to
call rural America home to get our support. But they certainly can’t ignore
folks who live there. Come in, liv listen to the
concerns, communicate a clear, no bullshit
solution. (Laughter.)
No party has all the answers. But the fact is that Democrats
have good ones that work. (Applause.)
One last thing I’ll say, and that is if you don’t show up,
you don’t get the vote. If you’re running for the
legislature, you knock on every door. If you’re running statewide, go
to every town. I’ll tell you something that
concerns me a lot, and I think that’s why we lose elections.
When you have a legislative candidate, you get a little
clipboard and say knock on these doors. Knock on those doors over there,
knock on these doors. I think this holds true for
urban America as well as rural America. You knock on every
door. You knock on every door.
(Applause.) The folks telling you you’re
wasting your time, figure out where you can get some more
time. (Laughter.)
Because those people are important. Those are the folks that, if you
you can get them to vote for you for
you, you’ll win the election. So listen, have initiatives,
don’t be phony, guess what? We win 2020. Thank you. God bless
you all. (Applause.)
>>Please welcome to the stage CAP’s chief operations officer,
ambassador Gordon Gray. (Applause.)
>>Good afternoon. How about another round of
applause for Senator Tester?
(Applause.) We’re really grateful he could
be here today to discuss his bold suggestions for expanding
opportunity for rule communities.
Before joining CAP as its chief operating officer, I served for
30 years as a foreign service officer. During my diplomatic
career, I saw firsthand the need for reasonable policies to safe
guard our national security and promote American
values. Right now, under the erratic
direction of Donald Trump, we’re sees the democratic norms and
institutions come under attack, both here at home and throughout
the world. Fortunately, there are still
many strong, smart, and experienced
leaders who remain committed to
advancing a progressive vision for American foreign policy.
We’re so glad that three of these leaders can join us for
the next panel. Now I have the great pleasure of
introducing John Podesta, the founder of the Center for
American Progress, who will moderate the discussion. Thank
you very much. (Applause. )>>Well, good afternoon, and I
would note that it’s just under 2 and
a half years of his presidency, and President Trump has shown
little regard for U.S. ‘s traditional treaty allies,
has welcomed autocrats to the Oval
Office, had a brief love affair with the little rocket man, but there’s no
progress on denuclearizing North Korea. . He is upping the trade war
with China. And he’s diverting $6 billion of defense spending $6 million of defense spending to build a wall on the southern
border that people don’t want and experts say don’t work.
So we’ll say that foreign policy is one of the things he hasn’t
lied about. With me to discuss the
implications for American security and how progressives
should respond is a terrific group of experts who have been
on the front lines of national security policy making. Two now serve in Congress. Susan Rice served as national
security advisor to President Obama, is
now a fellow at American University
and Harvard University. Her memoir, Tough Love, comes
out in November. Elissa Slotkin el served on the NSC staff under
Presidents Bush and Obama. In November 2018, she was
elected to represent the 8th district of Michigan in
Congress. Abigail Spanberger served as a
CIA case officer. After a career in the private sector, she was elect the to represent
the 7th district in Virginia, ending a
48-year Republican hold on that district.
And they join the new majority in Congress. They’ve both served on relevant
committees. So I want to start by talking a
little bit about today’s hot spots, and
maybe begin with Iran. Susan, you were at the center of President Obama’s Iran policy
from the very beginning of engagement in
2009 to the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal. The Trump
administration has obviously pulled out of there agreement of
that agreement. Yesterday, Secretary of State
Pompeo and acting Secretary of Defense Secretary of Defense Shanahan were on the
Hill, and I want representatives to talk about that too.
Let me begin with you, Susan. They were discussing the
increased Iranian threat. And some people saw that as a
prelude to potential military action, military conflict with
Iran. How concerned are you right now with where we stand
with respect to the Iranian threat, and what do you
see the actions that the United States needs to take at this
moment?>>Well, good afternoon,
everyone, and John, thank you for hosting us. It’s good to be
back. It’s great to be with these two wonderful women
members of Congress who are doing such an exceptional job of
providing leadership throughout the Democratic caucus and
particularly in the freshman class. I am very concerned about what’s
going on with respect to Iran for a number of reasons.
One, the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and to put on crippling sanctions
unilaterally, alienating our allies and
driving Iran to a place where, after a year
of pressure, it is likely to come
to the conclusion that the benefits of staying in the
nuclear deal are outweighed by the downsides, and
thus, a deal that had effectively
constrained Iran’s nuclear ambitions, cut
off every pathway to a nuclear weapon, verifiably so, as
validated by our intelligence community, DOD, the
international atomic energy agency, is likely to fall apart.
And the constraints on Iran’s nuclear program will be lifted
without the attending benefits that the administration sought
by pulling out of the deal, ie, a reduction in
Iran’s support for terrorism vg,
dealing with its missile program, its
nefarious behavior in the region, all of
which are real, but even more real in the context of Iran
developing a nuclear weapon. Second, and I don’t say this
lightly, I say it with concern and regret. There are some
within the administration and senior
positions who really seem intent on trying to provoke a conflict with Iran or cause
Iran to take steps that give them some justification for
military action, whether initiated by the U.S. , or initiated by one of our
partners in the region and then backed up by the U.S.
I think this is a very dangerous situation for the U.S. , for all the the president’s professed
reluctance to conflict — he has dispatched a
great quantity of military assets to the region.
I don’t doubt the reality that there may be an increased threat from an
Iranian backed militia, we’ve seen that before. Whatever the
level of threat now, I think we risk miscalculation and
an inadvertent conflict by virtue of everyone being on high
alert and our own red lines being very blurry.
I think this is a very dangerous moment. I’m concerned that we
may end up in a conflict that the American people don’t want
and that doesn’t serve our national interests.>>Congresswoman Slotkin, you
serve on the house armed services committee. Are we headed towards a military
confrontation in Iran?>>Obviously the briefing was
classified. But I think that if you and I can’t understand what
the strategy is, there’s no way the Iranians do. So we hear from
the president that he doesn’t want war, that he cares only
about the nuclear file, but then over the weekend, threatens to
essentially wipe Iran off the map.
John John Bolton has literally
written about regime change his entire adult life in Iran. You
have to go with what he’s written. And secretary Pompeo has his 12 point plan that explains
what he’s working on in Iran. So I think it’s difficult to
determine if it’s regime change, deterrence, and attempt to look
strong, whatever. So Iran wouldn’t understand it
either. Combined with the risk, I do
think we’re at risk of a real inadvertent
crisis, and it’s one that would
potentially start small like in 2016 when
sailors lost power, drifted, and
Iranians picked them up. You’ve seen how they can be solved
quickly when you have diplomatic channels to the Iranians, and
this administration has systematically cut off channels. So what would be a relatively
manageable sninlt could be a serious incident that escalates
and both sides back themselves into a corner with higher and
higher levels of conflict. I think what we’re hearing from
Iranians would be disturbing to any administration. But I think
we’ve lost the ability to tell what’s offensive, what’s
defensive, what’s a reaction, and what’s a powder keg for an inadvertent incidence.>>Congresswoman, do you want to
say something?>>I agree with my colleague. If we don’t understand on a
daily basis where the administration is taking us,
from an Iranian perspective, how are they to know? I think Elissa’s point is really
well made. Whether or not it’s intentional, we’re creating such
a frenetic space where there appears to be zero
strategy, and that’s just a recipe for disaster. Ideally,
we’ll continue to not see that type of disaster. But as the
example she gave, that was an accident that was resolved
quickly and diplomatically. If we don’t have the ability and
the channel to do that in the event that something occurs
again, I think it’s a really challenging time.>>Let me ask a question that
maybe just requires speculation, which is, Susan raised the question of whether
the president Abraham president
carried the crew into the gulf, sent B52s
over, he seems to say John Bolton has
gotten ahead of him. What do you think is going on in the White House, with respect to who
is on first calling the chot the shots
with Iran?>>First of all, it seems
inconceivable to me even in this administration that the
president didn’t send the assets. That would be unthinkable to me,
but that would be a breakdown of the process even bigger than
what I’m aware of today. But the other thing is that
there seems to be no national security decision making
process. There are no thoughtful well
planned meetings of the national Security Council to weigh the
costs and benefits of these very complicated decisions. It seems
that the national security advisor is is hoarding a lot of
the decision making and information, keeping the process
to a minimum, which I this is, whether it’s designed to,
has the benefit of enhancing his
authority over what happens. There just doesn’t seem to be
the normal normal transparent
decision making process inter-agency. That’s concerning in not only
Iran, but a range of issues.>>Congress woman Slotkin, you’ve served a
Republican and Democratic president. Does this seem aberrant to you? What do you
think is happening in the White House today?>>I think it’s clear that this
is pretty different from the last 6
years the last 60 years –>>Does process matter?
>>Yes. I was there the last day Bush
was in office and the first day Obama
came in. So Dr. Pepper is in the drink cart in
the room. (Laughter.) That’s President Obama, not
Bush. But the behemoth that is the
U.S. government, on a good day, is hard to get your to get arms around and
figure out if you’re all on the same
page on an issue. A bad day is just Yosemite Sam
popping off a number of ideas, not strategy. And it’s just a
bad time to be popping off different ideas. Yes, process
matters.>>Let’s shift world scenes and
go on to China. I want to ask you a couple
questions about that. Geswoman, that. We’ve had that. The problem now seems to be
ratcheting up pressure on Chinese
companies, and sanctions in particular. Now we read in the paper this
morning that they’re thinking about
sanctioning facial recognition technology. What do you think is
going on? Is the administration actually
pursuing the right policies there? How do you assess the threat
emanating both — not from an economic
perspective, but also from a security perspective?>>I feel like Ellisa ”s Yosemite Sam example might
again be appropriate. One issue the committee is
looking at, long term, strategically, is China’s engagement in Africa, Latin
America, Eastern Europe, and Europe? And And how does the United
States position itself recognizing that challenge? I
think part of that conversation is, what is our strategy, as
we’re continuing to antagonize NATO
allies and European allies and allies writ language across the
globe? How are we strategizing a long
term relationship with then with them
where we can use that friendship and partnership to counter the challenge that choin that
China presents? I would argue that we’re not
utilizing those strategic alliances or partnerships. Also when we look at China’s
long term investment in infrastructure throughout the
world, and investment in things like education back home — the
reason we’re talking about 5G technology, by
the way, is because domestically we’re not pursuing to the same
level the Chinese are, or to a level that keeps us
monumentally, aggressively competitive in our domestic
education. And that’s from the time a child
enters preschool up through college.
So when we looking at the fact that you look at the strategy
behind China’s development and efforts to grow its influence in
the world. They’re looking at 20, 50, 100-year chunks of time.
And we’re far too often reactive.
So I think that the conversations we’re trying to
have and push are, how can we look at our long term strategy? And relative specifically to 5G
technology, for example, and the concerns that those technologies
may allow Chinese military or intelligence agencies to access
information about U.S. consumers or consumers throughout Europe or other allied
nations… we’ve been talking a lot about it, but we need to
take action. And actually, Elissa and I
introduced a bill yesterday called the Secure
35G and Beyond act, requiring the president to come out with a
plan in the future to ensure that technology that’s being
developed doesn’t have the weaknesses that will make
American consumers vulnerable and make it so that American
companies can’t compete. So to answer your question,
we’ve got to have a long term strategic view
point, and actually start taking action on the immediate threats
and concerns that we have.>>.>>Congresswoman Slotkin, the
recently released report on China made some of the points Congresswoman
Spanberger made about our portfolio, energy,
education, and infrastructure being really key to compete in
the 21st century. Do you agree with that? Do you want to say
more about the bill that you just introduced?
>>Sure. It was actually Abigail’s bill. The members who work on foreign
service in Congress — there are 9 of us
who are either veterans or in service,
and we all hang out, and there’s a
subset of women who are, in at least in my (Laughter.)
Some people don’t like that district — called the badass
women. language, sorry. But we ping-pong about
legislature that we do and don’t like. We heard today that the
president cancelled the meeting with Nancy
Pelosi on infrastructure at the same time that the Chinese are
investing billions in their own infrastructure. Our education is
going the wrong direction. In Michigan, unfortunately,
we’ve we’ve gone from being top 10 in the country to bottom 10.
While the Chinese are investing billions in education.
I think they just frame the strategy, the question, differently, and
we’re constantly on your heels. I haven’t read the report. I’ll
put it on the list.>>It’s good reading, I tell
you. Susan, you and I worked together
on climate change. We had some success with China on that question, on getting them to do
more, etc. But President Obama has been
criticized for maybe not being tough enough on some of these
economic questions. . How would you assess the role
that the economy played in trying to
develop a relationship with President Xi? Would you do
anything differently over again?>>As President Obama often
said, the U.S. -China relationship is the most
complex and consequential in the world. The ways we’re now intertwined
in terms of economically, the global security issues we have
to deal with, makes it a very complex relationship to
manage. I actually think that we managed
it rather well, given that we were
able to find significant areas of cooperation, and those areas
where we have to compete, which which are serious
on the economic and security front, we competed effectively
and with confidence with the backing of our friends and
allies in Europe and Asia. John, you deserve an enormous
amount of credit for the progress we made with China on
climate change, without which we would not have have the the
Paris agreement. (Applause.)
But it goes beyond that. We were able to work effectively with China on nuclear security,
locking down materials that would otherwise be vulnerable to
terrorists in the world. And on a wide span of global
health security issues. If you’re worried about a
potential pandemic flu or Zika, it’s an approximate concern. We were able to work with China
on the Iran deal, the multilateral agenda. At the same time, we were
engaged in fierce competition over things
like their cyber theft. But rather get into a trade war,
an economic conflict over something like that, through the
effective threat of use of sanctions, not the
application of sanctions, we were able to get China to sign on to some prescriptions
about cyber theft, which they adhered
to until they got into the economic conflict with President
Trump. The thing with China is, yes,
this is a serious competitor, as Abigail
and Elissa said. We have to have a long term
strategy. We need to do it in conjunction with our partners
and allies. We need to do better on the domestic side,
absolutely. That means when you’re dealing
with a China that puts every aspect of its hugely powerful
government and society behind any economic endeavor,
and we can’t get Google to cooperate with the U.S. government on a small, low-level project maven, we’re in trouble, because
we represent effectively the cooperation between the
government, the private sector, and universities that
were so instrumental to us acting effectively during the
Cold War. We have to get our house in
order. The fact that we don’t have a 5G competitor in the mix is on us. Going forward, John, we have to
take the China case seriously. What we’ve seen before, and see
now, is China’s rise is going on an
exponential curve. It started like this, and now it’s going up
faster. We have to deal with that. But we need to deal with it
without making conflict inevitable. I know from discussions with
members of the administration that there’s
at least a subset of, at a senior level,
that takes the view that conflict with China is inevitable, and we might as
well have it sooner rather than later when
our relative strength greater. That’s literally one mindset
within the administration. Whether it’s economic conflict,
or physical conflict, that’s a scary perspective. It’s not, in my view, the way we
need to go or ought to go.>>You want to weigh in on this?
>>I want to say something about climate change, because we’re in
a roomful some of the great minds on foreign policy, and as
someone who represents Michigan, I think there’s a mismerception
there’s a misperception that the middle of the country doesn’t care about
climate change, that’s a coastal problem. But I will tell you, the most
bipartisan issue in my state is the protection of the lakes and
local environment. The view on climate is changing.
It’s changing in the heartland. For me, you tell a cherry farmer
that there may, someday, not be a
certain number of hard freeze days, he
won’t have cherries on his tree. I think about that.
Then I come to the armed services committee, and I see people
proposing legislation that would make the military do something
about climate change. That’s change.
But young people need to change the conversation and think about
environmental security the way we think about homeland
security. It’s literally about the safety of our kids and preserving our way of
life. We need to talk about it in
muscular terms. It’s not a niche issue for environmentalists. I live 15 minutes from Flint,
Michigan. You’re more likely in Michigan to hand your child a cup of water that
will cause early cancer or a learning disability than you ever will be
the victim of a terrorist attack.
So now is the time to talk in muscular terms, (Applause.) not squeamish about the
environment.>>I want to switch to talking
about Russia. The intel community tells us
that the Russians haven’t stopped, they’re going to be
back in 2020. Donald Trump sort of denies that for reasons we
can speculate about. Are we doing enough to protect our
democracy when it comes to the 2020 election? Maybe Congresswoman Spanberger,
we’ll start with you.>>An important point is they
never stopped. The influence efforts that they have
endeavored to undertake on social media, they’ve never
stopped. They continue to work to sow
division, to recognize what our #1rub89
our our #1rub89 our vulnerabilities are
as a people and seek to exploit that,
and continue. When we talk about the Muller
report, about Russian Russian
interference, people think about it in binary terms. Did it
affect the election? Yes or no. That’s not helpful for us in our
districts to think about the fact that we were attacked. A foreign adversary nation did
and continues to do so — stole from us and used that
information against us. They hacked a major political party.
They hacked a presidential campaign. If you look at it in terms of,
if they did it there, what’s next? An electrical grid grid? A
major bank? These vital to the conversation.
Do I think we’re doing enough? No. That’s the honest answer
there. Elissa and I are engaged in an
effort because we don’t think we’re doing enough. We have a
bipartisan group of law makers together seeking to identify the
problem and identify solutions. So stay tuned for that effort. But, no, and I think part of the problem is defining it better so
people can understand and di digest what’s happening, and
making sure we engage with the tools that they’re using.
They’re exploiting social media, which seems like a safe place
where you share pictures of your kids. And recognizing, I think it’s
hard for people to understand and accept that they might have
been influenced. Recognizing the tactics they’re taking on the
influence side of it is vitally important. How do we strengthen
ourselves against that, build that resiliencity
where we look for fact and truth without saying, this validates my preexisting
opinion, therefore I’m going to consume this?
I don’t think we’re doing enough. From a legislative
perspective, we also need to be sure that foreign
actors can’t buy ads the same we do in an election. I lost
count of the number of times I said, paid by Abigail
Spanberger. So people know where the ad is coming from. The fact
that people don’t know when ads are coming from foreign entities
is problematic. We’re working on getting that clarity, but it’s a
long process.>>Susan, I want you to answer
that question too. But I want to put it in context. They’re not
just playing around here. They’re playing around in
Europe. European parliamentary
elections, we’ve seen rises of pro-Russia, right
wing populist parties, sometimes with the helps of Russia. How
concerned are you about Russian influence here and more
globally, in terms of interfering with democratic
processes?>>I’m concerned about both. But what we’ve seen in Europe,
at least in some places, is a greater
willingness of leadership and the ability to call it out and
put it on front street, which is what happened again today in
highlighting the connections between Bannon, Russia, and all these
efforts to sow division within Europe.
We don’t have that here. We have a president who, as you
would say, is trying to sweep this
issue under a rug. And And his party in Congress,
which knows better, and ought to understand that, you know, what
goes around comes around, this is not Russia on
behalf of the Republican Party, this is Russia screwing with our democracy and
can flip the tables and undermine an election at any
level in our system against either party. We’re not handling
it effectively. I think everything Abigail said is
right. We need to do multiple things
simultaneously. One is the physical infrastructure of our
election systems, ensuring that they are as impenetrable as possible,
that they have paper backups, that the mechanics of the election are imper I havous imper vious to external
infiltration. Second, making surely sure that media companies are
not a vehicle. Tech companies have discussed
this, and there’s more to go, absolutely. Thirdlyly, it’s on us to
recognize that this is the new normal, that Russian adversaries
are going to continue to try to undermine our democratic institutions, and sow
intentional division and dissent. We need to prepare for
that practically and psychologically. But we also
have to understand that we are, in some ways, our own worst
enemy. To the extent that we are
increasingly a polarized, divides country
divided country, where we view things in an us versus them term, where we’re
setting up an environment that is ripe for abuse by any
external adversary. It’s one thing for Facebook to
buy ads on both sides of of the Charlottesville debate,
pitting Black Lives Matter activists against white nationalists it’s another
thing thing for us to let that happen because the national
discourse is so poisoned and broken. That’s on us to fix, not anyone
else. One thing I’ll say in the bad
news picture is this is something we have the ability to
address if we were so motivated.>>I’m going to open things up
to a couple questions. We have a couple minutes to ask questions.
I think people have mics. Before we do that, though, I want to
ask one last question, which is, all of you have succeeded in what is
really a male-dominated profession. I want to ask you what advice
you have to other women coming up who want a career in the
national security field. Maybe — I’m going to end with
to end with Susan because she wrote a
whole book about this. (Laughter.)>>It starts with being
fearless, with believing that your voice, your thoughts, and
your energy can be useful to the mission that you’re serving. Then to be to be fearless.
Certainly serving in the CIA is different from running a
political campaign, but both require that you believe so deeply in what during
in the day to day and the larger
strategy that you’re fighting for, that it drives you to be
fearless, and it should.>>I would echo that, but I
would also say, in my experience in the CI in the CIA, the Pentagon, and
now in Congress — and people forget because there are so many so many women (Laughter.) in Congress that it’s a whopping
22%. But I have found that attempts
to disengage or dismiss me would be
much harder because I knew my stuff. When I meet women who say, how
do I be more confident in these tough
fields? Pick something that you love, master it, sit at the table, refuse to
sit in the back, and let your expertise speak for itself. Your
brain and your own self-consciousness are something
to be managed and dealt with that’s inside. Deal with it. And
get yourself at the table.>>So, Tough Love?>>So, the book that will be
coming out is a memoir, and it’s very much
the story of my parents and my
grandparents, my upbringing, and ultimately my
experience in government. But it’s allowed me to reflect a
lot on what I learned from my late parents, themselves
accomplished professionals. It’s interesting, because both
what Abigail and Elissa said are among what they taught me. You You got to bring yourself,
get in the game in every classroom, board room, the
situation room. You can’t slack. So quality is number one.
Fearlessness, of course, yes. But my parents put it to me a
little bit differently. Which is, my father always used
to say: Don’t take crap out of anyone. By that he meant don’t let
anybody dismiss you or discount you. You got to know when to come
back in your own defense, when to talk into the room confident,
and if somebody tries to put you down, you don’t take it. They also taught me that I
should never let bigotry, racism, or sexism
be my problem. Let it be the problem of the
bigot. By which they meant, if I
allowed other people’s prejudices about me,
for whatever reason, to get into my head, to influence how I
think about myself, to limit my own sense of potential
or ability, then the bigot has won.
And I’ve defeated myself. So if somebody else is coming to
the table with their own insecurities and biases, that’s
their problem. It’s not mine. And as hard as that might seem,
or even as counterintuitive as it might
seem, that’s served me very well. I don’t spend time
worrying about, is somebody going to give me a hard time
because I’m African-American, or because I’m a woman, or because
I’m short, or because at one point I was a
28-year-old in the room with 50-year-olds? You just bring
your best and you don’t let it get in your head.
>>That’s fantastic. Thank you. We’re all looking forward to
buying and reading the book. (Applause.)
It’s important not just to read it, but to buy it.
All right. Question from the audience? I’m having a hard time
seeing… do we have a mic? Go ahead and identify yourself and
please ask a question.>>Hi, I’m from Public Citizen.
Thank you all for being here. Wondering about election
security approaches. There’s a desperate need for resources in the states to be able to buy
paper based ballot systems. What are the odds — Dems have
made it a priority in HR1 and more. What are the odds of getting
funding to the states before 2020?>>I can speak to it, because we
passed it in HR1. A huge section of HR1 is all on
election security. It’s kind of a wish list of everything we would want to protect our
democracy, protect our systems. Didn’t include resources so it’s
hard to say what’s going to come to state.
We’ve unfortunately broken off the pieces on security and put
them through the homeland security committee, with the
addition of an authorization for funds for the states,
acknowledging that they just can’t do this without
money for it. I think that will pass, again, in a bipartisan way
through committee. I think it will once again pass the House.
And then we have to do what we have to the been doing for those who are
Democrats in the room, which is putting a spotlight on Mitch
McConnell for the many, many months he hasn’t taken up these
important bills. (Applause.)
We aren’t asking that every one pass. We’re asking them to get
taken up to the system of our democracy moves.
Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of faith that these bills will be
taken up, but that’s where you come in and
putting serious pressure on would help.
>>I second everything Elissa said. I would add that knowledge
is power. I had a bill, and Elissa
co-sponsored, and she had good bills that I co-sponsored as well, but the
idea is that knowledge is power, and
states may have threats they’re not even aware of. This would require states to be provided a threat assessment 180
days before the election. Our governor recognized that he
wasn’t sure if there would be
weaknesses to our system. He hired hackers to hack the
system. They hacked the system within 10
minutes. There was no evidence that anything ever actually
happened to the system, but he was worried about the weakness, and in the commonwealth we
started the initiative to switch to a paper ballot. So in terms of resource, states
can take those steps, but the federal government needs to take
the role if they don’t have the resources to identify the
threat, to know the threat, and protect themselves once it’s
identified.>>One more?
>>I’m Ken Miller. There’s been suggestions made in
the public discourse that the president might be a Russian
asset. But no one’s calling that out. To what extent do you think
he was recruited as a Russian asset, is a Russian asset, and
how is that possibility reverberating through the
intelligence community? (Laughter.)
Since I’m the only one who’s not>>I think I’m going to take
that. an elected official up here.
(Laughter. ) Look. I think there are a lot of
questions that remain unanswered that I find concerning. I’m not prepared to speculate
that the president is a Russian asset. I think that, you know, his
financial ties, his prior history, prior
to coming into office, all those things are worthy of further
exploration, and I think, you know, we can’t rule anything
out. But I don’t think it’s healthy to, frankly, speculate on something
on something of that degree of gravity without the evidence to
back it up.>>I’ll just add one word, which
is the president likes to say that he never invested in
Russia, but the Russians sure invested in him.
(Laughter.) Okay. We have time for maybe one
last question.>>I’m from sil Silicon Valley
and Washington, DC. Wanted to know your perspective
on the epidemic of fake news and how it’s affecting national
security.>>I like how you say you’re
just here from Silicon Valley. (Laughter.)
So, yeah, this is a huge Just representing the whole
valley. concern, and obviously Michigan
was particularly targeted with a lot of the
Russian ads in the last election. So I spent a lot of time looking
at those ads and how they were targeted. But, separate from that, I do
think that people are losing faith in the way that they get
their news. I even see this seeping into
places like academia. I represent Michigan State
University. I’ve done open forums there
where a master’s student asked, how do
you get smart on issues? I said I’ll go to trusted
sources online and ask smart people. He said, how do you know that
those sources are true? And this young person feels like
he has to question every source, many,
many of them legitimate, before he can actually take it as fact. And that’s scary. Right? That’s
scary. Similarly, now, we’ve stovepiped
so deeply — we see this in my
district distinctly — where anything
from another stovepipe is dismissed out of hand. We used
to watch the nightly news during family dinner, Tom
Brokaw, no one was allowed to talk when Tom was talking. We no
longer have that experience anymore. So my experience on the
campaign trail is you’re talking to people who are just
absolutely resistant to hearing something that breaks through
their sense of the world. And that was very, very difficult
and very, very discouraging.>>In addition to the problem as
Elissa described it, I think there’s another aspect to it. Yes, we’re all still we’re all
stovepiped and the problem of how we consume information is a
serious challenge. But our national security is
threatened even more now, quite frankly, by having a liar in the
White House. The fact of the matter is the president stands
up every day and says something that the entire world knows is
blatantly untrue. Utterly counterfactual. And has no compuncion, while he denigrates and calls the enemy
of the people the free press, which is a cornerstone
institution of our democracy. I think that, on top of what
Elissa described, is corroding public
trust in our leadership, in our institutions, it’s corroding international
confidence in the United States as a global leader. And I think
one of the things that we need to be to be conscious of as we
think of how we decision out of this trust deficit
internationally, and leadership deficit, is the value of having,
again, somebody in the White House and at the podium whose
word can be taken seriously..>>Unfortunately, we are out of
time, but please join me in thanking these great security
leaders. (Applause.) I’ll sleep better at night
knowing that they’re on the bridge.
Thanks. (Applause. )>>Please welcome to the stage,
Speaker of the House flaens Nancy Nancy
Pelosi, and Neera Tanden. (Applause. )>>It is my absolute privilege
to welcome our very specific guest, Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi. Let’s just do one more round.
(Applause. ) Speaker Pelosi is the highest
ranking woman ever to hold elected office in American
history. (Applause.) And she’s one of the smartest,
toughest, and most effective public servants our country has
ever known. This past weekend, Speaker
Pelosi also received the John F Kennedy
profile in courage word for her incredible leadership.
(Applause.) And we’re incredibly grateful to
have her here today. Let me start out. There was some news today.
(Laughter.) You were supposed to meet with
the president this morning on infrastructure, but that meeting
didn’t really happen, as I understand it from Twitter and
the news and cable. Can you tell us what happened and what your
thoughts are on that meeting or lack thereof?>>I’m happy to convey my
impression of what happened this morning, but not before I thank you, Neera, for
your incredible leadership, and CAP
for ideas. It’s a big word. It means so much. Unfortunately,
the difference that we have between the executive and legislative branch, in our House
anyway, is ideas based on fact, science,
truth, evidence. Did I say data? (Laughter.)
So we’ll have different interpretations of what
happened. But here’s the thing. Let’s salute CAP, and Neera, for
her great achievement. (Applause.)
. Aren’t you impressed with our freshman members of Congress?
(Applause.) And I know Adam Schiff earlier,
so proud of his work. When In Congress in 1976, there was a
big transformational class of members of Congress. It was
fantastic. Fantastic. People have compared this class, in terms of size and depth and
energy and enthusiasm and entrepreneurship and all the
rest — diversity — as a similar class. The reason I bring it up is, in
1976, when they came, not one of those freshmen got a gavel and chaired
a subcommittee in the first year. In this freshman class, 18
chairs of subcommittees. (Applause.)
We view that as something spectacular. 10 women. Where’s
Stephanie? (Laughter.)
Thank you, Stephanie, for helping me make that happen.
And 8 men. This is remarkable. To think
that the woman who is among the first — I know you heard from
Sharice this morning, she’s wonderful, and Deb, who is one of the other
first Native American women to come to Congress — Deb Hal Deb Holland
is now one of the chairs of the
subcommittee, and that’s a big deal.
106 women in the Congress. 91 of them Democrats.
(Applause.) 60% of the% of our caucus women,
people of color, LGBTQ. 60% of our caucus. We’re very thrilled.
We wish the other side would have some diversity.
(Laughter.) But, having said that, we say in
our caucus, our diversity is our
strength. . Our unity is our power.
(Applause.) And that power is recognized —
to get to your question — by this president of the United
States. He knows that we will act
together. Whatever our difference
differences on one thing or another, when it comes to it, we build our consensus, and
we make our plan, and we go forward together. So this morning, we went to the
White House, hopeful that the
president would participate in the conversation. The conversation was to be about
infrastructure. We shared our priorities in a previous
meeting. We came to some agreement — $2
trillion — to how it would be divided — 80% federal, 20% local. In any event, today was the day
he was supposed to tell us what he would be willing to support
and pay for for all of that. Instead, in an orchestrated
almost to an “oh, poor baby” point of view,
he came into the room and said that I said that he was engaged in a cover-up and
he couldn’t possibly engage in a conversation on infrastructure
as long as we are investigating him.
Now, we’ve been investigating him since we took the majority.
So it has nothing to do with that.
But — and then he had a press conference in the Rose Garden
with all these sort of visuals that obviously were planned long before I said
most currently that he was engaged in a cover-up.
So it’s really sad. Here’s the thing. And I told this to the room. He
came in and made that statement and then he walked out. Got the secretary of the
treasury, this, that, the other thing, a distinguished group of
members of the House and Senate Democrats. 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson
tasked his Secretary of the Treasury to develop an infrastructure initiative
that would develop the Louisiana purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Erie Canal, the Cumberland
road, all those things. And 100 years later, Teddy
Roosevelt rolled out his infrastructure
initiative for America. I said to the room, we want to
give this president the chance to do something historic for his
country. And basically what he’s saying back to me is, we can’t
meet if you’re investigating me. But the fact is, something
happened there. So I pray for him, and I pray
for the United States of mrk for the United States of America.
It’s really — he walked away. Whether he ever intended to
honor what he said before remains to be
seen. But Democrats believe in building infrastructure of our country,
mass transit, roads, bridges,
broadband to rural America and to underserved areas in our
cities. Clean water. Infrastructure of satellites so
we have precision. There are so many needs. And we thought we
had some level of agreement. But you never know with this
president of the United States. So that’s what happened this
morning. It was very, very, very strange.
(Laughter.) But the press says to me, were
you surprised? And I said — I say to you —
surprised? Nobody could ever be surprised
with anything that happens. (Laughter.)>>As a follow-up to that, can I
just ask you, why do you think you in particular seem to have so much
leverage or ability to drive Donald Trump to
this level of distraction, to run out
of an infrastructure meeting? (Laughter.)
He actually hasn’t come up with a nickname.
(Laughter.) Why do you think if you have
done what others haven’t been able to do, which is throw him
so off-balance…>>Well, I think — I alluded to
it earlier when I transitioned to your question — he recognizes the
unity of our caucus. And that is a very big deal. Because he
isn’t about that. You know? He’s not about consensus — and
also, people on his side of the aisle, he didn’t see that kind
of unity. So I think he sees the fact that
we are that we are united as something that he has to contend with, to deal
with, and that is, as the leader of the House Democrats, Speaker
of the House, he has to deal with me officially. Put with
also. But also in terms of negotiating
with with a leader of the party. That unity gives me leverage.
>>Another busy day. A lot of important meetings.
Obviously the issue of the investigations. And what you
said. You know, that he’s engaged in a
cover-up, is top of news. You’ve eloquently laid out the
constitutional role of Congress in oversight over the executive
branch. With a Trump administration that is defying
and trying to defy the subpoenas and fighting every effort to
hold him accountable, how does Congress fulfill this overright role moving
forward, and what do you say to those who
believe an impeachment inquiry will give
what you what Congress what it needs to
hold him accountable?>>That’s a big question.
(Laughter.) I know you heard from Adam
Schiff, who is help leading the way on what we’re doing.
First, we take an oath of office to protect the Constitution of
the United States. Democrats take that oath
seriously, and we’re committed to honoring that oath of office. I’m not sure that our Reb that
our Republican colleagues share that commitment, and I’m not
sure the president of the United States does too.
So in light of the fact that the beauty of the Constitution is a
system of checks and balances to to three co-mingled branches of
government, a check on each other. The Constitution spells out the
duties of Congress, and one of them is oversight of the president of
the United States. Another one is to impeach the president of
the United States. So let me be as brief and
succinct as possible in this regard. You have 6 chairman. Adam Schiff, you heard this
morning, is having success getting documents from the
Justice Department based on actions the committee has taken. You have Elijah Cummings, chair
of the government reform committee, getting a key decision, the Maiser
decision, which clearly spells out that it’s
Congress’s’s duty and right to investigate the other branches
of government. It’s also not our case, but it
falls into his domain, the case.
That’s the second committee. Third you have the committee of
which Maxine Waters is the chair. She has #4r5id has laid out a
series of indictments of when the
administration wouldn’t answer her questions because she was a
member of the minority. And now she’s the chair of the
committee, the majority. We have a case with with Deut
Deutsche Bank in court in New York right
now, and we think we’ll win that case. So the chairs are reaping
benefits, and more to come from those committees. Then we have the chair of the
judiciary committee, which has the
overarching impeachment responsibility, and what they’re doing, what the
subpoenas, where we might go with contempt of Congress and
the rest of it there. But in order to have an investigation
of any kind, if you want to call it impeachment or whatever, you
have to have the subpoena. You have to go to court. You have to
develop your case. Then we have the Ritchie Neil,
chair of ways and means committee. The law could not be clearer. The IRS shall turn over the
documents to the chairman of the ways and means committee. So we feel that we’ll be in
strong — that’s the clearest possible case. Then one more is foreign
affairs, which has hours of testimony from
Secretary Tille Tillorson — but I’ve been out
this morning, so I haven’t heard the results of that.
Government documents. We’ve won that case. Two, actually.
Financial services. We’re in court now, and this is
a very good case for us. All built on investigation.
Ways and means. And again. The judiciary committee.
So we’re very proud of the work that our leadership on those
committees, the work that they have done, and they have taken
us to a place where we get more information to predicate the
next series of actions. But this is why I think the
president was so steamed off this morning. Because the fact is, in plain
sight, in the public domain, this
president is obstructing justice, and he’s engaged in a
cover-up. And that could be an impeachable
offense. (Applause.) Ignoring the subpoenas of
Congress was article III of the Nixon
impeachment. Article III. He did not honor the subpoenas of
Congress. So it’s not just the substance
that we’re after and we want to have
to keep to get the truth to the American people. But in striving to get that, the intervention, the
obstruction that the administration is engaged
in, is, as they say… the cover-up is frequently worse
than the crime..>>Very true. I think there was
an interesting paradox, because there’s a lot
of people who talk in the press about some
of the issues of impeaching or not
impeaching, because an impeachment could cloud the
agenda. I think the paradox of that is
sometimes reporters don’t cover the agenda.
I think that’s actually happening. And these issues get much more
coverage. I think when you look at the
last several weeks of the new House,
I think it would be interesting to talk maybe a little bit about what has passed
so far, because it’s a reminder that actually the Congress has
been busy passing bills. These committees are very busy and
that’s extremely important. Oversight is a constitutional
responsibility. But issues of concern of concern
to voters in their everyday lives are also issues.
So perhaps if you could speak as a Speaker on the legislative
agenda so far.>>Thank you, thank you, thank
you for that question. (Laughter.) When we ran, we promised an
agenda for the people. Lower health care costs by reducing
the cost of prescription drugs and strengthening the benefit to
protect people with preexisting conditions. Lower health care
costs. Bigger paychecks by building the infrastructure of
America in a green way, resilient and for the future.
And third, cleaner government. HR1, which we had passed in the
House. And pieces of it, like the
voting rights Act the voting rights
Act, will come separately. But here’s the thing. We had our top 10, the first 10
pieces of legislation are the
prerogative of the majority. One, for the people, passed the
House. Infrastructure bill, we were working on that today.
Prescription drug bill, we have passed several last week. Voting rights advancement Act,
as part of HR1, but it has its own place
because we need to build the
constitutional basis stronger for it. The equality Act. We are so proud to have passed
that last week. Dream and promise act, we’re marking up
today. Soon as that happens, we’ll pass
. Paycheck fairness act. Common sense background checks
passed the House. Climate act now, that’s HR9,
passed the House May 2nd. The climate issue and the
overarching issue of climate and ending the
disparity of income equity in America drives most of the rest
of the agenda. They’re all in furtherance of
that. I want you to join a club that
I’m starting. It’s called the “too hot to
handle” club. (Laughter.)
(Laughter.) Mitch McConnell says he’s the
grim reaper, he’s going to kill every bill that goes over there.
We have news for him. These bills are alive and well with
the public. They’re They’re needed, and
they’re alive. (Applause.)
Our hope is that the outside mobilization that many of you
are engaged in, to say to the Senate, take up these bills.
What are you afraid of? What they’re afraid of is they will
pass. And since they’re hand maidens
of the gun industry and fossil fuel industry and the pharmaceutical industry,
they don’t want any of these to pass. But, again, public
sentiment is everything. Abraham Lincoln. With it, you can publish
practically anything, without it, practically nothing. We are putting our faith in the
advocacy of grassroots — that’s what we did with the Affordable Care Act — which
we’re trying to protect in court now
— but save from them with 10,000 events across the
country. So outside mobilization is essential. The strength of that is what
would make us too hot to handle. That’s when you get can to the
pot holder, those mittens — (Laughter.)
Those mittens to send to our supporters who are involved in
making it too hot for them to handle.
(Applause.)>>We’re running out of time. I
just have two quick questions. One is a very quick follow-up to
that. One is people cite how little
the Senate is doing. So when the House is passing these bills, the Senate has mostly
been doing nominations, not legislation. And in addition to
the too hot to handle line, are there things that this room and
people who are paying attention online and elsewhere can focus
on actually doing with their senators, maybe some of the
senators who have claimed to be moderate in the past?
>>Well, actually, this whole list that I read to you has has broad
bipartisan support in the country. When we came into
office in the majority, we said we are going to do this in the
most transparent way so people will know what legislation means to them, and what a vote for or
against means to their member of Congress. So it’s going to be
transparent. It’s going to be bipartisan. So the extent
possible, we’ll try to find our common ground. Where we can’t, we stand our
ground like a rock. That would be Thomas Jefferson. And we
can’t do that. The third is unity. E pluribus unum. From many, one.
We didn’t pick a fight with the most contentious legislation. We said, where do we have the
most common ground to make the
biggest difference in the lives of American people? Lower
prescription drug costs. Bigger paychecks. Building
infrastructure. Cleaner government. I’m not sure Republicans are
interested in that. But the American people are. And they’re interested in that
because it applies to the other issues. If we reduce dark money, we have
more confidence we can do something about gun safety, climate safety, the list
goes on, lower prescription drug prices. So that is what we have to do as
far as the Senate is concerned. I do believe and hope that some
of the senators in the states where we think we have good good prospects to
change their vote or at least get their vote to bring the bill up — I’m very proud of
working with Chuck Schumer and Dick
Durbin and the many women leadership over there as well. And they’re relend they’re
relentless in hounding — but the press is just totally
obsessed with the impeachment part of it. Not obsessed enough to write the
particulars of what we’re doing in our committees and how
important that is, but just to say when are you going to do
that? Well, if we do, if the facts take us there, that’s
where we have to go. It has nothing to do with
politics. It’s not about politics. It’s not about passion or
prejudice or against him. It’s not personal. It’s about
patriotism. And that, the facts will take us
where we need to go. To your point, I’m not sure that
we get any more information by
instituting an impeachment inquiry, but if we thought we
would, that’s a judgment we would have to make.
Again, getting back to the Senate, I know this isn’t a
political event… (Laughter.)>>It’s
>>It’s technically not, actually.
(Laughter.)>>As a civics observation, we
have maintained our majority in the House, and we intend to do
that. (Applause.) But it is absolutely essential
that we elect a Democratic Senate and, of course,
absolutely essential that we elect a Democratic president of
the United States, not for partisan
reasons, but just from the standpoint of the air our children breathe, climate,
jobs, all the things about fairness and
the rest. And existential threat to our
democracy in terms of the snoous the
Constitution of the United States. So it’s about the
Constitution, about this beautiful land which we
love, the Constitution which they’re not honoring, the land
that we love, from sea to shining sea and beyond degraded. Who we are as a nation, a nation
of immigrants denigrated. . Our values put put forth —
they’re doing tax breaks, 83% of which
benefit the top 1%, and they say that while cutting Medicare and
Social Security. I think we should have a bill on
the floor saying that we’re for
Medicaid cuts for all, because that’s the Trump Republican agenda, and let’s see where they
go on that. So, mischief.
(Laughter.)>>I have one quick last
question, but I just want to say, because I think this is an
important moment for women, you are the highest ranking woman in
the government today. And actually in our history. Last week, Alabama passed an
absolutely draconan draconian abortion ban. What do
you say to woman who are scared by that, and are shocked that in
2019 we see backlash laws like that that
assault the dignities of women? What do you say?>>I look down and down cast
when someone introduces me as the highest ranking woman in the
United States government, because I wish that designation
would go away and we would have a woman president of the United
States. (Applause.)
I never thought… so, I know it’s supposed to be a
compliment or something, but to me it’s just a reminder.
>>Sorry. (Laughter.)
>>No, and thank you for that recognition. But… it doesn’t
make me happy that I am that. I wish we had a Democratic — yes,
of course, a Democratic woman president.
(Laughter.) And then the issue about a
woman’s right to choose. Don’t tell anybody I told you
this. However… (Laughter.)
The reason the president is the president of the United States
is because of the support that he
has in certain elements of our
population for the overturning of Roe V. Wade. This is serious.
This is dangerous. This is real. Three years ago next month, in
June, when he was engaged in the
primaries, he said he would choose his court from a certain
list. That was the list that had the
imprimatur of the pro-life agenda. I don’t like to give
them that label because we’re all pro-life, but they took th
that title. So they said said they’ll have
their justices on the Supreme Court. Now they have two, and they have
two, which means they’re happy with him. So that’s where we
are. That’s a very dangerous place, the Supreme Court, in my
view. I still am hopeful, though, that
that Justice Roberts might do the right things. But I don’t
have — the answer to every question is the same. Mobilize, mobilize, mobilize.
Our whole country changed when women decided to march. That was the transformative
moment. Women marched. Women ran. Women voted. Women won.
Women lead. .
(Applause. ) And understand this, because for
30 years in the Congress, I’ve been making this case, and
people didn’t really believe me for the first
25 25, 26 years of it. This is about family planning,
about birth control. They like to argue in in this
case with words that aren’t true but are
alarming to people about abortions that must take place
in the late term, for the health of the mother, whatever it is,
but they describe it terribly, and it has a market. That’s why
they do it. But what women should know is this isn’t just
about that. It’s about family planning and
access to women’s health. It’s about in vitro
fertilization to have babies, to have babies, which some of these folks strenuously
object to. So I think we cannot accept —
really, Alabama? But I was in Ohio last week, and they have a
heart beat bill too. And Missouri is on its way to one,
or does it have it already? This is bigger — as big as that
issue is, this is about lack of respect for women. This is about about some fear in our
community, in our society, about women having
women controlling the size of their family, with the help of their
government, their god, whatever it is. But the choice issue is one
piece of it. When they don’t get respect through equal pay for
equal work, or family leave that benefits women and benefits the
rest. So I think that march and the
next year and the rest scared some of
these people. Good. Good. But we do have to fight some of
the consequences of their fear. Now, I say that as someone, when
I have this debate with my colleagues
— my when my husband brought our daughter Alexandra home from the hospital, our oldest child,
Nancy, was turning 6 that week. I said, when you have have 5
children in 6 years, you can have an opinion. Until then, you don’t get a say
in the debate. (Laughter.)
I’m Catholic. It’s part of who I am. The Catholic — it says Nancy
Pelosi believes she knows more about having babies than the
Pope. (Laughter.)
Imagine… (Laughter.)
Really? Guys? But, you know, when you see…
(Laughter.) When you see them lined up on the floor of the House,
guys, guys, guys… just… white guys. Guys. Guys. Guys.
(Laughter.) Signing for their discharge
petition in a way that doesn’t even represent the truth of what
they are. So do I have any — I would just
say we don’t agonize. We organize. And we cannot let this happen to
the families of America. (Applause.)
>>That was a great ending! Thank you so much.
(Applause.) Madam Speaker.
(Applause. )>>Please welcome back Winnie
Stachelberg.>>Speaker Pelosi, what an
incredible, timely, and dynamic conversation. Please join me again in thanking
her. Thank you. (Applause.)
Absolutely fantastic. If you could please keep your seats, we’ve reached the time in our
program where, with all the ideas prk percolating, we need some fuel
to sustain us. In other words, lunch time has
come. But please remain at your seats
so staff can access the table. And if you have a dietary
restriction card, please keep at at your
table. As you know, Center for American Progress is a think tank
organization recommending policy based on rigorous research,
data, and numbers. In fact, Speaker Pelosi talked about the
incredible ideas coming out of CAP every day. But at Center for
American Progress, we don’t stop there. We know that given all
the noise, all the incoming that you face on a daily basis, we must work hard to
communicate those ideas with stories. With images that connect our
policy solutions to men, women,
children, and families. Storytelling hasn’t always been
a part of think tanks. But it is an essential part of
the Center for American Progress. So here’s just a taste of some
of the stories behind the crucial
fights we’re engaged in, from LGBTQ equality,
to disability justice, early childhood education, to one of
the defining fights of our time, the fight to combat
climate change. Please join me as we take a look
at some of these videos that represent
CAP’s critical work to tell the story
of the big, bold ideas. Thank you so very much.
(Video. ) .
. .
. .
. .
. .
. .
.>>Please welcome back Winnie
Stachelberg. (Applause. )
>>Thank you so much. I now have the distinct honor of welcoming to the stage a
fearless leader with an unflifrng an unflifrng
an unflinching commitment to
progressive values. America’s only Latina govern,
governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham.
(Applause.) In her first year, her
accomplishments include background checks for
gun sales, creating the early childhood
department, proposing an historic K-12
funding increase, and increases
increasing the minimum minimum wage for all New
Mexicans. And that’s just her first year. She’s just getting started.
She has boldly called out Donald Trump for his charade of border
fearmongering and advanced a more
compassionate vision strengthening our nation’s
immigration system. We’re so grateful she could join
us here today. Please welcome with me Michelle Lujan Grisham.
(Applause.)>>Good afternoon, everyone. I
don’t know who’s yelling back there, but I love that. You just
keep that coming. (Laughter.) And in my state, my very — my
inaugural address, I declared throughout
New Mexico, and I need to do it for
every place in the country, that the podiums should be shorter.
(Laughter.) I am in fact the shortest
governor in the country. I was the shortest member of Congress. I make up for all for all those
aspects by being incredibly long winded.
(Laughter.) So I don’t know why they had me
come in the afternoon. But I wanted to thank you for
the opportunity. I hope, working on a variety of
issues, this is an organization that makes a difference, not
just for Democrats with an agenda to get things done for
the people who need us, but to create an environment where
you’re thinking about the newest efforts that you can
start to demonstrate in your states. I want to thank you all
very much for those efforts, and give you a sense of how they’re
taking shape in my state. Winnie talked a little bit about
the border, so of course I’m one of
the very few handful of border state governors who don’t get to
engage in immigration policy. On the one hand, I’m actually going
to say, okay. Trump administration, you are
accurate about one thing, and of all the stuff they’re working
on, I do think it’s only one thing.
(Laughter.) Immigration is a federal issue.
They are right about that. Which makes this even more
challenging and difficult. Because they have abdicated in
every context their responsibility in
day to day immigration enforcement,
immigration support, and in creating the
kinds humanitarian crisis that
governors like me are now dealing with at the border with
absolutely no productive federal support, and I’m taking
advantage of my time here in Washington by going to the
Department of Homeland Security and reexplaining to them that
they must do their job. I want to give you a couple of
highlights. One, my state was one of the states when the
administration said, we’d like to meeting to to militarize the border — they
were clear about that. They weren’t looking to enhance
security with state of the art drones, cameras in areas where
we know we have high risk. They were interested in putting
personnel at ports of entry, making sure our train was
working responsible, responsibly, but also looking
for nefarious activity, which is where that owe that occurs in most border
states, at the ports of entry. But the administration wanted to
build an agenda, not just in the country, but an agenda for
Congress to support their national declaration of
emergency. That happened before I got to be governor of a great
border state. So I’ve been to the border many
times. I’ve seen many of these operations. From the nonprofit side. And I’ve been to at least 6
detention sites between California and all the way
through to Texas. So I wanted to see what my 100
men and women who are incredible people are doing at the border
in New Mexico. So within the first three weeks
of being sworn into office, I visited the
border. It was before the surge of
asylum seekers. Clear to me that they’re not doing any of the work, even though they’re
incredible professionals, that would make a difference along
the border. And in fact, there was no information about any impact they had on
nefarious activity, screening, security
operations, any of it. What they were doing is helping
with maintenance of vehicles — which is important, except they weren’t
using any of those vehicles. And the best demonstration I could
get from incredible — I don’t blame
the guard, but just in terms of what they were doing — is
working on economic development of these communities, because they’re here and now at
present. Well, last time, I checked, we don’t use the
National Guards in our states for economic development. And two, I don’t think we should
be militarizing the border. (Applause.)
Thank you. So, first governor to pull back
troops after they were asked for by the president. Not going to
engage in militarizing the border. But like every debate,
including the debate about gun violence, when
we message evidence-based strategies that reduce gun
violence, reduce risk, from background checks to extreme
risk protection orders, people buy guns. The NRA creates
messaging that creates more risk. We try to navigate that
productively and responsible responsibly.
The same thing is happening at the border. So every time the
federal government and the Trump administration
says “we’re building a wall and we’re closing the border”, two
things happen. Additional panic about getting
to the United States occurs, and it’s
also a message to nefarious activity that they have access
points that have increased as well. Both are occurring. So for a, let’s deal with crime,
federal administration, they’re doing
less on that front in those states than they’ve ever done,
any administration, and they’re creating panic at the border.
We do in fact have a humanitarian crisis. You may be
shocked — I think you already know this — the federal government has 2,000 positions
that Congress has paid for that they won’t fill. Many of them, ICE agents, for
example, are in my state and they won’t take them. The custom is to take asylum
seekers at the border. They won’t do that. And even if they take a few
folks in, it’s automatic detention, meaning you engage in potential family
separation and anything else that’s going on at border
shelter and protection sites. And then, now 100% of the time
— it wasn’t 100% of the time, how it is 100% of the time, instead of custom and border patrol
agents taking asylum seekers and
preparing them, including getting them to a sponsor family, and then ICE is responsible for moving a
population into sponsor family states and communities…
Instead — and they have transportation with them — and you should also
know, asylum seekers, their sponsor
families pay for the travel cost. This whole notion that
public entities or states like mine are paying for that is
false. It’s a false narrative by the federal government. But now what’s happening as
hundreds, every single day, are coming
across, ICE does not have any engagement with them, and
they’re the ones that are trained to help solve some of
the transportation issues and do the secondary
screening… the customs and border pa patrol
agents get as many as they can into appeal as many vehicles as
they can, and they’re taking them to tiny communesy
communities in states like mine. To put it in perspective, 6,000
asylum seekers have been placed in a variety of places in New
Mexico on their way someplace else, and in communities at the border, like a place called
Deming in New Mexico, that can be as
high on any begin day that can be as high on any given day as between 5 and 10%
of the total population in that community.
So it does two things in my state: Shows that Americans and New Mexicoens
are are incredible people who can pick
up and respond irrespective of the challenges, and it also
creates real risk about how people feel, what the responses
are, how we get New Mexicoens and
Americans to understand that for generations,
Americans, largely faith-based organizations have been doing
this work with homeland security and ICE effectively. The government is interrupting
this on purpose to create dysfunction,
to sow hate. My state is now allowing that to happen. We’re the only state I’m aware
of that’s currently shoring up the nonprofits, crisis grants in
absence of federal government support, to local communities to
defray their costs. We’ve actually used a state bus and driver to help
move move folks where they need to go. They actually need to get
to airports. After this, write your favorite airline and tell them I need them in New
Mexico and El Paso, Texas. That’s a challenge for a rural
state. They need to get to airports with sufficient flights
to get them where they’re going. So what we need is a message
that looks like this based on practicing
this work in my state. One: This is not a national
emergency related to security at the
border. Seen it with my own eyes. I’m going back there
Friday. I’ll be serving meals, I’ll be
talking to beleaguered, tired, hungry
women and their their toddlers. They need quick health care
screening. They have colds. If they don’t treat their colds,
they lose their lives, because they’re 3, and they’ve been
traveling thousands of miles. They’re dehydrated, by the time
they get to the border they have nothing left, including shoes.
This is a crisis. It’s a humanitarian crisis.
This country, the federal government should be spending real money to
stop the surge in a productive, fair, meaningful way, meeting the
constitutional requirements for asylum seekers, supporting
states like mine, and then they absolutely should do the
security around the border, because I’m doing that now too
in my state, which means my state police are responding.
So we can do it. We are doing it. We will continue to lead in
the absence of a federal government. But I will continue
to fight. And while all of that is going on, creating that tension, you might
be shocked to learn that New Mexico is on the move and, in
fact — I hate to use this, but I’m going to anyway, because
it’s fire season — we’re on fire!
(Laughter.) (Applause.)
In a good way! We are on fire. (Applause.)
So these distractions in terms of messaging — not distractions
on the ground — cannot allow leaders like you or leaders like
me from not doing the work that makes a difference.
How many of you knew that in January New Mexico was in last place on any
list, public health, education, social determinants, poverty,
hunger, the economy? You name a list, a list that was
a good one, we were at the bottom of that list. Guess where
we are today? We’re one of the states that
moved minimum wage. It’s now going to be $12 an hour. It’s
going to go a dollar a year. Although in state government
it’s going to happen all at once, because I’m a (Laughter.)
(Applause.) very impatient, short,
60-year-old woman. And that must happen right now! We’re the third largest oil and
gas producer in the country. At the same time, we are now
leading the country in pivoting to renewable energy with the
most aggressive renewable portfolio. We passed a law that
says we will be carbon-free by 2045, including
rural electric cogs with the first ever in the country equity
fund that goes directly to workers who were impacted in the
fossil fuel industry, and about, oh, three weeks after that bill
was signed into law, we said we would beat
that by 5 years, so instead of 2045,
it’s 2040. (Applause.)
Because we got to keep moving! Number one in the country.
We’ve now diversified our economies in ways they said
would take years. We’ve been announcing hundreds of jobs every week, including New Mexico
will be the first country, and the first
place on the globe, to have commercial
spaceflight occur. We’re the only place in the world that’s got that’s got an inland
space port, with three companies
located, and a huge announcement about Virgin Galactic — the very first
picture from space showing our beautiful world was taken from New Mexico in 1947.
This is happening on the ground. It’s amazing. We’re the first to do hemp
research and manufacturing. From soup to nuts, all companies
on the ground are hiring hundreds of
New Mexicans. We decided that every other
state should get out of our way. We’ll be number 1 in the country
in education, single largest set of investments. Last legislative
session, from teacher raises to, to extended days
during the summer so we don’t lose kids
between those classes, as a statewide
reform so we’re lifting up every single family, and that our at-risk students
and bilingual language learners will
get the attention they deserve, my golly, New Mexico, Spanish is
our official language! How is it that Spanish speakers struggle
in New Mexico? No more. Outrageous. Done. Gone.
And… you can’t do it unless you have early childhood
education. We’re going to get to universal
early childhood education. We said we want 285 million in
five years, but you know I’m
impatient, I said, how about three years?
We’re creating the first of its kind, a department moving over every
single, not just the educational part. And I know I’m out of
time. It’s blinking at me. I don’t know what happens when
that happens. I’m a little nervous.
(Laughter.) But I want to tell you a quick
story. I told this story a ton when I
was testifying in our legislature
about about early childhood education. If you want to
address poverty, that’s a priority. We better invest not just in
early childhood education, although that’s pivotal, but be
clear that prenatal to grave, we have to have a system
of support and care for our families, focusing on children. Now, I’ve got a 30-I think she’s
33, I don’t think she likes it when I tell people how old she
is. (Laughter.) And she has an almost 4-year-old
and a 7-month-old. She’s in a great situation. I mean, she has
me as a mom. That’s good. (Laughter.)
She might argue that point, actually. She lives near me and other
family members. She’s got a husband who’s
supportive and can assist in the day to day, both working — so being a
breadwinner and and helping with the kids.
And having sufficient income that they can pay privately both
for child care and early childhood education, even though
it’s a huge struggle in their situation. So they’re already in a position
that too many New Mexicans en envy
and aren’t finding themselves in today. Then she told me this story, and
I’m appalled. Everyone will find this story familiar. Getting up
an hour earlier than you want to because you have to get the kids
packed and ready for school. Although that doesn’t happen.
She takes them to child care, the same place, which took months of
waiting and navigating and worries if it was ever going to
happen or if they were going to go two different places. Now, because it’s somewhere that
both kids go, it’s not education,
it’s child care.. That’s important.
She goes to work. She works two hours, and she
picks up the 4-year-old. They miss lunch. They miss sthacks miss snacks. Then go across town to an early
childhood education center. Then she goes back to work. She borks She works for two
hours, goes across town again, picks up the 4-year-old, misses another nap
and snack, then goes back to child
care, and then back to work. Because she missed work, she has
to stay into the next shift at work and her husband picks up the kids and is
on his own, instead of participating like a family.
Five days a week, with no end in sight. Kindergarten still a year away,
and even then it will be more complicated, because in our state, it’s not
automatic that you’ll get — it’s coming — full day
kindergarten. How can we be doing this as a
society and a country to orfamilies and children? And I
just gave you the best-case scenario in my state. And so, that is a thing of the
past. Fixed re, resolved. Universal early childhood
education, full day, wherever you need it in whatever context. And we’re small enough that we
can get that done in a minute. So my message to you today —
and I didn’t hit every single thing we got done in this
session. We also took care of working families, enhanced that
tax credit. We did so many progressive things that will
make a difference over generations of New Mexicans, while we were
dealing with public safety, humanitarian
crisis, and other issues. We also did pass all of those gun
safety laws. And so the point is this. Wees.
These are not mutually exclusive. We must stand up and show by
example that we can respond and protect ourselves from a federal
government that is unwilling to do its job, and
it’s doing that on purpose, and you
can make a difference in the lives of our day to day
citizens, and they expect both. Not one or the other.
And in New Mexico, they’re getting it. And I hope with your help that’s
going to be the experience with every Democratic leader in every
state in the station. I thank you very much for your
support. I thank you for this afternoon. And I really appreciate your
your attention and time. Thank you.
(Applause.)>>Please welcome to the to the
stage CAP’s EVP of policy, Jacob Leibenluft.
(Applause.)>>Thank you. Let’s give one more round of
applause for governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
(Applause.) So it’s my privilege to be here
and introduce our next panel, which
will delve into the urgent challenge of climate change.
Since the beginning of the Trump administration, the president
and his allies have prioritized the interest of big polluters,
sabotaged climate research, and undermined America’s role as a
global leader on climate change, even as we experience the real
life consequences of inaction every day.
Progressives recognize that our country must create this crisis
with speed and with bold solutions, because our planet
depends on it. As Speaker Pelosi mentioned
earlier today, just two weeks ago, the House passed the Climate Action Now
Act, which would prevent President Trump from withdrawing
from the Paris climate agreement. This is the first
major piece of climate legislation passed by the House
in ten years. But it’s only the start of what we need. During our next panel, we’ll
hear from courageous leaders who understand what it at stake when
it comes to the climate crisis and are willing to put forward solutions to address it at all
levels: Federal, state, and local.
With that, I have the pleasure of turning it over to Emily
Holden, a climate energy reporter for the
Guardian who will moderate that important discussion, and welcome our
panelists, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, lieutenant governor of
Wisconsin, and Tom Steyer, founder of NextGen America.
(Applause. )>>Hi, everyone. Thank you all
for being here. So we essentially know that
while the science has been giving us
warnings about how bad the crisis is for some time, it’s
clearer and clearer how little time we have left to solve the
problem. Most recently, the U.N. scientists, some of the world’s
best scientists, put out a report
that we had 12 years to limit the world’s
warming to moderate levels. It’s now more like 11 years.
Can you talk about how you compare that science to the
current political environment, from where you’re seeing it in the Senate, but also in the
next few years depending on the outcome of the 2020 presidential
election?>>I think the politicses is
finally catching up with the science. By that I mean two
things. First of all, we need scale,
magnitude, and sustained efforts. While everyone thinks
we should have a carbon fee or cap and trade
nationally, whatever individual piece of legislation it is, we
need to understand this needs to be a sustained effort to
transform the American economy and the global economy, which
means it won’t be just one bill. If we frame it as though it’s
one bill, even the best bill will be a failure. And the worst
bills will cause us to throw up our hands.
We need to understand it’s a sustained effort to literally
change our economy over time. What has happened is young
people recognize the threat, and young people have the moral authority that
comes only from an intention to stay on this planet for another 60 or 70 years, and
they’re demanding action from all of us. Over the last six months, I’ve
seen the politics start to match the
urgency of the scientific swiegs situation.
>>You’re on the Senate select committee on climate change. For
you on the committee to match what scientists are saying, do
you see the 2020 presidential candidates putting out plans at
the level that you’re talking about so far?
>>Yes. Here’s the thing. I personal favor — everyone
favors the bill — I favor the bill we’ve introduced for the
carbon fee. I think it’s the way to go. But it’s not about
whether or not someone’s bill matches up with my legislative
approach. What I’m looking for is scale, am ambition, seriousness, and
recognition that it’s not about what we pass in 2021, but what
we do in 2022, and from then on. Whether we do the water
development resources Act, or whether the president does a bi a bilateral meeting
with China, or the reauthorization of the Lacy Act and reforestation, and
whether actors are making move in the right direction, no one
thing is going to solve this problem. All of the things
together are going to solve this problem. So I’m looking for presidential
candidates that understand thises that to be a sustained
effort over time. Sure, the first bill proposal
has to be up to it, but we shouldn’t
mistake this for the whole fight.>>We know that Washington
governor governor Jay Ensley has a plan
for carbon neutrality by 2035, and
Beto O’Rourke by 2045. . Ensley has a few more markers
of how to get there. But we were talking about how
the get to the scale of the problem. Can you tell us if you think
think this is what’s really necessary?
>>What Brian is talking about, and studies show, is that
there’s urgency. I’ve asked somebody who I think is the best climate engineer in in the United States
about what we feed to do by 2030 to
avoid what the U.N. describes as catastrophic levels
of global global warming, which
would be 2 degrees Celsius. He said we have to decrease our
carbon emissions every year by 2%. Instead they’re going up every
year by 1.5%. So in terms of how much of a
change, the easiest way I think of it is, that’s how much. We
need to change that much of our capital stock — whether it’s
cars or power plants or industrial
plants — every single year. Which is much more than you you
normally replace on a normal schedule.
So the question you asked Brian was, does the political response
reach the level of urgency that this
problem poses in our society, our globe? I would say, if you
look at — we’re starting to see competition
between Democratic candidates for president to see who can
have the biggest, smartest program, which I think is great. But what we have to face is
there’s an urgency in terms of time. If we get this right in
2045, that just doesn’t work. So when we think about, is it
sufficient? The plans are large. The plans are going to get
larger. The two things I would say are,
one, given what Brian said about how comprehensive a change this
is going to be for our society, I don’t think you can think about a climate or an
energy program, because it has to be integrated into every
other part of the way that you think about government in the
United States of America. That’s the first thing. This is not a
climate or energy program. This is a program that goes
across employment and health and everything else.
The second thing is about timing. If we have the right idea, but
we can’t implement it in time, it’s not just what happens in
the United States. It’s secondly, I don’t think we can
miss the extremely important point that if the United States
wants to lead globally, we have to start by doing the right
thing ourselves. So that we can lead globally in
the the way that President Obama did to get the kind of global
cooperation, since this is a global question.
So in answer to — the short answer to your question, Emily,
with that extremely long preamble is, this
is a heavy lift. It’s going to require a gigantic
effort of will. It’s up in the air in fact
whether we can summon that will in time.
>>With the political schedule here in the U.S. , it would take us a few more
years, a bit more time, to get a president in office willing to
work with Congress. And there’s the possibility that
there won’t be a new president in office. So what would we do in that
case, what would Congress be able to achieve under a second
term Trump presidency? I know govern Mandela Barnes of
Wisconsin has joined the climate alliance. What does that mean
for Wisconsin? How soon can you get your
efforts off the ground?>>It means a lot for Wisconsin. Unfortunately we have a hostile legislature that’s not on board. Also Minnesota, Illinois, as
part of the Great Lakes region, we have a similar set of values. To move forward on the climate
issue, where our legislatures don’t
act, we’ll have a role to play in local government. Politics
has caught up to the science, but economics has caught up to
the science as well. And that’s the more important part,
because, unfortunately, economics has led the
conversation in our politics. That being said, you look at
mayors in small towns, even larger cities,
seeing there’s money to be made if we
make our spaces more energy efficient. Buildings being put
up for new tax credits for low-income housing. That’s an
opportunity. If the state is putting money up, there should
be an energy efficiency component to that. All of the
buildings. We shouldn’t have any new
buildings that aren’t energy efficient. And looking at
communities that feel the impact of climate change. Chunt.
Communities of color, whether it’s mining or or plants, the list goes on and
on, there are unintended consequences. That’s why we are
where we are. Our communities have been
adversely impacted because they haven’t
had a seat at the table. Trump will decide the Paris
accord. However, I think there’s enough
energy in the states to make meaningful movement in the same
way that, absent the legislature, I know that our
biggest cities in the state of Wisconsin, our largest towns, because they are
composed of a majority of the people of
state of Wisconsin, have more significant movement. So we can
do this without the legislature. And there’s room to do that.
>>So, and your administration is starting a sustainability
office. Just briefly, what sort of things might you do to make
sure that the communities you’re talking about are going to be
involved in that process, and the goal for carbon-free electricity by
2050 that Wisconsin has, your
administration has talked about?>>Yeah, there was an office
that already exists. We’re looking to move the office — if
you don’t know who the old governor was —
(Laughter.) This wasn’t an issue that he
paid any particular attention to. We were one of those states
where the words “climate change” was
scrubbed from state websites. Our scientists were either
retiring or leaving early because they couldn’t do the
work they dedicated their lives to.
That being said, this new office of sustainability and clean
energy is going to be tasked with making sure
that we are at that goal. It’s 2050. It’s a long time from
now. However, I feel like it’s a thing where you get to the point
where it’s 25, 35% — the wheels start moving a little bit
faster. Because at that point, it
becomes the more economically viable way to generate energy. So with that said, we had to
make sure that our state buildings are leading by
example. State-owned buildings are going
to be more energy efficient. We need to have an office to
oversee that work. We need an inter-agency council
to make sure the state is leading that work. And that the
economic development commission that gives those tax breaks, whether it’s our capital budget
and construction on campuses, that is where we have our
biggest impact. That’s how the office is going to lead and be
effective. In Michigan, for example, they
have a public advocate office, or they have a public advocate position in
their office of environmental justice. That’s where the
conversation is right now. It’s exciting to see candidates see
who can be the boldest on climate change right now. It’s
unfortunate that we are in the climate crisis that we’re in.
But it’s great to see so many people paying attention to it.
And if you’re not on the right side of the climate justice fight,
you’re likely to be on the losing side of an election.
>>Let me add something about climate justice because the
lieutenant governor is hitting on something that’s important
for the movement. I consider myself a member of the climate
movement since adulthood. One of the flaws in the movement is we
have not been inclusive. It has been primarily people on
the coasts and people configuring
solutions that were largely technocratic that could have been derivatives,
some financial instrument traded on Wall Street. As both policy and politics,
that was a failure. You have to paint a picture, and
paint me in it. If you do this, what do I get from it? I
understand climate change in the abstract is an important
priority, but how do I benefit? If I’m in the a rural area of
Wisconsin or Milwaukee or Detroit or or
rural West Virginia, what do I get out of this? That’s not sort of a secondary
thing that we trade once we’re in the conference committee,
which is how it used to be thought of. How do we do we deal with the
fact that there’s going to be dislocation? We have to start as an
organizing principle with the people who are going to be
impacted by environmental problems, especially in an
intersectional climate involvement. Young people and people of color
have to be at the core of the movement, for moral reasons, but
also practical political reasons.
>>Let me say one thing about this. In California we’ve been
doing this for a long time, and we have the most progressive
energy laws in the world. And if you look at recentlyly as
2017, when we reauthorized cap and trade, which was a year-long, very
difficult fight, it started exactly where
mnd where Mandela started and what
Brian is talking about. How is this going to work for
the poorest districts in the state? In fact, cap and trade in
California was led by legislators from the very
poorest legislative districts. The answer was, A, as Mandela
said, they were disportionately hurt
by pollution, so the money went to
their communities to mitigate that and pay for that.
Second of all, there’s always been a huge jobs component. It’s a question of who gets
those jobs. But in fact we have over 500,000
jobs in California on clean energy.
But Brian’s point is the critical point, which is, you
can’t get there at the end. You have to, before — you have
to be there at the very beginning and have leadership so
that the coalition is completely different. I’ll finish by saying thing,
which I think I said here in 2010, which
is the number one group in America that cares about energy,
climate, pollution, the environment, is Latinos. The
number two group is African-Americans. And the
number three group is Asian-Americans.
So when you think about what this coalition looks likes like, who
should be leading it, how we should be thinking about it,
let’s remember that there’s a very inaccurate vision in
America about who cares about the environment. It’s, in some ways, very
disrespectful. But it’s certainly unsuccessful.
>>And to say one quick thing, too, because in Wisconsin most
of our energy is generate generated from coil. We don’t
have any oil in Wisconsin. We just send out out 12 million
dollars annually, which is pronl nothing
for the state of California, but that’s what we send annually out
of Wisconsin. And there are forms of energy
that are negatively impacting communities, too, like hydroelectric energy in
Canada. First nations land has been
taken over in Canada to create
hydroelectric energy. So we have to have all communities at the
table. When I say cities, towns, and
villages, that also means tribal communities.
>>What we haven’t mentioned yet, but what you said touches
on a lot of what you see in the proposal for the
green New Deal, which I like to call a
vision, it’s technically a resolution that a lot of members
of Congress have signed on to. But it seems to have reframed
discussion around, not what will you give
up to fight climate change, but what could you gain from fighting climate
change? What would communities gain?
I want to get back to the point of politics catching up to
science. Getting something like the green
New Deal would mean politics catching up to the science,
understanding that this is a crisis that the scientists say
we’re approaching. To morning I was watching the
House natural resources subcommittee hearing, where
Republicans called witnesses who are very well known climate
change deniers, that’s all their work is, to talk about the
benefits they see in higher carbon dioxide levels.
That’s not all Republicans. Many Republicans talk about climate
change, although differently from Democrats. But there are
still a lot of Republicans who are in that space. How do you work with people who
are in in that space? How quickly do you think that could
change? And with a Democrat for president, legislation would be
required. So how do you get legislation passed with that
political hurdle?>>We have to win. We have to
win next next year. (Applause.)
And that is… there are all sorts of
procedural forks in the road and tactical decisions to be made in
2021. In Schumer is the leader in the
Senate, there are things to already, to consider, reconciliations and filibusters, and deciding if we
do a green New Deal or whatever, but
none of that matters if we don’t win. So I’m not interested in
negotiating with climate deniers. Now is not the time to try to
cut a deal with them while Mitch McConnell leads the Senate. We
have to focus all our energies towards setting the table so we
can be successful in the next election. Then we know we’re
still in the beginning of the process. Because the beginning here — here — key stone was a defining
moment. When it was rejected, a lot of
activists felt like they had solved something. What we need is a sustained
effort over decades. First we need to win, then we need to
legislate, and we’ve taken the first step up a very, very high
mountain, but we have to start.>>Not every Democratic
candidate, though, is going to submit a
sweeping ambitious plan for climate change. A lot of discussion is about
what we can expect to see from Joe
Biden, with the rumors that his plan would
include potentially the middle of the
road the road approach… I’m not saying this is the case
for this particular person, but what if the choices are between
Trump in the White House and a person who doesn’t
see climate change as a priority?
>>A lot of my friends are running for president, and
that’s probably why I’m on this couch.
(Laughter.) I don’t think we’ll have a
nominee whose commitment to climate change is
insufficient. (Applause.) I’m not going to rank the plans
in order.>>Someone did that in my inbox.
>>I’m sure someone else is ranking the plans. But I can’t
imagine that we’ll have a nominee that is not up to this
task, because I think we understand this is the challenge
of a generation, and because voters are demanding it.
>>We have time for a very brief audience question, not
statement, please. If you raise your hand, there
are microphones going around. This gentleman in the front…
thank you.>>Hi, John. I’m John. Most climate models
suggest that if you cut off greenhouse emissions
today, the planet still has 200, 300 years.
That tells me that we don’t need to just focus on cutting
emissions, but create technology to extract
carbon from the oceans and sequester it. it. Otherwise
we’re in trouble. What are your plans for those
technologies?>>I think carbon capture is
part of the equation. Even people working on that
imagine it will account for 1% of the carbon. You can make the same argument
about conservation about ecosystems, wind and solar.
Nothing is enough. Only if do you all of the things is it
enough. We had the same conversation, especially on Twitter, if you’re
not for nuclear, you’re not for climate action. My approach is,
we should do all of the things. No one of the things is going to
be enough, but all of them together will save the planet.
>>The obvious one that people talk a lot about is not just
ending deforestation, but using reforestation. Different
agricultural techniques in terms of putting carbon back
into the soil that has systematically been taken out of it over the last 400
years in North America. Those are things that actually make a huge difference on a short term
basis, for years, and give us room to
develop techniques on a cost effective basis. The thing about carbon capture,
there are many practical issues Brian
is indirectly referring to in terms
of cost, storage, and size of the project, which is immense.
The most obvious thing we can do is to restore nature’s ways of
sequestering carbon. That’s something that can happen
reasonably quickly.>>It’s going to take a
collection of everything, but also every community being
involved and integrated into this work. I’m glad you mentioned too the
remediation and the role that the agricultural community can
play in recapture and biodegistion
biodigest won as well. In a lot of our downtown areas
that are booming all across the country, you can use circular economy tactics, so
communities that are far away from each other in distance can share
ideas and space together in ways you never imagined before.
>>We’re out of time. Can we do a lightning round? If you can
each tell me in one sentence, what is one thing you see being
developed now, policy or otherwise, that gives you hope
that the world will be able to meet this challenge? One
sentence.>>The key to this will be a
broad coalition of Americans understanding what we’re trying
to accomplish together, both in terms of energy, but more broad broadly how it fits
into a positive vision for the future.
>>I’ll use a conversation we had backstage about
infrastructure. This is the real infrastructure conversation we
should be having. Any time people talk about infrastructure, it should
absolutely be based on green infrastructure as well.
>>The thing that makes me most excited and hopeful is young
people demanding action. A lot of people in this room,
certainly people on this panel, have been working on climate for
a long time. I like the pressure. I like hearing, it’s
nice that you’ve been working on this for 20
years, but how’s that been going?
(Laughter.) We need to recognize that we’ve
not been doing enough, and demanding that as much as we’ve been working on this,
we haven’t gotten it done, and we need to get it done shortly.
>>You heard it here. Senator Schatz wants all the young
people in his office. Thank you. (Applause.)>>Please welcome welcome back
Daniella Gibbs Leger.>>Hello, everyone.
We can do better than that. Hello, everyone!
There we go. I now have the pleasure of
working our next speaker, former mayor of New Orleans, Mitch
Landrieu. During a 30 years career in public service, he fought tirelessly to
expand opportunity for people in his home city and all across
Louisiana. During his tenure as mayor, he
got national attention for
delivering an eloquent and passionate speech about removing four Confederate
monuments across the city. We’re so happy we can have him
him here to reflect on his experiences as a progressive
leader. Please welcome Mitch Landrieu.
(Applause.)>>How’s everybody doing? Nice
to see you. Thank you for that wonderful and very nice
applause. I was asked to talk today about
the issue of race. So first I want to thank them for giving me
the easy topic. (Laughter.)
Of the day. My first observation, for all of
you, I think, to John and Neera and the
CAP crew and all those that are with us today, is you can’t
really talk about race without talking about America. And you
certainly can’t talk about America without talking about
freedom or liberty, or race, because they
all seem to be inextricably linked. The first recognition is
that this country was born in
contradiction from our inception. And it has plagued us for a long
period of time. As you know, I just finished 30
years of the tour of duty in the public service in our country,
16 years as a state legislator, 6 as a lieutenant governor, and 8 serving my beloved city,
my hometown of New Orleans, one of the greatest cities in the
world. It is a city, as you know, that has suffered tremendous
tragedy to triumph, from the BP spill to
Katrina to Ike to Gustav to the national
recession, we wonder when the plague of
locusts will come. (Laughter.) We’ve been through hell and
back. But we in a very special way
personify one of our nation’s mottos, e pluribus unum, out of many, one. New Orleans is a city where
everything we hold dear — our music, jazz,
our cuisine, gumbo, is the result of
throwing different cultures in the pot, different tastes, and
the sum that comes out is always better than the individual
parts. It’s a uniquely American city
where we’re constantly reaching for more, that perfect union we
all aspire to be. Sometimes, although it’s far
from our reach, we keep pushing for more,
because that insatiable desire for more, or for better. Or, as
they say in my neighborhood, for more better.
(Laughter.) But we’ve always been we’ve had more slaves than any
city in America, enshrined separate but
equal, with the highest murder and incarceration rates, and left
people stranded with nowhere to go, no way to get out, within a Category 5
storm barrelled down and we saw the possibility of losing a great
American city. We saw the people at the
Superdome and almost simultaneously said at once, how
could we leave those people there? Our nation did. Our policy did, too often on the
basis of race. At our peril, we cannot avoid
our nation’s truth. We have to conFront it, because
that is what real patriots do. That is what America does.
Always striving to be better. So I ask you to think about,
when we’re sworn under oath in court, they
ask us to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help
you God, right? And the reason they do that is because if you
don’t tell the whole truth, it can often lead to either a
half-truth, or a lie by omission. And when you do that, something
gets left behind. And in the history of America, it’s our
fellow Americans. Millions of people take this
oath every day, and yet we as a country have never, ever fully reckoned with the
whole of our path, specific little
specifically as it relates to race, in a way
that honors the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As a result, the vestiges of Jim
Crow and segregation are evident in everything from housing
inequalities to voter suppression. The vestiges of of Jim Crow are
alive in the transportation systems,
the public education systems, the financial world of banking, crid, and
credit, and mortgage. All of this. You have to confront it.
You can’t ignore it. It’s out there like land mines
buried and waiting to explode,
disrupting people’s progress forward. In the language of our
forefathers, we hold these truths to be
self-evident. All men are created equal. Liberty and
justice for all. Even e pluribuspluribus unum.
Today they ring hollow for many Americans.
So in my view, we can’t fulfill America’s promise, moving toward
that more perfect union that we all
desire, that we all wish to be, if we don’t acknowledge how we got to this
place and how we got to be so imperfect at
the moment. That’s what taking the monuments down was about,
and that’s what the monument speech was about.
(Applause.) It called the question for the
country, really, on how do we confront
and correct our past, not to lay
blame, but so that we can move forward and create a better
country for all of us? It is, you already know, a long
and winding road. It is not a straight line. And race can be a
scary topic for all of us. We really don’t know how to talk
about it, which is probably why we
don’t do it. But here’s one of the things I’ve learned. You
can’t go under it. You can’t go around it. You can’t go over it.
You have to go through it. Or you will stay stuck in it.
You’ve got to find a way to get to the other side, wherever your
other side may be. So telling the truth about our
past and the present is actually just the first step, it’s just
the beginning. But I also believe, and have
learned, that the six most important words in the English
language are: I am sorry. , followed by: I forgive you.
They have to coincide with each other. . They are, in fact, bookends. Symmetry within can be a
beautiful thing sometimes. It takes conversations on both
sides. That doesn’t mean any one person in this room is at fault.
Too often you see conversations about race being confrontational
because they start with the idea of blame and fault. Now, that
conversation can go on for another 300 years.
And I’m sure that it will. But as that conversation goes
on, I’ve also learned that I don’t have
to solve that problem or find that answer. Because even though I may not be
able to pinpoint exactly whose fault it is, I’m pretty sure whose
responsibility it is to fix and heal the nation, and that would
be everybody. Because without everybody it’s not going to get
done. But let me be clear that a
person’s individual words and actions today should be
absolutely called out and addressed. The rise of white
nationalism and white supremacy should concern everybody and should be confronted
aggressively and made clear that it has no quarter at the table
of democracy. But we should also challenge the institutions and
the policies that exist that have that have kept us
apart for generations. The failure to do that will keep us
looking backward rather than forward.
You all know this. The first American slaves were because to James town in 16 in 1619,
over 400 years ago, and that act, that singular act, is still
shaping institutions in America today.
Last year I had the incredible honor of participating in the 50th
anniversary of the kerner commission. If you know you don’t know what
it is, go back and read the report. I’m going to tell you
now, spoiler alert, it’s not going to make you feel good
about our country. That commission, you see,
challenged the nation to admit that racism had become
institutionalized in America and a cornerstone of inequality. We did what we do all the time
when confronted with a hard truth. We ignore it. Sounds
familiar. It should. We’re doing the same thing with climate
change. One of the main conclusions was
that the United States was moving towards two society: One
white, one black. Separate and unequal. Of course, this growing seg segregation and inequality
fueled unrest and dislocation. It reminded us of a phrase we’d
heard before: Where there is no justice, there is no peace. I heard a lot about justice and
peace in marches with activists in
Ferguson, Baltimore, even in New Orleans in regard to the
monument protests. No justice, no peace. When I was I child, during the
’60s, I took that as an implied threat. I heard that when I was a kid
as, if you don’t give me what’s rightfully mine, I’m going to
hurt you and I’m going to take it. I didn’t quite understand
it. As I got a little bit older, and
I thought about the deeper meeker
meaning, and as my experience revealed
more to me, I realized that it was a statement of truth. There cannot be peace in
alienation. When people are alienated from
each other, they cannot share what they have and what they need, and we’re
all worst for it. Peace is not just the absence of physical
violence. Where there is no community, all you’re left with
on a good day is peaceful segregation. And we are all much worse when
we are not working together. The other thing to remember that
has been told to us so many times,
but maybe we don’t really fully understand, is that poverty can be a form of
violence. So is not having access access
to health care, or having a real job so
that you can for your family have a job
or build wealth over a generation of time.
And also, there comes with the inequality that comes without
justice. So where there is no justice,
there can be no peace. And we are going to continue to
stay in stasis and not get any better until we understand what
that means. And we cannot move forward
unless and until we have honest conversations about the past,
and then actually chart a pathway forward.
Here’s a truth: We all come to the table of democracy in the
United States as equals. That’s the aspiration. That is what
makes America great. That is what what everybody has
a right to. That is what everybody is entitled to. In order to get there, you have
to bring someone else along with you. This is not just something
to aspire to. It’s a truth that I think cannot be denied. We are
all better together. We learn from each other and go through tragedy, sorrow, pain, and
triumph together. Again, just like no justice, no
peace, that’s not a threat. You see, this is not a playground
game where if you don’t give me what I want, you’re not going to
get what you want because I’m not going to give it to you. It’s not a sacrifice or a zero
sum game, you win, I lose. It’s an open invitation for us to do
better, for us to understand that we all benefit when we’re
at the table as equals. I only understand that because
of what we faced in New Orleans with the monuments. It should
not take that kind of ordeal or a tragedy like Katrina to
wake us up and bring us together. Because we already
know what we are supposed to do. A child will tell you this. A child told me this in Kentucky
the other day. She said, mister, you know — I
didn’t like that, by the way — (Laughter.) She said, mister, you know that
talent is equally distributed, but
opportunity isn’t. Why does it take a 16-year-old
to tell the adults of America what we obviously know is true? We don’t have a deficit of ideas
in this country. We have a deficit of willpower, a deficit
of courage. Now, as a Southerner, and I love
the South. We’re a place of faith, a place of family, a place of country, of
lazy rivers, good food, good music,
good fellowship — y’all haven’t been
there, you ought to come — (Laughter.) But I feel a particular
obligation as a Southerner and as a white
southerner to tackle the legacy of our history. I partnered with the E Pluribus Unum foundation
to break down the barriers presented by
race and class. We’re been to multiple counties
and states to find bold solutions to break down the legacy of Jim Crow so
we can create a new path forward for the country and for the
South, because if you don’t know yet, so goes the
South, so goes the country. (Laughter.)
We’ve been there before. We heard that white people lack
an understanding of the escape of racism in the country, that the erosion of
public education in America is the product of ongoing and long
standing racial injustices and powerful economic inequality, a
dividing force in our community because we continue to
live segregated lives, in case you have not been paying
attention. We have seen that where local
leaders prioritize diversity and
inclusion, there’s more hope for the future. But we’ve also seen the power of
media to set a permissive tone for
racism and stereotypes. Across races and classes,
everybody wants the same thing. They’ll work two, three, four
jobs. But what bothers them is they
have to suffice time with their family and friends just to stay
in the same place. And that’s why they’re so
agitated. They believe where they live in
a who-you-know economy, that is
rigged, and no matter how hard they work, they can’t get ahead
— that’s what they say to us, if we would just listen — in other words, they know, if the
economy is so good, the stock market is so great, and
everybody’s got a job, why everybody is agitated. They
know. They sense that something is broken. They sense that the
system is rigged against them, and you know, they are right.
And it has been for a very long, very long period of time.
So I warrant So I want you to think about it
for a moment. This is not rocket science. It does not require
somebody to see what can’t be seen. This system works the way
it does because it was designed this
way. Which means that it’s defective.
If you want to fix it, you have to redesign it if you want to
achieve another goal and another end.
This doesn’t mean that you have to design a system where I take
from you and give it to somebody else. It means being thoughtful be
making changes to the way things have always been, redesigning it
for the way it should have always been if we had designed
it right the first time. Think about this. If all the kids are not invited,
or the family members, to the kitchen
table for dinner, the experience is always different, and worse.
Everybody deserves a seat at the family table.
As intentional as we have been in this country about designing laws and
institutions that kept us apart, we have to be that intentional
about bringing people together. So looking to 2020 and beyond,
it’s time to force the conversation on
race in America. There are many people — maybe people in this room — that have
advocated that we should reject discussions about racial
identity and tough discussions about race. I strongly disagree
with that. I think that we could not be
more wrong. With Donald Trump in the White
House, there actually can’t ever be a better time than we’ve had
in our lives to confront this nation’s history and truth about racism, as a means of
bringing people together rather than separating us. We can tackle the challenges in
this country one way, and only one way. By facing them. Telling
the truth about them. Making a commitment to change them. For generations, our history,
our multiculturalism, has been considered one of our nation’s greatest
things. Our nation’s motto, out of many,
we are one, e pluribus unum, is hard to say,
but really, really easy to understand. That’s the idea. The
foundation of our nation is being questioned by those that
are in charge today. And they’re doing it aggressively. And I
think they’re wrong. Elections, you see, are about
choice. And choice matters. We’re beginning to painfully
understand that today. So what we choose to do is going
to matter to matter about where we
end up. We need leaders to see public service as a call, a
vocation. We need leaders whose political philosophy is fied is tied to a
greater ooet ethos, rooted in a greater
sacrifice for common responsibility. Who are
concerned with what is just and what is right.
We can in fact be a nation of law and order. But we’re also
capable, at the same time, of being a nation of justice and
mercy. That is well within our our
wheelhouse. We need leaders who will face the truth and lead us
to a new path forward. One of the other things that
I’ve learned from our work is that
this road is long. And the path is arduous. There are going to be ups and
downs. But you have to keep going one step at a time. Now, while I still have hope in
my heart that Dr. King was right — as President
Obama often said, the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice
— I am equally sober to the fact, and more sure today than I
ever was, that that arc does not bend on its own. And in fact, can be bent
backwards if you let it, which is happening
today. So as this all comes into stark
relief for us and for the nation, the choice seems the choice seems possible pretty
clear. You’re either going to go
backwards, comma, again. Or you’re going to go forward. I
believe the choice should be clear for all of us in this
country, and that is where we all come in.
At the end of the day, it is just a moment, a very important
moment, not the only one we whether we will ever
have, but with don’t be confused that
this is not one of those moments,
because it is, that we can either go backward
or forward. It’s time for all of us to make that choice. Thank you very much.
(Applause.)>>We’ll now take a very short
break before we resume our program.
(Break. )>>Please welcome back Jacob
Leibenluft. (Applause. )
>>Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed your break and your
snack, and that you’re ready for our next discussion on how we
create shared prosperity for all Americans.
President Trump often brags that the economy has taken strides
for the American people underhis administration. But in reality, his economic
policies have concentrated their benefits on the elite few. His actions have demonstrated
his true priorities. President Trump and Congressional
Republicans enacted a tax plan skewed #2w5rd toward the wealthiest
Americans and repeatedly rolled back
critical protections for workers and
stacked in favor of l large corporations.
But economic inequality did not begin with Donald Trump, even if he
exacerbated it. We need bold solutions. Solutions that create
a stronger economy for everybody, especially for those,
including women and people of color, who have been
historically and systematically excluded from prosperity and
economic security. In a moment, we’ll hear from
three leaders and thinkers who offer
us new ways of building the economy and bold solutions for
the future. Please welcome CAP’s president,
Neera (Applause.)
>>Everyone come on up. Tanden, who will moderate the
next panel. Senator Merkley, professor Hamilton, Betsey
Stevenson, have a seat. We’ll get started. I’ll quickly introduce our ill
uftious panel. Jeff Merkley has served the
people of Oregon for 20 years. Professor Darrick Hamilton, who
chairs the Kerwin center for study of
race and ethnicity at the Ohio State
University, laying the ground work for
creating a more just society for all Americans. And finally, Betsey Stevenson,
the architect for many of Barack
Obama’s economic policies as part of his
council of economic advisors. Excellent!
(Applause.) Senator Merkley, I would like to
start with you. We’re focused in this panel on
economic inclusion, but I think a lot of people see rising inequality in the
country in parallel track to a government that seems to work more for the few
than the many. I’d like to just ask your views,
both on that issue of rising inequality and how it connects
to challenge within our democracy.
>>Great. Oh, hey, works! (Laughter.)
All right. Greetings, everyone, and thank you for coming to a
conversation about the future of our country. Because we do see
this massive inequality, and we see it in both wealth and in income, and there are
points in a country when that disparity
becomes so great, and there are so many ways that a small circle of the privileged and
power power have access to the levers of
power, that they can make it a country that
works by and for the power. And I think we’ve gotten to that
point. We saw 2017, where half the year
was spent trying to undo, cancel
health fair for Americans, and the other involved a tax bill that takes trillions of
dollars from working people and gives them to the wealthiest
Americans. Now, I’m about to hit my 4
hundredth town hall as a U.S. senator.
(Applause.) I can tell you no person has
come to a town hall and said, I have this great idea, let’s
borrow all this money and proceed to give it to people who
need it the least. And so we have to take on the
fundmental corruption of our government
government and by that I’m talking about
Jeremy gerrymandering, voter suppression, and taking on the
dark money, because if we don’t reverse the corruption that has
so inhabited our legislative
process, we’ll lose on anything else, including all the fundament the fundamental ways
to address wealth and income inequality professor. If we win that bat b that
battle, the Jeffersonian concept of equal voice, which had
problems in it, but that’s what he was talking about,
distributed political power, if we don’t
undo that, we’ll lose on housing, education, health care,
infrastructure, equality, on climate. So I want to — so the first so
the first thing we do in January
2021 when we have 51 votes is restore the vote by
simple majority in the U.S. Senate.
(Applause.) I didn’t get to concrete ideas,
but… (Laughter.)
I have a whole bunch.>>You can just say another
minute or two. It’s more than welcome.
>>With that power, with the people power, we need to take
and have things that are embedded in employment now just
become automatic in America, including Medicare for all. And that becomes a fundamental
attribute to everyone everywhere so it’s not something you have
to win through part time jobs in our economy. I like the idea of
guaranteed work. Work creates structure in life. It creates
meaning. And to have that guaranteed work with the right
wage gives you a foundation from which to build.
Then we need to take on the power of wrorgs of workers to negotiate
that has been deeply eroded and damaged. When workers have the
power of a union to be able to negotiate a fair share of the
wealth, they get a fair share of the wealth. That is a vision we
saw 40 years ago and we often don’t see now. I’m a blue collar
kid. I live in a blue collar community. What I see is hope and
opportunity are much further away now for
families in my neighborhood now than decades ago when I finished
high school. It’s not because the families have changed. It’s because of the people in
power.>>Professor Stephenson, in this
economy, we’ve seen growth, but unequal
growth, rising levels of inequality where the benefits of growth have really
not been equally shared. We’ve seen a major shift in the
balance of power, which Senator Merkley
referenced. But I want you to follow up on what policies, in your mind, can both
produce economic growth and ensure that growth is more
fairly shared?>>So technological change has
enabled really big growth and inequality. We’ve become a
winner take all economy. But what’s happened in our political system is that policies have
cemented that winner take all, by, those winners then ask for
more. That’s what that trillion and a half dollar tax cut was all about,
giving more money to the people who have already won. The problem is, in the long run,
this will slow down and erode growth, because we’re not
investing in the skills for the future. Very specifically, the
federal government undervefs government underinvests in
children. And investing in the human capital of our chin our children is where
future growth is going to come from. When we give more money to
the people who have already made money, it’s not true that they turn around and
make the economy grow faster. (Applause.)
The The market is about
opportunities for everyone, that the best ideas percolate to the
top and they become the new next thing that allows us to grow. We can’t do that unless we’re
investing in every single one of our children. Because I don’t
know who’s going to have the next big new idea. And we have to ensure that we
lay the platform so that whoever has the next idea can rise to
the top and make it happen.>>Thank you. Professor Hamilton, we talk a
lot in economic circles about income
inequality, but we have obviously a range of
inequalities that are functioning in the economy, and
in many ways becoming ex exacerbated.
You’ve written extensively on racial inequality and the racial
wealth gap and how that is that is
generational. It is exacerbated itself
generation after generation, and our policies make it worse
generation after generation. So what are your thoughts on how
to reduce that inequality as well
as income inequality? And some strategies. Senator Merkley just referenced
a jobs guarantee. Other ideas that you’ve
developed and and highlighted?>>That’s an excellent question.
I think we need a package of goods. Inequality does affect us
in many domains. The senator mentioned health care. We’ve
talked about income, guaranteed income. But wealth is also a
critical domain by which people have agency in their lives, the
ability to be self-determined. And if we look at wealth as an
outcome, it allows us to refute all those narratives that have
come about by this free market revolution which, in
my estimation, was a reaction to the revolutionary gains that
came about from a New Deal and a civil rights movement where the government was used to
empower people. So in reaction, we have this fre
market revolution, but in the domain of
wealth, it is not education, it is not income, it is not mere
grit that allows people to attain wealth.
The critical ingredient is capital itself. The critical
ingredient is having some asset that puts you into an
automatic vehicle of savings, like a home, like a debt-free college education,
like some seed capital to start a business.
If we’re trying to empower everybody with the ability to
have self-determination from an economic standpoint, then we
need a government that facilitates some capital for
everyone. So, you know, Senator booker is Senator Booker is proposing baby
bonds, something we’ve been talking about for a long time.
But a birthright to capital. Capital should not be a right
for the wealthy, but every American should have some seed
capital to put into a vehicle of savings, not individual
savings, but literally passage savings, like
the automatic appreciation of a home. That should be extended to
everyone. Your race should not be a
criteria, or the family you’re born into should not be a
criteria by which you have access to that asset freedom or
asset security.>>Senator Merkley, I wanted to
ask you in response, ideas like baby
bonds, ideas like jobs guarantee, these
are — some of these are old ideas that have a fresh look. I think one of the issues around
all of these issues is, should we make
them universal? Should we make them targeted?
Another question is, when you look at how policies — how we’re
dealing with a Trump administration that is trying to
pit people against each other, right? Rural communities against urban
communities. White people against black people and
immigrants, the documented against undocumented.
And you represent a state that has a rural community as well as
an urban community. How do you see economics as a
way to think through an agenda that actually brings people together, versus
cementing these divides between working class whites and people
of color, etc.? Are there ideas? Maybe we’ve discussed some of
them, but are there ideas that can try to
actually glue people back together in a
world where Trump is trying to divide us consistently?
>>Before I talk about specific economic ideas, we have to talk
about the philosophy of our hearts. We have a president who is
putting gasoline on the fire of racial and ethnic division.
Every time we hear President Trump attack a group in America,
be it African-Americans, Latino Americans, immigrant Americans,
Americans with disabilities, Muslim Americans, we need to
reach out and stand with those groups and say we were one nation,
under-God, indivisible, we stand together
to build a more beautiful nation. Resist the division.
(Applause.) And there are some policies that
accentuate more help for the best off.
Let’s talk about home ownership. You get a massive tax deduction
if you buy a really big house. If you buy a small house, you
get no help. When Mary and I bought our first
help, I didn’t itemize the first year. The standard deduction is
half what it is now. So if we’re going to give the
massive gifts to those best off buying
big houses, how about we have guaranteed tax credits or grants
that go to first time homeowners to buy homes, for the
closing costs? We had a program in in northeast
Portland when I moved back to Oregon that was empowering
families through home ownership. We knew home ownership was the
biggest wealth builder for the middle class. Right now it’s
under serious damage. Partly because of the student loans
people are carrying out of college. Partly because people are scared
of home ownership after the predatory lending that led up to
the housing crash of 2008. But let’s empower families of
more modest means to participate in the ownership society. This idea of baby bonds, I like
this idea. There was a version of this called IDEAs, called IDAs, individual
development accounts. When I was in a nonprofit working group, I started the first IDA
wrest IDA west of the miss sip the Mississippi. The idea was to give families an
account to buy their new home. They would make a down payment,
buy a new home, and create a new unit
for somebody else. You got a twofer. A family who
didn’t need affordable housing, and an empty unit.
Of course, that was years ago. But the point is finding — by
the way, the IDA program it was looking at the three biggest
pathways from poverty into the middle class, one being
education, one being home ownership, and one being small
business. And you could choose the
matching grant to go to whichever area you wanted. That used to be a bipartisan
idea, had bipartisan support, and it had that nationally as
well as in my home state. Now Republicans are like, we don’t really want to reauthorize IDAs,
we don’t like them. What happened that we don’t have partners on both sides of the
aisle wants to empower families to move out of poverty into the
middle class?>>Yeah. Great.
I think we know what happened. (Laughter.)
Actually. But I appreciate the question. Professor Professor Stevenson, you’ve
written really important research on women’s labor force
participation and economic growth overall, when you look at
our country, when you look at other countries, women’s labor force
participation can be a significant fuel of growth. Yet we have a series of policies
in our country, or I should say, lack
thereof, which actually stifle that level of growth. Could you
walk through just a few of your ideas in that space? Because I
think one of the challenge is we often lose sight of how
ensuring more people participate in the economy fully actually
drives economic growth over the long term.>>A large share of our economic
growth in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, was
due to women’s rising labor force participation. In each decade, women started
participating at a lower rate and by the end were
participating at a higher rate. By bringing more people in the workforce, contributed overall
to GDP growth and to family incomes. By the end of 1990s, that
women’s labor force participation stopped. It really
hit a point of a point of stag nation. One important important thing to
realize is male labor force participation has been steadily declining since
the 1950s. A lot of people are aware we have a male labor force
participation problem today. That’s not a new problem. We’ve
seen that decline over many decades. What’s new? What’s
making us pay attention to this problem? Families used to be
able to paper over the wage losses from husbands not being able to see growth from the
participation from the fact that the wives were bringing in more.
So almost all the growth in family income was coming from
growth in women’s income. They made sure that family income
continued to grow. It felt like we were doing a little bit
better than the decade before. Well, when women’s labor force participation stopped rising,
when wage stagnation affected women as well, that pulled the bandage off the
problem of male wage stagnation and labor
force decline, and we’re really seeing the problems.
A couple things there. One, we need to address what’s going on
with men. But let’s turn to the women. Why did labor force
participation stagnate when it used to lead the world? We used to lead other OECD
countries, but they continued to grow and
we didn’t. Other Other OECD countries
realized that for women tosh that for women to be able to continue to do two
things — work and have children — they
needed to offer maternity leave, family
leave, flexibility laws, the right to request flexibility at
work. They’ve added policies that make it easier for families to combine
working and having a family. What we’ve seen in the U.S. is a stagnation in female labor
force participation because we’ve failed to add those
policies. But we’re also seeing something else happening right
now, which is women are not having babies at a same rate
as they used to. Fertility is at an all time low
when we’re 9 years into an economic boom. That’s highly
unusual. It’s partly because our
government refuses to make it easy to do
both. When you refuse to make it easy to do both, they choose,
and when they choose, you get lower labor force
participation. We see countries like Japan are
desperate to get women into the labor force. Their female labor
force participation rate is higher than ours, and that’s because they want to see higher
fertility rates as well as see growth accelerate.
We know leave policies do both these things.
The other thing I’ll say is, there has been something that’s
been happening with women since we hit the peak of their labor
force participation. We have continued to narrow the
gender wage gap, which means that a growing number of families continue to
rely clufl orly exclusively or
primarily on women’s wages to support the
household. There are single women headed
#40u68d holds, so obviously they’re supporting the family. But even in dual headed
households, they’re paying the mortgage. So they want to be
sure they’re being treated fairly, they get the leave they
need, that policies support them.
For the economy, one thing we need to be aware of is women are responding
at much higher rates than men to incentives to invest in their employable
scales skills. They’re going to college at higher rates, graduating, graduating at
top of the class at higher rates, getting honors, going on
to graduate school, getting PhDs, getting tons of
skills. They’re staying in the workforce. Is it any surprise
that they’re in their 30s now and saying, you
want me to have a baby and throw all that out the window? Do you
know what happens to women’s wages when they have a baby? They stop growing for pretty
much r for pretty much ever. (Applause.)
>>Thank you. That’s a problem we have to
address. Professor Hamilton, professor St
evenson makes a compelling argument about how the lack of policy
related to paid leave, child care, a number
of policies, is actually hurting our growth in the long term. I think you just referenced the
differentials on assets. I wanted to acknowledge CAP has
two reports on the wealth gap between white families and
families of color. The data stated that white families
possess about 10 times the wealth of black families and 7 times the
wealth of Latinx families, and persistent
gaps between those in the AAPI communities as well. I think you mentioned mentioned
home ownership and who has access to capital. I’d love for you to touch the
policies we’ve touched on — job
guarantees, baby bonds — but how does the racial
wealth gap actually ensure that we have less economic growth
than we otherwise would have if we had policies that ensured
African-Americans, Latino families, were able to have
health at the same rate as white families?
>>So I’m going to answer the question with a slightly different angle
than perhaps it was asked. I’m going to make the claim that we
should do it because it’s the right thing to do.
I think that growth is important —
>>I would agree. (Laughter.)
>>(Applause.)
>>That’s totally right.>>So I think that is reason
enough. It’s the morally right thing to
do, so we should totally do it. I agree.
>>Population growth is important. If the population grows and the
economy is not growing, we’ll end up in
a cyclical decline. So we should a calculus of that,
but more importantly, we should
measure how functioning our society is. We need to change
narratives altogether. Part of the reason we’re in this
place that we are in, where we have this constant trenchant at the top of
both economic and political power, is because we’ve used divisiveness like
race as a mechanism to maintain the status quo.
I’ll elaborate a little more and say, for instance, how do we get
— how was Donald Trump able to win with a message of: Make America great again?
That’s the one people commonly heard. But he also said one thing that
he highlighted: I’m your last chance. What he was arguing was, the
pending demographic change when whites are no longer expected to be a
numerical majority — by the way, the
definition of white dhangs white changes
throughout history, so demography is not
going to save us — (Laughter.) But his message was, as we grow inequality, I’ll I’ll store the
primacy of whiteness so your status will be unchallenged by
blacks, immigrants, whatever. So we need to get beyond the
notion of elevating horizontal equity as a
criteria that people hear about. And young people are doing
this… defining our economy in terms of humanity,
sustainability. Martin Luther King, when he
started getting leverage, he talked
about about economic equality. Economic justice is a moral
imperative. We should care about growth. But at the end of the
day, we should care about human capabilities and the universal case the universal way
that race and gender is conscious. I think that’s something we can
get to. So an economic bill of rights —
housing, medical care, wealth, jobs — we can talk about the
essential things that people need in their lives
so they have choice and agency. We need public purpose so that
those goods are not just distributed by a for-profit
sector whose primary goal is to make profit, not necessarily the primary goal of offering human dignity or
social social welfare to everyone. That’s the theoretical
perspective.>>I agree with you, but let me
offer a contrary idea. One of the
things we’re dealing with Trump and Trumpism in the economic
sphere is he’s making a very clear argument that there’s a
zero sum game. That the advance of one group
comes at the expense of another group. That’s why I push on this
idea, which is, I think progressive politics
or progressive ideas have to demonstrate that that is false,
and that is a false choice, and that actually you
can have policies that re dressdress
inequalities, not just historic, but right now current
inequalities that are not a zero sum game, do not make you lose
because someone else has gained. That’s why I skw I ask the
question, which is, these policies that
can actually reduce inequality — addressing the issues of concern — to
ensure that women can join the labor force, or build assets for
groups that have historically low assets can actually produce
economic growth. I think the challenge that we
have in the moment that we’re in is not what we all think. But there’s another narrative,
which is everything we say means some
group gets hurt.>>You and I don’t disagree. But I think we need to break
that framing al tote altogether. Like we all have seen Game of
Thrones break the whole wheel. (Laughter.)
>>I’m all for breaking the wheel, but it didn’t work out so
well for her. But I’m all for breaking it.
(Laughter.)>>The point I’m trying to make
is, the terms of the debate have been defined for us, and we need
to get rid of them altogether. Whether it’s zero sum or
whatever, what we will not accept as a society is one where we don’t offer economic
agency to everybody. I think that’s the frame and the
narrative we need to operate in. (Applause.)
And, right? And I say this last point. The neoliberal norms that have
been put upon us is one of
self-interested economic gains that knows no
bounds, and that is all associated with accumulation,
accumulation, me against someone else.
I think that the framing that young people are starting to put
together, and that is leading to this momentum that we’re having,
is one of humanity, is one of sustainability, and one of
collectiveness. And that’s the framing we need to operate on.
>>Do you want to say something, Senator Merkley, to answer that?>>I just want to jump into one
of the great contradictions in Trump on this. Because he campaigned as, I’m
going to be a champion for you struggling families who have
lost jobs. Well, so in my community, in my
blue collar community, you sit down with the family and ask,
what are you worried about? They’ll talk about one of four
things within 30 seconds. And it will be as we discussed here.
Health care, housing, education, a good paying job.
Well, what do we see with Trump? What do we see on housing? He guts all the housing in his
budget, doesn’t advocate for them, doesn’t have a secretary
of housing who advocates for ordinary families, whether it be affordable decent rentals or
affordable home ownership. What about health care? He tries to strip health care
for low income families and sabotage
middle class families. What do we see with education?
Undermining public schools. We don’t see any effort to take on
class size or stop the brain drain from schools in low income areas to
high income areas, which we see all the time. We don’t see affordability for
college being something to care about, not even investment in
career and technical education. We could have had a massive
infrastructure bill in 2017, but what did he not do? Not address the core issues that
matter to team trying to families
trying to to get trying to get into the
middle class? No. He gave 2 and a half trillion dollars with
interest to the wealthy. He’s campaigning by and for a
small circle of the rich and powerful, including the Koch brothers.
He’s increasing emissions of carbon. He’s sowing hate and
division. I want to say, we have to treat children and adults at
the border fleeing persecution with decency and rcht and respect when they ask
for asylum. (Applause.)
>>I think we have time for just a few questions. Any questions
from the audience? If there aren’t, I will ask
another. Okay.>>One issue that cuts across
what this panel has said, and a previous panel on environmental justice, justice
and infrastructure is that the federal minimum wage has not been
increased in 32 years. And one of the bills we keep
applauding what the Congress has done and
keep blasting people on the other side, but one of the
things we haven’t done is pass the Raise the Wage Act. It may
well be that although the press focuses on proimpress on
progressives who are too progressive, maybe there some progressives who are not
not progressive enough. This bill is talking about making
sure that businesses don’t either use the subminimum wage
or expand the use of subminimum wage to the gig economy and
elsewhere.>>Great. Anyone on the panel
want to talk about the Raise the Wage Act? Since CAP works on
this problem very closely, I will say that we are optimistic that the Raise the
Wage Act will pass the House, but I’d
love others to –>>I was going to say, if you
look at the income distribution, what we see is that all the gains for many,
many decades have been going to the top. So there’s been this
fight between Republicans and Democrats about
whether we’ve won or not won the war on
poverty. That’s because the share of
people above people below the official
poverty line has been stagnant for decades. The trick is that the poverty
line captures poverty wages, not EITC
and other programs. So while wages have doubled over
those four decades, we haven’t done anything to help the
bottom. The market is not going to do it on its own. And we need
to do it through passing a higher minimum wage, and making
sure that if we’re going to be talking about people working and the
importance of bringing — the importance of people doing these
things on their own, we have to make sure the sure wages are
there for them.>>We do things like require
drug testing before receiving benefits as a mechanism to
discipline poor people. We need a mechanism to
discipline the market. A federal job guarantee de facto
puts working conditions on the private sector by which if they
want to hire workers, they have to offer at least what the
federal government is willing to offer. And lastly, it eliminates
unemployment altogether, because the conservative talking point
is that the true minimum wage is 0, but when a federal job is
guaranteed, those people who aren’t working would not only
get the minimum wage, they also get a job.
>>When you think about $7.25 federal minimum wage — in
Oregon the minimum wage is almost double that, so the
disparity is becoming greater. If you include for a single
parent doing child care, it’s basically
you get paid nothing. I mean, child care eats up all
of your wages. Back to the point, we make it incredibly hard for women to
reenter the workforce, or men, single parent fathers, but this — I can’t
even imagine the fact that not only
is it $7.25 federally, if you’re in a tipped position, it’s $2.35? $2.13 .
And there’s no guarantee you’re going to get tips to make up
that difference at all. In Oregon, we index the minimum
wage. We’re raising it towards the $15
mark. We do not provide a tipped wage. That is, if you are are waiting
tables, you get the full minimum wage
plus tip. That’s what customers want when they tip you. They don’t want to make up what
you’re not getting paid by your establishment.
We have a little twist, which may be unique, it might not be,
we did a variation on the minimum wage in rural areas
where the cost of living is higher than the cities. That helped bring us together
more powerfully than ever before behind the minimum wage.
>>One last question. We’ll take it quickly.
>>Thanks very much to the panel. On the minimum wage, it was
notable earlier today and in Stacey Abrams’ speech ow low the
minimum wage can be in some states. I think she mentioned $5 and
hour in Georgia. I want to raise a macro issue.
We get worried on the Democratic side about the the debt, but the macroeconomic consensus has
moved dramatically in the past year or two away from concerns
about United States debt to GDP ratio, in favor of
thinking that it’s worth investing in and taking on debt
in order to invest. So I want to encourage us not to
be scared to lay out important spending plans because of the
fear of debt. Thank you.>>This is a former member of
the Obama NAC. So that’s great! (Laughter.)
Betsey, do you want to –>>Yeah, I was going to say, I’m
still a little bit of a debt conservative, but when it comes to investments,
I’m all for debt. Nobody decides they’re not going to make an
investment until they’ve saved up all the money. When we buy a
house, we make a small down payment, pay it off over 30
years. Businesses put a small down
payment and pay it back over years. That’s how we invest.
That’s not how we should do tax cuts. We shouldn’t borrow from our
children and grandchildren to give a lot of rich people today
more money. So we should be talking about what the debt is being built on, not just
a simple statement that debt is bad.>>I think that’s a great place
to talk to end. I want to thank our three panelists. We’ve saved
our best for last with the last speaker. I’m going to go to the podium.
Let’s give a round of applause. (Applause. )
This way. Out this way… excellent.
So. We have saved — I shouldn’t say
the best for last, because then everyone else will get mad at me — but
one of the greats for last. It’s really my privilege to welcome
to our stage the final speaker of
today, Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric
Garcetti. As the head of America’s second
largest city, he is at the forefront of
amazing leaders driving progress at the local level, expanding
infrastructure, providing free community college, and
combatting climate change. He’s here today to share how his
city is spearheading the movement to enact real and
meaningful change across the board. Please help me give a warm
welcome to mayor Eric Garcetti. (Applause.)
>>Thank you, Neera, and can we just pause for a moment and
imagine a Washington that was run by Neera Tanden, like a
Washington that would actually work? I want to give her and all
the Center for American Progress a round of applause for what’s
been an extraordinary day. (Applause.)
I’m very conscious that I’m the last speaker of the day, and all
that’s standing between you and happy hour.
(Laughter.) But I want to thank CAP for
what’s been an amazing day of hope and ideas of what I feel is
forward momentum in this nation that so badly needs it. It’s been wonderful to be with
so many inspiring leaders. As we look forward to 2020 and
the path for American people that’s been charted here.
We’ve heard from Stacey Abrams and throughout the day that that
victory starts with defeating Trump. But it’s not sufficient.
What we need as the American people moving forward is much,
much, more than that. The American people, my friends,
want the good life. Not the the kind of good life we
see in a beer commercial, but something deep and profound.
They want a chance to fulfill the instinct that lives inside
each one of us. What I put forward for you as we close out
this time today, is the pursuit of happiness. If Thomas Hobbes described life
as nasty, brutish, and short, if
the Greeks said call no many happy until he is dead, our
American philosophy, our American experiment, called for
something radically different. Our founding documents, we
defined ourselves through inalienable
rights that we know so well: Life, liberty, and the pursuit
of of happiness. We often define ourselves by the
first two. The battles itself for life and liberty. But our founding fathers agreed
that that Americans should be involved in the pursuit of
happiness, and that the first two were the precursors. Government that is rooted in our
care of each other, devoted to a future
where our children can thrive. Despite the foundation, despite
our vast wealth and power, America
is ranked 18th in the world in terms of happiness. Why? You’ve
heard today. Health crisis. Unequal economy, soaring student
debt. Unattainable housing. And I believe our unhappiness
stems from the disconnection that Americans are feeling right
now. That we don’t have a sense of belonging. Americans are asking where we
belong in the country, and where America belongs in the world.
Unfortunately, our leaders in Washington, especially the White
House, have very few answers. This president who divides us
and remains the subject of a counter intelligence
investigation. An Attorney General in contempt
of Congress. State by state, men are deciding that they should
legislate what women do with their bodies. And the great
American promise that if you work hard, if you play by
the rules, you’ll do better than your
parents? That is broken. In just three years, our moral
and political authority in the world has been diminished by our
withdrawal from the Paris accords, the Iran
nuclear deal, waffling on NATO, and the
crisis of children at the border. Americans don’t trust our
institutions. . Gallup does a poll every year
about the institutions people trust. Only three are above 50%:
Police, family, and small businesses.
People have lost trust in the things they read, the places
they put their savings, and the people they elect, and that goes
for both parties. Trust and faith. Think about those messages from
our pulpits and temples and
churches. Yes, we are taught to reject evil. But true faith comes from more
than rejecting evil. It comes from positive faith, a
belief in knowing where your god wants to take you and a trust in
knowing that power. We need to come not from just a
rejection of Donald Trump, not just restoring the status quo of
three years ago. Now, I don’t know what will make
everybody happy. I recently read there’s 1.5
million Americans who would be happier if the 8th season of Game of
Thrones were redone. (Laughter.) But there are a few things we
can agree on. One, that work must have
meaning. Two, that your children must have a good public
education. Three, the future should feel
full of beginnings and not of endings. It should be full of beginnings
and not endings. So our party, and this room, and
our allies as progressives, we have to carve a path to
happiness for the American people. Remind Americans that they do
belong. From belonging comes trust. From
trust comes commitment. From commitment comes progress.
I’m here today because as broken as our federal system feels, as the
mayor of the second largest city in America, traveling the
country the country with my fellow mayors, I see a great
America in America’s cities and towns, and I want to say today
what we can can contribute to our vision of
belonging in our country. It used to be said that states
are the laboratory for Americans democracy. Now I would say it’s cities, and
we are demonstrating how happiness is
an achievable pursuit in our city areas.
In Los Angeles, we’re not waiting on Washington to on Washington for
infrastructure. The same day Donald Trump was elected, we
joined other cities around the country to prove $230 billion of
infrastructure. In Los Angeles it was $127
billion to put 15 transit lines in the most trafficked city in
America and put 787,000 Americans to work. Now, through a nonprofit called
Accelerator for America, which I helped found, we’re working with
cities all across this nation to generate
their own local infrastructure funding, creating change from
the bottom up. While Washington demonizes
immigrants, denies climate change, and wages
a trade war, what’s happening in Los
Angeles? Every library has a citizenship
center. We’re breaking records for international trade and
travel in our ports and airports. And other the last
five years, we’ve passed a wide reaching agenda
for progress through key investments in our city.
I think some of you know that in California you have to pass any
revenue measure by a 2/3 votes/3 vote. Not only did we pass revenue, we
passed measures to address
homelessness, clean water, parks, and . And we made community college
free and are outpacing the the nation on
job growth and job creation. In a town with just over one %
of the nation’s population. We also convinced the world were
the Muslim ban that they should believe in America and were awarded the
202028 Olympic games. That’s a damn good story, a progressive
story that lays the ground work for a better tomorrow.
It’s a story where everyone belongs. I know people talk about
inclusion and diversity. I prefer the word belonging.
Diversity can mean a lot of things. The hometown buffet has
diversity. Inclusion with just mean im mean
I’m including you. But belonging means you belong
as ab an American. Our story is the story of
pulling people together and getting stuff done. I think CAP understands that
mandate better than anyone else. Born in the wilderness of the
Bush administration, it showed how to push back on policy and what to do
when we regained power. When Barack Obama won the White
House, we had a substantive agenda on
day 1. That’s the kind of foresight we need today. . Our farmers need more than an
the trade war, they need a way forward in the changing world and climate. Yes, we need a better world for
migrant children, like my grandfather
who passed the border. We need to defend immigrants and craft a foreign policy to to stabilize
our hemisphere. And while we need to restore our
frayed social safety net with social
services, it’s not enough to tread water to stay afloat. We need agendas to lift America
back up. We need to create opportunities
for people to pursue happiness. As we drive into the throes of
the presidential election, our cause is not just to defeat
Donald Trump, but to create happiness for the American
people. To create a vision and a plan
and seize it for America. I’d like to talk about three
ways to get there. First, we need to have a generational approach
to building infrastructure. Second, we need to protect our
families by winning the war on climate change. Third, we need to advance
everyone through inclusive investment. Not just keeping people’s head
above water, but helping them see a
future for themselves and their chirp their children in this
country. First, infrastructure. I didn’t
time this today. But in case you didn’t know while you were in
here, the president walked away from the table, away from
crumbling communities, away from American people. After investment of trillions of
dollars in people’s future, Donald Trump showed he still
can’t get construction projects done.
But remember, the same night we elected him, as I mentioned, voters from
Ohio to Washington proved a quarter of a billion dollars in
infrastructure investments. Over half of that was in my
town, the largest infrastructure
initiative in history times two, that never sunsets, that creates
middle class jobs that can’t be exported, are recession
proof, can help people buy homes, send
children to college. And that helped found
Accelerator America, which was founded one
year after the election. At the time, we didn’t know, the
group of mars — the group of mayors,
one from South Bend, Indiana — (Laughter.) And from there my friend Pete
Buttigieg would launch his campaign for president of the
United States. 80% of Americans say
infrastructure is important. And it’s not just about dollars
and miles and programs, it’s about your commute time so you
get to pick your kid up on time. It’s about your dating pool,
because how far away you live determines
who you can date. Even though the president walked
away from the table today, we need more than a short term fix. As we see other other countries,
other nass around the world map out a plan for a century, they watch our
country lump through two and three year band aids.
I’m calling today for a national infrastructure strategy, a plan
for the next for the next 50 years for
transportation and energy and water projects, to move America
forward. It will be the largest expansion
of the middle class in our lifetimes. It will tell
Americans who are repairing our brimgs our
bridges, laying down our cables, building our
building our turbinsees that they belong.
Climate change has people worried about whether our
children will survive at all. I was talking to a teen to a
teenager and I said when I was her age, we feared the world would
come to an end because of nuclear war. She said we feel
the same way about climate change. It’s visceral. It’s real. As mayors, it affects our cities
and and towns. It’s very exciting for me to
hear Washington talk about a green New Deal. But don’t just
look across the aisle in Congress. Look across the
country. Because the generational battle
against climate change is a moral imperative and a massive
economic opportunity. Cities across the country are rising to meet this moment, and we can
create enough change despite this president, because most of
America will be already moving on to a low carbon, green energy
future. In LA we kicked off our green
New Deal five years ago. We created a model that I hope the
nation will fop. I just testified to the select committee in Congressed to on in
Congress today on this. We need to work hand in hand on
the economy and equity. People said we were crazy. But we took the plan last month
even further, pledging that Los
Angeles will be a carbon neutral city by
2050, 100% of vehicles will be zero
emission, we don’t send a single piece of
trash to a land fill, that we recycle 100%
of our water, that we power 100% of our
homes with clean energy. (Applause.)
And just because we’re leaving pollution behind doesn’t mean
that we’ll leave workers behind of the my green New Deal will put 100,000 100,000 workers
on new jobs, building on the 35,000 I
mentioned earlier, with waters and and
retrofitting roofs, and we’ll make sure they go to Angelinos
now bearing the brunt of clament change and make sure
that people have not just jobs but fulfilling careers. The carpetener’s association When we talk about green jobs,
we have the opportunity to create a smart transition for
workers, maybe even that the workers of old polluting jobs of yesterday to have jobs
guaranteed for them tomorrow. That’s important because the
future requires the dignity of work and
a livable wage on a green planet.
Finally, whether I’m in Birmingham or Boston, everyone is wondering
the same thing. Is there a place for me in the future economy?
Will my children be met with opportunities or obs obstacles?
The middle class seems out of reach. Our peaks are higher than ever,
but our valleys are lower than ever, and
you can’t average out prosperity. A safe retirement is a hope and
a prayer. People are getting fewer shifts,
less overtime. This is a threat on a factory
floor now. It’s an angst an anxious time
and an exciting time, which I’ve put
into one word called anxitement. That
anxiety is making us question where our children and
grandchildren belong in the 21st century. But we know that questions
begins long before you submit the resume for your first job. It’s what pre-K through 12th
grade do to prepare you. I won’t repeat that a college
education costs twice what it does, adjusted for
inflation today versus when I went to college, or that the average student is
shackled to 25 years of payment. If we are honest about our
education system, the reality is 8 out of
every 10 of my hometown’s public schools live in poverty. Our public schools have become
where we warehouse our trauma and our poverty. In New York, only 7 black and
Latino students were admitted to
Stuyvesauyvesant high school in a class of 900. It’s time to stop pretending
education is the great equalizer. Let’s stop paying lip service to
the idea that schools are comaet ways to opportunity and actually
do it. Because what is all our work for
if young people can’t imagine a good life, let alone pursue it.
Let me tell you what we’re doing in LA. We’re training 2500 early
childhood educators by 2025. And expanding pre pre-K should
be universal across the country. And we made community college
free, and in just in one and a half years,
we boosted by 56% the number of
kids transitioning to college. And we are lowering class sizes,
making sure libraries are reopened and
there’s a nurse there for more than one day a week in schools,
because kids don’t plan when they’re going to be sick. When trust is is in the
government to raise communities up and help them
succeed, that’s what’s possible when governments get back in the
business of boosting happiness. Imagine how it would look if representatives in DC in one
party spent less time on cable news and more
time on housing, commutes, in communities. My talks are always about health
care, housing, jobs, and education. People might start to
trust government again. And they might start seeing a future for
themselves, not just in their communities or their cities, but
in the American story. That is why we were here today. I learned so much in nearly two
decades at the local level. I knock on doors on the
weekends, not when I’m campaigning, but between
elections. The look of surprise on the face
of an American who never thought government would show up and say what are
we doing and what what can we do for you,
it’s everything that the revolution demands.
People are looking for more than survival. Looking for meaning.
When they’re not just tolerated rns when they feel the government is
the government is investing in them and their happiness, not
just overreaching their power, when they have the opportunity
to live with dignity and define define their self-worth,
the future of America is within reach. Aristotle’s words are etched in
the city hall on the top floor. It says: The city came into
being to preserve life. But it exists for the good life.
In other words, we form government to be safe. But
that’s not the end goal. It’s not life and liberty, but
the pursuit of happiness. To fall in love. To go to a concert
that moves us. To have contact with different
cultures and live a life with meaning. Let me quote from a quote by
Robert browning, that a man’s reach
must always exceed his grasp. Our reach should always exceed
our grasp. Think about American history. The slave who reached out for
her freedom, even though she died in shackles. The woman who said the right to
vote should include the right for women, but never filled out
a ballot. The GI who came back in a body
bag. The farmer worker who thought
her children shouldn’t die from
pesticides. Or folks who reached out so they
could marry their loved one, but died before the Supreme Court
decision came down. Americans always reach beyond
our grasp, so even if we can’t hold it, our children or our
children’s children will. Because that’s what the pursuit
of happiness is about. I want to close this conference
out by letting you know that ideas are alive and well across
America. But more than ideas, so is
action. So spend five minutes watching
cable TV or responding to Twitter. But then let’s get to work.
Let’s see America being born in every good idea in a small town
or city across America. Feel the investments we’re making. And let’s throw out the old goal
of defeating the attitude at 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue, and reach toward the happiness that we
feel, and when we close our eyes, we
imagine. Then our reach will exceed our grasp.
Thank you very much. Have a great afternoon.
(Applause. )>>I cannot think of a better
ending to the 2019 CAP Ideas Conference. I want to thank Mayor Mayor Garce Garcetti for his
remarks and for demonstrating that
progress is happening all around us, despite what we hear from 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, and that we have to focus on making
progress progress where we all. I want to thank all of you for
being here. I have one announcement. We have a
reception down the hall that everyone is welcome to.
This event is only possible because our friends, our thought
partners, everyone here, but mostly for the
fantastic staff for the Center for American Progress. All my
colleagues. (Applause. ) The entire CAP event staff, but
three people in particular who made this day possible, and
definitely juggles with a lot of changes on the Hill today. Erin Cohan, my chief of staff
who runs our events program, and finally
Billy Flanagan. So really all the staff, but
those in particular. (Applause.)
And, let’s go have some drinks! See you later.
(Applause.) .
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14 thoughts on “The 2019 Ideas Conference

  • HERE is an idea to fight for min. federal oversight for all of Americas injured workers and patients having a class war waged upon us by folks at the top of both parties. Resolution & Petition To Establish The National Commission On State Workers'​ Compensation Laws. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/resolution-petition-establish-national-commission-state-darren/

  • RN Explains how state workers comp systems are harming injured workers/patients mental health. All for a few to profit off the systemic patient abuse. https://youtu.be/6hcUFZW0ICw

  • ADDRESS THE CLASS WAR ON AMERICAS INJURED WORKERS B4 A CIVIL CLASS WAR IS started by one of its oppressed victims.

  • PROGRESSIVE's LYING TO INJURED WORKERS IS GOING TO GET SOMEONE OR GROUP HURT. LYING TO LABOR will no longer be tolerated by either side. FUCK YOU ALL. YOU hypocrites snobs. YOUR BLINDNESS and COMPLICIT arrogance is killing Americas Injured Workers and our grand bargain you mother fuckers own this class war on me and family now. FUCK YOU ALL. You're the ones FAILING Americas Injured Workers/patients. YOU MOTHER FUCKERS NEED TO STOP LYING TO MEN WHO LABOR and are injured on or by our jobs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xglZEDznGxs

  • FIGHT FOR OUR GRAND BARGAIN ON A FEDERAL LEVEL or your all COMPLICIT in the class war on Americas Injured workers.

  • how about a war on illegals ,how about a war on taking tax payer money in the billions and spending it on illegals.
    how about we take the over 180 billion+ spent on illegals last year and help Americas Injured workers.
    how about a tax revolt.

  • If only the left cared about Americans as much as they love illegal aliens, The illegal aliens use our school resources, take affordable housing away, and keep wages low for the poorest Americans. These facts you can not deny. #Trump2020 Build the Wall

  • This is bollocks….its makes her look 'worse'! She always sound s three sheets to the wind in my opinion…tell you what, demand regular drug tests for 'all' politicians….hell, 'anyone' who affects public opinion should be tested. That way you 'll see who's off in space cadet land and who isn't…..these people affect million and millions of others lives…that they are not tested is a travesty

  • Looks and sounds like Anti American Propaganda
    The Russian don't need to do anything
    The left will destroy Democracy for us all and all those children they hate

    To watch this
    is proof the media lies

    If there are so many women ruling the world
    why is it in such Kasos?
    Just in a few years time
    The whole world has slipped into chaos
    Why?

    This is disgusting to see in any country

    You all should be ashamed

    You are fake news
    Propaganda is a better word

  • removing this video is internet censorship. Its simply a joke vid among millions. What if all joke videos were removed from the biggest web sites?

  • So you can't afford to have and raise a baby so you just murder them with abortion? Yes it's your body but you have a new life apart from yours being formed inside of you when you are pregnant.
    We need a war on sex trafficking and the entertainment industry that promote sex to sell movies.
    Also this country is very sick in what we call entertainment especially the cartoons and video games nearly everything is so fare away from reality they put just anything on tv with out regard to the effect it has on young impressionable minds.
    Dear God help us sex is not for recreation and shouldn't be like shopping for a new wardrobe.
    So many girls and women dress provocatively what happens to modesty with out regard to personal safety.
    Yes boys need better training too so let's get busy where things begin not ignore the root causes, and gripe about the end results of a sick way of existing as a nation.

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