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tv   Campaign 2020 Reps. Hakeem Jeffries Pramila Jayapal  CSPAN  August 18, 2020 4:15pm-5:17pm EDT

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security. watch that at 5:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. a life picture now from milwaukee where the democratic national convention kicked off last night. here is a look at tonight speakers. ♪ our live coverage of the democratic national convention continues tonight with congresswoman alexandria ocasio -cortez, former president bill clinton and the wife of joe biden, jill biden. live coverage of the democratic national convention tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span. live streaming and on-demand on listen with the free c-span radio app. span, your unfiltered view of politics -- c-span, your unfiltered view of politics. >> you are watching c-span.
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your unfiltered view of government. created as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. chairse democratic caucus effriesakeem j pramilaesentative jayapal sit down with the washington post. >> who better to give us a kick off viewpoint and a curtain raiser at the convention but also the priorities of the democratic party than one of its
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rising stars? i --ressman hakeem jeff yor m jeffries of new k. there is a lot to talk about. i want to jump right in and say, let's go to the post office. >> it is great to be with you and certainly, the post office and the attacks we have seen five president trump and his henchmen have been heinous and part of a continuing criminal conspiracy in my view to undermine our free and fair elections. it started in 2016 when russia interfered in our election. as bob mueller documented, that interference was welcomed knowingly by the trump campaign as part of russia's effort to artificially place him at 1600 pennsylvania avenue.
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trump abused -- the conspiracy continued when trump abused his power by soliciting ukraine to target an american citizen, joe biden, as part of his effort to cheat in the 2020 election and withheld $391 million in military aid from a country under attack in order to do so. now, it has continued in the middle of a pandemic with the attack on the post office. we have got to see the bigger picture to understand the severity and intensity of the diabolical scheme that has been in place. we will push back against it. as john lewis would say to us, we shall overcome. throughout a lot in that first answer. i want to talk about the forest before we dive into the trees. you said this is a criminal conspiracy. you called this a diabolical
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scheme. you were one of the impeachment managers. president trump has already been impeached. do you think that what has happened given what you just said is treasonous for impeachable again for the president of the united states? rep. jeffries: i do not want to use those phrases so close to an election because basically, when the senate republican majority failed to do its responsibility, though we predicted on the floor of the senate that more was to come if president trump were unleashed by the senate for failing to hold him accountable and throwing him out of office, we decided at that point when the senate failed and was missing in action in doing its duty, that this is going to be before the american people. that is why this convention is so important. a are going to articulate forward-looking vision for making life better for everyday americans, providing real
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leadership in the context of a pandemic. that is when joe biden and harris are going to that is what the democratic party in the house and senate will be about. the attacks on our democracy are troubling because it seems like donald trump intent on artificially insuring his reelection. jonathan: you think that what the president is doing -- let me put it this way. theou think that so far, president has been successful in sowing doubt about the november all his given attacks not only on the post office and mail-in voting but just about the potential results themselves? rep. jeffries: there is a fraction of the country that i believe from a republican senator bob corker described as a cult. his words, not mine. i guess the cult like quality is you believe whatever the leader
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says. without question, there will be some segment of the country that no doubt will continue to follow donald trump down a rabbit hole. the american people are fundamentally good, fundamentally righteous, fundamentally just. i believe the overwhelming majority of the american people believe in the peaceful transition of power and free and fair elections and the integrity of our democracy. that is why you are seeing so much outrage throughout the country. democrats, republicans, independents demanding that we stop the attacks on the post office and ensure they can continue to function as they normally do and also, provide the opportunity for people to be able to vote by mail in the midst of a deadly pandemic. jonathan: on sunday, you sent out a tweet. the heroes act allocates $25 billion to save the post office. house democrats passed the bill on may 15. senate republicans have been
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missing in action for three months. end your vacation. past the heroes act now. not to the concerns of funding the post office. do you think senate republicans will step up and work with democrats to get a bill passed? rep. jeffries: that remains to be seen. i am certainly hopeful. as you know, will be back in washington -- we will be back in washington this weekend in an emergency session called by our speaker to put legislation on the floor that we expect will secure support from all of the democrats and perhaps some republicans to put the post office back on the right track to guard against the incredible intrusion that is taking place and to work toward making sure they can be fully funded. you raise an incredibly important point. on may 15, house democrats passed the heroes act. a $3 trillion plus intervention to try to deal with the pain, suffering and death the american
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people are suffering as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. both a public health crisis and an economic crisis that has cost the lives of over 165,000 americans. more than 5 million americans have been infected and counting. over 100,000 small businesses have mentally closed. 55 -- have permanently closed. 55 million americans have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment. that is extraordinary. president trump's response has been an unmitigated disaster. so has the senate republican response from mitch and the boys. that. -- that is why we need people like joe biden who recognizes that in the midst of an extraordinary pandemic, we need an extraordinary legislative response. that is what the house did three months ago. we will be back in session this weekend. the senate should come back. let's work this out on behalf of
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the post office, which is one of the few institutions mentioned in the united states constitution. you're coming back into special session. that on the focus is on the post office and the american people are concerned about what is happening with the post office. will there be any action taken on unemployment benefits and all those other things where -- and those benefits have run out. -- guys in the house democrats in the house are at loggerheads about what to do. the president has not even been at the negotiating table. what do you say to the american people who might be watching to say, great about the post office, but what about me and my needs? i have bills coming due. my unemployment has run out. jonathan: it is a great question. first of all, isn't it time for
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donald trump to get off the golf course? how many times is he going to spend weekend after weekend after weekend, most recently in new jersey, at his golf club, promoting the lifestyles of the rich and shameless while the american people are suffering? this is not complicated. reacted in may -- we acted in may to provide another round of direct stimulus to the american people of up to $6,000 per family of five. we extended the emergency unemployment insurance benefit of $600 per week into next year. $175located approximately billion in assistance of tenants and homeowners who are struggling to pay their rent and their mortgage. we set aside a trillion dollars for assistance to state and local governments whose budgets are cratering. that would jeopardize public safety, public health, public transportation, public
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sanitation and the provision of public services so critical to the american people. speaker pelosi has been clear. we believe a $3.4 trillion intervention is what is necessary. we recognize that we are in an era of divided government. senate republicans are in control on the others of the capital. donald trump for the next several weeks or months will be the president of the united states of america. we have to find common ground. we offer to come down by a trillion if they were willing to come up by a trillion. . what we have heard from them is crickets. as if they want to wish this whole virus away. let's make it clear. even if there were only 15 cases in february, which is probably one of the 20,000 lies donald trump has told over the last three and half years, it certainly did not go down to zero. it is over 5 million. find the ready to
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common ground necessary. i am in washington right now. we just need negotiating partners who are serious about doing something for the people. jonathan: in the past, the negotiating partners have been the speaker of the house, the senate minority leader, chuck schumer, steve mnuchin and the white house chief of staff, mark meadows. should the negotiation now include senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and the president himself? can't the negotiations you are talking about -- can the negotiations you're talking about proceed with one if not -- without one if not both of those men? rep. jeffries: with respect to the president, his involvement is probably counterproductive jonathan: them mark meadows? -- more counterproductive than mark meadows? rep. jeffries: mark meadows is a former colleague of mine, but he has never met an agreement he likes. he has spent his time blowing up
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agreements. secretary mnuchin on behalf of the administration has been the primary negotiator on behalf of the trump administration in the four previous agreements we reached including around the cares act, which was a significant intervention in march. i have a reasonable degree of confidence he is the appropriate person on behalf of the administration to be at the negotiating table. i do booth -- i do think at some point, mitch mcconnell needs to get off the sidelines and commit to doing something. the problem is, for the last couple of months, he has been throwing hand grenades from the floor of the senate saying things like states should declare bankruptcy. really? that is a morally bankrupt idea that would send the economy into a death spiral. it is ridiculous and it was rejected out of hand. he has been talking about giving corporations multibillion-dollar
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companies blanket liability protection while the american people are dying. that makes no sense. we have rejected that as well. if mitch mcconnell decides to be a productive participant, then theoretically, that could be a good thing. as long as he is just interested in throwing hand grenades from the senate or to blow up agreements, then his involvement is probably not something that would add ants the ball. -- that would advance the ball. jonathan: let me bring you back to the post office and the special session this weekend and the focus on the post office. what specifically will you be discussing in terms of the postmaster general and the fearns that have ignited among the american people in terms of moving post boxes and sorting machines around the country. will there be discussions about
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curbing the actions of the postmaster general? rep. jeffries: yes, absolutely. it is my expectation the legislation will be introduced to 36 hours.4 will be able to review the full contours of it. it is going to be led by chairwoman carolyn maloney of the oversight committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the postal service. we will all have an opportunity to make the case with particularity to the american people. we are going to constrain their ability to engage in the type of shenanigans we have seen. that includes the removal of postal boxes. that includes the prohibition on overtime. that includes the removal of sorting machines. that includes the changing of work schedules to try to slow down the processing of the mail. every single part of the systematic attempt to dismantle
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the post office ended -- post office in advance of the november 3 election, we will deal with concisely and constrain it legislatively. we are also going to hear from the postmaster general on monday. he has agreed voluntarily, avoiding the need to issue a subpoena, to appear before congress and the american people on monday, august 24, where he will be compelled to explain his actions to the american people. that will be another important moment. lastly, i think as you know, ted lieu and myself as members of the dishy airy committee -- of the just -- of the judiciary committee sent a letter to christopher wray to open a criminal inquiry into whether the postmaster general has rogan federal -- has broken federal criminal laws by delivered
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interference with the delivery of the mail. will the postmaster general be under oath at that hearing on monday? rep. jeffries: yes, it is my expectation he will be under is theong with -- or as practice for every other member of the trump administration who comes before the house. jonathan: you mentioned the name of congresswoman carolyn maloney who is leading the oversight of the post office. she has been the focal point of of her election where the primate -- where the president said, look at new york. look at carolyn maloney. her election should be done -- should be redone because mail-in ballots was the reason why it took weeks for there to be a final determination in her election. does the president have a point? rep. jeffries: no, he does not. new york was the epicenter of the pandemic. because of great leadership from
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andrew cuomo and the well of the american people of course but certainly those new yorkers who banded together to flatten the curve in an incredible fashion, but in the midst of the pandemic, the governor and the state legislature had to realign the election system in short order. there was an overwhelming number of people who participated through the voting process that had been set forth in terms of mail. no excuse, absentee voting. it took a little time because the race was particularly close as it relates to the congressional contest that chairwoman maloney eventually prevailed in. let's take a step back from what the president is suggesting. he just requested an absentee ballot in connection with tomorrow's primary in florida
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where thankfully, he is now a resident of that state. the president regularly votes by mail. the vice president voted by mail this year. the attorney general voted by mail. why should we deny the american people to do the same? includeeroes act, we $3.6 billion in election security grants that can be distributed to the states to ensure the smooth implementation of early voting, same-day voting with adequate poll sites, and mail and voting that can be -- and mail-in voting that can be universal to everyone shared that is -- to everyone shared a e. jonathan: you brought up attorney general william barr. with all the talk about security, you asked him during a house judiciary hearing at the end of july about what happens if president trump loses and
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then refuses to leave office on january 20, 2021. do you consider that a serious possibility? rep. jeffries: i think that anything is possible with this particular president because norms do not constrain him. dictator witho be authoritarian tendencies. i think we have seen that over and over again during his tenure. that is highly problematic. eelhink we all f compelled to ask every cabinet official who comes before us, what are they going to do if donald trump loses the election on november 3 but refuses to leave office on january 20? in particular, it is going to be important for the department of defense and for the military to be prepared to do the right thing because they have taken an oath to the constitution, not to
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any one person. we are a nation of laws and not men. and so i think we are going to continue to talk about the sanctity of the peaceful transition of power that is part of the character and sense of our government -- and essence of our democracy in the unites states. democrats to republican, republicans and democrats. that is who we are. we cannot allow donald trump to break that up. jonathan: having said that, were you then surprised that attorney general barr -- you asked him the jet -- the question, quote, if the results are clear, i would leave office. you were asking him if he would leave office at the end of the term if the president lost the election. were you surprised that the attorney general of the united states would not say unequivocally that he could? rep. jeffries: i was surprised
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that he provided a somewhat direct answer that he would leave. as the attorney general often does, he is a very slick character, provided himself some room and i did not have the opportunity to explore it during my five minutes of questioning. along with chairman nadler, we have sent him a follow-up letter and asking him, tell us what circumstances you think would not be clear. we think the american people are going to decisively vote donald trump out of office and reelect goat -- reelect joe biden. we want him to tell us what circumstances are unclear. jonathan: let's talk about joe biden and his newly selected running mate, senator kamala harris of california. your reaction to her selection. rep. jeffries: it was a tremendous pick. joe biden had a phenomenal group of women to choose from who were
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,ncredibly well-qualified intellectually powerful, spiritually grounded, hard-working and would have been great assets to the ticket. senator harris was a phenomenal choice. she has great experience at every level of government. as a district attorney in san francisco, at the local level, as the attorney general in the largest date in -- largest state in the union and most recently as united states senator. i have worked with her on criminal justice reform where she was instrumental in helping to pass the first step act as well as the george floyd just as an policing act where she was one of the primary architect. there's are just two examples of the type of legislative acumen i think senator harris will bring to a biden administration. i also think he has a dynamic
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presence on the campaign trail. he will help electrified the ticket in a way that will increase the likelihood that joe biden will be the 46th president of the united states of america. jonathan: you believe that because kamala harris is black, she identifies as black, but she is also indian-american. you think the participation among the park -- among the democratic party faithful will increase because one of their own is on the ticket? rep. jeffries: this is a moment right now where personal narrative matters. authenticity matters in terms of one's own life experience. a life harris has lived that many people within the african-american, caribbean american, southeastern -- south asian community can relate to including her time at an historically black college and university, howard university.
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i cannot say it is the top black college because my brother went to morehouse and i would get in trouble. certainly, and incredibly prestigious university regardless of race. one of the most important historically black colleges and universities. i think that a lot of people can relate to her and her journey. that cannot help but excite people not just to go out and vote but to go out and volunteer and encourage your family and your neighbors and your friends to participate in the selection and vote like we never have before. jonathan: that was one of the things i was seeing on my twitter feed and reading in comments. that african-americans, particularly black women were saying, you better pick a black woman because that will be the difference between my putting
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pedal to the metal and not only does voting but phone banking, taking people to the poll. if you do not do it, hired as vote. one speedbump that keeps coming up, came up during the primary. trump campaign has been trying to make an issue of it. that is senator harris' back ground as attorney general of california and also as district attorney. to people out say there for him her record -- for whom her record as a prosecutor is one that gives them pause? rep. jeffries: i am not that familiar with the individual particular cases that seem to have been brought up by her political opponents. , tohis case, donald trump try to sully her record. she,ieve overall, particularly at the moment she was district attorney and
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transition into attorney general, is both the chief law enforcement officer for that city or that state and she has responsibility. bestieve she did it in the interest of those involved and was a fair prosecutor in all instances. i think most importantly, when she transitioned from being the attorney general to a united states senator, if you look at her record, she has continued to stand up communities of color for the left behind, the poor, the sick and the afflicted and the most vulnerable amongst us. as i indicated, her leadership on both criminal justice reform and police reform has been extraordinary. jonathan: there have been a lot of poles that have come out just in the last 24 to 48 hours. some showing vice president biden's lead down to four points. others showing it is either 10
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points or 11 points. catdemocrats who are fraidy when it comes to polls and will freak out when inevitably, those poles shrink, give them a pep talk for when that day comes. when all of the polls do show a tightening of the race. all, infries: first of brooklyn, we say there are only two ways to run. run scared or run unopposed. the fact that we are not opposed, we should be running scared. we saw what happened in 2016. if we do not proceed with the type of intensity necessary to defeat this existential threat that is sitting at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. whenl say that i believe we took back the house of representatives in 2018, and we in governors races
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pennsylvania and michigan and wisconsin, that what we have seen throughout the country and certainly in key battleground states, the american people began two years ago to say, enough. that was before trump's corrupt abuse of power with respect to the ukraine scandal that resulted in his impeachment. that was before the pain, suffering and death that resulted from the covid-19 pandemic and his response, which was an unmitigated disaster. that was before he failed to provide leadership at a moment of reckoning for systemic racism, which has been in the soil of america for 401 years, triggered by the brutal killing of george floyd. i think the case he continues to make by his own failures and the case that joe biden and senator harris will make this week with a forward-looking vision for everyday americans to create
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prosperity in every single zip code regardless of race, regardless of region, regardless of religion, will be enough if we put in the work to end our long national nightmare on november 3 and the american people will say two works to donald trump -- two words to donald trump we have been waiting to hear, you're fired. jonathan: i introduced you as a rising star in the democratic party. next year, there is a mayors race. mayor bill de blasio cannot run for another term. are you contemplating perhaps maybe running to be the mayor of the big apple? rep. jeffries: you know, my mother does not get too much involved in the politics i have been engaged in for the last couple of years, but she said under no circumstances am i to run for mayor. i think the focus right now is
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on winning these elections in front of us and growing the majority in the house and flipping the senate and winning the presidency and then getting to work by governing when there is a trifecta of alignment on behalf of the american people on january 20. jonathan: i'm going to keep my eyes on you. congressman hakeem jeffries sees of new york. thank you very much for coming on washington post life. rep. jeffries: thank you, jonathan. always great to see her. jonathan: coming up next, cochair of the progressive caucus, congresswoman pramila j ayapal. ♪ welcome back to washington post life. i'm jonathan capehart, opinion writer for the washington post.
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during the 2020 democratic presidential primaries, congresswoman pramila jayapal of washington state was a backer of senator bernie sanders. now that biden is the apalumptive nominee, jay is all in for the biden harris ticket to get them into the white house. are there still lingering issues between the centrist wing of the democratic party and the progressive wing of the democratic party? i'm going to find out. coming back to washington post life is congresswoman jayapal. thank you very much for being here. rep. jayapal: it is great to see you, jonathan. jonathan: great to see you. let's talk about joe biden selection of senator kamala harris to be his running mate. you and she were both elected to congress in 2016. you to the house and she to the senate. you both where the first south asian women to be elected into those buddies. both have -- those bodies. both have familiar contacts that
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go back to india. as thees her elevation first indian-american to be vice budget all -- vice potential nominee mean to you? rep. jayapal: it is an historic nomination. you do not have to agree with every policy to know that this is important not only for the kamalase thatt bring butxperience also to the futures. i always think about breaking glass ceilings as being important not only for what it brings to the position but also for how women across the country, south asian women across the country, immigrants across the country and black women across the country see the possibilities for themselves to be represented and to be seen. i think for all those reasons, it is a great choice. she and i have worked together for a number of issues. we worked together on putting
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together a fantastic national domestic workers bill of rights, which joe biden has said he will sign and the law when he becomes president. we worked on a number of immigration issues. was arst bill in congress bill together called the access to counsel act, which we just passed a couple weeks ago. jonathan: i want to get the policy issues in second, but i want to stick on one other thing. senator harris's mother came from india. her father emigrated from jamaica. now you have some on the right reprising their racist birther why that was used against president obama, that being they are not legitimate. he was not legitimate debris president -- not legitimate to be president. she is not legitimate to run for vice president because maybe they are not american citizens, which is not true and is a lie. let methods do you have -- what
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methods do you have for the president and others who allow that racist birther lie to fester? rep. jayapal: it is outrageous. it is absolutely outrageous. i watched those clips. they are scared. they are running scared. the president is going to pol out every trick in his book including -- the pullout every trick in his book. it is a racist lie. he tried it on barack obama. here we are again. republican should stand up and call the president out and say, this is outrageous. it is racist. stop it. if you want to run for election, run in a way that honors who we are. of course, we know that is not the way the president does things. he is destroying the country. he is destroying the constitution. we have got to get them out. jonathan: the last time you were here, you were interviewed by my colleague, robert costa.
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you told him you hope joe biden's running mate would be a bold progressive. to senator harris meet your expectation? rep. jayapal: she certainly has been progressive on a number of issues and i think she has evolved on a number of others, specifically on the one that gives the most heartburn to people. her record as a prosecutor. i think that she has learned a lot and she certainly was the lead on the justice and policing act. i think we have to understand that there is no perfection out here. i supported bernie sanders. bernie sanders did not win. we have two choices on the ballot. one is donald trump and one is joe biden and kamala harris. there is no progress on any progressive issue that is possible with trump in the white house. senator harris has a number of places where she is excellent.
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immigration being one of them. i also think we have to understand that we progressives are often the first to the best and most just idea. that means we have got to keep building the movement to get our candidate to embrace our ideas and to get our candidate into office. we have made tremendous success and movement. i believe joe biden and kamala harris will have to stay accountable to our base and we will continue to push in all the ways we have done, even with democratic residents in the past. -- democratic presidents in the past. jonathan: you leapfrogged to a set of questions i was going to ask you. if the biden harris ticket wins and they are governing starting next year, what are some of the things -- give me three if you can -- three top priorities you
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would have that you would push a biden harris administration to focus on within the first 100 days. rep. jayapal: it is tough to get it down to three. here they are. number one, i would say we have got to get money out of politics and take on all the corporate corruption that has been happening. corruption in government as well. that has to be central. there are a number of ways we can do that. elizabeth warren and i have a great anticorruption bill. to make structural changes on how elections are run, who gets to serve in office, and what accountability they have the people. number two, health care. you know i am a medicare for all fan. i think this pandemic has only shown is even more why we need to have a health care system that is guaranteed for everybody, that is provided by
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the government, that does not operate on a for-profit market basis, and is not tied to employment. we made enormous steps in the platform to get some of those foundational issues into the platform. i hope we can talk about that a little bit. i feel very good about the changes we made. obviously, we are not with a candidate who is advocating medicare for. we are going to have to push to really make sure those private insurance companies do not get their hook into the system again. we have got to make sure the people have health care in this crisis and beyond. third, i would say immigration reform. i think immigration reform is about structural power. immigrants have been a political football for far too long. i think it is time we reformed the immigration system and stop using immigrants as a political football. i just cannot help but say that
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we must pass real policing reform, criminal justice reform and police accountability reform. if we do not take up the legacy of white supremacy and anti-blackness in this country, we will not make progress. i got in four. sorry about that. jonathan: you got an amen from me for the fourth one. let's talk about the platform. you are the chair of biden's health care task force. you and congresswoman alexandria theio-cortez worked on platform this year. believe rashida to lead has voted against the platform. what were you able to get on the platform that energizes the progressive wing of the party if those congress members? rep. jayapal: i think it is
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important we have people that continue to hold out the vision we are pushing for. that never worries me that much. what i will say is on medicare for all, the reason i feel good about it is this is a tough issue for the unity task force. asked to cochair it, understanding i am in the lead sponsor for medicare for all and this is the thing i've been pushing for for years now really for decades, and i was not going to change my mind about it. joe biden had a stake in the issue. helpedordable care act tens of millions of people. it simply did not go far enough. it not tackle the for-profit nature of our health care system. the we did is looked at foundational pieces of medicare for all we could get and to the platform. that is not necessarily saying
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the words medicare for all, but on tethering employment from health care, that is huge. that is what we did. if you lose your job as is happening and you have no choice, you would get automatically enrolled into the government option. that is a big standard piece of medicare for all. any public option that is provided, not my favorite choice, but the thing that was on the table, any public option. we got it in writing that it would be administered by medicare and that it would not be administered by private insurers. that is huge. third, expanded coverage across the board and services. we fought very hard for long-term supports and services in the medicare for all build. first time -- for all bill. i was so proud of that. we were able to get a real investment from joe biden into 600,000 long-term supports and services jobs. benefits.m wage plus
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that would eliminate the 800,000 person waiting list for those long-term supports and services. we got a no deductible plan option. that is huge. coverage up to a platinum level plan. that was not the case before. it was not a particularly good option before. , now it is. -- now it is. prescription drug prices. we have a fantastic platform around prescription drug prices. far better than what we were able to get through the house earlier this year or last year. i think we do have some foundational elements around cost-cutting, around coverage and around how people get access to these government plans. jonathan: let's stick to the issue of health. not necessarily health care. talk about covid-19 and the
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pandemic that is ripping and running across america. it first hit in seattle. the first city to be hit by covid-19. what is the status of the pandemic in seattle? rep. jayapal: it is horrendous. we did a really good job early on with no models. we have a great governor, governor jay inslee, who immediately was on it. took it seriously and addressed it right away. put in place restrictions almost right away. we were able to contain it. we thought we were in -- we were on a good path. this administration has been so cruel as we have lost more lives than we lost during world war i and the vietnam war in six months. no testing, contact tracing, ppe, no domestic production of the things we need if we are going to tackle this pandemic.
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and then telling people that they don't have to follow the science, that they don't have to wear masks, that they don't have to socially distance, casting doubt on all the things we know will control this virus. on top of it, i propose a paycheck recovery act that would subsidize salaries and benefits for workers and keep them tied to their jobs. that is the scale we need to it thisess, and administration has blocked us every step of the way. what are we seeing in washington state? the same thing across the country. spikes in cases, we are having to slow down evident, schools will not be able to open in person. that is just lunacy at this point. they will open virtually. but we need money from the federal government to be able to address it in washington as elsewhere across the country. jonathan: i'm going to ask you the question, sort of, that i asked congressman jeffries in the last interview, and that is
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that congress left town without a coronavirus relief bill passed . post is a focus now on the office and securing the vote and mail-in voting. and yet unemployment benefits of stopped. there are all sorts of things where people are being --they are feeling it, they are being jammed a financially. their economic security, health security, food security, is now in jeopardy. why hasn't congress moved to bring relief to the american people? rep. jayapal: well, because the white house has refused to actually do what we need to do, even to the extent of just continuing what we have done-- what we did before. unemploymentslash benefits. can you imagine, after giving a $2 trillion tax cut to the wealthiest in this country? people are literally dying, but
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also figuratively, with so much anxiety, being kicked out of their homes, not having money for food, not being able to send kids to school, no childcare. and this administration wants to cut unemployment benefits. that is outrageous. they want to give money, jonathan, only to schools that open in person. can you imagine, three quarters of the largest school district in the country are not reopening a person, and it would be absolutely detrimental to public health to do that. there are real issues at stake here. rent and mortgage relief -- they don't want to extend the rent relief and mortgage relief and evictions moratorium. these are things that we must get done. and so we are not talking about anything extraneous here. but mitch mcconnell is nowhere to be found. he has given up any responsibility. he has essentially made the senate irrelevant.
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everything is in the hands of donald trump and his white house, and they are blocking every attempt to help the american people, which is what democrats are doing, standing up for the people. congresswoman, as you were laying out the case there, the thought just hit me -- to my mind, i am -- it has been breathtaking to watch the incompetence that has come out of this administration, and i know i am an opinion writer and i expressed my opinion, but just objectively speaking, there is no national strategy for anything. i'm just wondering, you are in your third term? second term? rep. jayapal: second term. feels like my third. jonathan: you're in your second term in congress. did you think it was possible for the united states to fail
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this badly in response to a global crisis? rep. jayapal: never. never in a million years what i have imagined that the president of this country would think so-- sink so deeply into cruelty, lack of caring, lack of leadership, and then fundamentally take us down a path to fascism, because that is what is happening with these latest attacks on the postal service. i came here when i was 16 years old by myself, jonathan, as an immigrant with nothing in my pocket. i came here because america signified something to the rest of the world that no other country, in the eyes of so many people around the world, could ever hope to get at -- innovation, creativity, welcoming of diversity, resilience, but also goodness, goodness of heart and mind.
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and this president has destroyed , destroyed it. and he is taking us down a path to dictatorship, and i don't think any of us could have ever imagined it. when we get a democratic president back, we are also going to have to look at our constitution and look at all of the things that we need to do to strengthen the tools that congress has with a person such as donald trump that i don't even the founders could have imagined this level of lack of caring and cruelty. jonathan: let's talk a little bit about the post office and what is happening there in terms of mail-in voting and the president casting doubt on mail-in voting, even though he votes by mail himself, he and his wife and lots of members of his administration. it was master general will be testifying before--the postmaster general will be testifying before congress on monday. what do you want to hear from him when he testifies?
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what big questions do you want him to answer? rep. jayapal: first of all i want him to say, ",president trump, please give me $25 million-- yeah, $25 "for the post office so i can get my people back to work and i can ensure the constitutional --it is in article one of the constitution --that the post office be funded." number two, i want him to stop these so-called cost-cutting measures that are in underhanded but blatant attempt to undermine the effectiveness of the post office. donald trump has already said he does not want to find the postal service because he does not want mail-in ballots to count. i want this postmaster general to stand up and say that what he actually needs to do is ensure that people are working overtime if they need to, that they are using the wisdom of the
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long-standing as the workers-- long-standing postal workers union, people who have been delivering mail for so long, to be able to get those ballots in. and then third, i want him to say that they will do everything in their power to ensure that every ballot is counted. now, i understand that he is not going to do that. he is going to stand up for donald trump. but there is always a hope that the bigger picture and responsibility of our democracy can rest in part in his hands and that he steps up and take actual leadership. would you be interested -- i know you are in your second term. of course i am now projecting, i'm looking well beyond november. let's say the biden-harris ticket becomes the biden-harris administration. would you have any interest in being part of the administration? rep. jayapal: you know, i've
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never been -- i talk about this in my book -- i've never been one to plan ahead. i always focus on what is in front of me and look at the opportunities that happened to arise, and i figure out if i can do a better job at whatever it is that has arisen or where i am. that is where i'm going to continue to do. i really enjoy what i'm doing right now. it would have to be pretty good for me to leave congress, but i would never say no. i would never imagine what could be possible. let's see where we go. the work at hand is to get them elected and get donald trump out of the white house, and then push for the most progressive policies possible so this country can resume readership in the world. jonathan: well, hold up, i noticed a little wiggle room there. what would be a good position? when i asked the stacey abrams what she would like to do if she were in vice president, and she said head of nasa. come on, what would you want to
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do? rep. jayapal: i really haven't thought fully about that, because there is so much in front of me. yeah, secretary of labor. if we redo dhs completely and make a separate bureau, cabinet- level position for immigration services, maybe that would be something. but honestly, you are getting m -the-moment jonathan capehart-pramila jayapal thinking on it, because this is not a conversation -- jonathan: i know, i'm pushing you. it is fun to think that light at the end of the final,--light at nnel, if youhe tu will. you are a diehard -- you are progressive. you supported senator sanders. they call it does, the bernie sanders wing of the democratic
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party, the left wing of the democratic party. yet in your answers, talking about the road ahead in terms of now and the platform and the campaign and the election and holding a biden-harris administration, if there is one, accountable, you still have your eye on the progressive ball. what do you say to those diehard progressives who really wanted senator sanders and are disappointed still that he is not the nominee and might be disappointed or not enthusiastic about a biden-harris ticket? what do you say to your fellow progressives to keep them in the fold through november so that if there is a biden-harris administration, they can get to work on holding them accountable for the next four years? ip. jayapal: well, you know, am an organizer. i spent 25 years of my life before ever getting into elected office organizing on the ground
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for racial justice and civil rights and human rights. what i know is that strength comes in times of crisis. no change in the world that is deeply structural and big and bold ever happens overnight. it requires a movement, and it requires us to keep our eyes on the prize, to keep our eyes focused on what we need to do to get there, because we are not going to make those kinds of changes overnight. at the same time, i am not a fan of incremental change. i am a fan of really pushing hard for the big, bold ideas we need. i would just say, again, no progress is possible with trump in the white house. if trump is in the white house, say goodbye not just medicare for all, say goodbye to health care. if trump is in the white house can anticipate that more drilling areas will open up across the country and more parks will be gone and more environmental justice will be undermined for our black and brown immunities.
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if trump is in the white house, say goodbye to democracy. that is what is at stake, and i'm not exaggerating. the only way we win is to show the strength of progressives, to show that the turnout of our base voters, who are going to vote for biden-harris but also hold us accountable for bigger and bolder policies, that those folks turn out and become stalwart in pushing for the more perfect union. we need everybody's energy and enthusiasm, and we have got a lot of work to do, and we are resilient. we do not just sit back because our candidate did not win for the presidency. we have got a lot more fight than that. jonathan: and now my final question to you is this -- as we know, the president is running every election campaign that is grounded in fear, among a whole host of other negative issues. he calls vice president biden a
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socialist, he is constantly harping on the squad, particularly congresswoman ocasio-cortez, saying that you guys are socialists and that socialism will be what will happen to america if joe biden is elected. should americans be afraid that that would happen? what do you say to a trump voter for whom that rings true who might be watching? talk to that person. rep. jayapal: well, i would just say that the term "socialist" has been used for many president many presidents in our history, going back to teddy roosevelt, going back to harry truman, to so many presidents who proposed big ideas. franklin delano roosevelt was called a socialist when he pushed forward the most exciting public program of social security and medicare. i think that this is a common
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fear tactic. but the reality is that if you look at polls across the country, there is a shrinking minority that responds to fear- based tactics. people understand that generosity in abundance, not fear and scarcity, actually makes america great. those are just labels, but they are going to use those labels the matter what we do. the reality is people need to look at the actual data, look at what other countries around the world who have thriving markets and economies and businesses, but they provide universal health care, they provide universal higher education, they take care of people because they know that at the end of the day, they know what covid-19 has shown us again and again, that we are deeply interconnected in our future and our liberation are wrapped up together. whether you are a white guy in some rural town in idaho or
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whether you are a progressive immigrant farmworker in california or whether you are just a small business owner wherever you are, the reality is we all matter in this country, and we need government to be the great equalizer of opportunity. jonathan: congresswoman pramila jayapal of the great state of washington, great to see you again. thank you for coming on "washington post live." rep. jayapal: great to see you, jonathan. accu for having me. >> each night this week, watch c-span's coverage of the democratic national convention. before the convention at 6:00 p.m. eastern, watched some of the most memorable speeches from past conventions in our archives. today, speeches from first lady that conventions come with first lady nancy reagan at the 1984 republican convention, first lady barbara bush at the 1992 republican convention the first lady hillary clinton at the 1996
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democratic convention, and first lady michelle obama at the 2012 democratic convention. past convention speeches at 6:00 p.m. eastern on nancy's that, your unfiltered view--on c-span, your unfiltered view of politics. >> next, house democratic leaders hold a news conference on postal operations and mail-in voting. shortly before this briefing, u.s. postmaster general lewis to -- louis dejo issued a statementy announcing he was helping some changes to mail delivery until after the november elections. this briefing is 45 minutes. >> steny, how are you doing?


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