tv After Words with Representative Rosa De Lauro CSPAN July 30, 2017 9:00pm-10:06pm EDT
scholar. >> host: congresswoman rosa delauro, let me say it is an honor to be here with you and your new book, "the least among us." i read the book from beginning to end and marked the pages into different sections of the book. i think it's taught me a lot about passionate politics despite all the stress you had to go through so thank you so much for speaking up on behalf of. >> guest: i'm delighted to be here with you to speak about the book and i want to thank you for reading the book from cover to cover. it is very gratifying. >> host: you say in defense of and then the hungry, women, unemployed. why did you feel the need to
write the book at this time? you have the experience in policy making. do you feel like there is the need to highlight these issues? >> it is in defense of women and children and families essentially, and the issues that have come up in the course of my tenure in the congress for 26 years what i found is the whole structure of a social safety net which i so fundamentally believe in, that we have a shared responsibility for one another, a moral responsibility to help each other in a time of need and make sure that kids are not punished because they grow up in a low-incom low income family. but i have to tie it back to my
own experience in growing up where my parents both served in public life and sat on the city council in the city of new haven. they didn't write a crime bill or healthy care bill. what they did around the table such as this they worked with the people in our community to help them find a job, to help them with social security and find a place they can put food on the table. it was about making the government work for people. those are the lessons that i learned. the social safety net as a rich
bipartisan history that it is under a massive assault these days so when i took those lessons from my family, i went to the congress where he made that discovery of these programs you can talk about them as a series of programs but if the people in times of need and it led me over the years to thinking about a social safety net crafted by democrats and republicans understanding that as a result of industrial revolution and changing times while the country grew and
prospered, there were those who were left behind. the social safety net was there to catch people and they were experiencing these challenges in their lives and to be there so they could get back on their feet again. so the issues were the defense of the hungry and looking at the program and food stamp programs. the titled tax credit looking at the unemployed and defending them and the unemployment insurance program that was there for them. so healthcare, women, it was about defending and utilizing the institution to defend people
in those times of need, and it comes out of my direct experience for my family and the issues that bubbled up for me that this is where i need to go into this iand this is where i e battle for the vulnerable. >> and it comes out in the book. >> with me step back when we start talking about the safety net. one of the striking reports in the book that's being circulated a lot say that it bears repeating the reason companies do not feel free we lock our children with no fire escape and so on and because companies experienced a moment they were forced into the social concern for the democratic government.
if we had been, we would all be screwed. explain that to me. >> guest: you cannot depend on the goodwill of the corporation are businesses government. we have to make it work so that you see and i speak about in that context 1957 was the franklin street fighter where my best friend's mother died, and as a result of the walk to doors and no fire escapes and letters that went to the ground as a result of that in 1957, we saw no fire safety regulations. we saw a workplace that was made safer.
when she went to speak to franklin roosevelt, she talked about safe workplaces and minimum wage and these other areas. because if we don't put those in place, then the system will abuse people with child labor laws, and we see it with a topic that today people say we need less regulation, but those regulations have helped to save people's lives and to make it possible for people who make the movie a power, it is a 40 hour work week and all of these issues are so critically important. >> host: the point that regulations matter, you see the reason that the work lives have changed for the better because we have a moral responsibility
that came out. the private companies are not doing much for the rest of the people and in some sense shift all of the responsibility for helping people onto the government and not the private sector. interesting research ideas out there and the economist recently had an article that said it has been cut in half not because of the safety regulations or the government but because of free enterprise and free trade. we see a lot of innovation happening in the private sector. the private sector needs to have boundaries and figured out where things are working and where they are not. but what you say that capitalism has played a role as well even
if we don't call it capitalism, the private sector has contributed a lot of growth, has contributed a lot to people's lives. >> guest: i believe that, and one of the problems that we have today is people are in jobs that just don't pay them enough to live on. growing the economy is a good thing to do but again, i will go back to say all of the components are humane responses to the industrial revolution and the economic geographic and lifestyle changes that accompany it advancing technology, globalization and corporate power. these are good actions where we need to go. this is where the future growth is but we have to take a look at what then is the aftermath of
that and what about those that are left behind in the process. and i say these are written, they are not written by naïve people. we acknowledge the progress that was made, but it led to uncertainty and volatility. that is in fact we need safeguards that are able to guard against a family's financial calamity. that is the point of this because we need to grow and continue to grow. that is something that we need to do. >> host: you say that the safety net is under attack and i think you mean an attack from republicans. sometimes when i look at the
debate if you like there is a different view in how we think about the safety net. it's to do with getting people to move out of welfare if you want to think of it like that, and into a job. on the other hand there is the view of the safety net that we need to expand the safety net because people are suffering and the role of the safety net is not to get people back into the workforce is to provide them a safe space to exist. >> guest: people think about how we went through a terrible recession and people lost jobs. most of them lost jobs not
because of their own fault and we had in place again established by democratic republicans, presidents, congress but said we have an unemployment insurance. people say if you provide unemployment insurance, how many people are not going to look for a job. that is totally wrong. people want to work. you define yourself by your job. they are in a period of time where they need some help for a short period of time to get back on their feet again. so the notion that i believe it is told i am this book because of social safety net with a view
of people that demand where people are, what they are about, their character. they want to take care of themselves and their families. i have children and grandchildren, and i want them to look up to me the way that i do my job. factory workers want the same thing for their families. they want their kids to look up and one of the problems we face in the middle of the country today all over this country they are watching the fabric of their lives. they are embarrassed that their kids know they are out of work and they can't afford to send their kids to college. they can't afford a vocational
technical school. they can't pay for healthcare. so, it is that issue for me that is critically important. and what i found, i can go back and i think the social safety net first came under attack with newt gingrich. that was less block grants, let's eliminate a school lunch program, let's cut medicare by $270 billion. but let's provide a tax break for the richest americans. the font back. we mobilized and fought back and defeated those efforts. today there is a school lunch
program we have not block granted. they were not able to cut medicare by $270 billion. and that is the kind of thing that we need to do today. one of the things i say, and i believe this is this is about today and it is about paul ryan thinking about poverty, and some of my republican colleagues -- dot all of them because i said in the past of some of these programs have strengths in there by partisans, ryan is thinking about policy if you can make the government humiliating enough that people will opt out voluntarily "-end-double-quote or efforts to avoid hunger and illness and be laid off.
that idea is a slap in the face for the millions that do everything right and still cannot get by. they work hard and play by the rules. it's a legacy and betrayal of the legaca betrayal ofthe legac. this is what, and when i say that i've worked to defend for 25 years, it is a vision for america i want to expand so americans can support one another in difficult times and share in prosperity. >> host: sometimes when i look at that objectively, that idea that people need to be pushed off of unemployment insurance, as an economist sometimes when we see the literature we do find the minute that it affects doctors, people -- there is a spike in the number of people that find jobs. and i agree, that doesn't mean people are ready to find jobs. they are able to find jobs but
it is not the job they want. do you think there is value in having people remain attached to the workforce and these are not the best jobs we see that all the time. even the argument that yes, we push people off and brought them into jobs. >> guest: it was a different economy the second time around. now if you take a look at the beneficiaries, and i'm sure that you have read. we can look at the economy where there are no jobs and at the same time i take a look when i speak about right now i take a look at the trump budget and if
you eliminate the opportunity for job training with a $2.3 billion cut in workforce training, if you shut down the avenues that allow people to be able to succeed at a job then what does that say about your concept that you want people to have a job. on the one hand, jobs are scarce. on the other hand you don't want to train people for their jobs and the other piece. several people do not have a college degree and we've probably put too much emphasis on a college degree but if you cut vocational training and if
you cut jobs and the states are cutting vocational, cutting back on vocational training, what is it that you do to connect people to the workforce? >> if they do the apprenticeship program, the conversation is how do you and this is a challenging economy o the labor market has suffered one of the worst disasters in the great recession and it's recovered quite a bit but there's still quite a few people that are unemployed and haven't found full-time jobs. the >> i think this is so critically important because they are so valuable and ge yet if you takea look at the budget, it is the
2017 budget that we recently passed there was $95 million for the nation for the apprenticeships in the 2018 budget that cuts back to 90. they want to tell us that it's not a cut the simple math, 90 to 95. however, we have a program for several years that has over $2 billion. we are now with $90 million for the entire country and it sounds
to listen to the education secretary that tells me that apprenticeships are a good thing and why then are we not making it a more serious investment in getting people into jobs and not having to talk about a four year college degree. it's not true. it's high gear and that's why you need people to connect to jobs at younger ages now. it's not the result of
globalization and technology. to not be gainfully employed and to be able to take care of itself and its family. the reason the programs are happening is because of spending would you say that president bush and spite of productions the benefits being paid out would exceed what social security took him and when you look at the reports from the congressional budget office it says the same thing if was opened in 2029 and at the beach i hear retirees got benefits. do you think that there is a way
to reform social security either nobody wants to cuts in benefits for disabled but we know that we need some change -- -- >> guest: puts the cap on people that are not paying, i'm trying to recall the figure. 131 -- whatever it is, lift the cap on the upper income people. you will have a solvent social security system. you know, what social security reached in its lowest point, we have ronald reagan and tip o'neill came together and acted, and the congress acted to make social security solvent into the future. all of this wringing of hands about social security and being
in solvent can be sold immediately by lifting the cap, and there are those that just don't want to do that. social security has been one of the most successful programs in lifting people out of poverty in this nation. i lived through the desire to privatize social security and i note that in the book as well we can solve this problem easily. we need to have a hard look at what we do with tax cuts and as we've seen in the past, tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the nation.
over the years, we have seen the gap. they can't afford to retire. i can't put food on the table. again another area that there is a bipartisan agreement is the disincentives that exist in the social security disability insurance program and the fact that people that are applying for disability, and this has a lot to do with people in the workforce and a lot of them
claim disability and the fact you can only earn a certain amount of money i think it is about a thousand dollars a month if you go over, then you get kicked out of the program or you are not eligible for the benefit. there is a ton of research. i think we spend a lot of time thinking about i will go back to paul ryan and if we can only make receiving the government aid onerous enough and humiliating and the president's
budget cuts back on social security disability payments and that is what happened in the healthcare bill and medicaid bear children who are disabled with disabilities are going to be jettisoned from medicated the senate passes that healthcare bpo and replace the. i'm always interested in the research that is done about the formidable, waging that in finding are they taking advantage of the system. is a child of getting a lunch? make sure, where is the research
on the other side of the coin with tax deductions that people are allowed to take because they can because they are very well off? what do we do about the money that is being spent for crop insurance? and there is no income base for crop insurance. 66% of the money that is spent on crop insurance is going to insurance companies. we have 26 people and we cannot get their name. they are such poorly covered and
get over a million dollars in premiums subsidies. we don't know how much they ma make. we don't know what assets they have. and it appears that no one car cares. they can get a million dollars in the premium subsidies. i can remember i talked about it in the book about colleagues who want to cut the food stamp program and someone who is getting a federal subsidy for the land that they are not even telling. they are absentee landlords but they can get the benefit of an agricultural subsidy because no one is watching. no one is saying you make too much money.
you have assets that go found that thousand dollars that you talked about. but we are very concerned about the one end of the spectrum but not all concerned about the upper end because of the child a free lunch what about the peop people. why aren't we drug testing? getting a tax cut at the highest end is a federal subsidy. >> guest: they are very targeted and i think it is definitely -- >> guest: but we only want to seek out those that only
vulnerable, then it is a problem. the other end is not a problem. that's why when i talk about the defense of the hungry and unemployed and waging the battle for the vulnerable, that is my job. >> host: let's go to a slightly different area. when you talk about your experience of getting ovarian cancer and the struggle to pass the family medical leave act, why is there a struggle? this is an issue i've been working on myself and i think the brookings family leave project we often come up with again the same stumbling blocks that you talk about in public that people think these policies are being misused and people are
going to take time off for reasons other than those they cite. why was it a struggle to pass the family medical leave act in 1993 and all the years before that? >> guest: it was many years before that because of the book in the booki talk about workingr dodd and that is a part of the tenacity. it's one of the strengths in the congress. you can keep at it and you can win which is what happened here. i will recount it. i was not a member of congress at the time. i was the chief of staff for senator chris dodd and managed his first senate campaign and
served as the chief of staff so i watched the struggle year in and year out to test the family medical leave and that is on paid family medical leave. he was getting ready to announce their reelection bid for the senate as a matter of fact it was the day of the announcement that i was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. i don't remember much about the day except i struggled through it, but then the next day i went to see him and tell him they were going to put me in the hospital at the end of the week, and i quite frankly didn't know if i was going to return. anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis, you've really come face-to-face with your own mortality in a very profound w way. and again, i say in the book i
received the answer everyone wants to receive and he said to me go and get yourself while. your job is here, your salary is here. stan and i had to kid that were ready to go to college. they were going to graduate high school, go off to college. we didn't know how we would be able to pay for that. he said your choice here and i was going to take a leave of absence to come the campaign and he said to me the campaign doesn't start until you come back. amazing. and that shouldn't be just for me as a staff person or just for me as a member of congress. you can go to any member of congress. when we get sick, when our kids
get sick and we are not there and not voting, we are still paid. nobody questions it. why then is it just for those of us who serve in the house of representatives or the senate or our staff people to members of congress? this should be what families -- this should be there for them. no one decides to get sick. no one decides when your child is sick, when you are sick. family medical leave act said, unpaid i might add. so, chris dodd didn't just say that to me. he went out and pass the legislation that said it is unpaid, 12 weeks is for adoption of a child or newborn child or any illness that you have
another loved one has. so we went forward, he went forward at the time because getting family leave, we couldn't get it past if it were paid at that time, bu the time,s always i know in his head, and those who were there supportive of it like the national partnership, the women's law center, the advocacy group said we need to get it passed. it is without payment now that we've moved to doing that. and then after all these years we are still debating it. but you know what is so critically important is the paid leave is no longer on the fringes. it is a part of our public discourse. and for me the gold standard is 12 weeks. it is for that child is adopted or a newborn. it is about what i was able to
do, which is about 75% of people utilize family and medical leave for other than the birth of a child or adoptive parent. that is what that standard ought to be. that's the gold standard which is something that we ought to strive for and it should be understood by both sides of the aisle which it is great that it's being talked about but now we have to get to the highest standard because that is critically important. >> host: our proposal ended up at eight weeks and we believe we want states to add on on top of that and they would suggest. i've been to rhode island and other places are doing it and
you know, the business community is on board. some of the industries, and you know because you are working with it are doing it, so we need to make it possible. and the system that i introduced said we are going to have an employee or participate as well as the employee. so it's like social security, social insurance and a shared responsibility. because your point earlier on we want to allow employers to do what they would like to do, with so many would like to do that they can't. so let's make it possible for them to do it because we have people of goodwill. it's not that all employers are capable. that is not the case. >> so many of them say we are an
employee business we don't want to penalize for taking time off when they are sick or have a child. i agree with you. your mother was a strong role model for you. she encouraged youth and other women to get into politics but you also write about how tough it is. tell us a little bit about that. the instances you write about. >> guest: my mother is 103-years-old. she lives with us in new haven and is an extraordinary woman. she finished formal school at the age of 13 and went to night school for high school but was kept home for a year because at that time you couldn' could infl you were 14-years-old. so she went to work at age 14.
she worked at my grandmother's pastry shop for the year. but then she started her work career which ultimately was in the sweatshop in new haven and i told the story in the book. i didn't realize this until when i was an adult. she would have people meet her after school -- but you have to come to my workplace. it was no easy because the power machines were on, they were all switched on at once and turned off at the beginning of the day, shuts down at the end of the day so the loud noise of hundreds of sewing machines, power machines. she was paid by the piece. that means you have to keep putting out the garments because
if you made very few, you didn't earn very much money. and with the power machines, you are moving so quickly that often times you get the needle in your finger. so what do you do, you pull back, you don't go to a tetanus shot, there was no clinic. you wrap your hand and keep going because if you got a drop of blood on the garment you didn't get paid. but she was so clear to say i didn't like it, i didn't want to be there and she would say take the opportunity to get an education so that you don't have to do this. she was and still is such a great role model for me because she did not but she also then ran for office, she was elected to the city council in new
haven, the longest-serving woman on the city council, not the longest-serving woman. at one point she was the only woman on but the longest serving member of the new haven board in the history of the body. when i first ran for office 26 years ago, i found a quote she wrote for a democratic newsletter in 1933. she and my dad were not married at the time that she was the recording secretary as so many women were in the role of secretary and my dad was like the president of the democratic club she wrote admonishing women to be engaged and to be involved and at the last line of that quote i read was come on girls let's make ourselves heard and my mother always made herself heard. she was an equal opportunity to
both the democratic and administrations in new haven. she also told me something else. never take no for an answer. so, a great role model and implement. so the way that i have approached the public life was in a similar mode. and i've had experiences where starting with the city of new haven and working there where i once wanted to be the chief administrative officer in the public works director, the head of the new haven coliseum, jobs that were also shut down because i was a woman and the new haven editorial duties to register editorialized against me and said i might be a hell of a battle around the office, i certainly couldn't take on the job of being the director of the new haven coliseum. and i think out of spite because
of my personality, my mother told me i looked back on that and said i showed you. but then even with the congress, several examples in the congress. i ran for the chair of the democratic caucus at the same time my friend nancy pelosi was running and i was told at the time by democratic colleagues that we could have two women on the ticket. and it wasn't that long ago. when i first went to testify -- i testified when i went to the congress and i come from a very different dependent district, of course i had the stratford connecticut army engine plant
where we did the engine for the a1 m1 tank so i went to testify on behalf of getting funds for the tank engine and spoke before the committee, and the chairman of the committee who was republican from california after i finished testifying, he said congresswoman rosa delauro, can you speak about the engine for the a1 m1 tanks without looking at your notes and i don't know where it came from it came from my mother but i looked right at him and said i can. at the time john murtha who was the chair of the defense appropriations committee
nevertheless when it came to supporting me with another woman on the ticket, the vote was not there. it just could not be there. but i say about my own experience in this context even today i have to say women have to work harder. i don't know if that is true in your profession but women have to work harder. you have to know what you're talking about when you stand up because you don't get a second bite of the apple if you think you are not up to it or you don't know what you're talking about, you pay a very heavy price. but my view is don't dwell, learn and move forward.
what's wonderful about these times is more women are thinking about running for office. when i was there there were 14. take the risk. it's worth it, that is my advice to the younger women today. >> host: talk to us about the fairness act. you believe in a quality and pay. when i look about, how do you prove that. you cite that there is a lot of efforts to prove i worked harder or as much and i am paid less. so looking around the country if we pass this legislation, do you think that it would actually have an impact and do you think that driving the pay gap are essentially things that start
earlier in life like we talk about the choices women make in the occupations and the time to take off to raise a child. that definitely plays a role in the pay gap. what do you think that addressing those issues is more critical than addressing the paycheck issue at what i view as sort of the outcome of a decade of unfairness or inequality or access to a certain opportunity? opportunity? >> guest: i think equal pay for equal work and that is a simple premise. men and women in the same job deserve the same pay. that is fundamentally with the paycheck legislation is all about. it is a very simple premise. and i think it is fundamental to
the economic viability of families. again, it used to be the fringe issue but now a part of our public discourse. and when you speak about it around the country and i give many speeches about it around the country, i can't tell you the audience men and women are sharing because it is not because of -- let me give you this example. i served in the house of representatives with men. we receive the same pay. we have different skill sets and come from different parts of country. we have different educational backgrounds. we are all paid the same amount of money. the other profession where that is true is in the military accepted is a different issue. both men and women in the same
job are paid the same amount of money. if you take a look and you can go from a bus driver waitress, engineer, universit university , museum director, tennis player you can go through all of the professions, women are paid less. it varies between 78, 79. it's like 81 cents in my district on average on the dollar that a man may. same profession. no one selected to be paid less. so there are instances where it is based on gender. that is what we want to try to correct.
but we provide, the legislation traced to be very fair to businesses if there is a reason. one is to demonstrate that via y the individual is being paid less money. one of the other pieces in the legislation says it would lift the prohibition on employees. men and women talking to each other about their salaries. lilly ledbetter ibb of have to sign a document when she first went to work because she said she wouldn't share the information about her salary. that happens to many women. i've talked to women all over the country that have testified before us that the breakthrough we are trying to make with president obama after really
having conversations with the president bu that he did this by federal contractors lifted the prohibition and quite frankly i hope that isn't overturned with the new administration. but the fact is when men have been discriminated against in jobs and paid less for the same job. that is fundamental to the economic survival of women and their families. they shouldn't be penalized and it's not just about them, it's about what happens with their families. so, we passed the bill in the house twice. we lost in the senate and i'm sorry to say the firs that thise lost in the senate is because of two women senators voted against it otherwise today it would be the law of the land. >> host: why do you think
that's? >> guest: this may sound odd but because the lilly ledbetter bill fair pay act was passed i think they didn't want to box their own leadership again in terms of them during the fair paycheck act. i had wanted and i told the story in the book i advocated for the fair pay act which was the lilly ledbetter act and paycheck fairness and women in the same job same pay to be taken up together because i was very fearful that the one with the past and that they would check that box where you don't have equal pay.
and i love the lilly ledbetter. she had become the biggest advocate for paycheck fairness but she knew and she would say the fair pay act we only got back to where we were before the supreme court ruling. but it was separated and i've been fighting ever since to take up that equal pay. and i'm going to continue to do that until we have a bill signed that says men and women get the same job to serve the same pay. >> host: talk to us a little bit about the issue that you are pro-choice and you said this was the attack against you on that you said this is all coming from republicans but when people in your own church or your own party do that it hurts a lot more.
>> guest: that was the issue of the affordable care act. in the last week or so, the affordable care act went into deliberations on the affordable care act the legislation hung by a thread and the issue was about abortion and the biggest obstacle for the catholic bishops. they maintained, which wasn't true that the affordable care act would allow for abortion coverage with federal dollars. that was not the case that there was a campaign surrounding mac.
the font back and finally i was asked at the time to work behind the scenes to see if we could come up with some sort of a compromise to move forward. since i had worked in the past with my colleague tim ryan of ohio, tam at the time when we worked together on reducing the number of abortions and the supporting parents act, tim was pro-life and i was pro-choice, but we worked together to look at how we might reduce the number of abortions and how we could support parents in adoption in other areas. >> host: doing it differently. >> guest: we tried to do that so that we could move forward. subsequently, tam is pro-choice. he came to his own conclusions about that but i was asked by
the leader to do this. we worked through and working with pro-life members and the white house on the executive order that would talk about no federal dollars being used at community health centers and to set up the two payment system. and that's where i talk very seriously about hung by a thread we went back and forth. at the white house at first blush came forward and said let's separate the bill into pieces. nancy pelosi said no.
and i think she created a position for herself in history on that because she had passed the affordable care act. but we went back and forth with some in our own caucuses where the women were told which removed the issues around contraception and abortion and after, you know, again the leader told all of the women together and we huddled and said no, we are going forward. i worked closely with the chief of staff, the white house rahm emanuel was a nice friend and we crafted the language on the executive orders and went back and forth to check with all the groups and so forth to make sure that we had interest the issues
of her colleagues who were pro-life and people that were pro-choice were happy with the conclusion and the advocacy groups were happy with the conclusion. and as i say this is in the weeks period of time, so it was all pretty dicey for a while but in the long short of that, we passed that bill with the pro-choice and pro-life members of congress. and i had had a good relationship with my colleagues who are of different views they knew i was concerned about their sensitivity. i had the opportunity to work with my own again, pro-choice colleagues who were tasked and if you look at the caucus, we
sent out a statement that speedy delivery date with issues of starving people, people without healthcare, people lov in the wr and abortion and you can't pick and choose these issues. and i thought i came to the congress what motivates me coming from an italian catholic household in the congress i never thought my faith would be challenged in the way that it was by my church and the thought of my church was prepared to witness the demise of the
but people have said to me congresswoman did you make the right decision? and a very? cancer is they made the right decision and this has exceeded all expectations and i am blast to be a member of the united states house of representatives. >> we're so lucky to have you there. >> i have so much more because there are so many different aspects. >> i do hope people would read the book and we will