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tv   House and Senate Democratic Leaders Press Conference  CSPAN  May 21, 2018 3:01pm-3:37pm EDT

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many other area s trying to reah out to a segment in our country who doesn't believe that washington or democrats -- and when i say washington, i believe that trump and sanders were really the different side of the same coin. it was a change sign. it was, we don't like the bushes and we don't like the clintons, we don't like what's been. we need to get a new leader in town. but the make it in america agenda, i can speak to the most conservative audience in america and talk about expanding manufacturing, expanding jobs, making things here and selling them abroad. as some of you probably know, i am one of the free trade supporters. so it's not a protectionist phrase. it is simply we need to focus on making things here, selling them
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abroad. but it also has a much broader application. make it means you succeeded. when you talk about making it in america, it is the reason everybody who came to america voluntarily came here to make it, to make a better life for themselves. >> we're going to leave this now and bring you live to capitol hill where democrat leaders from the house and senate are about to brief reporters on their new plan that they call a better deal for our democracy. live coverage now from the u.s. capital here on c-span 3.
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good afternoon, everyone. democrats are here to take the fight for our democracy to the very steps of the capitol. the american people are confronted with one of the most compromised corrupt administrations in history. instead of delivering on its promise to drain the swamp, president trump is become the swamp. republicans, the white house and the congress are cravenly beholden to big money interests and the american people are paying the price. from give-aways to dirty energy polluters, our children are paying the price in the air they breathe and the water they drink, to the give-aways of tax breaks to wall street and wealthy corporations, shipping jobs overseas, our workers and the middle class are paying the price. to give-aways to big pharma where families are paying the price every day. the american people deserve
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better, but republicans are standing in the way. we want republicans and their corrupt big donor driven agenda to get out of the way. it has given the american people a raw deal. democrats are offering a better deal for our democracy, to safe our democracy, we're committed to empowering the american voter to demand responsive government, protecting every citizens' right to vote and their right to have their vote counted as cast, safeguarding our election infrastructure and ending partisan redistricting. next, we are strengthening america's ethics laws to fight the special interests, ending the revolving door in washington and reining in the influence of lobbyists, big money donors and special interests who drive the republican agenda. fixing our broken campaign finance system to combat big money influence, wiping out the scourge of unaccountable, secret
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dark money and overturning citizens united. republicans' special interest and donor first agenda is part of their dna. but democrats have a people first agenda, to put the power back in the hand of the american people, we're fixing our broken political system and ensuring government works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well connected. we are restoring the confidence of the american people in our political system, restoring government of the people by the people and for the people. and a champion of that statement of our democracy is next. our distinguished leader of the united states senate on the democratic side, senator chuck schumer. >> thank you, leader pelosi. i want to thank you and all my colleagues for their leadership. happy monday to one and all. now, president trump campaigned as a populist.
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he promised to drain the swamp and clean up washington. democrats welcomed this promise when he made it. all of us here today have been working for years to promote ideas and legislation that would loosen the grip of special interests on so many arms of the federal government. but president trump, when it comes to draining the swamp, has been a complete and total disappointment. president trump has embraced the most egregious establishment republican norms and appointed the most conflict of interest ridden cabinet in my lifetime. the swamp has never been more foul or more fetid than under this president. every day it seems there's a new story about the swamp cabinet. just look at the swampy actions that finally forced out hhs secretary tom price, epa
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administrator scott pruitt's almost daily stream of corruption or mick mulvaney caught on tape saying access to him had to be bought. he wasn't even ashamed. even the president's personal attorney michael cohen who doesn't work in the white house was cashing checks in exchange for access and influence into the trump white house. michael cohen's pay to play scheme is a stark reminder of the glaring need to take real action, not just rhetoric, but action with actual teeth to bring accountability and transparency to washington. so the question becomes what are democrats going to do about it. as leader pelosi mentioned, as my colleagues will detail, the american people deserve a better deal for our democracy. and democrats plan to make that happen. you've heard from us since last july about our bold, sharp-edged economic agenda. put simply, real progress and
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actually delivering for the hard working men and women of this great country won't come until we're able to finally loosen the vice grip that special interests have over washington republicans in the trump administration. we need to strengthen our nation's ethics laws because the need of middle class and working class families in america shouldn't be put on the back burner while those who paid millions of dollars to the president's personal attorney are seen to first. we're going to close the cohen loophole so that the president's cronies can't sell access to the highest bidder. we need to get big money out of politics because the koch brothers shouldn't have more influence over our public policy than two brothers who run a pizza parlor in buffalo. and we need to protect every citizens' right to vote, to safeguard our election infrastructure from hostile actors and to put an end once
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and for all to partisan gerrymandering. >> good afternoon, everybody. this place behind us, the capitol, where the house and senate is located, this is an institution that our public wants to work. people want this place to work. but they lack confidence anymore that it will work for them, because they see the influence that special interests have, that big money has, that lobbyists have. and they worry that this institution, this democratic institution that our government works for somebody else and not for them. and they know what happens when a culture of corruption takes hold. they understand the consequence of special interests ruling the roost and taking hostage their governmental institutions. when wall street calls the shots on tax policy, it has a
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consequence in the everyday lives of americans out there. when scott pruitt is carrying polluted water for the oil and gas industry and the chemistry, it makes a difference to the daily lives of americans all across this country. people understand this. they feel it viscerally and they resent it. they want to see their voice again in their politics and in their government. they want to believe that they matter. the polls that keep coming back, 90%, 95% of americans think that washington works for somebody else and not for them. but we need to move on from diagnosing the problem, because we know what it is, and americans know what it is. we've got to just stop talking about how money and special interests have too much influence in washington and we've got to do something about it. we've got to put a reform agenda
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out there that aligns with every other agenda that we're presenting. when you go out -- when a member of congress goes out and talks to people in their district and talks about the better deal for america, the economic agenda the democrats are putting forward, people want that. they respond to that. they want to see that better deal for our economy. the problem is they look at you and they say, there's no way you can make it happen because the special interests in washington will stop it. that's why we're saying we're also going to bring along with that economic message a reform message to show people that we're serious about fixing this institution. so all the things that we want to see happen and that they want to see happen can actually occur here, that we can get that kind of policy through. we can make the democracy work again. we can strengthen ethics and accountability. we can protect access to the ballot box and we can fight back
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against big money and special interests. we have what it takes and that's what a better deal for our democracy is all about. a better deal for our democracy means lobbyists won't call the shots. a better deal for our democracy means that big money and special interests won't be the ones that get their phone calls returned, but it will be everyday american who americans who get access to people here in washington. a lot of people in our country have fled the political town square over the last few years. they feel powerless, they feel defeated, they're cynical. they don't believe their voice matters anymore. and they fled the political town square and they've gone up into the hills. a lot of them are saying to us, fix this broken system and then we'll come back. what we're saying is, we need you to come back and help us fix
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this system. this has to be a partnership. if everyday americans reach out and partner with democrats as we put this reform agenda forward, we can fix the democracy, we can banish the special interests and we can return to a government of, by and for the people. now it's my pleasure to introduce a crusader for many, many years senator sheldon whitehouse. >> thank you all for being here. one donor gave speaker paul ryan $24.6 million for a super pac. one donor gave $17.9 million to influence the selection of our latest supreme court justice. and this election, phony front groups with names like rhode
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islanders for puppies and peace and procesperity are going to sw up and all of it is anonymous. the donor behind the $24.6 million to speaker ryan, the donor behind the $17.9 million to judicial watch and the donors behind those smear advertisements will all be anonymous. people in this country feel like they're not being listened to gi governmen -- by government. it's because they're not. academic studies prove almost zero statistical correlation between what the public wants and what gets done in congress. the reason is the unlimited money and the dark money that are the scourge of our politics.
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the scourge of unlimited money opened the door to the worst scourge of dark money, which opened the door to the even worse scourge of private threats and promises to deploy that dark money. that is a recipe for corruption. the founding fathers who our republican colleagues claim to venerate would be disgusted by this. they would not put up with it. that legendary clean house republican teddy roosevelt would take his big stick and go up to speaker ryan's office and do something about the $24.6 million anonymous contribution. and we can all pull together to end the power of the anonymous mega donors and return this great country to the people. thank you very much. and it's my pleasure to give the
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microphone to the outstanding congresswoman from illinois. >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you, senator. since i was first elected to congress, when i go home, i do something that we call supermarket saturdays. on most weekends you will find me walking the aisles of a grocery store. i ask people, almost every person i run across, what do you want me to fight for, what do you want me to fight against, what do you want to make sure that i'm getting done. and more and more, i am hearing this deep skepticism and this disgust over whether we can get anything done in washington, d.c., wondering if those folks elected in washington care more about their donors than they do about the people that they were elected to conservative. you know what? i think increasingly they're exactly right to wonder that. look no further than the hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars that congressional republicans gave away to
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billionaires and to corporate special interests. and how is wall street reacting to this tax scam? well, by rewarding themselves with more than $1 trillion in corporate buybacks. these guys are laughing all the way to the bank. this has got to stop. we're here today because we know, all of us standing up here know that americans deserve a better deal for our democracy. one of our cornerstones of this better deal for our democracy is tough new ethics laws that work for everyday americans, not for the greedy special interests. everybody knows that there's an influence economy in this city and there's no bigger revolving door than right down the street at trump international hotel. president trump in his first year in office pocketed $40 million off of that hotel. by the way, if you want to lease the franklin suite, it will only
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cost you $5500. to put that in perspective for the people that i serve, that's about a month and a half worth of income for a family of four. they're working hard for that. what does that $5500 buy the people who are staying in that room? well, they get to turn around and jack up your prices on prim prescription drugs, they get to help write a tax scam that will help their closest buddies. we're here to say it is time to slam that door shut on pay to play politics. it's time to hold government officials accountable, because when working folks sit down at their table at night when they're home, they're wondering why are their health care going up 20% at the same time that the former secretary of health and human services racked up more than $1 million in a taxpayer funded private jet? how do republicans stand
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tripling the rent for the poor at the same time that the housing and urban development secretary just went out and bought a 3 -- $31,000 dining room set. why would the secretary of commerce take his wife to go fly off in a military plane so he can see the eclipse? they're left wondering why they are in the dark. we're saying enough already. enough of paul ryan, enough of mitch mcconnell turning a blind eye to corruption, not questioning what's going on here. enough of the president turning america into a nation of the rich, by the powerful and for the lobbyists. we're here to commit to a better deal for our democracy. it starts with proper oversight, transparency and real accountability to our nation. thank you very much. with that, i would like to introduce senator
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udall. >> thank you very much. we're here today because too many americans feel like they're no longer in charge of their democracy. the voices of ordinary americans have been completely drowned out by secret donors who can spend unlimited money flooding the airways. those big money donors have hired an administration and the republican congress that will do whatever they say. people who will betray the public trust in a heartbeat for their own personal gain. last week scott pruitt was here testifying before congress. i asked him a very simple question. how many investigations are you currently under? well, i thought -- i thought it was a simple question.
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but mr. pruitt couldn't answer it. he's under so many investigations for his self-dealing, swampy behavior that he couldn't even give a number. the answer is at least 15, at least 15 investigations. now we have a sitting cabinet member raising money from an outside legal defense fund and we don't even know who is paying. scott pruitt was hired for a reason. his big polluter backers put him in charge because they knew he'd put their profits first. he's selling away our clean air and clean water to the highest bidder as long as he can keep his first class seats and 24/7 security. as long as the special interests continue to bankroll his political future. americans look at people like scott pruitt and they see a
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washington that is not just hopelessly out of touch, but fundamentally broken. democrats have a plan to fix it with historic reforms to put the american people back in charge and restore faith in our democracy. it starts with ending the stranglehold of big money on our electoral system. our plan will take the power out of the hands of billionaire donors and put it back in the hand of ordinary americans. we'll create a 21st century campaign finance system that truly empowers small donors. we'll shine a light on dark money so that the american people aren't in the dark about who's trying to buy their elections and their politicians. we'll pass the democracy for all constitutional amendment to reverse the disastrous citizens
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united decision and rein in the flood of unlimited money into our elections. american democracy shouldn't have a price for entry. that's not the deal the american people were promised. it's time we took back our democracy and returned it to the hands of all americans. that's the better deal that democrats are offering here today. and now i turn over the microphone to congrethe congres from washington state, a freshman and a breath of fresh air to this congress. thank you. >> thank you so much, senator udall and thank you to the incredible group of leaders championing these efforts. the american people know this democracy is not working for them and they know that the reason is because of the scourge
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of big money in politics, of donors who can give millions of dollars without us even knowing who they are, of being able to buy votes in the united states congress. that is wrong. and democrats have a plan to end that and to return our democracy back to the people. the nation's wealthiest and special interest groups have funneled billions into their efforts to influence votes. and there is little competing with large scale corporate pac money when you're a local business owner. it's pretty tough to outfinance billionaires if you're busy teaching our nation's children. and it's hard to beat back against these moneyed interests to make sure that all the voices of working people across our country are heard. and frankly it's unjust that they should each have to. we know that big donors, that the nra, that the koch brothers, that all of these special
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interest groups actually own republican members of congress. they give them money. they throw resources into tight races. in return, they receive a not so secret promise from the republicans to slow or to shred any meaningful legislation to address our nation's biggest problems. it has become clear that until we can get this big money out of politics and push for the kinds of real reforms that we have heard mentioned today, we are not going to see the kind of reform that really allows democracy to work for the people. we are supposed to be the people's house, and it's time that we started acting like it. i'm proud that when i ran for congress, i had 82,000 individual donors who gave me $21 each. we had to raise about $3.5 million on my side. but the reality is that people across this country want to know that their voice is as important as anyone else's and that they
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don't have to buy their way into office. in our better deal proposal, we are pushing historic reforms to campaign finance, to multiply the power of small donors in america, which in turn increases and multiplies the ability for new diverse candidates from our neighborhoods and our communities to run and win. congress has to improve our enforcement of campaign finance laws and end the influx of dark money into politics. so it's time to take our government back and we know that people across the country are ready to see democrats do that as we institute these historic reforms. when we have control of congress, that is what you will see. that is why we understand that americans across the country don't want a raw deal anymore. they want a better deal. they want government to work for them. thank you. and with that, i turn it back to our leader.
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>> thank you very much. let me extend gratitude to the leadership of leader chuck schumer, john sarbane, senator whitehouse. i also want to acknowledge other members here who have been working hard on this issue of a government for the people. congressman david price of north carolina. our members wanted me to acknowledge that what we do on the inside here is only one part of reaching success. the inside maneuvering, very important. the outside mobilization, essential. what we tried to do today is to present to the american people a
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road map as to how they can weigh in and the difference they can make. and helping us do that are some of the leadership groups that are here today. and wave your flag when your name is called. at the end we should all be waving our flags. democracy 21, public citizen, center for american progress, common cause, cwa, communications workers of america, every voice, people for the american way, sierra club, naacp. if anyone else is there, please do a shoutout. >> senator for popular democracy. anyone else? thank you all for what you have done over the years for the promise that we are making to the american people together to work with them to have a government of, by and for the
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people. a better deal for the american people. god bless america. let's all wave. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you all very much.
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c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> earlier today, president trump traveled to cia headquarters in langley, virginia, for the swearing in of the agent's new director gina
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haspel. after she was sworn in by the vice president, she talked about being the first female leader of the central intelligence agency in its 70-year history. >> i would be remiss if i did not also note the tremendous pride i take in being the first woman to serve as director. i would not be standing before you today if not for the remarkable courage and dedication displayed by generations of oss and agency women in roles both large and small who challenged stereotypes, broke down barriers and opened doors for the rest of us. i am deeply indebted to them and i am extremely proud to follow in their footsteps. i stand on the shoulders of heroines who never sought public acclaim, but served as inspirations to the generations that came after them. i also want to express a special
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thank you and welcome to eliza and zoe who have joined us today. the notes from these two head dd -- ladies motivated ed me dai. to them i would simply say, we did it. [ applause ] tonight on the communicators, the second part of our congressional of the congressional hack-a-thon conference. >> i work with mccarthy. our goal is to bring people together on capitol hill and people off the hill in order to sort of improve government, make government more accountable to
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the people and use the tools that come here to be able to better serve our constituents. >> we engineered a whole new process for creating committee hearing reports. that's a process that's been in place for many, many, many decades. we developed an app that automates the process of compiling and rendering committee hearing reports. it sort of takes a process that had been taking weeks really do and was very manual and a lot of data entry to one that is done essentially with the click of a button. >> watch the commune ta toicato tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. now we're hear from randall quarrels, the federal reserve's vice chair for supervision. he took questions from the house financial services committee last week on the central bank's role in the supervision and regulation of the financial system. this runs about three hours.

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