Senate Democratic Leaders News Conference CSPAN January 5, 2018 3:02am-3:13am EST
>> happy new year. good afternoon. thank these to senators for joining me on this snow and cold day. anyway, good afternoon and thanks for being here. as everyone knows now, the four congressional leaders had a meeting. it was positive and productive. we were joined by director mulvaney and representatives from the white house. it was a good first step, but there is still a lot of work to do. ultimately the budget agreement
must lift the spending caps with clarity between defense and urgent domestic priorities. and it must include disaster aid, a health-care package, and an agreement to enshrined daca protections alongside additional border security. leader mcconnell today went on the floor and said, what is this parity? simple.y we democrats believe our soldiers abroad should get the funding they need. we also believe there are real the mystic needs that cannot -- that there are real domestic needs that cannot be neglected. thousands are dying of opioid addiction. veterans who have served us need good health care. we need to do more. and millions of american working people put dollars every month into their pensions, so they know when they retire they could have a life not of wealth, but of dignity. and they must be protected as
well. for our republican colleagues to do just what they did in the tax bill, abandon the middle class for other goals, would be a disservice to the vast majority of american people. sure thatt to make you know that parity is not just a word, a word that is used around here. it means veterans. it means opioid relief. it means pension relief for middle-class folks. and our republican colleagues continue to do just what they did in the tax bill, abandon the middle class, talk about it, do nothing for them. we democrats will not stand for that. and we have some leverage to make sure that the middle class is protected. to defendimportant ourselves domestically. on the domestic side of spending is border security,
counterintelligence, cyber security. are we goignng to abandon those? will we have severe cuts in thos e areaas? not if we have anything to say about it. i will plead with leader mcconnell. don't abandon the middle class. you did it in the tax bill. you can use reconciliations of democrats can be there like horatio at the bridge, defending the middle class. so, we also have to deal with other issues. we know that our republican colleagues in texas and florida, particularly in the house, want disaster relief. they were against disaster relief and other parts of the country needed it. but we are not going to play tit for tat, but we think it should be fair. we think, for instance, that out west, we have to take care of those areas, which had
wildfires. we have to make sure the forest service is not cleaned out of money to prevent forest fires. we want to make sure puerto rico and the virgin islands are protected. and it's the belief of many of us that texas and the governor of texas, who talks about not having federal spending, ought to use their rainy day funds for the disaster relief before they get federal money. good for the goose is good for the gander, but all of a sudden our texas governor does not believe that and wants the federal government to bail them out. we believe strongly that we have to have some protections for our young people who came to this country, led by their parents as youngsters and now just want to be americans. factories andur offices, they go to our schools and serve in our armed forces.
there's urgency. every morning they wake up with fear in their heats that they will be deported, that they cannot work, that they cannot go about their lives. issues,a whole lot of and we are hopeful our republican colleagues can join us. there are things they want and there are things we want. we can come together on a good agreement, if everybody is reasonable. we intend to be reasonable, but we do not intend to abandon our priorities come just as our republican friends do not want to abandon theirs. i'm ready for your questions. democratst saienate to vote against the relief bill if daca is not in that bill? >> we democrats are hopeful we can get this all done. we laid out things that ought to be in the bill. we had very serious discussions with republican leadership in those areas, and now there will
be staff discussions in the next few days, trying to get those things done. >> at the white house today, the president indicated that ending the veto lottery program should be included in this. is this too far? >> i am not going to negotiate in front of everyone. we have always said we need strong and real border security, not things that sound good. we need to help the dreamers. what we believe and we need to sit down with our republican colleagues and try to negotiate. first, in the house, they cannot pass the bill without democratic support. they have divisions on the republican side, between the eefense talks, the h deficit hawks.
that gives the house leverage. they need democrats to pass anything. >> last year you called on jeff sessions to resign as attorney general. hisarge part because of refusal during the russia investigation. do you stand by that? >> i voted against jeff sessions and said he should never be there in the first place, given his record on civil rights and immigration and so many other issues. my view now is very simple. nothing, nothing, nothing should ever interfere with the robert mueller investigation. he must be allowed to pursue that to wherever it leads. attorney general sessions -- marijuana -- [inaudible] >> yeah, i have not seen those tapes. >> five years ago you were very upset about the slow walking
that happened. so, why are you appearing to as leverage?rate >> the administration submitted its proposal three weeks ago. they did not consult us. we consulted our republican colleagues up and down the line. at the bottom line, the disaster package did not deal adequately with wildfires, the fourth service, puerto rico or the virgin islands. in the middle of the meeting, we said we want to come to a fair agreement and has got to be involving the things we think are important, as well as the things they think are important. reporter: you have had very strong words for your republican colleagues. >> here is what i want them to do. our republican colleagues for decades have been hawks on for
eign policy, wary of russia and china. because the president's foreign policy has been so ego-driven, bush and china are filling enormous vacuums that will take years, maybe even decades to push them out of. where are the republican colleagues who have always been hawks, who have always been wary of russia and china? when according to liberal, moderate and conservatives, the republican foreign policy by tweets and egos is weakening america? next question. reporter: would you rule out supporting the bill on dreamers ? >> i'm not going to negotiate against ourselves. the bottom line is we believe there should be real border security and help for the dreamers.
thank you. >> we also heard from senate budget committee ranking member bernie sanders, senate floor. he outlined several of his priorities ahead of the january 19th deadline. he's a look. bernie sanders: despite donald trump's assertion last may that "our country needs a good shutdown," the truth is that shutting down the government is a serious and dangerous action that we must do everything possible to prevent. shutting down the government would impact tens of