tv Newsmakers Rep Lujan Assistant Speaker CSPAN March 8, 2019 10:01pm-10:34pm EST
from new mexico. thanks for joining us. >> joining us for the questioning, lisa mascaro and mike dibona's of the washington post. >> thanks for joining us today. you guys had a happy ending to this week. a hairy week before that. you guys were turned around the -- withot with it congressman -- congresswoman omar. i wanted to ask you, what are the lessons that were learned by the leadership of the caucus about your new majority and how you need to move forward?
first, i think democrats had a good week this week and we have been having strong weeks. we have accomplished more in eight weeks then i republican colleges have an eight years. when there's a challenge, you face it. you have differences and have conversations about what needs to be tended to. i think what we learned is we all need to be communicating more and be thoughtful about everything being said. what i also appreciated is a democratic led caucus under the leadership of speaker nancy pelosi is not going to walk away from those challenges and the resolution this week, which was islamophobia, was important for the caucus in whatess to move, but
concerns me is that 23 republican colleagues photos against the resolution, including the number three of leadership. i think that illustrates more dysfunction on the republicans than it does on the great work we continue to build upon on the democratic side. yearsspent the last eight about republicans being divided. how they were not able to move forward on some of their priorities. is that a concern now for the democratic party and is there more that the speaker can do then they leadership needs to do to address that going forward? that lujan: if you compare to under the leadership of the speaker pelosi, we opened up the republican shutdown from the previous congress.
republicans controlled the white house i cannot do the responsible thing for the american people. just today, we moved sweeping legislation to the historic america tots act in a just gerrymandering, to restore faith in our process and am proud in the fact -- part of the fact we work together. years, next week, we will introduce the dream act. we have a very aggressive agenda built on commitment for the people. weevil hit a very aggressive mark over the next 100 days, not just legislative days and making sure we live up to those commitments. what i have seen thus far, we working together and learning from each other.
working together and learningit was incredible how or colleagues came together. >> talk to us about this new majority. new women, seen people of color. what makes this majority different and in terms of legislating, being able to corral the democratic majority into a cohesive caucus moving forward? you have big-ticket items coming up, green deal, climate change legislation, the medicare for all. how are you going to work for award on passing this legislation? maybe we can hear about this class. how is it different from other freshman class? rep. lujan: first off, one of
the largest we've ever had, one of the most diverse car does this -- diverse caucuses that we have seen. a larger congressional hispanic caucus, asian america caucus we have seen. more women to serve ever in congress in the history of united states. i think that highlights the diversity. many of them are policy experts. --y all bring a deep rep deep breath of experiences. just all backgrounds. they were with the obama administration and a varying degree of -- i have said all
along, you need to embrace the diversity, the energy and passion that has come from our new members. they are bringing the freshest approach and many are coming from districts we've not held for some time. it is important that we understand what we have to do during the trust of the american people. today was a first step in doing that, some confident as we come together, we understand that is a crisis on our side. we believe in science on the democratic side of the aisle and we will continue to work with hearings that will deliver those commitments. on the democratic side, we have toy approaches that continue face the american people, but we are committed about lowering costs for the american people.
i am the author of the public option associated with the state level and we can celebrate those -- butan ultimately ultimately work towards the greater goal. last congress, there was no hearing on climate change. , but is a clear contrast i'm confident will be able to deliver. >> we saw a lot of this on the republican side of the aisle. -- you give anymore concrete of how leadership is? >> when you look at the big-ticket items that speaker ryan has space -- has space, we
saw vote after vote where they do not have the votes to move across the finish line. just look at the government shutdown. the first eight weeks, we delivered on each of those issues from day one and we will continue to do that. that is the difference i see. our colleagues are committed towards those goals, the same ideas and commitments to lower andprescription drug prices deliver a sweeping government reform, which by the way we were able to get done today. >> no democratic shutdowns or fights ahead question mark >> remember, the debt ceiling problems we had were under republican leadership where they did not have the votes to get it done.
democrats had to come to the table to get this done. again, i'm confident where the speaker is today. no one works smarter around the clock. our democratic colleagues, we are working together, we are united and we hope republican college will join us. editorials, but oc title was speaker asio-cortez. does that concern you? rep. lujan: i applaud the work she is doing in she is representing her district and committing the values she ran on. she also has a enormous strength when it comes to communicating with the american people. there's a lot we can learn with her efforts. many other colleges have social
-- strong social media followings as well. there's no question that the work she does, even the way she orchestrated the importance of sending up to donald trump and making sure we are able to get the government open and do it in a way we are able to find common republican colleagues, the also humanitarian investments when it tends -- comes to treatment of undocumented people at the border. i celebrate speaker pelosi and i my colleagues success. we are all leaders and we have to work together for the greater good. need 218come that you votes for the policy. our fingers are getting cramps from typing out some of the freshman who are garnering
an outsized portion of the therage, but as you know, bulk of the freshman class were members who were previously republican health districts ran on healthage, focused care, focused on cleaning up washington. any observation on why that has become so and is it true that asio-cortez and her fellow travelers represent the mainstream of the party? >rep. lujan: when you look at te them, there may be more attention with national coverage and major news outlets like the washington post, but when you look at local papers across america where all of these numbers were collected and the work they're doing to make sure they are connecting to their constituents, the read
about andy kim, i don't want to get into all the names. there are 43 colleagues who flipped republican houses. it is the kind of coverage they are getting, so i think there's more attention drawn to people suggesting there is dysfunction and disagreement and acid -- that is where some of the stories seem to be. have rules to play and represent incredible dinner across america and i think our colleagues are going to seek out how they can communicate with their constituents on their platforms. going back to their districts and getting asked about the stuff. isn't that a concern?
>> not a concern at all. when you hear from max rose and andy kim and you read the , all of let me just say the members you talked about are having more town halls. they've had more and now eight weeks -- with that being said, there talking about the issues, they are not walking away from them. when it comes to climate change in the threats were national , they are taking those issues head on. we should not fight that and embrace that. we are a very diverse party and caucus and we should invite everyone no matter where you sit. in ouresent everyone
district, so we should invite them to come out to those conversations. >> as you are pushing the agenda forward, how much of what you do in the house is going to and backed -- going to impact the broader debate and how do you ensure that the debate does not go too far to the left for those members we have been talking what who do have to run in were districts won by president trump two years ago? coming out of the 2016 election, it was my observation and belief that we needed to connect with the american people, especially when it pertained to those economic issues. 2017, remember in summer senate democrats got together to have the launch of that howersation and we changed we were working, not just the policies, but engaging with
constituents across the country and we built on that. building on that all the way, which we are delivering on today. don't forget the commitments we made to the american people, especially during the last election cycle with the economic policies, earning the trust back of so many that we lost, especially families like the families i was raised in, those states we need to do well in the rust belt, i think that should be a guiding light for us. it is not mean we do not tackle big issues. you can create a lot of jobs when you addressed climate change. ofn you lower the cost
prescription drugs, you're helping people with those kitchen table issues. i think that is our guiding light and our presidential candidates are paying attention to it. i think you are hearing some of the same ideas talked about. >> so the legislative package get aforward, it could signature from the president. rep. lujan: president trump said it could -- he could get a infrastructure bill within his first one is a days. i truly believe that democrats working with the left -- working with democrats in the senate, that would be the first legislation that the president has committed to passing.
now, we are going to be working to get that done and the leaders committee, and means they have a package associated with broadband. it is poised to move, so let's get it done. i'm excited about what we can do. i was just going to follow up on that. what is the prospect of working with the president at a time when the house is aggressively investigating him and there is and he is tension fighting back? rep. lujan: one thing we cannot forget is congress has the constitutional responsibility of oversight, which is returned back to washington now that the democrats are the majority of the house of representatives.
our colleagues continue investigations and we continue .o identify we need to drill into that while we wait on the report coming from the special counsel. that is not the only oversight taking place. the first hearing that was conducted this year was looking withe prices associated prescription drug prices. the lack of access when it came to hurricanes impacting communities across america, especially the british virgin islands and puerto rico. there's so much we need to dial into when it comes to the lives of american people. while we are carrying out
responsibilities, we are looking for ways to move forward. infrastructure is a way to do that. that is another area we could find bipartisan support. if the president wants to live up to the america people, he should work with speaker pelosi and find common ground. >> what is the responsibility of -- we have seen episodes where the oversight has drowned out legislation in the last week we had michael: sitting in front of cameras and on the same day, democrats were passing the most significant gun-control bill in a generation. i think we know what got most of the attention. what can leadership do so that you are striking the balance?
rep. lujan: i think it is also what the media is covering. i think it is important for all those that were in the room, they should also take interest on the policies taking place, but we have to take care of the responsibility when it comes to oversight. are -- that is why you see a democratic caucus moving forward and we are also moving policy at the same time and we will try to find bipartisan support where he can. -- where you can. have chairmanships on the intelligence committee, digging deep into the russian question, and looking at the
[indiscernible] what is leadership doing to manage all this and make sure eyes are on the ball? rep. lujan: the main thing is that they are carrying on the oversight and they are tearing out hearings moving forward to of student high cost loan debt in america. again, what we can do to lower the cost of prescription drug prices. werelican colleagues acting a bit of an obstructionist. that they aree carrying their work and finding that balance. again, carrying out our
responsibility, but also moving the policy forward. >> you all have your weekly as youhip meetings and , how doing privately those who have big, bold agendas? a lot have been waiting. how do you manage it. it is what i shared earlier. i think that is what is uniting us. it is the values that bring us together. how we find ways to compromise and understand that challenges a fewtricts like mine, to
square blocks in new york city. you come together and identify what the challenges are. when you have those conversations, you are sharing what you heard at those roundtables and the gathering of information. the focus groups that we go to engage in to hear what is on the mind of our constituents. we move forward. the speaker laid out a very aggressive agenda in the lives of the american people and members that have been here with more seniority and new members, i think they all share the same passion, so you find ways to work together and you have conversations where you may have a different of an approach come a but that should be a family conversation and i think that is what is most important, the
celebration of differences because of it and that is what i've seen over the first eight weeks of this congress. maybe we should have started with this one, but you are the first person to have a title since speaker. what does that mean? is this a job that did not exist before? does talk about your role in what you're doing. rep. lujan: [no audio] always checked on rahm. most recently, jim clyburn, but the importance of this role, especially with the number of with andrs, working day out -- day in and day out. i got to know them on a first name basis and worked with them to get them elected.
it is everything from getting those offices set up to making sure we are engaging with those constituents. everything i learned back in 2009 that we have continued to build upon, move policy forward. when there are differences of opinion, how can we have conversation and come up with ideas, work with the committee chairs and subcommittee chairs. i'm looking forward to carrying out this responsibility and ensuring all of our democratic colleagues continue to serve and that we find a few more members , as are willing to join were embarking on an important presidential election in 2020. lujan, thanktive
you for your time. rep. lujan: appreciate it. the speaker statement say anything about the growing pains -- the idea of growing pains within the democratic party? >> that is a phrase we have heard and i think there is still a question, are these just growing pains or real issues, real conflicts that are going to have a real effect on their effectiveness and their ability to keep the majority in 2020? think that is still not resolved. i think they have more or less a happy ending this week. they got through this with congressman -- congresswoman omar. and will have to be nimble
smart about how they handle these things and they will be tested again and we will be watching closely as they learn is weak. all the new about freshmen members coming in, but it is a few names that keep coming back again that could affect the whole party. >> that is exactly right. there is this sense of areative, about how things perceived outside of washington. there are 43 democrats that helped bring on the majority from these red districts. these trump-won states but often them.'t hear as much from you know, we hear from the superstars that have risen on more of the left flank, who came from primarily democratic-held seats. so that's the narrative they're going to be working to sort of they move forward. what is this democratic party in
the house, and what is this democratic party beyond the house? as the work of the house shapes that thesee agenda 20 presidential candidates will be running their elections on. i mean, we saw that in the week on the resolution over representative omar's comments and the debate on israel and how a number of the presidential candidates to what the leading congress members on the left of promoting. and so this is going to be the thing going forward. we talk about growing pains. the other sort of euphemism we heard a lot this week was the family discussion behind closed the democratic caucus. well, for those of us that covered congress, that was a heard a lot on the republican side, during the sort days of-turvy
republican majority as speaker former speaker ryan had a lot of trouble trying to keep their members in line. downplay this, but is this a problem, these mortgage legislative efforts, is a problem going forward, especially what we learned this week? >> well, the good news is, for them, they are -- you know, they have to pass things through the house. the most part, they're not putting together legislation aat's going to find presidential signature. there are exceptions to that. they've got to pass spending legislation. laterl have to do that this year. they have to raise the debt limit. they have to do that later this year. know, there's lip service about infrastructure. no one has seen any proof that going to be any more than that. but they are, you know, as lisa said, building a narrative about their ability to govern. they want control, more solid control of washington. they want the presidency. want the senate. they want the ability to pass
things like h.r.1, like the gun passed bill that they last week. and if they're going to be at other's throats, behind closed doors, on twitter, in tolic, people are going question, are you -- can we trust you with that responsibility? >> and i'll just say, i mean, in the bill they passed house today, h.r.1, it's -- you know, it gets the number one bill,e it's the first although of course it's being passed after some other bills have already been passed. the intent of this democratic majority was to show americans that democrats could retake sort of the -- reassert the role of the against whatranch we see, as a very aggressive, vocal executive branch. and so how they do that is going important in shaping the party and in shaping the success. covers congress for the
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