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Barnes and... A Conversation With Neera Tanden

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Steve visits with Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, a think tank offering policy proposals, talking points, news and columns. Tanden has served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, as well as presidential campaigns and think tanks.  She was recently recognized as one of Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women in Politics. Tanden discusses the current political climate and its consequences.

TRANSCRIPT

THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE MOVING IMAGE TRUST FUND.

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE. THANKS FOR JOINING US. NEERA TANDEN IS A GRADUATE OF LAW SCHOOL AND WORKED WITH THE OBAMA AND CLINTON ADMINISTRATIONS AND WORKS FOR THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS AND THANKS FOR COMING HERE TODAY AND GRANTING THESE MINUTES.

GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

YOU HAVE A BIG AGENDA AND MUCH OF WHAT THE ADMINISTRATION WANTED TO ACCOMPLISHES STILL DANGLING. OBVIOUSLY THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, AKA OBAMACARE IS ADOPTED AND APPEARS IN PLACE AT LEAST IN THE POLITICAL FRONT ANYWAY. WHY NOT MORE? WE'RE OBVIOUSLY A DEEPLY DIVIDED COUNTRY WITH A DEEPLY DIVIDED CONGRESS.

YES. I THINK THERE ARE NUMEROUS REASONS WHY THE COUNTRY HAS BECOME SO POLARIZED AND THAT IS GROUND ZERO OF THE POLARIZATION IS WASHINGTON AND I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES. WE OBVIOUSLY HAVE A HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT IS NOT INTERESTED IN PASSING THE AGENDA THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA PUT FORWARD. HE'S HAD SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS OVER THE TERM OF HIS PRESIDENCY, THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS AN IMPORTANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN MY VIEW, AND BUT I THINK THE COUNTRY IS STILL STRUGGLING WITH ECONOMIC ISSUES AND THE PARTIES ARE ALMOST FARTHEST APART ON ECONOMIC ISSUES. I THINK EVERYONE RECOGNIZES THAT WE NEED TO DO MORE WITH UNEMPLOYMENT AND BETTING THE ECONOMY GROWING AND GROWING MORE STRONGLY BUT THAT IS AN AREA WHERE THERE IS REAL POLARIZATION WITHIN THE PARTIES AND DIVISION. HOUSE REPUBLICANS DON'T THINK THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ACT TO SHOVEL SOLVE ANY OF THE CHALLENGES AND DON'T THINK IT'S THE GOVERNMENT'S ROLE SO IT'S DIFFICULT TO COME WITH AN ANSWER ON THOSE THINGS.

AND SOME HOUSE REPUBLICANS WOULD ARGUE THAT THEY ARE BEING TRUE TO THEIR IDEOLOGY TO THE VOTERS AND THE CONSTITUENTS THAT SENT THEM.

I THINK THAT IS OVER LOOKED. I THINK PEOPLE THINK OF WASHINGTON AND THE DEBATES IN WASHINGTON ARE STUPID OR PETTY AND OBVIOUSLY THERE IS BEHAVIOR AMONGST DIFFERENT MEMBERS THAT FEEDS THAT CYNICAL VIEW, BUT I THINK THE CHALLENGE WE'RE REALLY EXPERIENCING -- I WORKED WITH THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION AND IT IS MUCH MORE PARTISAN NOW AND MUCH MORE -- THERE ARE DEEPER QUESTIONS BETWEEN THE PARTIES OF REALLY THE ROLE ON GOVERNMENT. SENATE REPUBLICANS WORKED WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON TO PASS A BIG BUDGET DEAL AFTER HIS ELECTION. PRESIDENT OBAMA GOT ELECTED AND THERE WAS NO SIMILAR AGREEMENT AND I DON'T THINK IT'S SOMEONE JUST A BAD ACTOR. I THINK HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE GETTING ELECTED BY VERY CONSERVATIVE FOLKS. THE STRUCTURE OF THE ELECTIONS ARE SUCH THAT THE STRUCTURE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESES ELECTIONS ARE CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS ARE VOTING. STATES HAVE -- THEY OF STRUCTURED. THE DISTRICTS ARE STRUCTURED. SOME PEOPLE ARGUE THERE IS GERRYMANDERING AND THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARIESES TOO AND THEY'RE ANXIOUS OF FACING PRIMARY CHALLENGES AND I DON'T BLAME THEM. A LOT OF GOOD SENATORS HAVE GOTTEN KNOCKED OFF IN PRIMARY CHALLENGES AND POLITICIANS LOOK AT ELECTIONS LIKE COMPANIES LOOK AT MARKETS AND THEY KNOW WHAT THEY NEED TO DO TO GET VOTES, SO PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT POLITICIANS BUT IT'S DEEPLY DIVIDED VOTERS WHO ARE CREATING THE POLARIZATION.

IT HAS NOT BEEN HELPED MANY WOULD ARGUE OF THE FLOOD OF MONEY THAT HAS FLOOD THE AMERICAN MARKETPLACE AND PARTICULARLY SINCE CITIZENS UNITED.

ABSOLUTELY. I COULDN'T AGREE MORE WITH THAT.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT? DOES IT FURTHER INSTITUTIONALIZE THE GRIDLOCK?

IT ABSOLUTELY DOO THAT AND EXACERBATING THE GRIDLOCK AND IMPORTANT WAY TO THINK ABOUT THIS. IMMIGRATION REFORM IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE. IT PASSED THE SENATE AND A GROUP OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS VOTED FOR IT. IN THE HOUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS THAT WOULD LIKE IT TO PASS BUT THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT PRIMARY CHALLENGERS AND CONCERNED ABOUT MONEY COMING INTO THE ELECTIONS AND OPPOSING THEM BASED ON IMMIGRATION REFORM AND ULTIMATELY IF PEOPLE IGNORE THE ADS THAT WOULD HELP A LOT. IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT NEGATIVEADS --

WORK.

WORK. PEOPLE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE --

WHETHER FROM THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT.

ABSOLUTELY. I AM NOT MAKING A PARTISAN STATEMENT ABOUT THAT. IT'S THE CASE THAT VOTERS OFTEN HAVE LIMITED INFORMATION. SEE A NEGATIVE AD AND IT CAN MOVE THE VOTES AND UNTIL VOTERS REPIEWDATE THAT THROUGH THE NEGATIVEADS AND HOPEFULLY AFTER A PFD TIME THEY WILL SEE IT DIFFERENT WORK.

PRESIDENT CARTER IN AN ARTICLE NOT TERRIBLY LONG AGO I THINK OR IN SOME VENUE SAID THAT -- SOME FORUM SAID IT IS AS BAD FOR THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN STATES TO BE VIRTUALLY ALL RED FOR THE NORTH EASTERN STATES TO BE VIRTUALLY ALL BLUE AND YET WE HAVE A CERTAIN STATE IN TERMS OF THE STATES.

YEAH I WOULD SAY THAT. ARKANSAS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE. YOU HAD PROGRESSIVE GOVERNORS AND NOT HIGHLY LIBERAL BUT GOVERNORS THAT RESPONDED TO CHALLENGES. SOME OF THE GREATEST INNOVATIONS IN HEALTH CARE TOOK PLACE IN ARKANSAS. KENTUCKY ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A STATE WHERE YOU HAD PROGRESSIVE GOVERNOR DOING TREMENDOUS THINGS ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. IN THE PAST INNOVATIONS ON EDUCATION LIKE PRE-K, UNIVERSAL PRE-K WERE CHAMPIONED IN SOUTHERN STATES AND SOMETIMES BY REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS IN THOSE STATES SO I DON'T MEAN TO DISAGREE. OBVIOUSLY IF YOU LOOK AT THE COUNTRY THE COAST IS BLUE AND THE SOUTH AND THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY IS PRETTY RED AND I THINK THAT'S AN UNFORTUNATE ELEMENT OF POLITICS BECAUSE IT'S BAD FOR BOTH SIDES. I HAVE LIVED THROUGH 20 YEARS OF PUBLIC SERVICE WORKING IN WASHINGTON. DON'T NEED TO DATE MYSELF BUT IT GETS WORSE EVERY YEAR AND THAT'S AN UNFORTUNATE ANYTHING FOR ANYONE THAT BELIEVES WE CAN DO THIS.

IS THERE A WAY THAT BENEFITS -- DEPENDING ON THE PERSPECTIVE IS THERE A WAY OUT FOR BOTH PARTIES?

I ACTUALLY THINK THERE ARE A LOT -- YOU DEFINITELY SEE IT IN THE SENATE. THERE ARE SENATORS TIRING OF NOT GOVERNING. YOU HEAR IT -- THEY'RE MORE AND MORE VOCAL ABOUT IT. THEY WILL SAY IT OUT LOUD THAT IT'S LESS FUN TO BE A SENATOR. I MEAN THERE ARE LOTS OF PEOPLE TODAY THAT USED TO BE GOVERNOR AND THEY WILL SAY IT'S NOT EVEN A CLOSE CALL WHAT IS A BETTER JOB BECAUSE THE SENATE DOESN'T DO AS MUCH AS IT USED TO DO, AND MY VIEW IS WE WILL HAVE TO HAVE ANOTHER ELECTION OR TWO, AND WE WILL HAVE TO SEE WHO SPEAKS FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. IS IT TEA PARTY FOLKS OR MORE MAINSTREAM REPUBLICANS? AND I THINK SPEAKER BOEHNER TO HIS CREDIT IS TRYING TO PASS BILLS AND UNFORTUNATELY HE PASSES THE BILL -- FROM MY VIEW UNFORTUNATELY -- FROM ONE VIEW UNFORTUNATELY WITH DEMOCRATIC VOTES SO HE'S WILLING TO DO THAT. I THINK THERE ARE SOME BILLS NO ONE EXPECTED -- WE HAD A BUDGET DEAL IN THE NOT TO DISTANT PAST AND HAVE ANOTHER ONE AND PEOPLE HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT AND YOU HAVE A ELECTION IN 2016 AND YOU INVOLVE A NEW VOICE FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

IS NOT THE CENTER -- NOT THERE AREN'T REPUBLICAN MEMBERS UNDER SIEGE WHO ARE ACCUSED OF BEING TOO MODERATE BY MR. MCCONNELL FROM KENTUCKY, THE SENATOR MINORITY LEADER, FACING A CHALLENGE AND THE WINNER OF THE PRIMARY WILL FACE HIM, BUT IS THE CENTER NOT GIVEN THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE NATIONALLY ISN'T THE CENTER A DIFFICULT PLACE FOR A DEMOCRAT TO BE RIGHT NOW?

I THINK AND MY VIEW AND THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS WE TRY TO BE [INAUDIBLE] PROGRESSIVE AND WHAT I MEAN THERE ARE ISSUES WE ADVOCATE FOR A CENTRALIST POSITION ON DEFICIT REDUCTION AND OTHER ISSUES WE ADVOCATED ON THAT AND ON SOME SOCIAL ISSUES LIKE GAY MARRIAGE WE SUPPORTED A LIBERAL POSITION, AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO BE A VOICE FOR BOTH CENTRISTS AND PROGRESSIVE AND LIBERALS. THE WHOLE IDEOLOGICAL SPECTRUM SHOULD BE OPEN AND I THINK IT'S A DISSERVICE TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT THERE HAS BEEN A EFFORT TO STAMP OUT MODERATE VOICES. I AM PROGRESSIVE MYSELF AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A VOICE FOR MODERATES BECAUSE ONE OF THE THINGS YOU WANT MODERATE IN THE COUNTRY TO FEEL THEY HAVE A PLACE IN THE COUNTRY. NOW I THINK WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS -- I MAYBE PARTISAN ABOUT THIS, BUT I THINK THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS MOVED FARTHER TO THE RIGHT THAN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO THE LEFT. IF YOU LOOK AT STUDIES ET CETERA THERE ARE DEFINITELY LIBERAL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, AND ON VOTES TAKEN THE RIGHT HAS SHIFTED PRETTY FAR RIGHT BUT MY HOPE IS WE HAVE GONE THROUGH A DIFFICULT PERIOD AND HOPEFULLY WE WILL COME OUT OF IT.

AND REPUBLICANS -- THOSE ON THE RIGHT WOULD ARGUE FINE FOR EVERY MODE -- [INAUDIBLE] ON THE RIGHT. THERE IS A WAXMAN ON THE LEFT.

I THINK HENRY WAXMAN IS A GREAT EXAMPLE. THAT IS A GREAT EXAMPLE.

FROM CALIFORNIA.

CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA. HE'S RETIRING BUT IN HIS CAREER PASSED THE CLEAN AIR ACT WITH REPUBLICAN VOTES. RIGHT. PASSED MAJOR PIECES OF ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION UNDER REGAN AND BUSH WITH REPUBLICAN VOTES AND I THINK THE CHALLENGE NOW IS THERE ARE ELEMENTS OF -- YOU KNOW, LET'S SAY BOTH PARTIES. IT'S MORE PRONOUNCED IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY BUT THEY JUST DON'T WANT TO BE SEEN DOING BUSINESS WITH THE OTHER SIDE. THE BIG TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE WE HAD THAT WE WEREN'T DEALING IN THE 90'S AND NOT LIKE GOVERNING IN THE 90'S WAS A CAKE WALK BUT THE THING WE WEREN'T DEALING WITH REPUBLICANS DIDN'T FEEL THEY WOULD LOSE AN ELECTION IF THEY WERE SEEN ON STAGE WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA OR SOMEONE FROM THE OTHER SIDE. IN 2001 AND 2002 TED KENNEDY PASS THE "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" WITH GEORGE BUSH AND I DISAGREED WITH IT BUT SUPPORTED THE TAX CUTS AND I DON'T THINK IT WAS A GOOD POLICY BUT A BIPARTISAN EFFORT AND THEY DIDN'T SEE IT AS [INAUDIBLE] TO DOING THESE THINGS AND I THINK IT'S A CHALLENGE IF YOU WERE GOING TO BE PUNISHED IN THE PRIMARY FOR DOING A BIPARTISAN -- WARREN HATCH AND CONSERVATIVE SENATOR AND PASSED BILLS WITH TED KENNEDY. HE'S MORE WORRIED ABOUT DOING THAT RECENTLY AND I THINK THAT'S A BIG PROBLEM.

I'M SORRY.

SO I THINK -- BUT AGAIN THIS IS REALLY UP TO THE VOTERS; RIGHT? SO ONE OF THE CHALLENGES WE HAVE IS PRIMARIES FEW PEOPLE VOTE IN PRIMARIES. MOST ACTIVISTS OF THE VOTING BLOCK VOTE IN THE PRIMARIES SO THAT IS A CHALLENGE ON BOTH SIDES SO THE MORE PEOPLE THAT VOTE IN PRIMARIES THEY CAN BE A VOICE FOR MODERATES IF THEY GET OUT AND VOTE.

YOU MENTIONED MR. KENNEDY AND HATCH AND DIFFERENT PARTIES BUT PERSONAL FRIENDS AND ALLIES ON ISSUES.

ABSOLUTELY.

YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THAT THE PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCES AND THE HONOR THAT IS UPON INHERENT IN STICKING TO ONE'S PRINCIPLE -- [INAUDIBLE] AT LEAST BUT IT'S NO LONGER IN MANY CASES PHILOSOPHICAL OR IT SEEMS AND YOU LIVE IN WASHINGTON SO YOU HAVE A BETTER SENSE OF THIS, BUT IT SEEMS NO LONGER PHILOSOPHICAL, NO LONGER MERELY POLITICAL AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP OF THAT SORT ARE PRACTICALLY GONE ACROSS THE AISLE PERSONAL FRIENDSHIPS. IS THERE ROOM FOR THAT?

I THINK PEOPLE UNDER ESTIMATE HOW MUCH THESE THINGS ARE CONNECTED, SO IF YOU'RE GOING TO THE FLOOR EVERY DAY AND SAYING THE OTHER SIDE IS KIND OF EVIL IT'S HARD TO GO OUT AFTERWARDS AND GO GET A BEER. I JUST THINK THE RHETORIC HAS GOTTEN VERY TENSE AND I AM SURE IT'S TENSE ON BOTH ISES BUT I THINK THE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOW AND THE 90'S IN THE 90'S PEOPLE -- CONSERVATIVES WOULD QUESTION HOW EFFECTIVELY A PROGRAM WOULD RUN, SO THEY WOULD SAY MAYBE WE SHOULD REFORM FOOD STAMPS OR WE SHOULD REFORM [INAUDIBLE] OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. NOW AND AGAIN THIS IS A DEEPLY HELD VIEW. IT'S NOT A CYNICAL VIEW. IT'S DEEPLY HELD VIEW BUT THERE IS MORE DEBATE ON THE MOST BASIC QUESTIONS LIKE SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE DOING THIS AT ALL, SO THE DISTANCE BETWEEN SIDES HAS GROWN SO MUCH FARTHER THAN IT WAS, AND PEOPLE HAVE TO TRAVEL FARTHER IDEOLOGICAL --

THEY'RE AT THE POLLS, YEAH.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS AND THERE ARE DEFINITELY LIBERAL MEMBERS OF THE SENATE AND THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS. RECENTLY THERE WAS A BILL -- THERE WAS A MAJOR BILL -- A MAJOR AGRICULTURAL BILL AND IN THE PAST THESE AGRICULTURAL BILLS WOULD GO LIKE THAT. I WORKED IN THE SENATE WHEN IT WAS NEVER A QUESTION WHETHER THEY WOULD PASS THE BILL. IT WAS JUST WHAT IS IN THE BILL. THIS AGRICULTURE BILL TOOK A LONG TIME. THERE WAS A QUESTION WHETHER THEY WOULD EVER PASS THE BILL AND ONE OF THE HANG UPS CONSERVATIVE HOUSE MEMBERS WANTED TO GET $40 BILLION OUT OF FOOD STAMPS. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY AND FOOD FOR LOW INCOME FOLKS SO THEY DON'T GO HUNGRY AND THEY HAVE A VIEW THAT IT'S INEFFICIENT AND INEFFECTIVE ET CETERA AND SENATE FOLKS DIDN'T WANT TO CUT IT AT ALL AND USED TO BE CUT BY FIVE OR 10 AND NOW CUT IT BY 40. THERE IS JUST A DEEPER ISSUE. TRANSPORTATION BILL HAS BEEN EASY AND THE ISSUES ARE HARDER NOW.

SEEMS TO BUBBLE TO THE SURFACE A PROFOUND AND UNNERVING IN MY ESTIMATION BODY OF SENATE REGARDING MR. OBAMA. THESE ARE PRETTY FEVERED TIMES AND SOME WOULD ARGUE A NEW STRAIN OF AMERICAN PARANOIA WRITTEN IN THE 20TH CENTURY HAS SURFACED. IT CAN'T HELP THINGS.

NO, NO. AGAIN THERE IS DEFINITELY -- YOU CAN'T GO ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK AND NOT SEE SOME RELATIVELY HEATED RHETORIC --

WELL, IT'S RAW AND COARSE.

IT'S RAW AND COARSE AND I HAVE GONE ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY AND GONE INTO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST -- AT LEAST FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, AND YOU GET A PRETTY INFLAMED RHETORIC. AT THE SAME TIME I WOULD SAY THERE WERE EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE GROUPS WHO ACCUSED PRESIDENT CLINTON OF ALL KINDS OF CRAZY THINGS IN THE 90'S SO I THINK THERE IS A STRAIN. I THINK IT'S BEEN EXACERBATED. THERE IS A STRAIN IN POLITICS WHICH IS TO DELEGITIMIZE YOUR OPPONENT SO IN MY VIEW ATTACKING PRESIDENT CLINTON ON SOME OF THE THINGS HE WAS ATTACKED ON OR PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR WHERE HE WAS BORN IS AN EFFORT TO DELEGITIMIZE THEM AS RIGHTFUL PRESIDENTS AND THAT IS A VERY UNFORTUNATE THING AND AGAIN PRESIDENT CLINTON WOULD CALL IT THE POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION. IT'S UP TO VOTERS TO DISAVOW THAT BUT I CAN TELL YOU WHEN I GO ON TWITTER THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE AND I HAVE APPEARED ON A CONSERVATIVE SHOW OR SOMETHING PEOPLE -- THEY THINK OBAMA IS NOT ONLY WRONG BUT HE IS EVIL INTENTIONS FOR THE WORLD AND AGAIN IT'S HARD TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WHEN YOUR SPECTRUM IS SO FAR OPPOSED.

YOU MENTIONED THOSE THAT GO TO FOX AND THE LEFT CAN GO TO MSNBC AND HEAR WHAT THEY WANT SO YOU HAVE THE PUBLIC POLICY ECHO CHAMBER.

THIS IS A BIG CHALLENGE THAT IS -- I HATE TO SAY THINGS LIKE "WHEN I WAS GROWING UP" BUT OBVIOUSLY UNTIL THE LAST DECADE OR SO THE STRONGEST MEDIA IN THE COUNTRY WERE THOSE THAT SPOKE IN THE MIDDLE BUT THEY ALSO HAD AN AUTHORITY TO SPEAK ET CETERA, AND ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT I THINK IS HAPPENED OVER THE LAST DECADES IS MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS DELEGITIMIZED BY EXTREMES AND NOT ONLY WITH CABLE BUT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA CAN PERSONALIZE THEIR NEWS IN A WAY THEY ONLY HEAR THE INFORMATION THEY WANT TO HEAR, AND THAT'S REALLY BAD FOR OUR DEMOCRACY. I MEAN IT'S NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE FOR PEOPLE TO NOT HEAR THE OTHER SIDE.

WE TALKED EARLIER ABOUT MR. WAXMAN FROM CALIFORNIA AND RETIRING AFTER 40 YEARS.

YEAH.

THE MORNING THAT WE'RE TAPING THIS CONVERSATION CAME THE ANNOUNCEMENT THE GENTLEMAN FROM MICHIGAN -- MR. DINGLE, AND THE LONGEST SERVING MEMBER IN HISTORY IS RETIRING THIS TERM. BOTH MEN WERE NOT SHOWN THE WORD LIBERAL.

NO,.

NOT AT ALL. ARE WE LIKELY TO SEE THAT AGAIN AND PROGRESSIVISM AND MOVING BACK TOWARDS THE CENTER AND [INAUDIBLE]

THAT IS INTERESTING AND I IMAGINE THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT WILL BE AS PROGRESSIVE -- I MEAN IN HENRY WAXMAN'S CASE MORE PROGRESSIVE KNOWING HIS DISTRICT WHICH IS IN THE HEART OF LOS ANGELES. THEY MAYBE MORE DIVERSE. IT'S AN INTERESTING QUESTION. I DON'T KNOW JOHN DINGLE'S DISTRICT VERY WELL. I ACTUALLY THINK THE CHALLENGE OF OUR TIMES WITH THESE REALLY GREAT LEGISLATORS STEPPING DOWN ISN'T AN IDEOLOGICAL ONE SO MUCH -- AT LEAST FOR THOSE TWO, AS IT IS KNOWLEDGE BASE. HENRY WAXMAN HAS A KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONGRESS AND DIFFERENT PIECES OF LEGISLATION AND I KNOW OFTEN IN POLITICS ESPECIALLY WHEN THINKING ABOUT TERM LIMITS AND THINGS PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THE IDEA OF A PROFESSIONAL POLITICIAN BUT PROFESSIONAL LEGISLATORS ARE A REAL NATIONAL TREASURE TO PASS LEGISLATION, WORK WITH THE OTHER SIDE, UNDERSTAND HOW TO CRAFT A BILL SO IT'S REALLY EFFECTIVE. THAT'S A REAL IMPORTANT ABILITY, AND IT'S NOT EASY TO GET IN A YEAR OR TWO IN CONGRESS SO I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'RE LOSING IS PEOPLE WHO ARE LEGISLATIVE STATES MEN SHOW TO SPEAK AND DID LEGISLATION THAT TRANSFORMED THE COUNTRY AND PARTISAN POLITICS MIGHT BE BRINGING THEM DOWN AND I HOPE WE GET LEGISLATORS AS COMMITTED TO LEGISLATING AND NOT JUST DOING EVENTS AND BEING ON TV BUT LEGISLATING. THAT IS IMPORTANT.

ONE OF THE SENATOR'S PRIORITIES IN TERMS OF ADVOCACY ANYWAY AS THE YEAR BEGINS AND WE'RE ALMOST AT THE END OF FEBRUARY AND THAT IS THE INCREASE IN MINIMUM WAGE AND IT'S A TOUGH ONE TO SELL BECAUSE YOU HAVE MUCH OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY OPPOSED.

SO ACTUALLY THE MINIMUM WAGE --

SMALL BUSINESS OF COURSE.

ACTUALLY THE MINIMUM WAGE IS DEFINITELY AN ISSUE THAT BUSINESS LEADERS -- SOME BUSINESS LEADERS ARE STRONGLY OPPOSED TO. IT'S ACTUALLY A BIPARTISAN ISSUE WHEN IT GOES TO THE PUBLIC. IT HAS REPUBLICAN SUPPORT AND MAJORITY SUPPORT AMONG INDEPENDENTS. 80% OF WOMEN SUPPORT IT AND IT'S NOT JUST AN ECONOMIC ISSUE BUT A MORAL ISSUE. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WORKING FULL TIME AND THE BASICALLY ARGUMENT ABOUT THE MINIMUM WAGE IS YOU SHOULDN'T WORK FULL TIME AND LIVE IN POVERTY AND THE TRUTH IS BECAUSE THEY'RE PAID MINIMUM WAGE THEY'RE ON GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS LIKE FOOD STAMPS, ET CETERA. WE HAVE A STUDY COMING OUT THAT WILL DEMONSTRATE THAT $50 BILLION IN FOOD SUBSIDIES GO TO PEOPLE THAT MAKE MINIMUM WAGE SO AS WE RAISE THE WAGES WE WOULD SUBSIDIZE THEM LESS. NOW THERE IS OPPOSITION TO IT BUT WE LOOKED AT A LOT OF STUDIES. THERE IS BUSINESS OPPOSITION WORRYING ABOUT JOBS AND WE LOOKED AT PLACES THAT RAISED THE MINIMUM WAGE AND IT HASN'T HAD THAT IMPACT AND I THINK THE CHALLENGE IN THE ECONOMY RIGHT NOW IS WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH DEMAND. ONE OF THE ISSUES DRIVING ALL OF THESE ISSUES IS SINCE 2001 MEDIAN WAGES STOOD STILL AND I'M SORRY $768 IN 2012. AND THE SAME AMOUNT IN 2001. THAT'S A LITTLE DEPRESSING THAT 12 YEARS THERE'S NO BIG INCREASE IN WAGES, AND I THINK THAT -- WE WORRY WHY THE ECONOMY IS HITTING ON ALL CYLINDERS AND WHY IT'S TAKING SO LONG AND BECAUSE PEOPLE'S WAGES ARE FROZEN AND WORKING HARDER AND GETTING LESS AND IT'S NOT THE ONLY SOLUTION BUT A SOLUTION TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGE.

NEERA TANDEN CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS, MANY, MANY THANKS FOR MAKING YOURSELF AVAILABLE.

IT WAS GREAT TO BE WITH YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME. THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE MOVING IMAGE TRUST FUND.

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