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tv   Washington Journal Rep. Adriano Espaillat  CSPAN  March 9, 2021 11:38am-12:00pm EST

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c-span was created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today we're brought to you by these cable television companies who bring c-span as a public service to viewers. >> this is the c-span store. every c-span shop purchase helps c-span's nonprofit. shop today at c-spanshop.org. cot from new york city who represent the 13th district. good morning, congressman. guest: good morning. host: let's start with the covid
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really ill which passed in the house and came back to the senate over the weekend. it passed on a partyline vote. you and your colleagues will likely begin work on it today. some changes were made in the senate. can you still so the $1.9 trillion measure? guest: no question about it. i'm excited we will begin the discussion today and ultimately pass it today. america is still hurting. they need a lot of help. i am surprised more republicans did not come on board. this is a robust recovery bill that will go to all corners of america to help us move forward. host: what will happen with the push for the $15 national minimum wage. guest: we will continue to bates that. -- continue to debate that. we have that in new york and it
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helped my district. it was the difference between having a couple bring in -- dollars a week and bringing in $1200 a week. they will not go on a caribbean vacation with that kind of money in their pocket, they will go to the grocery store and get those items they need on a daily basis. it is really a shot in the arm to the economy, to be small mom and pop businesses that are needed. i am surprised republicans could not see this and chose to gang up against it. host: you did the -- of course, the $1.9 trillion plan will have four key dollars for individuals -- will have $1400 for individuals.
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let's talk about how you saw that help your district in new york city. 160 billion -- 106 billion dollars for vaccines and testing -- where is that money going first in your district. guest: the vaccination money is direly needed. we must continue to vaccinate people across the city and country. the variant will become dominant in a week or two in new york city so let's vaccinate to push back and contain it. we must continue to do that in every corner of every neighborhood. the state and local government money is so important. even if we dump a lot of money in the state municipalities across the country, they are hurting financially and they have to make cuts to vital
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programs dear to lots of families around the country. this will help us survive fiscally and allow us to continue to provide the services families need across america. the small business money is very important because there really trying to open. they were shut down and that really devastated new york city. now they are struggling to open up. i think it is important we help them. restaurants are really hurting. new york state will get $100 billion. this is more that we got out of hurricane sandy relief. this is the biggest plan of recovery in history of america for new york state. i'm excited for it. new york city must come up again and lead the nation again. our economy must be restored. host: we welcome your calls and
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questions for commerce men adriano espaillat -- for congressman adriano espaillat. for democrats it is 202-748-8000 . republicans it is 202-748-8001. for all others it is 202-748-8002. congressman, republicans, and particularly mitt romney. he said there is money that states and localities don't. i want you to react to what he had to say. [video clip] >> i believe we make better legislation if we have two parties that work together. we have crafted a piece of legislation our party has not had any involvement in. we tried, we went to the white house and the president was very gracious in listening to us but did not accept our proposals. we have before us a piece of legislation that has the benefit of only one party. there are some errors in that
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and some things i think we need to fix. one is in regard to states and localities. the president -- at the time the president put his bill out, it was an assumption the states had massive losses. the data that has come out has shown the states did not have those kinds of losses. 21 states are seeing rising revenue. states like florida don't need more money, oklahoma does not need more money, utah does not need more money. california has record surpluses, billions of dollars in surplus. under this legislation, california at the state level gets $26 more. -- $26 billion more. this is on top of their surplus here. think about that. we will be asking the american people to let us borrow money from china and others, passed that to our kids and grandkids
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so we could send money to state that california who don't need the money. host: congressman, your argument about mitt romney saying they have rising revenues. why do you think that money is needed in the bill? guest: we are in the middle of a pandemic still. we give you an example. the mta runs our subway system. they run it's based on ridership. ridership is down so it is down dramatically. if we don't open our subway system our city will never open up. they need money so we put eight -- $8 billion in the funding to restore the mta and make sure it will be able to open up our transportation system. some folks look at it and say
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what does that have to do with the covid recovery? it has everything to do with it. without a timely transportation system, we would not be able to open up our economy. again, the system runs on a ridership or mila -- ridership formula. most states and municipalities are still hurting. businesses are still shut down. unemployment -- i know we had an improvement in the unemployment rate. there are lots of people who are not working yet. people are still afraid, the virus is still out there, let's help the states and municipalities and to get back on our feet. why do we have to wrestle with $100 on the unemployment benefit? there was a big what to do about $300 or $400. forgot's sake -- for god's sake,
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we are going to have a debate about $100? let's give it to people. let's inject money into the economy and make sure our small businesses which continue to be the biggest employers across the country have something to stand on. let's be good. big government i think is good government. we can restore back our economy in a safe and responsible way. let's be the america we know it could be. let's be the strong america for everybody. host: let me ask you about border issues and immigration which are becoming a bigger problem earlier in the administration. the new york times this morning, "a surge in micra children detained is surging on the borders -- in migrant children detained is surging on the borders.
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the biden administration struggles to find room in shelters according to documents obtained by the new york times. congress is developing the u.s. citizenship act of 2021. it would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the u.s., bolster asylum systems and add technologies to secure the southern border. are you behind that effort and how soon do you think the house might take that up? guest: this is a very personal issue to me as i came to this great nation without documents. i came on a visitor's visa, over stood my visa, and now i am a congressman. this country gives a promise to everybody. we need to make sure no children are split from their parents. that is a moral commitment that the moral -- that the biden administration must stand by.
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we are working on a bill with the biden administration. the hispanic caucus is taking a look at that bill and comparing it to what we developed to make sure we strengthened it. in many cases, many provisions of the biden bill are even stronger than what we are bringing forward. you're making sure children are not split from their parents. this is a fundamental piece of that bill we must ensure happens . no child should be split. i was involved in bringing mothers and their children together at the height of the horrific period of our history when children were split from their mothers' arms. i know firsthand how tragic that is. we must not allow that to
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happen. america must be a beacon of opportunity. humanity must avail with this issue. -- must prevail with this issue. host: what does the biden administration have to do to distinguish itself as different from the trump administration policies? guest: it must have a human face. that means let's make sure -- for example -- we provide for the nation of venezuela and we already did. there is a brutal dictatorship there and the people are hungry. let's make sure children and families are not split, that children are not incarcerated in dingy and inhumane facilities. i saw it was going on firsthand in those facilities, many of which are run by private companies where the profit
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incentive is the number one goal. let's make sure we we are night families -- we we read -- let's make sure we reunite families. when families are united, america is stronger. how could we have a disparate test it is pretty -- a disparity? we are calling for a stronger america get splitting families apart? let's reunite families, provide dreamers with the opportunity to move forward. that makes america stronger. this is to be a comprehensive bill. we are going to do the dream act and the farmworkers bill before we get to the biden comprehensive will. -- comprehensive bill. this is an important piece of legislation we should take up around march. host: the l.a. times was reporting on that story "the biden administration giving
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temper status to thousands of venezuelans -- giving temporary status to thousands of venezuelans." let's get to calls. from buffalo, new york. good morning. caller: good morning, representative. you talked about the minimum wage. upstate is complete different than downstate. it is hurting our small businesses. we are not sure when it comes to the $15 an hour -- i think it is steep. i think they should lower it a little bit and maybe it would get past. i don't see how it is beneficial. thank you. guest: good to hear from you from buffalo. i love buffalo. new york city also has that dynamic where in some boroughs the cost of living is more
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dynamic than others. the cost of living in the east side versus the west side of manhattan is very high as opposed to the bronx. $15 an hour did not break the back of neighborhoods like the bronx. it increased the purchasing power of consumers. consumers, if you give them an extra $100 a week, they will go to the grocery store. they will go to the local business and spend it there. they will motivate that economy. frank mindy roosevelt implemented -- franklin d roosevelt implemented the minimum wage in the middle of the great depression. as people were in job lines across the city and people were committing suicide because the economy collapsed. he had the vision to move forward and clement minimum wage
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-- and implement the minimum wage. it proved to be very effective. it proved to be the biggest stimulus package. $15 an hour is not a lot. how can you survive anywhere in america with devon dollars and $.25 -- america with $7.25? with $1200 a week they can pay rent and maybe even save extra money and be able to spend more in the local economy. i think that is good for any part of america, including buffalo. host: here is jd in arkansas. good morning. caller: i have a couple of suggestions that might appease some of the republicans opposed to this bill. on the $1400 stimulus, instead of sending out checks, why don't you send out debit cards with a
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time limit on it and people could call in and activate the debit cards were not use them at all if they didn't want to? it is just an idea. on the minimum wage, won't that be tied to the cost of living the same way social security is tied to it? move it up to nine dollars and then tie it to the cost of living year after year. guest: i like the debit card idea. i don't know if i would put a deadline on it but i think that is a great idea. the minimum wage piece should be indexed. it has been a while since we got a raise. it has been a while since working-class america has gotten in a raise. to index it would be a smart thing. we don't have to go back to it.
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it would just increase as the cost of living increases. if we were to increase the minimum wage taking into account those increases in the cost of living in the last 15 to 20 years, it brings us up to maybe even above $15. host: you said the minimum wage in new york city is now $15? guest: that is correct and it stabilized my neighborhood. it gave purchasing power to consumers to pay rent, not to be stressed out without knowing how to make ends meet. they get extra money to buy milk, bread, go to the pharmacy. they don't have to co-pay prescription drugs. they have extra money in their pocket. it is not a lot but it is important for the economy and
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mom and pop businesses struggling to meet. host: this is a call from arizona. pablo, go ahead. guest: you talked about -- caller: you talked about big government doing great things. can you give me an example? guest: i think the $1400 you will get in the middle of a time of great pressure is great for you and your family. if you are unemployed and you are depending on $300, it is a great day for america. if you want schools to reopen in a safe way, having $130 billion to make sure schools are safe and your children are not put in a dangerous position is a great thing for america. these are all measures -- by the way, this is the first time the house puts forth our own visit
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-- our own vision. we were bipartisan in the last packages. congressman adr congressman ad. this is the first time we put forward our plan. the republican members of congress refused to acknowledge that people are hurting across america. this is a great bill and i look forward to fort. host: congressman adriano espaillat representing hatton. >> you're watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. c-span was created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today, we're brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span to viewers as a
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