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tv   Senate Democratic Leaders Hold News Conference  CSPAN  February 2, 2022 4:54am-5:17am EST

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court. hello, everybody. i'm joined today by senators murray, stabenow and blumenthal. so let's talk about judges. in the first year of the biden administration, as you know, we've had tremendous success confirming federal judges. tremendous success. we have confirmed more judges to the federal bench 43 as of this morning, than any president in his first year since reagan. and that's a big accomplishment. these are of course lifetime appointments. in fact, the judges who have been nominated and confirmed not only have remarkable demographic diversity, women, people of color, but for the first time, real professional diversity as well. public defenders, public
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interest lawyers, community folks as opposed to simply partners and big fancy law firms and prosecutors. with justice breyer's decision to retire at the end of his term, president biden has an opportunity to make the supreme court look more like america by nominating the first black woman in u.s. history to serve as a justice. we've had 115 justices in the history of this country. only five have been women and only to have been african-american. none have been african-american women. so this is simply having the court reflect america, which it hasn't in the past until i believe it is 40 or 50 years ago there were only white males on the bench on the supreme court. so, america changes and evolves and moves and so should the supreme court. so, where president biden said is a good idea. now the senate will have a fair
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process that moves quickly to confirm the president's pick. i applaud president biden's commitment to choosing a qualified and a historic nominee. more balanced, diverse judiciary has been one of our top goals ever since we got into the majority a year ago and we are achieving that. now we will achieve that hopefully at the supreme court level as well. the more americans look at the courts and see people who look like them and come from the same backgrounds that share similar experiences, the better off our justice system and democracy will be. this week senate democrats are working to confirm even more of president biden's highly qualified nominee's and in the theme of continuing our success from the 2021 and 22022, democrats are focused on passing legislation that directly helps american families. today our economy is in the midst of a historic turnaround
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with record wage and economic growth and people talk about 5.7%. to me, one of the most important things in the economy it's wage growth is real. for decades economists and average folks deprived the fact that wage growth was black. in fact some of the statistics i've seen show that for about 75% of all americans, there was no real growth between 2000. but now wages are going up and the second prong of that getting the wages of his getting costs down. and we democrats are focusing on getting the costs down. in 2021, we responded to the covid crisis bypassing the american rescue plan two months into the president's term. of course we passed a historic infrastructure package that's putting people to work fixing the roads, bridges and highways and now we are focused on doing more to help families get ahead and stay ahead.
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our focus to help those, getting the letters they need, to those in the middle class to keep them there and to relieve their anxiety that they will not stay there. that's what we are doing. now the house is joining the senate to pass legislation that will help businesses struggling with strained supply chains. the chip shortage has raised the prices of cars, appliances, iphones. and our bill will do that. it also does something else very important for the american people. it says we want the jobs in america. not overseas. in china or germany or anywhere else. we want them in america. in america. this will help make investments on main street. you've already seen what happened in ohio. and it brings good paying jobs back to the united states. so the continuing pushed by democrats and by the biden
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administration to have wages go up instead of stay flat is there. we are continuing also to pursue legislation that will lower the cost of prescription drugs and cap the cost of insulin instead of $600 a does it will go back to $36 a dose. our agenda, and this is an important point, and the historic contrast on almost every item with republicans who seem to favor the powerful wealthy special interest that stand in the way of prescription drugs. a classic example but there are many of those. so while we got a lot done in 2021, we are going to keep working on these important issues. senator murray. >> thank you. everyone understands the frustration families are feeling right now and we know we've got to keep our foot on the gas. we have a lot of work ahead and the progress being made so far over the past year really offers
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us a clear path forward. democrats took action on the american rescue plan to fight this pandemic. and today, thanks to president biden's leadership and our work, over 200 million people are now fully vaccinated. free tests are available at covid test .gov and free masks are now available at pharmacies and grocery stores across the country. last year, following historic investments in the nation's infrastructure and in the families and communities, the economy grew faster than it has in nearly four decades and unemployment dropped back below 4%. thanks to support for schools to get tests and masks and improved ventilation and meet the student's needs, schools are in a much stronger position today to safely stay open for in person learning. following the efforts we took to lower costs, the record 14.5 million people got
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healthcare through the federal exchange last year and saved on average over $2,000 a year. we've also saved pensions that workers and retirees rely on from the devastating cuts. now none of this is a given. it was the result of action and leadership. that is important to remember because what happens next isn't a given either. whether we build on the progress for families or lose it, it is a question of will. democrats want to press forward with additional action and build back better to bring down our healthcare costs especially drug costs, bring down child costs and the climate crisis and more. we want to make the nation competitive and make prices less reliant on the foreign manufacturing, which is why we are working to pass legislation to strengthen our supply chains and ensure the technologies of the present and the future are made and developed right here in
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the u.s. and create more good paying jobs, more investment and greater economic prosperity for the families. this is especially important in my home state of washington, which is already the home of the premier research institutions, technology and aerospace leaders and growers and producers that are constantly competing on the world stage. democrats also want to improve the response to this pandemic and future health crises to protect the right to vote, the cornerstone of the democracy, and of course we are all excited to work with president biden and take the historic step in ensuring the nation's highest court truly reflects the diversity of its people by confirming the first black woman to the supreme court. the past year has shown what a difference the choices we can make have for the nation. i know this has been a really impossible time for so many americans and we have a lot more work to do to build on the steps we've taken so far so we can end at this pandemic and rebuild
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stronger and favor and give people back the certainty and stability in their lives they want. in the year ahead democrats will continue to focus on solutions and we will work around the clock to deliver. >> senator stabenow. >> thank you very much. first let me say because today is the first day of black history month, what an exciting time this is and to know that in this month, president biden will be nominating the first black woman to the united states supreme court and we in the senate are going to have the opportunity to confirm her. so it's a very exciting time. and it's also an exciting time for the economy. because president biden and democrats are getting the economy back on track. every kind of numbers shows that. a strong economy means strong families and strong communities and frankly a strong future for all americans. democrats worked with president
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biden to pass the american rescue plan, no small feat. getting shots into arms, getting kids back into classrooms and getting the economy moving again. and it is working. when president biden took office, 18 million people were unemployed. 18 million people. today it's 2 million are on unemployment. we've helped businesses create a 6 million jobs, the greatest year of job growth in american history. we've seen the best economic growth since 1984, and we've seen the biggest single year drop in our unemployment rate in the nation's history. and yet we fully understand, we understand completely, that covid related challenges have caused prices to rise, and it's not acceptable. so democrats are laser focused on bringing down costs for americans.
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that is our focus at this moment. since day one, president biden and democrats have been putting the american people first every day. senate republicans talk a lot about inflation. they talk about it all the time. they view it as a great political issue, but what have they done about it, what have they done other than talk about it? frankly, they've done nothing but vote no on things to bring prices down. we have a report today on every piece that really is on the cost of american lives and how republicans have voted no. all of them voted no over and over again. no two actions that will lower the cost of food. no on supporting restaurants and worked hard to help people stay employed during the pandemic. no on lowering healthcare costs, no on the lowering childcare
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costs, housing costs for people. no on lowering heating costs for people. they even voted no on the largest tax cut in generations for american families with children. republicans are way too busy standing up for big corporations who are actually price gouging americans while making record profit. so, we, democrats are laser focused on lowering costs and continuing the strongest economy in 38 years. >> senator blumenthal. [inaudible] >> thank you. also a member the commerce committee and the chair [inaudible] [laughter] and chair of the consumer protection subcommittee where we are going to have a hearing -- i'm already late -- on price gouging of covid tests and other
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pandemic related products. price gouging on covid tests. i want to second and support my colleagues on what they've said about the priority we've given to lowering costs, particularly healthcare costs and prescription drug costs and the need to pass measures to keep manufacturing in america and to make sure we look at some of the areas of our economy that haven't seen the kind of progress that others have, for example restaurants. i was in a restaurant yesterday in connecticut in hartford. anybody that's been to hartford knows about [inaudible] it's closed because it can't get restaurant revitalization refunding. replenishing that is critical. i'm grateful but also to senator wicker it is a bipartisan measure and we need to do it. democrats have lead on this issue just to take one part of
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the program. i want to talk about president biden's appointments to the court. no president in american history has made appointments as diverse as president biden. this morning and the judiciary committee we had a testimony tem three women nominees in the federal bench. one, a woman of japanese descent whose parents were interned during world war ii. another native american woman who grew up on a navajo reservation. these kinds of appointees have broken new ground. never before have, has any president made the federal bench look like the people of america. this diversity is inclusive and
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strengthens the federal bench. and that's what president biden will do with his nominee to the united states supreme court. now i've argued for cases in the united states supreme court. mostly before white male judges. i was a law clerk to justice blackmun at a time when the court was all white male judges. the strength of the court has increased when litigants the ene american people go before judges who look like america and that's what president biden is going to be doing. the judiciary committee has begun preparing. we are comparing notes. the white house has begun reaching out very significantly, and we are prepared to move quickly but fairly. and i am looking forward to a nominee who has such a compelling life story and
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qualification. in fact there will be bipartisan support. i'm looking forward to a quick process that will be fair, but expeditious. i believe we can do it and we will. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. members of the judiciary and the congress. we will start from the left and work our way over. [inaudible] >> we are fighting hard for build back better. there are many provisions that are important many of which senator manchin supports such as the drug pricing. so we are continuing to work on it. and there are conversations going on between senator manchin and different senators right now. >> [inaudible]
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senators menendez and reisch are working close to come to an agreement. there's a couple of outstanding issues that they are working on. but i am hopeful that we can get a strong bipartisan sanctions bill to the floor relatively soon. >> especially in light of the former president's comments [inaudible] are you in favor of updating the electoral [inaudible] >> i've encouraged our democratic side to discuss and set up these bipartisan meetings with of the republican side. we will have to see what they come out with. there's another bill that was introduced today i believe that was senator king's bill on the eca. look, reforming the electoral college is a good thing to do but it sure doesn't replace the need to deal with voting rights
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dark money and reapportionment. next. >> leaders schumer, [inaudible] as i said, we are continuing to have discussions, and we will be moving forward on build back better. you will see how we do that as we move forward. yes, ma'am, and then jonathan. [inaudible] >> as i said, build back better, we want to get as much of build back better done as we can. you will see us move forward on it. >> [inaudible] >> on the second question, as i said, i thought eca has to do other things, and i mentioned
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three that were in the two bills that we had. the john lewis billion freedom to vote act. but dealing with interference with election officials, dealing with of the issue you brought up are important as well. so i think that, you know, just doing eca is not sufficient. it may be necessary but it's not a sufficient. and eca deals with the situation in 2024. a lot of these things deal with of the situation -- it might deal with 2022 any more urgent and immediately. >> [inaudible] as you know, i pushed the house to move further along period of time. i care very much about this bill. the framework they set up and of the framework that is in the seeking bell are not that far
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apart. i believe all the gaps are approachable. we are having productive discussions with the house democrats. i don't know if any republicans will support it in the house but we are also having discussions with republicans in the senate, and i am very optimistic we will get this done very shortly. okay. last one over there. that's you. >> [inaudible] >> being a democrat i like to call on people in the back of the room, not just in the front row. go ahead. >> [inaudible] >> you've got to say it again. i'm sorry. >> we have great bipartisan support. i believe there are ten republicans cosponsors and it's a bill we would like to move very quickly. thank you, everybody.
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>> the worst committee to get on capitol hill. >> well, good afternoon, everyone. we had a rather wholesome discussion at lunch about the ukraine situation. very timely, very troubling and


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