tv Sen. Debbie Stabenow at AXIOS Event CSPAN February 15, 2019 12:47am-1:09am EST
they don't get paid. if somebody is forced to work or required to work because their job is essential, they ought to be getting paid. there are clear reforms we can make to the way our government funding works. many states have a zero-based budgeting program and frankly it forces more people to the table before you goat a shutdown. we can clearly look at how to do things better that at a minimum let's ensure somebody is an essential employee and they're on the job that they're getting paid while they're on the job. mike: congressman scalise, have fun on your romantic valentine's night. appreciate it. thank you very much, congressman scalise. [applause] we are going to hear from the next of our leaders in a moment but first, a message from the bank of america. >> next, the michigan representative, the chair of december -- a senate committee. she talked about climate change and her medicare buy-in
legislation. this is 20 minutes. thank you very much for bank of america for that and for making these conversations possible. our next guest, we're just so rudely interrupted, our next guest in 2000 became the first woman from the state of michigan to be elected to the united states senate. she's the chair of the democratic policy communications committee. you can say dpcc, which handles research policy and communications. she's the ranking member of the senate agriculture committee. it's our honor to welcome to the ax yose stage, senator -- axios stage, senator be debbie stabenow. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. happy valentine's day. happy two-year anniversary. difficult toddler years. >> terrific to -- so, senator, you're just back from dearborn
saluting chairman john dingell. you called him "my dear friend." he was the dean of the house. you served with him in the house. >> i did. i served with john for four years before coming into the u.s. senate. and, you know, as someone who literally grew up with john dingell at his being -- >> did you remind him of that? >> i did remind him of that. you have heard and you know the extraordinary ways that he's made a difference for the country as well as the state. but someone who was there, not just for the affordable care act, but for medicare. held the gavel for the passage of medicare. but the -- to be able to fight for the auto industry and author the clean water act and the clean air act. just on and on and on and on. for me and michigan, though, i have to tell you, and for all of us in michigan, what we loved was john dingell came home every
weekend. we were on the plane together every weekend. he was in every pa ray. i think what i loved most about john was seeing his interaction with people. when i think about the dearborn memorial day parade every single year, first walking, he and debbie and then later on sitting in the back of a convertible and waving and being able to interact with people. he would talk about his people. my people. my people. i do a pretty good john dingell impression. i won't do it here. but it was -- that's what drove him. that's what motivated him. and that's what really made him an extraordinary public servant. >> senator, axios always starts with the news and just this week you introduced the medicare at 50 act along with senator brown, senator tammy baldwin. this gives people 50-64 buying into medicare. why do they need/want that? >> we are introducing it in the
house as well. congressman brian higgins and congressman joe courtney and a whole group of people. a lot of excitement around this. first of all, this can be done now while people are debating what should happen in terms of larger structural changes or not. this can happen now under current medicare that has great confidence and support among the american people. when we look at the fact, university of michigan just did a study that 27% of the folks in that age category are worried they're not going to have insurance throughout their year every year. and it's when you have more medical expenses is when even the private sector, you're paying more. so this is a choice. if you want to buy in at 50 and pay premiums and it would be part of the health care exchange, you would be able to qualify for the tax credits and cost share if you are able to qualify because of income.
and you get a better price. so you get a better price. and in talking to a group of doctors in my office yesterday, i was struck. these were oncologists who said they work with people all the time who put off tests or screenings or treatments, holding their breath until they get to the age of 65. >> that's sad. >> what we see is actually economists say it will save money for medicare at 65 because people would get screenings and treatments when they needed it rather than waiting and we see all of this influx when somebody turns 65. >> so senator, people in this room and the people watching as well know especially in the senate, introducing a bill that's the beginning of a very long journey. what is the outlook for medicare at 50? >> i think if -- at this point i'm not sure. i think it could easily pass the house. harder time, obviously, in the senate. but i'm hopeful that the work we do in the next two years will certainly try to get a vote in
the senate. i think if we could actually get a vote, that we might very well pass it. the goal is within the next two years to really build up support for that. and let folks know that regardless, again, of this larger debate, if we want to focus on bringing down costs, addressing people who are more likely to retire early, be forced to retire early, which happens a lot in michigan, find themselves in a situation where it's harder to find affordable insurance, we can fix that right now. and i think that there's going to be a lot of support for doing it. >> under the big dome, how have the dynamics changed now there's a democratic house? >> i think it's great. [laughter] by the way, it was wonderful to see congressman scalise and how well he's doing. it was so great. it certainly gives us a different kind of partnership. >> with republicans still in control of the senate, how does that change your life as a democratic senator?
>> well, it's certainly more leverage. it's a different kind of partnership because we are working very closely with the house, as the president would say, chuck and nancy. and working very closely together. and we should have common values and share, you know, common desires in terms of governing and solving problems. and so we are going to be able to use that energy from the house, legislation coming over from the house, and give us beater opportunity to try to get things to pass. >> leader mcconnell says he plabs a vote on the green new deal. he says, quote, to give everybody an opportunity to go on the record. what's the real reason? >> well, we all know what the real reason is and do i have to tell you the resolution that was put together doesn't ban ice cream, just for the record. i think nobody would be supporting that. and folks, republicans that went to the floor and folks who have
talked in the house and senate, i have to kind of laugh at the characterizations that have come from this. >> the fact you can make that joke shows what a problem it is for your side. >> i don't think it's a problem to say, you know, i support ice cream or that this doesn't affect ice cream or it doesn't stop agriculture. i mean, i worked with senator markey on the language on the resolution on sustainable agriculture. it very much mirrors what we did in the farm bill, conservation. i know what you're getting at. and no question in the house. we have new people that are very enthusiastic who kind of got ahead of themselves, i think, in terms of how they were wheeling things out. the reality is it's a resolution that is very important because it relates to something that impacts every single one of us. and that's the fact that the climate is changing.
i mean, i don't know about anybody here listening but when you look at the dramatic swings in the weather, when we look at what we just went through in michigan, the fact the atmosphere's heating up and either holds more rain or more snow or if you don't have either you are going to get more drought or you're going to get more difficult, you know, situations with fires and so on, this is real. this is real. and so it's about tackling carbon pollution and there's a lot of ways to do that. both that create jobs. we are doing a lot of clean energy manufacturing in michigan. there are 8,000 jobs with wind turbine. excuse me. 8,000 parts -- 8,000 parts in a big wind turbine. we can make every one of those in michigan. so i would just say once all the politics -- i mean, all of this is politics. what mitch is doing is politics. what we ought to be worried about is 10, 12 years from now,
your kids, your grandkids, what are we leaving them in terms of fundamental changes in our world, in our quality of life? >> by the way, senator, when you mentioned wind turbines, i have been at this -- covering local virginia politics. you have one of the better campaign slogans i ever heard. well, yes. you talk about -- yes. we make -- >> made in michigan. it's a great logo. >> it's made in michigan. and then i followed up with, we make things and grow things, that's what we do in michigan. we make things and grow things. you don't have an economy unless you make things and grow things. for me it's all about made in michigan, including myself, having lived in michigan my whole life. >> right. so just to cross a t here, if senator mcconnell goes ahead with this vote, how will you vote? >> at this point we are looking at a number of strategies to make sure it's clear what they're talking about isn't real. we're putting together a strategy to do that. i support the goals, absolutely.
>> you could not vote for the resolution as it's worded today? >> well, i support the goals as it relates to climate change. i think some of the wording is of concern to me because it leaves things wide open. and allows folks that are opposing it to say that, you know, it mandates the government provide everybody a job. which is not true. but the way it is written, you know, it allows for folks to mischaracterize it. i'd like to see the language tightened up. >> just a little hint, spoiler here. what is the strategy to try to diffuse it? >> i am not going to tell you right now, mike. i am just going to let you know -- i'm going to let you know that we are going to make it very clear and we want to vote on the reality of science which is that climate change, including man made activities, is real and we want to tackle that.
>> last question. you mentioned house democrats getting ahead of themselves. congresswoman ocasio-cortez and her supporters, what would have been a better way to roll this out? >> well, i think, first of all, working together, house and senate, on the resolution. i think the house started with legislation and then it moved through goals and a resolution and i understand the passion. i understand the sense of urgency. i think a little more time, little more communication. a little more input from a wider variety of folks on language would have made a difference, i think. >> map up on axios a couple weeks ago. we put a map up. hit theon is set to heartland the hardest. michigan is one of the states they say is susceptible to
automation. it is with us. we need to embrace what is necessary. sure people have great pain jobs. we are a spot where we need people not only with math and .cience all the stems skills. we need all who have quality skilled trades. number one issue in michigan, having somebody that is an electrician. construction professional, a
plumber and so on to move forward. i am concerned about tech knowledge he. i want to make sure michigan is creating that technologies. we talk about advanced vehicle technology and autonomous vehicles. frankly, in the economy, you the hear that coming from chamber of commerce. >> i feel like we are behind. we are behind. we talk about it and then see
revenue go someplace else. we talk about education skill development. we see trillions of dollars go to a tax cut which ends up not creating the jobs we want and taking money out of the ability to bring down the costs of college. way, education and workforce development and training. detroitront page of the free press, winning michigan. tough task. michigan is pretty essential to his map map. difficult to replace. how can he come back? >> hopefully he cannot.
michigan president trump won by about 10,000 votes. and there were a lot of folks that unfortunately decided not to vote. or voted third party. i think because of the urgency where we are in our country, the chaos, the instability, the concern whether it's about foreign affairs or the economy or the fact that the tax cut that happened is actually going to increase people's taxes in michigan much more than decrease them. people are shocked at what they're seeing right now. so people are going to be much more engaged in this election. michigan's never easy, though. i have to say it's always a state that's up for grabs. we are a very independent lot. but what i will tell you is having just won in 2018 where we had a very successful democratic year, if we are organized and working together and making it very clear around our shared goals in terms of raising wages
and lowering costs for people and protecting our water and creating more opportunities, that's what brings people together and we had across the board, as you saw, from governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, myself, picking up house seats. not by huge margins. in michigan it's never going to be 60%. it's just not. but we were successful because people said, we don't like what is happening. we want change but we want it to be not just any kind of change. we want it to be change that actually helps my family. >> the penultimate question. what is it like to have so many colleagues running for president? >> you didn't ask me if i was. there are four of us, we are
going to start a card game. i am threatening because i am responsible for the thursday policy lunch. we will do the first presidential debate at the policy lunch. i will say this. we have very smart people, people that i think are terrific that are running. and so far, people are very respectful. we tend to joke with them or rib them when we're in a caucus lunch and at this point people are looking to find their niche in their own personality in a way of approaching things. the great thing is people share the same sense what we care about for the american people. >> will cinders endorse -- senators endorse other senators? >> i don't know. i have been sitting back and
watching. >> do you imagine some will were most will stay on the sidelines? >> i think probably most will stay on the sidelines but i don't know. i think what's different this time is that there are so many people running. because, you know, we have supported colleagues and endorsed colleagues in the past when there was one person running or two people running. but i mean, we have, you know, a blessing of riches and talents as far as i'm concerned. we really have wonderful people running. >> senator, as we say goodbye, axios ends up with one fun thing. we end up with one fun thing. "the new york times" did a story about you as a pianist. they put up a recording of you playing "natural woman." tell me a time you used piano playing as an icebreaker? >> first i have to say, aretha did that a whole lot better than i did it. carol king is friend of mine. i said, i apologize. but i love music. i grew up in music.
eight years of piano lessons, worked my way through college playing acoustic guitar and singing with a friend who was much better than i was. it was more fun than waiting tables. i will say this. it actually was a great icebreaker when i was negotiating the farm bill. when i was chair and thad cochran came in as my ranking member. i found out he had a baby grand piano in his office -- true story -- and that he played the piano. and i went in to his office and we had a meeting and we both sat down at the piano and i threatened every time we were having tough negotiations to go back and sit down at the piano and work things out. the literally -- we literally bonded. baby grand in his office?
>> in his office >. >> craziest thing you have seen in a hideaway or office? >> probably the piano. i've seen, you know, sort of foosball. i won't tell you who had that. probably the piano. and it was -- but it was great fun. and i actually played -- he was very nice to let me play it more than once. i miss him dearly, actually. >> this definitely explains a lot. of an oldsmobile dealer. thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. [applause] >> thank you senator for that great conversation. our last leader, but first, a quick word from the bank of america. thank you for making this conversation possible. house chair of the democraticau
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