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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript - Fiscal Policy

Interview

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SCHULTZ: Cruz claims the GOP`s problem in the last election was the
narrative. But Cruz is recycling the same old garbage. He says the 47
percent who are dependent on government. By now, we all know he`s actually referencing the 46.4 percent of American households that pay no -- that would be zero federal income tax.

Republicans love to paint these folks as just absolute free loaders.
In reality, over 28 percent of those Americans paid payroll taxes. The
rest were mostly elderly or those with incomes under 20,000 dollars, which
is just over minimum wage.

Republicans need to accept the facts. They need to start rethinking
the policies voters rejected in 2012, and stop trying to rebrand them.
They`re trying to rebrand the public`s thinking about who they are. It`s
not going to work, but it is rather comical to watch.

Joining me tonight, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.
Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Ed, it is good to be with you and
your viewers.

SCHULTZ: If this is the conversation on the right, if this is the
conversation in Republican circles, that it was just the narrative, and
that they`ve just got a messaging problem, where does that leave the
Democrats going into the midterms?

JACKSON LEE: In a very good position because it underestimates the
intelligence, the knowledge and the interests in improving their lives of
the people who are lumped together in the 47 percent. They`re not looking
at narratives. They`re looking at facts. They`re looking at opportunities.

And what they see and they saw in the 2012 election was a sharp
contrast, those who are going to condemn and those who are going to lead to a pathway of opportunity. Veterans benefits, opportunities for higher
education for our veterans, children`s health insurance, dollars for the
disabled, Social Security solvent, Medicare solvent, and of course a view
toward the future.

If you`re a single mother, it`s not whether you have a narrative and
whether you`re seeking your vote. It`s whether or not, in reality, you`re
voting on someone that is going to have your back. And when have your
back, you`re going to be interested in making sure that Pell Grants are
funded, that your school stays open. As I was getting on the plane today,
Ed, I had someone who makes minimum wage. And they says, is there any way you can raise our wage to nine dollars?

She said, do you know the job that I have? Not only am I making
minimum wage, seven dollars plus, but I have to pay for parking. These
voters want reality. They don`t want to be placated to. And they don`t
think they are victims. And they want to see action, not just words.

SCHULTZ: How can Republicans like Senator Cruz claim that they want
to help the 47 percent while they`re supporting something like Paul Ryan`s
budget? As Chris Van Hollen said in an interview, there`s just no wiggle
room. There`s no budging at all by the Republicans in Ryan`s budget. But
yet they claim they`re there for the 47 percent. Put that together for us.

JACKSON LEE: Ed, you took the words out of my mouth, but I think
that`s another oops moment. There`s my point. Let`s not have placating.

Let`s have action. Paul Ryan`s budget today is a nonstarter. Eliminating
the Affordable Care Act, going on the backs of those who receive Medicare
and Social Security -- and the revenue that he gains, 60 percent of it is
taking money out of health care for middle class and poor Americans, 60
percent of the revenue, and no revenue coming from the other side of the
coin, which is closing loopholes or using other methods to enhance revenue
in the top one percent.

So it really is a question of people listening not only to the so- called heart of the new thinking of Republicans, but where`s the real action? How can you possibly come out with a budget today that lost in the 2012 election, that again is even worse because in his last budget, it was a 20-year balanced budget. Now, it`s a 10 year balanced budget, which means that there`s going to be more harm and more hurt to the people who are the most vulnerable.

But in actuality, the 47 percent may not even be the number, because
you`ve got a bunch of folk, about 20,000 or so, that pay 200,000 dollars,
and because of deductions pay no taxes. And so a lot of people pay no
taxes because they`ve deducted out, where other people don`t pay it because they make under 20,000 dollars, as I heard you say, but they`re a family.

They have two children. And they`re not -- in essence, they`re not
eligible to pay taxes. What do they even have to pay taxes? Maybe they do
pay payroll taxes.

So I guess the story or the question has to be, it`s not just because
you didn`t try to become attractive to Hispanics, African-Americans or
single women. You didn`t give them the opportunity that you suggest that
your party stands for. You didn`t give them the educational opportunity.

You didn`t give them the job opportunity. You didn`t give them the hand up
opportunity.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

JACKSON LEE: You didn`t give them an opportunity.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman, have -- has the country lost sight of why
we`re here having this budget battle? I mean, you have to look back at the
last 12, 13 years of what has transpired, how we have gone from surpluses
tow here we are financially right now, how we have given breaks to the
wealthiest Americans. And that didn`t work out with the job creation. How
we went into wars and didn`t pay for it. How we did a deal with big Pharma
and Medicare Part D, and then of course the deregulation of Wall Street
back in the late `90s, took us right into the housing problem and actually
the criminal activity that took place on Wall Street that has not been
prosecuted.

I mean, all of these things have built up. And we all know that. But
the Democrats don`t seem to be pounding this every day to the American
people, that what the Republicans are after, the big three and the poor and
the elderly and the middle class Americans, they had nothing to do with any
of this.

And -- and give me your closing comment here. Are the Democrats
losing the narrative here? Is the White House losing the narrative on the
cause of why we are where we are and who ought to be paying?

JACKSON LEE: Well, you`re right. In 2000, there was a five billion
dollar surplus at the end of the Clinton administration. What I would say,
Ed, is the fight is in us. We realize that the voters are tired. They
want to know what is the future, what is the solution.

But it`s always good -- there`s a phrase that said, if you don`t
remember the past, you`re doomed to repeat it. It`s always good to refresh
our memories on costly wars, big tax cuts, Medicare Part D. I remember
that. That was a six-hour vote. And there were Republicans chasing people
around the walls of the House of Representatives trying to get that last
vote. And of course, the crisis on Wall Street -- by the way, as you well
know, they`ve regained all the money they lost on the principles of
President Obama.

I know that he has a heart of caring. We`ve just got to restate this
principle. And you are right. It`s our commitment and the Progressive
Caucus commitment. We`re not letting go of Medicaid, Medicare and Social
Security. Medicaid is a premise of the Affordable Care Act.

SCHULTZ: Even if it puts you at odds with the president?

JACKSON LEE: Let me say this, I`m always an optimist. And I truly
believe the president has a real good heart. And I believe that he`s still
willing to listen.

We`re against the chained CPI. We`re standing against that. But
we`re keeping the doors open. We want to hear what the president has to
say. And I also believe that he has an open mind and an open heart. But
it`s up to many of us to keep the fight going for our constituents.

SCHULTZ: We are going to find out. No question about it.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thanks for your time tonight on THE ED
SHOW. I appreciate it.

JACKSON LEE: Thanks.

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