MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: May 29, 2020

"Central Park Karen" viral video sparks new hate crime legislation. State Senator Brian Benjamin, one of two lawmakers who introduced the legislation joins us tonight. New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is a leading voice in Washington calling on Congress to pass more coronavirus stimulus relief. He and fellow House Democrats recently approved the HEROES Act. But will Senate Republicans get on board?

AIRED: May 29, 2020 | 0:28:22
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> UP NEXT, "METROFOCUS."

WE'RE WORKING FROM HOME BUT

WE'RE DEDICATED TO BRINGING YOU

THE IMPORTANT STORIES ABOUT HOW

OUR AREA IS AFFECTED BY

CORONAVIRUS.

>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON

ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE

SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER AND BY --

>>> WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A TOOL USED

IN EMERGENCIES ONLY WHEN FIRST

RESPONDERS ARE NEEDED.

I'M TALKING ABOUT 911.

HOWEVER, STATE SENATOR BRIAN

BENJAMIN SAYS IN INSTANCES OF

WHITE PEOPLE CALLING THE CRISIS

HOTLINE TO LOG FALSE ACCUSATIONS

OF HATE CRIMES AGAINST

AFRICAN-AMERICANS IS ABUSING

THAT SYSTEM AND SHOULD BE

CRIMINALIZED.

ALONG WITH FELLOW LAWMAKER

ASSEMBLYMAN FELIX ORTIZ, THEY'RE

INTRODUCING LEGISLATION THAT

WOULD CRIMINALIZE MAKING SUCH

ACCUSATIONS AGAINST

AFRICAN-AMERICANS OR ANYONE ELSE

LIKE THE ONES THAT HAPPENED OVER

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IN CENTRAL

PARK.

SO JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT

THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION IS

STATE SENATOR BRIAN BENJAMIN.

WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANK YOU.

GLAD TO BE HERE.

>> SO, FIRST OFF, TAKE ME

THROUGH BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE

HAVE NOW SEEN THAT VIRAL VIDEO,

A LOT OF EMOTIONS ARE TIED UP IN

THIS SUBJECT.

FIRST OFF, WHAT IS THIS

LEGISLATION?

WHAT WOULD IT DO EXACTLY?

>> SURE.

RIGHT NOW IT IS ACTUALLY A CRIME

TO FALSELY REPORT AN INCIDENT.

WHAT THIS BILL ACTUALLY DOES IS

SAY THAT IF YOU FALSELY REPORT

AN INCIDENT WITH RACE AS A

MOTIVATOR, ETHNIC ISSUES OR

LGBTQ, ET CETERA, THEN IT WILL

BE CLASSIFIED -- SHOULD BE

CLASSIFIED AS A HATE CRIME.

SO FOR ME, YOU KNOW, THERE'S NO

DOUBT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS

SITUATION, CLEARLY THERE WAS

RACIAL INTENT IN HOW SHE

EXPLAINS THIS CALL.

911, THE VIDEO WAS VERY CLEAR.

FOR ME, I THINK THAT SHOULD BE

CONSIDERED.

WHAT I WOULD EFFECTIVELY DO IN

THE STATE -- SHE SHOULD HAVE

BEEN ARRESTED FOR A THIRD DEGREE

OFFENSE OF FALSE REPORTING OF AN

INCIDENT.

IN THAT SCENARIO, WHICH IS A

CLASS "A" MISDEMEANOR, SHE WOULD

THEN BE BUMPED UP TO A HIGHER

CHARGE BECAUSE OF THE HATE CRIME

COMPONENT OF IT.

RIGHT NOW YOU CAN'T DO THAT, IF

THIS BILL WOULD BECOME LAW, THAT

WOULD BE THE CASE AND SHE WOULD

HAVE A STIFFER PENALTY.

>> WELL, NOW THAT'S SOMETHING

THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE VOICED

THEIR CONCERN ABOUT.

INCLUDING THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH

PRESIDENT, THAT'S THE FACT THAT

THE WOMAN IN THE VIDEO WAS NOT

ARRESTED AND NOT CHARGED.

YOU'RE SAYING THAT THERE'S

ALREADY LAWS ON THE BOOKS THAT

WOULD HAVE MADE THAT POSSIBLE.

FIRST I WANT YOU TO EXPLAIN, IF

WE ALREADY HAVE A LAW ON THE

BOOKS, WHY IS IT NOT BEING USED?

DO YOU HAVE ANY CLEAR INDICATION

AS TO WHY?

>> THE NYPD, BENJAMIN TUCKER

SAID THEY HAD BIGGER FISH TO

FRY.

SO THEY MADE THE DECISION THEY

WOULD NOT ARREST HER FOR THIS

EVEN THOUGH THEY SHE THE RIGHT

TO ARREST HER FOR THIS GIVEN

CRIMINAL LAW.

FOR

THEY MADE THE DETERMINATION.

I THINK THIS IS A BIGGER FISH

YOU HAVE TO FRY BECAUSE OF THE

SOCIETAL IMPACT.

I DON'T HAVE TO GO INTO THE

CONTEXT OF EMIT TILL, THE

CENTRAL PARK FIVE, THE WHOLE

ISSUE OF CRIMINALIZING BLACKS AS

IT RELATES TO FALSELY ACCUSING

THEM OF THINGS.

FOR ME THIS IS THE KIND OF THING

WE MUST PRIORITIZE.

IT WAS BIGGER THAN MR. COOPER,

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT EVERY

BLACK -- THIS IS MY MOM'S WORST

FEAR COME TO LIFE.

I PLAYED BY ALL THE RULES, I

WENT TO ALL THE RIGHT SCHOOLS, I

DID ALL THE RIGHT THINGS, I AM

ALWAYS THE DEESCALATOR IN THE

SITUATION.

EVERYTHING MR. COOPER DID IN

THIS VIDEO THAT WE SAW IS WHAT

YOU'RE TOLD.

JUST ALWAYS TURN THE OTHER

CHEEK, SHOW RESTRAINT.

I CAN'T EVEN FATHOM HOW HE

SHOWED THE LEVEL OF RESTRAINT

THAT HE DID SHOW WHEN HE SAW HER

MAKE THE CALL AND SHE WAS FAKING

AS IF HE WAS SOMEHOW ATTACKING

HER KNOWING IT WAS JUST HIM AND

HER IN THE RAMBLES IN THIS KIND

OF WAY.

ONE THING I WANT TO ADD, MANY

PEOPLE SAY, OH, MY GOD, YOU

KNOW, YEAH, SHE'S A TRUMP

SUPPORTER.

SHE WAS NOT.

IF YOU LOOK AT HER VOTING --

DONATION PAST, SHE GAVE MONEY TO

BARACK OBAMA.

THIS IS BIGGER THAN, YOU KNOW,

OH, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT

HAPPENED IN THE SOUTH.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IN THE

ENTIRE PSYCHE OF ALL OF US AND

WE HAVE TO ROOT IT OUT.

I BELIEVE OUR CRIMINAL LAWS HAVE

TO INCLUDE THIS FACTOR.

IT'S TOO SCARY FOR SOME OF US TO

BE IN POSITION WHERE THAT COULD

HAVE BEEN ME OR A SIBLING OR A

FRIEND OR CONSTITUENT WHO JUST

HAPPENED TO BE AT THE WRONG

PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME AND RUN

INTO A SITUATION LIKE THIS.

>> LET ME PUSH BACK A LITTLE

BIT.

>> SURE.

>> THERE ARE -- FIRST OF ALL,

PEOPLE HAVE VOICED CONCERN THAT

IS THIS A NEW PIECE OF

LEGISLATION?

IS A NEW LAW LIKE THIS REALLY

NECESSARY?

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE WOMAN HAS

ALREADY BEEN RELIEVED OF HER

POSITION.

WE ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT SHE

SURRENDERED THE DOG THAT WE ALSO

SAW IN THE VIDEO AND THAT SHE

ALSO AT LEAST IN HER STATEMENT

AFTER THE INCIDENT INDICATED

THAT SHE FELT SCARED.

>> RIGHT.

>> NOW YOU CAN MAKE THE ARGUMENT

THAT WITH THE VIDEOTAPE THAT WE

HAVE THAT THAT MAY OR MAY NOT

HAVE BEEN THE CASE HAVING SEEN

THE VIDEO.

BUT GOING FORWARD, HOW DO YOU

APPLY SUCH A LAW WHEN SOMEONE

CAN EASILY SAY, BUT I WAS

GENUINELY IN FEAR FOR MY LIFE?

>> RIGHT.

GREAT POINT.

THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE

BILL.

IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, SHE WAS

IN A POSITION WHERE SHE WAS

BEING VIDEOTAPED AND SHE

EXPRESSED CLEAR BIAS WHAT IF SHE

WASN'T VIDEOTAPED?

THAT'S MY POINT.

WHEN YOU NEED TO INCENTIVIZE

PEOPLE TO NOT LIE AND USE RACE

AS A FACTOR.

I DON'T BELIEVE YOU CAN HOPE

THAT HAPPENS.

I BELIEVE YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR

LAWS SHOWCASE THAT.

THERE'S A REASON WHY WE SAY

CERTAIN CRIMES HAVE HIGHER

PENALTIES THAN OTHERS.

BECAUSE OF THE SEVERITY OF IT.

THAT HATE CRIME -- WHICH IS WHAT

I CALL IT, I DON'T CARE HOW

ANYBODY ELSE DESCRIBES IT.

WHAT SHE DID WAS A HATE CRIME.

SHE WEAPONIZED HIS RACE, HER

RACE, AND THE POLICE WAY OF

INTERACTING WITH PARTICULARLY

BLACK MEN.

LOOK AT THE CONFLICT RIGHT NOW,

IT'S BEYOND SCARY.

WE HAVE TO STATE THAT

SPECIFICALLY.

IT'S IMPORTANT WE MAKE

STATEMENTS AND THE CRIMINAL

PENALTIES SHOULD REFLECT THAT.

THAT'S WHY I THINK THIS BILL IS

SO IMPORTANT.

>> I'M SPEAKING WITH STATE

SENATOR BRIAN BENJAMIN ABOUT A

NEW PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT

WOULD CRIMINALIZE PEOPLE MAKING

FALSE ACCUSATIONS VIA 911 IN

REGARDS TO PEOPLE, NOT ONLY

AFRICAN-AMERICANS BUT PEOPLE IN

ANY PARTICULAR CLASS.

>> ACROSS THE BOARD.

>> NOW I WANT TO GET AT THE

CRUX.

YOU TALKED SO MUCH ABOUT THIS

STORY TO UNPACK, ONE OF THEM IS

THE FACT THAT THIS IS NOT THE

PERSON WHO PERHAPS A LOT OF

PEOPLE WOULD EASILY DISMISS.

OH, YOU KNOW, THIS IS SOMEONE

FROM A DIFFERENT REGION OF THE

COUNTRY AND THEY THINK AND THEY

ACT THAT WAY.

THIS WOMAN IS A NEW YORKER.

MY POINT IS EVEN WITH THE

LEGISLATION IN PLACE F THIS IS

SOMEONE WHO IS OF A CERTAIN

ECONOMIC CLASS WHO MIGHT FEEL AS

THOUGH EVEN IF THEY DID BREAK

THE LAW -- SHE DIDN'T BREAK THE

LAW BUT SHE DIDN'T HAVE HER DOG

ON THE LEASH, THAT WAS BREAKING

PARK RULES, THAT YOU CAN STILL

GET THE LAW TO WORK FOR YOU.

YOU CAN STILL HIRE A LAWYER TO

GET YOU OUT OF THIS.

BASICALLY HOW DO YOU GET SOMEONE

TO NOT PICK UP THE PHONE AND

MAKE THAT CALL WHEN YOU FEEL

DEEP IN YOUR SOUL THAT YOU FEEL

ENTITLED TO DO SO.

>> THAT'S -- THAT'S A MILLION

DOLLAR QUESTION.

I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS --

THERE'S A REASON WHY THIS VIDEO

HAS 40 MILLION VIEWS.

THE REASON WHY IT'S GETTING SO

MUCH ATTENTION IT STRIKES AT THE

FEARS THAT ARE EMBEDDED IN OUR

SYSTEM.

YOU JUST EXPRESSED ONE.

I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO THAT

LEGISLATIVELY.

I THINK THE WAY WE HANDLE THAT

IS THROUGH OUR NORMS AND US

BEING CLEAR.

ONE REASON WHY I'M PUSHING THIS

BILL SO HARD NOW, WE NEED THIS

IN THE CONVERSATION.

IT'S NOT JUST A WHITE WOMAN FELT

NERVOUS, SHE MADE A MISTAKE.

THIS IS A CRIME.

SHE COMMITTED A CRIME.

BASED ON CRIMINAL LAW, IT'S A

THIRD DEGREE OFFENSE.

SO WHILE THE NYPD HAS CHOSEN TO

IGNORE IT, THAT'S A DIFFERENT

ISSUE, THAT DOESN'T MEAN WHAT

SHE DID ISN'T A CRIME AND WE

SHOULD FORGET THAT.

THE FACT SHE HASN'T BEEN

ARRESTED TO ME IS PART OF THE

PROBLEM.

OH, NOT A BIG DEAL.

IT WAS A VERY BIG DEAL.

IT'S THE KIND OF THING THAT IF

WE DON'T SORT OF ENFORCE THE

LAWS WE HAVE ON THEIR BOOKS NOW,

THAT HELPS TO LEAD TO THIS

CONTINUED SORT OF THOUGHT THAT

WELL, SOME PEOPLE CAN GET AWAY

WITH WHATEVER THEY WANT.

THIS IS A HATE CRIME, YOU CAN

FALSELY REPORT INCIDENTS USING

RACE AS A WOMEN, IT'S A HAT

CRHATE

CRIME AND WE NEED IT CLASSIFIED

AS SUCH.

THIS IS WHAT YOU AND I AND

EVERYONE NEEDS TO KEEP

DISCUSSING SO WE CAN MAKE SURE

SOCIETY ACTS AND DOES BETTER.

THE MORE WE HEAR FROM WHITE,

BLACK, LATINO, ASIAN, ALL OF US

THAT THIS WAS WRONG AND THIS

SHOULDN'T HAPPEN, THE MORE WE

HAVE MORE OF THAT GOING ON, THE

BETTER THE CONVERSATION WILL BE.

WE CAN'T JUST LABEL THIS AS A

TRUMP THING.

NO, THIS IS AN ALL OF US THING.

UNLESS WE LOOK CLEARLY AT

OURSELVES AND OUR PREJUDICES

ACROSS THE BOARD, WE WILL NOT BE

ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD.

>> SENATOR, AND I'M SURE -- MY

QUESTION WON'T BE ABLE TO BE

ANSWERED IN THE TWO MINUTES WE

HAVE LEFT.

ONE THING -- ONE FACTORS THAT

ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE IN NOT ONLY

THIS INCIDENT BUT IN SO MANY

OTHERS THAT WE'VE SEEN IS THAT

IT WAS VIDEOTAPED.

>> YES.

>> HAD THIS DIDN'T NOT BEEN

VIDEOTAPED, "A," NOT ONLY WOULD

WE NOT KNOW ABOUT IT, BUT "B,"

IF A LAW LIKE THIS WAS ON THE

BOOKS, HOW DO YOU PROVE IT?

>> IF A LAW LIKE THIS WAS ON THE

BOOKS AND IT WAS NOT VIDEOTAPED?

>> YES.

>> THAT BOILS DOWN TO THE

PROSECUTORS, THE DEFENSE, AND

WHATEVER EVIDENCE IS THERE.

ONE OF THE THINGS THIS CLEARLY

SHOWS IS THAT IF YOU'RE IN THE

MIDDLE OF A SITUATION LIKE THIS,

YOUR PHONE CAMERA IS YOUR BEST

FRIEND.

SOME SORT OF -- THAT'S WHY

SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE HAVE

THE RECORDINGS WHEN THEY'RE

GOING TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS.

YOU NEED PROOF, YOU NEED

EVIDENCE, OTHERWISE HE SAID/SHE

SAID THING.

IN A CASE LIKE THIS, SHE IS

GOING TO BE GIVEN THE BENEFIT OF

THE DOUBT.

THAT'S THE WHOLE THING.

SO FOR US TO SEE SOMETHING LIKE

THIS, I THINK IT'S GOING TO

TRIGGER IN PEOPLES HEADS, YOU

KNOW WHAT?

MAYBE THE WHITE WOMAN SHOULDN'T

ALWAYS BE GIVEN THE BENEFIT OF

THE DOUBT IN SITUATIONS LIKE

THIS.

WE SAW CLEARLY WHERE THAT WAS

ABUSED.

AND WE ALSO SAW THE BLACK MAN

NOT BEING CONFRONTATIONAL AND

AGGRESSIVE.

WE SAW THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF

NORMALLY WHAT THE STEREOTYPE IS

IN THIS SITUATION.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE

WORLD TO SEE THIS SO WE CAN HELP

TO REASSESS AND REJUDGE HOW WE

VIEW THESE KINDS OF MATTERS.

THAT'S PART OF IT.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT JURIES, THEY'RE

MADE UP OF HUMAN BEINGS.

>> THAT'S TRUE.

>> SO THAT'S MY THOUGHT.

IT'S A TOUGH QUESTION.

IT'S A TOUGH TOPIC, BUT WE HAVE

TO DO OUR BEST TO CREATE AS MUCH

FAIRNESS AS WE CAN.

THAT'S WHAT I'M HOPING DO WITH

THIS BILL.

>> STATE SENATOR BRIAN BENJAMIN,

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME AND

KEEP US UP TO DATE ON WHAT

BECOMES OF THE BILL.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

>>> WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS," I'M

JACK FORD.

WHEN IT COMES TO THE NEXT ROUND

OF STIMULUS RELIEF COMING OUT OF

WASHINGTON, NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN

HAKIM JEFFRIES HAS BEEN ONE OF

THE LEADING VOICES URGING

CONGRESS TO ACT AND ACT QUICKLY.

CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES AND HIS

COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE APPROVED

A $3 TRILLION PROPOSAL THAT

WOULD PROVIDE AMONG OTHER THINGS

STIMULUS CHECKS TO CITIZENS,

BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN AID TO

STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS,

AND HELP FOR RENTERS AND FOR

HOME OWNERS.

THE QUESTION NOW BECOMES WHAT

WILL THE SENATE DO WITH THIS

PROPOSAL?

IS THERE ROOM FOR NEGOTIATION

AND COMPROMISE?

IS THERE A WILLINGNESS TO

NEGOTIATE AND COMPROMISE?

IF SO, WHEN?

WHAT MIGHT THE FINAL PRODUCT

LOOK LIKE.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE

CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES JOINING US

NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS AND SO

MANY OTHER THINGS.

HE REPRESENTS NEW YORK'S 8th

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT AND HE'S

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE

DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS.

CONGRESSMAN, ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE

YOU HERE WITH US.

I HOPE YOU ARE WELL.

>> GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

>> LET ME START OFF WITH THE

PROPOSAL THAT CAME OUT OF THE

HOUSE, A $3 TRILLION PROPOSAL

WITH A VARIETY OF ASPECTS TO IT.

CAN YOU GIVE US AN UPDATE ON THE

STATUS OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH

MEMBERS OF THE SENATE ABOUT THIS

PROPOSAL?

>> THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY

CRISIS WE FIND OURSELVES IN.

A PANDEMIC OF EPIC PROPORTIONS,

A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS AND AN

ECONOMIC CRISIS THAT HAS

INFLICTED PAIN, SUFFERING AND

DEATH IN NEW YORK CITY AND

THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

MORE THAN 100,000 AMERICANS

DEAD.

OVER 40 MILLION OR SO

UNEMPLOYED.

THE ECONOMY IN DEEP

DEPRESSION-LIKE CONDITIONS.

THE HOUSE ACTED WITH THE URGENCY

OF NOW.

THE SENATE IS ON VACATION THIS

WEEK.

THE PRESIDENT IS FOCUSED ON

OTHER THINGS.

THAT'S PROBLEMATIC.

IT'S OUR VIEW WE NEED TO COME

TOGETHER NOT AS DEMOCRATS OR

REPUBLICANS BUT AS AMERICANS TO

ADDRESS THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT.

AND THE HEROES ACT WILL PROVIDE

RELIEF TO EVERY-DAY AMERICANS,

SUPPORT OUR FIRST RESPONDERS,

AND INTERVENE IN A WAY THAT WILL

HELP US DEFEAT COVID-19 PANDEMIC

THROUGH TESTING, TRACING AND

TREATMENT.

SO IT'S MY HOPE THAT WHEN THE

SENATE GETS BACK INTO SESSION IN

JUNE, THEY WILL HAVE IN GOOD

FAITH TRY TO FIND COMMON GROUND

WITH HOUSE DEMOCRATS SO WE CAN

GET SOMETHING DONE ON BEHALF OF

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

>> SOME REPUBLICANS HAVE

INDICATED THERE'S A RELUCTANCE

TO ESSENTIALLY SPEND MORE MONEY

AND ADD TO THE NATIONAL DEBT.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM AND

TO OTHERS WHO MIGHT NOT BE

REPUBLICANS, WHO MIGHT SAY, YES,

THIS IS A TERRIBLE NATIONAL

TRAGEDY.

IT'S A HORRIBLE NATIONAL CRISIS,

HOWEVER WE STILL NEED TO BE

COGNIZANT OF SPENDING MONEY WE

DON'T HAVE RIGHT NOW.

SUGGESTING THAT ADDING TO A

NATIONAL DEBT THAT IS HOVERING

SOMEWHERE AROUND $25 TRILLION

RIGHT NOW WOULD CREATE AN UNDUE

BURDEN ON FUTURE GENERATIONS.

HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

>> CHAIRMAN JEROME POWELL OF THE

FEDERAL RESERVE HAS MADE CLEAR

THAT CONGRESS NEEDS TO ACT, WE

NEED TO ACT IN A BOLD WAY, AND

WE NEED TO MEET THE MOMENT WITH

THE MAGNITUDE OF OUR RESPONSE.

CHAIRMAN POWELL HAS ALSO

INDICATED THAT GIVEN THE

INCREDIBLY LOW INTEREST RATES

THAT NOW IS THE TIME FOR

CONGRESS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT

ENSURING THAT WE PROVIDE THE

RELIEF TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

WITHOUT BEING OVERLY TIED TO

FISCAL CONCERNS AT THIS

PARTICULAR MOMENT.

THE ENTIRE WORLD IS FACED WITH A

SIMILAR SITUATION.

THE WORLD IS ACTING, AMERICA

MUST ACT AS WELL.

THE OTHER THING, JACK, THAT I

POINT OUT, IT'S QUITE RICH FOR

MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TO NOW

TALK ABOUT FISCAL CONCERNS WHEN

THE FIRST THING THEY DID IN

2017, WHEN THEY CONTROLLED THE

HOUSE, THE SENATE AND THE

PRESIDENCY WAS TO PASS A $2

TRILLION TAX SCAM WHERE 83% OF

THE BENEFITS WENT TO THE

WEALTHIEST 1%.

SADDLING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

WITH $2 TRILLION WORTH OF DEBT

FOR NO REASON AT ALL.

IT WAS THE LARGEST GIVEAWAY IN

AMERICAN HISTORY.

NOW YOU HAVE AMERICANS DYING

ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND THEY WANT

TO LECTURE US ABOUT FISCAL

RESTRAINT?

IT'S A PHONY ARGUMENT AND ONE WE

DON'T TAKE SERIOUSLY.

>> AS YOU KNOW, WE LIVE IN A

HYPER PARTISAN TIME.

NOT JUST IN WASHINGTON BUT

ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

YOU HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE -- ONE

OF THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHO

BEGINNING OF EACH TERM HAS SAID

IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO REACH

ACROSS AISLES, TO RECOGNIZE THE

NOTION THAT A REPRESENTATIVE,

TWO-PARTY DEMOCRACY CAN ONLY

SUCCEED THROUGH COMPROMISE AND

NEGOTIATION.

YOU HAD SUCCESS IN AREAS OF

CRIMINAL JUSTICE DOING JUST

THAT.

UNDERSTANDING THAT BACK DROP AND

WHERE WE ARE NOW IN TERMS OF OUR

HYPERPARTISANSHIP, ARE YOU

OPTIMISTIC THAT WHEN ALL IS SAID

AND DONE HERE THAT LITERALLY

THERE WILL BE A NEW PACKAGE

COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON THAT

WILL PROVIDE SOME OF THE SUPPORT

AND ASPECTS OF WHAT HAS BEEN

APPROVED SO FAR BY THE HOUSE?

>> I'M ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENT THAT

WE WILL BE ABLE TO FIND COMMON

GROUND WITH MY COLLEAGUES ON THE

OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE AND

SENATE REPUBLICANS AS WE HAVE

DONE IN THE PAST ON A WIDE

VARIETY OF ISSUES, INCLUDING

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND THE

RENEGOTIATED U.S. MEXICO CANADA

TRADE AGREEMENT THAT WAS SIGNED

INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IN

DECEMBER.

EVERY SINGLE STEP THAT CONGRESS

HAS TAKEN DURING THIS PANDEMIC

HAS BEEN BIPARTISAN.

WE PASSED FOUR BILLS WITH

DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT AND

REPUBLICAN SUPPORT SIGNED INTO

LAW BY TRUMP.

WE BELIEVE AT THIS MOMENT IT'S

NECESSARY FOR THE HEROES ACT TO

MOVE FORWARD AND THAT IS WHY WE

PASSED IT IN THE HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES.

I'M HOPEFUL, YOU'RE STARTING TO

SEE MANY OF THE REPUBLICAN

SENATORS BEGIN TO PUBLICLY

EXPRESS THE POSITION THAT GIVEN

THE RISING UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS,

GIVING THE RISING DEATH RATE,

GIVEN THE TROUBLING FIGURES

CONNECTED TO THE ECONOMY WE NEED

TO ACT AND ACT DECISIVELY AND

HOPEFULLY WE'LL CONTINUE TO FIND

THAT COMMON GROUND.

>> AGAIN, SPEAKING WITH NEW YORK

CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

H

HAKEEM JEFFRIES, REPRESENTING

THE 8th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

AND REPRESENTING THE HOUSE

DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS ABOUT WHAT'S

GOING ON IN WASHINGTON.

ONE LAST QUESTION ABOUT THE

PROPOSAL AND THEN A COUPLE OTHER

THINGS I WANT TO CHAT ABOUT.

AN ISSUE RAISED COMING OUT OF

THE SENATE IS THE IDEA OF

PROVIDING LIABILITY PROTECTION

FOR BUSINESSES THAT REOPEN.

EVERYONE IS SAYING WE NEED TO

GET BUSINESS GOING AGAIN.

BUSINESSES REOPENED, ESPECIALLY

SMALL BUSINESSES THAT ARE SO

MUCH IN DANGER OF DISAPPEARING.

A CONCERN BY MANY OF THOSE

BUSINESSES IS WAIT A MINUTE, IF

I OPEN UP HERE, I CAN'T BE

RESPONSIBLE FOR SOMEBODY WHO

WALKS IN TO MY DELI AND

SUBSEQUENTLY GETS,

UNFORTUNATELY, COVID-19 AND IS

GOING TO SUE ME AND WE KNOW

THOSE TYPES OF LAWSUITS ARE

POSSIBLE OUT THERE.

WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON PROVIDING

SOME SORT OF PROTECTION AS A

CONSEQUENCE OF THE NEXT BILL

COMING OUT OF CONGRESS TO

PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR THESE

FOLKS?

>> IT'S IMPORTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE

WHAT'S IN THE HEROES ACT AS A

FOUNDATION FOR GETTING THE

ECONOMY RESTARTED CORRECTLY.

WHICH INCLUDES RESOURCES FOR

TESTING, TRACING AND TO MAKE

SURE EVERY AMERICAN AFFLICTED

WITH COVID-19 WITH RECEIVE HIGH

QUALITY TREATMENT.

WE ALSO HAVE TO PROVIDE RELIEF

TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BY

ANOTHER ROUND OF DIRECT STIMULUS

CHECKS GIVEN THE ECONOMIC PAIN

THAT PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING AND

THAT'S WHAT THE HEROES ACT WILL

DO.

THE 8$875 BILLION THAT WE

ALLOCATED TO SUPPORT STATE AND

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IS TO SUPPORT

PLA

POLICE OFFICERS, FIREFIGHTERS,

TRANSIT WORKERS, SANITATION

EMPLOYEES AND THOSE WHO HELP

KEEP OUR CITIES, TOWNS AND

COUNTIES RUNNING EVEN IN THE

MIDST OF A PANDEMIC.

THESE ARE CRITICAL THINGS THAT

ARE THE FOUNDATION OF THE HEROES

ACT ALONG WITH 1$175 BILLION TO

MAKE SURE THAT TENANTS AND

HOMEOWNERS CAN STAY IN THEIR

APARTMENTS OR HOMES.

THAT SAID, IT'S APPROPRIATE FOR

US TO LOOK AT THE THINGS THAT

CONGRESS DID IN THE AFTERMATH OF

SEPTEMBER 11th TO DEAL WITH THAT

TYPE OF TRAGEDY IN THE CONTEXT

OF ENSURING THAT THE AMERICAN

PEOPLE RECEIVED FAIR, ROBUST AND

JUST COMPENSATION WHEN THEY ARE

WRONGED, OR HURT OR KILLED.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME NOT

OVERWHELMING THE SYSTEM BECAUSE

OF THE NATURE OF THE

CATASTROPHIC EVENT LIKE WHAT

HAPPENED IN 9/11 AND WHAT IS

OCCURRING IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS

PANDEMIC.

SO WHAT CONGRESS DID WAS CREATE

A VICTIM'S COMPENSATION FUND IN

THE AFTERMATH OF SEPTEMBER 11th.

CONGRESS ALSO CREATED A FUND TO

PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR FIRST

RESPONDERS WHO WERE AFFLICTED

WITH ILLNESS AND CANCER AS A

RESULT OF WORK THAT WAS DONE IN

THE AFTERMATH OF SEPTEMBER 11th,

AND CONGRESS CREATED A TERRORISM

RISK INSURANCE PROGRAM.

SO THOSE ARE THREE MODELS THAT

CAN PERHAPS BE LOOKED AT AS

CHAIRMAN JERRY NADLER OF THE

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE INDICATED IN

THE CONTEXT OF WHAT WE MIGHT DO

HERE.

WE CANNOT PROVIDE BLANKET

IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY WHICH

WILL JUST INCENTIVIZE SOME BAD

ACTORS NOT TO DO THE RIGHT

THING, FOLLOW THE PUBLIC HEALTH

PROTOCOLS AND ENDANGER THE

AMERICAN PEOPLE.

>> LET ME BRING YOU BACK LOCALLY

FOR A MOMENT.

ONE OF THE IDEAS YOU'VE BEEN

CHAMPIONING IS IN LINE WITH THE

CONCEPT OF HAVING TO GET TESTING

DONE AND MAKE IT AVAILABLE FOR

PEOPLE.

THE IDEA OF TESTING BEING MADE

AVAILABLE IN CHURCHES.

HOW HAS THAT BEEN WORKING?

>> WE INITIALLY IDENTIFIED IN

PARTNERSHIP WITH GOVERNOR CUOMO

APPROXIMATELY 25 OR SO CHURCHES

THROUGHOUT THE FIVE BOROUGHS

THAT COULD SERVE AS NEIGHBORHOOD

LOCATIONS FOR CORONAVIRUS

TESTING.

SO THAT OUR HOSPITALS AND

CLINICS WEREN'T OVERWHELMED AND

THAT PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT FEEL

COMFORTABLE GOING TO A HOSPITAL

IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC CAN

STILL ASCERTAIN THEIR STATUS IN

ORDER TO TAKE THE APPROPRIATE

STEPS OR RECEIVE TREATMENT IF

NECESSARY.

SO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN

NEIGHBORHOODS LIKE EAST NEW YORK

AND BEDFORD-STUYVESANT AND IN

QUEENS HAVE BEEN TESTED AS A

RESULT OF THIS UNIQUE

PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE STATE,

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION AND

HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND I KNOW

GOVERNOR CUOMO IS LOOKING TO

SCALE IT UP EVEN FURTHER BECAUSE

WHAT THE DATA HAS SHOWN US IS IN

COMMUNITIES OF COLOR THAT ARE

LOW INCOME OF NATURE YOU HAVE

HIGHER RATES OF INFECTION.

AND WE NEED TO LET THE DATA

DRIVE THE RESOURCES.

SO UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAS TAKEN

PLACE WILL BE IMPORTANT BY

PROVIDING ACCESS TO THIS

COMMUNITY-BASED TESTING IN

CHURCHES.

>> CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES, ONCE

AGAIN, IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO

HAVE YOU WITH US TO SHARE SOME

OF YOUR THOUGHTS.

THERE'S SO MUCH MORE GOING ON

OUT THERE, SO MUCH MORE I WANTED

TO TALK WITH YOU ABOUT.

MY HOPE IS WE'LL GET YOU TO COME

BACK AND JOIN US AND CONTINUE

OUR CONVERSATIONS SOMETIMES.

THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU ARE

DOING AND ALL THAT EVERYBODY IS

DOING DOWN IN WASHINGTON TO

PROVIDE THIS ASSISTANCE THAT IS

SO DESPERATELY NEEDED.

AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING

TO YOU AGAIN REAL SOON.

YOU BE WELL.

>> LOOK FORWARD TO IT.

THANK YOU.

>> FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR

COMMUNITY VISIT US ON

METROFOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK AND

TWITTER.

GOOD NIGHT AND STAY SAFE.

>>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE

POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL

TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM

III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B.

POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO

FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND

IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

AND BY --

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY

JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND

EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA

A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE

SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND

BY --


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