Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, claimed during an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” with Margaret Brennan on Sunday that Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social spending bill is a “zero-dollar bill because it’s going to be completely paid for with taxes on the wealthiest and the largest corporations.”
When asked by Brennan if the $3.5 trillion bill could be cut down in size, Jayapal responded, “Well, let’s talk about what people want, and then let’s come to the number from that.”
“It’s not just a random number,” Jayapal claimed. “So, if somebody wants less than $3.5 trillion, tell us what you want to cut? Do you want to cut the child care? Do you want to cut paid leave? What is it you want to cut, and then let’s figure it out from there.”
Jayapal continued, “But President Biden also said something very important the other day, which is, this is a zero-dollar bill because it’s going to be completely paid for with taxes on the wealthiest and the largest corporations.”
Brennan noted that high earners and corporations will see an increase in taxes if the bill is passed, adding, “So, it’s not no cost.”
MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: And he argued Democrats were the ones to walk away. We’re going to check in on that conversation next week. Again, I want to get on the business right ahead of you.
Democrats control the White House, the Senate, the House, slim majority, as you know. President Biden said to reporters on Friday that he told progressives and moderates who met with him this week that they need to focus less on the number and more on their priorities.
Speaker Pelosi said today that it is self-evident this bill will not be $3.5 trillion. Have you agreed to compromise and give up some of your requests?
JAYAPAL: Yeah, you know, what we’ve said is we are happy to hear what it is that somebody wants to cut. So far, we have not seen any negotiation back from the Senate. And we understand, Margaret, that we’ve got to get every Democrat on board in the House and the Senate. We don’t have the margins to do anything except that.
So we’ve put out our vision, and I think the key thing is not the top-line number, it’s, what is it that you actually want to fund? Because if you want child care, if you want paid leave, if you want to take on climate change, if you want to repair housing in this country, if you want to make sure people have health care, there’s going to be a price tag that goes with it. So —
BRENNAN: So it will be less than $3.5 trillion, as the speaker suggested?
JAYAPAL: Well, let’s talk about what people want, and then let’s come to the number from that. It’s not just a random number. So if somebody wants less than $3.5 trillion, tell us what you want to cut? Do you want to cut the child care? Do you want to cut paid leave? What is it you want to cut, and then let’s figure it out from there.
But President Biden also said something very important the other day, which is, this is a zero-dollar bill because it’s going to be completely paid for with taxes on the wealthiest and the largest corporations.
BRENNAN: The joint committee on taxation says actually that, in raising this revenue, taxes could go up at least 2 percent on those making between $200,000 and $500,000 a year. It also will raise taxes for corporations and those who are wealthier. So it’s not no cost.
JAYAPAL: Well, what the president has said is, people making under 400,000 will not pay more. We will make sure of that in the package that we put together.
But we do want people who are making billions through the profits, not reporting their taxes, not being held accountable by the IRS to pay their fair share. That’s really all it is.
BRENNAN: When it comes to the things that you have to prioritize, what about free community college? The president threw that out as an example and mentioned means testing.
BRENNAN: Adjusting for cost of living and things like that. Are you open to that?
JAYAPAL: We’re open to whatever negotiation is out there. But on means testing, we saw what happened when we put in tons of barriers in the rental assistant program. People didn’t get it. If you have a 25-page document that somebody has to go through to figure out whether or not they qualify, the most vulnerable are not going to get the assistance they need.
So I think we should be universal in our programs, make sure people get the benefits immediately and make it as easy as possible to get this assistance out to the people who need it the most.
BRENNAN: I do want to ask you about immigration.
Homeland Security said 4,000 Haitians have been forcibly expelled back to their home country. Others, some of them, will be appearing before a judge.
Are you satisfied, though, with how the administration is handling this crisis and the fact that they are keeping the same pandemic-era regulations as the Trump administration?
JAYAPAL: I am not. I think we have a responsibility to be humane and compassionate, and create alternatives, pathways for people to be able to get here who are struggling. Sending people back to a country that has been torn apart, where there is no food, no water, no opportunity is not the way to handle this. So, I’m looking for the administration to come out with humane pathways and alternatives in those countries to be able to get people here quickly and to be able to make sure that we are upholding our values as a country.
BRENNAN: Congresswoman, good luck in the week ahead. We’ll be watching the negotiations. Thank you for your time today.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Margaret.
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