tv Rep. Karen Bass on Police Reform Efforts CSPAN July 16, 2020 11:55pm-12:58am EDT
bust of chief justice roger b. tawney, the author of the 1857 dred scott ruling from the old supreme court chamber. and to address the issue of confederate statues on display in the u.s. capitol. the senate also convenes on monday to resume debate on the nomination of russell vogt to be director of the office of management and budget. and for the remainder of the week, the senate continues work on the annual $740.5 billion 2021 defense authorization act. watch live coverage of the house on c-span, live coverage of the senate, on c-span2 and watch any time on c-spa.org or listen on the go with the free -span radio app. next, congressional black caucus chair representative karen bass talks about police reform efforts in a virtual discussion with the national press club. national press club.
>> welcome to the national press club. i am lisa matthews. vice president of the club and associated press u.s. video assignment manager. the killing of george floyd by police in minneapolis on may 25 convulsed the nation in black lives matter protests and renewed an urgent outcry for police reform. at the same time, our nation has struggled to contain the coronavirus, which has struck communities of color disproportionately. today, we welcome congressional black caucus chair, representative karen bass, a democrat from california. she has devoted her decade in congress to issues of crimin al justice and disparities in health care. representative bass chairs the judiciary committee subcommittee on crime and was passed by house speaker nancy pelosi and judiciary chair jerry nadler, shepherding the george floyd
justice in policing act, through the legislative process. the act, which passe d the house in late june, bans chokeholds and no knock warrants, as well as lowering the legal barriers for bringing civil and criminal charges against police for misconduct. a police reform bill offered by republican senator tim scott has stalled in the senate after democrats complained it did not do enough to curb police abuses and lacked key components includ ing an end to qualified immunity for police. senator scott and representative bass have tried to negotiate a compromise. it is something representative bass can claim is a bit of a specialty. prior to congress in 2010, representative bass served in the california state assembly. where in 2008, she became the first ever black woman in u.s.
history to serve as speaker of any state legislature. under her leadership, republicans and democrats in the assembly came together to address california's crisis. bass and three colleagues, another democrat and t wo republicans, were awarded a john f. kennedy profile in courage award in 2010. the judges recognize the the courage for standing up to the party pressure they faced. now, political pundits are buzzingabout -- are about representative bass as a possible running mate for joe biden. before we ask representative bass about h er position on vice president biden's shortlist, let me take a moment to thank the organizers for the event. today's headline coordinator, and theer, club member
club executive director, bill mccarron. following representative bass's opening statement, we accept questions from the audience. i will take as many questions as time permits. to submit a question, please send via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. now, i will turn the screen over to representative karen bass. thank you for joining us. rep. bass thank you so much for having me here. good afternoon to everyone. it is an honor to appear before you and an honor to meet you virtually. i will say that i do hope in the future that i can appear before the club in person. we are really in an historic moment. i think back to a couple of months ago when the world witnessed the brutal murder of george floyd. we sat there and we could see it take place over almost nine minutes.
to me, that represented a profound difference in any video we have seen before. we saw protests in 50 states around the country. we saw people protesting of every race and nationality, every gender out there. we saw people protesting in countries around the world and, on the african continent, all 54 countries came together and essentially leveled the protest at the united nations, about racism in the united states. we are in a moment now that i believe has developed into a movement that started with police brutality and has now up,n an even bigger issue systemic racism. i think back to the civil rights movement. jim crow had been going on for over 100 years in the south. the brutality that had taken place in the south had been going on for years.
camerasot until the tv went down to the south, pictures there,ken, the media was and reports were given about what was happening in the south. that really raised the consciousness of people not just in the united states but around the world and one of the outcomes was civil rights legislation. i feel like we are in one of those moments again. prior to george floyd, pulling would be taken -- polling would a murder wasy time taken place. and the pulling was always the same. i will make up the numbers to make a point. 70% of white people who were polled would say there is no systemic problem with policing. one problem, one example. 70% of african-americans would say, there is a systemic problem with policing in the united states. now, the polls reflect a united
view. 70% of americans are saying that there is a deep problem here, and it is a problem we need to address. to me, this presents a real opportunity. that was the basis in which the george floyd justice and policing act was conceived, put together, and passed. it was no small matter that every democrat voted for the bill. i believe prior to what we saw happen, we would not even have had all of the democratic support. we even had the votes of three republicans. that was no small matter. if you remember, the president tweeted a couple of days before, and he called for all republicans to oppose the bill. everybody here knows when that happens, he usually gets his way because my republican colleagues are concerned about him tweeting or attacking them and they line up. in the process of putting the bill together, the hearings we
had, any number of my republican colleagues approached me and said, you know, i cannot be in 100% favor of this bill. but i do recognize there is an issue. we need to talk about this. the substance of the bill actually reflected bills that members of the congressional black caucus worked on for many years. this is the 49th year of the congressional black caucus. in the very beginning of the history, members introduce legislation to address police abuse. this is a long-standing issue in our community. when i went to george floyd's service and looked up and saw the year he was born, 1973, that was the year i first became active on this issue in los angeles. i joined an organization, the coalition against police abuse, in 1973.
we had terrible problems in our city led to numerous losses. chief who wasce very difficult. out of step. african-americans were being killed by chokeholds in large numbers. he had a press conference and he told los angeles in the press conference that the reason why black people die from chokeholds was because our veins were different than white people, and our veins did not open up as rapidly. that is what we were dealing with 47 years ago. i thought after the rodney king beating, when it was on video, i said, finally, everything will change now, because it is on video. we had been crying out about these problems for years, but nobody believed us. every time someone was killed, it was always said, well, they assaulted a police officer, the officer was in fear for his life. and that is why it happened. we thought with rodney king, the
world would see and those officers would be convicted. we know what happened. and theward a few years cell phone camera is invented. now i thought, ok, there are a lot of videos. every time before george floyd, people would say, we really do not know what happened before the video started. the officer said he was in fear for his life. and we do not know who michael brown was. michael brown was ferguson. garner, -- and eric garner, well, you know he was , doing something wrong, as though, even if he was committing a crime, when do you execute people? what happened to innocent until proven guilty? what happened to arresting someone and putting them on trial? i think that george floyd was just so egregious, no one could really argue. you did not need to know what happened before the video. you watched him being murdered
over eight minutes and 46 seconds. you saw that he was completely subdued. i think that really led to people saying, we cannot debate this one this time. so the movement has raised other issues. it raised the issue of systemic racism. it is leading to us looking at our history with the movement around the statues. i certainly do not agree with the violence that has taken place, the looting that has taken place in the protests, but we all know now that protests happen everyday and the incidence of violence now, if you add the length of time of the protests, there have been a -- there have been few examples. the statues i would like to see , them come down. but i think there is a way for them to come down, as opposed to vandalizing the statues. but the point is that, what started with a killing of george floyd has now led to bigger
questions in our country, like systemic racism, and questioning very specific systems. the education system, the criminal justice system, which i'm happy to say there is a lot of bipartisan support for and i will introduce a bill related to the criminal justice system and women next week. if you look at the health care system and prior to george floyd's murder, as chair of the congressional black caucus, i was focused 100% on the disproportionate death rate of african-americans and because of covid. we could have a whole discussion about covid and how it is being handled and the fact there are 138,000 americans that died in the last few months. in my opinion, a president who does not seem to be moved by it -- moved by it at all. in fact, wants us to congratulate him that there are not more americans. and we do not know what the breakdown of those 138,000
americans are. the congressional black caucus introduced legislation to tell the cdc they need to give us the demographics, but now the administration does not even want the cdc to have the information. you should know, the congressional black caucus works lockstep with the hispanic caucus, the asian-pacific islander caucus, know we have two native american women in congress and we all work , together and are in lockstep because these issues do not just impact black americans. they impact latinos, asian-pacific islanders even a , disproportionate death rate has impacted all of our communities in disproportionate ways. so we work together. coming back to policing, you can -- you did detail what the bill was about in terms of the accountability measures, the transparency measures. i want to add there are two parts of the bill, one on
transparency and accountability where we are uplifting the police. why is it that your hairdresser has national standards, national accreditation, but your police department does not? when we met with the paternal order of police, they were excited by that part of the bill and they feel it actually helps them because they have been fighting for national standards for a longtation time, but they have to fight on a retail basis. there are 18,000 police departments around the country. us passing the george floyd act and hopefully getting it on the president's desk will allow national standards to then take place around the country that will help the order of the police. one other piece i would like to talk about is the grants we provide to communities so they can re-envision policing. i think that addressed a lot of what the protesters are talking about when they are raising a -- raising the question about
how we are spending money in our communities. i prefer to talk about refunding of communities to address community-based problems like substance abuse and homelessness. police officers should not have to pick up the pieces because we have divested from cities. i think we are at a moment in our country, and inflection point, and it is my responsibility and the responsibilities of other members of congress to take advantage of this point. i hope the protests continue peacefully until we get the job done. let me thank you very much for the honor of addressing you today. >> thank you so much. so much to unpack, representative bass. i would like to start with -- could you go into a little more about the transparency portion of the bill and specifically, how that might appeal to the folks with black lives matter? rep. bass: sure.
first of all, one of the things we absolutely knee -- we absolutely need to have is a national registry of police officers. if you think of to mere rights, and i will remind you, he was a 12-year-old child killed within seconds after the police officer jumped out of his car and killed him. that police officer had been fired from a nearby department and had been fired because he was viewed as unstable, with a propensity for violence. and he lied and did not acknowledge that he had been fired. we think there should be a registry for officers like that. i do not think there is any inice chief anyway -- chief the country who willingly hire somebody that was known to be unstable and violent. that is an example. but i think, very significantly, the idea of community-based organizations, not law enforcement can apply for
, grants. in a city, they can say, why don't we all come together across sectors? why don't we look at what we need to keep our communities safe? what are parts of the community that are not safe and why? how should we look at our city budget? how should we prioritize? in my city of los angeles, the mayor decided to shift funds to address some of the problems in the community that are not directly law enforcement. in los angeles, we have a jail we call the twin towers. we say it is the nation's most expensive mental institution. what we have done over the years is we have systematically taken funding away from the safety net and supportive services, and we started criminalizing health problems. mental illness should not be criminalized. years ago, we had mental institutions. people decided those are barbaric and we should not have
those anymore. we made a commitment as a society that we were going to build community-based institutions, and we reneged on the commitment. we never did that. that is obviously not the only reason people are homeless, but it is a contributing factor to the homeless situation. it should not be that a person with mental illness deteriorate to the point where they become violent. we should be sure they have the proper treatment and medication and whatever else they need so they do not reach the point of violence. i am not trying to say that you can send in social worker to deal with a hostage situation. there are obviously times when you need police officers. but you do not need police officers to be marriage counselors. you do not need police officers if you took care of the problem on the front end. that is a little bit about transparency and community. >> ok. i'm curious to know more about
how you are working with senator tim scott. your negotiations on the police reform matter. can you give us a little insight into those discussions and what the next steps might be? rep. bass: and let me correct something. senator scott and i are not negotiating. we have talked. we came into congress together. a member of the house before he was in the senate. there are no formal negotiations going on. i am always willing and interested to talk to the senator. i look forward to that again when i get back next week, but we essentially had a cordial meeting when we talked about the issue globally. i have been having a number of conversations with my colleagues in the house. there are republican colleagues that came up to me in the courts -- in the course of conversations. we have been having
conversations. they have talked about parts of the bill they feel good about, parts of the bill they have angst about, and they are presenting different ideas. i am always willing to talk to whoever is interested in having a conversation but understand , that my primary focus is trying to put the pressure on the senate to vote on the george floyd justice and policing act. that is the primary focus right now. we will see what happens. i am not pessimistic. i am optimistic. anytime republican colleagues come up and say, there are parts of the bill that we like -- i will tell you something that i thought was funny. during the hearing, during the voting in committee on the floor, my republican colleagues talked about everything under the sun but the bill. they talked about everything. to me, i viewed that as, maybe there is an opportunity. i am use to, especially where my
republican colleagues tear apart the bill because they disagreed with it top to bottom. instead, they express interest and support for different parts of the bill, but i cannot vote and z.for x, y it would be an overstatement to say i am negotiating with the senate. senator harris and senator booker have the george floyd justice and policing act in the senate, and i know they are working with their colleagues. >> thank you for the clarification. we will remember you are in conversation with some colleagues. do you see senator scott's bill as a sincere effort or something else entirely? rep. bass: i saw his bill as a sincere effort, absolutely.
when i did talk to him -- and you heard his public statement -- he is a black man in america and he understands the issue. he can recount the numerous times he has been stopped. i know you are well aware of this. this is not just an issue for black men. black women have the issue as well. we have conversations with our girls the same way we have conversations with our boys. this is a legacy issue for us from the time we arrived in this continent. >> how would you propose to prepare the breach that is so apparent between the police and the black community, or communities of color in general? rep. bass: i have very specific ways of approaching it. prior to being an elected official, 30 years ago, in 1990, i started a community-based organization in the heart of south central los angeles at the
height of the crack cocaine crips and blood crisis going on. that year, we had 1000 homicides in los angeles. i was so concerned about the issue because what i saw happening was, my background is in health care. i saw us criminalize addiction. crack cocaine was a health issue. and then it was an economic issue because all of the factories closed, industries were leaving the area, nothing was replacing those jobs. i will never forget newsweek magazine calling crack cocaine an equal opportunity employer. i saw crack as a health and economic issue that we refused to address and we criminalized it. i was on the ground doing the grassroots organizing trying to get my city and the same police
chief i was talking about -- i mentioned him in 1973. we were still dealing with him in 1990. his solution to the problem was he started a program called operation hammer. what operation hammer was, every weekend, they would just do mass arrests of black and latino youth. to me, that was not the way to deal with the problem. at the time, i was a full-time member of the faculty at the university of southern california medical school. i walked away from that and started an organization to try and come up with community-based solutions to address crime that did not involve criminalization. we were fighting against three draconiand all of the ballot propositions happening in california. what we started doing is we started organizing the neighborhood. we started working with the active and former gang members. we brought everybody to the table. we talked about the fact that we
wanted to keep the neighborhood safe without everybody going to jail. we had separate meetings with the police and worked with police officers until we found officers that did not have the warrior mentality of, we are here on south central and we feel like it is baghdadi, so we went to kick butt, as they would say, and we found officers in, how do we prevent crime? how do we prevent it from happening? there are a lot of examples around the country of community based policing, of community safety patrols. in los angeles, i think maybe yesterday, they were talking about when the mayor shifted the money away from the police department, part of where he is shifting it to his programs -- is programs that do this
type of work. we are working with gang members, started working with young people, to divert them away from gang involvement. my idea was, can i get a young person in middle school or high school interested in politics? can i get them interested in fighting to improve the condition of school? is that a way to capture that adolescent energy into productive activism? i will tell you -- that was 30 years ago. some of those young people are still there. they are in their 40's now. they went away to college, came back and are now running the organization. that is one example. communities around the country are dealing with this issue. something else i want to address, because this is often confused. people will say, black people seem to be very concerned about homicide or murder if it is done by a police officer, but they do not seem to be concerned when it is done by another black person.
that is just so not true. what that mentality represents is the basic ignorance of what happens in our communities. there are people who work day in and day out to try and address the violence not associated with policing. but these organizations and people are never given the resources in a way to address these issues on scale, and they are never given the resources in a sustained manner. we will throw money for four or five years, the homicide rate will go down and then we will say the problem was solved and then we will cut the funding. and when the problem comes back, we will see the program did not work. it is a catch 22 we put communities in. part of the notion of looking at how we fund these issues really raises these kinds of questions. why don't we make a commitment as a country to address the issues in a comprehensive and sustained manner?
>> police reform is at the top of your agenda. you mentioned health care as being something you are passionate about. talk about coronavirus and the impact it is having on your home state of california. what went wrong? rep. bass: i will tell you that i am not sure what went wrong. i say that because the leadership in our state, city, aggressivewere very from the beginning and did what they are supposed to do. california is a diverse state. 40 million people. so there are parts of california, for example, one hour away from los angeles is orange county. in orange county, they decided to reopen the schools without social distancing, without masks. so there are parts in our state that did that. i cannot tell you because i do not think the analysis has been done yet.
i do not know if it was -- if those factors were contributing to the upsurge we had, but it shows you how difficult the virus is. it is also -- when the history is written on this a couple of ofrs from now, the lack leadership -- it is just malpractice -- the lack of leadership from the top. and now, we have a leader who basically decided to adopt magical thinking, and he will just wish it away. he is just going to say -- the reason why we have so many cases is because we test. it is ludicrous and embarrassing. it is embarrassing to us on the world stage. with a health background a foreign policy background, i remember when the obama administration faced ebola. ebola could have been a pandemic. ebola was concentrated in three countries in africa. it could have spread throughout
all 54 countries. what did president obama do? he galvanized the entire world. we had the stature and the standing in the world at the time. the obama/biden administration brought all of the countries together, and they were able to contain ebola in three countries. two people died in the united states. i think if we had had a real leader who could lead domestically and internationally, maybe we would have worked with the chinese, maybe we would have galvanized the world to say, this is a potential pandemic and we have to stop it. i am not saying it would not have spread. one thing i believe deeply, there is no way in the world that 138,000 americans should be dead today if we had had better leadership that went after this aggressively, that understood it, and now, we are bearing the
brunt of this because of the lack of leadership. now, we are in another upsurge. they have politicized it. oure people who wear masks sellouts. if i went my constitutional freedom, i should have the right to die and to kill other people. it is embarrassing. saidpresentative bass, you leadership quite a bit. s, maybe?ident bas rep. bass: you know, i don't know. i would tell you with those questions will have to be referred to the campaign. >> can you share with us where you are in the vetting process? rep. bass no. i have nothing to say. sayy four years, we always this is the most important
election of your lifetime. i believe because of covid, this election is a matter of life and death. if we do not have the leadership to bring this under control -- the craziness of we have to rush , to open up the economy. everyone wants to do that. i would like to be in front of the national press club right now. i would love to go to a restaurant or visit friends. >> we would love to have you. rep. bass: thinking. you cannot just deny things and expect it to get better. how on earth you expect the economy to get back if you cannot contain the virus? and what i believe the administration is doing without acknowledging, is really adopting a strategy of herd immunity, which means everyone needs to be exposed and we need to recognize that people will die, and i heard the president say this and it hurt my heart, he said the people who are dying are older with a lot of health
problems. i was involved in the medical field when aids was first discovered. as a matter of fact, we knew this ammonia was affecting gay men and we did not know what to call it. i was working in the emergency room when we do not have protective gear. we did not even draw blood with gloves. we were not even trained to do that. i have complete empathy for those health-care workers because we were afraid every single day. if you got a pinprick or anything, we never knew whether or not we were exposing ourselves. i watched people die because of hiv. when i see a workers, it throws me back to that time. we were able to get a hold of it. it took years before we have a cocktail and before we managed hiv. to this day, we do not have a vaccine. -- i hope figure out,
we get a vaccine, but what if we don't? you cannot deny this and say we know we are going to lose some people, and we will have to deal with that, but we need the economy to come back. it is utter madness. frankly, the world is looking at us. there are some places we cannot go to as americans should -- as americans. >> i also want to ask and we are getting quite a few questions in from people who are watching this online shared excuse me when i -- this online. excuse me when i looked down to ask you some of these questions. this question comes to us from nicholas wu with usa today. writes, it looks like both parties are on different ends when it comes to the upcoming stimulus negotiation. where is the middle ground between members of congress on issues like unemployment insurance and school funding? rep. bass: you know what? it is so hard for me to imagine that there is a middle ground.
in the sense that the heroes that, if you want to fund police, if you want to fund first responders, we need to pass the heroe why will we put people through the psychological pain of knowing in the next few weeks, their unemployment check will run out, when you know you need to pass a bill. why are you going to quibble over a $600 check when you take half a trillion dollars, and you don't even want to disclose what is going to happen with that money. when you give no-bid contracts to people to do protective equipment who have no experience doing that at all. we do not know what is happening with that money, and that is billions and billions of dollars, but yet, you are going to argue over a $600 check because you say, well, if a person gets that extra boost in their unemployment, they are not going to want to go to work?
we want everybody to go to work. as a matter of fact we want to , force them to go to work. and we want to make sure that any employer that forces its folks back to work cannot be sued. just think about that meatpacking places where they were ordered to go back to work, where the president used his power to force people to go back to work, but won't use his power to have massive testing, massive tracing, and massive treatment. we will see. i know those negotiations are going on, and i'm not a direct party to. host: since your 2019 first victims has passed, have you abouted reports
trafficking survivors? rep. bass: we need to get that reporting. let me give background. i have been working on the child welfare system, transforming the child welfare system for the last 30 years. every year i had been in congress. as a matter of fact common i formed a bipartisan caucus on child welfare because it is a very bipartisan issue. one of the casualties of our child welfare system is a number of the girls and boys, primarily females, but boys as well, get involved in sex trafficking to survive, survival sex. i hate to tell you this, but the average age of a girl that is trafficked is 12 years old, and a lot of that trafficking takes place online, and so, we did pass legislation to address that, but one of the problems, and this is a universal problem, not just a problem with the area. getting information out of this administration on anything is challenging. i mentioned we could not get the demographic information from the
centers for disease control. getting information from health and human services about how we are doing on that issue is very difficult as well. host: going back to coronavirus, now that -- back in california there is this new surge to rollback and rollback the reopening. what do you think about their plans overall for kids returning to school? you mentioned orange county with kids going back with nothing. is it good enough to just do online learning? rep. bass: no, it is not. it is a real problem. first of all, i think what orange county doing is absolutely terrible and it was -- terrible and irresponsible. but looking at my own school district of the los angeles
unified school district, where the superintendent said we are going to stick with online learning, i don't think there is a choice for that, but and one unified isgs l.a. doing that i think is really good is they have their own tv station, and so, they are also doing television. let me give you an example. when i went to pick up my grandson's -- when i went to pick up the laptop from his school, i thought about it for a minute because when you think about online learning, and you think about young people, you have this viewpoint that all young people know how to use computers. in los angeles, i don't have to worry about not having access to broadband because we do. that doesn't mean everybody can afford it though. it is here, but can you afford it? what about the parents? a five-year-old doesn't innately know how to use a computer. the assumption when you think about young people and technology, you are thinking about adolescence. what about the young children whose parents might not know how to use that computer, or they are working three jobs, and they
are essential workers? so they are not at home. so i do think it is a real problem. i think l.a. unified is doing the best they can. i like the idea of having television as a backup because, you know, people do have televisions. but you know, before covid, we had a very serious achievement gap, right? what are we going to have after covid? the achievement gap is going to be really exacerbated. so one other things i think things i think needs to happen, and again, because we are in one of these moments, one of these reflection moments, maybe it is an opportunity when we are looking at systemic racism, the achievement gap is a manifestation of that. i think we are going to need to do something really aggressive when it comes to education. just think, we are already
dealing with the gap, and you are going to have kids who have essentially lost an entire year of education. host: i have to tell you i am getting lots of questions about you being vice president, and i know you said that we should refer all questions to the campaign, but could you tell me, what makes for a good vice president? what are the qualifications of someone who would be working alongside joe biden, say he wins in this upcoming election? rep. bass: sure. this is just my opinion. first of all, he is the leading expert having been a vice , president, as to what he needs for a vice president, but my opinion is, he needs a partner . he needs somebody who is going to hunker down and say, we have multiple crises.
what i feel bad about is that when he is sworn in in january, and he just has to be -- when he is sworn in january, he will inherit an economy that lord knows where it will be in six months because of the negligence of this president, unless he wakes up tomorrow and decides to address this problem. there could even be 200,000 dead americans by that point, and a pandemic that is not under control at all. the good thing about the vice president, if you want to say this is a good thing, remember when he was sworn in the last time? he inherited an economy that was a disaster. if anybody is equipped to figure out how to get out of this disaster, it is him, and i believe he needs a partner and , somebody whothat
is willing to say, i will take this piece, i will focus on this while you are putting the world back together. i think about his international credentials, and i think had he had been president at the beginning of this virus, he would have addressed this from an international perspective first, and he would have employed every possible resource in the united states to have aggressively dealt with that. i think number one, it is a partner. i also think it is somebody who can help heal because this nation is going to need healing. we have all been traumatized for the last three and a half years on a daily basis, and sometimes multiple times a day. when you think about race relations in this country, i mean, the president just a couple of days ago said he is worried about white people being killed by police. we know more white people are killed by police than anyone else because there are more white people in the united states.
the point is there proportion. it is disproportionately by two to three times as many. that is what it is important. race whenever to he is in a tight spot. host: going back to the strength of a vice president, one about strength in foreign relations? today, it was all over the news that russia was trying to basically steal information on how to put together a vaccine for coronavirus from the united states and britain and others. how do you see a vice president, or even in a new administration, dealing with a country like russia over an instance like that? rep. bass: i think that foreign affairs are essential. talk about healing, we have to heal on the international front because the president has embarrassed us repeatedly by publicly standing up and supporting putin when russia is
causing problems in a lot of the european nations, breaking treaties. but if you look at the women that are being talked about, i mean, it is an incredible piece of women you have tammy duckworth who understands foreign policy. susan wright, former ambassador to the united nations, you know, kamala harris, who was on the intelligence committee and judiciary. tammy baldwin. i mean, i think there are a variety of women who bring a tremendous background to this, and who could be a wonderful partner with the president. host: what would you bring to the table? rep. bass: well, what i bring to the table, regardless of where i am, is my deep commitment to do whatever is necessary to heal this country. to me, what is needed immediately is on the health front.
that is more important than anything, and the economy to me is so intertwined with the crisis, you can't separate the two. and the problem we are facing now is the president keeps trying, let's just focus on the economy and let me sit here and pretend that the health issue will go away. well, you cannot do that. in my opinion, i feel he spent 3.5 years tearing this country apart in terms of race relations. he started with mexicans when he came down the escalator. he has insulted native americans, and now, of course, what he said about black americans from day one, but now, he is after asian-americans because by trying to blame china for covid, that has led to an increase in anti-asian violence all over the country. if you think about the last
election before 2018, you know we had four acts of domestic terrorism, four acts before the last election. he talked about the invasion i -- invasion that was coming from central america. you remember the man that put his van, and his van trumpaped in paraphernalia. there was the white man wanted to kill black people. he killed two african-americans in a store. there was the horrific attack on the synagogue, the worst attack in a synagogue in u.s. history he you remember when they arrested that man. he said the reason he attacked the synagogue was because jewish people were funding the invasion of central america. a couple of days later, there was an attack on women of color at a yoga studio. the election was a few days later.
one of our challenges in the country is we tend to have very short memories, but those attacks were preceded by the president on a daily basis, whipping up dissent, whipping up division, and we see him do this every time he needs to distract away from something, he is going to tell the federal police to defend confederate statues because they are a glorious part of our history? rs peopleo were traito , who tried to break up the country so they could continue enslaving my ancestors. that is who he wants to defend. all of that will have to be put back together again next year. host: curious what you think about what should be done in the case of breonna taylor? and how far that case has not gone locally, and what you think should be done next?
rep. bass: well, first of all, in our bill, in the george floyd justice and policing at, we been -- george floyd justice in policing act. ban no knock warrants for drugs. one of the reasons for no knock warrants is because we don't want the individual to flush the drugs down the toilet. is that worth it? over the last 10 years, no knock -- 94 people have died, 16 of them were police officers. is that really the best way to go about it? so we ban no knock, but i think those officers who have not been arrested. they have been fired. they should be arrested. i think until we show police officers that there is a consequence. when that man was killing george floyd, he had his hand and is pockets, and he was looking at the camera with complete impunity. he did not feel like anything was going to happen to him.
it is that kind of thing, or the young man killed in colorado, and you saw the police officers reenacting the chokehold. as long as you have a culture in a police department that basically says that police officers can do whatever they want, so long as they are doing it in certain communities to certain people. i represent a district in los angeles where most of it is affluent and mostly white and another apart of my district is in south los angeles. when they go on one side of town, the police go to protect and serve. when they go to protect and serve, they go to knock heads. it is a warrior mentality instead of a guardian mentality, and police officers have told me that they have to deal with some of those officers out of the academy. we know the vast majority of police officers are not like
this, and they protect and serve, but there are some that when they come out of the academy, request to go to south central so they can earn their stripes, so they can knock heads. if that is how you come to a community, then why would you be surprised that the people in the community do not view the police officers as there to protect fearat all, and, in fact, police officers. the host: some might say that a question whether a few bad apples requires a complete overhaul of the system. what do you say to that? rep. bass: i don't think there are a few bad apples. i think there are systemic problems, and one of the things police officers have done over the years, and conservative organizations because it is not necessarily police officers, but they passed state laws that essentially make them exempt from everything. the police culture that says, if there was a bad officer, let's circle our wagons.
case in point, the man that every body saw on tv, the older man in upstate new york who was a protester, and the police saw him, pushed him down, and they lied and said he tripped and fell. something black people say all the time that the police officers lie, and people did not believe it. well, everybody saw them push him down. you saw one officer leaning over to try to render aid and saw another officer pulling him away. when those officers got in trouble, and 57 officers resigned from that unit. that is the kind of mentality that reflects a culture that is very problematic, and by the way, last year, an african-american woman, who was an officer in that same department, she stopped one of her fellow officers in the middle of a chokehold because she thought he was going to kill someone.
she got fired. in minneapolis, the police chief has said, he has fired bad officers, but the officers, because of their contract, have a process of arbitration, so he can fire an officer, the officer can go to arbitration and win and be put back on the force. the officer that killed george floyd had 17 different complaints. so, those are some structural things that happen and a lot of departments, where even when you have good officers, if they are functioning in a corrupt culture, they have to make a decision. they go along with that culture, or they leave. because they understand they might even be endangered we have heard those stories -- because they understand that and we have heard those stories. i don't think we can reduce it
to a few bad apples. host: we are getting questions from so many people, and we are running out of time. i want to get to this. getting a strand of emails asking about -- this question from dion moore in l.a. county. your state. she asked, will black american descendents of persons enslaved in the united states the reparations in your lifetime, and will the wealth gap be closed in your lifetime? that is a massive question. rep. bass: let me just quickly say that the congressional black caucus, after we passed the george floyd act, introduced and talked about legislation that we are dealing with to address systemic racism. we understand that policing is just one manifestation of systemic racism, but the wealth
gap, the achievement gap all of , those issues are apart of that same system that we need to root out the discrimination. and so, we do have a very specific legislation to address those issues. in addition, we are preparing a massive piece of legislation called jobs and justice that does address many of the issues related to systemic racism. and in terms of reparations, there is hr40 that sheila jackson lee is leading the calls -- leading that calls for the formation of a commission to study the impact that the period of enslavement had. i think that most americans, if you polled most americans and asked them how long slavery existed in the united states, very few would have the correct answer, which is 256 years. 100 years before we were even a country. even fewer americans will understand that for 100 years
after slavery, we had lynchings and jim crow. and to date, we have not been able to pass -- 2020, we have not been able to pass a federal law against lynching. host: you mentioned a bill that you are going to be introducing soon. do you want to share a little bit with us about that? rep. bass: i have been working on criminal justice reform for many, many years, but typically when you hear people talk about criminal justice reform, there really only talking about men. they are not talking about women, nor children. we are one of a few countries in the world that incarcerates kids. so, the bill i am working on is a bill that specifically looking at women who are pregnant and incarcerated. that is something a lot of people don't realize. we did have part of what we are ssed in theddress pa
first step act. so we have had a brutal practice in our country. if you can imagine, a woman who is ready to deliver a baby and she is incarcerated, and we shackle her to the gurney during labor because, you know, woman nine months pregnant in the middle of labor and delivery is a flight risk. so we banned that because of the barbaric practice. but it does go on in some states. we banned it in federal institutions, but every aspect of women in the criminal justice system is different than men. we will get to a comprehensive bill later, but the bill i'm --king on on a bike partisan bipartisan basis now is about pregnant women who are incarcerated. host: a final question for you as we come to the end of the hour here. this question comes from gabrielle. how do you navigate the various political currents within the membership of the cbc, and what
does it mean when tim scott, the gop's only black senator, is not a member of the congressional black caucus? rep. bass: tim and i came in together and that was his choice -- tim and i came in together and that was his choice. i did -- i don't think he wanted to be in a room with 50 plus democrats. maybe that was the issue. but the republican from utah was a very active member of the black caucus. she lost her election, so she is not there anymore, but certainly the door is open to tim anytime he would choose to be apart of the caucus. there are 55 members of the congressional black caucus. it is very diverse politically, it, we referigate to the cbc as a family. the same when you navigate your family. [laughter] host: ok. well, i think we have time for one more question, and i'm going to go back to the vice president
question. [laughter] if joe biden asked you to be his running mate, will you accept? rep. bass: let me just tell you, i am so concerned about him being elected, and him having a successful presidency, he could asked me to go volunteer at a local office and lick stamps, walk precincts, whatever is needed, i'm ready. host: all righty then. -- twocoming up to john to time. we might have time for one more question. what do you see as -- well, that is too much of a question i think for the remaining minute that we have here. i want to thank you so much for joining us and having this conversation. there was so much to unpack, and
thank you so much for indulging us with all of the questions about a potential vice presidency. certainly, serving as the national press club vice president i'm happy to offer you , advice on being vice president in the future should that happen for you. [laughter] i also would like to say that we typically offer our guests the national press club mug, so if you were here, i would be handing this to you today, but we want to thank you so very, very much for joining us at the press club, and we want to let know that we are continuing with our programming here at the national press club, and we intend to continue to make the club the place where news happens. so thank you again, representative bass for your time and your comments today. rep. bass: i look forward to getting that mug. host: absolutely, thanks for
joining us. ♪ >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. friday morning, national consumers league executive director sally greenberg discusses consumer protection efforts amid the search of coronavirus scams and sidney mcphee, who recently participated on a white house event on reopening schools talks about the challenge and -- challenge in managing a college. .hat "washington journal" live >> here is a look at live eastern friday at 10:30 , steve mnuchin joins the head of the small business administration for hearing on how the paycheck protection loan program is being used well small
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