CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript: Interview with Congressman Max Rose


By: Max Rose
By: Max Rose
Date: Oct. 27, 2020


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, well, stimulus talks are still just that, talk in Washington, even as millions of Americans are struggling to stay in their homes, to pay their bills, to put food on the table. It has been 12 weeks -- 12 weeks -- since the stimulus funding, increase in unemployment benefits ended -- that was the end of July -- and to date, more than 11.8 million people in this country are still out of work.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for nearly an hour yesterday, and a spokesman for Pelosi says they remain hopeful a deal can be reached by Election Day. Let's see.

Democratic Congressman Max Rose of New York is here. Good morning, good to have you.

REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY): Morning.

HARLOW: OK, so you told Wolf -- my colleague -- just about a week ago, quote, "The Democratic Party needs to learn how to declare victory and go home." Is Speaker Pelosi making a mistake not taking the White House now-$1.9 trillion offer?


ROSE: Yes, she most certainly is making a mistake here. I mean, let's remember, the Republican Party, the president, Mnuchin, two months ago, they didn't want to do anything. Certainly, they didn't want to do any state and local aid, no more direct stimulus checks, extended unemployment.

And now, because of the sheer force of our argument as well as the obvious pain of the American people, they have moved up to $1.92 trillion. It's a tremendous bipartisan framework for action that's commensurate with the scale of the crisis that we're facing.

But let's not forget about the fact that the Senate Republicans have yet to sign up for this --

HARLOW: Yes. ROSE: -- the Ted Cruzes of the world have said that they don't want

to do anything --

HARLOW: So I hear you --

ROSE: -- Mitch McConnell has spoken about this like it's a blue state problem. I believe that if we can pass this bipartisan bill out of the House, we will put the focus of the nation on the Senate Republicans where it deserves to be --


ROSE: -- and they should be shocked into action.


HARLOW: But it's not there right now. It's not there right now because --

ROSE: It's not.

HARLOW: -- as you said, the speaker hasn't agreed to this deal. You clearly think she's making a mistake. Listen to what West Virginia Senator Democrat Joe Manchin told Jim just yesterday about maybe putting in new negotiators.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I'm saying whoever Nancy, whoever Schumer and them have as their team that's negotiating, maybe ought to look out. Sometimes there's personality conflicts. Let's put some new people involved and see if we can make something happen.


HARLOW: You need new people in there? Is Pelosi not getting it done?

ROSE: Well, look, I think now we're getting into some, you know, palace intrigue here. If they have some staff that's messing up, we'll obviously get the staff out of the room. But the truth of the matter is, is that it is clear what the American people need. They need action right now, and they cannot wait until the next election.

So certainly, if there are any elected officials or any staff members that are secretly thinking or saying, oh, let's wait until the next election. Because we don't want to give Donald Trump a win. That is wrong, and that's why people hate politics.

HARLOW: So look, yes, it is why people hate politics. I mean, I think the last approval rating I saw for Congress was like 17 percent. Republican governor of New Hampshire Chris Sununu doesn't think any of you should have your jobs. Listen to him yesterday.


GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Fire them all. I mean, I really mean that sincerely. No one in the Senate or Congress can say that they've shown leadership on the COVID crisis. What have they done since March? Like, literally nothing.


HARLOW: Why do you guys deserve to keep your jobs?

ROSE: Yes, I mean, I'm not going to get into a debate with a governor of a small state who I've never heard of, but --

HARLOW: Come on.

ROSE: -- will tell you this.

HARLOW: Come on, Max, let's not make it personal.

ROSE: No, no --


HARLOW: But seriously, he --

ROSE: -- he is (ph) -- Poppy -- Poppy --

HARLOW: -- is expressing concerns --

ROSE: -- here's -- here's what I --

HARLOW: -- that people have about a lack of action. OK.

ROSE: -- here's what I will tell you that's very clear, is that the calls for action are clearly coming from across the political spectrum. And this is a problem with leadership at the highest levels of our political system, at this point, is that they have become so detached that they are not hearing or seeing the pain of the American people, folks who cannot wait until February or March for another stimulus check or extended unemployment or state and local aid.

And by the way, when we talk about state and local aid, that's not something that's theoretical. That's jobs on the line, that's social services on the line, infrastructure, things like toll (ph) discounts. It runs across the gamut.


ROSE: So that is why it is so critical that we take action now. And it's certainly the case that Democrats and Republicans are calling for it.

HARLOW: I know you were making that comment, I hope, about New Hampshire in jest. But in all seriousness, he's talking about constituents who are in pain in that state just like they are across the country.

ROSE: Absolutely. HARLOW: So -- all right, so I hear you on Speaker Pelosi. If

Democrats maintain control of the House, and she -- we know she's going to seek another term as speaker, do you support that? Will you vote for her?

ROSE: No, no, I'm not -- I didn't vote for her last time, I won't vote for her again. But with that being said, I do think -- and I will not give up hope -- that the first thing that we should be doing, the first call for action has got to be addressing this pandemic and addressing COVID relief. This cannot wait, it can't wait for us to wait until new people are installed, it can't wait for a new president to be inaugurated, it has to happen as soon as possible.

HARLOW: Final question to you, Congressman, and that's on voting lines here in New York City. They've been three, four hours in some places. I'm sure you saw the big piece in the "Times" yesterday about the Board of Elections.

And not getting too much into that, but your favorite mayor, Mayor Bill de Blasio, said yesterday on this network that the Board of Elections in New York needs to, quote, "get it in gear" and he warned of intimidation and voter suppression. Do you think there's voter suppression going on in New York City?

ROSE: I haven't seen signs of voter suppression. But what I will say is that we have seen an extraordinary turnout in early voting, and it is clear as day that this is something that we have got to invest in, going forward. The easier that it is for people to vote, the better.


And the calls for action that we are hearing from folks across my congressional district, as well as across the city, is truly inspiring. The Board of Elections has significant room for improvement, I think everybody agrees on that and we have to continue to push them to do so. Our city and state should do that.

HARLOW: I'll wait however long I need to in line, but people shouldn't have to wait three or four hours. Congressman Max Rose, let's hope Congress gets something done on this front, and fast --

ROSE: Amen.

HARLOW: -- I appreciate your time.

ROSE: Thank you so much again.

HARLOW: Thank you. Yes -- Jim.

ROSE: Bye-bye.