ICYMI: Summer Lee on Face the Nation

Feb 04, 2023
Press

(BRADDOCK, PA) — Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) joined CBS’s Face the Nation ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union Address. Lee, 35 who made history after becoming the first Black woman to represent PA in Congress, talked about the police killing of Tyre Nichols, the correlation between crime and poverty, the fight over the debt ceiling, and what the first month in Congress has been like. 

On Serving in Congress Post Insurrection:

“I’m a progressive Black woman. When we see who is typically most at risk, the people who get the most threats, the most vitriol, the most hatred, I think about Congresswoman Omar, I think about Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez. I think about former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I know, and it’s unfortunate, but we know when we take this on that we are putting ourselves at risk. We know that we’re putting our families at risk. I know that people know where we live. I know that when we say things, when we talk about issues that make people uncomfortable for me, specifically, when I talk about racial justice, when we talk about poverty, when we talk about working- workers rights, right? Every time we talk about that, we see an increase in hate speech, we see an increase of people who are targeting us. And we know that we have to work through that, because it’s necessary, because our voices are needed here. because we know that people are attempting to scare us out of these roles.”

Public safety begins with investments to address poverty:

“To be very clear, police violence is crime. We cannot say that we care about crime, but then do nothing, choose to do nothing over and over and over when the crime is committed by a police officer. There are statistics that show that less than 2% of fatal police killings face charges. 

“Tyre should be alive. So should Atatiana Jefferson. So should Antwon Rose II from my district. So should Mike Brown. So should Philando Castile. They should all be alive. So when we’re talking about crime, when we’re talking about how we’re going to solve it, when I say that we need to change the conversation, we need to acknowledge that public safety does not begin with policing. Public safety begins with investments. How are we ensuring that communities that are starved of resources are getting an equitable share of resources that we’re investing in schools that we’re investing in jobs that pay a living wage, that we’re- that we’re investing in wraparound services, health care, environmental justice, after school programs, violence interrupters, until we’re willing to do all of those, then we’re not having a serious conversation about crime. 

“Instead, what we’re doing is we’re dog whistling. And I want us to move beyond the dog whistle because everybody says that we care about public safety. We have empirical data that tells us what we can do about public safety and about crime. We know that there’s a correlation between poverty and crime, not race, not geography, not a type of community to live in. Poverty and crime–but we’re not addressing poverty.”

On Republicans Attempt to Use Debt Ceiling Fight to Hold the Economy Hostage and Cut All Non Defense Spending: 

“The defense budget increases every year, but every year, we’re asking American people to decide between Medicare, Social Security, Pell Grant recipients, are we going to tell first generation college students who are attempting to break into a better life for themselves that there are no opportunities for them, because we cannot fund a Pell Grant? Are we going to go to people who are in the midst of a housing crisis and say that we can no longer fund housing grants for you for-from the federal government at your time of need, right? It’s- when we talk about these conversations, we have to humanize them. We have to be very clear what we are proposing to cut, who are going to be impacted by it. And then think through better ways than to just continue to hold American people hostage, to hold our budget hostage, and quite frankly, right to continue to go back to the same people, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized.”

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