Print: Late. Elizabeth Warren on “Face the Nation”, April 24, 2022

The following is a transcript of an interview with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts that aired Sunday, April 24, 2022 on “Face the Nation.”


MARGARET BRENNAN: Now we turn to politics. The midterm elections, we are a little over six months from them. And the question is, will the Democrats be able to hold both the House and the Senate? Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is now joining us from Boston. Good morning to you. Senator, I know you have some strong thoughts on the matter. I read your statement this week, and you warned that Democrats could face a catastrophe because they promised more than President Biden has delivered. Why do you think Democrats can lose the majority?

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: Look, Democrats need – Democrats win when Democrats are in touch with the American people and what happens to them. Today we have people standing in the checkout for groceries and having to choose what to send back because they can not afford to pay for it. We have millions of people across this country who say that they are not ready for their student loan payments to resume, that they simply cannot cope with these loan burdens. We have millions of people all over this country who can not fill a tank with gasoline so they will be able to get to work this week. As Democrats, we must deliver. We must hit the costs directly, and we have the power to do so. However, we have less than 200 days left. And instead of looking back, let’s look ahead. Let’s get what we can do for the American people who elected us, for the American people who count on us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the Republicans agree with you that inflation is a big problem. It’s one of their main attacks on the president. You just mentioned student debt. I know you think the President can just erase it essentially through executive orders, but both the White House and President Pelosi have said he may not have the authority that Congress will have to act here. Have you persuaded the White House to do anything else?

SENATOR WARREN: Look, we know the President has the authority to cancel the student loan debt, and the best way we know is because President Obama did it, President Trump did it, and President Biden has now done it repeatedly. The power is clearly there –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Extending deadlines, you mean there?

SENATOR WARREN: No, no. They have canceled – remember, they have forgiven debt. They have both canceled it for people in certain categories completely, but they have also canceled the interest to be paid on people’s student loans. They have not postponed it. They have annulled it because the power of annulment is already in the statute. President Obama, President Trump, President Biden have all done it. And understand by cancellation that this is something the American people want and it is something that tens of thousands of people need. Forty percent of the people who handle student loan debt do not have a college degree. These are people who tried, but life happened: pregnancy, they worked three jobs, their mother became ill, they had to move to another city. And now they serve as a high school student, but they try to manage the university loan debt and it crushes them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But at the time of …

SENATOR WARREN: In addition, it’s a matter of racism.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What- I understand why this is a priority for you. But the concern is at this moment, it may also be inflationary in an environment where there is already high inflation.

SENATOR WARREN: No, it’s not inflationary. Not paying student loans has been baked for three years now. But remember, as President Biden himself says, the way we deal with inflation is not about making people poorer. The way we deal with inflation is that we attack high prices directly, price spills. We straighten out the supply chain so goods can get into people. We attack it directly, not by trying to make people poorer. Canceling student loan debt is something that would be good for people all over this country and more importantly, good for our economy in general.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You also talk in your op-ed about a number of Build Back Better items on the agenda: childcare, universal pre-K. But not all 50 Democratic senators support it. The president himself has acknowledged his problem. He just talked this week about being able to reach number 48. Do Senators Manchin and Sinema change their minds here? Do you have another math?

LATE. WARREN: So look, there are a lot of things that we all agree on, and there are things that we need to continue the negotiations on. Let’s just start with pricing. You know, I think all the Democrats agree that these giant corporations should not only pass on the cost of inflation, but actually add an extra portion so they can fill and expand their profits.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you think it can be done in the next few weeks before people leave for Memorial Day?

LATE. WARREN: Yes, I do. We have to see we have almost 200 days until the next election. We have to be out there and fight. And what we have to fight for are the things that directly affect the families of the United States. People are counting on us and we can not just sit back and play politics. We must join the fight on behalf of the American people. And that means people struggling with student loan debt, people struggling with high prices, people worried about this pandemic.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But …

LATE. WARREN: We deliver, and that’s what democracy is all about, we can face that election in November with our heads held high.

MARGARET BRENNAN: A few weeks ago, Senator Angus King said, “If you have a Franklin Roosevelt political agenda, you need a Franklin Roosevelt majority.” He just comes back to the premise that we do not have 50 democratic votes. So I hear you say that Democrats should just be caught trying?

LATE. WARREN: Look, what you’re hearing me say is, first of all, that not everything has to go through Congress. We chose the example of student loan debt. It would affect about 43 million people. It means something. It would affect them directly and affect their families. It is also the case that there are many things we agree on. We can attack corruption directly. I have a plan for two parties that says members of Congress can not trade in stocks. They can not own individual shares. It’s something we should be able to agree on and move on and help restore a little bit of faith that when we take action in Congress, it’s not to fill our own pockets. It’s actually on behalf of the American people. And look at all the other pieces that the American public tells us they support. For example, a minimum corporate tax for these giant companies—

MARGARET BRENNAN: Now …

LATE. WARREN: – it pays nothing. We all agree on this on the democratic side.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

LATE. WARREN: Now, sharp difference with Republicans who want them to keep doing it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’ll see …

LATE. WARREN: But that’s exactly what we should be pushing forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, President …

LATE. WARREN: We have to be part of the fight.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, and … The President is out there talking about his accomplishments. We’ll see if he takes your advice. Senator Warren, thank you for sharing it with us. We will be back soon. Stay with us.

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