Credit: Meredith Nierman, WGBH News

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Fights Back Against Critics Who Say She Is Not Getting Anything Done

August 7, 2017

“No,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Jim Braude on Greater Boston when he hinted about her possible run for president in 2020. “I do have a race in 2018. I’m all in on that. I take nothing for granted,” she said.

Last week, Rep. Geoff Diehl — a Republican from Whitman and longtime supporter of President Donald Trump — announced his 2018 run for Senate. It’s a race in which he ultimately hopes to face off against Warren — and he is already on the attack. At his kick-off rally, he accused her of focusing more on her national profile than getting things done in Washington.  

“I get out there, and I do my work every day,” said Warren in response. “I’m doing exactly what I promised I would do when I ran for the Senate.” She cited her work in cracking down on for-profit colleges as well as securing money to dredge Boston Harbor and repair sea walls in Scituate and bridges in Lowell. She pointed to grants she helped secure for Massachusetts firefighters, financing for green line research and a recent battle over National Institutes of Health funding.

During congressional budget negotiations in February and March, Trump had called for $1.2 billion in cuts to the NIH, from which numerous organizations in Massachusetts receive significant funding.

“I rounded up 17 senators together who said, ‘If you don’t put more money into NIH, we are not going along with this budget,’” recalled Warren. “You know what we got instead of a $1.2 billion cut? We got a $2 billion increase.”

Warren is also celebrating a win last week on a measure that proponents say will make hearing aids more accessible and cost less. It passed the House and Senate as part of a larger Food and Drug Administration bill with massive bipartisan support and, as a result, the president is expected to sign it into law.

“The electronics itself [the hearing aids] are actually not that expensive,” said Warren. “What the bill says is, as a matter of federal law… you can do over-the-counter sales…. And that means we’re going to have a lot more electronics manufacturers in, making those hearing aids for people, driving down the cost.”

It is a rare victory for a Democrat, with the House, Senate and White House all under Republican control. But most Americans say Democrats are not doing enough. Fifty-two percent believe the party only stands against Trump, and not for anything, according to a Washington Post, ABC News poll.

“Ultimately, I think it's whether or not Democrats can get out and make the case not just that we're willing to talk on behalf of working people, but we're willing to get into the arena and fight on behalf of working people,” said Warren.

She conceded that the economy has been doing better over the past few months, but argued stock market gains do not mean what they used to.

“Good news in the stock market is not widely shared good news anymore,” Warren said. “When all of that value goes to just folks at the top, it’s not widely shared…. Those [stock] numbers are important numbers. But, increasingly, they don’t describe the lived experience of most Americans… struggling, piecing together two jobs — sometimes three — flat incomes… and, at the same time, rising costs on housing, on health care, on transportation, on trying to get your kids educated. So middle class families that have been in a squeeze for a generation now — and Donald Trump comes in and is poised to deliver the knockout blow. That’s how I see this.”

When pressed on her own future plans, Warren said, “Donald Trump has been president for seven months. I mean I know it feels like seven years, but it’s been seven months. We have been in a fight over health care. We’ve been in a fight over immigration. We’re about to head into a fight over the budget or a fight over education. These are things in which Donald Trump and the Republican majority… are fundamentally changing our government and national policy…. We can’t be a party and we can’t be a nation that says — horse race to horse race — let’s just see what happens every four years, and let’s get all excited about speculating…. I get up every day worried about the fights in front of us right now.”

If you would like to see Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s full interview with Jim Braude — including her thoughts on the possibility former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick might run for president, how former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is doing now, whether she believes the president has obstructed justice and her reaction to the conviction of former drug company executive Martin Shkreli — click on the video link above.


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