Here’s another reason to hate Congress: There’s not enough hate in Congress!
Rep. Nydia Velazquez admitted as much in another spellbinding edition of Brooklyn Paper Radio on Monday, saying that as much as she is “disgusted” by her racist fellow Rep. Steve King (R–Iowa), the institution simply has too much decorum to allow her to attack him directly.
“No, no!” Velazquez said when show co-host Gersh Kuntzman asked if she ever confronted King and other haters like him when she encounters them in the hallways of our nation’s most vaunted institutions.
King, after all, made national headlines this week for suggesting that Americans of Muslim descent are destroying our civilization.
“It is disgusting and outrageous,” Velazquez said on the radio show, which was pretaped on Monday in advance of the coming minor storm. “I tweeted about that today.”
Kuntzman wasn’t buying it.
“Twitter? Who cares about Twitter. Did you ever go up to him in the Capitol subway and say, ‘Hey, Congressman, shut up?’” the conflict-hungry Daily News columnist asked.
“No,” Velazquez admitted.
Kuntzman suggested that there’s the problem right there.
“If I saw Steve King on a New York City subway train, I’d go over to him and tell him what a New Yorker thinks,” Kuntzman said.
Ultimately, Kuntzman and co-host Vince DiMiceli let Velazquez off the hook on hating Steve King because she segued to genuine issues affecting her constituents in the so-called “Bullwinkle” district of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens that she has represented since 1993.
Velazquez was eager to talk about immigration reform and healthcare, earning this week’s award as Brooklyn Paper Radio’s “Trumpbuster” by saying such important things as:
• Why Paul Ryan’s “repeal and replace” healthcare bill stinks:
“One of the greatest accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act was Medicaid expansion,” said Velazquez, who voted for the so-called Obamacare as a member of Congress. “And many of the recipients are in red counties and red states. All of a sudden, constituents in those areas realize that the Medicaid coverage they enjoy is the same as Obamacare, and now they are putting pressure on their Congressmen to not support a repeal or replacement.”
• Why the federal government should not deputize local law enforcement officers to deport undocumented aliens.
“Immigration enforcement is not the role of the city or the state,” she said. “It is the role of the federal government, which has failed. It scores political points for the Republicans to say we have illegal immigration, but they refuse to sit down and craft a bipartisan bill to end this broken system. The only solution is a legislative one. You are not going to deport 11 million people. This is not only the ‘bad hombres.’ This is hard-working people, people, who have children, who have roots in our communities. Too many people and families are suffering because of the actions taken by this White House.”
• Why she doesn’t think much of President Trump.
“He basically doesn’t understand how Washington works, but he’s has to figure out pretty soon that we have three equal branches of government, and in order for him to enact his vision or legislative agenda, he needs to collaborate with Congress.”
Kuntzman pressed Velazquez that her reaction is pretty typical of a resident of the swamp that Trump says he wants to drain, but Velazquez countered that notion.
“You want to drain the swamp? Then put people in your cabinet who really represent the dreams and aspirations of people in this country,” she said. “But [it’s wrong] to appoint someone to head the EPA, for example, who doesn’t believe that the government should play a role in clean air or water or have regulations to protect public health. Let’s be serious. Government is not a game. It takes a lot of negotiations and it takes collaboration.”
Kuntzman was pleased with that answer.
“Congresswoman, you’re quoting me to me — so thank you for reading my recent pro-regulation column in the Daily News.”
Make no mistake, Velazquez’s appearance on Brooklyn’s leading podcast did change some minds in the studio.
“You know, Vince, I started this conversation thinking, ‘I don’t really know if I like Nydia Velazquez,’ but now I’m rethinking that. I thought she was a back-bencher, but she said a lot of very smart things on our show. And you can’t put a playing card between me and Nydia Velazquez on immigration. I always say, ‘If you want to come here, come here.’”
“Gersh is literally driving the welcome wagon,” DiMiceli said.
Brooklyn Paper radio is recorded and podcast live every Tuesday usually around 10 am — based on Gersh’s hectic schedule — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on Brook