FULL EPISODE: 5/9/21 Labor Secy. Marty Walsh, Rep. Nancy Mace & Sen. Tim Kaine on jobs, infrastructure and more

Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 10:56 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) for Gray Television’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, May 9, 2021.

Rep. Mace told Van Susteren she believes Rep. Liz Cheney will lose her GOP leadership role on Wednesday but declined to share how she plans to vote. The congresswoman also expressed dismay over infighting in her party, saying: “Having to continue to have these debates and these arguments and allowing it to spill over into the public is very frustrating. I want to see a united front.”

Secretary Walsh addressed the disappointing April jobs numbers, saying: “The bright side of this report, other than we did add jobs, better than losing jobs, we saw the hospitality industry pick up significantly.” Walsh also addressed unemployment pandemic assistance and challenges facing women when it comes to returning to the workplace.

When asked whether Democrats and Republicans can find middle ground on infrastructure legislation, Sen. Kaine said: “There is a strong desire to compromise,” but added: “I think we ought to do a bigger package than a smaller one.” Kaine did say: “I am okay with separating out some of the items, the healthcare items, even some of the education items. We could separate that out and consider it as a separate bill.” The senator also discussed the April jobs report, police reform, and Afghanistan troop withdrawal.

Interview highlights are below.

Rep. Nancy Mace Highlights

On whether the GOP will oust Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership

Greta Van Susteren

Congresswoman, what is going on with the leadership in your party in the House of Representatives? We’re seeing a lot of noise, so to speak.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Very much so. I do get a lot of news from social media and Twitter, and I’m following it myself and seeing what’s going on. One of my biggest frustrations, and I’m not going to tip my hand on Wednesday, we’re going to, we’ve got a Republican conference on Wednesday morning. I do expect that there will be a leadership change based on what I’m reading and public comments that are being made. One of my frustrations right now is that we’re allowing our disagreements to spill out and we’re having these arguments in public. I want to see a united front. I’m looking at everything happening to our country right now, and I really want to see us be united. It’s important for us as a party to be that way. It’s like being in a family, you can argue in private together, but we need to be united if we’re going to take back the House and be in the majority in two years.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

The U.S. Senate is evenly divided, 50/50, and this is a time when our country’s in a crisis in the pandemic and we’re seeing division and violence in our streets, this is the time to work together and not work apart. That goes for both parties.

Greta Van Susteren

All right. Well, I understand the need to work together, but in order to work together, you’ve got to have your leadership in order. Do you intend to vote for Representative Cheney to maintain her position as number three, or are you going to vote otherwise?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

I’m still watching and reading, and I’m going to make that decision on Tuesday night or Wednesday. There will probably be a matter of debate-

Greta Van Susteren

How could you be uncertain at this point? How could you really be uncertain at this point?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

I don’t want to trash other Republicans. I mean, I don’t want to be part of any of that. I don’t want to talk negatively about anyone in my party at this juncture. I just refuse to do that.

Greta Van Susteren

But it isn’t necessarily disagreeing. I mean, people have different strengths. If you don’t think she’s good in leadership, or if you think she isn’t good leadership, it may be her time, not her time, I mean, it’s not necessarily being critical, but recognizing what you think is best for your party in the house.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Right, and based on what I’m seeing, and I will disclose how I vote after I vote, but I’m really frustrated right now coming into this thing. We had this vote a few weeks ago now we’re having it again. We’re running out of time really and I want help find solutions, help be a leader through this crisis. Having to continue to have these debates and these arguments and allowing it to spill over into the public is very frustrating.

Greta Van Susteren

Has either Congresswoman Stefanik or Congresswoman Cheney reached out to you?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Neither of them have reached out to me, but I speak to leadership all the time and I speak to Elise Stefanik all the time as well. I have great relationships within our party. I do believe there’ll be a change in leadership on Wednesday. I do believe, based on the comments I’ve seen from other members of leadership, that that is indeed what will happen on Wednesday.

On federal unemployment assistance in South Carolina

Greta Van Susteren

Your governor has said that sometime, probably the end of June, that he is going to stop the enhanced federal benefits to people, unemployment benefits, the $300 per week. Are you in favor of what the governor’s doing or not? The purpose of that, as he said, is to try to help with employment in your state, getting people back to work.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Yes, I am in favor and I support Governor McMaster’s decision to do that. I talk to business leaders every single week and one of the challenges that we have right now as a state in South Carolina, we have an unemployment rate that’s been hovering just over 4% for many, many months now, is that businesses, particularly in our tourism and hospitality industry, which is the bulk of where I live, those businesses are really suffering because they’re having a difficult time getting employees back to work. When we pay people to stay home, they actually do. The best thing that we can do to help rebound and get through the pandemic and get people back to work and in jobs is to suspend that additional federal unemployment right now.

On infrastructure

Greta Van Susteren

Are you in favor of some infrastructure? I realize that Republicans and Democrats are divided on basically two stimulus bills, a hard one, like roads, bridges, and broadband, and the other is more education, childcare, but is there some infrastructure you are in favor of?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Absolutely. The reason that I’m on Transportation and Infrastructure is I believe in infrastructure, I believe in the federal government’s role that we have to play in that. I also believe in working together, both Democrats and Republicans, that’s the number one reason that I asked for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. President Biden and Nancy Pelosi, they had a difficult time when they rolled out that idea of a 1.8, now $2.3, trillion infrastructure package. They actually had to rename it, I believe to market it to the American people, the new name is the American Jobs Plan.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

But there are Republicans and Democrats that are talking behind the scenes about proposing a smaller package, working on it together, an alternative that, actually, it’s more than 93% of the original package actually went to surface transportation, roads and bridges. There are folks out there that want to work together. I’m hoping that we’ll see more than one alternative package put out there and perhaps maybe at least half the size of what it is right now.

Greta Van Susteren

If there is a package, let’s say it’s a slimmed-down version like you would like, and like many of your fellow Republicans would, how are you going to pay for it? Because you have said before, maybe you’ve changed our mind, that under no circumstances would you vote for any tax increases, so how would you pay for the infrastructure bill?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Absolutely. That’s one of the reasons we didn’t need to have a trimmed-down package. Many businesses, through COVID-19, had to make cuts, they had to make tough decisions, but the federal government never once has ever been held accountable, has ever had to do that. If the government just cut one penny of every dollar that they spent, they could afford an infrastructure package. If they moved their spending around and shifted it from one agency to another, if they found duplicity or combated and took away some of the waste that is out there, we could actually do it and I believe we could do it without tax hikes, but the problem is no one wants to have that conversation. Literally, no one is talking about it. Instead, we’re talking about a trillion here, a trillion there.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

The spending issue that we have as a nation is not Republican or Democrat, this is something that both sides of the aisle have contributed to for decades now. It’s time to have that conversation, it’s time to make some tough decisions. If we’re expecting our businesses to have a tax increase now in either the last COVID relief package or future ones or additional future spending that gets passed out of the House and the Senate, if we’re expecting businesses to make those tough decisions, then the federal government should too.

On the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act

Greta Van Susteren

To root out waste, fraud, and abuse, you, and also some Democrats, are trying to pass a Whistleblower Improvement Act. How does that ferret out waste, fraud, and abuse? This is across the aisle, both parties.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Absolutely. I’ve been approached by multiple whistleblowers since I was sworn in, with different federal agencies, but some of the stories that we have, I believe it’s really important when these witnesses come forward, that we protect them. We do everything that we can to protect them, protect their jobs, protect their work, because they have valuable information that can be shared. I learned several weeks ago, there was a DoD contractor, that’s as an example, out of Virginia that has earned six billion, that’s billion with a B, dollars in federal contracts over just the last two years. Yet, with the Pentagon Small Business contracts, they get about 90% of those. I wouldn’t consider-

Greta Van Susteren

How does that happen? How does that happen?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Exactly, right? But when I came forward with a letter to DoD and to our leadership about the issue, and I got Republicans and Democrats to sign onto it and be supportive of it, I started to receive phone calls and additional information about the shell game that’s being played within DoD and federal contracts. We just want to make sure that those that are able to come forward with information, that we do the most and the best job that we can to protect those sources.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh Highlights

On April jobs numbers

Greta Van Susteren

I assume that the jobs numbers were very disappointing to you for April, as well as the rest of us?

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

Well, when you look at the job numbers for April, I think that a lot of economists had predicted they’d be higher. Under normal circumstances, 266,000 jobs is a good month, but obviously, we’re not in normal times. When I look at these, you can’t look at a month-to-month basis. You have to look at it over time. In the last three months, we’ve added half a million jobs each month for the last three months to about a tune of 1.5 million jobs.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

The bright side of this report, other than we did add jobs, better than losing jobs, we saw the hospitality industry pick up significantly, which is something that was hit probably, if not the hardest industry during COVID, one of the hardest. We also saw an opportunity in retail pick up a bit, where people actually went shopping into stores again. So we saw that pick up a little bit, and we also saw more people looking for work this month than in the past month.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

And the conversation around the UI situation and saying people aren’t looking for work, people are looking for work. So there is a bit of a silver lining here in moving forward. And hopefully, as we continue to move forward here in the coming months, we’ll get more and more Americans back to work.

Greta Van Susteren

Well, the 266,000 jobs is a number that usually we like, but the economists were telling us we’re going to get one million jobs. We’re also hearing from business people is that they are not finding people to work so while I appreciate the way that you’ve presented it … I guess I’m looking at the half-empty part. It looks pretty bleak, half empty. We have a battered economy that’s sputtering almost in a coma and now these numbers were so understated from what everyone expected.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

When you talk about employers saying that their workers aren’t coming back to work, it’s mostly in restaurants. That’s the biggest area I’ve heard. I really haven’t heard from any other industry that that’s the case. In many of our restaurants, they’re just really in the last six weeks are opening up fully, where they were closed or had certain percentages that they could meet. So, again, I think as we move forward here in the coming month, weeks and months here, we’re going to start seeing more people get into that industry. As the hospitality industry opens up more, I think we’re going to see more and more people get back into that industry as well.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

We do have obstacles and barriers. We have lack of childcare. We also have people concerned about the virus. So, again, as we’re moving forward here, it’s not a simple solution or simple recovery.

Greta Van Susteren

Well, everyone is talking about the job number in March. The 916,000 in March. We were all very happy to see that number, but now that’s been revised downward to 770,000. Again, I don’t want to be the wet blanket, but these numbers, they’re trending in the wrong direction of what everyone anticipated.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

Yeah. We’re also dealing with a global pandemic and we’re still very much in the middle of it. So a year ago March 30 million Americans were out of work. We had to shut down society as we know it. I was in a different role. I was the mayor of the city of Boston at that point, where we had a prosperous city and economic development and booms going on. Then all of a sudden, one day it just shuts down.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

And we still are living with the virus very much right now. The virus has not gone away. We are still dealing with it on a daily basis. I think that we just need to continue to fight this virus, get people vaccinated, and continue to bring support and investments into the economy, and get people back into the workplace.

On pandemic unemployment assistance

Greta Van Susteren

Two Republican governors, one from South Carolina, the other in Montana, say that at the end of June, their plan is to cut off federally-funded pandemic unemployment assistance, which is about $300 a week. The suggestion being is that that is discouraging, that it’s a disincentive for people to go out and find jobs. Do you agree with that or disagree with that? What are your thoughts on what those governors say that they’re going to do?

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

But they’re also looking to take some of that money and invest in creating, giving people a check to come back into the workforce. Now, when you look in those states, you can’t compare, in my opinion, you can’t compare every state together when it comes to unemployment. In the state of Montana, I believe the unemployment rate is 3.6%. If you look today, the unemployment rate in the country is 6.1%. So it’s very different in different situations, different circumstances in different places.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

The virus numbers are different in some places. So it’s not apples to apples, it’s apples to oranges. So I think that we definitely are having conversations with I think anyone that has ideas about what we should do moving forward here, but literally throwing people off on a nationwide level, off unemployment, in my opinion, is absolutely not the right thing to do.

Greta Van Susteren

Are you saying, just so I clarify it, that there is no shortage of workers crisis? Are you saying that to me?

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that it’s clear there are shortages or there’s concerns in some places because I’m hearing it myself … I’m hearing it almost on a daily basis, but there’s reasons for that. I think there are lots of other reasons. Unemployment insurance is not the primary reason, in my opinion.

On worker shortages

Greta Van Susteren

So how do we get over that hurdle of the shortage of workers crisis or whatever term we want to use to describe the fact that some people can’t find employees to work in their businesses?

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

Well, we’re certainly having those conversations today. I know that my office is having conversations with employers, and I know that Secretary Raimondo’s office is having conversations with employers, and we’re certainly talking about it with the administration.

Greta Van Susteren

Do you have an idea? I know you just got here to Washington, but do you have some sort of idea because they seem to suggest that it’s a more urgent issue, not being able to get employees for their businesses?

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

I think when it comes to restaurants, quite honestly, I think many, many people work in that industry. As I said, in the last six weeks, they’re still not at a hundred percent. So I think that a lot of people are looking at when I go back to work, I want to go back to work. I want to go back to work full time. I want to make sure that my company or my job is not going to be shut down in another month. I think the unpredictability of the virus is we can’t ignore the fact, and whether you’re a Republican lawmaker or a Democratic lawmaker, we can’t ignore the fact that we’re still very much in the middle of a pandemic. It’s still here. The virus is still here. People are still dying. People are still being infected. People are still going into the hospital.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

So I don’t think we can ignore the fact that the virus is still with us here. I’m not saying you’re saying that. I’m just saying in general. And I think that as we move forward here, there’s a multi-pronged recovery here. One is getting people vaccinated, which the president has been consistent on. The second one is making sure now there’s concern about people not wanting to get vaccinated, for whatever reason. I would suggest you talk to your healthcare provider or your healthcare professional, to see the importance of getting. So there’s a whole level of complications here.

On women returning to the workforce

Greta Van Susteren

All right. Let me turn to the people returning to the workforce. Are you finding that with the numbers that we’re talking about in April, are women, are there certain demographics, like perhaps women, slower to return to the workforce? Because they’re worried about childcare that you mentioned or schools aren’t opening? Is that one of the problems, that it’s a combination of problems, a perfect storm?

Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor

Yeah. That’s a perfect storm right there. You’ve hit it right on the head. Women in the workforce, in a lot of cases, and some families in the workforce not having adequate childcare. The president released about two weeks ago, $36 million into the cares economy to deal with the issue of childcare. So that money has been released. I don’t think we’ve necessarily seen the benefit of that release yet, but we will see that over the coming weeks.

Sen. Tim Kaine Highlights

On infrastructure legislation

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

There is a strong desire to compromise. I will tell you I think the two areas that are tough are how big should the package be and how do you pay for it?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

I think we ought to do a bigger package than a smaller one. We’re coming out of a historic economic crisis, and there’s been a pent-up demand among mayors and the Chamber of Commerce and organized labor and governors for an infrastructure bill for a very long time. So I’d go big. I think some Republicans would rather go small.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

Then on the pay for it, look, President Biden has put on the table the primary pay for it is to take the corporate tax rate back to what I would call a midpoint. It was 35. That dropped to 21 under President Trump. Take it to 28. Those are the two areas where compromise is probably the hardest, but I introduced a bill on adding a shipyard kind of a reconstruction effort to the infrastructure package about 10 days ago with a lot of Republican co-sponsors. So many of the elements in the package are quite bipartisan, especially broadband, because we all know we need it now.

Greta Van Susteren

Are you willing to go to the smaller side of what the Republicans are proposing or will propose in hopes that perhaps later doing another package, rather than going the route of reconciliation and getting what most Democrats would probably want?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

I am okay with separating out some of the items, the healthcare items, even some of the education items. We could separate that out and consider it as a separate bill. But I would say this. I do think in an infrastructure bill, you have to have some workforce training, because roads, rail bridges, grid, broadband, they don’t build themselves,

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

So I do think we should put in some workforce training components in the infrastructure bill, or else it won’t have the effect that we need it to.

On the April jobs report

Greta Van Susteren

Senator, we expected or hoped, the economists predicted 1 million new jobs, and instead we only got 266,000. What happened?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

I think it’s probably a number of factors, people still a little bit reticent about returning to work because of COVID, schools and daycare centers not fully open everywhere. That keeps people at home. That should be improving as vaccinations roll out. I was on the road this week in Virginia, and some are concerned that the extension of UI benefits is having an effect.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

We may have to do some adjustments, going forward. I also think it demonstrates the need for this infrastructure investment, which will help on the jobs front, but is also needed for many other reasons.

On police reform

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

Well, we do need to do police reform, and the good news is, and I know you’re following this, too, there’s competing Republican and Democratic police reform proposals that were surfaced last year and that there is real effort to get those closer and closer together. Progress is being made in bipartisan negotiations.

Greta Van Susteren

Does police reform include universal body cams? Because it seems to me that really does give us a great opportunity to see what happens, not just a he said, she says. I mean, we have a chance to see exactly what went down.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

I think universal body cams should be an element of this, and that is part of the discussion. There’s things like banning no-knock warrants, banning the use of chokeholds, but I think the universal body cam is one of the best. It’s not only good to seek accountability. It can often help police officers demonstrate, “Hey, look, here’s what I was doing. I was responding to a tough situation, and I did it right.” So I think it provides protection for good policing, as well as accountability when things aren’t done right.

On Afghanistan

Greta Van Susteren

European allies are asking the US to slow the Afghan withdrawal. President Biden said we’re going to be out by September 11th. Maybe we’ll be out a little bit sooner. But our allies have asked us to slow that down. What’s your view of that?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

I want to talk to the European allies and hear their rationale. I support President Biden’s decision on the 20th anniversary of passage of the military authorization for activity in Afghanistan to fight terrorism. We’ve done what the US military can do in 20 years. 21 years or 23 or 25 isn’t going to make a crucial difference, in my view. We need to continue to provide military support, arms and military assistance, humanitarian aid, trade, diplomacy, economic aid. But I believe the US military piece of this mission is over, and we should depart by mid-September.

---

About Greta Van Susteren:

Greta Van Susteren is the Chief Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.

About “Full Court Press” and Gray Television:

“Full Court Press” is a Sunday political show broadcast on all Gray Television markets and syndicated in leading cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles covering 80% of the country. Gray Television currently owns and/or operates television stations and leading digital properties in 94 television markets, including the number-one-rated television station in 68 markets and the first or second-highest-rated television station in 87 markets. Gray’s television stations cover approximately 24 percent of US television households and broadcast approximately 400 separate programming streams, including nearly 150 affiliates of the CBS/NBC/ABC/FOX networks. Gray Television also owns video program production, marketing, and digital businesses including Raycom Sports, Tupelo-Raycom, and RTM Studios, the producer of PowerNation programs and content. For further information, please visit www.gray.tv.

Lisa Allen serves as the Executive Producer of “Full Court Press,” and Gray SVP Sandy Breland is the Executive in Charge. Cary Glotzer, CEO of Tupelo-Raycom, is in charge of production.

For media inquiries please contact:

Virginia Coyne

fullcourtpressnews@gmail.com

240-274-9365

Lisa Allen, Executive Producer “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren”

lisa.allen@gray.tv

202-713-6300

Copyright 2020 Full Court Press. All rights reserved.