Rep. Mondaire Jones: 'No Reason To Work With' GOP Right Now

Written by on April 13, 2021

NEW YORK ― Rep. Mondaire Jones, a New York Democrat, made historical past in November when he turned one of many first two overtly homosexual Black males to win a seat in Congress.

As a consultant of Rockland and Westchester counties ― largely prosperous, white suburban communities north of New York Metropolis ― he’s additionally a part of a wave of progressive lawmakers proving they will win in traditionally reasonable territory.

Jones sat down with HuffPost final week to clarify why he’s not planning on working with Republicans any time quickly, why he thinks President Joe Biden’s efficiency has been a “nice shock,” and why he sees abolishing or reforming the filibuster as a key take a look at for Biden.

Beneath is a transcript of the interview, condensed and calmly edited for readability.

You’ve referred to as for Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s expulsion.

Did that decision apply to all members of Congress who objected to certifying the election outcomes?

Some folks have been extra egregious of their rhetoric, of their incitement of what occurred on January 6 than different folks have been.

Nonetheless, I’m sympathetic to the argument that anybody who voted to overturn the outcomes of the November presidential election simply hours after all of us had almost died, and on the Capitol that day performed a job in pushing the Huge Lie, which instantly incited the violent rebellion that occurred [should be expelled.]

Just a few weeks earlier than this all occurred, Josh Hawley and Bernie Sanders teamed as much as push for money reduction funds. Some folks credit score that bipartisan duo for getting it into the dialog and having that be a part of the ultimate invoice. After which clearly, Trump did his factor.

Every now and then, on problems with battle and peace and surveillance, liberal Democrats have made frequent trigger with a handful of libertarian sorts on the Republican aspect. Some folks would argue that it might be a disgrace to only ― regardless of how reprehensible the conduct ― rule out ever working with even a Hawley-type determine on one thing like money funds or possibly Huge Tech.

It’s a coherent argument, however not one that’s persuasive. Within the case of Mr. Hawley, he has almost uniformly voted to chop taxes for the wealthy, and in any other case empowered a GOP caucus that, at each flip, throws working folks, who he purports to wish to assist by a $2,000 stimulus, below the bus.

So simply to be clear, assuming he sticks round, and another individual that you simply would possibly put in that very same basket sticks round, would you ever collaborate with them in any approach ― on something ― for purely tactical causes?

If Republicans have a majority and wish to work on offering financial reduction to the American folks, together with lifting working folks out of poverty by offering an honest way of life ― and I actually do hope that we’ll have given folks a $15 minimal wage by then ― then I’m on board. 

Proper now, there isn’t any cause to work with individuals who didn’t vote for the American Rescue Plan, regardless of it being widespread with 77% of the American folks, together with the bulk or about half of Republicans. I believe it’s clear that our democracy is damaged, and that the people who find themselves within the Republican caucus aren’t enthusiastic about working in good religion. 

You understand, if Josh Hawley had thought that there was an precise likelihood he might ship a $2,000 stimulus verify, I don’t know that he would have taken the place he did. He understands that populism is widespread, and for that cause had an incentive to attempt to get a few of Trump’s base on that effort.

However I don’t assume it was real, as a result of it’s, the truth is, belied by the celebration to which he belongs and his conduct in any other case. He has voted towards, I believe, all of Biden’s nominees or almost all of them. Janet Yellen on the Treasury setting coverage that may assist working folks can be as impactful as a $2,000 survival verify again in December.

I didn’t count on that I must serve with individuals who almost bought me killed on January 6 and have expressed no regret for doing so. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.)

How do you assess Biden’s presidency to date?

He’s doing an incredible job, and after I converse to progressives like myself, there’s a nice shock in our evaluation. However it would change into untenable for him to not push for a repeal of the filibuster or a minimum of reformation of the filibuster. 

That can enable payments like H.R. 1 for Senate 1 to go, in addition to the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Equality Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act ― you title it.

The filibuster goes to be the take a look at, then?

It will likely be the take a look at. The American Rescue Plan is transformative financial laws. Bernie Sanders has stated as a lot, and I’m upset after I hear folks not reward it as such. We are actually reducing youngster poverty in half. There are going to be many households that recover from $10,000, between the $1,400 survival checks per individual and the expanded youngster tax credit score.

And also you’re optimistic that Congress will make the kid tax credit score everlasting, somewhat than let it expire in three years’ time?

I’m hoping we are able to do it this yr.

What has stunned you most about Congress? And what’s essentially the most irritating factor?

I didn’t count on that I must serve with individuals who almost bought me killed on January 6 and have expressed no regret for doing so. I didn’t count on {that a} substantial variety of Capitol law enforcement officials wouldn’t have an interest within the safety of my well-being and that of my colleagues. 

You’ll have seen The Washington Put up article about how my chief of workers noticed this anti-Semitic pamphlet, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” And that was simply mendacity on the market ― a well-worn, ostensibly, January 2019 copy of it mendacity at a safety verify. What does that imply concerning the tradition of the Capitol Police that one thing like that would simply be out within the open?

So that you’re not glad proper now with the work that’s being carried out to analyze ― 

I’m not aware of that work, as a result of the evaluation of the risk from inside was by no means produced to members of Congress, which is one thing that I’ve raised with different members of management [of which I am a part].

Are there any friendships with ideologically totally different members or Republicans which have taken type that you simply didn’t count on?

I’m not ready to get myself into that form of bother but [laughs].

What do you concentrate on the fencing across the Capitol?

It’s essential till such time because the risk has abated. And I have to say, I’ve been annoyed to listen to a few of my Democratic colleagues name for elimination of the fencing within the weeks main as much as what we noticed a couple of days in the past ― that lethal assault on the Capitol.

In fact, that attacker seems to have had a unique ideology than the January 6 rioters.

Violent extremism on this nation is violent extremism, whether or not it’s motivated by one form of ideology or one other ― it’s all lethal. 

And naturally, when folks noticed what occurred on January 6, even when they weren’t white supremacists, home terrorists, they understood the Capitol to be weak from a safety standpoint. And so now, you have got expanded the group of people who find themselves enthusiastic about doing this hurt on the Capitol.


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