Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st District Talks to Fox News Radio’s Guy Benson about the federal response to the Coronavirus. Rep. Stefanik discussed the work that is being done on Capitol Hill to ensure that the economy and health of U.S citizens remains strong.
Guy Benson: Final hour on the Guy Benson Show on this Thursday, I’m in New York City. I’ll be on Kenedy tonight, Fox Business Network, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Thanks for joining us. Guy Benson Show Dot.com, our Web site here. The podcast is free both at Guy Benson Show com and i-Tunes. Please subscribe. Joining me now is Congresswoman Elise to Phonic of New York’s 21st Congressional District. Congressman, great to have you back on the show, guy.
Rep. Stefanik: Happy to be back on the show.
Guy Benson: Let’s start, of course, with coronavirus as you have constituents reaching out to you as you meet with your constituents. What are the main questions that you’re getting from them and what do you think are the most important bullet points? That, of course, people in upstate New York need to know, but people writ large in the country?
Rep. Stefanik: Well, first, this is something that no matter where you live across this country, should be taken very, very seriously. My job as a member of Congress and we have sought to do this throughout our district is getting the most accurate up to date information out as possible resources from CDC dot gov. That’s where we where anyone should go if they’re looking for any questions or concerns in my district. We’re also working closely with our county public health officials to make sure that all the resources they need and the information that they need to get out to the public or helping them do that. But this is about being vigilant. Small decisions now are important to stop the exponential growth of this pandemic. Washing your hands, making sure that whether you’re a school, a small business or just a community location, that you have hygiene products. So hand soap, hand sanitizer, incredibly important social distancing. That is tough. I’m someone who loves shaking people’s hands. But we have to be smart about this and make sure that we’re social distancing. In my district, our county public health officials are working with organizations to proactively make sure that the people understand how important these small decisions are.
Guy Benson: Congresswoman, I’ve been watching reports today on Twitter mostly about wrangling on Capitol Hill, on the House side, on the Senate side. It seems like there’s brinksmanship going on. Senate Republicans may be threatening to say, well, we’re not going to take up the House bill. We might leave town and go on recess here. And Nancy Pelosi is playing politics with this as well. I saw one report that she was trying to sneak in some Hyde Amendment violation provisions into a spending bill on to sort of like a backdoor on abortion policy in this moment of crisis. And, you know, she’s talking about maybe leaving town. This is why so many people look at Washington and despise what happens there so often. How is it possible in a moment like this that top leaders from both parties, frankly, would be playing these kinds of games? Isn’t this the moment for people to get together and say, let’s broom aside all the usual B.S., frankly, and get something that is targeted and makes sense?
Rep. Stefanik: Yes. This is not a time for political brinksmanship from either party. This is a time to unify as a country and make sure that the resources that are needed, increasing testing capabilities, while it’s good news that all 50 states are able to pursue testing. We need to fast and the pace clearly to make sure that we’re getting the most accurate information as quickly as possible.
Guy Benson: How has there been such a. Sorry to interrupt, but you mentioned the testing and this seems to be maybe the most scandalously failed element of the U.S. response so far. How is it that we are lagging so far behind on that? Well, absolutely crucial.
Rep. Stefanik: There is no explanation. And as legislators, we need to ensure that this bipartisan bill provides the support for testing. That is the number one priority to make sure that we are able to do this in a timely way. In my district, there are numerous examples of individuals who have tested positive. And in order to stop the community spread, we need to make sure that we have testing. But one of my criticisms of the way Speaker Pelosi went about putting together this package initially there was no input from Republicans. This was written by her staff late last night and only today or late last night, almost midnight, did we have the opportunity to read the bill. So there should not be political riders in this bill. This is an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans and the administration to come together on important provisions to ensure that all the funding for public health needs are funded by Congress, relief for small businesses and hardworking families who are going to face potential hardships stemming from this. So, guy, I you know, I’m sitting in my desk in the congressional office of New York’s 21st district. We should absolutely ensure that Congress gets its work done, that we can pass a bill out of the House, out of the Senate, signed into law as quickly as possible.
Guy Benson: What do you make of these concerns raised by a number of people, including Senator Rubio? I know President Trump said he’s moving toward some executive action to ameliorate this problem. But this glaring new it’s not a new phenomenon, but it is new. Understood by a lot of people the extent to which China controls key elements of our supply chain when it comes to drugs, pharmaceuticals and other health related materials, we aren’t at war with them. Thank God. Right now, hopefully we never will be. But in the event that we were in that type of situation down the road, having an adversarial foreign power wield that much control over absolutely essential life-saving material for Americans. To me, seems criminally insane for the U.S. government. What do you make of that? What can be done about that?
Rep. Stefanik: I think the concern is valid that Senator Rubio raises. This is an issue that I’ve actually been on the forefront on on the House Armed Services Committee. I’m the leading Republican on emerging threats. And when we think about the supply chain for something, as it seems as simple as health masks, the fact that we have a shortage in this country, that is a problem. Drug manufacturing is also a problem that we are too dependent on China. But even, you know, minerals and manufacturing materials, we need to make sure that the U.S. and our allies are able to have a supply chain to face potential challenges like this one. So this is really highlighting some deep concerns. I think the American people have, but policymakers have. I also am very concerned about the propaganda coming out of the Chinese Communist Party. Yes. And I am concerned about the mimicking of that propaganda that elected officials and members of the media have pursued. The fact that you have an information officer, an official of the Chinese communist government, potentially blaming the U.S. military, that is propaganda. And there should we need to really alert all of our media outlets and every U.S. official and frankly, every American that that type of propaganda should not be anywhere in the newspapers.
Guy Benson: Yeah. And I think it was interesting. I saw your tweet about that earlier today. And there was someone on the left who came after you saying it’s a waste of time to get into this sort of screaming match with the Chinese about propaganda and maybe do your job was sort of the the thrust of the tweet and cycle. Hang on.
Rep. Stefanik: I think part of the job for people making sure the facts get out there and make people like, you know, and making sure that Americans have correct information and that they don’t get fooled by disinformation and propaganda from a foreign regime. I thought that foreign interference, foreign disinformation was a problem last time I checked Ailey’s. Right. And it’s something that we need to be vigilant against with Russia, China and Iran. And it’s something that I’ve been focused on, you know, prior to this crisis right now. So for the listeners, the most important resources are CDC dot gov or corona virus dot gov. Additionally, another step you can take is looking at your state health departments or your county public health departments. In my district, the county public health officials have been tremendous on the front lines, getting the information out. You know, there’s a lot of misinformation coming from China on Twitter right now. So making sure that we urge everyone to go to CDC dot gov and their county public health officials.
Guy Benson: On a separate note, I saw something that you posted to social media a few days ago. Someone left a nasty personal note on your windshield when you went grocery shopping and you publicized what had been said and talked about the need for civility. I see that your opponent sort of obliquely kind of blamed you for that. And then Howard Dean, a prominent liberal, kind of overtly blamed you for it and said you’ve reaped the whirlwind of what you sowed. And that was the general the general notion that he was sharing talk about what was left on your windshield and this very strange impulse for people to rather than just saying. Of course, there’s no place for that suggest or outright say that maybe you deserved it.
Rep. Stefanik: Well, you know, first of all, I know that in in society today and with politics, especially with the coverage 24/7. People have passionate viewpoints. And that is part of our democratic process, particularly as we go into an election year. And people I understand when are passionate about policy disagreements. What is not acceptable is to leave a note in the contents of the note said Rot in hell, fascist pig. I’m used to the vitriol online. I’m used to that type of verbiage on phone calls, for example. But to put that on someone’s private property is unacceptable. I swear I want it. What’s also unacceptable is that it wasn’t just Howard Dean. It was editorial boards in my district saying that I deserved it because of President Trump, because of Republicans. And that is it is unacceptable. And it was an embarrassment for those editorial boards. We should condemn any type of rhetoric like that. You know, my opponent in this case is very upset that I continue to talk about our differences on tax issues. She has voted to increase taxes multiple times and she wants that issue to go away. So she did not 100 percent condemn the statement. She said there should not be name calling. What I try to highlight is how she’s voted multiple times for tax increases. And yet she says that is the equivalent of rot in hell fascist pig. Voters know it’s not the same. But we’re going to continue focusing on policy issues in this race. And we’ve referred that to law enforcement.
Guy Benson: To try to equate your nickname for your opponent taxand tendre, which is about tax policy to rot in hell. Fascist pig is insulting and I would love to know which editors of a newspaper that would like to consider itself serious would say, yeah, let’s let’s go with that. And apparently they’re parroting what your opponent is trying to sell, which is equally insulting. One last question also about politics. And it feels small. It actually feels almost frivolous when we’re dealing with issues like Corona virus. But there are big picture political questions that remain important. And as we look ahead to the future, something you and I, Congresswoman, have talked about, and this has been a real push on your part, a real point of emphasis is diversifying the Republican Party, the type of people running for office, especially when it comes to women. And you have a political action group, a PAC that is specifically designed to help on that front and make strides on that front. IPAC and I saw that on Super Tuesday and beyond, you guys have struck a couple significant blows and notched some wins. If you would just briefly touch on that, the importance of that.
Rep. Stefanik: Yes, absolutely. So we are we have a historic number of Republican women who are running for office. And the model of my leadership pack is to focus on identifying our strongest women candidates and helping them as early as possible so that early investment helps them build strong campaigns that are data driven and have a path to win not just the primary and the but the general election as well. We had a clean sweep. Every single candidate that I endorsed that was facing a primary on Super Tuesday won that primary. So that’s a big deal. We had some key Texas races where every single woman Republican that I endorse was able to get through without a runoff, which is a huge deal. So superstars like Genevieve Collins, Kay Granger, who had a tough race as an incumbent, I endorsed her as well. So it’s very, very exciting. And listeners can learn more at Elevate PAC.com.
GuyBenson: Elise Stefanik is the congresswoman for New York’s 21st district. Upstate New York covered a lot of ground today, especially on Corona virus. Congressman, it’s a busy day in D.C.. Thank you for carving out a little time for us. Thank you, guy. We will step aside and take a break as this hour of THE GUY BENSON SHOW continues next.