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Ayanna Pressley on BPR 01/10/19

Rep. Ayanna Pressley: Focus On 'Foul Policies, Not Foul Language'

New Congress
Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., waves to the audience during swearing-in ceremony of Congressional Black Caucus members of the 116th Congress at The Warner Theatre in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.
Jose Luis Magana/AP
Ayanna Pressley on BPR 01/10/19

Rep. Ayanna Pressley defended fellow House Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s use of profanity in calling for the impeachment of President Trump.

Hours after she was sworn into congress, Tlaib was under fire for language she used in a speech that was posted on Twitter.

“When your son looks at you and says, 'Mama look, you won. Bullies don't win,'” she said, in reference to Trump. “And I said, 'Baby, they don't.' Because we're gonna go in there and we're going to impeach the [expletive]."

In an interview with Boston Public Radio Thursday, Pressley said language should not be what people are focused on.

“I'd rather us be focused on foul policies and how to mitigate and reverse the impact of those policies than foul language,” Pressley said. “As for impeachment, that's always been on the table. We'll wait for the Mueller investigation. I think for many, there is an opinion that it's not a matter of if and more like when.”

Read more: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley Acknowledges Historical Moment, Promises to Get to Work

Pressley said she’s urging congressional leaders to focus instead on the ongoing government shutdown, now in its third week. The freshman congresswoman said she’s introducing legislation to ensure that any agreement to reopen the government includes retroactive pay for furloughed contract workers — like janitors and cafeteria employees, who often don’t see back-pay after a shutdown.

“This will guarantee backpay for low-wage workers who have been placed on unpaid leave during the shutdown,” Pressley said. She added, “There's a residual effect here. Yesterday I met with airport controllers and TSA workers who are still working. Beginning Friday, they will not be getting paid. They are already talking about bringing their children to work because they can't afford childcare.”

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