Jansing and Co | December 06, 2012
>>> boy clubs in the halls of congress is now under a woman's rule. when new york representative nita was picked as the ranking member of the house appropriations committee yesterday, it was like watching conde rice swing a club at augusta. joining me is the woman behind the [ through, congresswoman nita lowey . good morning.
>> it was an honor to be elected by my colleagues as the top democrat on the appropriations committee .
>> this is a huge deal. it goes without saying. you've been in congress 25 years. things have changed a bit, haven't they, congresswoman?
>> they sure have. when i came here in 1988 , there were 29 women in the house. now there are 81. we have a speaker, who is now a leader who will be speaker again who is a woman. and our caucus really does look like maerk. and what's so exciting about it as a woman, i know that we bring our personal experience as a wife, as a mother to our job and it really makes a difference.
>> you know, one of obviously the most powerful people in the country is the speaker. she's been a big advocate of yours. she did have this news conference yesterday touting the number of women in the diversity and leadership and she sent out a tweet boasting about that, clearly a stab at the republicans, who took a lot of heat because they appointed the first 19 chairs, all of them were white men and then they finally gave one leadership position to a woman. i asked your colleague marcia blackburn about this and she said, look, we haven't had a lot of women in congress for a long time, it's a seniority issue, we have people who are coming up through the ranks in local offices, we need to get them in congress . is what we're seeing with the republicans just a matter of they need to get more women in there longer or is it something else?
>> oh, i think it's something else. our democratic caucus reflects america. in fact, we have the first majority/minority caucus in the congress for the first time. we represent not just women , we represent african-americans, we represent hispanics, we represent asians, we represent wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and that's why when we approach issues on appropriation like education and health care and building in infrastructure, rebuilding our schools, dealing with the environment, our perspective is absolutely essential. so you may have women in congress , a couple, but what really matters is to have women at the table so that our perspectives, our lifetime of experience can be reflected in the work we do.
>> you've been at the table for a while but your influence is obviously increasing. tell me where you stand on fiscal cliff. what's going to happen here, congresswoman?
>> well, i am hoping because i'm the kind of person that always worked across the aisle. in fact on my foreign-ones committee, kay granger and i have been called the odd couple, we work well together. i've spoken to hal rodgers, chairman of the appropriations committee , i'm optimist being that we can sit at the table and get these things done. comprehensive tax reform is going to take longer, but we can make sure that the middle class keeps its tax cuts . we can make sure we target some waste. you can have across-the-board cuts. we have to have a very clear plan to cut back on certain areas. we can't cut back on programs that benefit the working and the middle class . we have to make sure our kids are educated. we have to make sure they have health care . but there are places in the bill that we can cut, and we don't want to do it with a sledge hammer . we're wise enough to be able to use a scalpel. so, again, i hope that we can sit together, work something out and do it soon. frankly, the holidays are coming up and members of congress and their families deserve to celebrate, whether it's hanukkah or christmas, and we're adults. let's just get this done.
>> congressman nita lowey , congratulations and thanks for coming on the program.
>> thank you so much.