In the News

WELCOME TO OTR. ALONG WITH JANET WU, I AM BEN SIMMONEAU. ED HARDING, LUCKY GUY, AT THE SUPER BOWL. OUR GUESS IS KATHERINE CLARK. SHE IS THE VICE CHAIR OF THE HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS, THE SECOND-HIGHEST-RANKING WOMAN ON CAPITOL HILL BEHIND SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI. SHE IS A GRADUATE OF ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY, CORNELL LAW SCHOOL, AND THE KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT AT HARVARD. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. REP. CLARK: GOOD TO BE WITH YOU, BEN.

JANET: SUPER BOWL SUNDAY, ARE YOU PSYCHED.

REP. CLARK: I AM PSYCHED. PATRIOTS BLUE ON.

JANET: MOST ARE WONDERING WHERE THERE IS ROOM FOR COMPROMISE ON THE PART OF DEMOCRATS. THE PRESIDENT WANTS SOME MONEY FOR THE PORTABLE AND YOU WANT BORDER SECURITY. SHOULD BOTH SIDES GIVE HIM A LITTLE BIT?

REP. CLARK: DEMOCRATS HAVE AN CLEAR. A MESSAGE WAS OPEN GOVERNMENT -- DON’T HOLD FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HOSTAGE. THE PRESIDENT HEARD THAT MESSAGE AFTER OVER A MONTH OF A FEDERAL SHUTDOWN. WE ARE IN THE PHASE WHERE WE ARE COMING TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY AND BICAMERAL WAY TO SAY WHAT WORKS BEST, WHAT ARE THE EFFECT OF THINGS WE CAN DO AT THE BORDER. THE DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN CLEAR. WE KNOW HOW DEVASTATING THE OPIOID CRISIS IS HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS, AND CERTAINLY FOR FAMILIES IN MY DISTRICT. BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT THOSE DRUGS COME RIGHT THROUGH OUR PORTS. LET’S STRENGTHEN THOSE PORTS SO WE CAN REDUCE THE FLOW OF HEROIN AND FENTANYL. LET’S MAKE SURE WE HAVE THE PERSONNEL, THE TECHNOLOGY, THE INFRASTRUCTURE, BECAUSE THAT IS ONE OF THE WEAK POINTS IN OUR BORDER SECURITY THAT NEEDS TO BE SHORT OF.

JANET: BUT THERE IS AN ARGUMENT THAT IF YOU GIVE HIM A FEW DOLLARS TO SAVE FACE, IT WILL END THE DRAMA AND GET YOU CLOSER TO A BUDGET AND NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH HIS THREAT ON DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

REP. CLARK: I MEAN, PART OF WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS GET THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE ADMINISTRATION TO SAY WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR PLAN, WHAT ARE YOU ASKING FOR. IT IS VERY HARD TO NEGOTIATE OVER AN APPLAUSE LINE THAT THE PRESIDENT USED AT RALLIES. THEY HAD AGREEMENTS, WE HAVE HAD A DIFFERENT OFFERS AT DIFFERENT POINTS OVER HIS PRESIDENCY. BUT RIGHT NOW WE ARE SAYING IF PART OF WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER, IF IT IS FENCING OR BARRIERS OR LEVEES THAT ALREADY EXIST NEED TO BE SHORED U WE ARE OPEN TO THAT. SECRETARY JOHNSON TOLD ME A STORY -- HE WAS HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION -- ABOUT A STEEL-SATTED FENCE SIMILAR TO WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS PROPOSED BY TWEET AT DIFFERENT TIMES. WITHOUT THE SENSORS AND WAS NOT, THE CARTELS WERE ABLE TO BLOW A HOLE RIGHT THROUGH IT. IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT ERECTING BARRIERS, IT IS ABOUT REALLY USING THE TECHNOLOGY AT HAND, BE DATA-DRIVEN AND EFFECTIVE.

BEN: BUT YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO PUT A DOLLAR FIGURE ON THE TABLE TODAY. REP. CLARK: I WILL BE THE WORK OF THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE.

JANET: HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT YOU WILL GET A COMPROMISE AND AVOID A SHOWDOWN? REP. CLARK: I AM VERY CONFIDENT THAT WE ARE GOING TO DO OUR WORK, AND THIS IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT CONGRESS DELIVERS ON. JANET: WHAT CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT WILL BE NOTE SHUTDOWN AGAIN?

REP. CLARK: I WOULD NOT WANT TO GUARANTEE ANYTHING THIS PRESIDENT WOULD DO OR NOT DO. I THINK WE WILL GET HIM A SOLID BORDER-SECURITY PROPOSAL.

BEN: THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK ON CAPITOL HILL AFTER THIS 35-DAY SHUTDOWN, 800,000-PLUS EMPLOYEES WITHOUT A PAYCHECK. WE SAW WHAT HAPPENED AT AIRPORTS NOTABLY. THERE IS A MOVEMENT, IT WOULD APPEAR TO BE, TO END FUTURE SHUTDOWNS FOR THE SAKE OF NATIONAL SECURITY, OUR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, AND THE EVERYDAY PUBLIC. DO YOU SUPPORT THAT AND CAN YOU GET REPUBLICANS TO SUPPORT THAT?

REP. CLARK: YOU KNOW, WE SHOULD NEVER USE SHUTDOWNS -- WE SAW HERE JUST THE IMPACT ON FAMILIES. THE COAST GUARD IS ONE OF THE MOST GLARING EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF OUR SECURITY WHO ARE GOING TO WORK IN A NOT BEING PAID. IT WAS SO FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR, AND IT READS CATHOLIC -- IT WREAKED HAVOC. BORDER PATROL, FBI, HUD EMPLOYEES I TALKED TO ALL LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK. THIS HAD A REAL IMPACT ON THEM. WE VOTED YESTERDAY IN THE HOUSE TO SAY LET’S NEVER USE SHUTDOWNS AGAIN. BUT HOW WE DO THIS TO REALLY MAKE SURE THAT THESE ARE NOT USED BY THIS PRESIDENT AS A WAY --

JANET: OR ANY OTHER.

REP. CLARK: OR ANY OTHER TO BLUDGEON OUR ECONOMY AND HOLD OUR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HOSTAGE IS VERY MUCH TALKED ABOUT RIGHT NOW.

JANET: COULD YOU ACTUALLY BAN SHUTDOWNS FOR THE FUTURE? DO YOU THINK CONGRESS HAS THE WILL AND THE ABILITY TO DO THAT?

REP. CLARK: I THINK THE PROBLEM BECOMES WE HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT THAT WE SET BUDGETS, AND WHAT WE DON’T WANT TO DO IS INADVERTENTLY GIVE THIS PRESIDENT OR ANY FUTURE EXECUTIVE A WAY THAT CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE HAVE. IT IS GOING TO BE A BALANCING ACT. HOW DO WE GET OUT OF HOLDING OUR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HOSTAGE OVER A BAD POLICY ISSUE, AND ALSO MAKING SURE THAT WE RETAIN OUR CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATION TO SET AN APPROVED BUDGETS?

JANET: LET’S MOVE OVER TO MUELLER. SOME OF YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE PREPPING FOR IMPEACHMENT. ARE THEY WRONG NOT TO WAIT FOR THE MOTHER REPORT? -- MUELLER REPORT? REP. CLARK: WE HAVE TO WAIT TO GET THE FACTS OUT AND THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS IS UNIFIED AROUND THAT. I THINK THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE -- THEY ARE ALARMED AND THEY SHOULD BE ALARMED. THE EVIDENCE WE ARE SEEING, THE INDICTMENTS THAT ARE COMING OUT, ARE VERY DISTURBING AND CONCERNING. BUT I THINK THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WANT THE FACTS ON THE TABLE, AND THAT INCLUDES THE MUELLER REPORT. JANET: SHOULD THE ENTIRE REPORT BE MADE PUBLIC TO EVERYBODY?

REP. CLARK: I CERTAINLY HOPE SO. JANET: WILL DEMOCRATS PUSH FOR THAT? REP. CLARK: DEMOCRATS ARE ALREADY TALKING ABOUT HOW WE HAVE TO PUSH FOR THAT. WE HEAR SOME CHATTER OUT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THAT MIGHT BE SO REDACTED THAT NOBODY WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE HEADS OR TAILS OF IT. IT NEEDS TO BE AVAILABLE TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND IT NEEDS TO BE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC.

BEN: WE COULD SEE A NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL THIS WEEK WHO HAS HAD A LOT ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY. WHAT MORE TO COME, BUT NOW I HAVE THE POP QUIZ. REP. CLARK: OK, I AM ALL READY. BE WE HAVE D.C. TRIVIA AND FIFTH DISTRICT TRIVIA. SEVERAL MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSMEN HAVE SERVED AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE -- OF COURSE, TIP O’NEILL THE MOST FAMOUS RECENT EXAMPLE FROM THE 1980’S. THERE ARE THREE OTHER HOUSE SPEAKERS ON THE SCREEN. WHICH OF THESE IS NOT FROM MASSACHUSETTS -- JOHN MCCORMICK, JOSEPH MORTON, OR JOHN TRUMBULL?

REP. CLARK: I’M GOING WITH JOSEPH MARTIN.

BEN: JOHN TRUMBULL. HE IS ACTUALLY FROM OUR NEIGHBORING STATE OF CONNECTICUT. THIS NEXT ONE ABOUT THE CITY OF MELROSE --

REP. CLARK AT LEAST ON A NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS DAY WE STUCK IN NEW ENGLAND.

BEN: THAT’S TRUE. THE CITY OF MELROSE WOULD YOU CALL HOME IS KNOWN FOR ITS PONDS AND STREAMS. WHAT STRUCTURE IS A WELL-KNOWN FUTURE AT BELMONT PARK -- THE GAZEBO, GRISTMILL, OR BOATHOUSE?

REP. CLARK: VISIO.

BEN: OF COURSE SHE KNOWS HER HOMETOWN. KATHERINE CLARK IS OUR GUEST. WE ARE BACK IN A MOMENT.

BEN: BACK WITH CONGRESSWOMAN KATHERINE CLARK AND THE POP QUIZ. WINTHROP IS IN YOUR DISTRICT AND A MEMBER OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S E STREET BAND WAS BORN THERE. THINK LITTLE, NOT BIG. MAX WEINBERG, CLARENCE CLEMONS, OR STEVEN VAN ZANDT?

REP. CLARK: I’M GOING WITH C.

BEN: YOU GOT IT. REP. CLARK: THANK YOU FOR THE HEADS. BEN: SOMEONE YOU KNOW WHO FREQUENTS THE CAPITAL BUILDING --CAPITOL BUILDING. IT WAS PART OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT HAD ITS OWN BUILDING -- TREASURY, SUPREME COURT, DEFENSE DEPARTMENT?

REP. CLARK: SUPREME COURT.

JANET: YOU DID PRETTY WELL! 3 OUT OF FOUR, PRETTY GOOD.

BEN: WELL DONE.

JANET: BACK TO THE REGULAR QUESTIONS. CIA, FBI, AND NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE HEADD AS SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL CONTRADICTED TRUMP’S FOREIGN POLICY ASSUMPTIONS. IS THIS GOOD FOR DEMOCRATS? BAD FOR VOTERS?

REP. CLARK: I DON’T THINK IT IS GOOD FOR ANYBODY WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS CONTRADICTING OUT INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS. THAT IS A CAUSE FOR GREAT CONCERN. WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO IS ROUTINELY TRYING TO UNDERMINE INTELLIGENCE, AND WHEN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT NEW YORK CLEAR -- NUCLEAR THREATS IN NORTH KOREA, WHAT IS HAPPENING IN IRAN, WHA IS HAPPENING WITH ISIS IN SYRIA, THESE ARE AREAS WHERE WE NEED AN ENGAGED STATE DEPARTMENT AND ENGAGED WHITE HOUSE WORKING WITH INTELLIGENCE TO PLOT OUT STRATEGIES AND PLOT HOW WE PROCEED IN FOREIGN POLICY. I THINK THERE ARE NO WINNERS WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO UNDERMINE THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY.

JANET: IT SEEMS TO HAVE UNITED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TOGETHER ON CAPITOL HILL, NO?

REP. CLARK: YES, I THINK REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS REALIZE WHAT IS AT STAKE WHEN WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO IS OPENLY CRITICIZING AND SAY THAT WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IS IT TRUE. THIS ISN’T TRUE. WE NEED TO RELY ON OUR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITIES AND PROFESSIONALS FOR THE SECURITY OF OUR PEOPLE AND OF OUR COUNTRY, AND IT IS A VERY DANGEROUS PRACTICE.

BEN: LET’S SWITCH GEARS AND TALK ABOUT THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE. THE IOWA CAUCUSES AND AFTER PRIMARIES ARE 11 MONTHS AWAY, BUT ELIZABETH WARREN IS GETTING A LOT OF COMPETITION FOR THE 2020 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDACY. ARE YOU READY TO ENDORSE YOUR SENATOR AS OF YET?

REP. CLARK: I AM -- LET ME TELL YOU HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT HOW MANY CANDIDATES ARE COMING OUT, AND ESPECIALLY THE NUMBER OF WOMEN, INCLUDING ELIZABETH WARREN, WHO ARE ALREADY OUT. I AM LOOKING FOR A CANDIDATE IN 2020 -- ALTHOUGH IT IS WAY TOO EARLY TO MAKE ANY ANNOUNCEMENTS -- WHO IS GOING TO PUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FIRST AGAIN AND IS GOING TO SEE THEIR ISSUES AND PUT THEM ON THE TABLE. I LIKE WHAT I AM HEARING AND SEEING FROM THE DEMOCRATS.

BEN: IS THERE A NUMBER THAT IS TOO MANY? DOES THE FIELD GET UNWIELDY? THE TALKING POINT FOR DEMOCRATS IS THE MORE THE MERRIER. THAT IS WHAT SENATOR WARREN SAID. BUT WHEN YOU GET TO 10, 15, 20 CANDIDATES, IT IS HARD TO HOLD DEBATES AND DO FUNCTIONS.

REP. CLARK: I’M NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THE NUMBER GETTING IT. THERE WILL BE SOME NUMBER AND SOME ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT ALL THE WAY TO DEBATES AND FOR WHATEVER REASON. BUT I THINK WE NEED HEAR FROM PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR ALL AMERICANS. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE MISSING IN THIS WHITE HOUSE, AND I THINK IT IS GOOD TO HEAR THESE MESSAGES AND HAVE AN OPEN DEBATE ON THEIR IDEAS. BUT REALLY ABOUT SHOWING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE SEE THEM AND WE WANT TO WORK FOR THEM AGAIN.

JANET: ANY WORRIES THAT THE MAJORITY O CANDIDATES WHO HAVE DECLARED SO FAR ARE TOO FAR LEFT FROM T MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD, AND THAT THAT WOULD HURT THE PARTY WHEN IT GETS TO SEPTEMBER?

REP. CLARK: I AM NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THAT. I THINK THAT WHETHER YOU ARE -- EVEN JOE BIDEN, WHO SOME PEOPLE SAY IS THE CENTRIST, STILL CONSIDERING THIS, HE ALWAYS SAYS THERE AR PROGRESSIVE VALUES YOU FIND ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, AND IT IS ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT FAMILIES HAVE A FAIR SHOT. DO THEY HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES, WHETHER THEY ARE LIVING IN RURAL AMERICA, OUR CITIES IN MASSACHUSETTS, AND OHIO? I THINK THE DEMOCRATS UNDERSTAND THIS. I THINK THAT IS WHY WE WERE SO SUCCESSFUL IN THE MIDTERMS. IT IS ABOUT RETURNING GOVERNMENT AND OUR FOCUS BACK ON TO THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO THEM -- QUALITY JOBS, REDUCING HEALTH CARE COSTS, MAKING SURE WE ARE CLEANING UP GOVERNMENT. THAT IS THE PLATFORM THAT DEMOCRATS RAN ON INTIMATE TERMS AND IT IS WHY WE DID SO WELL.

JANET: WE CAN’T LET YOU GO WITHOUT ASKING ABOUT THE CHATTER WE KEEP ON HEARING ABOUT YOUR FUTU AS POSSIBLY THE NEXT SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE WANTS NANCY PELOSI RETIRES. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE JOB?

REP. CLARK: I AM NOT INTERESTED IN HAVING NANCY PELOSI RETIRE ANYTIME SOON.

JANET: WHAT IS IT A JOB THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU?

REP. CLARK: YOU KNOW, IT I AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY TO BE VICE CHAIR OF THIS CAUCUS, AND I’M FOCUSED ON THAT. WE HAVE THE MOST DIVERSE CAUCUS IN CONGRESS RIGHT NOW. BRINGING THOSE STRENGTHS OUT, UNIFYING US IN PURPOSE, PRINTING THOSE NEW -- BRINGING THO NEW, FRESH VOICES TO THE TABLE --

JANET: YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TOUCH THIS WITH A 10-FOOT POLE. [LAUGHTER]

JANET: NOT GOING TO PURSUE ANYMORE. BEN: YOUR MESSAGE FOR THE PATRIOTS?

REP. CLARK: GO PATS!

BEN: THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.

Original story part 1, part 2.