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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 7/15/21

Guests: Pramila Jayapal, Vanessa Pierre, Rosa DeLauro


Interview with Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus and is a member of the House Budget Committee. Interview with Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, chair of the House Appropriations Committee and has advocated for the child tax credit since 2003.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Well, Rachel, how -- it`s stunning to see how many minutes -- and we`re talking single-digit number of minutes it took for her to get arrested. When you compare that with January 6th, it has taken months to arrest some of those people. In fact, most of the people who were in the Capitol on January 6th have not been arrested.


O`DONNELL: So this juxtaposition today and your coverage of it was brilliant earlier in the hour coming into this. It`s just -- I mean, I understand it theoretically, like what that arrest was about today, but stacking it against January 6th is just stunning.

MADDOW: Yeah. I mean and on its own terms, it`s stunning even as a stand- alone thing. She and those other leaders today, those African-American leaders standing there in the atrium, singing and preparing to be arrested and comporting themselves with, you know, putting themselves at risk getting handcuffed and taken away, but comforting themselves with such dignity and calling the moral question on this issue with such clarion dignity.

It`s just a -- it`s a moving thing. It`s a moving, moving thing and an effective thing. And that`s the kind of, I think, moral sledgehammer that`s going to be needed to knock down these doors that are otherwise nailed shut.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. And one of the theories of that kind of arrest is that you are in some way obstructing what`s going on, in this case in the hart Senate office building where that atrium is close to the size of Grand Central Station. It is impossible for them to have created any sort of traffic situation in that gigantic space.

MADDOW: Yeah. All they did was make people choke up and think twice about their priorities. That was the traffic they caused there, yeah.

O`DONNELL: Exactly.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

MADDOW: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Well, the two infrastructure bills moving on two legislative tracks in Congress now have a timetable on those tracks in the United States Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the first vote on one of the bills will be next Wednesday.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): And as I`ve said from the start, Madam President, as I`ve said from the start, the two tracks of infrastructure are going to move in tandem. We`re making good progress on both tracks. We in the Democratic Caucus heard from the president yesterday on the budget resolution.

The meeting was wonderful. The excitement was palpable. The opportunity to do so much good for so many American families was in the air in that meeting. It was exciting. And as that happened, the bipartisan working groups had many meetings on the bipartisan infrastructure framework as well.


O`DONNELL: The first vote Senator Schumer is scheduling on Wednesday will be on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That is a procedural vote, but it is the most important vote on that bill because it takes 60 votes to then allow an actual vote on the bill itself.


SCHUMER: Everyone has been having productive conversations, and it`s important to keep the two-track process moving. All parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their agreement so that the Senate can begin considering that legislation next week. And I am setting the same deadline, next Wednesday, for the entire Senate Democratic caucus to agree to move forward on the budget resolution with reconciliation instructions.


O`DONNELL: Okay. That means that Majority Leader Schumer plans to pass the bipartisan bill first in the Senate and then, after the August recess, bring the Democrats only infrastructure bill to the Senate floor, protected then by budget reconciliation rules that allow it to pass with a simple majority vote.


In the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the House will not vote on the Senate bipartisan bill until the Senate votes on the $3.5 trillion bill that has been outlined by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders and that the Democrats plan to pass in September in that budget reconciliation process. Today, Montana`s moderate Democratic Senator Jon Tester said this about the Democrats only $3.5 trillion bill.


SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): There`s a lot of needs out there, so $3.5 trillion is not unreasonable. It is a lot of money, but if it`s spent appropriately, it will do this country a lot of good, and it probably needs to be spent.


O`DONNELL: Today, President Biden said he is confident this two-track legislative process, which has never been tried before, will work and will deliver over $4 trillion in total infrastructure improvements in this country.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand why the press among others is skeptical that I can actually get this deal done on infrastructure and on human infrastructure. And I`ve watched and listened in the press have declared my initiative dead at least ten times so far. I don`t think it`s dead. I think it`s still alive. I still have confidence we`re going to be able to get what I proposed.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is someone I`m eager to talk to about this legislation, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. She is chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus and is a member of the House Budget Committee.

Congresswoman Jayapal, you`re in the thick of this. This budget resolution that Bernie Sanders is working on in the Senate at $3.5 trillion is going to come your way in the House Budget Committee. If this works, you`re going to have to pass something virtually identical.

What is your reaction to chairman Sanders` product so far, the $3.5 trillion Democrats-only bill?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Well, Lawrence, I think that it is a huge down payment on much of what we have been talking about in terms of the great crises facing Americans today and the lack of opportunity that people have. There are so many things in this bill from health care, expanding Medicare, which we have been pushing for for a long time, expanding Medicaid, making sure that we are addressing the ability for people to go to college, community college for two years. That`s a big piece.

And then, of course, the care economy that gets women back into the workforce with childcare, paid leave, long-term care, and taking on climate. So, those are kind of three big buckets that are within this proposal.

Now, obviously we wanted more. We think that it deserves more, but I would say this is a down payment. We are still looking at the specifics of each of these things because there are five priorities that the progressive caucus laid out. Every one of those five priorities is in the reconciliation bill, and that includes immigration, climate, housing, health care, Medicare expansion.

These are all the things that are contained within this $3.5 trillion. What the numbers are is where we`re still working, and then let`s be clear. This is a down payment.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said about this.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): This bill is absolutely a progressive victory because if it wasn`t for progressives in the House, we probably would be stuck with that tiny, pathetic bipartisan bill alone, and that would have been the entirety of our infrastructure spending.


O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Jayapal, this is essentially the reaction that I was expecting because I assumed that Chairman Sanders had made sure before he revealed an agreement of the Democrats on his Budget Committee that it would be acceptable to you, that it would be acceptable to Speaker Pelosi.

Did you have any direct communications with Chairman Sanders, or do you know how Chairman Sanders made sure that what he was going to reveal would be acceptable?

JAYAPAL: Senator Sanders and I have been talking every couple of days. Our staffs are in very, very close coordination. But, obviously, Lawrence, the specifics are not all outlined.

So, you know, several months ago, we put out five priorities. I communicated those five priorities very clearly to Senator Sanders.


I said, this is what the progressive caucus will need if we are going to vote on this.

And as you remember, almost three months ago, we said we were not going to vote on a bipartisan deal unless this reconciliation package was voted on at the same time. At the time, no one else was saying that.

But progressives said that. We whipped our members. The vast majority of our members said that they were not going to vote for that bipartisan bill, and now, of course, the speaker, Senator Schumer, everybody is on the same page.

So I do feel like progressives both inside Congress, in the Senate, in the House, and outside in the movement have made this entire package possible - - of course, along with President Biden`s expansive vision. If we hadn`t had a president that had that kind of expansive vision, none of this would be happening. And if we didn`t have a Senate and a House that were controlled by Democrats, none of that would be happening.

But we just need to take some progressive victories here, and we`re going to continue to work on the specifics of what this exactly looks like.

O`DONNELL: And we just heard from Senator Jon Tester, who is onboard with this spending, and as you know, he comes from a Republican state in Montana, somehow manages to get re-elected there in an ongoing miracle of sorts. But pulling him along into the same place where Senator Sanders is now, where you are now shows us that this bill as of now has just -- seems to have the full support of the Democratic Party.

We haven`t heard specifically Joe Manchin saying, yes, I`m 100 percent onboard with this, but this is the moment where someone in his position is supposed to come forward and say, this is what I cannot accept. And it sounds like in the meeting with the president yesterday, all of the Democratic senators really, in effect, accepted all of this.

JAYAPAL: Well, I think you have to understand why, and I really appreciated the way he put it. There is so much need out there. I mean, today, Lawrence, 60 -- families of 60 million kids are going to get checks somewhere between $300 and $350 per child.

And that incredible need we are addressing with the child tax credit is the same kind of thinking that went into what are the demands of this bill? It is for people to be able to go to community college for two years for free and have a hope at a higher education. It`s for people to be able to retire at 62 and still get Medicare benefits, get their dental, vision, and hearing paid for as well.

It`s also for people to be able to know that their planet is going to survive, that we have mass transit, that we have a way to really protect this planet for our children.

And, of course, if people get childcare and they get paid leave, imagine how different life would look for anyone across the United States of America. That is populist policy. It is popular policy, whether you`re in Montana or whether you`re in Washington state or whether you`re in Georgia.

So I think that is really -- the need is so great, and he is absolutely right when he says, we can absolutely and we need to spend this money so we can give Americans a way to feel different about their lives when they wake up every morning.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you very much for starting us off tonight. We really needed your perspective on this. Really appreciate it.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And joining our suggestion now, John Heilemann, NBC News and MSNBC national affairs analyst. He`s executive editor of "The Recount", where he hosts "The Hell and High Water" podcast.

Also with us, Zerlina Maxwell, host of the program "Zerlina" that airs on Peacock.

Zerlina, I`ve got my little scorecard here and we`ve got a bipartisan agreement in the Senate on one piece of this infrastructure bill. We now have the left side of the Democratic Party in full support of what Bernie Sanders has managed to accomplish in the Senate budget committee on the $3.5 trillion Democrats-only package. You`ve heard from Jon Tester. Senator Warner is on that Budget Committee. He basically represents the Manchin side of the Democratic Party.

It really looks like all the boxes have been checked on both of these bills at this point.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Except writing the text of the entire thing. But certainly the framework for these bills and I think what people are willing to agree upon before going forward with the procedural votes is a boon for this administration. I think -- I mean, President Biden is right. People wrote off his ability to get this across the finish line.


And, again, it`s not there yet.

But I think it goes to show that there is something to those phone calls that he`s doing in private, Lawrence. The conversations he`s been having continuously that are not happening out in the open, he`s not negotiating out in the open, and I think if he`s able to get this across the finish line and provide these aspects of the care economy, which are absolutely essential, childcare, paid leave, and care for our aging parents are needs that have come to the fore so clearly in this pandemic.

So I think President Biden`s experience for so many years in the Congress is coming to fore, and you`re seeing that with the success at this point.

O`DONNELL: And, John Heilemann, the president says he`s confident. It`s hard to be confident with legislative vehicles that are this complex, but what can be said is this is working as smoothly and as well as it possibly could at the beginning stages of this budget resolution and the bipartisan agreement.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yeah, I think that`s right, Lawrence. And I mean, look, I take Chuck Schumer at his word. He keeps telling people, this is going to be a long road. It`s going to be a long road. It`s going to be a bumpy road. Don`t anybody get out over their skis and start thinking this is going to be easy. We have a 50-50 Senate. We have a very narrow margin in the house. This is an extraordinarily complicated vehicle.

You and I have been talking about this for a few months, kind of looking at this in awe and wonder. It`s like watching somebody on a tightrope like the guy that used to do that tightrope walk at the World Trade Center. It`s a very tricky thing to do.

But you`ve got to get across the tightrope one step at a time. And right now, the thing is in balance, and that`s all you can hope for understanding it`s a long walk. And the reality of having no Democrat on the Senate side, no one has issued a red line. No one has said that they have a problem, you can`t go over there, you can`t go over that.

Schumer has set this up about as well as you could, as you say, it`s about as well on the Senate side, as well as you can expect. I think Biden`s confidence comes from one more thing, which I think Zerlina has -- is right certainly. The personal diplomacy that Biden is exercising does matter. But you can`t overstate how much Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the Biden White House are in sync on every level of the strategy and the tactics and the timing and how they`re going to try to take this on.

They all know it`s going to be tricky. They all know it`s going to take a long time. But the unity among those three main actors is something like I`m not sure I`ve ever seen anything quite like it in the years I`ve been watching this, and that`s the only way it`s going to happen if they hold that thing together just like that.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. And, Zerlina, it`s watching this combination of experience, the experience of Bernie Sanders, all of his time in the Senate putting this deal together, Joe Biden`s experience absolutely unparalleled in the presidency in terms of legislative experience and expertise. Nancy Pelosi.

It does feel like they all have their hands on these controls in a very, very steady way at this point. We are going to hear people say, I`m not voting for it yet. Here and there will be some of those things. It looks like Chuck Schumer has a schedule in mind, and nothing is in the way of that schedule so far.

MAXWELL: It looks to me like experience matters in governing.


MAXWELL: And that`s what`s becoming really, really clear especially after four years of drum and essentially any deal that was struck in the Oval Office or elsewhere was blown up by a tweet. So we`re not in that world anymore. We have competent leaders in place.

Whether or not you agree with them on partisan lines, they`re putting forward ideas to help the American people, which is their job. And I`m hopeful that Republicans at this point seem to be negotiating in good faith, at least some of them like Rob Portman and others.

So I`m hopeful that that is true going forward and they get over the procedural hurdle necessary to make this all happen in the first instance, and that will be, I think, when we`re all sort of holding our breath and waiting to see if they`re successful in this endeavor. It would be a boon for the American people.

O`DONNELL: I`m so glad you made that point about what it actually means to the American people because this has been a process discussion we`ve been having here. But Chuck Schumer said today, this is Rooseveltian -- he`s trying to find the ways to explain how big and important this is to the American people. And that is -- that is the reality of this legislation. But that`s the reality we will get to on another night. It was process night tonight.

Zerlina Maxwell, John Heilemann, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.

MAXWELL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, life changed today, changed in a big way for 60 million children. Their parents received the first monthly installment, monthly payment, of $300 in the child tax credit.


President Biden called it historic, and it is. We will be joined by a mother who received her first child tax credit payments today and by the congresswoman who has been working for decades to make this happen. That`s next.



BIDEN: I believe this is actually an historic day, an historic day in the sense we continue to build an economy that respects and recognizes the dignity of working-class families and middle-class families. It`s historic, and it`s our effort to make another giant step toward ending child poverty in America. I think this will be one of the things that the vice president and I will be most proud of when our terms are up.


O`DONNELL: President Biden was speaking about the $300 per month child tax credit that began arriving in direct deposit today, covering about 60 million children.



BIDEN: To give you a sense of how transformative this is, this would be the largest ever one-year decrease in child poverty in the history of the United States of America. I want to particularly thank those who have been fighting for this for years. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, she has been a champion for this issue.


O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro will join us in a moment.

Vanessa Pierre was at the White House today. She received the child tax credits for her children today by direct deposit. After the president`s speech, Vanessa and her children got a chance to speak with President Biden and Vice President Harris.

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. She`s the chair of the House Appropriations Committee and has advocated for the child tax credit since 2003.

And also joining us, Vanessa Pierre, a paralegal and volunteer at the Capitol area food bank. She was at the White House for President Biden`s announcement today about the child tax credit.

Thank you both for joining us.

Vanessa Pierre, let me begin with you. First of all, what was it like to be at the White House today with the president and the vice president on this important day?

VANESSA PIERRE, RECIPIENT OF CHILD TAX CREDIT: It was absolutely amazing. I wanted to be excited for myself, but I was so excited for my boys. It`s not all the time you get out of your neighborhood, and it so expanded their horizons and got them asking questions that they weren`t asking before. So it was -- it was a fantastic experience.

O`DONNELL: Your child tax credits arrived by direct deposit today. What does that mean to you in practical terms?

PIERRE: In practical terms, well, that`s my grocery budget for the month, so that means that`s something that I don`t have to worry about. That means we can start to make plans unlike the stimulus, which was wonderful. This is going to come every month. So, now, it`s kind of we get to think about long term how this is going to change things for us.

Also it`s just peace of mind, and you can`t really put a price on that, that kind of exhale we didn`t even know we needed. So --

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman DeLauro, you have been working on this for many, many, many years. This is the day where it`s finally happened. What does it mean to you to finally see this in operation today?

REP. ROSA DELAURO (D-CT): This is beyond, beyond words. To listen to Vanessa, my God, I wish I could wrap my arms around you, Vanessa. You`ve told the story that we have been trying to tell for so, so many years and how transformative a child tax credit would be in the lives of families today. And you make my heart sing. It really is.

My feeling, it`s not about me. It is about the millions that you`ve mentioned, Lawrence, the millions of families who are out there who are really going to be able to have more financial security than they have had in the past. And it is a lifeline to the middle class, and it is going to lift, you know, 55 percent of our kids out of poverty.

And when Vanessa talks about the grocery bill, it`s about -- you know, when people talk about food insecurity, it`s not food insecurity. It`s hunger. But to be able to pay for that, to pay for food, maybe to pay for an extra pair of sneakers for your kids, you know? To -- you know, to do the kinds of things that make a family feel economically secure for the future.

And one thing Vanessa said, this is peace of mind, peace of mind, every single month. That is what the benefit is here. Just one -- 90 percent of children will get the same monthly benefit.

The president talked about it as historic, and I`m humbled by the shout-out from the president of the United States, but humbled to be with Vanessa and to see the picture of her and her boys and that smile on her face and when she talks about what it means to her family and it expanded their horizons.


And this kind of help will expand horizons and be able to address aspirations and dreams that parents like Vanessa have for their children.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the vice president had to say today.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This tax cut will be issued in monthly payments. This has never happened before. And, America, yes, it is a big deal.

I have been fighting for months and for quite some time even when I was in the Senate for monthly payments because I know if the struggle to make ends meet is monthly, the solution has to be also.


O`DONNELL: Vanessa Pierre, how important is that change to monthly payments? We used to distribute these kinds of credits one time a year.

VANESSA PIERRE, RECIPIENT OF CHILD TAX CREDIT: Yes. So it means that, you know, you can start to make plans, and I know I said that before, but let me expound on it. So now instead of just a one-time payment that you usually save for your biggest expenses. So when you`d get your tax return, you`d buy big purchases. You`d put a little away for savings, or you had, you know, in the past had past-due bills, and you were just waiting to pay those off.

It means no late fees on a lot of things. It means that now we can put a little bit aside for us -- me and my kids. It means that we can keep our head above water on a month-to-month basis and start to save, you know, for a home, start to actually sit down and add it to our budget and start to look towards the future instead of just one time a year and it being done before it`s even reached your bank account.

O`DONNELL: What was the favorite moment for your sons today at the White House. And what are your sons` names, and what was their favorite moment?

PIERRE: So their names are Andrew and Bryce, and if I could pick their favorite moment, it would probably be -- well, each one had a different moment. I`d say two highlights. One was meeting the vice president. They are a huge fan of hers, and my daughter, Olivia, wasn`t able to make it, but she was -- we were able to take a photo with her, and we`ve already facetimed, and she`s just in love.

And having that conversation one-on-one, being able to speak with the vice president, that was for sure a special moment.

And second, when the president asked if they had any questions, my son was the first to raise his hand up in the air and asked him -- and asked him, is it hard being president?

And that kind of changed things for me because such a simple question by a child, but he took the time to sit and talk through everything with him, and that meant the world to him.

He left the White House saying, you know, I think I could be president.

O`DONNELL: Oh, that`s -- that`s what White House visits are for.

Vanessa Pierre, Congresswoman Rosa Delauro, thank you both very much for joining us on this important night. Really appreciate?

DELAURO: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

PIERRE: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, what the Texas Democrats said about their meeting with Senator Joe Manchin today. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Our next guests are not where they want to be tonight. Texas State Representative Celia Israel delayed her wedding so she could be in Washington this week, trying to convince members of Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation. Texas State Representative Erin Zwiener brought her 3-year-old daughter with her to Washington. Some of the Texas Democrats met with Senator Joe Manchin today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you press him on the idea that you all were floating the other day about trying to make a carveout in the filibuster to pass something like this with just Democratic votes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, we didn`t discuss the filibuster.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I think enough people have discussed the filibuster with Senator Manchin. It`s an elephant sitting in the room. Everybody knows what the deal.

He knows Senate maneuvers and mechanics better than we will -- any of us will know. So we`ll leave the tactics up to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But are you convinced that what he is going to try to do will protect what you want to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m convinced -- yes -- in his core, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He believes in the same voting rights that we do.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Texas State Representatives Celia Israel and Erin Zwiener. Representative Israel, were you surprised that your colleagues did not ask Joe Manchin about the Senate filibuster rule?

STATE REPRESENTATIVE CELIA ISRAEL (D-TX): Hi, Lawrence. No, I`m not. I believe we -- you know, it`s really just a time to test Senator Manchin not on where his heart is but on where our heart is. That`s why we`re here is to tell our Texas story about how horrible the bill is that we`re attempting to kill and how we need him to do everything possible to do something.

It may not be the whole combo plate, as I say, but just give us something to move forward with to show that their heart is in the right place. So I do trust my colleagues in that respect.

O`DONNELL: Representative Zwiener, I know that viewers out there are wondering how could they possibly not challenge Joe Manchin on the so- called filibuster rule.


O`DONNELL: But in my experience, and I`m sure yours, this is the way professional legislators talk to each other. They don`t make demands. They make their case, and it was -- as the representative who spoke on camera there said, everyone in the room knows, they know completely that that rule is in the way of getting this done.

STATE REPRESENTATIVES ERIN ZWIENER (D-TX): We have two jobs here. One is to tell our story of how limited voting access already is in Texas. That is well-timed, toddler.

O`DONNELL: Oh, come on. She can come on camera too. What`s her name?

ZWIENER: This is Lark.

O`DONNELL: What`s her name?

ZWIENER: Lark like the bird.

O`DONNELL: Ok, lark.

ZWIENER: Let mama talk. We have two jobs. One is to tell our story, tell how limited voting access already is in Texas and to tell how much worse this bill is going to make it, the real harm it`s going to do to everyday Texans.

Our second job is to share our courage with the U.S. Senate, with the U.S. House of Representatives, and hopefully inspire them to move forward on legislation that will protect the freedom to vote not only for Texans but for every single American.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what your lieutenant governor had to say today.


LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): They can`t hold out forever. They have families back home. They have jobs back home, and pretty soon their wives or husbands will start saying, hey, it`s time to get back, back home.

And when they get home, if we`re in a special session, they`ll be arrested and brought to the capitol, and we will pass these bills.


O`DONNELL: Representative Israel, what`s your reaction to that?

ISRAEL: Somewhere along the line these guys lost sight of the constitution, Lawrence. We`re not beholden to them. We`re not beholden to the DPS. We`re beholden to the people that elected us to do the best.

And I firmly believe along with my colleague representing here that we are doing the job that we were elected to do, and that is to kill bad legislation and take this fight to Washington, D.C. This is our job right now.

O`DONNELL: Representative Zwiener, what do you think are the most important points that need to be made in these meetings with senators and members of the House? And what seems to be landing with them? What seems to be clarifying to them about your situation?

ZWIENER: I think one of the most important things is to demonstrate how restrictive our voting access already is in Texas. If you`re going to vote by mail in Texas, you have to submit a new application every calendar year, which can be a difficult barrier for elderly Texans who don`t have a printer in their home. We don`t have online voter registration, something my colleague, Representative Israel, has championed, which means that there`s a major barrier to young people registering to vote. You have to register to vote 30 days before the election because -- which makes it harder for folks who move a lot, who are generally more low income or younger.

There are all of these barriers. And they`re just trying to add more, to make the process more cumbersome on the gamble that even though they will hurt Texans across all demographics, they will hurt more people who vote blue than who vote red.

And it is all about avoiding accountability. And that`s what I want senators and representatives to know is that we have elected officials in Texas trying to avoid the power of the people and avoid accountability. And we need their help to defend democracy.

O`DONNELL: If we could possibly get Lark back in the shot to say good night, I`d love to do that. Texas State Representative Celia Israel, thank you for joining us tonight. Representative Erin Zwiener, and Lark is right there outside the frame, and I think she`s going to jump in just in time. Good night, Lark.

ISRAEL: Good night, Lawrence. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: There we are. Thank you all. Thank all three of you very much.

The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, got into, as she put it, good trouble today when she was arrested in the Hart Senate Office Building because she sang a song.

It turns out you get arrested really fast in those buildings if you`re not there to attack democracy for Donald Trump. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty joins us next.



O`DONNELL: We`ve seen how hard it is to get arrested when you are attacking the Capitol for Donald Trump. Most people who invaded the Capitol still haven`t been arrested, and it has taken months to arrest some of them.

But you get arrested much faster if you`re actually a member of congress who works there and you sing a protest song in the vast lobby not of the Capitol itself but of one of the office buildings.

That is what happened to the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Today, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. She entered the Hart Senate Office Building this afternoon at approximately 3:35 p.m. with a small group who began singing and chanting "end the filibuster" and "let the people vote".

They paused in the building`s gigantic atrium, where they were bothering absolutely no one. They gathered peacefully and continued to sing.

They were given a warning by Capitol police exactly four minutes after they entered the building. They were warned that they were demonstrating in an unauthorized area and would be subject to arrest if they did not stop.

And exactly three minutes after that warning, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty was placed under arrest and handcuffed in zip ties as she continued to chant fight for justice.

In the precious few minutes she had before she was arrested, Congresswoman Beatty said this.


REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): Today we`re sending a strong message. We have black leaders from across the country, black leaders who marched with John Lewis. This is not about one generation. It`s about all generations.





BEATTY: And today we are represented by all generations.


BEATTY: And that`s why today is important. Look at where we stand.


BEATTY: We stand in the United States senate, places that we couldn`t work, we couldn`t even clean at one time. But today black women say we are not waiting.


BEATTY: Black women say that we`re demanding our right to vote, and it starts today.


O`DONNELL: Thanks to Roland Martin (ph) for that video. According to Capitol police, nine people, including Congresswoman Beatty were arrested.

And joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio. She`s the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Representative Beatty, how do you explain to people what they saw on January 6th and what they`re seeing tonight, you being arrested within minutes of entering that vast lobby where you were harming no one?

BEATTY: Well, thank you, Lawrence, for having me on. I think it`s quite simple. What we see is the disparity of treatment. We see the disparities when it comes to black Americans and majority Americans.

As you said, we were there protesting, but the rules of engagement change or the responses to the rules of engagement are different. We were warned that there was a warning and that after three warnings, we would be subject to being arrested.

Well, as you saw, we were in our movement, in our moment. We felt like John Lewis and Martin Luther King when they organized and protested, it made a difference. And that`s why we were there.

But it is a difference. We saw and witnessed -- I was there on January the 6th and we know what happened then and what didn`t happen. Another reason we need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. That`s the only way we can make a change when we get more people registered to vote without voter suppression, that`s why we have the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

O`DONNELL: You as a member of the House have floor privileges in the United States Senate. You`re one of the few people on the planet who is allowed to walk onto the Senate floor.

You have the privilege to move anywhere you want in those buildings but apparently, they don`t want to hear your voice. They don`t want to hear you raise your voice in any way, no matter how pleasant that music actually sounded in the Hart Building today.

BEATTY: Well, thank you. And you`re absolutely right. This is why we will continue. Because it is our voices that will make a difference. And we know that.

It`s been tried and proven and tested throughout history. We had the August 6th, 1965 legislation passed because the president then, President Johnson, then met with Martin Luther King and we received the Voting Rights Act.

So when you think of from what happened with Rosa Parks in the 50s to Montgomery. Montgomery led us to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, then to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Look how many times John Lewis and Martin Luther King talked about crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge before they did it. We will keep coming back. We will have an open dialogue with the Congressional Black Caucus, with civil rights leaders and we`re going to invite the media in because here`s what I know, Lawrence.

When we use our voices and we speak up, and especially black women, we have become powerhouses. We deliver presidents of the United States, we have a strong voting base, we have a strong working base and this is our time to make sure that we pass the voting rights act.

O`DONNELL: What is the next step for you?

BEATTY: The next step is next Wednesday, the entire Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday will have a meeting. We are planning an education and awareness session.

You saw powerful women standing with me. Melanie Campbell, you saw Cleola Brown (ph) standing with me -- huge in the labor movement, lots of women. You had Tamika Mallory standing there. All generations of women coming together because here`s what we know. It`s going to take all of us and we were very reflective of America.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Always an honor.

BEATTY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back with tonight`s LAST WORD.



O`DONNELL: MSNBC was born exactly 25 years ago today, premiering at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time after the great Tim Russert delivered the big news in an MSNBC presidential campaign poll showing Bill Clinton at 54 and Bob Dole at 30.

About 25 minutes into MSNBC`s first day, I spoke my very first words on MSNBC.


O`DONNELL: Well, it is surprising to see Dole losing Republican support. There`s no particularly obvious reason for that in the last three weeks.

But, you know, Tim`s earlier point about this being a snapshot is very important. Let`s just remember where the current president was at this time four years ago. He was running third. He was running after Ross Perot and George Bush.

So this is a different dynamic and the gap between Clinton and Dole is really stunning at this point. But moving from 30 to 50 is possible.


O`DONNELL: Bob Dole actually finished nine points behind Bill Clinton in the most suspense-free presidential election I have ever seen.


O`DONNELL: And a programming announcement. Monday night at this hour, Jonathan Capehart will be live with all -- all of the Texas Democrats in Washington, D.C., all the Texas Democrats in one room for an MSNBC special presentation, "BATTLEGROUND DEMOCRACY: THE TEXAS DEMOCRATS". That`s Monday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.