Senator Elizabeth Warren was pushed to her limit at the National Press Club, entrapped by a system she says she wants to debate, but clearly can’t, as Sam Husseini explains.
By Sam Husseini
Special to Consortium News
Senator Elizabeth Warren at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday launched into a blistering attack on unfettered corporate power in America but waffled when asked about military spending and Israel’s recent brutal reaction to Palestinian resistance.
Warren outlined with great specificity a host of proposals for eliminating financial conflicts, closing revolving doors between business and government and reforming corporate structures.
She pilloried former Congressman Billy Tauzin for doing the pharmaceutical lobby’s bidding by preventing a bill for expanded Medicare coverage to include a program to negotiate lower drug prices. “In December of 2003, the very same month the bill was signed into law, PhRMA — the drug companies’ biggest lobbying group — dangled the possibility that Billy could be their next CEO,” Warren said.
“In February of 2004, Congressman Tauzin announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election. Ten months later, he became CEO of PhRMA — at an annual salary of $2 million,” Warren said. “Big Pharma certainly knows how to say ‘thank you for your service.’”
But Warren’s laudable tenacity in ripping corporate lobbyists’ “pre-bribes” evaporated when faced with a question on the bloated U.S. military budget and ongoing Israeli assaults on Palestinian children.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic progressive who shocked the party by upsetting incumbent Congressman Joe Rowley in a New York primary election in June, had been mentioned earlier in the press conference. So I asked Warren if she agreed with Ocasio-Cortez who has proposed “slashing the military budget to help pay for human and environmental needs.” I also asked her if she would consider introducing and sponsoring [a version of] Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) bill on Palestinians children’s rights in the Senate?
I now sit on Armed Services and…