BOSTON (CBS) — Third-term Congressman from District Four in Massachusetts Joe Kennedy caught up with WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller on Sunday.
To start, Kennedy said his Democratic rebuttal after the presidential State of the Union has resented more than he expected.
“On the whole, the vast majority of the comments seemed to be positive — which is nice,” he said.
He also said Americans still have a sense of humor and he has gotten chapstick sent to his office from all corners of the country.
According to Keller, President Trump held a bipartisan meeting this week to discuss gun control. In it, he endorsed gun controls measures that the NRA and Republicans have opposed. Then, Trump met with the NRA and appeared to support more of their ideas again, based on tweets.
Kennedy said it was in-character of the President to flip-flop, initially support something against that goes against his party and then change his mind the next day.
“It makes it next to impossible to try to actually legislate anything in Washington,” said Kennedy.
“Wherever he happens to be, that’s where he will be, fine, but then let’s engage in the conversation so we can have the debate and actually move the ball forward. When he keeps moving and shifting the goal posts, it makes it impossible to be able to come to understand what the framework of the discussion is and where we can actually agree, where we are going to disagree, and where we should mount that public relations campaign to try to convince people to come with us.”
Kennedy said the majority of Americans are on the same page on background checks, bump stocks, and gun sale loopholes.
“This is not controversial. The controversial part of is our Republican colleagues refuse to do anything on it.”
He did give credit to a few Republicans who have stepped forward and argued for change.
“I hope the president is willing to follow their lead because clearly, his word on this issue, just as we have seen with immigration, just is not good” he added.
Kennedy also said he even knows of Republicans who are struggling to keep faith in the president’s word and expressed frustration with Paul Ryan who, he said, is refusing to allow a vote on a bill that the President does not support.
Addressing potential concerns over an online meme, Kennedy said, “no corporation donation to me or no donation from any sort of industry at all influences the way I vote.”
He does support lowering the cost of prescription drugs in a way that does not harm the companies and their employees, though.
Kennedy said while there are many aspects of the healthcare system in Massachusetts that should be used as an example, it is not perfect and the healthcare system has room for approval within the state and across the country.
“We need to change some additional investment, we need to change some of the incentives around healthcare in order to do so,” Kennedy said.
He did not support the actions in Washington, where there have been repeated attempts to gut health care and cut services such as mental behavior health care, addiction services, and Medicaid by $800 billion, Kennedy said.
“Instead of trying to make investments in healthcare, we saw a $1.5 trillion tax cut go off to corporations and the wealthy and we’ve seen recent headlines showing that the vast majority of the money that’s gone to the corporations have been used for stock buybacks. This is not, I think, reflective of the priorities of the American public.”
To finish it off, Keller asked if Kennedy was supportive of raising income taxes for people who make more than $1 million a year.
“Yes. I’d have to take a look at some of the exact details on it but there’s no doubt that when it comes to the structural inequities we’re facing across Massachusetts I think those that are doing really well need to make sure that we are making tat investment.”