Rep.-elect Cori Bush was elected to office because of her on-the-ground approach to working for her community, so it should come as no surprise that she’s not here for the GOP’s feelings, or even sentiments within her own party that don’t serve her constituents. The Missouri Democrat told MSNBC host Joy Reid on "The ReidOut" Tuesday that she would not stop her push to see St. Louis police defunded despite how “hurtful” it is to her peers seeking reelection.
“We have this super aggressive police department and they don’t get to continue to just kill black folks in my community and I not say anything,” Bush said. “So yes, defund your buts. Defund you. Take that money that we’re using for MRAPs, the money that we’re using for tear gas and stockpiling SWAT gear, We’re going to take that money and put it into substance-use programs. We’re going to put it into education and mental health resources. We’re going to take it and use it for our unhoused population. We are reallocating funds.”
Bush told Reid not everyone shares her set of priorities, but that it’s not damaging her relationships with her peers. “I have a relationship with all of the people on the caucus. A lot of them that are saying that this was hurtful, but what’s hurtful for me is the people in my community dying,” Bush said. “What’s hurtful is St. Louis being No. 1 for police killings since 2013, for six years straight, according to some research.”
St. Louis had the most shootings per capita, according to a 2017 Vice News analysis of data from 50 of the nation's largest police departments. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch listed 30 police shootings in the St. Louis area this year alone.
"I'm not trying to hurt anybody's district or (prevent) anybody from keeping their seats," Bush said. "I'm not looking at feelings though. I'm looking at life. I'm trying to save lives."
In her interview with Reid, Bush weighed in on a diverse set of topics from Democratic political strategy to health care as President Donald Trump’s administration vigorously tries to snuff out former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform effort, the Affordable Care Act, in a Supreme Court case.
Get this: Republicans are actually attempting to argue that because Congress got rid of a penalty attached to the Affordable Care Act's requirement that most Americans get health insurance, that the whole act should be struck down. Even the court's conservative justices aren't buying that one.
"So many children have been knocked off of the Medicaid rolls, and it's been OK by our local government," Bush said. The registered nurse added that millions of people in her state are going to be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision, including those with preexisting conditions.
Missouri residents voted 53.3% to 46.7% to approve a constitutional amendment that will expand who is eligible for Medicaid. The expansion, which covers Missouri residents earning up to 133% of the federal poverty level, is an optional part of the Affordable Care Act for states, and the federal government pays for 90% of the costs. Bush said complaints that Medicaid is "a burden on our system" miss the mark. "When your family member shows up to the hospital, I don't pay attention to what insurance they have. I make sure that your family member is taken care of."
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