The journalists at CBS This Morning are not, generally speaking, tough on Democrats, especially the 2020 presidential candidates. When they offer tough questions, it’s often from the left. That’s why it was so surprising on Tuesday to see the show’s co-hosts grill Kamala Harris about the costs of her policy proposals and even the concept of federalism.
Harris this week announced a plan to give each teacher a $13,500 raise. Rather than just fawn over the idea, co-host Bianna Golodryga wondered, “But the big question is how are you going to pay for it?” After the Democratic Senator dodged the question, co-host Gayle King asked it again: “How did you come up with a figure of $13,500 and I'm still not sure how you're going to pay for it.”
Co-host John Dickerson even shockingly brought up the concept of federalism and local control in regard to Harris’s plan:
Senator, what we should remind you, 50 million kids are in public schools. This would affect a huge group of families. A couple criticisms you're likely to get. First, this federalism argument that education should be a state issue. Yes, there are federal funds but it's better when it's closer to the local level. How does that effect or what's your response that with respect to the pay raise?
Again, when 2020 Democrats get tough questions on CBS This Morning, it’s usually from the left. Such on March 4 as when King told Kirsten Gillibrand that the “dinner party chatter” said she betrayed the Clintons. Talking to another presidential candidate on March 22, King wondered if we should “take notes” from New Zealand on gun control.
So the question is, what got into the CBS hosts this morning?
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: One of those candidates asking to see the entire report is Senator Kamala Harris. The Democratic senator made that request at a campaign stop in Atlanta where she also unveiled a new plan for teachers nationwide. Now, as part of our Road to 2020, she is discussing the details only on CBS This Morning. Senator Harris joins us from Washington. Senator, good morning.
KAMALA HARRIS: Good morning.
GOLODRYGA: Great to have you on. I want to get to your education plan in just a moment. But I do want to begin with the news of the day, and that's the news that the Justice Department is reversing its course, now saying that the entire Affordable Care Act should be invalidated. What toll are the all of the legal battles on the Affordable Care Act having on the program itself and how will it sit with voters?
GOLODRYGA: And we know that health care was a huge issue during the midterms expecting the same in 2020 for voters.
HARRIS: It's still an issue. You're right, it's still an issue. It's one that keeps people up at night.
GOLODRYGA: What also keeps people up at night are wages, specifically for teachers. That's something that you're talking about today. You announcing that you have a plan that will invest in American teachers and give them a $13,500 raise to close the teacher pay gap, as you call it. That is a very lofty ambition. And you should be commended for it. But the big question is how are you going to pay for it?
GAYLE KING: How did you come up with a figure of $13,500 and I'm still not sure how you're going to pay for it.
HARRIS: Sure. We're going to pay for by adjusting the estate tax. Right now, it's only $11 million and up. And we need to lower that so that we can actually pay what we want, in terms of knowing what we want to invest in our teachers and the future of our country. In terms of how we came about this legislation, it is simple. I've been traveling the country meeting teachers who are working three two jobs, sometimes threes. Over 90 percent of teachers are coming out of their own pocket to pay for school supplies.
KING: I'm talking about that specific figure, senator.
JOHN DICKERSON: Senator, what we should remind you, 50 million kids are in public schools. This would affect a huge group of families. A couple criticisms you're likely to get. First, this federalism argument that education should be a state issue. Yes, there are federal funds but it's better when it's closer to the local level. How does that effect or what's your response that with respect to the pay raise?
DICKERSON: So there's the equity questions of what people are getting paid for an honest day's work. Going back to your original point about improving the outcomes for kids, are you expecting a benefit here in terms of recruiting new people to come into the teaching profession?
HARRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
DICKERSON: What about outcomes in terms of what the fed has shown about the bump in pay?