Nadler Talks Trump, Russia, and Legalizing Pot at Local Forum

By Carol Tannenhauser

Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler did not hold back at a public forum last Thursday night at Goddard Riverside Community Center, on Columbus Avenue between 88th and 89th Streets.

“Let me start by saying that, from my point of view, this president presents the greatest threat to constitutional liberty and the functioning of our government in living memory,” he said. “And look at what’s going on in Congress. The Republicans are either being silent or actively complicit in cover-ups. They’re trying to protect the president against any proper investigation of misconduct. They’re not doing the job of proper oversight of the president. That’s one major problem we have now.”

Another is keeping the government open by passing a budget.

“The issue of the government shutdown and the budget is not primarily about immigration,” said Nadler. “That’s a secondary issue that’s gotten caught up in it. The primary issue is that the Republicans have wanted for a long time to hold down non-defense discretionary expenditures — everything the government does other than defense and entitlement programs — education, housing, roads, infrastructure. They want to hold those down and increase defense spending tremendously.

“We reached a deal five or six years ago that we’d have parity,” he explained. “You couldn’t increase defense spending more than you increased non-defense discretionary spending and vice versa. The Democrats are insisting on maintaining that parity. The Republicans want to greatly increase defense spending and not greatly increase non-defense discretionary spending. Maintaining parity in order to protect non-defense discretionary spending is the key budget issue before us, and the Dreamers are getting hung up in there.”

And what about the Dreamers, those who were brought here illegally as children?

“Everybody agrees that we should legalize the status of the Dreamers,” Nadler said. “The president agrees — on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, he doesn’t agree. President Obama established the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program to protect these people, because he couldn’t get it through Congress. President Trump created a crisis by undoing it and establishing a March 5th deadline. So, we have to legislatively fix this problem. Some Republicans and the president are trying to use it as leverage to get very harsh immigration provisions on other things. The fact is, there’s almost unanimous agreement on the Dreamers. We shouldn’t hold them hostage to the other things they want to do that I consider terrible or racist or just wrong.”

Which is similar to how he feels about the Republican tax bill:

“I call it the Republican tax scam. It’s about the worst thing I could imagine on many different levels. It will increase the deficit by between $1 and $1.5 trillion in the next 10 years. Eighty-three percent of the benefits are estimated to go to the richest 10% of the population. This is the largest upward redistribution of wealth we’ve seen in a long time.

“Already you’re hearing Speaker Ryan — I shouldn’t say ‘already;’ he’s been doing it since he graduated college — talking about the necessity of cutting entitlements, reducing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. ‘We have no choice,’ he says. ‘We just don’t have the money!’

“A bill that’s going to increase inequality and be used as a justification for cutting entitlements and all the discretionary spending that we depend on…there’s no saving grace in this tax bill.”

Questions from the audience raised a number of other issues, including Russian hacking.

“In the 2018 elections, what safeguards are there that the Russians won’t hack us again?” a man asked.

“One of the major criticisms of the president I have,” Nadler responded, “is that, because he refuses to admit there was a Russian attack on our election last year, he is refusing to do anything to defend against an attack on the elections this year. One of the duties of the Commander in Chief is to protect the country, and that doesn’t mean just protect it against missiles or invading soldiers. It means protect our democratic process against an invasion of a different sort, a cyber invasion.”

“If they close down the government, why don’t they stop paying Congress?” a woman demanded. “They should put that in the law. If the government shuts down, nobody gets paid, even the president. Nobody!”

“I agree,” Nadler said.

“Do you think the Republicans are going to evolve to oppose Trump?



“I’ve supported legalization for 40 years.”

What about the deductibility of state and local taxes?

“We have always said that state and local taxes are tax deductible for two reasons: one, it’s unfair to pay taxes twice on the same income; two, it’s essential for states to retain their tax bases. By greatly reducing the deductibility of state and local taxes, you are putting pressure on the states to lower taxes and state and local services. If they don’t reduce their taxes, people will leave.”

Jerrold Nadler has represented New York’s 10th Congressional District since 1992. Considered one of the most diverse districts in the nation, it encompasses most of the Upper West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, the Financial District, and Battery Park City, as well as parts of Brooklyn. He is the ranking member of the powerful House Judiciary Committee.

Congressman Nadler is set to hold a town hall meeting next month, though the exact date hasn’t been set.

Photos by Carol Tannenhauser.

NEWS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. Margo says:

      I was a the meeting and Ms Tannenhauser has done a great job reporting Congressman Nadelr’s complicated and depressing account of the state of affairs in D.C.

    2. Sherman says:

      I’m no big fan of Nadler but he’s 100% correct about Tax Reform and the limitation of state tax deductibility.

      NYS residents who have high state income taxes and high property taxes will get slammed.

    3. Ronnie Tuft says:

      Hooray for Congressman Nadler. He has been a champion for American values and for people’s needs and rights from the very beginning. Happily, he’s there fighting our fight for the real American dream.

    4. Barbara Michalak says:

      Thanks, Rag & Ms Tannhauser, for this useful summary. Thanks, Rep. Nadler, for actually functioning as a good congressman.

    5. Scott says:

      Nadler is the personification of non-essential government employee.

      • JerryV says:

        Scott, So I take it you are for getting rid of Congress (or at least the Democratic members of Congress) so that the President can rule without opposition.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        replaying to Scott, who said:

        “Nadler is the personification of non-essential government employee.”

        sure, if you don’t believe the legislative branch of government should exist. in which case you don’t believe we should have a democracy.

        Which is, i believe, the stance of many Trump supporters, who want to see America run like Trump run’s his businesses. but a family business is a dictatorship, not a democracy.

      • Lord Of The Slice says:

        oops Scott! you misspelled Trump.

      • Tim says:

        Exactly Scott. Others will attack you personally because they disagree with your opinion. It just shows their juvenile nature when they can’t express themselves like adults.

    6. merrill lichtenfeld says:

      you are far too short for your job!

    7. Lrahip says:

      Cong. Nadler offers the type of leadership that makes us proud to be Americans. He represents the values and vision that can lift us out of the muck and mire that this Republican congress has put us in. We need to make sure that we ALL work to turn this situation around in the 2018 midterm elections.

    8. Diane says:

      Jerry Nadler is one of our BEST elected officials. Thank God he’s in Washington. I always feel so much better, even if the news he brings isn’t so great, knowing there he is there to defend our rights and fight for us as much as he can. Thank you Congressman Nadler! VMA

    9. Zeus says:

      The dear slimmed down congressman is still bloated with wrong facts.
      Wait until February & March of 2018.
      Let the average Joe/Jane look at his/her paycheck and see that there’s more money in his/her pocket, to spend on his/her family, than before the tax law passed.
      And really? The shut down was not about the dreamers?
      And really? EVERYONE agrees that they should become citizens?
      No way, slim. No way.

      • OriginalMark says:

        Your references to his weight suggest that you aren’t able to address the actual issues.

    10. Ricki says:

      Thank you for this summary report.

      Jerry Nadler is an example of an excellent elected official!

      • Janewhit12 says:

        Paul Ryan is an embodiment of what’s wrong with the Hypocritical Old Party. He hates Big Government but his family depended on Social Security checks when his Dad died.

    11. Juan says:

      Thanks Congressman Nadler! My only request is that he and others stop using the term “entitlements” as it has a very negative connotation. Social security in particular is giving people back money that they and their employer have contributed.

      • Maria says:

        Yes, Juan, excellent point. Social Security is NOT an entitlement. It is the money paid into that account by us and it is not a gift from the government. Thank you for stating that.

    12. Bob Lamm says:

      I wish we had 100 Jerry Nadlers in Congress.

    13. Arlene Geiger says:

      So proud that my representative fights for what I hold dear.
      Thank you

    14. Johnny UWS says:

      Of course I support Nadler relative to the gong show polics we have today in Washington. But really, besides values and hiting a huuugggee easy target POTUS, what did he say about practically making the lives of his constituents better. Not too much as far as I read in the coverage, he and others are only preaching to the choir and adding a few bricks to the bulging dam.

    15. Chris says:

      If NY changes state tax’s to a payroll it will hurt every person that has a pension. Your pension is based on your salary and if its reduced for the payroll tax then one would lose tens of thousands over retirement. I myself would have a loss of over 10,000 a year in retirement.

    16. biffmeister says:

      Nadler should remember that not all of his constituents are left-wing Democrats. Some of us deplorables may have to appear at his Townhall meeting to remind him of that fact.
      Then he can explain why, since Trump was elected, manufacturing jobs are coming back to the USA, unemployment is at record lows across all racial and economic sectors, consumer confidence is booming, the DOW keeps hitting new highs, GDP is running at 3% per quarter, over 200 corporations have given their employees 1-2k bonuses and/or raised the min wage to $15 because of the GOP Tax Reform Plan, ISIS has been decimated, illegal border-crossings on our Southern border are down significantly and freedom of speech has been restored to America. If Nadler thinks all of that is a threat to constitutional liberty, than he has lost more than just weight.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        keep drinking the Fox News Koolaid, Biffmeister.

        I don’t have time to debunk your array of Trump-generated falsehoods and half truths. but, just one of them:


        GDP “real” growth for 2017 was 2.3%. this was lower than 3 out of 8 Obama years:

        2010: 2.5%
        2014: 2.6%
        2015: 2.9%

        and basically the same as 2012 (2.2%)

        as for quarters:

        2 quarters in 2017 were over 3% (3.1%, Q2; 3.2%. Q3)… the most recent Q4 was 2.6%.

        Obama had 7 quarters over 3%, including Q2 2014, 4.6% and Q3 2014, 5.2% (!).

        Somehow i doubt you were giving Obama much credit for these numbers.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        the system blanked out the quote from Biffmeister i was debunking above. Biff said:

        “GDP is running at 3% per quarter”

      • Zeus says:

        One of the best replies on any subject – EVER!
        Thank you and know that you are not alone.