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Rep. Cori Bush On Her Progressive Priorities For Congress

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Being freshly elected to Congress is usually a whirlwind experience, and Democratic Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri has had a complicated start to her first term in office. Bush was, of course, inside the U.S. Capitol when insurrectionists breached the building. And then last week, she had to move office locations after a confrontation with freshman Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. But what about the reasons Cori Bush was elected in the first place - you know, progressive policy ideas? Well, Congressman Bush returns to our show now to talk about all of this.

Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

CORI BUSH: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

CHANG: Well, you have introduced legislation just days after the insurrection. This legislation would push to sanction, possibly even remove any House member who, quote, "violated their oath of office by seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election." Tell me, what kind of evidence would show to you that a lawmaker indeed sought to overturn the election?

BUSH: I remember being in the House gallery just before the doors were breached. And I remember sitting in the gallery listening to Congresswoman Boebert and how she was talking about the people that were outside those doors. Those people that were out there were her constituents, and those were - those are the people that she's there to represent. This was just moments before those doors were breached at the Capitol. Now, that's not saying that she had anything to directly do with it, but she was providing aid. She's the same person that was giving that information, tweeting out to those - to the people saying where the speaker was. So we're...

CHANG: And you believe that that serves as basis for her removal from office.

BUSH: I absolutely do. They should be removed from office because the thing is, I've been to protests. I know what that looks like. That was not a protest.

CHANG: I want to turn to another lawmaker where things have gotten very personal between you and her. I understand that you had to move your office to get further away from Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene's office. Tell me, what exactly happened? Why did you feel threatened?

BUSH: So I moved my office because it's not - I'm not the only person, you know, that is a part of this office, you know? I have staff. Ms. Greene's - her door is just a few - was just a few doors down from ours on the very same hallway. They would walk past our doors with - unmasked.

CHANG: Have you spoken personally to Marjorie Taylor Greene about your safety concerns for yourself and for your staff? And if so, what has she said to you?

BUSH: I have not had a conversation with her. If she cannot open up her mind and actually be a representative - because that's what the job calls us, you know, representatives. It's actually written. If she's not willing to do that, then I have no conversation for her. When she's ready to listen and to allow her heart to be open to humanity, all people - because that's what this job entails. You got to love all people. If she's willing to do that, then we can talk because the thing is this. I don't have any hatred against her. I don't hate anyone. Nobody can take - get that energy from me. But I'm in a position to where I have to protect my folks, so I'm willing to have that conversation if she's willing to respect all people.

CHANG: I just want to turn now to your side of the aisle. You are part of the most diverse freshman class in the history of the House. Tell me, what do you do with that when you are in a more tightly divided House? And for Democrats to hang onto their majority, the moderate Democrats and the progressive Democrats need to find common ground, right?

BUSH: Right. Yeah, and I believe we will. I feel like COVID has not only shown us why progressive policies are not only necessary but essential. And then we can take off the progressive part of it and just say this is what is essential for survival - survival for our communities. This is only the beginning. We're just four weeks in and not even four weeks - not even a full month to the day. I'm optimistic, and I'm hopeful about what's to come.

CHANG: Representative Cori Bush, Democrat from Missouri, thank you very much for your time today.

BUSH: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.