SANDERS: This is a responsibility for the U.S. Justice Department to get involved:
CLINTON: The federal government [should spend about $1 billion] to help states: Police must be equipped with the antidote to an opioid overdose. We have to move away from treating the use of drugs as a crime and instead as a health issue. And we need to divert more people from the criminal justice system into drug courts.
SANDERS: I agree with everything the Secretary said, but let me just add this: there is a responsibility on the part of the pharmaceutical industry and the drug companies who are producing all of these drugs and not looking at the consequence of it. And second of all, when we talk about addiction being a disease, the Secretary is right, what that means is we need a revolution in this country in terms of mental health treatment. People should be able to get the treatment that they need when they need it, not two months from now, which is why I believe in universal healthcare with mental health, as part of that.
SANDERS: Let me respond to what the secretary said. We have a criminal justice system which is broken. Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth, including China? Disproportionately African American, and Latino. Who is satisfied that 51% of African American young people are either unemployed, or underemployed? Who is satisfied that millions of people have police records for possessing marijuana when the CEO's of Wall Street companies who destroyed our economy have no police records. We need to take a very hard look at our criminal justice system, investing in jobs and education, not in jails and incarceration.
SANDERS: I think what we've got to do is move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran. Understanding that Iran's behavior in so many ways is something that we disagree with: their support of terrorism; the anti-American rhetoric that we're hearing from of their leadership is something that is not acceptable. On the other hand, the fact that we've managed to reach an agreement, that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and we did that without going to war. So if your question is, do I want to see that relationship become more positive in the future? Yes. Can I tell that we should open an embassy in Tehran tomorrow? No, I don't think we should. But I think the goal has got to be to warm relations with a very powerful and important country.
CLINTON: The Democratic Party worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed. I don't want see us start over again with a contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act & improve it.
SANDERS: Her campaign was saying "Sanders wants to end Medicare." That is nonsense. I'm on the committee that wrote the Affordable Care Act. What a Medicare-for-all program does is finally provide in this country health care for every man, woman and child as a right. Now, the truth is: FDR and Truman, do you know what they believed in? They believed that health care should be available to all of our people. What we have to deal with is the fact that 29 million people still have no health insurance. My proposal: provide health care to all people, get private insurance out of health insurance, lower the cost of health care for middle class families by $5,000.
Secretary CLINTON: We need better intelligence cooperation from friends and allies around the world.
Governor O'MALLEY: We need better biosurveillance systems, and better prepared first responders.
Senator SANDERS: I agree with what the secretary said, and what Governor O'Malley said. But here's an issue that we also should talk about. We have a $600 billion military budget. It is a budget larger than the next eight countries'. Unfortunately, much of that budget continues to fight the old Cold War with the Soviet Union. Very little of that budget -- less than 10 percent -- actually goes into fighting ISIS and international terrorism. We need to be thinking hard about making fundamental changes in the priorities of the Defense Department.
SANDERS: I think we do have an honest disagreement: in the incredible quagmire of Syria, where it's hard to know who's fighting who and if you give arms to this guy, it may end up in ISIS' hand the next day. And we all know--the secretary is absolutely right--Assad is a butcher of his own people, a man using chemical weapons against his own people. But I think in terms of our priorities in the region, our first priority must be the destruction of ISIS. Our second priority must be getting rid of Assad, through some political settlement, working with Iran, working with Russia. But the immediate task is to bring all interests together who want to destroy ISIS, including Russia, including Iran, including our Muslim allies to make that the major priority.
We checked and indeed it's true. Comparing three different rating systems--the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the CIA--all three agree that Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world. Those three rating agencies don't agree on the exact income levels for other countries, but the United States is rated, respectively, the 9th, 10th, and 12th wealthiest country in the world.
Our rating: Yes, Sanders is correct that the U.S. is funding the defense expenses of a country wealthier than the U.S.
The above quotations are from NBC News Democratic Primary Debate|
in Charleston, South Carolina, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.
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