The Issue Is: Rep. Barbara Lee, Tomi Lahren vs. Ethan Bearman

This week, the House voted to raise the debt ceiling until 2025, passing a bipartisan agreement struck between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that averted the nation’s first-ever default.

The bill passed 314 - 117. The opposition made up of 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats.

Among those 46 Democrats was California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Following her vote, Lee joined FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson on "The Issue Is" to explain her rationale.

The two also discussed life on the campaign trail, as Lee looks to succeed Senator Dianne Feinstein, how she interacts with, and differs from, her 2024 Senate opponents Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Katie Porter, what it would mean to have a Black woman in the Senate, and more.

Also this week, a debate between Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren and Progressive attorney Ethan Bearman.

The two face off on calls to "destroy leftism," President Biden’s fitness for office, the growing GOP primary field, which may soon include former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence, and the marquee GOP battle between former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.


REP. LEE’S CENTRAL TAKE: "This was a manufactured crisis, first of all, with the MAGA extremist Republicans, and I believe that they actually wanted the country to go into default. Those of us who voted against it never would allow the country to go into default, we actually, way back last year wanted to do the debt ceiling vote then, we also had a discharge petition, of course all Democrats signed that, and we also talked about the 14th Amendment. So we've been pushing hard not to default…

"So when you when we looked at the deal, and I have to tell you, the President did a phenomenal job, but it was lose-lose really with Kevin McCarthy and the MAGA Republicans really wanting to go into default, that I decided when I saw that the work requirements were going to be disproportionately impacting Black and Brown women with children, students now are going to have to repay these loans, I mean, there was some provisions in there, and as an appropriator looking at it and how much our discretionary domestic spending is going to go down a $1,000,000,000, I had to represent my constituents and the 20 million people here in California who are one paycheck away from poverty…"


REP. LEE’S CENTRAL TAKE: "We're colleagues, but we're different, you know? I have a lens that they don't have. They have lenses that I don't have. I want to be in the Senate because it's certainly lacking diversity, first of all, there no candidate in the race who looks like me and who's had the experience that I have had. Since 1789, there have been only two Black women serving in the Senate, Senator Carol Moseley Braun and our Vice President. A total of ten years since 1789. And so what I bring to the Senate is more diversity, more equity, more inclusion, and a new perspective that needs to be part of representation…"


REP. LEE’S CENTRAL TAKE: "When there are crimes against humanity, slavery, when generations of people have been affected, not by individuals, with government policies, mind you, and the enslavement of African-Americans, well, Africans, for 250 years in this country, then racism, Jim Crow, reconstruction, there's generational trauma, first of all. Secondly, the wealth gap, the economic gap, the health care disparities, the mass incarceration rates. When you look at the disparities, reparations is an international concept which needs to be applied here. We supported the reparations for the Japanese-Americans, for so many groups that have been discriminated against and held, enslaved, and brutalized in this country. You've got to repair the damage…

"Finally, I’ll just say I have my own bill that's calling for a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation commission. The transformation is reparations. But in this country, we have to have a truth-telling moment. People don't understand what the government-sanctioned institution of slavery has done and why we see police misconduct, why we see disproportionate rates of black people dying from COVID. There's a connection, and this truth telling moment will help heal and bring people to the point where they say, 'yes, we've got to repair this damage so that no more generations of African-Americans have to suffer like we have suffered.’…"


LAHREN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "When we're talking about leftism, we're not talking about Democrats or the Democrat Party. We're talking about wokeism. We're talking about radical leftism. And I 100% agree with [Governor DeSantis] that that needs to be destroyed. And you're seeing a lot of Americans, not just on the conservative side, rejecting Wokeism because it's just simply gone too far, as we've seen, especially in the last few months. So conservatives, and I believe just rational Americans in general, are putting a stop to it with their wallets and with their feet, as you see the great exodus from California…"

BEARMAN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I mean, the Regressive party, of course, speaks its mind through this idea of ending anybody who opposes them. We're seeing that in legislation in red states across the United States right now, denying the existence of certain people even and refusing to teach the history of what actually has happened. Look, if you destroy the idea of what Tomi just described as leftism, you would still have slavery, you would not have a Civil Rights Act, women wouldn't be able to vote, and, you know, transporting minors across state lines might have a different outcome than they are today. That's actually progressive politics that got those things taken care of…"


LAHREN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Mike Pence, I mean, that might be even worse than a Nikki Haley. He has absolutely no shot, no chance he's not going to get these so-called mega Republicans. He's not going to get conservative Republicans. He's not going to get establishment Republicans. He might get a few RHINO Republicans, and that's going to be about it. He is not going to be popular with the new Republican movement, the America First movement. Simply ridiculous. Chris Christie, again, he's trying to 'make fetch happen,' he's trying to resurrect himself. Again, not going to happen. This is a Ron versus Don race. Everybody else is in it for name, ID, clout and maybe to make some money. But that's about it…."

BEARMAN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I mean, look, I would suggest that the vast majority of Americans would be happier to vote for the fly that landed on Mike Pence's head than Mike Pence at this point. Look, the guy who stood up for democracy by refusing to cave to the insurrectionist crowd that appears to have been whipped up by a number of people, some of whom might still be in Congress, we'll find out here soon, he didn't endear himself to anybody. Chris Christie lost every last shred of of self respect after he got trounced by Trump in 2016. He's got no chance. I love to see it. I want to see Republicans waste their money, waste their time, because Trump is going to most likely get indicted here soon, and then what are the Republicans going to do? Because DeSantis, he ain't got it either…."


LAHREN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "While I love Donald Trump, I love what he did for our country. I wish he was our President now, things would be a lot different, I do believe that Ron DeSantis is our best bet to get back in that White House and to turn this country around. So, I am in the Ron DeSantis camp at this point. I think that he is our best chance. I love him as the Governor of Florida, apparently so do many Californians because they have flocked there, and I think he's going to be our best shot, a winner and a President…"

BEARMAN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "First, I just want to disagree with Tomi for a second, there would be no Ukraine, there'd be no NATO, Russia and Putin would have gotten his way and there might not even be a Taiwan if President Trump was still the President. But, just objectively analyzing, look. Ron DeSantis can raise as much money as he wants, and I think that that's critical, he needs to raise a ton of money, but on a debate stage, if we actually get to that point, there is nobody on the Republican side that can beat Donald Trump on a primary debate stage. We saw him destroy all of them in 2016. That's what would happen to Ron DeSantis…"

The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to