The Issue Is: Sen. Alex Padilla, Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo, Michael Knowles

Another busy week in politics, especially in California, where the gubernatorial recall effort officially qualified for the ballot, new census data led to the loss of a Congressional House seat, and coronavirus case rates continued to plummet.

To discuss these topics, and so much more, Elex Michaelson is joined on The Issue Is by California’s junior Senator Alex Padilla, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Conservative host Michael Knowles.



BACKGROUND: This week, President Joe Biden delivered his first joint address to Congress. On the heels of the $1.9T "American Rescue Plan," the President proposed two more massive spending plans, the $2.3T "American Jobs Plan" and the $1.8T "American Families Plan." With a potential $6T in spending on those three packages alone, what does Padilla say to more fiscally Conservative voters who worry how the proposals will be paid for?

PADILLA’S CENTRAL TAKE: "When we were coming out of the Great Depression, did we let the concern about how are we going to pay for it, keep us from investing in our nation's infrastructure back in the 30s… No, it's viewed through history as a big reason we rebounded as a country. Look at California, specifically under Governor Pat Brown. Did we let the concern about how we're going to pay for it keep us from investing in our transportation infrastructure, from our university system and so much more? No, it's those investments that led to our success and prosperity. And that's the thinking that we're doing here… I think it's going to be a combination of the most wealthy families in America and large corporations should be paying their fair share. Some are paying too little, some aren't paying anything at all. So that can underwrite a big part of the investment that we know is needed… let's not be shy. We know that significant strategic investments will reap benefits for years to come…"



BACKGROUND: On March 6, the Senate passed the $1.9T American Rescue Plan with a party-line vote of 50-49, with the 50th Republican, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan not present. As President Biden proposes two new spending plans, totaling over $4T, the hyper-partisanship in the Senate could serve as a roadblock, forcing Senate Democrats to utilize reconciliation, as was the case with the American Recovery Plan, or move to end the filibuster altogether, an idea which Senator Padilla supports.

PADILLA’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think the trend continues, more and more of my colleagues, the hardest to convince, or change your mind, or come around, because they see the reluctance of our Republican colleagues to play ball. We were talking about the American Rescue Plan a few minutes ago, to think that the urgent resources for families, for small businesses, for state, local governments across the country had to be done on a partisan basis because Republicans couldn't even bring themselves to do that…. Now the ball's back in their court. Will they play ball with us on the investments in housing, in health care, in roads and bridges and broadband deployment or so much more? Or is it just all talk that they want to work on a bipartisan basis because the need is urgent? If they're ready to work, so are we. If they're not, then we have a way to act with the urgency that the situation calls for…"



BACKGROUND: This week, after months of signature collection, organizers behind the effort to recall were greeted with the welcome news that, with more than 1.6M verified signatures, the recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom would in fact appear on a ballot later this year. This, as newly released census data caused California to lose a Congressional seat after experiencing only .6% population growth over the past decade. Some of that slow growth is due to decreased birth and immigration rates, but also the loss of many California residents and businesses to other states. One such business was The Daily Wire, the Conservative media company for which Michael Knowles is a host, which relocated to Nashville in 2020.

KNOWLES’ CENTRAL TAKE: "I'm upset that I don't get to be there for all of the craziness which is about to ensue. It seems that Caitlyn Jenner is now waving the banner of the conservative movement in California - didn’t see that one coming… But I am very pleased that I fled ‘New-ssolini’s’ sinking ship in California… What state is losing people at some of the highest rates? It's California. And it's not because California isn’t a beautiful place. I love California. The natural beauty alone is enough to make someone move there. But bad government, bad policies do have an effect. And even people who are not to the right of Attila the Hun like I am, even people who are more in the center or even liberal are fleeing, because it's not a pleasant place to be right now. You've got crime surging, you've got homelessness surging, and you've got confiscatory taxes that make it virtually impossible to run a business…"



BACKGROUND: In his latest column at The Daily Wire, "Three Cheers for Big Government," Michael Knowles posits that as Conservatives seek limited government, "when small government cannot meet the demands of justice, we must grow the state, if only to preserve our freedom."

KNOWLES’ CENTRAL TAKE: "I think I’m a heretic, according to the language of the last 20 years or so among conservatives, but it wasn't always that case, Barry Goldwater, Bill Buckley, Ronald Reagan, they always talked about the need to assert our political influence against any sort of unlimited giant institution, whether that is in the public sector or in the private sector. When you look at a company like Facebook or Google, is that a private company? Sort of. But it seems that they have the influence of a government to make our policies. And so I think a lot of the reason that we have lost the culture over the past 30, 40 years as conservatives is because we've set up this false dichotomy between public and private, or between big government and small government. What we really want to do is preserve limited government. We want to make sure that there are limits on the power of gigantic actors, whether that's the government or the bureaucracy or whether that's some woke multinational corporation, and it's long past due for Republicans to stop shilling for corporations that hate us, that hate our priorities and want to totally upend the American political order…"

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

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