Politics

Jake Tapper Asks Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez About Booming Economy, He Responds With Health Care

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  • DNC chair and former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was on CNN’s State of The Union Sunday talking about the economy ahead of Tuesday’s midterms.
  • Perez was asked to clarify an inaccurate statement on wage growth.
  • Perez doubled down on his wage growth claims and brought up health care instead.

Former Secretary of Labor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez was asked Sunday morning to clarify his statement that rising wages weren’t reflected in the October jobs report, but he instead doubled down and pivoted healthcare.

“New economic numbers on Friday showed a quarter of a million new jobs, steady unemployment at a 49-year low,” Jake Tapper said to Perez on Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ “I know wage growth has been lagging, but this is the best annual wage growth since 2009, topping 3 percent for the first time since the great recession.”

“That’s higher than it ever got during your four years as labor secretary, yet your statement in response to the numbers was, quote, ‘too many working families have been left behind in the Trump economy,'” Tapper continued. “What are you talking about?”

Perez said on Friday that people are not satisfied with the economy because wages are not rising. But Department of Labor data shows that wage growth broke 3 percent for the first time in nearly a decade, as Tapper said.

“I’m talking about real wage growth,” Perez said Sunday. “If you’re – if you get a dollar more in your paycheck and the cost of gasoline, the cost of health care, the cost of housing goes up by three dollars, you’re not better off. And by the way, we created more jobs in the last 21 months of the Obama administration than in the first 21 months of the Trump administration.”

In the same response, Perez bought up health care, a topic Democrats have been pushing as a top message heading into Tuesday’s midterm elections, specifically regarding pre-existing conditions. (RELATED: US Adds 250,000 Jobs In October, Wage Growth Breaks 3 Percent For First Time In Nearly A Decade)

WATCH:

“That’s the number one issue in this election, is health care, because they want to do away with coverage for people with pre-existing conditions,” the DNC chairman said.

But Tapper continued pressing Perez about the economy.

“I understand why you want to change the subject to pre-existing conditions, but let’s focus on the economy for one second, because you said two things that are not born out by the facts,” Tapper said.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Democratic National Party Chirman Tom Perez speaks as about 300 people rally to protest against President Donald Trump's firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey outside the White House May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump fired Comey a day earlier, calling it the 'Tuesday Night Massacre,' recalling former President Richard Nixon's firing of a independent special prosecutor. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 10: Democratic National Party Chirman Tom Perez speaks as about 300 people rally to protest against President Donald Trump’s firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey outside the White House May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump fired Comey a day earlier, calling it the ‘Tuesday Night Massacre,’ recalling former President Richard Nixon’s firing of a independent special prosecutor. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

At one point in the interview, Perez blamed the Trump administration for trying to change the subject away from healthcare.

“[W]e have an administration that is constantly attacking health care,” Perez repeated. “[T]hey’re trying to change the subject away from health care.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also released a report Thursday revealing a decrease in homeless veterans across the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, continuing a trend from the Obama administration.

The number of homeless veterans decreased from 40,020 in January 2017 to 37,878 in January 2018 – a 5.4 percent decrease.

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