Nov 5, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Press Conference Transcript: Infrastructure Vote Plan
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about her plan for the infrastructure bill vote during a briefing on November 5, 2021. Read the transcript of the press conference here.
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Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
… Proceed down a path to advance a very historic and transformative agenda, the president’s agenda, to build back better and also to pass the bipartisan infrastructure framework, create good paying jobs across the country. Building the infrastructure of our country with mass transit, to help clean the air, with safer bridges for safety, for the American people, for broadband to help people communicate better, whether it’s distance learning, telemedicine or commerce, or just family relations. There are many other elements in the legislation that are very important, very important to the success of our economy. But in order to build back better, we want to do that and pass the build back better bill. I call it build back better for women because it makes a big difference and being transformative for women in the workplace.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:01)
We had hoped to be able to bring both bills to the floor today. Some members want more clarification or validation of numbers that have been put forth, that it’s top line. That it is fully paid for. And we honored that request. So today we hope to pass the BIF and also the rule on build back better with the idea that before Thanksgiving, should take another week or so to get the numbers that they’re requesting, as I don’t know, that’s how long it takes. And as we do, then we’ll have a Thanksgiving gift for the American people.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:43)
I do want to thank the congressional black caucus for the creative alternative that they presented today, that advances the agenda, to do so in a way that, again, is historic and transformative. With that, I’ll yield to the distinguished democratic majority leader, or the majority leader, of the House, Mr. Hoyer.
Steny Hoyer: (02:13)
Thank You very much madam speaker, and thank you, Jim Clyburn, for the hard work that you and your whip organization, but you in particular, have put forward in terms of getting the work done. What is the work? The work is two bills. They are the president’s vision of a better and stronger America, more competitive America, America that reaches out to its working men and women, its families, to its children, to educate them, to seniors, to make sure that they’re cared for properly. These two bills will make, as the president says, a generational change for our country.
Steny Hoyer: (02:50)
I believe that the votes today to pass the infrastructure bill and to provide for a path forward by adopting the rule for the passage of the build back better legislation will be a giant step forward. And I am absolutely convinced beyond a doubt that before Thanksgiving, the week of the 15th, we will pass the build back better legislation. All members of our caucus have indicated they’re for BIF. Almost every member has indicated. And I believe we will have an overwhelming democratic vote and pass, on our side of the aisle, the build back better legislation. I’d now like to yield to my friend, Jim Clyburn, who’s been so important in moving this bill forward. Jim?
James Clyburn: (03:47)
Thank you, Lee and the speaker for their vision, getting us to where we are today. I Think of what we are about to do, is hopefully pass a piece of legislation that will be very transformative to many of our communities. If you look at this bill, the so-called infrastructure bill, we see funding that gets us to about 70% of the way with a 100% build out of broadband in our country. That to me is very, very important. You are not going to be able to have the kind of medical care that we need unless we have telehealth and telemedicine. You’re not going to have the adequate education for our children unless there’s online learning, that has to take place. And rural businesses are not going to be able to thrive unless they’re going to have just in time delivery of their services and their products. So broadband alone does a big, big deal for me.
James Clyburn: (04:07)
But if you look at the communities that I represent, rural communities, many of them rural, these communities with this bill get the water, and sewage kind of development that it need to make these communities attractive for future growth and development. This bill gets us a long ways down that road, and not to mention what it does for our ports. The Charleston port is in my district. Our ports, when you see a state like South Carolina building, now, we do more tires in South Carolina than they do in Ohio. And we got Mercedes-Benz, their Sprinter, is made in North Charleston. Volvo, and these plants, BMW, they’ve got to have the ability to get these products out. So this bill, this infrastructure bill, is huge for my state and the communities that I represent.
James Clyburn: (06:11)
And then that gets us to the rule on build back better. And then build back better, the reason we got to have that bill is because that’s where so much of what we need for families to get to where they need to be, for their communities to get to where they need to be. Just take, for instance, children. In that bill is where we make permanent for another year, the tax credits for children. Tax reduction, I call it, for families with children. These things are very, very important, not to mention the other parts of the family are taking care of with that bill.
James Clyburn: (06:59)
And so when I think of what we’ve got to do for the cost of pharmaceuticals, I try to use the word pharmaceuticals rather than the drugs, the cost of pharmaceuticals, the cost there, it’s in build back better. And so I think that there’s strong support, if not unanimous support, in our caucus for build back better. And so today for us to do the infrastructure bill, give the president this bill to sign so that he can keep the job growth that we just heard about this morning, moving forward, that’s a huge deal for us. And then, we’ll go on to do the rule so we can go home and await these final numbers coming from wherever they’ve got to come from and do what we need to do to pass that bill sometimes out into the future. And I’ll let the speaker tell us that’ll be.
Nancy Pelosi: (07:59)
Let me just say how important it is to have a rule vote. Once we have the rule vote, we have the path to the floor. And all of our members voting for the rule says that we will pass, as Mr. Hoyer said, we’ll pass the bill and as the distinguished whip said as well. So the rule vote, people have to understand, this is the threshold. And so we’ll cross the threshold that’ll take us to that.
Speaker 4: (08:27)
Do you have enough Republican votes to pass the bipartisan plan?
Nancy Pelosi: (08:29)
Well, we hope to have as many Democrats as possible to pass the bipartisan plan.
Speaker 5: (08:35)
Madam Speaker, yes. A couple questions on that. Congresswoman Jayapal came out with a statement indicating that they will not, she will not support, her caucus, the progressive caucus, the infrastructure bill, if it goes without build back better. That she would rather wait until the CBO score comes and that moderates are on board both. Have you spoken to her, and do you have the votes right now for the infrastructure bill?
Nancy Pelosi: (08:59)
We all speak to each other quite regularly. In fact, it’s not a chance to say I spoke once or twice. It’s a constant conversation among all of us in our caucus. And the fact is, we believe it is necessary to pass the BIF so that these jobs can come online as soon as possible. We have waited a while. We had hoped to pass it sooner, but we can’t wait too much later for the legislation. I do believe that there are a large number of members of the progressive caucus who will vote for the bill. That is my understanding. I’m with the members all the time. I have my own… Now, Mr. Clyburn has the official whip count. I have speaker’s secret whip count. I don’t tell anything that people tell me, not even you my dear good friends, but I have a pretty good feel.
Speaker 5: (09:59)
Do you have 218 votes to pass it?
Nancy Pelosi: (10:01)
We’ll see, won’t we?
Speaker 6: (10:02)
Speaker Pelosi, the inability-
Nancy Pelosi: (10:03)
Anybody else here?
Speaker 7: (10:03)
Yeah, madam speaker?
Nancy Pelosi: (10:03)
Right there. Okay. Please. Okay.
Speaker 7: (10:10)
We’ve seen this. There’s going to be a vote, okay, there’s not going to be a vote. There’s going to be a vote. There’s not going to be a vote. At a certain point, do you worry that it starts to look like the Democrats can’t get out of their own way?
Nancy Pelosi: (10:20)
No, welcome to my world. This is the democratic party. It is… Well, Roger said it very well, wherever he is. And it is a party with vitality and diversity is something that we all respect and admire. We are not a lockstep party. We are not just speak to this one person and nobody else needs to show up. And that exuberance is the vitality of our party, which we value and treasure and respect the different opinions within our party. One of the challenges that we have though, because I’ve been here a long time, as have all three of us, in those days, all of this would be done, but not on 24/7 platforms where there are opinions going out, characterizations going out before anybody even knew what was going on. So it’s an additional challenge, but I see every challenge as an opportunity.
Nancy Pelosi: (11:15)
Speaker 8: (11:15)
What is your message to progressives who say they will not vote for this infrastructure bill?
Nancy Pelosi: (11:29)
[Inaudible 00:11:29] For the reasons that Mr. Hoyer and Mr. Clyburn mentioned, we have to weigh the equities in our vote, each and every one of us. And I hope that it would weigh heavily on them that American people want to see progress in their communities with job creation, but not only that, what those jobs will create in terms of mass transit, to protect the air, water projects, to protect the water that their children drink, broadband so that we can have fairness in how people learn and buy and sell and get healthcare online. The list goes on and on. And it’s very important that we pass it. So I hope that they would make a judgment on the merits of the legislation.
Speaker 9: (12:18)
Speaker 6: (12:21)
The inability of Democrats to pass this today, what does this show to the American people?
Nancy Pelosi: (12:27)
What inability? What inability.
Speaker 6: (12:27)
The inability to pass the build back better plan today?
Nancy Pelosi: (12:30)
Well, that’s it not. We’re moving the build back better along. This is the first major step. We have never, let me, with all due respect to your characterization, this is as… we’re in the best place ever, today, to be able to go forward. We have not had this level of progress in terms of where we want to build that BIF, bipartisan infrastructure framework whether it’s called the jobs creation legislation and the opportunity to have a path to build back better for women.
Nancy Pelosi: (13:12)
And for women, because there’s so much in there that is liberating for women, women in the workplace, and dads too, who have home responsibilities. Whether it’s childcare, whether it’s elder care, in home healthcare, whether it’s children learning, parents earning with, again, the child tax credit that helps pay the bills, in so many ways. And of course we are very proud of the fact that in this legislation, we have the opportunity for people in the 12 states that did not embrace the Medicaid provisions of the affordable care act to be taken under affordable care act. This is transformational. And everything I mentioned, everything I mentioned, is supported by Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, everything that I just mentioned. There are some things that they may add, subtract or whatever, but 99… Over 90% of the bill was built House, Senate, White House. So if there are a couple things at the end that are different, we’ll deal with those. But this is again, transformative, historic, and again, this is a giant, two giant steps forward today.
Speaker 6: (14:31)
But some voters are saying that the democrats are unable to get anything done.
Nancy Pelosi: (14:34)
Speaker 10: (14:34)
We just couldn’t hear it, you guys.
Nancy Pelosi: (14:37)
No. Watch the vote when it comes up. Okay?
Speaker 6: (14:39)
The voters, but some voters, think [crosstalk 00:14:39] democrats are not able to get anything done.
Speaker 9: (14:39)
Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 11: (15:08)
Speaker 12: (15:11)
Excuse me. Can I get through, please. All that work and they’re [inaudible 00:15:12].
Speaker 9: (15:11)
Make a hole. Make a hole.
Speaker 13: (15:22)
Zach? Zach, your [inaudible 00:15:24].