Jul 22, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Transcript July 22
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference on July 22, 2021. She discussed the January 6 Committee. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Speaker Pelosi: (00:00)
Noah looked in at the house and saw the American flag. He got some chocolate at my office and it was a perfect way to begin because he is the future and all that we do is about the future.
Speaker Pelosi: (00:13)
As we speak right now on the floor of the House, we had the allies bill, promises made, promises kept to those who helped our men and women in uniform in Afghanistan to have the visas and the opportunity for them to be safe. I’ve been to Afghanistan nine times, bringing the best wishes of the American people to our men and women in uniform, and also thanking those who helped to keep them safe. This is a very important measure in that regard.
Speaker Pelosi: (00:49)
And then when I leave here, we will be welcoming the King of Jordan, His Majesty King Abdullah, to talk about peace in the Middle East. So it’s a busy time.
Speaker Pelosi: (01:00)
In terms of where we are on this, we have the fact that the bipartisan agreement in the Senate looks like it has prospects to be brought up soon. I don’t know when. I hope that it will, because that infrastructure legislation is very important, but I want to talk about our men and women in uniform. We always promise them that we will build for them a future worthy of their sacrifice. And President Biden’s build back better initiative does exactly that. Jobs are coming back, going to about 60,000 every three days. Wages are rising. Paychecks are growing, the strongest rate before the pandemic, since 2006. The economy is booming. The CBO, IMF, Federal Reserve, World Bank, OECD and others all project that we will reach the highest levels of growth in nearly four decades and we’ll do that this year. And we need build bold infrastructure investment to build back better, better jobs.
Speaker Pelosi: (02:10)
When we ran in ’18 and then in ’20, we said we were going to have lower healthcare costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. That’s what we said, what we had set out to do and are in the works to accomplish. Jobs are coming back, as I mentioned before.
Speaker Pelosi: (02:31)
Now, as we go forward, it is important for us to, again, have them pass the bi-partisan infrastructure bill. As I said earlier, we don’t know when [inaudible 00:02:45] scheduled, but it seems to be imminent and I hope that it will succeed. I have said, and I can repeat, that while we are eager for it to pass, we will not be taking it up until the Senate passes the reconciliation bill. And the timing of that, of course, is up up to the Senate.
Speaker Pelosi: (03:10)
As you know, January 6th was a day of an assault on the Capitol that was one of the darkest days in our country’s history. It was an assault on our democracy. It was assault on our Congress, assault on our Constitution as rioters tried to undo or prevent us from honoring our constitutional responsibility to ratify, to certify the electoral college vote and officially name Joe Biden President of the United States.
Speaker Pelosi: (03:50)
In the time since then, six months or more since then, we’ve tried to have a bipartisan commission. In the House, we passed it. It was we yielded on many scores in terms of makeup, process and timing. And it was bipartisan in terms of the committee and I salute our Chairman, Bennie Thompson, and Mr. Katko, the ranking member. Even though it was something that was bi-artisan and yielded on many points to the Republicans in order to achieve bipartisanship, the leadership of the Republican party in the House opposed and whipped against the bipartisan commission.
Speaker Pelosi: (04:33)
Still in all, we had the votes, 35 members on the Republican side voted with us to send it to the Senate. It was very hopeful that we could pass it there. We had seven Republican vote about, but not 10, and we needed 10 to get up to 60. Hopefully one day that opportunity will still present itself. But because it was not possible in this timeframe, last month we passed our legislation for a select committee. A select committee is bipartisan and it has a quorum and it will do the job it sets out to do. And that is to investigate the causes and that of what happened on January 6th to find out how it was organized, who paid for it, who messaged to get those people here for the assault on the Capitol.
Speaker Pelosi: (05:35)
As you know, well over 100 people were injured, some died. It was a horrible, horrible thing. I’ll never forget the trauma it caused, not only for our members, but for our staff and for the people who work in the Capitol to make our work here possible. Some of you were here that day as well. So you can attest to the fact that it was not all love, hugs and kisses as it has been characterized, mis-characterized shall we say.
Speaker Pelosi: (06:08)
So, as you know, we named our commission and it was committee and it’s bipartisan again and we have a quorum. Staff is being hired to do the job. We’re there to seek the truth. We’re there to get the truth, not to get Trump. T-R-U. Truce. Trump. That seems to be what the other side is obsessed with. So as the legislation allows, I did not accept two of the five people were appointed. They had made statements and taken actions that I think would impact the integrity of the committee, the work of the committee.
Speaker Pelosi: (06:52)
This is deadly serious. This is about our Constitution. It’s about our country. It’s about an assault on the capital that is being mis-characterized, for some reason, at the expense of finding the truth for the American people. I’m very pleased the response that we have received across the country and from my caucus on this subject and I’m very pleased with the leadership of Bennie Thompson, our chairman, the bipartisan nature of our committee with Liz Cheney, the other members on the committee who have experience and patriotism as their calling cards. So we will proceed. And as I said, the committee’s in the process of hiring staff to that end.
Speaker Pelosi: (07:48)
It’s my responsibility as Speaker of the House to make sure we get to the truth on this and we will not let their antics stand in the way of that. On another subject, again, we are working very hard to get the job done for the American people to lower healthcare costs, lower pollution. As I said to him, we ran, we said lower healthcare costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. And that’s what we are about. The cleaner government comes with the HR1S1, combine them, the Senate resolution, the House resolution to get this done. So in any event, as I mentioned, we are here to get the job done. We cannot respond to some of the legislation until the Senate acts. As I said, we will not take up the infrastructure bill until the Senate passes the reconciliation bill.
Speaker Pelosi: (08:54)
With that, I’m pleased to take any questions. Yes, ma’am?
Madam Speaker, would you need additional Republican members to serve on this select committee, given the fact that the resolution says you have the power to [inaudible 00:09:06]?
Speaker Pelosi: (09:06)
Yes. Well, I did suggest to the leader that the three… Make sure you understand this. I hear the press saying, “Well, they didn’t vote to accept the…” That had nothing to do with it. Right from the start when the members acted in that way and said they were not going to vote for the certification that Joe Biden was president, I said to the members, “Do not let that stand in the way of you finding bipartisan agreement on legislation here.” I’m not encouraging that at all. You find your common ground. We strive for bipartisanship. So how they voted on that bill is not relevant to how we are legislating.
Speaker Pelosi: (09:49)
On the other hand, the two people that I excluded… Of the three that I pointed, one of them voted against the ratification and the other two voted for it. Having said that though, the other two made statements and took actions that just made it ridiculous to put them on such a committee seeking the truth.
Speaker Pelosi: (10:12)
At the same time, we have committee to address economic disparities in our country. And the leader gave me six names for that committee. Five of them voted against making the election of Joe Biden official, but I approved all six of them, even though only one of them voted in that regard. So it has not been a factor, even though the press, somehow you all think that it might be. It has not been a factor. The chairman of that committee, Jim Himes, is already staffed up and ready for a hearing next week as is Mr. Thompson for a hearing next week. But the leader may want to rescind those names. I’m ready to have them be accepted on the floor of the House. So we’ll see. We’ll see. There are some members who would like to be on it, but we’ll see.
Speaker Pelosi: (11:13)
[crosstalk 00:11:14] Can you elaborate more specifically what statements and what actions caused you to-
Speaker Pelosi: (11:20)
No, I won’t. I’ll just give you their statements. I’ll give you their statements. I think one of them of Mr. Banks was that the Biden Administration was responsible for January 6th. There was no Biden Administration on January 6th, but let’s not go into that. Are you up to date on their statements? I’d like you to see them because they completely just make it impossible for them to exercise judgment. Again, this is about seeking the truth and it’s about not… As I said in my comment, with respect for the integrity of the investigation, with the concern that the American people want to know the truth, and in light of statements and actions taken by them, I could not appoint them. I said that while this may be unprecedented, so was an attack on the Capitol. I’m not going to spend any more time talking about them.
Speaker Pelosi: (12:30)
So on the bipartisan question of this committee and this change, you said this was bipartisan. When you talked and told the Republicans, many of them believe that the election was stolen from him and so on, how do you convince people on the other side of the aisle that what’s going to go on in this committee is going to be bipartisan and truly get to the truth if they’re already [crosstalk 00:12:52]-
Speaker Pelosi: (12:52)
It isn’t even bipartisan, it’s nonpartisan. It’s about seeking the truth. And that’s what we owe the American people. And probably the biggest incentive for that is that the less partisan it is, the more it will be accepted by the American people. [crosstalk 00:13:16]
McCarthy is promising to have his own-
Speaker Pelosi: (13:18)
You know, I’m not talking about him. Okay. What else you got? No, I’m not. I’m not concerned. Let’s not waste each other’s time. Okay.
Madam Speaker, there’s a bill before the house that would prohibit taxpayer-funded funded abortion. It’s been brought by Republicans 37 times for a vote on the House floor, but has been blocked by Democrats. Can you explain why?
Speaker Pelosi: (13:41)
It has been blocked by Democrats?
Well, it has been blocked for a vote to allow a vote on the House floor. The bill to-
Speaker Pelosi: (13:48)
Well, it hasn’t been blocked by Democrats.
Well, it hasn’t been accepted, I should say.
Speaker Pelosi: (13:54)
Well, we will be voting on it. It passed in committee. We think it is the right thing to do. It is something that many of us have been concerned about for a long time as an issue of health, as an issue of fairness. And we will send the bills over to the Senate. We’ll see. It may be-
No, I’m sorry. I think you misunderstood. It’s a bill to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions, to have money go to taxpayer funded abortion.
Speaker Pelosi: (14:25)
Well, that’s in the law for Medicaid. You’re talking about Medicaid. That’s in the law. What we have in our bill is to overturn that. There’s no need to have that. That is the law now.
The reasons why to have it overturned?
Speaker Pelosi: (14:38)
Because it’s an issue of health of many women in America. Especially those in lower income situations and in different states. And it is something that has been a priority for many of us a long time. As a devout Catholic and mother of five and six years, I feel that God blessed my husband and me with our beautiful family, five children, six years almost to the day, but it’s not up to me to dictate that that’s what other people should do. And it’s an issue of fairness and justice for poor women and in our country. Yes, ma’am.
Given how divided the country is at this point, do you risk half the American public not believing what the committee finds with your findings in this select committee? And also, can you talk about Liz Cheney’s role now after Leader McCarthy’s move of withdrawing his members?
Speaker Pelosi: (15:45)
Well, no. In fact, I don’t accept your stipulation that there is a percentage of the country who was in denial about COVID and getting vaccinated. It’s sort of the same crowd. But overwhelmingly, if you look at the polls and if that’s what your measure is, they want to know the truth. Is it like in the 70s that people want to know more about what happened on January 6th? And 59% of Republicans, according to the polling that came out this morning, think we need to know more about what happened on January 6th.
Speaker Pelosi: (16:24)
I think that these people are going to act up, cause a problem. And people said to me, “Put them on. And then when they act up, you can pick them off.” I said, “Why should we waste time on something as predictable?” The Republicans that they put on will have their own point of view. Nobody’s saying that it all should be one point of view going on the committee, but it is, when statements are ridiculous and fall into the realm of you must be kidding, there’s no way that they’re going to be on the committee. Okay. I got to go. [crosstalk 00:17:05]
[crosstalk 00:17:06] rightward shift of Latino voters in the 2020 election? And should the democratic party be preparing to appeal to the demographic differently in the midterm?
Speaker Pelosi: (17:14)
Well, you want to talk politics? Yeah, obviously the Latino community is the future of America. If you actually study the numbers, there was a very strong vote for Joe Biden in the message. Part of our issue in the last election was that we could not go door to door. We could not go door to door to get out the vote. We will be able to go out to door to door next. But regardless of that, we should be paying a great deal of attention. And I’m proud of our congressional Hispanic caucus for the work that they do in the Congress to bring the concerns of the community, into a priority place in our discussion and that their communication is helpful to us to understand more fully what some of the issues are. Some of the issues are newer issues to the discussion. Then Latino community is a young population. It’s a young population, and we really have to reach out better to young people as whether, as well as the Latino community.
Speaker Pelosi: (18:35)
But I have to go to the floor because I have the King of Jordan coming right now.
Should Dr. King’s I have a dream speech be required to be taught in public schools across the country? There is an effort in Texas to strip that from being part of the curriculum, it shouldn’t be required.
Speaker Pelosi: (18:55)
What is taught in the curriculum in schools is a local decision. That’s just the way it has been. I think it is a sadness for the children if they are not able to hear or learn about that speech, because it is so inspirational about our country. It’s not partisan, it’s patriotic, it’s fair. You remind me that this weekend we had the privilege, many of us, to go to San Diego for the launching of the ship named for John Lewis. It was such a beautiful occasion.
Speaker Pelosi: (19:31)
And I recalled two years ago, around this time, the end of July, a little bit later, John Lewis and the black caucus and I went to Ghana and we went to the door of no return where the first slaves that came to the United States 400 years ago, well, to America, it wasn’t United States yet, went through that door of no return and got on those death ships. If they survived, slavery was their destination. It’s just so tragic. And John, and you should have seen the reception he received. It was so beautiful there.
Speaker Pelosi: (20:09)
But John said to us, “This is as much a part of American history as the walk over the Selma Bridge, because this is how people came.” And what he did say, and I’ll close with this, he said, “We may have come to America on different ships, but now we’re in the same boat.” And that’s how we view this, in the same boat of America for a more perfect union. He’s such an inspiration to us as was Dr. King. Mr. Clyburn has it, I think, constantly going in his office, because no matter how many times you hear the speech of Dr. King, it continues to inspire, strengthen, and keep us focused on our purpose that we’re all on the same ship. Thank you. [inaudible 00:21:05] Thank you.