Sep 8, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Transcript September 8

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Transcript September 8
RevBlogTranscriptsNancy Pelosi TranscriptsHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Transcript September 8

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference on September 8, 2021. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.

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Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
What I know is that this bill is for you. If you’re a woman with children at home and want to return to the workforce, and if you have people with disabilities at home and need home health care. If your children are little and you want universal pre-K children learning, parents earning. If someone is sick in your family, you need family and medical leave paid. The list goes on. If your family needs economic assistance, the Biden tax credit, but it’s the child tax cut really, is a big middle class cut in taxes.

Nancy Pelosi: (00:38)
So again, it’s about the children and I’m so excited as to how transformative it is. Our members, our committees are working feverishly and diligently, some observing, and we respect that and wish them happy new year, others moving forward as others … They take turns, and we will be ready to fulfill the president’s vision. I’m so proud that when the president passed the very important, and the Senate passed the very important infrastructure bill, they recognized that that was not the totality of the president’s vision.

Nancy Pelosi: (01:20)
In order to … That was important, and we will pass that legislation, but we can only do so as we recognize that if we’re going to build back better, we have to do so including many more people, starting with women, who took the biggest hit. The biggest hit in the COVID, more than 4 million women could not go to work. Their children couldn’t go to school, they didn’t have childcare. They couldn’t afford it, wasn’t readily available. They may have had a sick parent or a sibling with disability. Now we will correct that. So, we would hope that this will not only enable to women to go back to work, but to reach their fulfillment, to have a path in their own careers that is not hampered by the fact that they have uncertainty about the safety of their children.

Nancy Pelosi: (02:17)
So again, just for your information, I remember, now some of you weren’t born then, most of you I guess. I remember that we were on the brink of this when I was having my small little babies, my five children in six years, we saw that in the Congress of the United States, when Richard Nixon was president, in a bipartisan way the Congress passed the childcare bill. Look in the history books. Everybody thought the president would sign it. It was cause for great excitement and would make a big difference. Somebody named Patrick Buchanan intervened, making it a cultural issue, like we’re sending our children to a Soviet style situation by having childcare, and president vetoed the bill. 50 years ago. 1971.

Nancy Pelosi: (03:14)
So it’s long, long, long overdue that we recognize the importance of our children and their care, the value of women in the workplace, and the only way that we can truly build back better is with women in the workplace. So that’s why this is on my theme, all along with our members, has been build back better with women. Remarkable, remarkable transformational initiatives in this legislation. All of them long overdue. Many of them standard fare in other developed countries, sorely lacking in our country.

Nancy Pelosi: (03:57)
And so it would be again, to thank the president for his vision, as important as infrastructure is and we support that, it is not the totality of his vision. It’s a vision that does not just restore to where we were before, but takes us into the future. It will cut taxes again, deliver one of the largest tax cuts for families ever with the Biden tax credit. I call it the Biden tax, child tax cut will lower costs, especially for essentials and of course for prescription drugs, which is an health issue and economic and financial issue for families. Lowering the cost for healthcare, home healthcare, childcare and the rest. And it will create jobs, millions of jobs, good paying jobs, while tackling the climate crisis and advancing economic justice for children.

Nancy Pelosi: (04:59)
That’s my why to be in Congress or in the public service is for the children. And we owe it to our children to pass on a planet in a very responsible way. The reconciliation bill goes well beyond, well it’s hardly addressed in the infrastructure bill for reasons that you’re well aware. But in this reconciliation bill, we recognize that saving the planet, addressing the climate crisis is a health issue. The air our children breathe, the water they drink, safety and the environment in which they can thrive. It’s a jobs issue. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. To be preeminent in the world in the new green technologies, our initiatives are in furtherance of that. Having America be in the lead, departure from previous administration, in terms of our public role in all of that. Healthcare, jobs, security.

Nancy Pelosi: (06:06)
National security experts will tell you that the competition for habitat and resources causing migrations and conflicts are a national security issue. Healthcare, jobs, security, and morality. If you do believe, as I do, that this planet is God’s creation, then we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it. But even if you don’t share that religious belief, everybody knows that we … I hope everybody accepts the fact that we have a moral responsibility to our children to pass on this planet in the most responsible way possible. And the president has laid out serious goals in terms of emissions and the rest. And we plan to honor that in the reconciliation bill as we go forward. So it’s about the future. It’s about building back better, not reinforcing the past, but taking us into the future for the children.

Nancy Pelosi: (07:12)
On another note, and as we see the wildfires in the west, we see them at home, it’s so devastating. As you see the floods of Ida, the storms of Ida in the south and in the northeast. Mother nature is not happy with us in terms of how we recognize what challenges face us. Climate crisis is real human, behavior has an impact on it. We have public policy proposals that I hope would be bipartisan. However, the fossil fuel industry weighs in very heavily. Some of people in the other side of the aisle, you would think they would have taken the initiative on this, knowing what they do about energy. You would think they would realize that it’s going to be a fiduciary responsibility for them to their shareholders, for them to grasp the future. Let’s hope that that will become the case as more public awareness exists as to what our possibilities are.

Nancy Pelosi: (08:21)
So I just wanted to … As you know when I was speaker before, maybe you don’t know, that was my flagship issue, climate. We passed the biggest energy bill in the history of our country, working with president George Bush. The other part of it was two pronged, [inaudible 00:08:38] part of it, we passed in the house, couldn’t pass in the Senate, but now we want to move forward with very significant legislation. I just want to say, in terms of this weekend, we will all be sadly continuing our grief over what happened on 9/11. We’re coming upon the 20th anniversary. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with those families forever, always. But on those occasions, we show special deference. I want to salute the president for his calling for the declassification of the documents that … a review of the documents related to September 11th terrorist attacks, including those previously classified documents regarding to Saudi Arabia’s possible involvement. So thank you, Mr. President, for that.

Nancy Pelosi: (09:33)
Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by the wildfires by Ida, north and south. It’s so tragic that so many people lost their lives. We have to face the reality that there are many reasons why that happened. We need better infrastructure, but we need better recognition of the impact that climate crisis places on that. Be pleased to take any questions you may have.

Speaker 2: (10:00)
Madam speaker?

Nancy Pelosi: (10:01)
Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 2: (10:02)
Madam speaker, We just got a letter. We saw the letter that secretary Yellen had sent you about the debt ceiling, and she wrote in there that she expects those extraordinary measures to expire some time in October. What is your plan to deal with the debt ceiling? And does that letter impact your thinking about it? Because she said irreparable damage could be done if that’s not addressed.

Nancy Pelosi: (10:21)
Well, I appreciate your question, I do have a letter. I just got it this morning, as you know, and she does say that we have just until mid October with any of the unusual … hopefully by mid-October unusual measures that the secretary of the treasury has at her disposal. We will, let me just say the constitution says that full faith and credit of the United States is not to be in doubt. It shouldn’t be. I don’t know how we got this custom of having to deal with it each year, because it is controversial. During the Trump administration, which amassed over $7 trillion in debt, and that’s what this debt ceiling lift is paying for. People say, “Oh, you just want to spend money.” Nope, we’re paying the credit card, the Trump credit card with what we would do to lift the debt ceiling. And when president Trump was president, we democrats supported lifting the debt ceiling because it’s the responsible thing to do. I would hope that the Republicans would act in a similarly responsible way.

Nancy Pelosi: (11:26)
Now, go back when president Obama was president and the republicans were insisting on not lifting the debt ceiling, eventually we did. But when they were saying they weren’t going to, even the threat of not lifting it lowered our credit rating. Totally irresponsible. So hopefully we don’t get in a situation like that. We’ll have several options. We’ll make them well known to you as we narrow and as we go forward. But it has to happen. Again, three times during the Trump administration, we all cooperated to get past this, and hopefully they will be responsible.

Speaker 2: (12:05)
Just a quick followup. Are the democrats willing to act alone if they have to?

Nancy Pelosi: (12:08)
I’m sorry?

Speaker 2: (12:09)
Are the Democrats willing to act alone to raise the debt ceiling, if they have to? Would you put it in reconciliation or something like that?

Nancy Pelosi: (12:16)
We won’t be putting it in reconciliation, no.

Speaker 3: (12:19)
Madam speaker. Thank you. On Afghanistan-

Nancy Pelosi: (12:23)
[inaudible 00:12:23] because he’s a regular and we give deference to the regulars.

Speaker 3: (12:26)
I saw you Monday and Tuesday.

Nancy Pelosi: (12:27)
Yeah, Monday and Tuesday.

Speaker 3: (12:30)
In the hall.

Nancy Pelosi: (12:30)
In the hall.

Speaker 3: (12:30)
Yeah. So thank you. On Afghanistan, we’ve seen some videos of women being beaten by the Taliban. I know you were very concerned about the women there, but I know that you are also not a fan of how some of these tech companies have handled social media, and specifically whether or not some of these videos should be allowed to stay on their platforms, and as this speaks to Section 230. Are you concerned that these social media firms have not taken action to take down that sort of offensive content, as it pertains to Afghanistan?

Nancy Pelosi: (12:59)
Well, I’m concerned about offensive content on the social media platforms, even beyond Afghanistan, but this is highly dangerous, immediate in its impact, and I would hope that they would act in a responsible way, and we have to call them out on it. In terms of Afghanistan, been there maybe nine times I think to Afghanistan, every term since 9/11, and mostly we went to thank our troops as a national security issue. That’s the purpose of a codel, first and foremost, US security, and to thank our troops and get a measure of what is happening there. But we always, always, always had as another priority what was happening with women and girls in Afghanistan.

Nancy Pelosi: (13:50)
That was bipartisan. It was bicameral house and Senate. It was White House as well as Congress. And it was the American people. A large part of the support for our presence in Afghanistan stemmed from the fact that we were concerned about opportunities for or not for girls and women, and visited children all over the country. Women and girls all over, not just in Kabul, but to see the new lives that they had. And it’s 20 years, so you see that some of these girls, these young women have not known another life, except that they could go to school and the rest. And so we will shine a very bright light of transparency on what’s happening there for girls. I think the president made the right decision to leave Afghanistan. I think we should have left a long time ago. We should have stayed longer in the beginning to get the job done.

Nancy Pelosi: (14:50)
We only routed the Taliban. We did not defeat them. And then we left to go to Iran. But having said that over time, I think we should have left sooner. I do think that the historic evacuation of 120,000 people was remarkable and I commend the administration for that. This is never easy. That’s not always complete right from the start, but it was remarkable, even though it got off to a hazy start. And now we go forward. But the platforms that these … social media is a double-edged sword. It has great things in terms of communication and the rest, and it has enabled people like Q Anon to find each other and grow to 2 million people. Thank you, Facebook. And so they should know better, now that they’ve been through that experience, when it comes to what’s happening in Afghanistan.

Speaker 4: (15:51)
Madam speaker?

Nancy Pelosi: (15:53)
Who? Who? Who? Let me see. Let me see. [inaudible 00:15:55] How about a woman? Okay.

Speaker 4: (15:57)
Hi. Thank you. There’s currently a debate going on behind the scenes about how to divvy up the healthcare funds in the reconciliation bill between the Medicare expansion being made permanent and making some of these ACA programs permanent. Do you worry that the ACA is going to be impacted and receive short shrift at the expense of making those Medicare expansions permanent?

Nancy Pelosi: (16:18)
No, but I thank you for your question because you phrased it exactly right. HR3, which we passed last year called for using savings from the negotiation for prescription drug prices, the savings from that to be used for expanding dental, visual, and hearing benefits for seniors. So we’re all for that. There is no [inaudible 00:16:41]. I’m glad that we will have an extension of the very important affordable care act subsidies in the rescue package that haven’t enabled many more people to participate at a lower cost in the affordable care act. I think both will be present. That’s not a problem.

Speaker 5: (17:05)
Madam speaker? Do you expect the debt limit extension to go on to CR? And on build back better, is there enough support in the house of representatives to pass a build back better bill that spends less than three and a half trillion dollars on these programs?

Nancy Pelosi: (17:19)
Okay. Did you hear three questions? Did you hear three? Are you allowing … No, you said, is it going to be on a CR thing, and is it going to be on reconciliation, and what was the third one?

Speaker 5: (17:33)
One was about the CR and the debt limit, if they’re going to be paired. And the second was if reconciliation under three and a half trillion can pass the house.

Nancy Pelosi: (17:39)
Oh, that’s a different question. Okay. Well, let me just say this. I’m very excited about what the prospects are. I’ll start with the second or third question. The final one, that we will have a great bill that honors the values of the president and his vision, the Biden vision for a better future to build back better for women. And we will have our negotiations. This is a sort of a compressed challenge because people need help right away and we will get the job done. So I don’t know what the number will be. We are marking at 3.5, we’re not going above that. I think rather than talking about the cost, because we will pay for more than half, maybe all of the legislation.

Nancy Pelosi: (18:32)
So unlike the republicans, when they did their tax scam in 2017 and added $2 trillion to the national debt, we will be taking some responsibility to pay for what is in there. So the cost for the future will be much lower than any 3.5. But we have to talk about it. What does it take? Where would you cut? Childcare? Family medical leave paid for? Universal pre-K? Home health care? So important. Home health care gives the people with disabilities more leverage in any negotiation at a higher dollar amount than ever before, in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Nancy Pelosi: (19:20)
That’s very, very important, not only to the persons with disability, but to their caregivers, who are now able to go to work, and the caregivers who come in to take care of them. They’re professional, I’d like to see them unionized, but in any event, we will have a great bill and I hope that as people are looking at numbers, that they’re weighing the values and what we can accomplish with that legislation. And you’re going to be our messengers on it, because you’re going to tell them if you’re a mom who’s working, if your dad who’s working but have responsibility to an elderly parent, a disabled sibling, or a child, this bill’s for you. This bill’s for you. I’m not here to talk about where we would put the debt limit, but it won’t be on reconciliation, as I mentioned.

Speaker 6: (20:12)
Madam speaker?

Nancy Pelosi: (20:13)
Yes sir, go ahead.

Speaker 6: (20:15)
On Capitol security, have you been briefed at all on the Justice For J6 rally that’s planned for September 18th? And if so, are you concerned that this could be a replication of January 6th?

Nancy Pelosi: (20:28)
Well, there are some briefings going on at the appropriate level to the committee of jurisdiction in our house, which is house administration, and then we will be briefed after that. I’ll have an announcement about that, but I don’t want to say it right here, because it involves other people, in terms of briefing and knowledge of what is going on. But I thank you for your question.

Speaker 7: (20:55)
Are you planning to re-erect the fence, reinstall the fence? Do you have a view on that?

Nancy Pelosi: (21:00)
Not necessarily, no. Well, we intend to have the integrity of the Capital be intact. I’m not going into any specifics in that regard. Let me just say, and I appreciate your question, because what happened on January 6th was such an assault on this beautiful Capital. A Capital under the dome that Lincoln built during the civil war. President Lincoln, when they told him you shouldn’t spend the steel and the whatever else, the materials on a dome when we’re fighting a war. And he said, “No, we must show our strength. And we must show that we can move forward at the same time as we protect our union.” That’s the story of the dome built by Abraham Lincoln to demonstrate who we are as Americans; resilient and strong.

Nancy Pelosi: (21:55)
So when they made the assault on the building, that was one thing. But the fact is they also made an assault on the constitution of the United States. January 6th is not just any random day. It is a day prescribed in the constitution of the United States for the Congress of the United States to accept the results of the election as put forth by who won the electoral college. So sad that even with the horror, the defecation, the physical violence, the crudeness of it all of that assault on the Capitol, and I was insistent, and Senator McConnell, we all agreed in leadership that we would come back. We were not going to resume someplace else. We were going to come back, not in an undisclosed location, but in the capital of the United States, that even after all of that, a majority of the republicans in the house voted not to accept that certification of the electoral college.

Nancy Pelosi: (22:56)
And now these people are coming back to praise the people who were out to kill. Out to kill members of Congress, successfully causing the deaths, successfully is not the word, but that’s the word, because it’s what they set out to do, of our law enforcement. So this is a, and whatever your questions are, understand how strongly we think about this. I don’t want to say feel, I’m saying think about this, and what we need to do on the ongoing, because we want to return the Capitol to a place where people can come, children can learn, families can celebrate together the greatness of our country. That children can see as we honor leaders of our past, that we are focused on the future for them as our leaders of the past would insist upon.

Nancy Pelosi: (24:01)
So we’ll be giving out some further information, but not right now. So thank you all. Don’t forget, if you have a child at home, a person with disabilities, a senior who needs care, if you are a man or a woman, it’s not just about women, but largely women have born the responsibility of being caregivers at home. If you’re a caregiver, understand that your profession will be respected, that it is needed, that it is compensated for, and that you are trained for.

Nancy Pelosi: (24:33)
So this is again, transformational for the children. Build back better with women, because when women succeed America succeeds. Thank you all very much.

Nancy Pelosi: (24:46)
Do you want to know about this mask? This mask is a mask that was made by the woman who sewed the AIDS quilt. Her name is Gert, and she is a fabulous person. We all made our patches for the quilt and continue to do so, and it’s enormous. It’s now returned to San Francisco from Atlanta, where it had been domiciled for a while with John Lewis about almost two years ago, we made the transfer back. But this has on it scissors, spools, buttons, all kinds of things, pins, pin cushions, and the rest of that. I like to have it close because the AIDS issue is one, if you had told me 30 years ago, when I first came, more than 30, that we would not have a cure by now, I would not possibly have believed you. But we have improved the quality of life. It’s a very big priority for me. And as we see COVID and the rest, we want to make sure that as we address it that we are learning from it for other pandemics as well. Thank you all very much.

Speaker 7: (26:01)
Thank you.

Speaker 3: (26:01)
Thank you.

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