Jun 26, 2020
Nancy Pelosi Press Conference Transcript June 26
Nancy Pelosi held a press conference on June 26. She said the “George Floyd’s murder would have been prevented” if the Democratic police legislation bill was law. Read the full transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
… Policing Act. We couldn’t be prouder of our Congressional Black Caucus, the work of Karen Bass, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Nadler, and the fact that it was bipartisan both in rejecting the Senate bill, which was their motion to recommit and by passing our legislation, which made a tremendous difference in people’s lives.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:23)
And justice served also by what’s happening on the floor right now, in terms of statehood for the District of Columbia, long overdue. First time Congress will pass legislation for admission of District of Columbia as a state. Washington Douglass, Frederick Douglass. That would be the name of the 51st state.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:48)
And of course, yesterday being the seventh anniversary of the Shelby v. Holder, horrible decision gutting the certification, Section IV of the Voting Rights Act, title IV. And so this morning, some of us were gathered in the [inaudible 00:01:07] place to talk about the fact that we had passed H.R.4, Voting Rights Act, that we hope that the Senate will pass.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:17)
All about justice. It’s about the vote. It’s about our democracy. It’s about fairness. And we know that there’s a wish to suppress the vote and voting rights for the district and the rest, but we will make our mark. We will stand our ground. And what is really important about all of this right now is the health of the American people.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:42)
Martin Luther King said, he said exactly, “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman,” he said. “The Most inhuman, because it also often results in physical death.” Of all forms of injustice, inequality, healthcare, the most inhuman.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:12)
So it is unfathomable that as we gathered here late at night last night in the midst of a pandemic, the White House, the administration, in the dark of night filed their brief in the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, saying to the American people, 150 million families, if you have a preexisting condition, you will no longer have the benefit of access to quality care.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:38)
And the list goes on of the benefits that it would overturn, lifetime limits that they support that we want to overturn, that if you have a preexisting condition, that there’s no lifetime limit on the amount of coverage that you would receive. Midst of a pandemic. 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions will lose ACA’s lifesaving protection. 23 million Americans will lose their access to quality affordable healthcare. The ACA’s ban on annual and lifetime limits, young people staying on their people’s… Being a woman, no longer preexisting condition. Forget about it. The administration wants to do away with all of that.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:24)
As bad as that is, they think they can get away with saying, “Oh, we support a benefit for preexisting condition,” when they don’t. So when they say that, understand they are in court to overturn that now. They continue to be, and now they’ve filed their briefs.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:45)
And all of this as the ACA enrollment has increased by 46% by a similar period last year, showing the increased need during the coronavirus. So many people have lost their jobs and hence in some cases, their insurance benefits, therefore they’re turning to the Affordable Care Act.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:07)
Again, in the middle of a pandemic, the president is saying, “We want to slow down the testing.” The testing. I just was thinking during the night about all of this, thinking of being in school and learning about the scientific method, thinking about legislation we’ve passed over time here to say we should have evidence-based legislation.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:33)
And what does the scientific method say? The scientific method is a systematic method of research involving the recognition and formulation of a problem. You have to do testing to recognize the fullness and the formulation of the problem. The collection of data through observation. You have to do testing to observe the data and the formulation and testing of how you go forward.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:10)
This administration and the Republicans in Congress have two things going against the will of the American people: they’re against science, they do not accept science; and they do not accept governance. Now none of us wants any more government than we need, but they’re against governance. So look at all the issues we’re faced with: healthcare, a pandemic, and they resist the insistence, the imperative, that the scientists are putting forth that we must test, trace, treat, and separate, wear a mask, wash our hands, keep our distance. They resist that.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:58)
And governance? They don’t want to have… They’re overturning the Affordable Care Act. They don’t believe in a public role. And some of their supporters say, “Hey, government, keep your hands off my Medicare.” Well, what do they think Medicare is? What do you think Medicare is? It’s governance.
Nancy Pelosi: (06:19)
So anti-science, anti governance. If you deny science or ignore it, and you don’t believe in governance, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to do anything about climate. You’re in denial, you don’t accept the science. And you don’t want to punish polluters or have regulation of pollution in our atmosphere, which is a health issue. If you don’t believe in science, you won’t take the measures to protect the health of the American people.
Nancy Pelosi: (06:49)
The list goes on and on. And so we have the legislation that we have passed, and part of the CARES Act called for a GAO report. And this is what it said. The GAO report said, “In early February, the sole FDA authorized COVID viral tests were deployed by the CDC to state public health laboratories, but they experienced accuracy and reliability issues resulting in significant delays in testing nationwide during the critical early weeks of the outbreak.” It went on to say, “The absence of complete and consistent COVID-19 testing data reported through May 31st, 2020,” a few weeks ago, “has made it more difficult to track and know the number of infections, mitigate their effort, and inform decisions on opening communities.”
Nancy Pelosi: (07:51)
We have a pandemic. Two days ago, what was it? 36,000 cases, a record. Yesterday, 40,000 cases, a further record. And the president is saying, “Slow down on the testing. If we didn’t have testing, we wouldn’t have these cases.”
Nancy Pelosi: (08:13)
So my purpose here this morning is about healthcare. This is about health. And the ignoring of science, the resistance to all of the advice you’re getting from scientists, the early denial delay caused deaths, caused deaths. And now with a spike that we are seeing, the president is saying, “Slow down the testing.” Others said he was joking. He doesn’t say that. And by the way, this is not a laughing matter. It’s a matter of life and death.
Nancy Pelosi: (08:52)
And as I said, many more people are signing up for the Affordable Care Act. And so I’m so pleased that on Monday we will be putting forth our Patient Protection Affordable Care Enhancement Act, will lower healthcare costs, negotiate lower prices, expand coverage, and push hold-out states to adopt Medicaid expansion, combat inequity and health coverage, combat junk plans. The list goes on.
Nancy Pelosi: (09:21)
Now, let me say this. As I said earlier, many people who have lost their jobs have turned to the Affordable Care Act because their health care was tied to their jobs. So hopefully they’ll get their jobs back. But in the meantime, they have that access. That’s what the president is trying to overturn in the courts. So God willing, the courts will do the right thing. But we just don’t know. So we are getting prepared for what comes next in all of this, in all of this.
Nancy Pelosi: (09:55)
But let me tell you this about the ACA enhancement. Why we have some things in it and some things aren’t that we’ll save for another day, because the president said he would support these things. He said he would support negotiating for lower prices. That’s what he said during the campaign. That has been for years one of our priorities that we’ve never been able to get 60 votes in the Senate and get it passed into law. But president said during the campaign, he was going to, “negotiate like crazy.”
Nancy Pelosi: (10:31)
Crazy. That’s said a good description of his actions throughout. But “negotiate like crazy” apparently means not negotiate at all. That is the only way you’re going to get the lowered price. And in the bill, if we’re looking at it, brings down the cost of prescription drugs, which we’re promising to the American people. And the savings to the federal government from not having to pay those prices will go to expand in a way bigger expansion of Medicare since its inception. Benefits for hearing, for visual and for dental. It’s quite remarkable. It has other advantages for seniors in terms of cost of prescription drugs as well. But we’re very, very proud of that aspect. Very understandable about everyone.
Nancy Pelosi: (11:20)
And so it’s really important as we quote the GAO and what is lacking in terms of what the White House is doing on testing. And we comment on the president’s, I don’t know how you would even describe them, anti-scientific comments. We have a better idea. It started March 4th with the first bill we passed on coronavirus: testing, testing testing. In April, we passed the further PPP bill, and we had a big investment in testing, testing, testing. Not really embraced fully by the administration, as you know.
Nancy Pelosi: (12:12)
In the HEROES Act, one of the pillars of the HEROES Act is open up our economy. Testing, testing, testing. Testing, tracing, treatment, separation, wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance. Testing, tracing, treatment. It has a big investment for that and the health care institutions that would implement that.
Nancy Pelosi: (12:45)
It goes a long way, to get back to my first point about justice and Martin Luther King. Coronavirus has demonstrated very clearly the injustice of how a pandemic hits. The disparity of deaths that is so clear in a community of color, the disparity among groups, and the big impact on communities of color requires that we do this testing.
Nancy Pelosi: (13:21)
As Mr. Clyburn, our distinguished Whip has said, we need to have mobile units to go out into communities so that people will be tested and then traced and the rest. Why should there be more deaths in the communities of color? Because there hasn’t been testing and tracing and treatment to prevent those deaths from happening. So it’s really important for the Senate to pass the HEROES Act for what it does for our heroes who are risking their lives to save lives and now maybe lose their jobs because of the coronavirus and the revenue loss to communities, state, and localities that are footing that bill. That’s one part of it.
Nancy Pelosi: (14:05)
But the second pillar is about testing, tracing, treating. It’s evidence based. It will provide us with the analysis of what the magnitude of the problem is and the data to say how it is affecting communities of color and everyone in our population and help us defeat this virus. God-willing and science granting, we will have hopefully a vaccine at some point, a cure, therapeutics and the rest. But we don’t now.
Nancy Pelosi: (14:44)
We don’t now, but we do have the tools to kill the virus: testing, tracing, treatment, separation, mask, sanitation. And in our bill, we have the resources to do so. And they respect the role that the states play in all of this. So I’m hoping that the Grim Reaper will not be responsible for even more dangerous behavior that causes more deaths in our country because we’ve ignored science, we haven’t acted in an evidence-based way.
Nancy Pelosi: (15:27)
I can’t help but say that in in this election in November, science, science, science, and science are going to be on the ballot. That is what is at stake here. And it’s a matter of life and death.
Nancy Pelosi: (15:47)
With that, I’d be pleased to take any questions you may have. Yes, sir.
Speaker 2: (15:52)
On the DC bill, last time we brought states into the union, it was a compromise [inaudible 00:15:57].
Nancy Pelosi: (16:00)
Speaker 2: (16:01)
I said the last time we brought states into the union, it was a compromise, Alaska and Hawaii. And [inaudible 00:16:04] one to be the Democratic state, one to be the Republican state, and the politics flipped. Isn’t that part of the inherent problem of bringing in the… Or, the challenge because there is a political balance that they perceive [inaudible 00:16:14] be automatically a democratic state [inaudible 00:16:17] democratic [inaudible 00:00:16:18]?
Nancy Pelosi: (16:18)
That shouldn’t be how we have enfranchisement in our country. What’s the nature of the vote. Actually, Mr. Hoyer said here from the podium yesterday… Not here, we were in a different room, but that at the time of that late fifties, people thought that Alaska would be a Democratic state and Hawaii would be a Republican state. And of course they’re not. So while that’s interesting, it shouldn’t be dispositive of the issue, no. And they talk about the “toos,” too black, too Democratic, too whatever.
Speaker 2: (17:02)
Do you see any possibility to have any other type of compromise if it came to it, because even when they had the bill in 2007 to grow the side of the House, the view was that [inaudible 00:17:11] would get a seat in D.C., and that was the compromise. [inaudible 00:17:15].
Nancy Pelosi: (17:15)
But that was voting on the floor of the House. That was voting on the floor of the House. That wasn’t statehood.
Speaker 2: (17:21)
Right, right. But again, the idea there was a balance to have Utah to have a seat, because [inaudible 00:17:25] Republican seat at the time, and then [inaudible 00:17:28] Democratic.
Nancy Pelosi: (17:30)
Well, forgive me for not valuing your question to the extent that you are valuing it. I don’t think that what the state is, that can change over time. But the fact is people in the District of Columbia pay taxes, fight our wars, wish their laws for our democracy, and yet in this place they have no vote in the House or the Senate about whether we go to war and how those taxes are exacted and how it’s all played.
Nancy Pelosi: (18:03)
And you don’t want to hear about it, but this is in my DNA. I’m very committed to this. When I was born, my father, Thomas D’Alesandro, he was a member of Congress from Baltimore. And he served as chair of the District of Columbia Committee. That committee, whoever chaired that was considered the unofficial mayor of Washington, because they made all the decisions for the District of Columbia. It was wrong. He was a big believer in home rule. And over time you see some evolution in all of it, home rule emerged, and then a mayor.
Nancy Pelosi: (18:41)
You don’t know this, but there was a time there wasn’t even a mayor in Washington, much less a governor of a state. And now we’re to this place. So we’re at a state of compromise. And we think it’s very long overdue that residents of the District of Columbia, all good Americans, should have a vote in the House and in the Senate.
Nancy Pelosi: (19:12)
Speaker 3: (19:13)
You frequently criticize the president’s rhetoric. So why do you think it’s appropriate to suggest that the Republicans are trying to get away with the murder of George Floyd for their handling of the police report?
Nancy Pelosi: (19:24)
I think two exploits murder would have been prevented if our bill that we have now were the law of the land. And that’s what we’re talking about, is how we go forward. I don’t have any-
Speaker 3: (19:40)
[crosstalk 00:19:40] too far on that comment? Do you think-
Nancy Pelosi: (19:40)
No, I do not. I do not. I do not. I’m telling you, we’re talking about something that is an incident that everybody saw. The martyrdom. Everybody saw eight minutes, 46 seconds of a knee on the neck. That should… And then they come up with a bill that says… And the president comes out with his whatever it is saying, no choke holds, but maybe some.
Nancy Pelosi: (20:08)
Yeah, no, I have no… Absolutely not. That where we are talking right now, the administration, in terms of their denial, their delay on the coronavirus, caused death. Add that to your bill with particulars. Policy has an impact. And we can prevent future deaths if we ban the choke holds. I’m fully committed to that.
Nancy Pelosi: (20:35)
Speaker 4: (20:35)
Ms. Pelosi, why do you think Chairman Engel lost his election?
Nancy Pelosi: (20:40)
Well, I don’t know that that’s determined yet, but I know that he loves his district, I know he loves his constituents, and I know he would want us to welcome whoever represents them in an appropriate way to Congress, and we will. But I think we have another week before we know the outcome of a couple of the different races in New York.
Speaker 4: (21:01)
Well on that, is it a troubling trend or a sign? You have another powerful Chairman, Maloney, who might also lose [crosstalk 00:00:21:08].
Nancy Pelosi: (21:08)
I think she will. I think she will will. I’ll talk to you next week, when we’ll see what the results are of the election, but I’m not going to speculate on what we don’t even know has happened. But in those districts, a district like mine, anything can happen. It has nothing to do with who controls the House of Representatives.
Nancy Pelosi: (21:25)
And that’s where my focus is, not within democratic districts, but in who controls the House of Representatives. And I’m very proud how we proceeding, our Chair Cheri Bustos has been wonderful in mobilization on the ground, don’t yield one grain of sand messaging in a way that works all over the country on our for the people agenda. Lower healthcare costs, bigger paychecks, building infrastructure in a green way, cleaner government, part of that justice in policing, part of that District of Columbia becoming a state, part of that passing the Voting Rights Act.
Nancy Pelosi: (22:04)
And not only are we proud of what we call our front line of mostly freshmen who are up for reelection, but we’re proud of the candidates in the red to blue, where we hope to pick up more seats. That’s really where my focus is.
Nancy Pelosi: (22:20)
Yes, sir. Again?
Speaker 2: (22:27)
Okay. Back on the… Yes, ma’am. Thank you. Back on the policing bill, you passed your bill yesterday and you know, there’s an impasse in the Senate. Heading into the weekend, can you just lend us an update on the negotiations? Are there talks happening between the chambers? Are there talks happening between Senator Booker, Harris and Tim Scott or McConnell involved in any of this? Can you just let us know?
Nancy Pelosi: (22:44)
Well, you have to talk to them about that, but what I do know is that it would be important for the Senate to pass a bill that is one that can pass the Senate. And in order to do that, they should engage in negotiations with the Democrats in the United States Senate and their Judiciary Committee, maybe the auspices, I don’t know. That’s up to them.
Nancy Pelosi: (23:09)
But McConnell, the Grim Reaper who does not going to pass any of our bills can’t even him pass his own bill over there. So they should get together and formulate legislation that can pass the Senate, and then we can see how we come together on them. We’re very proud of our bill. Was it 135 civil rights organizations and human rights organizations voted to supported the moms of some of the young people who were killed by police brutality supported the bill. We’re very, very proud of it. Now the business round table has supported the bill.
Nancy Pelosi: (23:44)
So the range of support for what we have in our bill is very broad. It’s focused, it’s disciplined, and it will save lives. And it would have saved lives if it had been the law already.
Speaker 2: (24:01)
Last week, you had said that you want it to go to Congress. It sounds like now you’re saying-
Nancy Pelosi: (24:05)
That was a bill that nobody wants to vote for. What they had was-
Speaker 2: (24:08)
Right, but if the Democrats support something in the Senate, then odds are Democrats would support it in the House. You’re saying [crosstalk 00:24:13]-
Nancy Pelosi: (24:13)
Well, we’ll see. Depends on what it is, but I think that that’s true because the bill that we put forth was helped to be shaped by Senator Harris, Senator Kamala Harris, and Senator Cory Booker. They were part of putting the bill together. So we’ll see what they can do in the Senate.
Nancy Pelosi: (24:33)
But the American people will not take no for an answer. Hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets day in and day out, week in and week out, and now one month, saying “Enough is enough,” as George Floyd’s brother testified before the Congress. And I’m very proud, before the Judiciary Committee that, before he testified, he said to me, “Madam Speaker, do you think that I can tell George’s daughter that his name will be always remembered because you’ll name the bill for him?”
Nancy Pelosi: (25:09)
And I said, “Well, I’ll recommend that to the Judiciary Committee and to the Congressional Black Caucus who have shaped the bill. But I only will do that if you tell me that this legislation is worthy of George [inaudible 00:25:24]’s name.”
Nancy Pelosi: (25:26)
And he said it is. And so we’re very proud. We’re very proud to carry that. It’s amazing. It was just like, not a tipping point, that would be too easy. It’s a precipice our country went over, just a different place, to say “That’s not who we are. We can do better.” And the Senate certainly can do better.
Nancy Pelosi: (25:48)
Speaker 5: (25:49)
Madam speaker, I’m curious what you would say to Americans who want to answer from Washington now on policing and justice, and those who are tired of Congress being at a stand still, despite the public sentiment [inaudible 00:26:03].
Nancy Pelosi: (26:05)
I want to say this, and thank you for that question. But we put together, as a result of decades of concern on the subject of police brutality. We certainly don’t paint everyone of our first responders with the same brush, that’s for sure. Overwhelmingly we don’t. But where there is need to make change, we will make change.
Nancy Pelosi: (26:30)
And I think that the press, if I just may say, gave the Republicans too much credit for that Senate bill. It did nothing. It took our language and defanged it. And you’re like, “Wow, why can’t you cooperate?” Well, what would you do? We’re saying no choke holds, the president is saying, “Well, maybe sometime.” So shall we agree on the number of choke holds? Would that be a good compromise?
Nancy Pelosi: (26:53)
That’s not the point. It’s about values. This is not even an issue, it’s an ethic. So we have two differences of opinion. The president is in the Supreme Court where he sent people there purposely to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which is something that the American people need, especially at the time of the pandemic.
Nancy Pelosi: (27:18)
The legislation we passed is the result of decades of work on this subject, and that’s why over 130 civil and human rights groups have come out in support of it. And read their letter. Read their letter. The Senate has to do better. So it isn’t about this whole thing of equivalence, “Why can’t you work together?” Because they don’t share our values on this subject, not yet. But I hope that they will.
Speaker 5: (27:46)
But just for a question, why not agree to go to conference [inaudible 00:00:27:53]?
Nancy Pelosi: (27:54)
Because in order to go to conference, you have to pass the bill in your House. Do you think I should suggest, nor would I, or any of my members. A hundred percent of them voted against that bill yesterday. So what are you suggesting? Vote for something that is completely contrary to your values so you can go to conference? You know what I mean? Really?
Nancy Pelosi: (28:16)
I want Congress to work its will, I’m always open to the four corners of our negotiations. We always respect each other’s opinions. But if one person is saying “choke holds,” and the other is saying no “choke holds,” it’s very hard to compromise. And, “Oh, the president is going to have a data collection, but it’s not going to be shared.” What? It’s not going to shared? well, how will people know what…
Nancy Pelosi: (28:44)
For example, Tamir rice, he died because of policemen. He died at the hands of a police officer who had been fired by another department, but the information was not shared by the department that hired him. And his misconduct resulted in the death. His continued…
Nancy Pelosi: (29:06)
So I appreciate your question. And as I said when I became speaker, bipartisanship, transparency, “E pluribus unum,” from many, one. We always have a responsibility to reach across the aisle. But instead of a handshake you get a slap in the face, then you say, you better go back to the drawing board. And that’s what they better do. And that’s up to the Senate when they come to their conclusion. They can’t pass a bill, and you think that we should embrace it? No. And thank you for your question.
Nancy Pelosi: (29:39)
That’s it. Thank you all very much. Bye-bye.
Speaker 6: (29:41)
[crosstalk 00:29:41] sports? [inaudible 00:29:41]
Nancy Pelosi: (29:41)
Sports? Oh, my god. Isn’t it sad.
Speaker 6: (29:47)
But do you think there should sports under these conditions?
Nancy Pelosi: (29:51)
Well, I think safety is first. And people have families at home that they have to go home to and they don’t want to carry somebody else’s virus there. So when the President of the United States says he doesn’t want to wear a mask and understands the bad example… Well, I don’t know if he understands anything. But somebody must over there understand the bad example that is to the country. And that we are at a place now we don’t have to be. This is a president who doesn’t want to wear a mask who again, calls the virus a hoax… Called the virus a hoax, it’s going to go away magically. It’s going to be a miracle that’s going to make it go away.
Nancy Pelosi: (30:39)
I’m a devout Catholic, I believe in miracles. And I pray for them. But I think the science is an answer to our prayers too. And science says, wear a mask, test, trace, treat, keep your distance. The president doesn’t support any of that. He has events that are counter to that. So we have a moment… I’m in a mood because this is a matter of life and death. And this administration has failed miserably.
Nancy Pelosi: (31:07)
I don’t know. I mean, it’s about justice. It’s about justice in policing. It’s about justice in health care and recognizing the coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
Nancy Pelosi: (31:23)
So when you’re talking about sports, well you have to talk about safety and health and the families of the people that sports figures go home to. They know that. They know that very well. But again, everybody has to make the judgment in terms of testing, tracing, treating, keeping distance. How does that work in what we’re doing?
Nancy Pelosi: (31:52)
But we do miss our sports. We miss our baseball. I don’t know if we’re going to be missing football. We’ll see as we go along. I guess Dr. Fauci thinks we will be. Soccer. Well, some sports are more, shall we say, have more physical contact than others.
Nancy Pelosi: (32:13)
So let’s hope and pray for a vaccine. Let’s hope and pray for a cure. Let’s hope and pray for testing, tracing, and treating. But I am telling you two days in the row of record numbers of cases. One of those days, the president going to overturn access to quality affordable care and…
Nancy Pelosi: (32:40)
So if you detect my dismay about saying, “Why don’t you go and agree with them? Find your area of agreement.” Well, we always want to. That’s why in our bill we have negotiation. President said he wanted to negotiate. I guess not anymore. Somebody lied to him, I guess.
Nancy Pelosi: (33:01)
In any event, we just have to defeat the virus so we can open up our economy, so that we can send our kids to school, but we have to have it based on science and governance. And we have an answer to that, and that is the HEROES Act. So I would hope that… The Senate is going to have to take up some version of the HEROES Act soon. I hope it’s sooner rather than later. Thank you. Bye-bye.
Speaker 7: (33:30)