May 27, 2020
Nancy Pelosi Press Conference Transcript May 27
Nancy Pelosi held a press conference on May 27. She talked about holding a vote on a FISA reauthorization bill despite GOP resistance. Read the full news briefing transcript here.
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Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
Mr. Pallone is here to talk about it. Before a long time, Mr. Clyburn has been talking about how we do outreach into underserved communities. He used examples of previous health issues in rural America, where they had mobile units going out to reach out to people to provide services to them, to save lives and limbs, as it turns out, lives and limbs.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:25)
In the bill that we passed, the Heroes Act, it strengthens the testing and contact tracing by requiring updated testing plan with clear benchmarks and timelines, as I mentioned. It provides $75 billion in grants to support testing, tracing and isolation with a special focus on addressing disparities on how this villainous virus is assaulting communities of color in our country and requiring culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies for increasing access to testing and tracing.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:03)
It’s one of three pillars. Our first pillar is on our heroes, state and local. Open our economy, testing, testing, testing. Money in the pockets of the American people. Three pillars of our Heroes Act legislation. This is the testing pillar. It is essential for the economic recovery of our country. It is essential for the health and wellbeing of the American people. It is essential to sending our children back to school. It’s usually always about the children. We expect that we will go to the table to do the smart thing that scientists all advise we must do if we’re going to win this battle against the virus. We must test, it’s essential. We must trace it, essential. We must treat, it’s essential.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:58)
The Republican leader in the Senate says, ” I think we need a pause.” I don’t think the virus is taking a pause. I don’t think Congress taking a pause. I don’t think job insecurity is taking pause. I don’t think paying your rent takes a pause. We don’t need a pause. We need action. And today we’re focusing our action on testing, testing, testing. And with that, I’m pleased to yield to the distinguished Democratic Whip of the House, the gentlemen from South Carolina, Mr. Clyburn. Now, how are we doing this? I go over here.
Jim Clyburn: (02:30)
Nancy Pelosi: (02:30)
You go over there. I’m passing [inaudible 00:02:37].
Jim Clyburn: (02:30)
Thank you very much, madam Speaker, today we are witnessing the 100,000 people who have perished in this country because of this virus. This virus has visited every family, including my own. Our colleague Maxine Waters’ sister, we lost her to this virus two weeks ago. On March 19th as we held a caucus via the telephone, I said to my colleagues that this challenge offers us a tremendous opportunity to restructure things in our vision. I was vilified for that by some of my friends on the other side of the aisle. But the fact of the matter is our vision is embodied in the pledge that many of us grew up every morning reciting our pledge of allegiance to the flag closed with the vision of this country, with liberty and justice for all. I don’t back away from that. My reason for existence is to helped this country live out that pledge that many of us know has gone unfulfilled for many, many years.
Jim Clyburn: (04:28)
Just this morning, the Washington Post has published a pretty significant interview that it had with Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican senator who chairs the small business committee of the Senate. He talks in that interview about his own parents who came here, one a maid, and one a bartender. And he says that if this pandemic was here 35 years ago, he talked about what it would have done with a dentist family because both of them would have lost their jobs working in the service industry. And he talks in that interview about how the structure that we operate under in this country subjects those who work in service industries, those who cannot work from home, how this virus is devastating their communities. And he used the term in his interview today, the structure that we have, irrespective if you said all the other differences aside, discrimination, you set aside race, ethnicity. The structure is of such that it renders these families incapable of coping.
Jim Clyburn: (06:14)
The select committee that the Speaker has appointed me to chair held its first briefing two weeks ago. And in that briefing, we brought two commissioners, Republican commissioners I might add, former CDC directors, to talk about what it would take to reopen safely. Both of them said, “It’s testing. We got to test. We got to trace. We got to isolate. And we got to treat.” That’s what has to happen. And as the speaker just indicated, that non plan that was published by this administration, that non plan talks about delegating or relegating all of the testing to the states. That sets up a state by state approach. We cannot offer the kind of coordination that we need for the country to recover.
Jim Clyburn: (07:37)
And so, as the Speaker indicated, I have a personal relationship with testing. I worked for Senator Hollings years ago when he was in the Senate. We discovered that in South Carolina, we were leading the nation in amputations because of the late detection of diabetes. My wife, who transitioned last September, fought a 30 year battle with diabetes. Senator Hollings and I worked together to send mobile units throughout rural South Carolina. And we dramatically reduced amputations. When my wife passed away after her battle, she still had all of her limbs. But when her daddy passed away 30 years earlier, he was a double amputee. That’s what testing will do. Early detection sets up the kind of tracing that we need so that we can isolate effectively and treat efficiently. The administration needs to maintain its responsibility to coordinate nationwide what we need to overcome this pandemic.
Jim Clyburn: (09:13)
And with that, I yield to my longtime friend, the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Pallone.
Frank Pallone: (09:24)
First of all, let me thank our Speaker for putting this press conference together today and all the things that she’s done to stress testing. Every time we talk to her on a conference call it’s testing, testing, testing. And then let me also say about Jim Clyburn, what he just said in terms of the significance of testing and how to achieve it is right on point. We’re not going to be able to reopen this economy unless we have an effective national testing strategy. That is the key. And that’s the key to eliminating the virus because as we reopen, there may be new hot spots that occur that have to be closed again. And we’re not going to be able to achieve an end, if you will, to the pandemic without effective testing.
Frank Pallone: (10:08)
Now, the president has failed us. I can’t stress it enough. This is a national emergency. He acts like it’s going to be state by state. I drove down here yesterday. When I come from New Jersey, I can go through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, in about half an hour. How does it make any sense when you have a national emergency to have each state doing its own thing? The only thing that I can see from this report that we’ve been critical of over the weekend is that essentially this administration is providing technical assistance to the states. That’s essentially what it is. You come up New Jersey, you come up California with your plan, we’ll look at it and then we’ll let you implement it and we’ll give you some help. We’ll give you some supplies. We’ll send the CDC if you want some assistance, but that’s not going to work.
Frank Pallone: (10:54)
When I talked to the administration people, they don’t see it as a national plan. They say, “Okay, New Jersey is trying to achieve 7% or 8% of its population being tested. Another state, Texas, might be at 2%.” And that’s fine with them because not even setting an national goal as to how many people you should test in your state. In addition to that, the supply chain, we’re relying on that same broken supply chain that has existed for medical supplies. They need to appoint a national czar who passes out and basically coordinates the supplies because otherwise, just as we did with medical supplies, we’re going to see the same thing with this testing capacity. We’re trying to build the testing capacity across the country, but the states are going to have to buy things through private enterprise, compete with each other, to get the actual test kits and the supplies to actually do the testing. This is the problem.
Frank Pallone: (11:54)
What we’re saying in the Heroes Act is essentially, we want to change that. And this is why the Heroes Act has to pay us because when the president gets up and says, “Well, everyone can be tested and we’re going to have millions of tests.” That’s not a promise that he has the ability to fulfill if he doesn’t have a better national strategy. I just wanted to give you an example. In the Heroes Act and I don’t like to read legislation, but I’m going to read it in his case. It says, “The plan shall identify the types and levels of testing necessary to monitor and contribute to the control and reduction of the virus.” It says, “The plan must include specific benchmarks with clear time tables regarding how to ensure sufficient availability and allocation of testing materials.” And it talks about that for vulnerable communities.
Frank Pallone: (12:43)
And then it talks about the fact that we have to do testing in a non-health situation. Let me give you an example, like an employer. An employer decides that they want to reopen. There isn’t anything that the federal government or the Trump administration is providing about how you go about reopening, how many people you have to test before they can go…
Rep. Frank Pallone: (13:03)
… how you go about reopening? How many people you have to test before they can go back to work? If you do tracing, how many people have to trace back and be isolated? Nothing like that. That just doesn’t exist.
Rep. Frank Pallone: (13:12)
You could even use it for houses of worship. Right? The president said over the weekend, “Well, everybody should be able to go back to church or synagogue.” Right? Well, how was that determined and how was that linked to the testing of the people that would go to the church or synagogue? Does that mean that 10% of those people that go to that mass or to those services Sunday will have been tested? No, there’s nothing like that. That’s, again, left up to the states to decide. What we’re saying is, if we don’t have clear benchmarks, how many people have to be tested, if it’s not uniform across the country, if we don’t have uniform tracing and clear timetables for exactly how that’s going to be done, we’re never going to eliminate this virus or significantly cut back on the virus.
Rep. Frank Pallone: (13:57)
Finally, the most important thing is transparency. What the Heroes Act says is you’ve got to be transparent. We want reports on exactly how many people are going to be tested. We want reports on how many people are going to have contact tracing. We want to know how successful you’ve been in meeting these national goals. That’s all we’re asking. It’s not a difficult concept, in all honesty. But if the president continues down this path of just leaving it up to the states and “You’re on your own, we’ll give you a little help here and there,” then we are never going to be able to reopen effectively and put an end to this virus. The most important thing is pass that Heroes Act. Senator McConnell, take it up. If the president is not willing to do this now, then we will mandate it by law.
Rep. Frank Pallone: (14:41)
Next, I’d like to introduce Robin Kelly, who’s a member of our energy and commerce committee and the chair of the CVC brain trust.
Rep. Robin Kelly: (14:51)
Thank you, Chairman Pallone. Thank you, Speaker and Whip for all of your leadership.
Rep. Robin Kelly: (14:57)
The president doesn’t want to have a national strategy because then he’ll get blamed if something doesn’t go right. It’s easy to say the states need to do it so then the states take the blame because he’s not responsible for anything. But as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus health brain trust, I can tell you that we certainly need more testing in communities of color, the very communities that are home to our frontline and essential workers. The Heroes Act will bring testing and critically important contact tracing and mobile testing to more American neighborhoods. We can’t always expect families to travel long distances during a pandemic, and not everyone has a car. My district is urban, suburban, and rural. Maybe in the city, people can get around, but I can tell you in the suburban part of my district and especially the rural part, if you don’t have a car you’re in trouble. We need to put more testing resources in our communities so those most at risk can get tested.
Rep. Robin Kelly: (15:55)
Unfortunately, once again, the Trump administration has no plan. I think it’s by design. This time the lack of a plan means that Americans are dying from COVID-19. Communities aren’t being effectively tested and we aren’t bending the curve as much as we could. Whip Clyburn talked about a lot of us have been affected. I lost my uncle 10 days ago. The chairman talked about churches. He went to a church of 60 people, 16 people were affected by the virus. Frankly, the failure of the Trump administration to have a testing strategy means that more Americans will die from this virus. It’s time for Mitch McConnell to stop confirming unqualified judges to the federal bench and hold the vote on the Heroes Act because testing saves lives.
Rep. Robin Kelly: (16:42)
But the heroes act does much more, and I want to highlight a few other elements: Matching fund waivers for our first responders, so they can get the PPE they need to keep themselves and communities safe. Grants to medical schools in diverse and underserved areas, including HBCUs. We not only want to be the victims. We want to be a part of the solution. Grants for technology to build capacity and learning for health workers and centers serving communities of color. Additional CDC reporting, even though the last report was garbage. A field study on COVID-19 racial disparities, because less than three pages with links is just not good enough. A modernization of health data collection, especially health and equity data and culturally appropriate COVID-19 awareness campaign. Let me be clear, these provisions coupled with the testing testing, testing that the Speaker always talks about and the Heroes Act will save lives and help us get through this crisis.
Rep. Robin Kelly: (17:41)
Again, I want to thank Speaker Pelosi and Whip Clyburn again for their leadership on this important issue. I’d like to introduce my colleague and classmate, Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York.
Rep. Grace Meng: (17:56)
Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, Whip Clyburn, Chairman Pallone for organizing today’s press conference on the Trump administration’s lack of national testing strategy.
Rep. Grace Meng: (18:08)
While President Trump took time this weekend to play golf, my constituents in New York were looking for testing, delivering PPE and burying their loved ones. 100,000 Americans have died in our country because of COVID-19 since early February, and President Trump has clearly failed to lead us through this national health crisis. We have gathered here since late February in bipartisan briefings, asking for a strategy, asking for help. He has continued to downplay the threat of the virus, tried to absolve himself of all responsibility, and has wasted so much valuable time and lives as people needlessly die. Now he wants reopen the economy despite his failures. Of course we do need and want to reopen the economy, but we can’t do it safely without a rigorous and bold plan in place. I’ve been in Queens, in my district, since this crisis unfolded. I can tell you that this must be in place for our economy, not just in New York, but across the country and our way of life to return to normal.
Rep. Grace Meng: (19:25)
New York and Queens County has been the epicenter of this public health emergency. One-fifth of the 100,000 people who died are from my home state of New York. My district has seen it all, from surges of patients flooding our hospitals, hospitals on the brink with limited staff, PPE, our elderly population succumbing to COVID-19 in nursing homes, small businesses in financial distress, families at risk of homelessness, and essential workers risking their lives to keep our cities running. We did not have sufficient testing capabilities at the beginning of this pandemic, and we still don’t have a robust plan now. I will tell you, as a parent of two school-aged kids, our schools have a more robust and centralized system for testing and tracing head lice then this president does for the coronavirus. It means that we can’t test everyone who may have COVID-19 symptoms or health care workers who work in high-exposure areas because of this lack of strategy. My constituents might be asymptomatic. They might not know that they have the virus, and yet they continue to go to work. They might have to return home to overcrowded living situations and they might be in nursing homes potentially contaminating people around them. Consequently, it makes our fight against this highly-contagious and invisible enemy even harder.
Rep. Grace Meng: (20:59)
As we’re battling all these changes, COVID-19 has ravaged our communities of color, especially the black and brown communities, and has only exacerbated already existing vulnerabilities, inequalities, disparities, especially in access to healthcare. Inadequate access to healthcare including language barriers, financial obstacles, not having health insurance increases these disparities amongst already vulnerable populations.
Rep. Grace Meng: (21:26)
Elmhurst Hospital, the hardest hit hospital in the country, is in my district. The area around the hospital is one of the most ethnically-diverse locations in the country, where more than 125 different languages are spoken. Additionally, health disparities are often magnified for individuals who have limited English skills. For weeks after the public health emergency was declared, the federal government provided little or no information about COVID in any language other than English, leaving millions of people in the dark. That is why passing the Heroes Act is a transformative step forward, as it would deliver a clear national testing strategy and $75 billion to ensure that we stop the spread of the virus by testing and tracing people, and I thank Speaker Pelosi for her tireless leadership. This bill would ensure public health departments use culturally competent and multi-lingual strategies to provide awareness of COVID-19, access to testing, and actually reach the people.
Rep. Grace Meng: (22:31)
The Senate must immediately pass the Heroes Act. The American people cannot wait another day. Thank you.
Rep. Pete Aguilar: (22:43)
I want to thank the Speaker and the Whip and Chairman Pallone for putting this press conference together and for their steadfast advocacy in support of robust testing strategies.
Rep. Pete Aguilar: (22:54)
We’re here today because our communities cannot afford any more inaction. Our communities cannot afford to wait while the Senate and Republicans ignore the crisis facing this country, and our communities know that we need national robust testing that was included in the Heroes Act. Simply put, we need a plan. That’s what the Heroes Act is so important. The bill lays out $75 billion to create a national strategy, to increase testing and contact tracing, funding that is crucial in communities like mine in Southern California’s Inland Empire.
Rep. Pete Aguilar: (23:31)
The lack of a national testing strategy by the Trump administration has led to a patchwork between healthcare providers, the counties and the states and our local communities. While our local governments are strapped more than ever, they’re being forced to create a plan based on this pandemic. That’s why the Heroes Act is desperately needed. Not only does the Heroes Act increase the testing capabilities, but the thoughtful strategy to help medically underserved communities like mine moving forward as we reopen our economy.
Rep. Pete Aguilar: (24:04)
We know that people of color are experiencing infections at a disproportionate rate, which has led to a higher rate of hospitalizations and infections and death in these communities. In a recent ABC News poll, 26% of Latino respondents said they know someone who’s died of the coronavirus or complications from the coronavirus, and it’s easy to understand why. In many parts of our country, Latinos overwhelmingly makeup the service industry. This means that many members of my community are risking their health and safety every day as essential workers while our country struggles to reopen and while Senate Republicans do nothing.
Rep. Pete Aguilar: (24:43)
Latinos are more likely to live in multi-generational homes, increasing infection rates in the communities and within their families. That’s why the Heroes Act includes grants for schools in underserved communities and requires reporting to Congress on the race and ethnicity of those receiving tests, hospitalizations, and other metrics that we know communities most in need can get the help that they need. Too often communities like the Inland Empire are left behind, but the Heroes Act gives us a fighting chance. As the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I was proud to play a role in getting this legislation through the House and it’s time that the Senate get back to work and do the same.
Rep. Pete Aguilar: (25:24)
With that, I’d like to introduce my colleague, Deb Haaland from New Mexico.
Rep. Deb Haaland: (25:38)
Thank you all so much. Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, Whip Clyburn, and Chairman Pallone for your leadership in addressing the urgent need for a bold nationwide testing strategy.
Rep. Deb Haaland: (25:50)
We all know that a healthy workforce provides for a healthy economy, but this administration has failed us. It has failed to ensure that, at the least, all essential workers have the confidence to know that they will not contract this-
Congresswoman Haaland: (26:03)
The workers have the confidence to know that they will not contract this virus at their jobs. This administration has left states, cities, and tribes to fend for themselves, to fight for testing supplies and has been unforgivably slow to ensure communities have what they need. Currently, Indian Country is suffering a disproportionate number of cases because the agency charged with the health of Native Americans has been sorely underfunded for decades, in fact. And that’s why House Democrats included $2.1 billion for the Indian Health Service in the Heroes Act.
Congresswoman Haaland: (26:38)
Currently, there are significant concerns by tribal leaders about testing machines across Indian Country giving an overwhelming number of false positives. The supplies to Indian Country came way too late and have not caught up with the spread. For example, in Rapid City, South Dakota, the second most populous Native area, a tribally managed healthcare facility was only given 24 testing kits per week. The Heroes Act will provide $64 million for urban Indian health centers. On top of this administration’s testing failures, the facts are that many Native communities don’t have running water, electricity or broadband internet service.
Congresswoman Haaland: (27:19)
This administration has not given Indian Country what it needs to fight this pandemic or shown that it even cares. And at this point I’d like to ask Leader McConnell, does he care about Indian Country? House Democrats took action to make testing free, and now it’s come to the time that we have to take direct action to ensure this administration meets the benchmarks to increase testing and contact tracing so we can reopen safely and responsibly. And I thank you all for caring about this issue. And I yield back to Speaker Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi: (27:59)
Thank you very much, Congresswoman Haaland, Madam Chair. As you can see my friends, whether it’s California, Pete Aguilar, Illinois, Robin Kelly, New Jersey, Mr. Chairman Frank Pallone, New York City, Grace Ng, Deb Haaland, New Mexico, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Wick, Mr. Clyburn, South Carolina. Is that all of us? And California as well. All over the country, we have the same message for the president. Mr. President, take responsibility. You heard that in every comment that was made., The refusal to take responsibility is taking lives, livelihood and again, the vitality, the life of our democracy.
Nancy Pelosi: (28:48)
This testing is the key. You cannot cross the threshold inside to outside to open the economy unless you have this key, which is testing. I hope you had some appreciation for the breadth of knowledge, the depth of commitment and the specificity of suggestions that our colleagues are making here today. They represent the concern of the House Democratic Caucus. More importantly, they represent the concerns of their constituents. Constituents who want obviously to open up, want children to go to school, want to be healthy, testing, testing, testing.
Nancy Pelosi: (29:29)
So I thank them all for their leadership for being with us this afternoon on this nearly around 100 days since the first death, 100,000 deaths later. We’ve got to put a stop to it. Thank you all very much. And with that, be pleased to take any questions. Yes, ma’am.
Speaker 1: (29:51)
Madam Speaker, [inaudible 00:29:52] about testing. When is the country planning to reopen? We have seen reopening plans. How soon do you think the country should reopen? How can we handle that? Is the president handling that correctly as well, especially regarding political conventions? Should we assume political conventions should go forward?
Nancy Pelosi: (30:11)
Let us say, we all want the country to open up, but science tells us that there is a path, a healthy path to open up in a healthy way. And that path is testing, tracing, treatment and isolation if necessary. No, I don’t think the president has handled it well. I don’t even think he gives good example by wearing a mask, for heaven’s sake, not to protect him if he feels invulnerable, but to protect others. That’s why we wear masks. The number of people who should be in church, the number of people should be at any gathering, those are determinations that are made locally.
Nancy Pelosi: (30:50)
And I respect that as we unfold this opening, I don’t think there’s anyone who would say at this point that tens of thousands of people should come together for a political convention, no matter how great an ego trip it is for somebody. It’s dangerous for so many. But let’s hope and let’s pray that a vaccine is imminent, that a therapy or cure is nearby, but they aren’t. Testing is. Let’s go there. Let’s go there first. Yes, sir?
Speaker 2: (31:29)
Can you describe where you are with the status of these ongoing negotiations? Obviously given the Senate Republicans sort of flat out rejection of the Heroes Act. Have you had conversations with the administration, with Leader McConnell? What is the state of play?
Nancy Pelosi: (31:44)
A week and a half ago, we passed on the floor of the House the Heroes Act. Heroes Act, we gave nearly a trillion dollars to states and localities to meet the needs of their constituents of their people, meet the needs of the American people. It went to them to meet the expenses they incurred fighting the coronavirus and also for the lost revenue week. A week and a half ago, we passed a bill with a great strategic plan, thank you Mr. [inaudible 00:06:11], for testing, testing, testing. A week and a half ago, we passed a bill to put more money in the pockets of the American people.
Nancy Pelosi: (32:21)
That was our offer to the Republicans, invite them to negotiate. When I read in some of my local metropolitan journals that it was partisan and nowhere to go. Nobody said that when Mitch McConnell put forth his bill, Cares One. Nobody said that when he put forth the next bill, right Mr. Clyburn? The interim PPP. It was an offer. And we came, we negotiated, we turned those bills around and we had bipartisanship. So I would like the same, shall we say, courtesy extended to the House Democrats for our putting forth our disciplined, focused, necessary legislation to kill the coronavirus, to open our economy, to send our kids to school and to again, honor our heroes.
Nancy Pelosi: (33:12)
Our state and local workers, our healthcare workers, our first responders, firefighters, police, emergency services, transportation, sanitation, food service. Did I say that already? Teachers, teachers, teachers. The list goes on. Let’s honor our heroes. Let’s end this virus. Let’s do that. And if they want to say, no, I have news for them. The American people are on to this across the country and my colleagues can attest. There’s a drum beat that says we need to do more. They need to do more. So my interest is with the message to American people, send the Republicans in the Senate that it’s … We cannot take a pause.
Nancy Pelosi: (33:56)
We have to end the death, the dying. We have to open the economy. We have to do so in a way that gives more opportunity for access to care, to credit, to opportunity in our country. Because Mr. Clyburn said, this is an opportunity. Every crisis is. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 3: (34:19)
Would you be willing to take the testing portion of the Heroes Act and put it forward as a standalone bill the way you’re doing with the PPP legislation later this week?
Nancy Pelosi: (34:28)
Our bill has its oneness. It has its integrity. The only piece we took out was that PPP because it really, every day made a difference. It was urgent. So too with testing. If I thought that they would pass it, I would. I think that maybe they don’t share our value on that or else they would have done it themselves. So we have to use other leverage in the bill as we go forward. Yes?
Speaker 4: (34:52)
Speaker, on the topic of reopening, the mayor of DC announced they’re going to start rolling back the restrictions in the District of Columbia on Friday. Does that play into your decision at all about ending the state of emergency in Congress and bringing the full House back as opposed to keeping proxy voting and so forth going on longer?
Nancy Pelosi: (35:08)
We are pretty much full. We have a large number of members who are here. Again, it’s transportation, it’s individual situations with the virus and with someone who might be in their home, who might be susceptible, but we’re here. And for those who can’t be here, we have the proxy voting. It is there for 45 days starting today. Right Mr. Clyburn? It’s starting today, 45 days. If we see a need at the end of the 45 days, then we can extend that. But our timing was predicated on the Sergeant at Arms giving us the signal that we could put this forward.
Speaker 4: (35:48)
So you wouldn’t end it sooner than 45 days if conditions in DC continue to improve or elsewhere?
Nancy Pelosi: (35:53)
Let’s hope and pray that they do and then we can cross that bridge. We can cross that threshold when we come to it. Yes, sir?
Speaker 5: (36:01)
The House is voting this afternoon on this FISA bill.
Nancy Pelosi: (36:03)
Excuse me, just one second. Any other questions for my colleagues? Anything you’d like to say questions that were asked? Step up. Mr. Clyburn. Anything.
Congressman Clyburn: (36:13)
I don’t think so.
Nancy Pelosi: (36:16)
Whether we should take the testing piece out, whether what we think about the Republican. I said the same thing, that it will never pass the House. When they put forth their bills, that bill will never pass the House. Right?
Congressman Clyburn: (36:31)
That is one thing that I might mention, Madam Speaker. One of the things that we have in the Heroes Act is language, thanks to Frank Pallone, that asked the Federal Communications Commission to step up its allocations of billions of dollars that’s already appropriated so that we can use this money now to do the broadband that Grace Ng talked about. Just South Carolina alone will reap $353 million and we asked them to do that by June 30th. And that is a piece of legislation that is going to be introduced along with a Representative Upton of Michigan.
Congressman Clyburn: (37:19)
That bill is being filed today because we think it’s critical to spend out that money between now and June 30th because little children stand the threat of losing a second year of school, if we don’t have down available to them. And so the speaker has worked with me and we are going to propose that as a separate piece of legislation. Thank you.
Nancy Pelosi: (37:45)
Mr. Clyburn has been a champion working with, again, the Energy and Commerce Committee, Mr. Chairman Pallone on this issue of broadband. It will be even significantly put forth in our infrastructure bill, which we hope to bring up soon because it is so necessary. We thought it was necessary before. Right? But then with distance learning, with telemedicine, with so many things that are happening electronically, it’s absolutely essential. We should have a whole press … Well, we have had whole press conferences on that. So unless there are any other questions on testing, testing, testing, tracing, treatment, isolation.
Nancy Pelosi: (38:28)
Speaker 5: (38:28)
Thank you. The House is voting later today on this FISA bill, but you’re no longer voting on a bipartisan amendment like [inaudible 00:38:35] to limit the collection of internet search history. Why not? And if the underlying bill goes down, what’s the recourse? What’s your next move?
Nancy Pelosi: (38:44)
Well, we passed a bill a while back supported by the two chairs, Mr. Shift of Intelligence and Mr. Nadler, the committee jurisdiction of judiciary. It passed in a very bipartisan way, actually a veto proof amount, bipartisan, went over to the Senate, the Senate-
Nancy Pelosi: (39:03)
Amount, bi-partisan went over to the Senate. The Senate amended it in a very positive way. 80 senators voted for passage of the bill, 80 senators. Something like, 30-some Republican senators voted for the bill. And it was more progressive than the House bill. The Leahy-Lee Amendment took it to a better place, in my view. That’s the bill we will be… That’s what has sent over to us, that’s what we’ll be voting on today. If Congress will work it’s will, if Congress doesn’t want that, we have our original bill that we’ll send back over.
Speaker 6: (39:40)
Why not the [inaudible 00:00:42], why is that not-
Nancy Pelosi: (39:43)
That is up to them. We thought that we might take… That was under consideration, then the widened amendment, it was different things and we decided that where the votes were, where to go with the… Look, my long history in intelligence going back to the early ’90s, either as a member, ranking member, or ex-officio all these years, we have to have a bill. We had to have a bill and we have to have it signed. Demonstration, Attorney General Barr would like nothing better than not have a bill. Then you don’t have all these protections that are built into our bills. That’s really what is essential about having a bill, otherwise you could just have an extension, but if you want to improve the protections, because it’s always about security and civil liberties. So security and privacy, that’s the balance you have to strike.
Nancy Pelosi: (40:37)
And that bill in the Senate goes a long way and it is strongly bi-partisan. So that is.. The rules committee reported that bill out today, it’s up to others in terms of consideration of different amendments, Mitch McConnell’s the vote counter, but we salute Congresswoman Lofgren. Congresswoman Lofgren is a real champion of civil liberties in the Congress of the United States. And she has just been remarkable, there a senior member of the judiciary committee and she really opposed the first bill that we passed the Leahey-Lee amendment was a vast improvement over it. Although our bill was good enough, this bill is much better. We hope that it would be the bill that could get the signature of the President of the United States, but we can… All kinds of things that have been considered, this is the path we’ll be on today. Thank you all very much. Oh yes, sir, one more
Speaker 7: (41:40)
[inaudible 00:41:36]. I just want to know your thoughts, Speaker Pelosi on what’s happening in Minneapolis with George Floyd’s death, and what should be done, should the DOJ get involved in?
Nancy Pelosi: (41:48)
Today we’re talking about disparities, and access to testing asperities, and access to healthcare and the unfairness of it all. Mr. [inaudible 00:41:58] began his remarks, as he usually does, talking about liberty and justice for all. This is such a tragedy, it’s a crime. I feel so sad for the family, but also for just the community there. We have some conversations about this on our caucus call earlier today, and we have a couple of, some are hearing, some are forums, and all the rest to continue that conversation and where we can go from here. There’s a commission on the status of young African American men. That is, it’s a bill in the judiciary committee that we’ve been talking about now, and all of a sudden, all the more necessary Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has been talking about that for a while, including intensely yesterday and this morning. So just, it breaks your heart. It just breaks your heart. It’s so sad, but there has to be liberty, there has to be justice there. Mr. [inaudible 00:00:43:01], may I yield to you on this?
Speaker 8: (43:06)
Well, let me, first of all, thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank a former colleague Vince Ellison, Keith Ellison, I’m sorry. I saw him last, I listened to him last night, expressing tremendous, rather, it’s kind of interesting, I spoke of Senator Rubio’s comments in the Washington Post this morning, my memory serves the commission on male, young males, et cetera, that the speaker just spoke about, I think he mentioned that in his [inaudible 00:00:43:43], not that one, one I read this morning. And the necessity for us taking a look at restructuring, and we started in a bipartisan way, one of the things that we have worked with here, Democrats had worked with this administration on restructuring some things in our judicial system. In fact, Senator Klobuchar last night mentioned the fact that when she was the prosecutor she followed what was the structure in place at that time and she said, “We got to change that, we got to restructure.”
Speaker 8: (44:23)
I just think that we all to really take a look at this pandemic, look at everything that’s happening around us, and let’s admit the fact that it’s time for us to restructure some things in our society. We’ve got to restructure things so that we can build out broadband so that local, low income communities, rural communities can receive the greatness of the society. We got to restructure things so that we can have online education for our children. You can have tele-health for rural and low income communities. That’s the only way to make the greatness of this country accessible and affordable for everybody. And justice is really a threat in this country. And Rubio talked in his article about how, if we do not do this, he sees real calamity in the not too distant future for our country. I’ve been seeing it for some time now and that’s why I’ve been silent this morning. Cause I go out there. I talked to people, I stopped on the street corners. When I walk I’m down these hallways, I nod at the Speaker and the frack, but I spend time with the people who are scrubbing the floors and moving the furniture. I talk to them about their children. I talk to them about what they experiences and I can tell you, we have got to do something to restructure things.
Nancy Pelosi: (46:02)
I know that you do that, but do they call you mama? They call me mama. Let’s just close this by just mourning the loss of 100,000 people. Grace mentioned that such a large number we’re from New York State and how Elmhurst Hospital and her district was affected. Let’s also just remember all those people in nursing homes, 40% of the deaths, I think, are in nursing homes. So, so very, very sad and heartbreaking for families. Of course, with me, it always comes down to the children. We want to be sure that when these people go to work, that they have the PPE that they are tested so that they know when they come home, their children will be safe. I just close with the story Tlaib, Rashida Tlaib, Congresswoman Tlaib told the day we were passing the CARES Act. She showed a picture of a beautiful little five year old girl who just died of coronavirus. Her father was a firefighter, her mother a police officer.
Nancy Pelosi: (47:07)
What’s the question. How did she get this? And of course, they’re big advocates now for testing about that. Five years old, bringing it home to the children. So we’ve got to stop this vicious thing because it’s taking from our children, our parents, our grandparents, whatever, and everybody in between. And we have a responsibility to get the job done. And so we say to the President, “Stop making excuses, take responsibility. That’s what the President of the United States is supposed to do.” In the meantime, thank you, Frank [inaudible 00:47:44], for the wonderful legislation. We hope to soon get it passed into law, one way or another, and make a big difference for our country. Thank you all very much.
Speaker 9: (47:54)
I’ll send you a Dropbox, on Twitter.