Mar 23, 2020
Nancy Pelosi Speech Transcript on Coronavirus Bill: House Democrats Release Bill
House Democrats released a COVID-19 relief bill today, after voting not to advance a Republican-backed bill yesterday. Nancy Pelosi spoke about the bill, and how she feels it’s an improvement for American workers over the Republican bill. Read the full transcript of her statement.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:25)
Good afternoon. 10 years ago today on March 23rd, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. On that proud day, we took a monumental step forward for the health and financial security of the American people. We expanded new health coverage to 20 million people and delivered better coverage to more than 150 million Americans with health insurance through their employer. We passed the Affordable Care Act because we believed that in the United States of America, healthcare must be a right, not a privilege. The late Senator Ted Kennedy made that belief the fight of his life.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:06)
Thanks to the leadership of President Barack Obama who was dedicated, knowledgeable, strategic, and determined to succeed, thanks to the clear vision of our committee chairs, crafting the legislation and the deep courage of members of Congress, thanks to outside mobilization of patient advocacy groups, Nuns on the Bus, March of Dimes, Protect our Care, Little Lobbyists and others the Affordable Care Act stands today among the great pillars of American health and financial security; Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:41)
Now we find ourselves in the depths of one of the most serious health and economic emergencies our nation has ever faced. The protections of the Affordable Care Act are more important now than ever, but right now in the middle of the coronavirus, the Trump administration is in court suing to tear down the entire Affordable Care Act, every last protection and benefit. If President Trump succeeds in striking down the ACA in court, gone is the ban on insurers putting limits on your healthcare, gone are guaranteed essential health benefits and free preventive services, gone are young people staying on their parents’ insurance until age 26, gone is the health insurance of 20 million Americans, and gone are the lifesaving protections for more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:37)
Today therefore, I’m calling on President Trump to abandon his lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Instead, the president should urge the 14 States who have refused to expand Medicaid to do so. Last Thursday, Pope Francis offered the world this prayer; Enlightened those responsible for the common good so that they might know how to care for those entrusted to their responsibility. Today, House Democrats are unveiling The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, a bill that takes responsibility for the health, wages and wellbeing of America’s workers. Democrats take responsibility for our workers, who require that any corporation that takes taxpayer dollars must protect their worker’s wages and benefits, not CEO pay, stock buybacks or layoffs. We strengthen unemployment insurance so that it can replace the average wages of our workers who are losing their jobs and hours. For our small businesses, we provide fast relief with grants and loans to tide them through this crisis.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:45)
For our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and first responders and hospitals and other health institutions, we provide desperately needed funds to care for those who are sick and to insure that our providers have personal protective equipment, PPE, that they need. We protect our healthcare workers by requiring the administration to enforce our stronger OSHA protections. For our families, we give direct payments to America’s families in a robust way and strengthen the child tax credits and the earned income tax credit. We give more workers the security of guaranteed paid Family and Medical Leave, including those caring for our seniors. And, we make the coronavirus treatment free for the patient.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:32)
For our students, we provide emergency funds for our schools and universities. We help current borrowers with their student debt burden and the GI bill benefits. We bolster SNAP and other initiatives to address food insecurity. For our democracy, we ensure that states can carry out this year’s election and require early voting and vote by mail.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:54)
I’m grateful to our committee chairs and members for their extraordinary leadership and work for America’s workers and families. The Senate Republican bill put corporations first, but because of the insistence of leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats, progress has been made. We urge the Senate to move closer to the values in The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act. We must be bold forward looking in our thinking. We must be swift and evidence-based in our actions, and we must be prayerful.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:28)
God bless the families of those who’ve lost loved ones and those fighting this terrible illness now. God bless our nurses, doctors, first responders and men and women in uniform. God bless the men and women in our factories making medical supplies, cars, all of it, and those keeping our grocery shelves stocked with food. God bless the scientists racing to find a cure. God bless all of you, and may God always bless America. Thank you.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:57)
Okay. That’s the essence of our bill.
Speaker 3: (06:01)
Do you intend to bring the house back to vote on the bill that you’re going to introduce this afternoon?
Nancy Pelosi: (06:08)
We’ll see what we’re going to do. That’s our hope, yes, but we’ll see what the Senate does, too.
Speaker 3: (06:15)
So, there’s still an opportunity that you see it in the House if you get the Senate deal?
Nancy Pelosi: (06:17)
Well, there’s too many theoreticals there.
Speaker 3: (06:17)